Crimson Tide MC-

THE NEW CHAPTER BOOK IS

Near the end of Tracker…

The couple turned as the sound of cycles broke the silence.

Boomer and the rest of his men poured into the parking lot.

Tracker gazed at them all and was glad they were all there. He looked at his dad. “You found everyone? That’s great.”

Boomer nodded. “Yeah, we were lucky. I realized that when I saw what was left of the property. The manor is nothing more than a pile of stone and lumber. There are bodies all over the place and the police are there trying to figure what the fuck happened.”

Sutton turned toward Tracker and the others. “Thank you Crimson Tide for having my back when push came to shove,” she told them all. “I’ll never forget meeting any of you.”

Tracker snorted. “You and me aren’t done yet, sweetheart.” Shaking his head, he claimed, “Not by a long shot.”

Sutton whined, “I don’t know what that means.”

Tracker smiled, “But you will. Now come on I’m taking you home. We have a lot to do.”

“Such as?” She frowned.

“Well now sweet thing, I’m claiming you so you have to quit your job and move back to the Lake Charles area with us,” he informed her.

Sutton’s frown grew deeper. “You think just because you say the words that, that is supposed to mean something to me?”

“Of course.” Tracker nodded.

Sutton looked over at Boomer and asked, “Is he always this arrogant and stupid?”

Boomer nodded offhandedly. “Pretty much. But he’s right about one thing, sweetheart, you do belong with this motley crew. We just can’t ride away and let you go back to your life.”

“Why?” she asked

“That’s just the way it is in our world,” Boomer told her.

“But I don’t know your world. I don’t belong there.” She shook her head.

“You could belong there,” Tracker stated. “All you have to do is take my hand and I’ll show you a new kind of world. A world I think you belong in. A world where you and me reside.”

Sutton stared at him for a moment. “You and me huh?”

“Yep, you and me.” Tracker grinned. “Just tell me where this home is and I’ll take you on a ride, you’ll never want to give up.”

Boomer chuckled. “We’re gonna start for home son. I guess we’ll see you when we see you.”

 

Chapter One

 

They were almost home about half way between Jennings and Lake Charles when he saw skid marks in the middle of the road. The tire marks were really dark and by the looks of them you could tell they were made by a small type car. Boomer slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road. Then the whole group followed suit and slid in behind him.

“What’s up Pres?” Cyrus asked as he gazed at Boomer.

“I’m not sure but that doesn’t look good.” Boomer pointed to the black marks on the road.

Cyrus looked and hissed. “No, it sure as hell don’t.”

Boomer and a few others got off their bikes and began walking along the highway looking down into the ditch as they walked along side of the road.

About ten feet beyond where he stopped Boomer yelled for his men. Then he scrambled down into the ditch.

Cyrus and a couple of the others followed in his footsteps and found a smoking car crumpled at the bottom of the ditch. The entire back end was caved in almost as if another vehicle had smashed into the little car.

“What the fuck, Pres?” Cyrus snarled.

Boomer shook his head. “Let’s see if the driver is still alive.” He and Cyrus moved closer and when they peeked into the driver seat, they saw a small girl. Her eyes were closed and blood covered her face from a deep cut on her forehead.

“Pres, she ain’t all that old,” Cyrus claimed.

“I know, I can see that. Grab what you can from the car and I’ll get her up on the road. This car may burst into flames anytime now.” Yanking the door open, he pulled her out of the vehicle. She never woke up and Boomer hitched her up into his arms. She wasn’t heavy, just a bitty thing. He looked down at her face and hoped she would survive. He carried her up the side of the ditch and found everyone else waiting for him.

“What are you going to do with her Pres?” Vance asked warily.

“Well, I’m not going to leave her here that’s for sure.”’ Boomer growled. “We’ll take her back with us and give her a safe place to recover.”

“She can ride back with me,” Clovis spoke up. “I got room.”

Boomer carried her over to Clovis’ truck and put her inside. He looked over at the younger man. “You carry her safely. She’s hurt enough.”

Clovis turned his head to look at the small woman in his truck. “Aww, you know me Boomer, she’ll be safe. We only got a half an hour to go.”

“Just watch your rear view mirror okay? Whoever put her in the ditch might come after you to finish the job,” Boomer warned. “She won’t be completely safe until we can get her home.”

Clovis nodded as Boomer shut the door carefully.

~*~

Clovis got behind the wheel and drove behind the others. He kept checking on the girl but she didn’t move all the way home.

Only when he parked his truck inside the gates did he take a moment to really look at her.  Her skin looked soft, her hair was dark in color and it fell to her shoulders. He couldn’t see what color her eyes were but he grew concerned about how long she'd been out. Who knew how long she’d been out before they found her and got her to the clubhouse.

He got out of his truck just as Boomer was getting off his bike. Clovis hurried around the front of his truck and he was there to open the door and lift her out of her seat before Boomer could reach for her.

Boomer raised a brow at Clovis’ gesture but didn’t say anything instead, he walked behind the other man as they went into the clubhouse.  

Clovis carried her all the way back to the infirmary and Boomer opened the door.

Their man Banger got up from his seat. Banger was the man who treated their wounds and such…an ex-military man with medical training. “What you got here?”

“Some numbnuts pushed her off the road and forced her into a ditch, we found her unconscious about half an hour ago,” Boomer explained. “She’s been out since we found her.”

Banger checked her eyes with a small flashlight and then checked her wounds. He felt along her neck and shoulders for any sign of whiplash but didn’t find anything. Then he pushed her shirt off her shoulder to check for dislocation, he saw she had a lump on her shoulder he didn’t like. All three men stared at the tattoo on her shoulder. It was of a red breasted robin. The artwork was superior and it caught their eyes.

“Very nice," Clovis stated.

“Yeah, that’s Raoul’s work,” Banger told them.

“Raoul?” Boomer inquired.

Banger nodded. “Yeah, he’s over in Lafayette. She must be from there as well, usually only locals know him.” He grabbed a wash cloth to wipe away the blood and grit from her face.

“Well that gives us a clue as to who she might be.” Boomer sighed. “We haven’t had time to look through her things to see what ID she has with her.”

“She didn’t have anything in the car with her,” Cyrus told them as he came into the room.

Boomer looked over at his man and frowned. “Not even a purse or a phone?”

Cyrus shook his head. “Nope, there was nothing in that little car, and the license plate had been removed too.”

Boomer looked down at the girl on the bed. “Most women don’t move without a purse or a phone in their hands.” He surmised. “Then we don’t have a fucking clue as to who she is, until she wakes up and can tell us.”

Banger looked over at him. “She might have a slight concussion but I won’t know for sure until she finally wakes up. The blow she took to the head might have been when she hit the steering wheel when her car was forced from the road.”

Boomer ran his hands across his face and sighed heavily. “Well, just clean her up and do what you need to do and we’ll hope she wakes up sooner rather than later. There’s got to be someone out there worried about her.”

“Umm Pres, there might be something else you need to know about that accident,” Cyrus spoke.

“And what would that be?” Boomer asked him.

“As I was leaving to go back up to the road, I saw her tires, the driver's side back tire had been blown out by a bullet.”

“Are you sure?” Boomer stared at him.

Cyrus nodded. “I saw the hole. It wasn’t very big but it was definitely a gunshot hole.” He glanced over at the girl on the bed.

Boomer followed his gaze and cursed under his breath, “Fucking hell sweetheart, what kind of trouble are you in here?” He turned to leave.  

Suddenly, the girl groaned and tried to open her eyes.

Clovis stepped closer while looking concerned.

Boomer saw this, so he turned back and faced the bed.

 She seemed to struggle to wake up as if the unnatural sleep was pulling her down. “NO!” she cried out. “No!”

Boomer watched her.

Clovis rushed over and tried to calm her. He held her hands down until her movements paused. “It’s okay, sweetheart. It’s all right now.”

 She let out a huge breath and stilled.

Clovis stared at her face for a moment longer then stepped back and let go of her wrists.

Finally, her eyes opened. They were clear blue but very confused as she looked around the room at the men standing there. “What the hell? Who are you guys and why does my head hurt so bad?” She raised her hand to hold her head almost like she was afraid it might drop off her shoulders. 

Boomer went over to the bed and sat down on the edge of it. “My name is Boomer and we found your car in a ditch. You were passed out from an accident, so we brought you here to our place.”

“An accident?” she asked. “Where is here and what is this place?” she whispered with her eyes shut tight to combat the pain.

“We’re just outside of Lake Charles, Louisiana and we’re known as the Crimson Tide MC,” he told her.

This information had her eyes popping wide open as she stared at Boomer sitting on the bed. “Please don’t hurt me,” she whispered.

Boomer shook his head. “We aren’t going to hurt you sweetheart. We brought you here to help you. Your car was forced off the road, do you remember that?”

The girl began to tremble and she thought about what he said but then shook her head slowly. “No I don’t. I don’t remember anything.”

“What do you mean, you don’t remember anything?” Clovis frowned.

“I mean I can’t remember the accident or where I was or even getting up this morning!” She wailed. “I can’t remember my own name.” She looked panicked. “Who am I?” She grabbed hold of Boomer’s vest and fell into his chest. “What happened to me? Why can’t I remember anything?”

Boomer wrapped his arms around her and held her for a moment. Then he eased her back a bit, so he could look into her tear swollen eyes. “Honey, you hit your head pretty hard when the car went down into the ditch. Just try and stay calm ok?”

“But I can’t remember anything!” she cried out.

“Stop it right now,” Boomer told her gruffly. “Calm yourself down. You’re just going to make it worse for yourself. People often can’t remember shit right away after a heavy blow like the one you took. You’ll get your memories back, when your brain unscrambles.”

She gulped heavily and slowly nodded. “Ok, if you say so, but I’m scared.”

Boomer nodded. “Yeah, I get that but nobody here is going to hurt you. Just lay down and get some rest. See how you feel when you wake up again, alright?”

She nodded and laid back down. Tears soaked her pillow and she shivered.

Clovis stepped close and held out a blanket.

Boomer took it and covered her up with it. He got to his feet and shook his head. “We didn’t find a purse or a phone in your car, so we don’t have anything to help you figure it out. Just be patient with yourself okay?”

The girl looked up at him and nodded.

Banger stepped forward and checked her pulse, then gave her a bottle of water. “Just sip it, okay? No gulping.”

Nodding, she did as he asked. Then she coughed a bit. The poor girl looked so lost and in pain.

Boomer felt his heart pull a bit. He then swung his gaze over to Clovis. The man kept his eyes on the girl. He looked completely invested in her well being. Boomer paused. They didn’t even know who she was. Or what kind of trouble she was in. He shook his head.

He did understand in a way though. Whoever she belonged to must be out of their mind with worry. If she were his daughter, he would be tearing shit up right about now. With a sigh, he walked out into the hall and went to the main room. Heading to the refreshment table, he grabbed a cup to pour himself a cup of coffee.

Suddenly, the front door was thrown open and an older woman came inside holding a shotgun. She looked around the clubhouse catching everyone unprepared. Scowling, she pulled up her shotgun and leveled both barrels toward the open room, then she pointed it at Boomer and called out, “Where is she? What the hell did you do with my daughter?”

 

Chapter Two

 

Boomer froze as he heard the lady cock the gun and both barrels loading up. As did everyone in the room.

Then she stepped closer. “I asked you a question,” she drawled as she caught Boomer’s eyes and wouldn’t look away. “Where is my daughter?”

“Lady, we don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” Boomer growled as he glared at her. She wasn’t very big and it wouldn’t be too much to overpower her but he didn’t like the fact that she was holding a gun aimed at his belly. “Who the hell are you and why should we know where your kid is?”

“Because I saw you pick her up, you lousy bastards.” The woman growled. “I got there too late to stop you, but I know she’s here. I followed you back here.”

Boomer took a step toward her.

She swung the shotgun up a bit. “That’s close enough old man. I didn’t come here to shoot anyone, I just want my daughter.”

“Put that gun down before it goes off and you shoot somebody.” Boomer growled. “The girl we picked up on the road is in our infirmary. She’s hurt and doesn’t know her own name but if she’s your kid, then there’s some things you need to know before you see her.”

The woman narrowed her eyes and gripped the stock of her shotgun a little tighter. “What the fuck are you talking about old man?”

“Stop calling me that.” Boomer’s voice boomed over the silence. “I ain’t that damn old.”

“Git on with it then, what’s wrong with my girl?” She snarled.

Boomer crossed his arms over his chest and glared at her. “Just who the fuckin' hell do you think you are woman? You come into our house brandishing a shotgun and demanding answers. Who the hell do you think you are?”

“My name doesn’t matter but if you hurt my kid, I’ll show you who I am.” She snarled. “My mama bear will paint these walls with your blood because I will protect my cub even with my last breath. That’s who I am.” So intent was she on focusing on Boomer, she missed seeing the man sneaking up behind her.

Vance reached out and snatched the gun out of her hands.

She screamed and turned to face the threat. She curled her hands into fists and pummeled him.

Vance did his best to avoid her fists but wasn’t having much luck. The woman knew how to fight and was getting some good shots in on the poor man.

Boomer shook his head as he walked over to them. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her away from the stunned man. He held her tightly and wouldn’t let her get away from him. He looked over at Vance seeing his frustration and anger. “Don’t even think about it brother. I will drop you where you stand,” he threatened when he saw Vance’s hands curl into fists.

“She drew first blood, Pres.” Vance glared at the woman.

Boomer growled. “You know better man or at least, you should.” Then he had his own hands full when she began to fight his hold.

“Let me go you lousy bastard!” She cried out.

“Settle yourself woman. You’re gonna hurt yourself if you keep this up.” He growled at her.

Suddenly, she paused in her ordeal and tears ran down her cheeks. “I just want my daughter.” Then she caught him off guard and began to fight his hold again. Boomer managed to hang onto her but she fought him harder and it became more difficult to keep his grip on her.

Then she screamed out a name, “Robin, baby where are you?” she shouted as she squirmed in Boomer’s arms. “Robin!”

Robin called out from down the hall, “Mama? Is that you? Mama, I’m here.”

The struggling woman turned toward the hall.

Boomer’s head snapped around as he heard the voice calling out from the infirmary. Then he felt a sudden pain on his shin where her boot finally found a place to land. His grip on the woman loosened and she got away.

Breaking free from him, she went running down the hall.

When she heard Robin call out again, the woman burst through the door, glanced around the room, and found her daughter laying on the bed. “Oh baby, what have they done to you?” She rushed over to the bed as the room filled up with bikers.

“Oh mama, they didn’t hurt me,” Robin insisted. “They have been nothing but kind and helpful.”

The woman gathered her baby girl in her arms and held her tight. “Thank god, I found you.”

“I tried to draw them away from you,” Robin told her mom. “When I saw them this morning, I just got in the car and drove.”

Her mother leaned back and shook her head. “Oh baby, you should have hid, not run. These bastards are trying to kill us. Don’t ever do that again! I’d die if anything happened to you. We’ve fought too hard to let go now.”

“Would either of you women care to tell us what the fuck you’re talking about?” Boomer growled as he glared at the women. He looked toward the younger of them and said, “I take it you now know who you are and why someone pushed your vehicle off the road this morning?”

Robin glanced at him and caught the look in his eyes. She swallowed hard and nodded. “Yes sir. As soon as I heard my mom’s voice, I remembered everything.”

The older woman turned to face the line of angry bikers. She caught Boomer’s eyes and glared back at him. “We don’t want no trouble here. I thank you for rescuing my daughter but we’ve got to go. We can’t be caught or we’re both dead and I’ll be damned if I let that happen. We have fought too hard to let that happen now.”

Boomer shook his head. “You two aren’t going anywhere until I get some answers.”

The woman stared back at him. “I won’t drag you or your club into this mess. This is mine to handle, not yours, so just let us go.”

“No…” Boomer growled. “It's not our way to turn our backs on women in trouble and I’ll be damned if I’ll do it now.” He moved closer to the bed and held her eyes with each step he took. “You and your daughter are our guests and we protect what’s ours.”

She shook her head. “You don’t understand. We don’t want to be here and if you take us in even for a day, you’re putting your club in danger. I can’t let that happen.”

“Why don’t you let us be the judge of that?” Clovis said as he stared at the young girl. He had yet to take his eyes off Robin.

“Because I can’t.” Robin’s mother growled as she turned her head to look at the young man who spoke. “I’ve had to stay one step ahead of this for far too long to give it up now. I’ll be damned if they take my little girl, not after this long.”

“Who are they?” Boomer wanted to know. 

She shook her head, her eyes full of tears. “I can’t tell you that.”

“You aren’t leaving here until we know it's safe for you to be out there.” Boomer shook his head. “We aren’t going to watch you go through the gates and be shot in cold blood the moment you step beyond our borders. That isn’t going to happen ladies. Not on my watch, sorry but no way.”

“You don’t understand,” Robin told them. Her mother tried to cover her mouth but Robin wouldn’t keep silent.

“What don’t we understand, little girl?” Boomer growled.

“She can’t tell you who we’re running from because we don’t even know who they are,” Robin dropped her bomb.

“What the fuck?” Cyrus exclaimed. “How can you not know who’s chasing you, looking to kill you? That doesn’t make any sense girl.”

“And yet they still come after us and still want us dead don’t they? Whoever they are,” her mother stated. “They find us and we run. Then they find us all over again. They seem to be a lot faster at finding us these days.”

“Who the fuck is they that you keep talking about?” Boomer demanded again.

The woman sighed. “I don’t know! Years ago in a place far away from here, Robin and I witnessed a crime. It was horrible but I thought we got away clean. I guess we didn’t. Somehow, they found out we saw what they did and they have been after us ever since, looking for some way to silence us. I packed us up and got us out of town but it wasn’t good enough for them. We ran back then and we’ve been running ever since.” She shook her head. “I have no idea how they keep finding us but they do. Some of the faces change but the intent doesn’t. They want Robin and I dead and I don’t know why.”

“What was this crime you witnessed?” Boomer tilted his head and narrowed his eyes.

She turned to her daughter and shook her head. She looked back at Boomer and shook her head.

“Tell them mom, or I will.” Robin faced her mother. When her mom remained silent, Robin turned to Boomer and explained, “It was the day I was supposed to meet my father for the first time. I just turned seven years old. Up until then, I’d never met him before. I always asked but he could never find the time to come until then.” She stared at her mother with tears in her eyes.

 Her mom moved away from the bed. She walked over to the window and gazed outside while her daughter spoke.

Boomer watched her move then looked back to Robin and motioned her to continue.

“We got to the park early and went to the meeting place and began to wait. Three men showed up a little while later. My mom and I were across the park, maybe less than 50 yards and we were watching them. They couldn’t see us because we were hidden by some bushes between us and them. Then a fourth man joined them, he my dad began arguing. The new guy called my dad a fool of epic proportions. Coming to meet his bastard when he had a wife and a son waiting for him at home. A legitimate son, a legal heir who would one day step into his shoes in the family business. My dad said something about how he had to at least meet me, but the new guy said he didn’t need to. That I should have been aborted before I was even born, or better yet, never been allowed to be born.”

Finally, Robin’s mother turned to face Boomer and the men in the room. “I told her every day since then that I don’t regret what I did by carrying her to term, that she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wanted to get her out of there before she heard anything more…”

“But before we could we both heard a gunshot,” Robin continued her story. “We looked to see my dad fall to his knees and the fourth man had a gun in his hand. Then my dad asked why.” Robin’s voice was nothing more than a whisper. Her eyes looked haunted but she pushed herself to finish telling what happened, “The fourth man chuckled evilly as he leaned over my dad and snarled in his face, he said, ‘Because your son is not really yours, he’s mine and I won’t allow any little girl to come between me and what’s mine. She’s a bastard but she’s still got your blood in her veins and that means she has to die. You are my older brother but if you’re dead and have no kids, everything will be mine someday.’ ” Robin paused and then looked over at her mother. “We got out of there and we’ve been running ever since.”

Boomer exhaled hard and ran his fingers through his hair. “Just who the hell is, um was your dad, little girl?”

Robin shook her head. “I never knew his name, only my mom knows that.”

Boomer and his men looked over at the woman. “Who the fucking hell died that night?” Boomer’s voice echoed off the walls as he called her out. “Just who the fucking hell is her daddy?”

“His name was Rafael Sterling Campo.” She raised her head and stared at him.

Boomer blinked once then it hit him. “You’re talking about the crime family Campo?”

The woman slowly nodded at him. “So you see why now? Why I cannot allow you or anyone else to get involved?”

Rafael Sterling Campo was Giovanna Campo’s oldest son. He died seventeen years ago in an ambush at a New York Park and his killer was never caught. His two bodyguards’ bodies were found in the same area, riddled with bullets. The police determined that whoever killed them had something against the Campo’s crime family and this was their way of settling things.

“Fucking hell woman! These guys are Mob,” Boomer swore.

All of this had happened in New York a long time ago. Giovanna Campo was still alive today but it was his youngest son, Alleso and his nephew Donato that ran things. Something this big would bring down the Campo family and now, Crimson Tide was right in the fucking middle of it.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

Boomer took a step back and ran his hands over his head again. This was a clusterfuck of epic proportions. He had no reason to doubt her story but he sure had no reason to expect the words she had said.

“Please you have to let us go. I don’t want to get you involved in this mess.” Robin’s mother pleaded with him.

“It's too late for that now, shotgun Annie.” Boomer growled.

“My name’s Starling.”

Boomer stared at her for a silent moment. “Well Starling, I met a man this morning that might be able to help.” He got as far as the door before he turned his head and saw her by the window again. “And don’t you even think about leaving here, Starling. I got calls to make but I’ll need to talk to you later.” He stomped his way out of the door and down the hall to his office. Slamming the door behind him he reached for his phone and dialed Tracker’s number.

Tracker answered, “Dad, now is not a good time, can I call you back?”

“Don’t you fuckin' dare boy.” Boomer growled.

Tracker paused. “Okaayyyy,” he drawled. “What’s going on?”

“We got a situation here and we need a way to contact that Leon guy from this morning.” Boomer told him.

“Leon Vincinti?”

“Yeah, that guy,” Boomer confirmed.

“What the fuck do you need the mob for Dad? It’s… not a real good idea.

“I don’t need them boy but I do need to talk to him.”

“What the hell happened between this morning and now, old man?” Tracker had to ask.

“Why is everyone worried about my fuckin’ age all of a sudden?” Boomer growled. “Just get me the fuckin’ number!” he all but shouted as he ended the call.

Boomer began to pace his small office as he growled and muttered under his breath. It didn’t take long before his phone pinged and when he looked at his message, all he found was a phone number.

He sat down and dialed the number.

When the call was answered Leon demanded, “Who is this?”

“We met this morning. This is Boomer from the Crimson Tide MC.”

“What the hell do you want?” Leon asked.

“I need to ask you something and I’m not sure how to phrase it,” Boomer acknowledged.

“Just spit it out, man.” Leon growled.

“Ok..” Boomer took a deep breath and relayed what he just heard, “I have a situation here. On our way home this morning, we came across a car that had been shoved into a deep ditch. We went down to see if there was anything we could do and we found a young woman hurt from the wreck. We got her back to our compound. Then her mama came looking for her. She was a spitfire but I guess she might have reason to be.”

“And what does all of this have to do with me?” Leon wanted to know.

“Do you know the Campo family?”

A moment of dead silence fell on the line before Leon replied, “Yes, I know Giovanna Campo and his family very well. He runs one of the divisions in the family. Why?”

“Because I might have a witness to his oldest son’s murder seventeen years ago and its someone who’s been running for her and her daughter’s lives ever since that day.”

Again… nothing but absolute silence came from Leon’s end for the longest time, then he cleared his throat and asked, “Who is this person and why should I believe him or her?”

“Did you know Rafael’s son is actually his brother’s child?” Boomer asked.

“How did you know that?” Leon’s voice picked up in curiosity.

“Rafael was told that just before he died. He died with that knowledge.”

“How do you know this?”

“This witness told me,” Boomer admitted. “She named Rafael’s killer that night too.”

Leon hissed. “Who killed him?” When Boomer didn’t answer he asked, “Where are they now?”

“They’re here with us in Louisiana. Right now, they are under our protection and they will stay that way.”

“What do you expect me to do?” Leon asked him.

Now it was Boomer’s turn to pause. Then he growled, “I guess not a fuckin’ damn thing. I guess we run our clubs differently, you and I. I thought I was dealing with a leader, guess I was wrong. Sorry to bother you Mr. Vincinti.” Then before Leon could answer, Boomer hung up the call.

Before he got out of his office, his phone rang again. Boomer looked at the number up on the ID and saw Leon was calling him back. He thought about not answering it but he didn’t want to burn this particular bridge.  “Hello.”

“Don’t you dare hang up on me again.” Leon growled. “I’ve earned that much respect from you and yours.”

“Me and mine?” Boomer asked. “How do you figure that? We only met this morning. And that was moments after you tried to kidnap my son’s woman, not exactly a good idea now was it?”

“At the time, I wasn’t aware she was your son’s woman and I brought her back. So let’s move on from that. Tell me again, what you know about the Campo family business? Who shot Rafael and his bodyguards and left them laying in the dirt seventeen years ago? And how did you know Donato was Alleso’s son when everyone else didn’t?”

“I told you Mr. Vincinti, the witness told me what she heard that night.”

“Giovanna only told me this when he stepped back from some of his duties five years ago. And he had only found out that truth himself.”

“Rafael’s son might not have been his but he has a daughter and Alleso’s men have been trying to hunt her down and kill her for the last seventeen years.”

“Alleso huh?” Leon surmised. “Why does that not surprise me? He’s been a pain in the ass all his life and he wouldn’t take the news of someone else being next in line to take over. He would have seen himself in power before he saw it taken away from him.” Leon paused then hissed. “Is that what’s going on here? Did Alleso kill his own brother?”

“I’m not telling you anything. It’s not my story to tell,” Boomer replied. “You wouldn’t take my word for it anyway. I wasn’t there.”

“You are keeping them under your protection?” Leon asked.

“Yeah, they are here but they don’t want to stay. They don’t want to drag us into their mess or bring the mob down on our heads.”

Leon hesitated then had to ask, “Then why did you call me? You know who I am, don’t you?”

“Yeah Mr. Vincinti I know who you are but I think you got the balls to do the right thing here. You got the power to stop this if you desire. You said Alleso has been a pain in the ass for some time now, if he’s this bad now, how much worse will he become after his father dies and he steps up to take his place? Think about that for a moment.”

“You think he’s waiting for his own father to die?” Leon asked carefully.

“I’m not saying anything of the kind,” Boomer told him. “But we’ve both known men like this guy before. They will tell you exactly what you want to hear to your face but he’s got plans that aren’t necessarily what he said they would be. Is he that kind of man? Or is he the kind of man that will stab you in the back just because he can? If he falls into that bracket, you and everyone around you better watch your backs when the old man dies. I think I might even suspect him unless I knew the old man’s death was from natural causes, if you get my meaning.”

“I’ll take your warning under advisement,” Leon replied. “But I want to speak to your witnesses face to face.”

“That is entirely up to them isn’t it?” Boomer stated. “I can’t… no, I won’t force them to do anything. But I will protect them, even from you.”

“You need to bring them to me in Boston,” Leon insisted.

“Oh, I don’t think so.” Boomer growled.

“I can guarantee their safety,” Leon offered.

“Mr. Vincinti, I’m not even going to tell them about your offer. Because if I did, they would run tonight. The younger one was forced off the road this morning. She’s just a kid, Mr. Vincinti. Barely old enough to drink, yet they tried their damndest to kill her. Her car was run into and she was literally pushed off the road into a ditch and even if she had been able to get out of there on her own, her back tire was blown out by a bullet. Sooo… NO, I think I’ll pass on that.”

Leon went silent for a moment then he insisted, “I need to speak with them.”

“I cannot help that.” Boomer growled at the man. “If they even knew I was on the phone with you, they would run and I think they have run far and long enough. No kid should grow up like that, always looking over her shoulder, always watching the shadows. Getting woken up in the middle of the night and having to watch her mom drive through the night. Now I have no clue if that’s what happened to them but I can imagine. I think you need to clean up your organization, Mr. Vincinti. Unless you condone things like that.”

“How dare you imply that.” Leon snarled.

“I don’t know you well enough to know what I should be implying. I don’t know what kind of man you are. And you sure as hell don’t know me.”

“No, you don’t know me at all if you even think I would condone something like that,” Leon nearly spat the words into the phone.

“And you don’t know me either, boss man.” Boomer told him. “I will go head to head with anyone, including the devil himself, in order to protect me and mine. Well, I’ve had my say, so now it's up to you. You have to decide what happens next. I just wanted you to know you might lose some men if they come here looking for trouble. I also wanted you to know someone else knows what happened, they know the truth. I thought maybe you didn’t know they’ve been running to save their lives this long. But they ran into us and I’ll be damned if they have to run any longer. This shit stops here.”

“Where do I find you?” Leon asked.

“You don’t find us. We find you,” Boomer informed him. “Our compound is out of the way and you can’t get to us, without our knowing it.”

“Yet someone did find you today. This woman looking for her daughter, correct?” Leon reminded him.

“We’ll speak again, I’m sure.” Boomer ended the call.

He realized he had to tell his guests about his conversation.

He went back to the main room and found the mama bear sitting there alone.

Starling had an empty coffee cup in front of her.

He grabbed another cup and a thermos, then went over to the table and sat down.

She looked up at him and watched him carefully as he poured her another cup. “What are you doing?” she finally asked.

“You and me gotta talk.” He raised a brow at her

“About what?” She stared him in the eyes.

“I just made a call to Leon Vincinti,” Boomer announced.

Starling pushed back her chair and screeched, “You did what? Are you trying to get me and my daughter killed?”

“Keep your ass in that chair, woman.” Boomer growled. “No I’m not trying to get you and your daughter killed. In fact, I’m letting the other side know that they’d better not come here looking for trouble cuz that will be exactly what they find.”

“How could you do that?” she whispered fearfully. “We’ve been running for so long, staying one step ahead of them for seventeen long years and now you just told them where to find us. You just signed our death warrants!”

Boomer stared at her. “No, I didn’t. Listen to me and listen well. I told Leon what you told us. He knows the Campo family, hell woman they’re a part of his organization. They very much want to know who killed Rafael, he was also surprised to know someone other than Giovanna and Alleso knew the boy wasn’t Rafael’s. I got him thinking about some stuff and I wanted him to know he might not have as clean an organization as he thinks. I have a feeling I hurt his pride but that’s to your advantage, not his. Now, it's up to him what happens next.”

“What do you think he’s going to do?” she asked as her hand shook while she raised the coffee mug to her lips.

“If it were me?” Boomer shrugged. “I’d go after the brother. I’d ask him some damn hard questions, but I’m not the head of a crime family am I? I have no idea what he’s going to do.”

“We can’t stay here then,” Starling told him while wringing her hands nervously. “We have to find a place they won’t be able to find us. We have to dig in and keep our heads down.”

“No woman, you don’t understand. I told the man you were under our protection and I meant that. They won’t find you here and if they do you got us to fight on your side.” He paused and raised a brow at her. “Now, there is only one thing I need to know.”

“And what would that be?” she asked.

“How the fuck did you find our compound?” Boomer growled.

 

 

Chapter Four

 

Starling pushed her hair away from her face and sighed hard. “I told you, old man. I followed you. I also had a little bit of luck. All the twists and turns on the way here and then a fork in the road? Not only that but your front gate is a mountain tunnel? If I hadn’t seen it closing and got in before it shut all the way, I never would have found this place. Are you guys paranoid or what?”

“Not paranoid, just careful, little woman.” Boomer stared at her. “When we found this hidden valley, we knew it would be a safe place for us. Well, to be perfectly honest, we didn’t find it. A good friend of ours found it.” He referred to Trudy who now lived with Hell’s Fire Riders. “She was using it as one of her homes but she brought us here after our old place was burnt out and when she left, we stayed and made it our home. We had to widen the original tunnel through the mountain and put up the gate but to gain what we did, it was well worth the work on our part. We’re a legit club but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own enemies. We prefer to see them coming, if they come at all.”

“Can this Leon guy find you?” She wanted to know. “I mean can he trace the call and find out where we are?”

 “He can try but we got our own utility lines and he can’t break into our systems.” Boomer shrugged. “Our phone calls and outside communications can’t be traced.”

“Ok, why so much security? What exactly are you guys doing here?” Starling asked.

“Why do you need to know?” Boomer asked back.

“Because I’ve been running for my life and protecting my daughter for the last twenty five years. That’s a long time, nearly half my lifetime. For the last seventeen years, I’ve had to sleep with one eye open and look into the shadows in every town and city we’ve been in and there have been so many. I’ve lost count of everywhere we’ve been. It hasn’t been fun but I would do it all again, to keep my little girl safe.” She looked over at him. “Now, you tell us we’re safe here and I have to wonder if we exchanged one kind of danger for another. You tell us we’ll be safe here, but how do I know that? We have killers after us. And make no mistake about that, they want to put a bullet into our heads because I slept with someone a long time ago. I gave birth to a child I love dearly but he never did. Hell, he never knew her. By the time he was ready to meet her, he ended up dead. I didn’t know he was married at the time or I never would have slept with him. I have some principals, he knew it and he lied to me. I asked him if he was married and he told me no, then when I told him I was pregnant, he told me to get rid of the baby. I walked out on him that night and I didn’t see him for seven years after that. I didn’t know who he was and by the time I did, it was too fucking late. They killed him that night and again, I ran away.”

“You protected your daughter.” Boomer nodded in complete understanding.

Starling shook her head as tears rolled down her face. “Rafael didn’t want her from day one. He never knew what a great kid she was, or what a beautiful woman she would turn out to be.” She looked down the hall and shook her head again. “She looks so much like him, that some days it's hard to look at her but I look anyway. She’s been my child from the day she was conceived. Back then, I carried her under my heart and since the day she was born, I carried her in my heart.”

Boomer nodded. “I hear ya woman. I have two sons as well. I would die for them as well. Step right out in front of a bullet to protect them if I had to. I know what you’re saying. I had their mom for a while but when she passed, I was still there for them. I taught them right from wrong and many lessons in life since that day. But I never gave up on them and that’s something even though they’re grown men now, I will ever do until the day I die.”

Starling studied him with a warmer look in her eyes as she nodded. “What do you think this Leon guy will do now?”

Boomer sighed hard. “That’s the real question isn’t it? I don’t know the man very well at all. I met him this morning when he came to clean out a safe full of money and jewels that had been stolen thirty years ago. As your problem deals with the mob, I thought he might know what to do.” Boomer studied her face for a moment, then told her, “He wants to speak to you, he even offered to bring you to Boston. You would have his protection too.”

Starling shook her head. “No thanks. I want nothing to do with the man and if you force me to meet with him, Robin and I are so gone. If we leave here, you won’t find us and neither will he.”

Boomer snorted. “Woman, I learned a long time ago, you can’t force a woman to do any damn thing. No, honey I ain’t gonna even ask you to meet with him. You know what’s best for you and your daughter. All I can do is tell you about his offer.”

“Well, you told me.” Starling tried to end the discussion.

“That doesn’t mean Leon is going to give up,” Boomer warned her. “He didn’t take the news about Alleso very well. But I think he already knew it was true. He said Alleso had been a pain in his ass for years. I have no idea what he’ll do next but like I said, we got your back here and he can’t find us.”

“What if someone from Alleso’s payroll gets in the same way I did?” Starling wanted to know.

Boomer shook his head. “We got cameras all over this place and we got the highest facial recognition rigged to them. If there is someone sneaking around here, we’ll find them.”

Starling shook her head. “You didn’t find me. I got inside before you knew I was here.”

“I was watching you the whole time,” Trigger told her. He’d been sitting at the next table. “I work the cameras and I saw you when you came out of the tunnel. I had one finger on the alert button the whole time. I just wanted to see what you were gonna do.”

She looked over at Boomer. “And you were okay with that?”

Boomer shrugged. “If he thought for one moment you were dangerous to us, he would have hit that alert button. And you didn’t shoot anyone in the end, anyway.”

“I would have pulled the trigger and shot you if you pulled a weapon on me,” she informed him flatly.

“Ma’am,” Vance interjected as he shook his head. “You had eight guns on you the whole time. If your finger had even tightened on that trigger, you never would have had time to shoot the gun. You would have been dead before your body hit the floor.”

Starling paled as she stared at him and the others sitting there with him. They looked dead serious. “Sweet fuckin’ hell,” she swore under her breath. “What do you guys do here anyway?”

Boomer grinned. “Would you believe me if I told you we run a security firm?”

Starling swallowed in disbelief. “A what?”

“We run a private security firm. We track down threats we find along the way and follow through on them. The other day, we were tracking a drug lord threat. We found him and that’s how we got mixed up with the mob.”

Starling shook her head. “You called them your enemies.”

Boomer smirked at her. “Well, when we find them, they really don’t like us much.”

She nodded. “I can see that.”

“We found your truck and brought it into the valley,” Cyrus told her. “We don’t like to leave evidence outside our own front door.”

Starling nodded. “Good, that truck holds everything we own at the moment. It may not look like much but it's all we got.” She turned to Boomer and asked, “Can I get my shotgun back? Like I said before, we don’t have much but what we got we need.”

“I think we’ll hang onto it for a little longer if you don’t mind, Annie.” Boomer raised a brow at her. “You’ll get it back, once we know you better.”

Starling nodded. “Fair enough.”

“Come on, let’s get you settled, looks like you could use a nap,” Boomer told her as he got to his feet. Holding out his hand, he waited for her to take it.

Starling stared at his hand for a few seconds then reached out and placed her hand in his as she allowed him to pull her to her feet.

He led her down the hall and turned the corner before he opened the door and motioned her into the room.

She looked around the room and nodded. “This will do.” The room was big enough with a huge bed as well as a sofa and chair over in the corner. It also had a dresser, a mirror, and a doorway that led into the bathroom area. She thought she could see another room beyond the bathroom but didn’t really see it too well.

Boomer grinned at her confused expression. “There’s only one problem. We’ll share the bathroom but you can trust me.”

Starling frowned. “What do you mean we’ll share the bathroom?”

“These rooms all share a bathroom with the next door room. The bathroom has locks on the doors and my men don’t mind the situation. We just did it this way when we expanded because it was easier and at the time, nobody was married. Either way, you have to share a bathroom with somebody, so it might as well be with me.”

“Couldn’t I share with Robin?”

Boomer smirked. “I think she’ll be sharing with Clovis.” He shrugged. “I mean you can try but three is a busy number.”

Starling stared suspiciously at his smirk for a moment. “Well, you stay on your side and I’ll stay on mine. We can try it. I’m just too tired to care at the moment.” She walked over to the bed and laid down, fully clothed.

Boomer shook his head, walked over to the sofa in the room and picked up the blanket. Unfolding it, he spread it out over her.

Starling groaned and snuggled in.  

Not even two minutes later, Boomer knew she was asleep from her soft snores. He left her room and went to his. He made sure he closed the bathroom door but he never bothered to lock it. He didn’t think he would have to.

He went back out to the main room. On his way, he stopped by the bar, grabbed a bottle of whiskey and a few glasses. Bringing them over to the table, he poured out a few shots. He sat down with his men. He waited for one of them to say something and it didn’t take long.

Cyrus broke the curious silence, “What the hell are you up to, boss?”

He grabbed the drink he poured for himself and sat back in his chair. As he sipped the booze, he looked at his men. “Boys, we got us a mystery to solve. Now we got no reason to believe her story about the Campo’s but we got no reason to disbelieve it either. If Robin really is Campo’s daughter and we can prove it, she might get acknowledgement from her grandfather at least. That would be more than she ever had in her whole life.”

“But is that what she wants?” Vance asked the question no one else dared. “Maybe she’s fine not being part of that family.”

Boomer nodded and sipped his drink. “Maybe, maybe not. Even if she gets it, her uncle wouldn’t let her keep it anyway. He wants everything, whether he deserves it or not. And he doesn’t deserve it. He pulled a Cain and Able on his own fucking brother.”

“He killed his own brother?” Cyrus asked with a bit of disgust in his voice.

Boomer nodded. “And it wasn’t because his brother shot first. It was for the fame, glory and the money. And that’s just wrong any fucking way you slice it.”

“What’s your plan?” Vance asked.

“We find the proof. There has to be something that will prove her story. Something Starling had that night to prove to Rafael that Robin was his daughter.”

“Are you sure you want to travel this road, boss?” Trigger asked his president.

“They need to stop running,” Boomer replied. “They have been running too long already.” He was about to say something else when his phone rang. He looked down at the instrument and saw it was Leon’s number calling back. When he answered the call, however…it wasn’t Leon’s voice he heard.

It was a much younger man’s voice and he sounded pissed, “Who the fucking hell are you to bring that damn woman’s story to the attention of my grandfather? You piece of shit. That whore has been telling that story for damn near seventeen years and there’s no way it's true. Rafael didn’t have another child. I was the only one he had and I’ll be damned if you bring shame down on this family, because some whore told you a tale of woe about her bastard.”

“Donato, I take it.” Boomer snarled as he set his shot glass down on the table. “How the hell did you get this number?”

“How the fuck do you think I got the number you slimy old fool? Leon gave it to me. Tell me where they are, so I can finally stop this shit. My grandfather doesn’t need this shit anymore.”

Boomer ended the call and dialed Leon’s number again. When the older man answered he growled, “What the hell did you just do?”

“I beg your pardon?” Leon growled back.

“How the fuck did Donato get my number?”

“I have no idea I never gave it to him,” Leon insisted.

 Boomer scoffed into the phone, “Yet, he just called me to warn me about the girls and then demanded I tell him where they were, so he could stop them from spreading their lies. Then he told me you gave him my number. Thanks for nothing, Vincinti.”

“I didn’t give him your number,” Leon persisted. “I haven’t even called Giovanna yet.”

“Then this Donato fuck has a tap on your phone,” Boomer informed him. “He’s pissed and loaded for bear. I will kill him if he comes here. Make no mistake about that. If he comes after the girls, I will kill him.”

“I’ll call you when I get to the bottom of this damn mess.” Leon growled as he ended the call.

 

Chapter Five

 

Boomer growled; he wanted to throw his phone against the wall just to see it smash to pieces but he didn’t. He learned to keep his temper under control after all these years.

After all, they called him Boomer for a reason, his temper being one of those reasons. He looked over at his men and snarled, “Leon’s got a fuckin’ tap on his phone.”

“Now you would think he would know better, wouldn’t you?” Cyrus shook his head as he chuckled a bit.

Trigger was about to say something but his phone started buzzing, sending him an alert. He reached in his pocket and pulled it out to check it. He frowned as he studied the alert, then he got up and went to his office without a word to anyone.

Boomer wondered what was up but he also trusted his man. He knew Trigger would tell him what he needed to know, when it was time.

Trigger returned less than two minutes later and glared at Boomer. “We got a breach. We have an unknown inside the compound.”

Boomer surged to his feet. “How the hell did he get in?”

Trigger shook his head. “He came in with the woman’s truck. He was hiding in the back. No one knew he was there.”

“How long has he been here?” Boomer asked.

“I drove her truck on into the valley this morning,” Cyrus told him. “I never thought to look in the back, since there wasn’t much in the back to begin with.”

“Well now, we got an unwanted guest.” Boomer growled. “Search the grounds.” He looked at his men standing close by in the room. “Cyrus, Vance Trigger, and I will search the clubhouse. Go into every room and find this guy. We don’t know who he is or what he wants here. Let’s get this bastard, find him!”

The men dispersed, each going their own way.

Boomer and the three others waited for a moment then Boomer told Trigger, “You, go back to the monitors and see if you can find someone that shouldn’t be here. Maybe if we get an idea where to look, he won’t be free for long.”

Trigger nodded and headed back to the security room.

Boomer then looked over at Cyrus. “I’m gonna check on our other guests and give Clovis a head’s up.”

Cyrus nodded. “Vance and I will get a few more brothers, then go up and come back down.”

Boomer turned and went down the hall to the Infirmary. He opened the door and saw Clovis sitting there watching Robin sleep. He motioned for Clovis to join him and he whispered the warning, “You need to watch over her good. Trigger says we have an unwanted visitor inside the compound. He said someone snuck in via the back of Starling’s truck. We’re searching for him now, but I don’t want to leave either of the women alone.”

Clovis nodded then looked over his shoulder at his Prez. “He won’t get close to her.”

Boomer nodded. “I’m gonna check on her mom, I left her taking a nap.” He turned and walked down the hall. Rather than wake her, he decided to go through his bedroom and the shared bathroom.

When he opened his door, he frowned. He thought he heard noises coming from Starling’s room. He hurried through the bathroom and his eyes widened as he saw someone standing over her bed.

Starling was struggling with the man standing over and her and he grunted when she got a good hit into his gut.

Boomer swore as he charged into her room. When he got close to the man, he saw the bastard’s hands around her throat and the sight enraged him. He bellowed and swung his huge fist at the man’s head.

When his fist connected, the man went flying. He hit the wall with a thud and went down to the ground. Boomer flipped him over and saw a knife sticking out of his belly. The man groaned and tried to open his eyes but Boomer hit him again, and the man didn’t move.

He turned to Starling and found her lying unconscious. Moving closer he checked her out from head to toe, she had bruises around her throat and around her mouth, almost as if someone had held his hands to stop her from screaming.

He reached out and tried to find a pulse but couldn’t detect a beat. He leaned over her and covering her mouth with his own he blew air into her lungs. Then he placed his hands on her chest and began pumping, trying to jumpstart her heart.

Men came running and burst through the door.

Boomer lifted his head long enough to snarl, “Tie that fucker up.” Then he went back to his CPR.

After a couple of minutes, Starling took a breath on her own.

He checked her pulse and found it, it was still weak yet, but the longer he kept his finger on her neck the stronger it became.

Finally, she opened her eyes. Fat tears rolled down her face and she stared at him for a moment.

“You okay, darlin?” Boomer whispered.

“I am now,” she whispered back. Wincing at the soreness of her throat, she looked around the room. The others were just tying her attacker up and she reached out. “I need my knife back.” She could barely make her voice heard.

Boomer heard her. He turned and squatted down. The man was still out and he reached around to grab the man’s wallet out of his back pocket. He flipped open the wallet and found his driver’s license. He lifted it out of the wallet and tossed the rest away. He studied the license for a moment then grabbed his hair and pulled back his head to study the man. “So Mr. Romano, who sent you here and why?” He snarled under his breath.

“You want him in a cell?” Cyrus wanted to know.

“Yeah, I want him in a fuckin’ cell!” Boomer growled. “Have doc look at his wound but he gets only the minimum care. Let the fucker suffer for coming here.” Boomer got to his feet and wiped the blood from the blade onto the man’s shirt. He stepped away then picked up his foot and stomped it down into the unconscious man’s groin. “Too bad, he didn’t feel it. But he will feel it when he wakes up,” he muttered. He looked up at Cyrus. “Leave the fucker’s hands tied.”

Cyrus nodded then he and Vance dragged the body out of the bedroom.

Boomer turned to Starling and handed her the weapon back. “I’m sorry darlin.’ He never should have gotten this close to you.”

She reached out her hand and took his. “You stopped him from killing me. You did what you said you would do, you protected me.” Then she went to sit up and flinched in pain. “Is Robin okay?”

Boomer had her lay back down. “Robin is fine. She was sleeping a few minutes ago. I told Clovis we had someone on the property that didn’t belong and he said he would watch over her.”

Cyrus showed up at the door again.

 Boomer looked up at him.

Cyrus held out a cut. “The bastard was wearing this. Damn fool had it on backwards. Maybe he thought he could blend in but this doesn’t belong to him.”

Boomer took the leather and spread it out. His eyes went to the name stitched in the lower right hand corner…. Rino. “Better find him and make sure he’s all right.” He glared at Cyrus.

Cyrus nodded and turned to leave.

Boomer turned back to Starling.

 “What’s going on?” she asked.

“That little prick thought he could come and go by wearing a cut that didn’t belong to him. He must have knocked out one of the brothers and put it on himself.” Shaking his head he swore, “The fucking fool.”

“I hope your brother is okay,” Starling told him.

“So do I.” Boomer he held out his hand. “Come on darlin.’ I’m not leaving you on your own anymore. You better stay with me.”

Starling nodded. “Okay—I’m good with that. I don’t want to be alone— anymore.” She could barely speak.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Boomer asked.

She nodded. “My throat hurts but I’m alive and that’s all that matters.”

“Maybe we should get doc to check out your throat.”

Starling shook her head. “I’ll be all right.” Then she looked at him and asked, “How did he get in here?”

“Let’s go find out.” Boomer shook his head. “I’d be interested to know that myself.”

He took her down the hall to Trigger’s room and knocked on the open door. “Did you find anything yet?”

Trigger looked up and nodded. “Yeah, I found it. The little bastard was in the back of her truck the whole time.”

“What?” Starling whispered. “Are you kidding me?” She came over and looked at the monitors. “Since when?”

“Where did you start out this morning?” Boomer asked her.

“We were in Lafayette, but we were getting ready to move again. We went to gas up the truck and I told Robin I’d be right back as I went in to pay for the gas. When I returned to the vehicle, Robin wasn’t there. I went looking for her and I just pulled up along the road when I saw you bring her up from the ditch. I followed you all here but as far as I know, no one was in my truck. When did he get into the back of my truck?” She shook her head. “If he did, he must have been in there before I went to get the gas. I wasn’t gone that long.”

“Well, he certainly wasn’t alone this morning,” Boomer told her. “If he was in the back of your truck, he isn’t the one who forced Robin off the road and left her to die.” Then he turned and studied her for a moment. “Where did you get the blade you stuck in his belly, sweetheart?”

Starling snorted and shrugged. “I’ve been carrying that blade for years. Just in case, they came after me again. They got close a few times over the years and he isn’t the first one who caught that blade. At least today, I got him before he could turn the blade on me.”

Boomer narrowed his eyes. “Has someone in the past used the blade on you?”

Starling nodded her head and raised her hands to rub the upper part of her arms. Her eyes looked haunted but she didn’t say anything.

“Tell me, Starling,” Boomer insisted.

“There was one other time they got as close as they did today. Someone snuck into the apartment we were staying in. He came after me first, I guess he didn’t think Robin would or could actually hurt anyone. He got the blade away from me before I could use it and yeah… he used it against me. That was his mistake, the last one he ever made. Robin stopped him cold and got us out of there. We had to find a place to hunker down and stay out of sight for a while, while I recovered.”

Boomer growled under his breath and looked her over carefully. He didn’t like the fact that some bastard had hurt her. But he couldn’t say anything.

Trigger let out a grunt of frustration and switched the cameras to the big monitors. He turned to Boomer.“They found Rino and are bringing him in.”

Boomer checked the cameras and saw Cyrus and Vance carrying the brother in. He grabbed Starling’s hand and pulled her down the hall to the infirmary to wait for the others to get there.

When they arrived, Rino was just waking up. “What the fuck hit me?”

“That would be Vick Romano,” Boomer told him.

“Well, remind me to return the favor will ya?” Rino stated.

They laid him on the bed and doc checked him out. The only wound he found was a bloody patch on the back of his head. He began cleaning it up and found that the man had been slammed upside the head by something round. He looked over at Boomer and said, “Looks like he got bashed with a rock.”

Boomer raised a brow then looked over at Cyrus and asked, “Where did you find him?”

“He was in the back of the shed. It looked like he’d been dragged there,” Cyrus told him. “We parked the truck not too far away. Rino must have been patrolling the area and this Romano must have just come out of the back of the truck.”

Rino groaned as doc put pressure on the back of his head. “Yeah, boss. I found footprints where there shouldn’t have been any, I was following them, then it was light’s out.”

Boomer growled and grabbing Starling’s hand, he dragged her out of the room. He took her all the way to the main room and picked up his phone with his free hand. He hit the speed dial and as soon as the phone was answered he growled, “Do you know a Vick Romano?”

Leo let out a sigh and replied, “Yeah, I know that bastard, why?”

“Cuz he is sitting in one of my cells in my basement after attacking one of my men and trying to kill my woman!” Boomer all but shouted. “Tell me, he doesn’t work for you.”

“He doesn’t work for me,” Leon assured him. “He works for Alleso Campo.”

“Well, he found his way into my compound but he won’t find his way out.” Boomer growled.

“Be careful my friend, he often travels with his twin brother, Ricardo,” Leon warned him.

“You mean that he used to,” Boomer told him before he ended the call.

 

Chapter Six

 

Starling turned head and stared at Boomer. He just told the head of the Mob that she was his woman. She tried to take her hand back but he held on when she tried to pull it free. “What the hell did you just do?” she growled low. “You can’t tell a man like Leon Vincinti that I’m your woman.”

Boomer frowned. “Why not?”

“Because I’m not your woman, you crazy man!” she snapped. “And it would bring Alleso’s vengeance down on your club. He is becoming more dangerous with each passing day and he commands a fucking army.” She shook her head and tears rolled down her cheeks. “I never wanted this. This is why I wanted us to leave here on day one. We should not be here… No, this cannot happen. Other people hurt or killed. I have tried for all these years to never pull anyone in. I learned that the hard a way! Oh, my god, what have you done?”

Boomer studied her for a moment then an idea popped into his head and the more he thought about it, the more it made sense to him. “There’s more to your story than what you told us, isn’t there?”

Starling tried to move away from him and the look on her face told him what he needed to know. She was holding something back.

She had her arms wrapped around her waist and she looked terrified.

He grabbed her by the upper arms and brought her around to face him.

Her eyes were blank and she began trembling.

“What has you so petrified darlin?” he wondered out loud.

The men around him seemed to also take note of what Boomer noticed. Everyone watched the drama play out.

“We need to know everything that happened that night,” Boomer told her, shaking her a bit.

“There was more to the conversation between Rafael and Alleso,” she whispered. “I covered Robin’s ears because she was so scared. She’d seen too much already.”

“What more was said?” he demanded.

“Rafael told his brother their father had always been so disappointed in him. He was too cruel, too aggressive. Alleso just laughed and told him his father would never see the bullet that would kill him either. Rafael didn’t even seem shocked by his brother’s words but Alleso just smiled. He had said, when the time was right and his father stepped down, he would no longer be of use to him and he would end his life.” She paused as she remembered his words. “He said, ‘But don’t weep for our father. I will mourn his loss and I will even lead the hunt for his killer.’ Then he would step up and take his place with the right amount of humility. That Donato and he would strengthen their territory and eventually, work their way toward the real seat of power in Boston. That one day, he would take Leon’s seat even if he had to kill everyone between him and that chair. He said that it helped that their father was already friends and no one would expect it coming from his branch of the family.”

Boomer stared hard at her. “Shit, this is so bad.”

Nodding, she went on, “He claimed no one would suspect him and that was the one thing he knew he could do well. He would play his game to the very end. Then he laughed and said, ‘And it started with your adultery and the birth of your bastard.’ He told Rafael that his daughter’s birth was what gave him the idea to finally see it done. He said he’d been planning this since they were kids and that one day, he would see his dream fulfilled. He would make sure he sent his bastard daughter to join him….” Her words faded away and she looked at Boomer. “Then he leaned close and put a gun against Rafael’s head and told him, ‘Don’t worry, I will put the blame of your death at your woman’s feet. The day I find them both, I will send them to join you in hell.’ Then he shot Rafael a second time. When he stepped away, the bodyguards were already dead. Alleso had some men waiting in the shadows. At least three that I could see.”

Boomer shook his head then looked up at the men around him. Alleso’s plans were pure madness. His hands fell away from her shoulders.

Starling then stepped away from him. “I have a feeling he told his father that I killed Rafael that night. Maybe he told his father I wanted a name for my child and when he told me he already had a wife and son, I went crazy and shot him. I don’t know.”

“But you’ve heard those rumors Alleso spread didn’t you?” Boomer said.

Starling nodded. “Yeah, I heard the rumors. Only I heard them from Alleso’s mouth as he told his men part of the story he concocted that night as his brother laid dead at his feet.” She began rubbing her upper arms. “And I know it’s my word against his. I can’t prove any of it. To the mob, I’m nothing more than a jilted lover with a bastard I was pushing to cash in on. They have no reason to believe a word I say, while he’s been working hard to take over his brother’s place in the organization.”

“But that isn’t what happened was it?” Boomer stated.

Starling shook her head. “No it isn’t. I told you when I first met Rafael, that I didn’t know who he was. I asked him if he was married but he told me he wasn’t. We were only together maybe three times. I never expected to see him again. I didn’t learn the truth for six months until I ran into him again. He looked at me and was shocked by my big belly and that’s when I learned he was married. I told him then that I wanted nothing to do with him and that I would never be the other woman. I could take care of my baby and he would never see either of us again. I ran away from him that very day and I thought we would be safe. But he found me seven years later and I agreed to meet him one more time.” She looked him in the eyes and said, “I was going to meet him and let him meet Robin then she and I were going to walk away. I didn’t want anything from him and I wasn’t going to take anything. It wasn’t Robin’s fault, her dad was a loser and a liar.”

Boomer wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her close to him. He looked over at his men and he could see they believed her story. Just as he did. He had to give Leon a head’s up on what they just found out. At least, he would do what he could to protect the man. It would be up to Leon if he believed him or not but at least he would give him fair warning. Then he’d let the cards fall where they may.

“Honey,” Boomer tipped her face up to his. “I have to warn Leon about what’s gonna happen. I already told him what you said happened seventeen years ago.”

“Did he believe you?” she asked doubtfully.

Boomer shrugged. “I don’t know but I’m sure it gave him something to think about.”

Starling shook her head. “I wouldn’t lie to him or to you. I hate liars, always have, and probably always will…nothing good comes from lies. When I realized Robin was born because of a lie, I hated the fact that he had flat out lied to me but she was my child and I couldn’t blame her for the lies her father told. She was an innocent in the situation and I loved her. I told Rafael that I would never expect anything from him and I never did. I walked away rather than stay with him. I just wish to God that he’d never found us seventeen years ago. I wished he would have just let us go.”

“When his brother was telling him his plans did Rafael look surprised?” Cyrus asked.

Starling frowned and thought about it for a moment. Then she looked at him and slowly shook her head. “No, I don’t think he did, why?”

Cyrus stared at her. “Because there’s no way in hell I think that he didn’t realize something was going on with his brother. Maybe he’d been watching him and he realized what was going on.”

“What are you saying, Cyrus?” Boomer wanted to know.

“Maybe Rafael wasn’t as clueless as his brother thought he was.” Cyrus shrugged. “Maybe he was expecting something like what happened and he thought or hoped his brother wouldn’t actually pull the trigger.”

Starling gasped then looked up at Boomer. “You are right…He did know something. Because he didn’t look a bit surprised when Alleso laid claim to his son. It was like he knew Donato wasn’t his child.”

“You have to call Leon,” Cyrus told Boomer. “Even if you can’t prove it, he needs to know what happened back then, especially about the threat to him and the rest of the mob.”

Starling shook her head. “But this Leon has no reason to believe me over him. He probably thinks I killed Rafael.” Then her eyes widened and she raised her hand to her mouth. “Oh, my god, Alleso set me up and I never even put it together before. He had already grabbed Rafael’s gun then turned the weapon and shot him with it. I forgot about that. So, the second bullet that actually killed Rafael was also from that same gun. I-I just never understood it until now.”

Cyrus nodded. “If the family had the bullets tested that would prove she pulled the trigger. He could have said they argued and she got his own gun away from him and used it against him.”

Starling slumped as her knees gave out but Boomer caught her in his arms. He helped her over to the table and sat down to pull her onto his lap. She burst into tears and he held her close to him while she sobbed.

Boomer let her cry it out and when she was done, he reached for his phone to call Leon back. Everyone was quiet while Boomer told the other man what he’d just found out. He also told Leon he hoped his phone wasn’t still tapped or he just let the golden goose loose. Leon listened to what he had to say and then he ended the call without saying a word.

Boomer looked over at his men. “Well, we’ve done all we can. Now it's up to Leon to discover the truth on his own.”

“What are we gonna do now, boss?” Vance asked Boomer.

“We’re gonna hunker down and wait,” Boomer informed his men. “I have a feeling Alleso is going to attempt to find the girls and he’s gonna bring everything he’s got to smoke us out. We have some cover here but he could still find us. And we have to be ready for that possibility.”

“You’d better warn Tracker to get his ass home in a hurry or find a place to stay out of sight and ride out the storm,” Cyrus reminded him.

“Shit, I forgot about him.” Boomer growled. Reaching for his phone, he called his son.

Trigger shouted from his room down the hall. “Incoming!”

Everyone got to their feet and hurried down the hall.

 Boomer grabbed Starling and hustled her to follow.

When they arrived, everyone’s eyes went to the screen. They could see the scene just outside the mountain’s tunnel doorway. There were three men standing there looking around.

Starling began to shake.

 Boomer noticed and snapped his head around to stare at her. “Do you know them?”

She nodded. She pointed to one of the men and said, “He’s Alleso’s man. He was there the night Rafael died. He’s older now, but I’ll never forget that scar on his face.” She stared up at Boomer. “Alleso gave him that scar when he questioned him about what he just did to Rafael. Apparently, the man didn’t realize Alleso was going to kill his brother that night. Alleso took his knife out and told him he’d better prove his loyalty and then he carved the man’s cheek up. The man just stood there and let him do it. There was blood dripping down along his suit and he just let him do it.”

Cyrus snorted. “It was a cut to the cheek or his life. He was smart enough to know that much. From that moment on, Alleso owned his dumb ass.”

Starling looked back at the screen. “And they found me again, and I’m not sure where I can run now.”

Boomer growled. “Nobody is running. We’ll make our stand right here and right fucking now.”

 

Chapter Seven

Boomer reached for his phone and called Tracker. He explained what was going on and told him to either come in the back way or stay away until things settled down.

“We’ve already had one unwanted visitor and now, we got three more at the front door. We’re watching them to see if they find their way inside but I’d rather not give them an in by letting them catch you or Sutton.”

Tracker snorted. “Yeah, that wouldn’t work very well. How the hell did they find us anyway?”

“No clue but they are at the front door. Just giving you a heads up, so watch your back,” Boomer warned.

“We were on our way back anyway,” Tracked informed him. “We’re almost at the turnoff for the back door now. We’ll see you in a little while.”

Boomer ended the call and went back to Trigger’s office to catch up on what their unwanted guests were doing. He went over to where Starling stood and took her hand in his.

Without looking at him, her fingers curled around his and he smiled slightly.

Cyrus looked over at Boomer and grinned. “You want we should show them some manners boss?”

Boomer chuckled. “Yes Cyrus, let's show them some of our MC manners. Show them they can’t just show up and not expect us to protect our own.”

Cyrus nodded and grinned. “Come on boys, let’s go show these bastards we aren’t going to let them push us around.”

Cyrus and half a dozen other brothers disappeared down the hall.

Starling turned and looked at Boomer. “What are your men going to do?”

Boomer grinned then leaned over and brushed her lips with his own. “Don’t worry darlin', they won’t kill them, just teach them some lessons.” He shrugged. “They’ll live, they may not like it but they’ll live.”

Starling just stared at him then slowly turned to watch the screen. 

Boomer did the same.

The three men outside the gate began arguing with one another.

Boomer pointed out to Starling where Cyrus and the others were waiting for the fun to begin.

They had taken the high ground and were listening to the three men arguing.

Trigger tapped on his keyboard to zone in on their voices and soon, everyone heard what they were saying,

“Are you sure this is where your brother was last, Ricardo?" The scar faced man asked as he glared at the other man.

“Yeah, Asa. This is the last place where I saw him on the GPS since the other day.” Ricardo sneered. “I followed the girl when she tried to lead me away from the mom. I saw an opportunity to finish her and I forced her to go over into the ditch. I couldn’t stay and watch as I didn’t want to get caught, so I hid further down the road.” Shaking his head he claimed, “I did hear the little bitch scream as she went over. I stayed away a couple of hours then I drove past the area and saw what was left of the car, sitting in the ditch smoldering. That little girl is toast.” 

Starling caught her breath and began to tremble.

Boomer moved closer to her and wrapped his arms around her belly holding her close to him. They continued to listen.

The scar faced man looked around the area again and began shaking his head. “There ain’t nothing here,” he grumbled, “You had to be mistaken. He ain’t here and that’s not gonna make Alleso happy. He wants both the mother and the girl.”

Boomer grabbed his phone and typed in a message to Cyrus. There was no fucking way he was going to let these three men walk away. No fucking way.

“Come on honey…” Boomer turned to Starling. “Let’s go check on Robin”

Starling glared at him. “Are you going to just let them go?” she questioned softly.

Upon hearing this, Trigger snorted from where he sat but didn’t say anything, instead he watched the monitors.

Boomer lifted her chin and when her eyes met his, he told her in no uncertain terms, “Those three men aren’t going anywhere except into the pit. One of them forced Robin off the road the other morning. He isn’t going to get rewarded for that.”

Trigger messed with some dials and the scene outside came better into focus.

The third man seemed to notice something wasn’t right and he glared at the other two. “We need to get out of here. Something isn’t right.” He shivered. “Don’t you feel it? Like someone’s watching us?”

“Georgie, you’re crazy.” The scar faced man shook his head. “I don’t feel anything.”

Georgie suddenly went down.

Asa, the scar faced man frowned and pulled his weapon as the next man to go down was Ricardo.

Asa bent his knees and took his stance, his weapon ready in his hand. Carefully and slowly, he turned around fully but he still didn’t seem to see anything out there. Then  something hit his neck and he put up his hand to brush it away. Looking confused, he rolled his eyes and collapsed. His gun slid from his hands and ended up just out of his reach.

~*~

Cyrus shook his head as he muttered, “What a bunch of fucking morons.”

When he and the others knew the men were out and wouldn’t move, they came came down from where they were hiding. They began searching the three men and after they built a pile of weapons and electronics.

Cyrus gathered everything up and stored it in a pouch he carried. He glanced up at the men, “Boomer wants them in the cage.”

The mountain door opened from the other side and Vance was there with a truck.

They loaded the men in the back and once they went back inside, Cyrus made sure there were no tracks or footprints to be seen and proceeded through the front door then closed it tight again. They had left no sign of the three men out there.

Vance drove a little ways and slowed when he came to a huge man-made hole in the ground. It was at least ten feet deep and ten feet wide, the walls were cement lined. Almost straight up and down there was no way anyone could climb the walls and escape, even if they did manage to somehow figure a way up, there was a heavy metal grate over the top of the entire pit that would let light and weather in but it was heavy and couldn’t be moved very easily.

There was only one way into the pit and one way out.

Cyrus walked around the back of the truck to study the three men. He gazed up at the sky briefly. The air felt warm but the wind was picking up. Dark clouds were blowing in and he knew there would be a cold rain coming tonight.

He looked back over at his men. “Strip them down to the skivvies.”

The Crimson Tide men quickly removed the clothes from the three unconscious men.

Georgie was the first one they lowered into the pit. They put him onto a seat and lowered him to the floor of the pit.

Asa went next but they weren’t as careful with him as they were with Georgie. He landed with a thud on the base of the cage.

He fell from the seat about two feet off the floor. He groaned but didn’t wake up.

Cyrus and the others stared at Ricardo.

“He’s the bastard that pushed Robin off the road and left her to die,” Cyrus told them.

Vance shook his head and commented, “He’s out cold, Cy.”

Cyrus nodded. “Good, then he won’t feel it until he wakes up. And then he sure as hell will.”

Knowing his intentions, two of his men grabbed Ricadro’s arms and pulled him to a standing position. With his head hanging down ‒ they knew he was, as Vance had claimed ‒ out cold.

“This one is for her mama.” Cyrus hauled back his fist then let it fly, hitting the man in his soft belly. Cyrus had a wicked punch and he held nothing back.

Ricardo groaned but didn’t wake as Cyrus hit him a few more times.

Finally, he stopped. “The fucker deserves worse but alas, it isn’t my call.” He smirked.

Vance snickered as he shook his head.

Cyrus then ordered them to throw Ricardo’s dumb ass into the pit.

They lowered and then at about four feet off the floor, they tipped him off the seat.

Cyrus lowered the heavy metal grate and turned the lock. Then he tucked the key into his pocket as he got into the truck.

 The others piled in as well. Vance drove away and no one said a word.

~*~

Starling turned, buried her face into Boomer’s chest, and wept. She said nothing about the violence she’d just witnessed but she hadn’t been able to turn away from it either.

Boomer wrapped his arms around her and held her to him. He looked over at Trigger. “I want ears and eyes on the pit 24/7. I want to know what they say about Alleso and his plans.”

Just then, Tracker and Sutton joined them. “Just what kind of trouble did you find now, Pops?” Tracker asked as he saw the woman in his dad’s arms.

Boomer looked over his shoulder and grinned at his son. “I didn’t find this son, she found me.”

Tracker moved forward and watched the screen for a moment. Seeing the three men in nothing more than their skivvies, he shook his head. “What the fuck, Dad?”

Boomer sighed hard. “On our way home the other day, we came across a car that had been pushed into a steep ditch. We went down to check it out and found a young girl. We got her out of there just moments before the car caught fire. We brought her back here to help her, then a half hour later her mama here, came looking for her cub with a shotgun.” Boomer nodded at the woman in his arms.  “It wasn’t until everything settled down again and Starling realized we were trying to help that we found out their story.”

Tracker crossed his arms over his chest. “And the story is?”

“Mama here got mixed up with a member of the mob before her baby girl was born, in fact the daddy belonged to the Campo family, and his brother killed him to take over. But Alleso had to kill the mom and the kids before anyone found out about them. They been running for a long time.”

Sutton looked over at Starling then Boomer. “Does Leon know?”

“I called him.’ Boomer shrugged. “I’m not sure if he believes me or not but I told him. Then we found someone who shouldn’t be here and his brother and two friends found their way to the front door. We took them down and now, we’re waiting until they wake up to talk to them.”

“Is the girl all right?” Sutton asked.

Boomer nodded. “She’ll be fine.”

“What is Leon doing about this on his end?” She wondered aloud.

“He’d better do something or he’s going to be losing more than just his men.” Boomer snorted.

“What the hell does that mean, Pops?” Tracker frowned.

“It means this little prick Alleso Campo wants to take his seat of power and his time is running out,” Starling explained. “This man Leon may find himself looking down the wrong end of a gun before long.”

Sutton snorted. “If you really think that, then you don’t know Leon Vincinti.”

Starling shook her head. “I don’t know the man at all, but I know Alleso Campo and he’s nothing more than a killer in a silk suit.”

Everyone just stared at her and then

With a sigh and a shake of her head, Starling turned and stared unseeingly at the monitor.

~*~

Meanwhile in Boston….

 Leon and Calderone waited for their guest to arrive. Giovanna Campo had been called to Boston early this morning.

Leon couldn’t believe what he heard earlier this morning and he wanted to give his friend a chance to answer the charges. He stood at the windows of his study when he saw the car pull into his driveway.

When the back doors opened, he saw Giovanna step out. He then frowned at the sight of Alleso and Donato also getting out. Leon looked over his shoulder at Calderone. “He brought Alleso and Donato with him.”

Calderone picked up the house phone and spoke to the guard at the front door.

Moments later, wordlessly, three men stepped into the back door and took their positions at different areas of the room.

John, Meena’s husband and Vincinti’s head of security came in from the opposite hallway and stood next to Leon. He wore his weapon in a holster over his shirt as a warning to any who would harm Leon or Calderone.

Leon then walked over to the door leading to the foyer.

 John shadowed him and Calderone, all the way.

 They stepped out of his study just as the three men came into his home.

Leon smiled as Giovanna looked at him. “My friend, how are you?”

Giovanna nodded. “I am good, old friend.” He turned and introduced his son and grandson, “You remember Alleso and Donato.”

Leon nodded at the other two with Giovanna then motioned to his guards. “It's been a long trip. My people will show you where you can get some refreshments while I speak to your father. I’m sure you don’t mind.”

“But I do, Mr. Vincinti,” Alleso grated. “My father is stepping down from his position and if you speak to him about company matters, I feel I should be sitting in on your conversation.”

“Alleso,” barked his father. “I haven’t stepped down yet.”

Leon turned and raised his brow at the pair. “Non ho pazienza per voi due,” he replied in Italian. “If I’d wanted you here as a part of our conversation, I would have included you. I have not. Your father and I are good friends and it is the friend I wish to speak to today. Now, you and young Donato can go with my men or turn around and go back to New York. I can have a driver take Giovanna back when I’m through talking with him. In fact, maybe that would be best for everyone.”

Leon turned his back on the two younger men and escorted Giovanna into his study. Calderone followed them.

John, however, did not turn his back. He glared at the pair.

Leon went to close the door and caught the look of pure hate on Alleso’s face as he turned to walk out and back to the car.

John then moved to stand outside the door.

Leon gave him a nod.

When they heard the car pull away Leon turned to his friend and snarled, “What the hell is going on with you my old friend?”

Giovanna sat down in a chair and truly looked old for his age for the first time since he’d know him. “Where do I begin?” he asked Leon.

“At the beginning, would be a good place,” Leon replied as he poured them both a good stiff drink.

Calderone sat in a chair, already sipping his drink without saying a word.

“This story my friend began a long time ago. Are you sure you want to hear the messy details?” Giovanna asked.

“I think with everything else I’ve heard the last two days, that yes, I need to hear the details.” Leon shook his head. “And what I’ve heard is not good for your family or mine, for that matter.”

 

Chapter Eight

 

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Boomer watched as he leaned against the doorjamb of the Infirmary as Starling spoke to Robin. He couldn’t hear their conversation but that didn’t matter. For some reason, he trusted her and now he had to make sure she trusted them.

Starling brushed the tears away from her cheeks and got to her feet. Then she turned and walked over to him. She came to a stop in front of him and looked at him. “I have something to show you and I just hope you can understand.” She took his hand and led him to the bedroom she was in earlier. Then she went over to her bag and searched it for a bundle of papers she had there.

She handed them to Boomer.

Nodding, he led the way back out to the main room. He sat down at the table and his men gathered around him. He opened the packet and began to read the papers. His frown grew as he read page after page.

When he finished, he looked over at Starling. “Does Alleso know you have these papers?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. To tell you the truth, Rafael gave them to me for safe keeping the day I told him we would not work and I was leaving him. When I found out who he really was and that he was married, I told him I wasn’t going to be the other woman in any relationship. He lied to me about being married and I hate liars. He said he understood, but there was just something about me he could not resist, he asked me to please try and understand but to please take those papers with me and keep them safe, one day when and if he needed them, he would find me somehow… someway.”

“So what are these papers, Pops?” Tracker asked.

“This is the evidence Leon will need to prove his claim against Alleso. It will also give Leon the reason as to why Alleso had motive for Rafael’s murder,” Boomer told his men.

Starling cleared her throat. “There’s one more thing.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a chain. On the end of it, there was a man’s ring. She handed it over to Boomer. “Rafael gave me that the day I told him I was pregnant with Robin.  He told me it was a treasured family item, and if I ever needed anything, I should send the ring back to him and he would help me. He knew I was leaving him and he couldn’t stop me. He told me he knew what he had done was wrong but in his defense, he never knew love till I came along and he wanted me to have the ring to reach out to him, in case I ever needed him.”

“Maybe this will mean something to Leon.” Tracker motioned at the ring. “Maybe you can send him a picture of it? That could give him a starting point.”

Boomer nodded. Then he looked up at Starling and asked her for permission. At her nod, he snapped a picture of the ring with his cell and sent it to Leon. Now they began the waiting game and it wasn’t a game the MC liked to play.

But Boomer knew the next move was up to Leon.

~*~

Boston, Mass.

Leon looked over at his old friend and shook his head. “What is going on with your family?”

Giovanna sighed hard and sat back. Reaching for his drink, he sipped it and looked between Calderone and Leon. “I have a sick feeling, and it is nothing good. It hasn’t been good since I lost Rafael. Alleso has always been a greedy child and he never really learned to share and that is on me. I was too busy grooming Rafael to take my place, some days I neglected my younger son. I’m afraid he turned that neglect into hatred. Then he turned that hate to Donato and corrupted his life with it as well.”

“From what I was told, Donato is Alleso’s true son.” Leon shifted in his chair. “He was never Rafael’s child.”

Giovanna nodded. “Yes, I sadly found this out after Rafael was gone. Alleso laid claim to the boy almost immediately. Then he tossed out Rafael’s wife, but he kept the boy with him. It was quite a mess for a while.” Shaking his head he added, “So now, I only have Alleso and Donato for family and that’s a sad affair.”

Leon glanced over at Calderone and shook his head. “No my friend, you don’t only have those two. Alleso has been hiding something from you for twenty five years. Something he hoped you would never find out about. Rafael left behind a child. She’s now a young woman and Alleso has been hunting her for a very long time.”

Giovanna snapped his head up to stare at Leon. He turned and stared at Calderone who nodded then he turned back to Leon. “How do you know this is true?”

“I got a phone call recently from a man who rescued the girl. One of Alleso’s men forced her vehicle off the road and this biker found her. He rescued her and took her home. When he heard her story, he called me.” Leon paused then commented, “Unfortunately, I also found out Alleso has a tap on my phone. He knows where the girl and her mother are.”

Giovanna swore in Italian, “Come osa, How dare he?”

Leon shook his head, “Oh, my friend he has dared much already. Did you know he is the one who shot Rafael and his guards that day? He even used Rafael’s own weapon in order to blame his child’s mother. I’m afraid Alleso will not stop until both of them are dead. He wants nothing standing in his way to take over from you.”

Giovanna snarled, “Yeah, I’ll just bet he doesn’t. He’s been harping on me about stepping down for the last few years but I never thought he would do something like this. To kill his own brother and blame an innocent woman? Then to hunt down that woman and her child like criminals? It’s almost too much to believe?” Giovanna slumped in his seat and stared at Leon. “What kind of monster have I raised?”

“You didn’t raise him to hate.” Leon shook his head. “I know you my friend. I watched you over the years and I know how you raised your sons. You would have taught them to be honorable that’s just how you are.” Leon leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers. “But now I have to wonder if it's not just your seat he’s really after, or if his ambitions will use your seat to go even higher?”

“Higher?” Giovanna looked confused.

Leon nodded and stared at his friend to gauge his reaction.  “To my seat in the organization.”

Giovanna paled even further and slowly shook his head. “Surely not.” He denied the other man’s claim. Slumping in his chair, he paled as he thought about the possibility of what was just suggested. Then he looked over at his friend and asked, “What do you plan on doing?”

Leon shrugged. “Nothing without proof. But… He stared at his old friend. “If I get the proof, I can’t just ignore the threat.”

Giovanna got to his feet and walked over to the window. Gazing outside, he stood there for a moment then he turned and looked at Leon. “I would never think to ask you to ignore this threat. I cannot ignore this news and he is my son.” As he turned away from the window, he caught the sight of a vehicle coming straight at Leon’s front gate. Giovanna ducked quickly.

The guards standing in the room moved into place to protect Leon and Calderone.

Giovanna crouched down and moved away from the windows. He ducked behind a table in the center of the room and looked over at Leon and snarled, “He came back. Alleso and Donato came back.” He ducked down a little further when gunfire erupted outside. “He’s ramming the gates.” He shook his head. “Here’s your damn proof.”

The sound of more gunfire boomed as men ran toward the gates and it seemed total chaos reigned for a few minutes.

John and the others stood guard over the three men in the study. Finally, the shooting stopped and for a long moment, nothing moved.

 John received a message from the guards outside. He turned his head to Leon. “The car never made it through the gates.” He looked over at Giovanna. “The driver was killed in the gun battle, but Alleso just pushed him out of the car and drove away. We don’t know if either him, or Donato were wounded.”

Giovanna sat down in his chair. 

Leon glanced over at him. “My friend, I cannot let this go. I must act.”

Giovanna nodded, as he looked pale and dazed. “Si, I understand, I know you wouldn’t be who you are if you let our friendship stand in the way. The only request I have is that you bring them in alive if you can, I want them to stand a tribunal of the organization council.”

Leon hesitated then had to ask. “Are you sure that’s what you want?” Both men knew what that would mean. In their world, Giovanna would have to pull the trigger that would effectively end his son’s life, possibly his grandson as well.

Giovanna squared his shoulders and stared at Leon. “I know exactly what I’m asking. I lost him so long ago to the rage in his heart. If it’s the last act I do on this earth, I will see this done.” He paused, “My honor requires it. I cannot go before God, unless I see this done. I just wish there could be less heartache”

“How many of your men has Alleso replaced with his own?” Calderone asked.

Giovanna shook his head. “We spoke of my stepping down but I haven't made any moves toward that yet. Alleso has his own offices and he was building up his own council.”

 Leon shook his head. “His people will have to surrender. I will send my own men in to take over his operations. I will have to take over your operations as well, hopefully, not for long but you know how this works.”

Giovanna nodded. “You do what you have to do. My books are always open to you and I have nothing to hide.” He frowned, took a deep breath, then snarled, “My son has much to answer for and by all that’s holy, he will answer for it. By judgement or by blood.”

Leon looked up at John and nodded, “Find him and Donato, then bring them back, dead or alive, I would prefer alive. He has to answer for his actions today and for the past.”

John nodded and left the room. Five men remained to guard the Vincintis, along with ten more at the estate.

Moments later, three cars left the estate and the gates were closed again. There was some damage but they were intact.

Leon called the Council and made his report. When he got off the phone, he looked over at Giovanna. “I need your weapon, my friend.”

Giovanna reached for his sidearm and one of the guards stepped up. He paused then got to his feet and held out his hands but made no other move toward his weapon. The guard stepped up and retrieved his gun. Giovanna wouldn’t look at him. When he was finished, he looked at Leon. “Am I under house arrest?”

Leon shook his head. “No, but then you also aren’t free to leave either. Until we find Alleso and Donato, you will be my guest.”

Giovanna nodded. “At least, I’m not in a cell.”

“My men will be in New York very soon,” Leon informed him. “They will land in your compound within the hour. “

Giovanna nodded and reached for his phone. “I will let my people know to stand down.” He paused, then told Leon, “I will also make sure Alleso has no aid. I can’t freeze his bank accounts but I can disable his access to the cash at the house.”

Leon smiled stiffly. “I can freeze his accounts. It may not be legal but I can do it.”

Giovanna nodded. “You do what you have to do. He needs to be stopped by any means.” He made the sign of the cross and whispered, “May God have mercy on my soul.”

Leon shook his head. “My friend, it's not your soul in danger. But his. You haven’t done anything wrong.”

Giovanna thought of something and leaned forward. “You need to find and speak to Angela.”

“Who is Angela?” Calderone asked.

“She was Rafael’s wife and Donato’s mother.” Giovanna shook his head. “She would be able to tell you what Alleso knew and when he knew it. She has no reason to protect him. She might even have the evidence that would end this.” He leaned back in his chair. “I believe she’s living here in Boston now.”

Leon glanced over at his guard and growled, “Find this woman and bring her to me.”

His guard disappeared through the back door.

Leon turned to study Giovanna. “I hope she can tell us something useful.”

Giovanna snorted. “Believe me when I say she has no love for Alleso. He betrayed her in the worst way a man can betray a woman. “

Leon nodded. “We’ll see what she has to say before we move forward.” He heard the ping of his phone and frowned as he stared at the message. ‘Show this to Giovanna.’ When he opened the photo, he frowned. Turning the photo around, he showed Giovanna the picture.

Giovanna paled when he saw the ring. “My old friend, I now know what this woman has said is true. Alleso shot his own brother. This ring had been lost for a long time. I know it well as I commissioned it myself. When this is over and justice has been served, I would like to meet this woman Rafael fell in love with and I want to meet my granddaughter as well.”

“Are you sure he was in love with her?” Calderone asked.

Giovanna nodded. “If she has that ring, it means my son loved her beyond everything else.”

 

Chapter Nine

 

Crimson Tide clubhouse

“Ok...” Boomer glanced over at Starling and picked up the papers she had given him. “We need to get a copy of these to Leon. He’ll know what to do with them.”

She nodded. “I know, maybe now is the right time.” She rubbed her upper arms as she spoke, “All I know is I can’t live like this any longer. It isn’t fair to Robin and I just can’t do it anymore. I’m tired of looking over my shoulder every day.”

Boomer got up, went to her and pulled her into the protection of his arms.  “It's time to stand your ground, woman. You got us standing behind you now. And the truth is out. Alleso won’t be able to find a rock big enough to hide under anymore.”

He looked over at Trigger and said, “Use my phone and ask Leon for a fax number and get those papers to him. Tell him Rafael gave them to the woman who had his daughter and see what he has to say about that. Assure him we have no interest in his business and that we will not act on the information in those papers. Just get them to him. He’ll know what to do.”

Trigger nodded and reached for his phone.  A few minutes later, he got up and went back to his office to fax the papers to Leon.

Starling gazed up at Boomer. “What was in those papers anyway?”

Boomer stared down at her. “You never looked at them did you?”

Starling shook her head. “It wasn’t my business was it? Rafael trusted me. When he gave them to me, he said I could use them to hurt him and he wouldn’t blame me if I did, but I told him I wasn’t that kind of woman. I may not like what he did to me. I was walking away from him rather than become the other woman, but I did care for him at some point in our relationship. All I wanted was to trust him again, but I knew I couldn’t. Once trust is broken, it is very hard to get it back and sometimes, you really never get it back. I was having his baby but he would never see her. I think I knew it when I left. I think he knew it too, but whatever happened in the future, he still had that link left in the world. As long as Robin is alive then part of Rafael is too.”

“How did you find out he was in the mob?” Boomer wanted to know.

Starling looked haunted for a moment then admitted, “He got a phone call one night when we were together. He got pissed at whoever was calling him and he told the guy that he was Rafael Campo and he'd better respect that name or he would burn his business down to the ground.” She shook her head. “He never told me his last name until that night and I never asked. Like I said, we were only together three times before I ended it and that night was the night I left. He tried calling but I never picked up his calls. When I found out he was married with a son at home, I told him I would never be anyone’s mistress. I called him out for the lies he told me, in fact I was all packed and ready to leave town when he called the one final time I chose to answer. He said he understood but he pleaded with me to see me at least one last time. That was when he gave me the ring and the papers. He told me he wanted me to keep them for him. He said the ring would belong to his child someday, he told me if he couldn’t give the child his name, he could at least give his child that much. I never knew what he meant by that.”

“Well, maybe before this is over, you will find out,” Boomer told her.

Starling shivered in his arms and whispered, “I’m not sure I want to know. Robin is my child and even though I have never lied to her about her father, I never told her the complete truth either. She remembers the night Alleso murdered him but she never asked about him again, after that.” She slumped against Boomer and whispered, “I’m just so tired. The further away I run, the closer they seem to get and I’m running out of places to hide.”

Boomer tightened his hold on her. “Being here with me, maybe it's time to stop running.”

Starling looked up into his eyes. “I think you’re right. I don’t know why, but I feel safe here. And safety is something I treasure very much.”

Boomer smiled and raised his brow. “Yeah?”

Starling nodded. “Yeah.”

Trigger came back from his office and cleared his throat. “I faxed the papers to Leon like you wanted, boss.”

Boomer groaned, kissed her sweet lips, then whispered, “Hold that thought.” He cleared his throat and looked over at Trigger. “Did he say anything?”

Trigger swallowed hard. “Let’s just say it's probably a good thing we’re far enough away from Boston right now. I don’t think I’d want to see that man as pissed as he sounds about right now.” He shrugged as he turned to go back to the office. “I’m going to go see if he decides to send another reply.”

After Trigger left, Cyrus shook his head. “I guess Leon’s gonna be doing some house cleaning of his own right about now, huh boss.” Cyrus chuckled as he got to his feet. “I’m gonna mosey on over to the garage and work on my bike I think.”

“I’ll go along with you.” Another of the men sitting there got to his feet.

Slowly, all the men left the clubhouse leaving Boomer alone with his lady.

“Maybe you should take advantage of the quiet and grab a nap,” Boomer suggested.

Starling glanced at the clock and shook her head. Then she turned her attention to him. Running her fingers down the line of the buttons on his shirt she whispered, “Maybe you should come with me, just in case.”

“Just in case of what?” Boomer cocked his head at her.

Starling reached up, wrapped her hand around the back of his neck, and pulled him down, covering his mouth with her own.

The kiss sparked a zing that slammed them both and Boomer deepened the kiss, thus deepening the jolt of electricity between them. He grabbed her under the ass and lifted her off the floor for a moment.

Starling gasped at his show of strength, then he broke the kiss, threw her over his shoulder and marched down the hall to his bedroom.

He kicked the door shut with his foot and he stalked her over to the bed before he lowered her gently to the mattress. He gazed her into eyes and told her, “If you don’t want this tell me now. You don’t have to sleep with me to get the protection I promised you and Robin. That’s not how we roll here. This is personal, something that’s only between you and me.”

Starling cupped his cheek with both her hands and gently kissed him. “I want this. It's been a very long time for me but I know I want this with you. I’m not an easy woman to live with, according to Robin and I’ve never been a promiscuous woman. I can count my lovers on two fingers but I want you. I want you bad enough to beg if that’s what it takes.” She paused then added, “And this feeling between you and me suits me just fine.”

Boomer nodded. “I’m not a young buck anymore but I don’t have anything to prove to anybody.”

“I’m not so young anymore either.” She smiled. “Like I said, it's been a long time since I’ve done anything like this.”

Boomer grinned. “I hear people say, it's known to be just like riding a bike, once you get in the saddle, so to speak, it all comes back to you.”

Starling giggled and began unbuttoning his shirt. One button at a time, she revealed his chest. He was tanned and covered in white chest hair. She reached out to run her finger through it and it was soft and springy. She groaned at the feel of his muscles under the hair. She dug her fingernails into his skin.

Boomer hissed as his blood began running hot. He took off his clothes then he began stripping her. He wasn’t a younger man but his body was toned and very firm.

 Soon, they were skin to skin. He took a moment to study her form and he wasn’t disappointed. True, she didn’t have the body of a teenager but that wasn’t what he was looking for. Her breasts were still perky and her nipples were still perfect.

Her belly was flat while her hips flared out and her legs were smooth. He leaned over her throat and began nibbling his way down to her breasts. He was growing harder than he’d ever been and couldn’t wait to get started.

When his mouth found her nipple, his hand dipped down into her curls and his fingers found her wetness. He groaned and moved to lay between her legs. Boomer had always had control over his body but her softness and the scent of her passion threatened that control.

“I need you,” she whispered. “Please.”

He growled low in his throat at her pleading and moved to her entrance. He rubbed his cock in her juices and slowly entered her. “Honey I need to get you ready for me. I’m on the bigger side and not many can take what I got too well, if I hurry.”

“I need you. Just give it all to me…” She moaned again.

He lined up and began pushing inside her. “Holy hell, you’re tight darlin.” He tried to go slow but she wouldn’t let him.

Starling lifted her hips and he groaned as he was pushed further inside. She gasped and reminded him. “I told you it had been a while.”

Boomer hissed. “I’m not complaining but this might be over too soon. You fit me like a glove and that’s something else I’ve never had before. Most women can’t take me all in but you sure are.” He bottomed out inside her and they both relished the feeling. He held as still as he could while she adjusted to his size then she lifted her hips and he couldn’t hold back anymore. They began the dance and Boomer tried to control the rhythm but he couldn't control the firestorm between them. Each stroke was deeper than the one before and soon, he lost control and the fire raging between them threatened to burn them both.

Then out of nowhere, Starling flew over the edge of the abyss and she cried out.

Boomer followed her. Filling her completely, as his body shuddered, it felt so god damned good. Boomer hadn’t come that hard in a very long time and when he finally finished, he was drained. He gently kissed her and slid over onto the bed beside her.

Starling smiled and looked over at him. He grabbed her hand and she wrapped her fingers around his gently and held on.

“Holy shit,” he gasped out as he laid on his back.

“Mmm-hhmm,” she murmured as she turned and laid her head on his shoulder. “I could live with that in my life,” she whispered softly as she closed her eyes.

Boomer just smiled and gazed down at her. When he knew she had fallen asleep, he whispered, “I believe I could too, darlin. I think I’ll just keep you.”

~*~

The shit hits the fan in...Boston…

Leon reached for the stack of papers on the fax machine and carried them over to his desk. He sat down and poured himself a drink before reading them. According to what Boomer’s man told him, these papers had been in Starling’s possession for years as Rafael had given them to her before he was killed.

He began frowning on page two. By page four his frown had deepened and by page ten, that frown had turned into a snarl of fury. His hands were clenched and the rage he felt was getting out of hand.

He got to his feet and threw open his door. Taking careful deliberate steps, he joined his son and his friend Giovanna in the library.

The moment Calderone saw his father, he knew someone was going to die very soon.

Leon handed the papers to Giovanna without saying a word.

Giovanna began looking at them, then his eyes grew wide and he lost all the color in his face. When he was done, he carefully placed the papers down on the table but he didn’t say a word.

Finally, a few minutes later, Giovanna shook his head. “I raised both my sons to honor the family. Above all else I told them, our Family, honor and loyalty meant the most.” With a heavy sigh, he looked at Leon. “How could he do this? How could my son betray everything I worked so hard for all my life? How could he turn his back of everything I taught him? Did I mean nothing to him? Did family mean nothing to him?” He leaned forward, rested his elbows on his knees, and rubbed his face with his shaking hands. “Do what you must. I’ll turn myself over to the council when this is finished.”

Calderone stared at Leon and asked, “What is this all about?”

Leon turned to him. “We know why Alleso murdered his brother Rafael. Rafael found his plans for the future. Alleso was going to murder his way to the top of the Family. Not only was he going to kill the heads of his own family but each and every member of their families as well. He intended to replace us, you and I with men he handpicked and bring back the days when the mob was feared by everyone. To make himself king of the eastern seaboard and eventually spread his evil from coast to coast.” Leon hissed as his voice grew tighter and tighter. “He started with his father and then planned to move up the food chain, one by one.”

Calderone sat there dumbfounded. Then he swore in Italian. “Che diavolo, è un dannato pazzo…what the hell, is he a damned madman?” He paused and stared at Leon, knowing this would not end well and it would be ugly when he was through. “What do you suggest we do?”

“We are going to stop him of course.” Leon growled. “I even have a list of names to start with. The damn fool thought no one would find out but somehow, Rafael did. And he slaughtered his own damn brother, because of it.”

 

Chapter Ten

 

New York, at the Campo Estate.

Leon’s men moved in on Alleso’s office in New York. One team went to the main house where Giovanna lived. Two other teams went to Alleso’s home and offices. Giovanna’s home was opened to them and they collected everything regarding the family’s business. They met with no resistance from Giovanna’s men.

The same couldn’t be said about the teams that went to Alleso’s home and offices. Four of Alleso’s men died that day and Leon’s teams got what they went after in the first place.

Leon, Calderone and Giovanna went through everything when his men brought it back to Leon’s estate. The debts of Alleso’s treason were slowly being revealed to the family as they went through all the papers found.

Leon worked with the Council as to how they would handle the situation. Meanwhile, the family searched the paperwork for the traitors.

 ~*~

Crimson Tide Compound, Lake Charles, Louisiana

That night after supper, Boomer looked over at Tracker. “You better call your brother and get his ass back here.”

Tracker looked at his dad. “You really think it's that dangerous?”

Boomer nodded. “Leon has a traitor in his ranks. A traitor is a dangerous man. He’s been hunting Starling and Robin for seventeen years and I know he won’t stop until they are both dead. Now he’s got another reason to see them dead. We don’t know what Leon is dealing with. ” Boomer shook his head. “And I for one, don’t want to know but I am pretty sure Alleso will be getting desperate by now. Spider and Andi are out there alone and they have no clue what’s been going on here.” Boomer shook his head. “Besides its long past time he came home. I know he went after her but he is past his time he needs to come home. We can’t protect either of them if they are out there now can we?”

“What’s Trudy gonna say about that?” Tracker asked his dad.

“She would never ask Spider to choose between them,” Boomer explained. “She knows that boy loves her sister. She does too. You didn’t see her face that morning but I did. And Andi? I think she realizes she made a mistake when she went to her brother’s side over Trudy’s.”

“But then Trudy never told anyone the whole truth about that whole mess either now, did she?” Tracker reminded his dad.

“Son…” Boomer sighed. “She didn’t want to create any more hurt between the two of them, and our baby girl, making Andi choose her over the brother either. What came out at the trial just about killed Trudy to admit. But Trudy had no reason to lie and it was all proven with evidence to back her up. Even her dad couldn’t dispute the facts when everything was said and done.”

Tracker nodded. “That’s why Andi left. She couldn’t face Trudy. After everything her dad and brother did over the years, it all came down to that. She may not want to face her sister but she has to as well. Neither one of them are alone anymore. Who knows that could be the tipping point they both need to make amends with each other.”

“Well, that was a year and half ago,” Boomer declared. “I don’t want him out there on his own anymore, especially now. It’s time for Spider and his woman to come home.”

Tracker nodded.  “So what do you think Leon will do?”

Boomer snorted. “I know he’d better think about cleaning house before the house cleans him out. He’s going to have to put up or step aside and I don’t think a man like Leon is going anywhere. But he has to decide that.”

Tracker paused and stared at his dad. “So you and Starling, huh?”

Boomer paused then turned to face his son. “Yeah, me and Starling. You got any objections to that?”

Tracker grinned and shook his head. “Oh, hell no. She deserves her place in your life for as long as she’s willing to put up with your grumpy old ass. I’m happy for you…” Tracker trailed off laughing at the look his dad gave him.

“I may not deserve her but by all that’s holy, I’ll fight any man to keep her now,” Boomer told his son quietly.

“I would do the same for Sutton.” Tracker gave him a nod.

Boomer smiled. “She may not have her dear old dad looking for her anymore but he left behind a hell of a mess didn’t he? He’s got the Liars and the Boa’s looking for his recipes.”

 Cyrus was sitting next to Tracker and he cleared his throat. “Ah boss, speaking of Delcorte’s recipes…”

Boomer turned to his brother. “What about them?”

“Well, before we left the airport, the boys and I had a look around.” Cyrus shook his head. “We found his vehicle and all the shit he carried with him.”

“His recipes?” Boomer asked.

“That and a whole lot more boss.” Cyrus nodded. “He had a shitload of cash in his vehicle.”

“Well, he would.” Tracker shrugged. “He was in the cash business, so there was no paperwork connecting him to anything.”

“What else?” Boomer frowned.

“A list of his dealers and associates along with a list of the people on his payroll, including a judge and a number of dirty cops.”

“Fuck a duck,” Boomer swore.

Cyrus agreed. “Yeah, that and the fact we got waylaid on the way home, all of it kinda slipped my mind.”

“Well for now, let’s just put everything in the safe and worry about that later.” Boomer rubbed his face with his hands. “Now, we have to find an honest cop to turn everything over to.”

“That can wait,” Sutton told them as she sat down beside Tracker. “Personally, I’d rather burn his recipes than turn them over to anyone. Just burn it all.”

“He had a good sum of cash in his possession,” Boomer told her.

“You can keep it, because I don’t want it. It's blood money and I won’t take it.” Sutton glared at Boomer.

He shook his head and grumbled, “I don’t want it either for the same reason.” Looking over at Cyrus he said, “Just put it all in the safe for now, we’ll decide later what to do with it.”

~*~

Boston

Leon opened the ledger the men said they found in a locked drawer in Alleso’s desk and began reading the entries. The more he read the more he came to realize this was Alleso’s book of payments rendered to his base of the men that would help him take over when he made his move.

Leon’s heart was heavy as he read the names listed there.  A dozen names he knew very well. Going back, he discovered these dozen men had been paid a fair sum of money to transfer their allegiance for almost a decade now.

Calderone joined him and asked, “How is it going?”

Leon got up and went to pour himself and his son a drink. Handing a glass to Calderone he said, “He’s got a dozen men on his payroll and has been paying them under the table for a decade already.”

Calderone slammed down his drink then looked at his father. “What are you going to do?”

“Set an example. I’m going to freeze their accounts and personally lead the cleanup. I’m going to start with an old friend of ours. Guido Cantora.”

“Guido? Guido took money to betray the family?” Calderone looked shocked.

Leon nodded. “He was the first person listed in Alleso’s book and he’s been taking bribes for ten years now.”

Calderone shook his head. “I can’t believe it. He’s one of the most trusted of the older men.”

Leon walked over to the window and stared out at the yard. “I’ll give him the chance to explain but in the end, it won’t save him. I’m already freezing their accounts and in the morning, they will all receive a visit. The Council is in the know and this is what they all decided. They must be able to trust their front men. Otherwise, all we have is chaos.”

 “I don’t envy you on this dad.” Calderone shook his head.

“Neither do I but one has to hold up the standards or all is lost.” Leon sighed.

~*~

At seven a.m. Leon walked into Guido’s office with John and three other men.

They caught Guido by surprise. “Leon, my old friend, what is this?” he asked as his eyes widened.

Leon sat down opposite Guido and said, “This meeting is one I wish I didn’t have to make.”

“I don’t understand?”

“Oh, I think you do.” Leon glared at him.

“You discovered Alleso’s plan didn’t you?” Guido paled. He’d been waiting for this day for years now and finally, it was here.

Leon nodded but didn’t say a word. He waited for a couple of minutes then asked, “Why? Why Guido? What made you turn your back on the Family to side with a traitor like Alleso?”

Guido shrugged. “I wish I could tell you, old friend. Maybe it was the intrigue of it all. But I can’t say it was even that. He told me lie after lie and I fell for it.”

“You were one of the few trusted ones.” Leon stared at him. “You joined shortly after I did and have been loyal up until the day you took money from Alleso.”

“What will they do to my family?” Guido asked.

“We have frozen your bank accounts but you will be the only one to suffer. We are not animals and we do not hurt innocents.” Leon growled.

“You will release enough money for them to live on?”

Leon slowly shook his head. “They will have to make their own way. I cannot help them.” He got to his feet and looked down at Guido. “We will clear this office of any paperwork and cash we can find. You aren’t the only one Alleso has caught up in his web of lies and treason. Even as we speak, he is on the run from us but he won’t run long. You and the others will be our example to the rest of our world. You will die today. Then your family will be turned out of their homes and left with nothing we provided. They will bear your shame.

Guido nodded. “You tell Alleso before you send him to hell that I will be waiting for him. You tell him there is a special place in hell just for him and I will gladly take him there myself.” Then he narrowed his eyes and snarled, “You said you don’t harm innocents, yet you would let my family starve. How can you consider that humane treatment?”

Leon looked down at Guido. “You should have thought about your family’s welfare before you took that money to betray the Family.” He snarled. “Did you ever think for one moment, that we wouldn’t find out? You knew what Alleso was planning, yet you kept your silence, you slept in the same bed with your wife for the last ten years and never said a word to any of us. If you had come to us with the news of his betrayal, things might have been different but you kept quiet the whole time. Don’t you dare tell us we are inhumane with your family when you betrayed us.” Leon’s eyes blazed back at him.

Guido could read the fire in his gaze. He knew it took a lot for this man to get this enraged but he knew disloyalty was one thing Leon didn’t tolerate well. He’d always hoped he would never have to see this side of Leon and now, he was caught in his rage.

Guido knew what he had to do. He realized he could not endure a tribunal at his age. He made a reach for his drawer, knowing Leon wouldn’t let him reach his weapon. It would be better this way.

~*~

Leon watched his old friend and knew what he was thinking. Swiftly, he reached inside his jacket. Without hesitation, he put a bullet into his throat.

He knew just how to shoot him too. He knew his face would be the last thing Guido ever saw in this world and that’s how Leon had planned it. He leaned in close and whispered an Italian curse in his old friend’s ear.

Guido closed his eyes for the last time, knowing Leon had just damned him to hell for his own dishonor.

Men like these two knew that the worst thing a man in their positions could do was to dishonor the Family. But Leon had done what was required and Guido deserved it.

Leon turned to John and told him, “Leave nothing behind that connected him with the Family.”

John nodded and watched him leave. Then he and the others got busy stripping the office of anything affiliated with the Family business.

 

Chapter Eleven

 

While John and his men began hauling out boxes of paperwork, Leon waited in the car. He reached for the door handle to get out when John pushed the chair Guido died sitting in out the front door.

Leon walked over to where John stood with the body.

 Sudenly, a car came racing up and into the parking lot, slamming on its brakes in front of them. Guido’s sons Marko and Carlo got out of the car and stalked their way to where Leon and John stood.

“What the hell is this?” Carlo screamed. “What did you do?”

Leon held his hand out to John who placed a small pocket knife in it. Leon opened the knife as his men gathered around the brothers. Leon turned to Guido and carved a T in his forehead.

Blood dripped from the wound covering the man’s face.

He then handed the knife back to John and turned to face the two men. “Your father was found guilty of treason against the Family and that is never taken well.” He paused then noted the look on the brother’s faces. Leon snarled, “But I can see this is not news to either of you, is it?”

Neither of them said a word.

“He was your friend Leon, how could you do this to him?” Carlo asked with pain in his voice.

“It was because he was my friend that I waited to carve the T in his forehead. Usually, it’s done while the traitor is still alive and will feel the pain.” Leon growled. “The moment he took the first payment, he knew this day would come.”

Marko hung his head. “He didn’t want to take the money and betray you. He did it to protect Carlo and I. We got him into this mess and he felt it was the only way out.”

“I don’t care why he did it!” Leon shouted. “He should have called me if he was having problems. He knew I would help him. Instead, he betrayed not only me but his oath to the Family. And he kept up the betrayal for over a decade. Never once, did he say anything to me.”

“He hated the fact he was going against everything he knew for so long,” Marko tried to explain.

“He should have come to me.” Leon pounded on his chest. “I would have stood beside him had he come.” He straightened his stance. "It is all about to become ashes." He turned to go back inside Guido’s offices.

He came back out a few minutes later.

 Now, everyone could see the flames and smoke billowing out of the windows.

Carlo and Marko looked toward Leon with shock on their faces. “What will happen now? How will we live?”

“You say this is your fault,” Leon stated as he gave a nod of his head.

His men moved in behind the two brothers.

“Then you shall share your father’s fate.” Leon glared at the two men.

Four men grabbed the two brothers. They fought but couldn’t break the hold of the other men.

John moved in and he carved the bloody T in their foreheads. Marko and Carlo screamed as John cut them but they couldn’t escape.

When John was done, the men let them go and Marko collapsed to his knees. He looked up at Leon.

Leon stared at him for a moment before he spoke in a deathly quiet voice, “Collect your mother and your families and find a new place to live. The Family set you up and now, we take it back. If you or any member of your family decide to strike back over this… just know it will lead to the taking out of your entire family. I urge you to just walk away with the lives of your mother, wives and children.”

“How are we to live?” Marko asked.

“You are young and strong, get a job.” Leon raised a brow at him.

In the distance, they all heard the wail of the siren announcing the arrival of the fire trucks.

Leon turned to the two men, “You have an hour to pack up what you can and get out.” He walked away, but then turned back. “Do not seek vengeance. You two were in the wrong, not us.”

Leon went to his vehicle and got in the back seat. He never looked back as John slid behind the wheel and drove them away.

Marko slowly got to his feet and glared down the street. “I want to kill him.” He growled then raised his hand to his now bloody forehead.

Carlo shook his head. “No, he allowed us to live." He tried to wipe the blood out of his eyes as he winced. "Everything he said was true and you know it. We were the ones who fucked up. True, Alleso set us up but we fell into his trap. Dad should have gone to Leon when Alleso came to him ten years ago but Alleso threatened our lives. This is our fault not Leon’s.”

“Are you going to walk away like this never happened?” Marko was stunned.

“I’m going to collect our mother and my family.” Carlo shook his head. “I’m going to find another place to live and get a job. Then I will find a way to get my form of justice.”

“Good, I’ll join you in revenge. I want to see Leon bleed.” Marko growled.

Carlo smacked his brother on the back of the head. “I don’t seek vengeance against Leon, you fool. We’re alive because he let us live. He could have taken our lives as well today. But he gave us a chance to redeem our honor. The same honor our family lived by for centuries. I seek my vengeance against Alleso and his partners. They are the ones who set us up.” Carlo hurried back to the car. “Come on, he only gave us an hour.”

The fire trucks arrived just as the brothers pulled out.

~*~

The Crimson Tide Compound

Boomer sat alone at a table in the main room.

Sutton and Tracker joined him.

With her hands wrapped around a file, something seemed to be bothering Sutton.

 Boomer took a sip of his coffee before he met her glance. “Something on your mind honey?”

She nodded and looked worried.

“Just spill it.” Boomer growled as he watched her struggle.

“We were going through the paperwork they took from my dad’s…I mean sperm donor’s vehicle and we found something you may not like.”

Boomer shrugged. “I don’t like any of this mess but we have to deal with it don’t we?” He shook his head. “What did you find that has your panties in such a twist?”

“My dad had proof of the real leader of the Boa’s,” she told him.

Boomer frowned. “Ok, so what does that mean? Who was the real leader of the Boa’s?”

“You know the Boa’s are a distributor for the Mexican cartel, right Dad?” Tracker acknowledged.

Boomer nodded and waited for them to explain.

“Well, what you may not know is that the Cartel has a connection to Leon,” Tracker told him. “Well, not Leon directly but to Alleso Campo and Alleso is connected to Leon.”

“Fucking hell!” Boomer swore. “Are you fuckin’ kidding me?”

Tracker shook his head. “We think Alleso might be on his way down here, to connect with the cartel for protection. From here, he could slip across the border and the cartel would offer him protection against the Family’s rage.”

“Son of a bitch.” Boomer grimaced. “Are you absolutely sure of this? I don’t want to bring Leon something like this without being one hundred per cent sure of the facts.”

“Yeah, Dad we’re sure.” Tracker nodded. “Oh and Spider and Andi will be here soon.” He grabbed the file Sutton had then pushed it toward his dad.

Boomer opened it and took the time to read the contents. Then he reached for his phone to make a call to Boston. When Leon answered Boomer asked him, “Have you found Alleso Campo yet?”

Leon was silent then asked, “Why should any of that be your business? I thought you said you didn’t want to stick your nose into my business?”

“I don’t.” Boomer seethed. “But I just came across some information you might find useful. Alleso Campo is connected to the Brusa cartel in Mexico and has ties to the Boa’s MC. The cartel uses them to distribute designer drugs that Brody Mike designed. Now Brody Mike you know is dead but Sutton Deveroux was his daughter and we collected all his shit before we left the airport the other day. She started looking through it and found the connection. Alleso is probably on his way down here to escape across the border where the cartel will protect him.”

“Si, the little fucking coward would seek protection. He knows what will happen if we find him.” Leon growled. “The last word we had on him was that he was spotted in Ohio. He could be anywhere at the moment but you are also correct in thinking he would come toward your area.” He paused for a minute then said, “I can be in your area in a few hours. If you pick us up at the closest airport, we can deal with this before it gets out of hand.”

Boomer closed his eyes and looked at the ceiling for a moment. “You don’t seem to understand how this works down here. The Boa’s are an MC trying to move into Lake Charles. But there is already a gang here called the Liars. They aren’t going to give the Boa’s an inch of their territory. They worked for Brody Mike. This probably isn’t a safe area for you to be in right now.”

“But you are there, are you not?” Leon surmised.

Boomer held his temper as he let out a sigh. “Yeah we’re here, but we are very well hidden. We can and will protect ourselves but we don’t like to be caught outside our compound.”

“I’m not going to allow that little prick to escape across the border.” Leon growled. “I will bring my own security if that’s what has you worried.”

“Oh, I’m not worried about you,” Boomer replied. “But if you get dead on my watch, I don’t need the Family looking for vengeance. This could get very messy and when the Boa’s realize we have Brody Mike’s recipes, they will come after us with everything they got. They will want what we have in order for them to keep up their inventory. Alleso also might need something to bribe his way across the border.”

“We’ll be at a private landing strip near Lake Arthur in three hours. Meet us there.” Leon hung up.

Boomer never got another word in. He ended the call on his end and glared at his son Tracker. “I’m beginning to hate that man.”

Sutton hung her head. “I’m sorry.”

Boomer swung his gaze over to her. “What are you sorry for?”

“For bringing Leon into all of this,” she admitted.

Boomer shook his head. “If not you, then our paths would have crossed through Starling and Robin. I have a feeling I was bound to meet the man either way. You can’t help the fact he’s an arrogant son of a bitch.”

Tracker chuckled at his dad’s logic and shook his head. “And you’re not?”

“Well, it takes one to know one don’t it?” Boomer shrugged. “We’d better get ready for an invasion of dangerous men. He’s bringing his own security.” He turned and yelled for Trigger.

When Trigger showed up, Boomer gave him orders to boost his security and make sure he had all cameras working. He told Trigger to lock down the compound but to let Spider through. Then he called in his men.

The main room filled up with Crimson Tide members.

Boomer stood then announced, “In a little while, we have to go to a private airstrip near Lake Arthur to pick up a VIP. Then in the next few days, we’ll be going against the Boa’s to take out Alleso Campo before he can slip across the border. I don’t know what to expect but you know they will be after us for Brody’s recipes. I didn’t know we even had them until Sutton and Tracker told me they found his shit. Leon Vincinti is on his way here as well with some of his men to catch this bastard Alleso before he can get to the border. We have to be ready for a war, but if we do go to war, I expect you guys to win the battle.” Boomer looked at each of his men. “Win the battle and above all, protect our home.”

Then from somewhere in the back someone shouted their war chant, “The Tide, the Tide!” Soon, the walls and windows were rattling with the volume of the chant as many male voices chanted it.

Sutton raised her brows in surprise and looked around at them all, as it got louder.

Just then, Spider walked in through the back door while holding Andi’s hand.

The couple just stood there and stared.

When the chanting died out, Spider turned to Boomer and asked, “What the fucking hell is going on here, Dad?”

 

Chapter Twelve

 

Boomer turned his head and smiled at his youngest son. “Bout time you came home boy.”

Spider chuckled. “So what’s going on here and why did we have to come in through the back door?”

Boomer shook his head. “Cuz we got problems with the mob and I didn’t want you two caught in the crossfire. Those little bastards fight dirty, not to mention they like to cheat.” He growled.

 Spider looked over at his brother and seemed lost. “What the hell have I been missing?”

“Well hell, what have we not done?” Tracker replied. “For starters, we just took down Brody Mike and at the same time, we had a run in with Leon Vincinti. He kidnapped my woman but then he brought her back, then he found out he had a traitor in his midst. The traitor’s men tried to kill a couple of women and we brought them here for protection, the bad guys then followed but we took them down before they got inside.” Tracker gave him the super short version. “Damn  complicated.”

Spider still looked confused.

“Now, we found out that the traitor in Leon’s organization is probably on his way down here and we have to stop him from crossing the border,” Boomer told his younger son. “But when I let Leon know what was going on, he insisted on coming down and we have to pick him and some of his security up in two hours in Lake Arthur.”

Spider sat down and Andi sat on his lap. Spider looked over at his dad and shook his head. “I’m sorry I asked. Okay, so exactly how did we get mixed up with the mob again?”

Boomer explained. “Tracker’s woman, Sutton. She ended up being the long lost daughter of Brody Mike. When she showed up at the Delacorte estate, our crew had to rescue her. Then she found a small fortune that some guy stole thirty years ago. She called Leon to come get it before someone else found it. Leon showed up, collected the money and we all barely got out before Mike blew the whole fuckin’ estate up. Then Leon tried to take her away but she had him bring her back. Then on our way back, we found what we thought was an accident involving a young woman but it wasn’t an accident really. We brought the girl here and her mom snuck in to find her baby girl. Then we found out Leon had a traitor and I had to tell him.”

Tracker nodded. “I got back yesterday and found the girl and her mom here already.” He shook his head. “And I don’t think Dad is going to let the mama bear go anywhere.”

Spider looked at Andi and asked, “Are you following any of this jumbled up mess?”

Andi nodded. “I think what they’re trying to say is that your dad and your brother both have women now.”

Boomer shook his head. “That’s all you got out of our hellish explanation?” He glared at her. “The run in with the mob didn’t catch your ear?”

Spider nodded. “Oh, I caught that but that doesn’t scare me as much as the fact you and Tracker have women.”

Tracker laughed.

Boomer glared at his son. “Very funny boy. What? You don’t think your old man can get himself a woman?”

Spider chuckled but just shook his head. “So how did you guys figure out Leon Vincinti has a traitor in his ranks?”

“On our way back from the Delacorte estate,” Cyrus jumped in. “We came across a car that had been forced off the road. We found a young woman in it hurt. We brought her back here. What we didn’t know was her mom followed us and found a way in. Both women have been running for seventeen years. Anyway, the woman, Starling had some paperwork on her that outlined a plot for this bastard Alleso Campo to kill his way into a power grab at The Mob Family in Boston, all the way to the top of the food chain. We told Leon about it and we also told him we think this Alleso’s guy is coming down here. We found evidence he’s connected to the Brusa cartel.” He shook his head. “When we took down Brody, we found his recipes and a shit load of cash. Looks like he was headed for greener pastures but well, he never made it. Now the recipes belong to his daughter Sutton, and we have reason to believe the cartel will want them to stay in business.”

Tracker continued with the story, “But this Alleso bastard needs Dad’s woman Starling and her kid Robin dead before he can move on. You see Alleso’s brother Rafael gave her some paperwork a long time ago that was evidence of his brother being a traitor to the mob. It also connected the dots from Alleso to a drug cartel in Mexico and when we let Leon know, he got a little testy and is on his way down here from Boston.”

Spider just shook his head. “How does Dad get along with this Leon character?”

Cyrus snorted. “It's like watching two wild rams butting heads. They both take a running start and BOOM, they hit like a freight train. It should be interesting to see which one of them comes out on top. Cuz as neither man will give an inch, they will just keep ramming heads together.”

Spider shook his head. “So these next few days are going to be very interesting aren’t they?”

Tracker sat forward and looked at his brother. “Not to mention we have four men in custody that came after Dad’s woman and her kid. We got one man in the cells and three in the pit.”

“What does he plan to do with them?” Spider asked.

Tracker shrugged with a look in his eyes that worried Spider. “I have a feeling those four men are dead men walking, once Leon Vincinti arrives. I’ve heard stories about that man.”

Spider nodded. “We all have. But is MC justice any less? Treason is treason and its sentence is always death to the traitor.”

Cyrus nodded. “True enough. Rules are rules and we all live by those rules. If you break them and aren’t punished, your whole organization goes to shit. Chaos rules then and that’s never a good thing.” He sat back and observed, “Boomer has always ruled over this MC fairly and rightly so. He laid out those rules clearly to each and every one of us. We became a solid group because we trusted not only him, but each other. I imagine mob rules aren’t that much different. Honor and loyalty mean something to both sides. But I will tell you boys one thing, Leon is just as strong as your dad and bringing them together is going to be a trip. Leon just better remember this isn’t his house and he doesn’t make the rules here.”

Boomer shook his head. "You boys are sure reading some kind of fight outta this. Soon, you’ll be tasking bets or some shit like that.” He glared around at his men. He then checked the time on his phone. “Come on boys, we have to leave now if we’re going to get to Lake Arthur in time to meet Leon’s plane. As we don’t know how many men he’s bringing with him, we’ll take the cages. I’m thinking six should be enough.”

“You gonna have an escort in case we need a diversion?” Cyrus wanted to know.

“You know it brother.” Boomer nodded. “Six escorts should be enough. I want to leave enough men to watch over this place too.” He looked over at his two sons. “Tracker, I want you to stay behind. Spider, I want you with me, hopefully we’ll make it back without any problem.”

He raised his eyes to the brothers sitting there waiting for instruction. “I want everyone locked and loaded. We have no idea what we may be running into but I’d rather have weapons along in case we need them. If we don’t need em, then I will be thankful but if we do… then at least we know we’re prepared for battle.”

The men got up and went quietly to get ready.

~*~

Spider patted Andi’s hip.

She got up and watched him as he went to the armory. He was a demo man and knew how to blow things up. If his dad wanted them to be ready for battle then these boys would be ready for battle.

She also knew without saying a word that this mission was dangerous. When she left after Ronnie’s trial a year and a half ago, she never dreamed he would come after her. It hurt like hell to leave him but with all that had been revealed at the trial, she didn’t think she deserved him. But when he found her a few weeks later he showed her she couldn’t run anywhere, because he would always find her.

They had found their way together but she also knew he belonged here too. They had been together for long enough that it was time they returned and she knew this was where they belonged. She had a lot to make up for, here and in Texas.

There was also something she hadn’t told him yet and she knew now wasn’t the right time, but soon.

A few minutes later, she and others watched as a caravan of some very determined men left the stronghold of the compound. Andi watched until the mountain closed up again, then she felt a fluttering in her belly.

Tracker came up behind her and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. “They’ll be back, you know that right?” he told her softly.

Andi smiled up at him. “Yeah, I do.” “So, you got yourself a woman huh? Can I meet her?”

“Yeah, you can meet her.” Tracker grinned. “She’s in the kitchen along with Starling and Robin.” He turned her around and escorted her into the kitchen.

“Sutton, this is my brother’s woman, Andi,” Tracker introduced her to the women there. “This is Starling and Robin.”

The women all nodded at each other but no one said anything.

Sutton looked at Tracker. “So they’re on their way to pick up Leon?”

Tracker nodded. “It will take a few hours for them to get back, so all we can do is wait.”

Starling stared at him. “We still have to deal with the men that followed me here, don’t we?”

Tracker snorted. “Don’t you worry about those losers. If Leon doesn’t take care of them, Dad will. They came here looking to hurt you and Robin. He isn’t going to let that go.”

“Has anyone asked Trudy to dig into this Alleso character?” Andi wanted to know.

Tracker turned and frowned. “Why would we do that? We know all we want to know about him.”

Andi shook her head. “Maybe you do but if I know my sister, she can find everything you may not want to know but probably should. She can find all his hidden secrets.”

“Who is this woman?” Sutton asked. "I’ve heard a lot about her.”

“She’s with the Hell’s Fire Riders MC, Babe.” Tracker then looked back at Andi. “I’ll give her a call. Maybe if she can find out something more than what we already have. And that would help before we go into battle with the Boas and the cartel.” He left to make his call.

In the few minutes of silence following his departure, Sutton asked, “So how long have you known the Crimson Tide men?”

Andi chuckled. “I met them when I was eighteen. Trudy and I got caught by a drug dealer she’d sent to jail. They were bound and determined to get their revenge. The Crimson Tide taught them some manners and gave us a safe place to recover.”

“What do you think your sister can find about Alleso that we don’t know already?” Starling wanted to know.

Andi shook her head. “With Trudy, one ever knows. It could be something more than what the men have already, or absolutely nothing but I can assure you if he has any secrets, she will find them.”

Robin shivered. “I’m not sure I want to know any more about that prick than I already know.”

“I get that, but knowing what you’re up against is half the battle,” Andi told them. “And that is what my sister does better than anyone else I know.” Shaking her head she said, “I’m surprised Boomer hasn’t put a call into her already.”

Tracker came back shaking his head. “He did infact. And boy, did she find a shitload of information. She’s faxing it all to us even now.” He looked over at Sutton. “Your dad left a hell of a mess behind.”

Sutton shook her head. “So not my dad, remember? He just donated the sperm. He never wanted me and I lived most of my life never knowing him. I know I won’t miss the bastard now that he’s dead.”

~*~

Lake Arthur private airport…

Boomer and the rest of them waited while they watched the plane land and taxi forward. It was almost dusk by this time and they were grateful for the cover of darkness. The shadows would hide them, but it would also hide their enemies.

Boomer couldn’t wait to get back home.Too much was happening for him to be gone very long.

 As the plane opened and the staircase dropped down to the ground, Leon, Calderone and a good number of men came down the stairs. There were at least a dozen men with him.

Boomer shook his head. A dozen men wouldn’t be enough to take down the Boas and stop the cartel. He opened the door to his vehicle and stepped out.

Leon walked over to where he waited and stared at the other man. He held out his phone and showed Boomer a picture he’d been sent. “Would you care to explain this?”

Boomer looked at the photo and shook his head. “I’ve never seen that before just now.” Then he looked at Leon and his entourage. “But I asked a good friend to look into whatever secrets Alleso might have out there. I hate going to a battle with only half the facts. I wanted to know everything he might be up to. She must have found this and sent it to you.”

“This photo puts me in a compromising situation.” Leon growled.

“Only to anyone who doesn’t know you,” Boomer pointed out.

“I will not be made a fool of, not by the likes of Alleso Campo or the Brusa Cartel.” Leon growled.

“Then how about you, me and our men teach these little shits some manners?” Boomer asked.

“Gladly.” Leon growled. “They are going to feel the sting of the Black Hand over this insult.”

Calderone stepped up and announced, “Our men just contacted me, they will be getting into position very soon.”

“Your men?” Boomer questioned. He looked over at the dozen men with them. “I thought this was all you brought with you.”

Leon threw his head back and laughed. “Oh no, my friend. This is only a small garrison of security I brought. The rest of them are covering the town and gathering info we will need when we go after the Boa’s head on.” He stared at Boomer and said, “Now if you will be so kind as a host, please show us this hidden valley you call home.”

 

 Chapter Thirteen

 

They were on the road heading back when Leon finally asked, “Where do you suppose this friend of yours found that photograph?”

Boomer tightened his fingers on the steering wheel. He had Leon, Calderone and another man named John in his vehicle. He also had three Crimson riders in front of him. “I don’t know where Trudy found it and I’ve learned after all these years, not to ask her.”

“Well, I for one, would like to know.” Leon growled. “That photo is deceiving in the fact that I would not be sitting at a table with Simon Brusa in either country, this one or his.”

“Not without a gun in your hand, aimed at his head,” John scoffed.

“Well, from what little I saw of the photo, anyone can tell it's photoshopped,” Boomer remarked. “I’m sure she found more out there.”

Leon slowly turned his head to glare at Boomer. “You asked her to look into me and my business?”

“Hell, no…” Boomer growled. “I asked her to look into Alleso and find out his business. How she found that is beyond me.”

“You think there’s more out there for her to find?” Leon snorted. “Isn’t this enough?”

“Trudy is good, in fact she’s the best there is out there,” Boomer explained. “She’s quick and thorough. People like to hide things but she finds a pattern in just about anything. She follows the pattern and discovers more than you would ever think possible. The thing is though, Trudy is as honest as the day is long. She would never use anything she finds against you.”

“And you trust this woman?” Leon asked doubtfully.

“I would trust her with my life,” Boomer stated softly.

Leon stared at him for a long moment then turned to face the road. “We will see.”

As they neared the turn off for home, Boomer took out his phone and hit a button. The button would notify Trigger they were close. Trigger in turn, would either give them a green light to come in, or a red light to stay away.

Boomer waited and after a moment or so, he got the green light. He pocketed his phone and turned off the main road. Unbeknownst to his passengers, they passed several hidden cameras on their way to the front doors.

When they got as far as they could without opening the mountain, Leon turned to stare at Boomer. “What the hell? There’s nothing here but a mountain.”

Boomer nodded. “This is our front door.”

“How can that be?” Calderone asked. “It’s a solid mountain.”

Boomer reached for his phone again, and tapped out a code on the keypad.

As if by magic, the mountain began to open.

Leon, Calderone and John were speechless.

Boomer didn’t say a word as he drove the vehicle through the tunnel leading to their valley.

When they got through the tunnel, Leon turned to see what they had just driven through, then shook his head and turned around to face the windshield again. He saw the valley, the buildings of the compound and the hills that protected the valley. “This is incredible,” he whispered.

“This is our home,” Boomer told them.

“And this valley is completely hidden from the outside?” Leon seemed to be amazed at the transformation.

“Yes, it is,” Boomer admitted. “We had just been burned out of our old clubhouse after a battle with another MC for territory rights when Trudy suggested we come here. She found this valley and wanted us to use it. She has several hiding places all over the country, because people are looking for her talents, so some of the protection she put up was already here. We put in the rest and when she moved on, she gave the place to the Crimson Tide.” He shrugged and said, “You see, we do jobs that some might not consider righteous but they are done under the direction of homeland security. We also have done some elite jobs with another MC but that’s something I can’t talk about.”

Leon nodded. “That’s club business, almost the same as this matter is Family business. I can understand and appreciate that.”

Boomer glanced over at Leon. “You have to understand something here. Neither this time or the first time we met, was I or any of mine looking to stick our nose into your business. We just happened to overlap in our interests that’s all. I had no intention of calling you again. Then I found Robin and Starling and well, our business overlapped again. As a president of an MC, I had to warn you about Alleso and what he was doing. As a man, I have to warn you that I’ve claimed Starling, so when you leave here, she’ll be staying, along with her daughter. We will work with you, only because the threat to her life has to stop. But understand this…” He paused and leaned forward. “Those two women belong here with us. Unless they say different, can you and yours accept that?”

Leon glared at him. “Starling’s daughter belongs to the Campo family, even if her parents weren’t married, she’s still a Campo. And she has a grandfather that would like to meet her.”

Boomer nodded. “That’s true and she’s free to meet him anytime she wants to but the choice is hers as well, not to meet with him.”

Leon raised a brow at this. “You would stop her?”

Boomer shook his head. “I never said that, I said the choice would be hers.”

“We will have to have a discussion with this Starling and her daughter later. First, we have other things to work out.” Leon waved away his concern. “The biggest threat at the moment is Alleso. Between the first time you sent us the papers and our landing here, we’ve been able to trace his journey and I think you were correct in assuming he is on his way here. We were able to track him all the way to Kansas City so far.”

Boomer nodded. “We are holding four of his men.”

“Four? I thought you only had one?” Leon questioned.

“Vick Romano found his way inside the compound in the back of Starling’s truck then a little while later, we caught his brother Ricardo, and two other men looking for Vick.”

“What do you plan to do with them?” Calderone wanted to know.

“I guess that depends on who’s justice they face, MC or Mob, ” Boomer informed them.

“Oh, I think they will face Family justice.” Leon glared at Boomer. “And I do hate the moniker Mob. We are not an angry uprising. We are a civilized organization and we have rules we live by. And yes, I am aware just how an MC works, my granddaughter lives with one in New York. But I also know each MC is different and some don’t follow the rules that most live by.”

Boomer nodded. “You’re right about that. Some MC’s don’t have honor but this club does. We believe in justice but we don’t hurt innocents. I strongly believe that men, real men don’t have to hit women and kids and any man that wears my colors obeys the rules I’ve set. If they go against the rules, they’re out. I also don’t run drugs or skin.”

Leon nodded. “Good to know, neither do I. Life is hard enough without adding that sin on top of everything else. I am not an easy man, but I don’t go out of my way to be brutal either.”

“Then we should get along well enough to see this done.” Boomer nodded.

“I noticed when you shared what you don’t participate in, you didn’t include guns,” Calderone spoke up. “Does that mean you do run guns?”

Boomer shrugged but didn’t explain as he pulled into the parking lot of the clubhouse. He turned to Leon and said, “You and your men are welcome as long as you behave and don’t disrespect us. I’m not asking more than you would if it was me coming to your territory. Hopefully, we’ll be able to stop this little maggot before he can cross borders and get set up with the cartel.”

Leon gave a short nod at him. “My men are blanketing the town as we speak, watching the Boas and the Liars, so they will let us know if they spot Alleso.”

Boomer nodded. “We’ll have Trigger add you to the in and out going list and that way, you’ll be able to use your phones while you’re here. Just now, when you entered our mountains, your phones died and you cannot use them. We have a network set up, so we can’t be traced.”

“I didn’t realize that could be done.” Calderone sounded fascinated by the concept.

“Just one more thing we add to our safety issues,” Boomer told them. “Trudy set it up before we got here. It's something we’ve found extremely useful in keeping this place hidden.”

Leon opened his car door. “I want to meet this Starling woman before we get started. I have some questions for her.”

“As long as you realize she’s my woman and I will protect her, that’s fine.” Boomer got out and glared over the hood at him. “But I won’t let you belittle or bully her.”

Leon raised an eyebrow. “And you’ve known her how long? Rather quick on the draw aren’t you?”

“Dad, be nice.” Calderone sighed as he got out of the vehicle. “We are here at their invitation and with their cooperation which they can refuse, or take back anytime they choose.”

Leon sneered. “They need us for numbers.”

“The hell we do!” Boomer snarled. “You and yours can leave anytime you choose. Like right now. We don’t need you to take out that little shit Alleso or his men. I called you in because it was the right thing to do, but you need to understand something here, Mr. Vincinti. I don’t need you here.”

“Do not disrespect me.” Leon growled.

Boomer looked furious. “Then don’t disrespect me in my own house. In my world, respect is earned not given and you haven’t earned it yet. I don’t give a shit who you are, this is my house, and you need to remember that.” Boomer stomped into the clubhouse, leaving the three men standing there.

~*~

The other cars pulled up next to them and Spider got out of the second vehicle, looking from where Leon, Calderone and John were standing, then his gaze moved to the door he just saw his father enter.

He didn’t say a word just made his way to the front door. The other drivers followed, leaving Leon and his men standing in the parking lot.

Calderone shook his head. “Well Dad, are you going to stand here all night or at least give the man his due?” As the minutes ticked off, he reminded his father, “His world and ours aren’t so different, you know. You demand his respect but don’t give him any of your own? That street runs both ways. And from what I know of this group, they don’t need us for numbers. As he said, Alleso is our problem not his. He can and will take that traitorous piece of shit out, but then we won’t get the answers we need. He isn’t any different than Deke or Iceman. They would demand the same degree of respect that Boomer has and you know it.”

Leon nodded. “I know dammit.” He ran his hands over his head and let out a breath. “I don’t know why the man can get me riled. Or why I said what I did, maybe because he pointed out a fault I should have seen before I did. But I feel I’m behind an eight ball with all this traitor crap and I don’t care for that feeling.”

“Well, if you want to stay and be part of the righting of the situation,” Calderone stated. “You will need to swallow that bitter pill and work with them, because they will do this without us if you piss them off.”

Leon shrugged. “I know son and there’s no way I’ll let that happen. Let’s go.” He led his men inside and when he got there, he walked over to Boomer and held out his hand, “You were correct in what you said before and I acknowledge your right to say it. I want to see this done with your help. And you are correct when you say respect is a two way street. You have to give it before you can receive it in return. I was remiss in acknowledging that.”

Boomer raised a brow at him then nodded as he reached out to shake Leon’s hand. “It's not every day that you’re told there is a traitor in your camp either. That had to shake you up some.”

Leon nodded. “We’ve taken the first steps to put down this coup. Now, we need to finish it for good.”

“Then let's get this done.” Boomer stared back at him. “Let’s stop Alleso before he can get to Mexico and Simon Brusa.”