Grizzly-Savaged Souls MC

THE NEW CHAPTER BOOK IS

 

Chapter One

 

Grizzly shut his engine off and just sat on his bike for a minute. He was home and it had been a long time coming. He was never happier to be here. It had been a hell of a long week for him. But he wasn’t the only one affected by what went down a week ago. For a moment, he let his mind drift back through the thoughts of when Inez had given him the virus info and the antidote. He had to shake his head.

Inez went outside and over to Gypsy’s bike.

She didn’t see Gunner, Boone, and Grizzly follow her to the door. They all frowned as they watched her.

She knelt down beside his bike and reached behind the saddlebag to collect something she’d put there the night Dino shot at her. It was a small container. She stood up and took off her belt. Taking the small blue flash drive from a special pouch in the back of the belt, she then put the belt back around her waist. Then she turned and walked back to the clubhouse. She handed both items to the man they called Grizzly. “This is what those people murdered my father for. He never supersized the red tide but he did make the antidote. This is only a sample of what they sent to him. My dad considered this a major threat.” She handed the items over to him and turned to walk away.

Grizzly asked, “Shouldn’t you be giving this stuff to your uncle?”

Stopping, she barely glanced at him. “My dad wanted me to give it to you. What you do with it is up to you.” She glanced over at Gunner, “My dad and Shay had a love/hate relationship, mostly hate but that was between them. Shay never thought my dad was good enough for his sister. Especially since, he found a cure shortly after she died of the disease that killed her. I never understood his reasoning and I suppose now, it doesn’t matter at all.”

Gunner nodded. “We figured that out. I’m just sorry he left you out there on your own for four months when he didn’t have to.”

Inez shrugged. “He did what he did, can’t change any of that now. We can only move on with life.” She closed her eyes and then opened them again. “I’m hoping I can unite them again, in the afterlife but I doubt he’ll allow that. That will hurt but it won’t kill me. I’ve always known how he felt.” She turned to see her uncle standing there watching her.

Neither of them said anything then Inez walked the other way.

Since then, Pappy and his group had left for New Mexico and Shay had put off going home to lend him a hand before facing his own situation in Washington. He had spoken to Gunner every day since he left and they were all waiting for Shay to begin his particular roundup.

The end of this trip was also bittersweet for another reason. After working as a US Marshal at a desk off and on for the last seventeen years, he had turned in his badge. He had joined the Marshals straight out of high school and now after all the years of bullshit, he was done…on the verge of a major burnout. This job took a lot out of a person and even the veterans couldn’t do it day in and day out for a lifetime. He’d been working the cartel cases and trying to stop them from bringing their poison into the United States. He had made some solid contacts over the years and he hoped they would remain solid in years to come.

Then he thought back to the reason he left this MC in the first place and his mood went foul. The brothers here always told him that they could tell when he got pissed off. His eyes were normally a brown color but when he got pissed, they went dark and when the rage took over, they went completely black.

They said they could deal with him pissed but when he went into a rage, they ran and hid until he got over his snit. At the moment, his eyes were dark for a reason. When he went to the headquarters to turn over the Red Tide samples and antidote, his supervisor had called him into his office and had given him some unsettling news.

Darren Nixon was now claiming after fifteen years that he hadn’t gotten a fair trial. He was saying the Marshals had held back the evidence that would put him in another part of the state when Grizzly’s partner was killed. Grizzly didn’t know what the older man was up to, but the Marshals had held nothing back. Grizzly himself had testified at the old man’s trial he was a witness and saw him shoot his partner, Abe Marley.

In fact, it had been a hail of bullets from Grizzly’s own gun which had wrecked the old man’s arm that same night. Nixon had shot back before he lost consciousness and had hit Grizzly. Then before he passed out, Grizzly knew the other man was down. When he woke up in the hospital hours later, the other Marshals explained that his bullets tore Nixon’s arm all to hell and he’d lost the use of his limb altogether. They told him he was threatening a lawsuit for brutality and Grizzly told them to let him try. Then they informed him that Abe was gone. Nixon had shot him in the head and there was no way he could have survived.

When he’d been released from the hospital, Grizzly made it his mission to follow every lead and make sure Nixon went to prison for the rest of his natural life. He followed protocol and went by the book. So when the judge was done with Darren Nixon, he knew he would die in prison.

Now fifteen years later, he comes up with some bullshit evidence that wasn’t available back then? How did he explain the loss of his arm? How did he explain Grizzly identifying him as being there when Abe died?

Grizzly shook his head. He swung his leg over the engine of his bike and just as he went to stand, he froze for a second. The short hairs on the back of his neck were tingling and he learned a long time ago to listen to those tingles.

He closed his eyes and used his other senses to try and figure out where the threat might be coming from. But he couldn’t pinpoint it. He got to his feet and took a slow turn as his eyes searched the area carefully.

Still, he couldn’t find any danger out there but he knew all the same something was wrong. He slowly reached for his weapon and made another turn around.

Just then, the front door opened and he could see several men coming out. The men of Savaged Souls.

They saw his stance and went on alert pulling their guns and gazing all around. They spread out and covered every angle.

Gunner ducked behind his own bike as Boone crouched down beside the garbage cans. Gypsy ducked behind a car parked in the lot and Patriot sneaked around the corner to make his way behind the line of bikes, so he could come out on the other side.

No one knew what they were waiting on but if one of the brothers was in trouble, they all stood with him.

“What you got Griz?” Gunner called out softly.

“Not sure yet boss,” Grizzly replied. “But my gut tells me something is there.”

“Any idea where?”

“Nope and that’s weird because I can usually tell.”

Gunner grabbed his phone and sent a text to Rigger.

~*~

She laid along the branch and watched the front of the compound. She’d been here since before dawn and now, the sun was full strength. She could take the heat, she’d grown up in Texas after all. Born and raised in Laredo, she knew what heat was and how to protect herself from it.

Moving very slowly, she slipped another lozenge into her mouth to moisten it and continued to wait. She heard the one they called Grizzly was supposed to be on his way back today. She also knew she would only get one chance to do this.

Not that she wanted this particular privilege. If she lived through this, she was going to hunt down the man who put her here and make him sorry he was ever born. Then she would hunt his bitch down and make her pay for her part in this tragedy.

She glanced at the Winchester on the branch beside her. The .308 Winchester was an older version but it had a proud history. The ebony stock had been replaced by this new version, hand carved and polished by her grandfather. Her grandfather knew she loved wild horses and he had hand carved one onto the stock. He taught her how to shoot when she was only five. Granted, he taught her with a bb gun but it wasn’t long before she had a real weapon in her hands. Her grandfather always said she had a gift as she was a natural but he always taught her to respect the weapons as well. And this rifle was special to her. It was his last gift to her before he died on her fifteenth birthday…almost half her lifetime ago now. She had often admired his rifle and he was proud of her skills. He had done the carving himself and she had won award after award with this rifle.

Now she would have to spoil its honorable history by using it to kill a man. This thought went against everything she’d ever been taught and she didn’t know if she could even do such a thing. She grabbed her locket, the only piece of jewelry she wore and hung onto it. She was only here because she loved the man who had given her the locket. She had to try for his sake. She hated being in this position and she hated Levi Nixon.

Then she saw a lone rider pull into the compound. Bringing the rifle up to her shoulder, she gazed through the scope as the man himself came into view. Dayum, this guy is huge. He stood at least six and half feet tall and his shoulders would barely fit through a regular size doorway. His hair was dark with streaks of a lighter shade, his face was covered by a full beard, but she was too far away to see his eyes.

She wiped a bead of sweat away from her forehead and fretted about not being able to see his eyes. She remembered the old saying she’d heard for years… that a person’s eyes were a window into their soul and she always liked to believe she could tell what kind of person you were by looking into your eyes.

She adjusted the scope on her rifle and brought his face in closer. She needed to see his eyes. When he turned his head, she gasped. His eyes were dark brown. They seemed to be searching at the moment. She had a feeling deep in her heart that he was—searching for her.

But she saw something more in his eyes as well. His eyes were kind. She had no idea where that thought came from but it was there. There was no coldness to his eyes. Not like Levi’s eyes. Levi’s eyes were cold and had an almost vacant look to them, as if he didn’t care about anything. And she didn’t think he actually did.

She’d seen the four other men that joined her target. But she couldn’t worry about them. She was up high enough in the tree just outside the compound and the leaves would hide her position.

Yet, in the back of her mind, she figured she’d never come back from this. She already knew her dad was a dead man. If Levi hadn’t killed him yet, he would soon enough. She prayed these men would find the letter she left in case they killed her. The letter explained everything, including why she had done what she did.

She wiped the sweat away from her forehead again and pressed the rifle stock into her shoulder. She sent a small prayer to heaven to make her miss her shot and she prayed the men wouldn’t miss.

Pressing her eye to the scope, she took careful aim. Her trigger finger moved to curl around the trigger carefully. At the last minute, she closed her eyes as a single tear ran down her face then as smoothly and gently as she was taught— she pulled her finger gently back on the trigger.

A shot rang out….

 

Chapter Two

 

Grizzly dropped to the ground and didn’t move for a moment.

Gunner scanned the area as did Boone, Gypsy and Patriot.

Just then, Gunner’s phone pinged and he looked down. Reading the text from Rigger, he motioned at the tree on the other side of the gate.

Each man waited for another shot and when none came, Gunner took aim and ripped off three shots. They heard a scream and then watched as a figure fell from the lofty perch.

Grizzly slowly got to his feet and turned around to look at the tree.

Gunner snapped his head around and gazed at the big guy. “You’re not dead?”

Grizzly snorted, “Hell no, I’m not dead. The bullet barely grazed my arm. Whoever the shooter is, they’re a lousy shot. I’m a little hard to miss.” He turned and started for the tree where the shooter was laying on the ground.

The rest of the men had their weapons ready but they followed him. The closer they got the deeper Grizzly’s frown became. The figure was dressed in camo fatigues but was a small person. If this was a guy, he must be just a kid. The closer he came the more he was able to determine the sex of the shooter. This guy wasn’t a guy at all. He paused at the base of the tree and stared down at the shooter.

His eyes widened when he saw the shooter was a woman. A very pissed off woman. She wasn’t very big, maybe a whole five foot nothing, slender but not skinny and very well formed as her assets were on display.

Her long black hair was pulled back into a ponytail that draped over her shoulder and hung to her waist. But it was her face and most especially her eyes that drew his attention.  They were almost a copper color at the moment and he’d never seen that particular color before. 

She closed her eyes and whispered, “Oh thank god you’re alive!” Then she burst into tears. “Oh god, what have I done?” she wailed.

Grizzly held out his hand and she refused to take it. 

Patriot reached down to haul her to her feet.

Grizzly turned on him. “Don’t you touch her.” He leaned over and came closer to her. He could see the pain in her eyes and as he looked her over, he noticed the blood on her shoulder. Again, he held out his hand to her and finally she took it.

He helped her to her feet gently.

Boone reached down and picked up her rifle from where it landed when she fell out of the tree.

She stared at the rifle in Boone’s hand and looked upset as she bit her lip and tears ran down her cheeks.

Grizzly watched her face for a moment then turned and looked at Boone. “Be careful with that.”

Boone and the girl stared at him with surprise.

Boone turned his eyes on the weapon in his hand and studied it carefully. The rifle seemed old, but it looked well cared for, as there wasn’t a speck of rust anywhere on it. Nor was the stock worn or chipped. Instead, the carving made it stand out.

Everyone turned to glare at the woman who stood there with her head hanging.

Grizzly was the closest one to her and he saw her sway and begin to crumble. He caught her in his arms and swung her up into his arms. Then he started toward the clubhouse. “Patriot, I believe she is going to need you,” he called over his shoulder.

Patriot looked over at Gunner who shrugged his shoulders and turned to follow them in. Patriot shook his head and muttered under his breath but he too, followed the group back into the clubhouse.

Grizzly had carried her all the way into the Infirmary and was just sitting her down on one of the beds when Gunner, Patriot, Boone and Gypsy filed into the room.

Patriot went to Grizzly first and ripped his sleeve up on his shoulder to look at the wound on his arm.

 Grizzly shrugged the other man off. “I told you I’m okay. You need to look at her wound first.”

“Why man?” Patriot wanted to know. “She tried to kill you. Do I need to remind you of that?”

Grizzly stared at him then turned his head and looked at the others. “If she really wanted me dead, I’d be dead. But I’m not, so it’s a moot point, don’t you think?” Turning back to Patriot, he growled, “Now look at her wound.”

Patriot looked again at Gunner and at his prez’s shrug, he turned his attention to the girl.

 She reached out and touched Grizzly’s arm. “I’m sorry but I had no choice.” Shaking her head, she repeated in a whisper, “I had no choice.” Fresh tears ran down her face as she stared off into the distance.

Patriot undid her shirt and tried to pull it off her shoulder, but the girl cried out. He exposed her chest and bra.

 Grizzly growled.

She knew this needed to be done so she shook her head and grabbed his hand. She pulled him closer and at the same time, sat herself up and leaned against his belly as the shirt was being cut away from her wound rather than pulled off her.

Grizzly didn’t know why she clung to him but he didn’t mind it. She didn’t cry out as Patriot cleaned the wound and checked things out.

 He looked up at Gunner and said, “It’s a through and though. The bullet isn’t inside her shoulder anymore. All I can do is clean it and bandage it.”

Gunner nodded. While Patriot did that Gunner looked the rifle over. He picked it up from the table Boone had placed it on and studied the weapon inch by inch. It really was a unique rifle. He turned it over and was surprised to find a name etched in the barrel. Theo Alexander

He snapped up his head up to study the girl. He found her looking back at him with resignation in her eyes.

She knew he recognized who she was. The game was over.

“Gentlemen, we are in the presence of almost royalty.” He snarled. “Meet Teddy Alexander, daughter of Ethan and granddaughter of our State commissioner of police, the late Theo Alexander.” He shook his head. “How the mighty have fallen. Does your dad have any idea what you just tried to do?” He glared at her. “Your grandfather would turn over in his grave if he could see you now.”

Grizzly’s eyes widened at Gunner's announcement. Teddy Alexander? She was almost a legend in the police community. She had followed her father and her grandfather into the field of police work, so nothing that happened today made any sense to him.

If she had taken aim at him he would, should now be dead. What the hell happened? Another good question would be why? Why had she taken a shot at him?

Gunner handed the .308 Winchester to Boone. “Put this somewhere safe. We’ll need it for evidence when she goes to trial.”

“Wait a moment,” Teddy called out softly. Patriot had finished his work and now she tried to stand up.

Grizzly helped her get to her feet then stood by in case she needed more help.

But Teddy didn’t need more help. She reached inside her holster on her hip and very carefully took out her Glock slowly. She handed it to Grizzly, then went to her ankle holster, took out a small handgun and handed it to Grizzly as well. Then she unbuckled her Bowie knife and handed it to him. Reaching into her pocket, she took out another slimmer blade and gave it to him.

She was about to sit back down then remembered her back holster. She very carefully reached back and took out her last weapon then extended it to a stunned Grizzly.

The men in the room all stared at her actions as the pile of weapons she had strapped grew, as their brows rose up.

“Damn girl, you were loaded for bear weren’t you?” Grizzly shook his head. The joke was lost in the tense moment, however.

She turned her head to stare at him a moment before she whispered, “I know you won’t believe me, but I didn’t want this. All my life, I’ve respected the law and now I just blew it.” Shaking her head she added, “I didn’t have a choice. It was life or death and now, he’s more than likely dead.” She laid down on the mattress and curled into a small ball. Her eyes closed and she cried soundlessly.

Gunner frowned as he stared at her, as did the others.

Grizzly grew worried about her and he turned to give her weapons to Gunner. When Gunner took them, Grizzly turned back to her and sat down on the edge of the bed. He studied her and was worried when he saw the expression in her eyes. “Teddy, what’s going on here? Why were you up a tree with a rifle in your hands?”

But Teddy didn’t answer him. She couldn’t. So much had changed in her world recently that nothing made any sense anymore.

When she didn’t answer him, Grizzly grew concerned about her and he reached out to touch her shoulder. Her skin was freezing cold and he thought she might be going into shock. He quickly covered her up with a blanket and was encouraged when he saw her gripping the edges of the blanket on her own.

Her eyes remained closed as she whispered something.

Her voice was so faint he had to lean in to hear what she was saying.

“I’m so sorry daddy. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t save you.”

Grizzly frowned and glanced at Gunner then back at Teddy.

She was shaking badly now.

Even Patriot looked alarmed. He quickly grabbed his stethoscope, pushed the blanket down and listened to her heartbeat. He looked up at Gunner and shook his head. “Fucking hell, she’s going into shock.”

 “Do something.” Grizzly growled impatiently.

Patriot moved away from the bed and grabbed some IV’s. One of them was saline and the other was blood plasma. He injected both of them into her veins and they watched and waited for some time to see if they would work. He kept his scope on her at all times and as soon as her heartbeat started slowing down, he looked up and nodded. “I think she’ll be okay now. She must have been dehydrated. I’m going to give her something to make her sleep for a while. She needs to rest.”

“We need some answers too,” Gunner reminded him.

Grizzly turned to the others and said, “She whispered something about her father. How she couldn’t do it, she couldn’t save him. What the fuck do you think she was talking about?”

“I don’t know,” Gunner admitted. “But I have a feeling there is more to her story than what we know.” Looking over at Patriot he asked, “How long will she be out?”

“Could be a couple of hours,” Patriot replied.

Gunner nodded. “Well, you watch over her until she comes to again, and then we’ll put a guard on her until we can talk to her. We need to know what’s going on here.” He turned to leave.

Patriot finally asked, “Can I look at your arm now Griz? Even if it's only a scratch, it needs to be cleaned or stitched up.”

Grizzly sounded just like the bear he was named for when he growled, “Fine but it won’t need stitches. Just clean it and slap a Band-Aid on it and we’ll call it good.” He turned to Gunner. “I need to talk to you guys. An old case is heating up and I might have to go back to Dallas for a few days to clear it up.”

“Anything we need to worry about?” Gunner asked.

“I don’t think so. Fifteen years ago we were tracking a killer, my partner and I found him, he shot my partner and I dropped the fucker. My testimony put the old bastard on death row and now fifteen years later, he says he’s got evidence he was on the other side of the state at the time. This is a last ditch attempt to avoid the needle.”

“Yeah, well good luck with that.” Gunner shook his head.

Grizzly sat down on the edge of the bed and watched Teddy as Patriot cleaned the scratch on his arm. He couldn’t believe what happened earlier. The Teddy Alexander he knew of wouldn’t have missed that shot. In fact, he should be a dead man right now. So why had her shot gone so far off the mark?

He figured the real question was why she’d been there in the first place. What brought her here to this part of the world and was there someone else out there waiting for him to walk into their trap? Did he have a target on his back? If so why?

 

 

Chapter Three

 

A few hours later, Grizzly sat in the infirmary rereading the file he’d taken from the Marshals. The tab on the file read Darren Nixon.

He’d forgotten half the details of the case, as it had been fifteen years. It was only when he read the name of Darren’s initial victim that his heart sank. Darren had murdered Teddy’s grandfather, Theo. Then after a short hunt and a police chase, the man murdered Abe before sending him to the hospital.

He looked over at the girl lying on the bed. She was sleeping peacefully now and he had to wonder why she was even here. Her regard for law and order was well known. She was the latest generation to serve and everyone knew family meant a lot to the Alexander family and especially, to her.

He remembered seeing her standing beside the coffin at her grandfathers’ funeral. She looked so small standing there alone while her dad gave the eulogy. Her mother was sitting in the first row but hadn’t bothered to even look at her daughter.

He did remember the pain in her eyes that day. She looked so alone and was just a kid when her grandfather died. Now, he knew there was something wrong.  She never would have done what she did otherwise. To come here and try to kill him just was not in her blood, it opposite of what he knew to be there in her.  It went against everything she ever stood for. He just had to get her to tell him what was what. What had she meant earlier about not being able to save her dad? Was Ethan in danger? What about her mother? Although he never cared for Reva Alexander, she was still the girl’s mother.

So many questions and no answers. He gazed down at the file again and wondered if they had missed something all those years ago. Darren Nixon had no reason to kill someone like Theo Alexander. They didn’t move in the same circles and they had no other reason to even come in contact with each other.

He sat back and was lost in thought for a moment. Why had Theo been killed? The general consensus was it had been a random killing but what if it hadn’t been? What if there was a reason Darren had murdered him?

He pulled out his cell phone and sent his old boss a text. He needed to find out if there was something out there, they hadn’t found yet. Had the real truth been hidden for fifteen years?

Looking over at the girl he couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was going on here.

Patriot came back into the room.

 Grizzly got to his feet. “I need you to stay with her until I get back. I need to talk to Gunner.”

“Ok, sure Gunner wants someone with her 24/7 anyway until we know why she tried to kill you.” Patriot nodded. “I’ll be here.”

Grizzly went to the main room and found Gunner, Boone, Jett and Cobra sitting at a table.

Skeeter, Gypsy and a few of the other brothers were sitting there as well.

Grizzly sat down at Gunner’s table and flopped the file down on the table.

Gunner looked over at Grizzly then his eyes went to the file. “What’s up?”

“You know that matter I told you about before? The one I might have to go back and settle?”

Gunner nodded.

“I handled this case fifteen years ago,” Grizzly explained. “My partner and I were given a hunting case after a high profile murder happened. It took us three months to hunt the fucker down but we finally found the little maggot. He wasn’t going down easy though and in the showdown, he put a bullet in my partner’s head and one in my shoulder. I pumped eight into him and his arm and before I passed out, I knew my fellow Marshals were on the scene. The bastard’s name was Darren Nixon. Before he went on trial, I tore his fucking life apart and we found evidence that put him on death row.”

Gunner nodded. “I see. So…?”

“Now after fifteen damn years, he says he has evidence that would put him far enough away from the scene that would prove he didn’t kill anybody. That he only shot my partner and me because we shot at him first.”

“Ok but what does that have to do with the situation here?” Boone asked.

“The man Darren Nixon was accused and convicted of killing was Theo Alexander.” He paused when they gasped. “Coincidence? I think not. Darren now says he didn’t get a fair trial, that the Marshals set him up for Alexander’s murder.” He nodded at the file on the table. “I have a feeling we might have missed something back then. I’m hoping Teddy might know something about her Grandfather that we don’t. I asked my old boss for everything the Marshals had on this case and I’d like the MC’s help in sorting this out.”

“Why our help?” Cobra wanted to know. “I mean I know I’m not part of this MC but why not go to your Marshals for help?”

Gunner rapped his knuckles on the table, as was his habit when he was thinking. He looked over at Cobra and nodded. “In our business, we work hand in hand with the Marshals and the Rangers. But as an MC, we tend to think differently than either of the other two. We think more like the average Joe on the street.”

“Besides,” Grizzly drawled. “I know I can trust these guys a tad bit more than I could another Marshal. Another Marshal would be seeking fame and glory for solving a big case like this one from fifteen years ago. If I made a mistake, another agent wouldn’t mind seeing me fall flat on my face. The brothers here always got my back and would help me find the truth first.”

“So did you ever meet Teddy before today or what?” Skeeter asked.

“Yeah,” he admitted. Hanging his head for a moment he told them, “Fifteen years ago, she was nothing but a little scared, heartbroken kid when I saw her. She was standing beside Theo’s casket. Her dad, Ethan was giving the eulogy and her mom was sitting in the front row with a bored look on her face looking at something on her phone.” Shaking his head he admitted, “That’s why this doesn’t make sense to me. Teddy grew up in her father and grandfather’s shadow. Law and order mean the world to her. I don’t know what put her in that tree this morning but it was worth her life or someone else’s life to see me dead.”

Cobra snorted, “Well, she missed you by a mile and that’s pretty hard to do.”

Grizzly shook his head. “I’m thinking she missed on purpose. I can’t swear to it but I thought I heard her say she was sorry to her dad. She was sorry she couldn’t save him.”

Gunner sat up in his chair and frowned. “That doesn’t make any sense. Makes ya wonder why she would say something like that?”

Grizzly nodded. “I know but that’s what I heard just before Patriot fixed up her arm. Then she offered no resistance and simply handed over all her weapons.”

“Yeah,” Boone shook his head as a smile appeared on his face. “That surprised the hell out of me. I never knew she had half of what she turned over.”

“That’s why I want to reopen the murder case against Darren Nixon. The Marshals caught and convicted him and we thought we had the right reason why but now, I think we missed something back then.”

“Like what?” Jett asked.

“Like maybe the real reason someone wanted Theo Alexander dead,” Grizzly stated. “We found Nixon, found evidence we needed to convict him. We went to trial and managed to make our case against him. Twelve jurors found him guilty and sentenced him to death row. But I can’t help but think we convicted him more on the murder of Abe and shooting me more than the murder of Alexander.”

“Maybe we should look more into what Alexander was doing at the time he was murdered,” Gunner suggested. “Maybe there was something you missed back then, or did not think to be looking for.”

“Gunner,” Boone chimed in again, “This case goes back fifteen years. It isn’t going to be easy to try and piece it all together anymore. People move, people die, evidence is lost in the system and people just plain old forget.”

“You’re right on every one of those counts and probably more but I’m doing this with or without your help.” Grizzly growled.

Boone held up his hand and growled back, “Hold on, I never said we wouldn’t help you man, I was just pointing out the pitfalls dammit.”

Grizzly nodded and turned to Gunner. “I’m having all the files and the evidence brought here, so we can go over everything we had fifteen years ago when Nixon went to trial. I’m hoping there’s something there, maybe we can find something fresh, find out the why of this senseless act.”

“Maybe I can help,” a voice called out from behind them.

Grizzly turned and found Teddy standing there with Patriot holding on to her.

“What the fuck is she doing in here?” Gunner snapped at Patriot.

“She wouldn’t stay in bed. She said she had to talk to Grizzly,” Patriot grumbled.

Grizzly got up and walked over to her. He leaned down and looked into her eyes. “Are you feeling all right?”

Teddy nodded. “You may not believe this and I wouldn’t blame you if you turned your back on me for what I did, but before you turn me into the police I-I think—no, I need to tell you why I took that shot this morning.”

“Honey, we may not turn you into the cops,” Gunner told her. “You shot a member of our MC and that means you could face a tribunal, not the cops. That’s attempted murder in anyone’s books and we take that shit or anything like it as anything but serious. That’s just how we roll.”

Teddy nodded. “I understand. But I didn’t wake up three days ago looking for a reason to kill a man. That’s not how I roll. I took an oath when I joined the force to serve and protect. I believe in law and order, not chaos and killing.”

“Then why did you take that shot?” Patriot asked her.

Teddy looked like she could crumble at any moment.

Grizzly swept her up in his arms and carried her over to the table. Sitting down, he held her in his lap rather than allow her to sit on her own.

Gunner gave her a harsh stare. “You said something about three days ago, what happened then that brought you here today?”

“Three days ago, my dad disappeared,” she told them while looking heartbroken.

“What the fuck?” Cobra swore. “What does that have to do with you shooting our man Grizz?”

“I think this might explain it.” Patriot came forward and laid her cellphone on the table. The photos were open on it.

Gunner reached for the phone and began flipping through the pictures. He passed the phone around the table and no one said a word as they viewed the evidence.

When the phone made its way around the table and back to Teddy, she picked it up and found the voicemail she hit play and put the message on speaker. “Good morning Teddy, I see you got the photos I sent you this morning. For now, your dad is still alive but he probably won’t stay that way very long unless you cooperate. I need you to kill a man for me. They call him Grizzly and he’s part of the Savaged Souls MC but he’s also a US Marshal. He owes me a debt, he’ll finally pay back. He took my dad, so now I’ve got yours and I will kill him, but don’t worry I won’t yet.(laughing) I’m giving you three days to get the job done or I will kill your dad. And if I do, you’ll never find his body. I’m a bit smarter than that. I don’t leave evidence behind. I will never sit on death row for years, waiting for the needle that will end my life. I’m giving you three days then after that, you can kiss your dad goodbye. He’ll be on his way to hell where all good cops end up.”

They all heard him laugh out loud, then they heard a woman’s chuckle.

“Three days little girl, or your dad is dead.” He snorted. “Maybe I’ll kill him anyway. But you’ll go to jail for murder and I’ll wave as I see you drive past in the back of a cop car in handcuffs. Those bastards do love their handcuffs don’t they? What the hell am I saying, you are one of them, aren’t you? Oh, the irony of this situation. A cop killing a biker. Now, that’s almost funny.”

The room was silent as they digested what they’d just heard.

Minute after minute they just sat there, then Gunner asked, “Do you know that voice? Have you ever heard it before?

Teddy raised her head. “Yes, I know it. I also know the woman’s laugh. I know who’s holding my dad hostage and wouldn’t hesitate to kill him. In fact, they probably already have killed him.”

“Who is he?” Cobra wanted to know.

She turned her head to answer him with tears in her eyes, “It’s the bastard my mother has been seeing behind my dad’s back… for a long time now.”

 

 

Chapter Four

 

Teddy hesitated to say more as she gazed at the floor.

As she paused, something snapped in Grizzly’s brain when he heard the voice mail. He knew exactly who was speaking and he growled out loud, “Levi Nixon.”

Teddy and Gunner both snapped their heads around to stare at him. “How do you know that?” Gunner demanded.

Grizzly snorted. “I saw him at the trial every day and the day his dad was convicted, he said he would get him out of jail. He was very loud in his slanderous and fault finding of the verdict. He vowed his dad wouldn’t die behind bars.” Shaking his head, Grizzly seethed. “This is his way of making sure that happens.” Looking over at Teddy he asked, “Do you know who the woman is?”

“Yes, her name is Reva Alexander,” Teddy stated.

Gunner was a bit startled as he stared at her. “Your mother?”

Teddy nodded.

Grizzly felt disgusted by this. “That’s just twisted and so wrong, on so many levels.”

Teddy snorted. “You think that’s twisted?” Shaking her head, she told them, “That’s only the beginning of a plot you cannot imagine. Three days ago, I found out my entire life has been a lie. Or so my mother would have me believe.”

“What does that mean?” Gunner asked with a frown.

“According to dear old mom, Ethan is not my father, a man named Darren is. That was news to me. I’ve been on this earth for twenty eight years now, and I was under the impression all these years that Ethan Alexander was my father.”

“She named Darren Nixon as your father?” Grizzly growled.

Teddy hung her head in shame. Sighing she admitted, “She had me when she was seventeen. Her father insisted that she marry the man she claimed as my father, so by the time I was born, she had married Ethan Alexander. She never mentioned this man, Darren Nixon until three days ago. She told me he was someone her dad never would have let her go on a date with, let alone marry but she claimed she has loved him all this time.”

The entire room went silent as they thought about what she was saying.

Finally, Boone asked, “What kind of mother does that to her kid?”

Teddy just sat there on Grizzly’s lap. Tears ran down her face and she couldn’t look at anyone. “That woman has never been a mother to me. She may have given birth to me but some women should never be mothers and she’s one of them.” Her words were barely whispered. “She’s been indifferent to me and my needs from day one. My dad and granddad raised me, Reva didn’t. She was too busy having her hair and nails done or shopping until she dropped to even care whether her daughter lived or died.”

Still in Grizzly’s lap, he wrapped his arms around her hugging her closely. He took her hand wrapping his fingers around hers and just held her hand.

“Do you have any idea where they’re holding your dad?” Cobra wanted to know.

“After my grandfather died, my dad moved us to Beaumont. He’d gotten a good job there. I graduated from high school in Beaumont and joined the force there as well. For some reason, my mom has been going to a house just outside of town. I didn’t know for the longest time but I followed her one day and saw this man Levi greet her at the door.” She took a deep breath and sighed. “If I had to guess, I’d say they had him at that house.” She tried to pull her hand out of Grizzly’s.

Grizzly wouldn’t let her go.

She couldn’t look at him as she said, “I wouldn’t be surprised that Levi did what he said he would do, my dad might already be dead.”

Gunner shook his head. “You don’t know that for sure.”

Teddy raised her head and looked him in the eyes, “Don’t kid yourself, cause I’ won’t. Reva never loved my dad, she told me that much three days ago. She’s been indifferent to me my whole life. I never knew why but now it all makes sense. She’s been carrying on behind my dad’s back with Darrin until he went to prison. She would disappear for days at a time, sometimes. She would never tell us where she went but she told me three days ago, she went to the prison to visit with the man she had loved all these years.” She shook her head, “If she loved him all these years, why didn’t she just marry him instead of my dad?”

Cobra snorted, “If she’s who I think she is, her daddy had something to do with it. Logan Riggs is a power hungry bastard, he never would have let her marry a man like Darren Nixon.” Shrugging he added, “He probably didn’t give a fuck who she slept with, but he didn’t want her marrying a man that would bring him down like that.”

 Skeeter snorted. “Her daddy is Logan Riggs?” Shaking his head, he went on, “Well, now the pieces are falling into place.”

“What do you know about Riggs?” Gunner asked him.

“I know the cartel comes and goes from his place down by McAllen all the time,” Skeeter explained. “Logan comes off as a respectable pillar of the community but everyone in that area knows he’s as crooked as the day is long. He has more money than he’ll ever spend and no visible means to show how he earned it. He likes to throw his wealth in the faces of the locals and thinks he can do just about whatever he wants. Thinks the laws of the land don’t touch him. He claims to run horses and cattle but he doesn’t own enough of either to make a living at it. He does have ranch hands all over the land but they don’t actually work the land. Rumor around town is that every one of those hands are well armed and they keep people off his property.”

“How did the Rangers come to notice the man?” Jett asked.

“The Brago cartel was just becoming big in the area and we were down there investigating a possible route through the area,” Skeeter informed them. Then he looked over at Teddy and Grizzly. “That was August, nearly fifteen years ago.”

Teddy froze and turned her head to look at him. Her grandfather died in September, fifteen years ago. Her brain didn’t want to make that connection. She just couldn’t…

Grizzly shifted in his seat and asked, “What do you know about your grandfather’s murder?”

Teddy shook her head. “I didn’t know how he died until about three years ago. I was told when I was fifteen that he was just gone. My dad tried to protect me by not giving me the details.”

“How did you find out?” Gunner wanted to know.

“I got curious and looked into the police files. I hadn’t wanted to know before then, because he had been gone so long. I could barely stand the pain of him not being there and then when I found out he’d been murdered… I almost lost it. Then I read who killed him. I couldn’t believe my dad hadn’t told me. When I asked him about it, he refused to talk to me about it. He would tell me to leave it alone. He said my questions wouldn’t bring grandpa back and the Marshals had caught the man who killed him and he was on death row.” She paused then admitted, “My dad knew something about what happened back then. His actions told me that much. He also knew his wife was cheating on him. We have both known for years. I asked him once when I was still in high school, why he didn’t just divorce her. He looked at me and said, he took his vows for life. He told me he might not love her anymore but he did love me and he couldn’t take the chance he would lose me.”

The men in the room all waited for her to continue.

Teddy hung her head. “He suffered all those years because of me, because he loved me. He wouldn’t risk losing me if he divorced her, or she left him.”

“So why did you fuck up the shot this morning?” Grizzly finally had to ask. “You never miss.”

Teddy lifted her head and stared at the men around her. Then she turned to Grizzly. Lifting her hand to her chest she said, “I knew in my heart that my dad and grandpa would be so disappointed in me if I took that shot. Everything they ever taught me about law and order… I took to heart. I knew Levi and Reva were going to kill my dad no matter what I did. They couldn’t let him live, not after all they had done to him. I just hadn’t accepted it all yet. In that one moment when I had you in my sights, I finally accepted it. I could feel my finger tighten on the trigger and at the last minute—I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t turn my back on a lifetime of teaching. I closed my eyes and prayed.” She hung her head and hot tears dripped down on his arm. “Then I heard the shot and my heart stopped. I waited for a moment and prayed the men in the parking lot wouldn’t miss their target. Then one of the bullets ripped through my shoulder and I almost welcomed the pain of it.”

The men were silent for a moment as most of them looked troubled.

Teddy turned her head and gazed at Grizzly. “Then you were there and I was never so happy to see you were still alive.”

Gunner snorted. “Yeah, we were glad to see him alive too.” Then he looked around the room and he read the decision in his men’s faces. He picked six men then turned to Teddy. “I need the address of the house Levi and your mom are holding Ethan.”

“Call her Reva. She’s never been my mother.” Teddy snarled. Then she gave them the address and the details. Reaching out, she touched Gunner’s hand. “I know I have no rights here with what I did, but I would appreciate any news of my father.”

Gunner nodded.

A few minutes later, the men got into two vehicles and left the compound.

Now they would have to wait and see what the men found at the house in Beaumont.

Grizzly lifted her up as he got to his feet. “She needs to rest.”

“Grizzly, you can’t ignore this,” Gunner stated as he turned hard eyes to the man. “We can’t ignore this.”

Grizzly nodded. “I know boss, but whether it's now or a couple of hours from now, nothing is going to change. She’s still going to be here. She isn’t going anywhere. We all know that. She’s already turned in all her weapons and she’ll face the consequences of what she did. But she’s hurt and heartsore at the moment. While we’re all waiting, can’t you allow her to rest?”

He then turned and carried her down the hall without even waiting for an answer from Gunner. But he didn’t take her back to the infirmary. He took her to the room he was using for now. Opening the door, he shut it with his foot and took her over to the chair by the window. He sat down with her in his lap and just held her for a moment.

After a long time she whispered, “Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why did you defend me against your brothers?” She wanted to know. “I almost killed you this morning and all you’ve done is defend me. Why?”

Grizzly shook his head. “Because you admitted closing your eyes at the last minute. You had no intention of killing me this morning.”

“You don’t know that for sure,” she whispered.

“Yeah, I do sweetheart.” He laid his head on the top of hers. “You and me… were a lot alike. Law and order is strong inside our very being. You could no more shoot to kill me than I could shoot an unarmed man. Yeah, I had a gun but I was no threat to you and you knew it. You knew in your heart, no matter what you did, your dad might not survive this ordeal. You apologized for not being able to save him but you knew he wouldn’t want you to do the deed.”

“So what will happen now?” she asked him softly.

“That will depend on what the brothers find when they get to Beaumont.”

“If my father is dead, I will hunt Levi and Reva down to the ends of the earth and get justice for him,” she vowed. “Neither one of them will escape justice.”

Grizzly believed her. He felt the same way she did. He also knew Darren was behind this whole plot. Now, he needed to prove it. He turned his head and narrowed his eyes. He wasn’t looking at anything particular in the backyard but instead, he was thinking about what they found out this morning, about Logan Riggs.

Did he have anything to do with the death of Theo Alexander? He had a feeling the man was in it up to his neck and he was somehow going to prove that as well. He might be fifteen years too late for it to matter to anyone but the small woman in his arms, but he wasn’t going to let this go.

 

 

Chapter Five

 

Grizzly looked down at her and saw her eyes were closed and he shook her awake, “Come on sweetheart, you need some rest.”

Teddy groaned. “But I don’t want to move, you’re so comfortable.”

Grizzly chuckled. “Well, that’s a first. Most people think I’m too hard.”

“Not me.” She snuggled into his neck. “To me, you’re just right. Not too soft and not too hard.” Her voice faded away as he got to his feet and walked over to his bed. He peeled back the covers and laid her carefully down on the mattress. He took off her jeans and her boots then stared at her body for a moment. Her limbs were so fine, her skin so creamy and soft. Her waist narrow, her tummy flat and taut while her hips rounded while her legs seem to appear longer than they actually were.

He remembered the glimpse of her chest this morning. For a small woman her, breasts were incredible. Full and round and more than a handful, he would bet. They sure overflowed her black silk bra.

He felt his blood stir and Grizzly had to shake his head. He pulled the covers up and turned to move away.

“Please stay with me,” she whispered. “I really don’t want to be alone right now.”

Grizzly groaned and tilting his head to the ceiling he closed his eyes. “I’ll be over in the chair honey. I just can’t share the bed with you right now.”

Teddy froze, then whispered. “Oh, I-I understand.” She turned her back to him and curled up into a ball. Her whole body shook.

 He thought he heard her sobbing. The sound tore at his heart and he couldn’t stand it. He went over to the other side of the bed, took his cut off, then he toed off his boots and crawled into bed with her. He gathered her close to him and whispered in her ear, “Hush now, darlin. Don’t cry anymore.”

 “I’m sorry, but it hurts too much.” She sobbed.

“What hurts too much? Your shoulder?”

“No, this thing they call living, every breath I take… hurts. Knowing I caused my father’s death, taking that shot this morning. That just about killed me.” She wept in his embrace. “Lord, I wish their return volley had been true this morning. I wish it had gone through my heart instead of my shoulder.”

Grizzly tightened his hold on her. “Well, hell sugar, I’m not. I’m sorry the damn thing hit you at all.”

“I will forever regret taking that shot this morning. I knew in my heart, it wouldn’t do any good. I knew Levi would still kill my father and not think twice about it.”

“Hush now, try to get some rest,” Grizzly told her.

She snuggled into his side and laid her head on his broad shoulder. “You feel so good.”

Grizzly chuckled. “So do you, sweetheart.”

Her arm slipped under his shirt and rested on his belly.

Grizzly inhaled slightly and froze. When her hand didn’t move again, he relaxed, let out a slow breath, and even closed his eyes.

For at least a little while, they both slept.

~*~

When Teddy opened her eyes, she noted the sun was at an angle that told her it was late afternoon. She almost hated to move as she was so comfortable. Taking a deep breath, she inhaled his scent. He had an earthy scent, rich earth and pine. It was heady to her senses. She inhaled again and nuzzled her face into his neck. Her hand was still under his shirt and as her fingers moved over his skin, she got goosebumps. His skin was smooth and the hair on his chest felt so soft. Her fingers dipped down his belly to the band of his jeans.

But before her fingers could begin to dip below the band, he growled and gripped them, almost crushing them in his hands. “Woman, you are poking at the bear.”

“Mmm-hmm.” She smiled at the joke. “I am. I want him to wake up and growl maybe?” She suckled his earlobe into her mouth. “Maybe I just want to feel something more. Something good.”

Grizzly growled and pushed her hand against the rock hard pole in his jeans.

Teddy groaned while letting his ear go, to lick and suck the skin along his neck. Her hand pressed the entire length of his cock through his jeans. She leaned up and looked into his eyes. “Grizzly, I want you. I know you have every reason to tell me to go to hell but I want to feel you inside me. Please? Even if it is just once.”

“Damn you, woman.” He growled as he grasped the back of her neck and brought her mouth down on his own.

Teddy whimpered as he crushed her lips with his. She ground her core against his pelvis.

Grizzly’s hand tore his jeans open and he pushed them down, lifting his ass to free his cock.

Teddy groaned as she rubbed her hot core against him. He was huge and hard as steel at the moment. Then without warning, her own hand went to her panties and she yanked them to one side. While still on top of Grizzly, she rubbed her juices all over his skin, coating his cock. Then she opened her eyes and saw him staring at her.

Lifting her hips while staring into his eyes, she came down on him.

He slid inside her warm, wet tight core and he groaned as she slowly lowered herself down onto his very large and firm erection.

~*~

“Damn girl, you’re so tight.” Grizzly let out a low growl as he fought the urge to surge into her. He felt her natural lubrication helping him and he was grateful as she pushed down on him. He groaned with need then grabbed her hips and helped her.

He knew he was bigger than most and she was smaller than average. But she felt so damn good. She wrapped him so tight she fit him like a glove. He withdrew slightly then surged again and again. When he bottomed out inside her, he hissed. “Holy ...dayum woman, you feel so good.”

“Please, I— need more Grizz, mmooorre—give me more...” She begged.

Grizzly shook his head. “If I gave you more, I could hurt you.”

“Uunnhh, don’t care, feels so, so good. I need you—all of you, at your most,” she kept telling him. “Please, fuck me like you need me too. Please?”

Grizzly lost control when he heard her pleading, begging for more, her words were so heartfelt. He flipped her onto her back, looked into her eyes, and began pounding inside her. Pinning her to the mattress, he stroked inside her hard and deep. She was tight and when her body began to near the edge of the abyss, he felt it.

Sweat beaded his forehead as he hammered into her. When he felt the zing at the base of his spine, he knew he wouldn’t last much longer but he wanted her to come first. His fingers found her clit and he began rubbing it. Teddy screamed as she flew over the edge of the abyss and that set off Grizzly’s reaction. He gave her one, two, three more pumps and then exploded inside her. His hot seed painted her walls, giving her an instant second orgasm…Grizzly had to groan when he felt her core muscles gripping his cock, milking him.

They had to stay where they were as their heartbeats calmed down to a normal pace and only then… did Grizzly move away.

Teddy whimpered while protesting when he did.

He flopped down beside her and didn’t move for the longest time. Raising his hand, he stroked her hair and his voice seemed to come out as a growl yet again, “What the hell did you do to me, woman?”

Teddy barked out a laugh. “Do you really need me to tell you? If so, you weren’t paying attention.” She turned her head to view him. “But I have to thank you for making me feel something other than the fear and sadness I’ve felt the last few days. You gave me hope in those few moments I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I don’t know what my future holds, but at least… I’ll have this to remember. So thank you for that much anyway.”

Grizzly leaned over her while feeling in awe over what she just said. “What the fuck?”

Teddy smiled and pulled him down, so she could kiss him. As soon as their lips touched, Grizzly groaned and devoured her lips under his. They lost track of time and place as the kiss deepened. When he finally lifted his lips, they both gasped for air but he just stared into her eyes. Then he lowered his own eyes to her lips. They were red and almost bruised looking. Her face just might be the most beautiful breathtaking sight he had ever seen. Her eyes sparkled while her creamy skin was a sweet pink.

But before he could do anything or say a word, a pounding sounded on his door. He lifted his head and glared at the portal.

 “Grizz, we got news from Beaumont!” Boone called out through the door.

 Grizzly snapped his gaze back over to watch Teddy react to the news. He saw the daze of their kiss fade quickly as terror come back to her face… just that fast.

She raised her startled gaze to him, searching his eyes.

“We don’t know what they found yet, so don’t be thinking the worst,” he warned her. “Let's find out what they discovered first.”

She nodded.

Grizzly went to get a warm washcloth and came back to gently clean her between her thighs. His eyes met hers for a few seconds as he did so. He saw surprise there in her gaze. Didn’t a man ever take time to care for her?

She finally broke their locked gazes, moved to the edge of the bed and got up.

 He cleaned himself a bit, then pulled up his jeans and buttoned them up. He leaned over to grab his boots pushed his feet into them. He turned to see her getting dressed as well.

Heading over to his dresser, he opened a drawer, and pulled out a t-shirt. He threw it to her.

Teddy caught it and didn’t say anything as she changed her torn shirt with his t-shirt.

He waited by the door and when she was ready, he held out his hand. When he felt her smaller hand in his, their fingers instinctively wrapped around each other’s and he opened the door.

Together, they walked to the main room like they were possibly heading to a funeral…and maybe they were.

 Everyone in the room looked grim.

“What did you find?” Grizzly asked, as they walked to the table and stood there, facing them. He pulled her close, holding Teddy tightly as they waited for the news.

“It was what we didn’t find that concerns us more than what we found,” Gunner announced.

“You didn’t find my dad, did you?” Teddy whispered brokenly.

Gunner glared at her and slowly shook his head. “No, we didn’t.”

Teddy slowly began to crumble and she would have fallen to her knees but Grizzly held her up. He grasped her shoulders and lifted her up to glare at her. “Don’t you give up yet, girl. If he were dead, you’d feel it in your heart.”

“But he could be anywhere!” She cried out. “Levi threatened if he killed him I would never know because his body would never be found.”

“Then we keep looking for him.” Grizzly wanted to shake her but he was afraid she might break down on him. He felt like she was beginning to fall apart and he needed to bring her together. “Do you think for one moment your father and grandfather would want to see you like this? You are an Alexander damn it, where the hell is your pride?”

“My pride was shattered with the sound of a bullet this morning.” She glared at him. “Did you forget that?”

“Was that before or while you closed your eyes when you took that shot?” He glared back at her.

There was a gasp at the table but she didn’t look to see who was so outraged at his announcement. “No dammit, that was when I kissed everything I learned as a kid and grew up to believe in goodbye. I closed my eyes and fell into the deep black hole when I took that shot. I opened my eyes to see you on the ground and I prayed whoever shot back would find his mark. My pain would have been, should have been over then… but your man missed his mark and only wounded me. Now, I have to live with my failure the rest of my days. I have to live with the shame of what I did, what that bastard Levi was forcing me to do and I may never know what he did to my father.” She lifted her arms and started beating against his chest more or less, taking her hurt and shame out on his chest. “You are a real bastard, you know that?”

Grizzly wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tight as she sobbed into his chest. “Yeah sweetheart, that’s been well established.” He looked over at Gunner and finally asked, “What did you find at the house?”

“We found her mother,” Gunner told him. “She had been beaten pretty badly but she was awake and coherent, so they are bringing her here, rather than take her to a hospital. We want to keep our eyes on her, while we look for Levi and her dad. The guys should be back any time now.”

Teddy gasped loudly then turned around to glare at him. “I can’t be here when she gets here. I never want to see that bitch again.”

Gunner thought about her request for a moment then nodded. “I think that’s a great idea. We can use her for information and we can let her think you got your mark. Maybe that will bring Levi to us, rather than us having to hunt him down. We need to find out if he’ll come here himself.”

Teddy snorted. “Was he the one who hit her?”

“Why do you ask?” Boone wanted to know.

“Because he hated her almost as much as I did,” she informed them.

“Why? I thought she was sweet on him.” Boone frowned. “Why would she spend so much time with him if he hated her?”

“Because it pisses him off. All she could talk about was Darren and how much he loved her all these years. She used to tell my dad how much he’d been looking forward to presenting his daughter to Darren when he got out of prison. Reva would taunt him about how big a role I would play with Darren when they got him out of prison. She was pushing him out of the picture and he knew it. That was one thing my mother enjoyed and felt she did well at, playing one man against another. I used to watch her do it to my dad, every day they were together. When she got bored with manipulating him, she would begin on me. Dad would never let her do it when he was around but then, he was gone a lot back then.”

Gunner’s cell vibrated on the table, he picked it up and read the message coming in. He looked up at them both. “You’d better go back to Grizzly’s room. The guys are almost at the front gate. Your mom is driving them fucking crazy with her demands.”

“Yeah she’s good at that.” Teddy nodded. “Oh, and beware of hidden weapons, my mother is always armed, at least with a small knife. Her father taught her to never let herself be caught and be a victim. She comes across as a helpless female, but she’s anything but. So do not be fooled by her act.”

Gunner paused for a moment then nodded at her.

Grizzly led her back to his room, as they all heard the gate opening.

They watched as three men carried a screaming, spitting, fighting Reva Alexander into the clubhouse.

 

 

Chapter Six

 

Gunner and the others watched as Grizzly and Teddy left the room.

 Just as they did‒ three of the other brothers, Jett, Gypsy, and Monster‒ were carrying a screaming, spitting, fighting Reva Alexander into the clubhouse‒ rather than escorting her inside.

They dumped her on her feet and she almost fell to the floor.

Reva managed to stay on her feet and glared at the men seated there.

They could all see she sported a black eye and a bruise on her jaw but as soon as she was on her own, she stopped snarling at the men who brought her into the building.

“Who the hell is in charge here?” Reva demanded, struggling against the cuffs on her wrists. “Release me, you fucking monsters! I’m the one who is in need of medical attention you bastards. I’m the victim.”

Gunner winced at the high pitch sound of her voice. He looked over at Boone and shook his head.

Boone just looked back as if to ask, ‘this is Teddy’s mother?’

Gunner got to his feet and faced the unreasonable woman. “I’m in charge here.”

Reva turned and glared at him with disdain. “Well, it's about damn time. Do you have any idea who I am?”

“Oh, we know exactly who you are,” Gunner assured her.

“Then why on earth am I in cuffs?” Reva screeched. “I’m the one who was beaten and left behind. I certainly didn’t beat up my own damn self. Are you and your men stupid?”

“We just didn’t want you to hurt yourself when you came around again,” Jett told her and the group, “There was a lot of blood on the scene.”

Reva swayed but not one of the men moved forward to catch her. She frowned when she realized these men hadn’t fallen for her ploy. “What the hell is wrong with you men? I need medical attention and I don’t need to still be in these damn handcuffs.” She growled.

“Lady, settle yourself down,” Gunner snapped as he leaned over the table, putting his hands down on the surface as he continued to glare at her. “You’re in our house now, and here… you have no power.”

“Well, I never!” Reva snapped. “I am Mrs. Ethan Alexander and I will not be treated this way.”

“Lady, we already told you, we know who you are,” Gunner all but shouted at her.

“Then get these damn cuffs off me, immediately!” Reva shouted back. “And get me a doctor. I think that little bastard broke one of my ribs.”

“What little bastard would that be?” Gunner wanted to know.

“Levi Nixon.” Reva raised her head and she actually had tears in her eyes.

Now, Gunner saw the banked rage in her eyes, not the fear that should have been there. He knew the tears weren’t real and hardened his heart.

She went on as if she were and actress on a theater stage, “He took us hostage three days ago. He beat Ethan in front of me and our daughter Teddy. Then he sent Teddy away but he kept Ethan and me.” She let a tear roll down her face. “I have no idea where my daughter even is.” Looking around the clubhouse she asked, “Where is this place and why am I here?”

Gunner snorted. “I think you know exactly where you are. The brothers said you were awake most of the trip back here.”

“Did Teddy come here? Is that how you found me? Did she tell you where I was?” Reva wanted to know. “Is she okay and still here? I’m so worried about her.”

Gunner ignored her questions and looked over at Patriot. Nodding he suggested, “Patriot is our medic, and he’ll have a look at you. Have a seat.”

Reva glared at him for a moment then suggested, “Do you have a private room we can go to?”

“Right here, will do,” Gunner told her smoothly.

Reva glared at him and moved over to the farthest table she could. She pulled out a chair with both hands together under the cuffs and sat down. “Can you at least release me from these damn cuffs?”

“No.” Gunner growled.

Reva glared at him and waited for this medical aid to come to her.

 Patriot got up slowly and walked over to where she was sitting. He checked her eyes, using a small flashlight to check for pinpoints and then felt along her jaw to make sure her bones weren’t broken. Next, his hands went to her ribs.

Reva snarled at him. “What the hell are you doing?”

“You said it felt like Levi broke a rib, I’m checking your ribs,” Patriot informed her in a steady tone. He lifted her shirt and she cried with unjust outrage. “Lady, no one can see your female parts and belly from here except me. Just checking for bruises which I’m not finding any. You’re fine.”

“Before you step away from her, check her bra for a knife,” Gunner drawled.

Reva snapped her head around to glare at him like he was nuts. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

“Not bloody likely woman,” Gunner assured her. “I told you we know exactly who you are. Some of us even know your daddy and he would teach his daughter to be armed at all times.” He looked over at Patriot and nodded. “Check her for weapons.”

“Don’t you dare touch me!” Reva hissed. “I’ll hand it over to you but you don’t get to search me.” With that, she reached inside her shirt and brought out a small switchblade then handed it to Patriot.

Patriot looked down at the small blade in his hand, then turned and left her sitting there with her mouth wide open. He dropped the knife onto the table, in front of Gunner.

Gunner took it and tossed it to Boone.

Boone cuaght it and they all knew this was the last they would see of this little knife.

Reva got to her feet and returned to the table. Leaning down on her hands, she glared at Gunner. “Just what the hell is going on here? Why am I being treated as the bad guy? I’m the one who was taken and held for three days and then I was beaten and left to die.”

“Where is your husband? Where is Levi?” Gunner asked her while entirely ignoring her little rant.

“How the hell should I know where they are?” she practically screamed the words out.

Boone growled and others at the long table put their hands to their ears.

Gunner looked over at Boone. “Yeah, I’ve had enough of her mouth too. Monster, escort her to a cell.”

“What?” Reva growled. “You’re putting me in a cell? Why? I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m the victim here. You lousy bastards.”

Monster rose to his full height and towered over the older woman by a good two feet.

She slowly looked up along his huge form then up to his hard face. Gasping, Reva had the good sense to back away from him slowly, as she began to look a little lost. But the foul woman bounced back quick enough. As just when Monster was about to escort her out, Reva glared at Gunner and asked, “I need to stop in the little girls room before you lock me away. And I would appreciate the use of my hands if you don’t mind.”

Gunner glanced at Monster and nodded. “Leave the cuffs on. I don’t trust her any further than I can throw her.”

Monster nodded and led her away.

She bitched and whined the whole way. Swear words coming out of her mouth by the damn second.

Boone sat back in his chair and slowly shook his head. “Wow, just wow. I can’t believe that bitch is Teddy’s mother.”

“Tell me about it.” Gunner snorted.

“Do you think she knows where Levi took Ethan?” Jett wanted to know.

Gunner narrowed his eyes as he glared in her wake. “Yeah, I think she knows exactly where Levi took her husband.”

~*~

Teddy was pacing in the room with Grizzly. At the moment, she wished she could be a fly on the wall of the main room. She would love to see the look on her mother’s face when she confronted Gunner and his men.

Grizzly shook his head as he walked over to the door and opened it.

Now, at least they could hear the conversation.

 Teddy moved closer to the door and listened to her mother rant and rave at Gunner. She shook her head. Her mother really was laying it on thick but Teddy had to chuckle at Gunner’s responses to her unreasonable demands.

Grizzly just growled like the bear he was when they heard Reva ask to use the little girl’s room. He looked over at Teddy and noticed she was shaking her head.

“She really is a conniving woman,” Teddy grumbled.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

Teddy went over to the bed and flopped down. “She knows exactly where my dad is. Levi left her behind to slow up finding them.” She looked so depressed for a moment then she snapped up her head and looked at Grizzly. “Oh my god, you have to warn them to check the bathroom! Have them check for a tracker or something like that. She only needs to use the bathroom in order to plant the tracker. Levi warned me they would be able to tell where I was going. I didn’t know what he was talking about until I checked my gear. I found one in my stuff before I got here. I destroyed it before I got too far from Beaumont. That could be one reason they had to leave her behind. So they would know where to find you guys. They knew you would come after my dad.”

Grizzly snarled but didn’t say anything. Instead, he sent a text to Gunner.

~*~

Gunner waited until Monster led Reva out of the room before he looked at the text then swore as he got to his feet and went to the bathroom himself. He began searching the obvious areas where a tracker could be hidden. When he found it, he snarled and took it out to the main room. Setting the device on the table, he reached for the weapon at his side. Smashing down on the electronic bug with the butt of his gun, he crushed it. He glanced at Boone and the rest of the men. “Get Teddy out here now.”

Jett walked down the hall and returned a few minutes later with Grizzly and Teddy. Gunner motioned toward the crushed disc. “How did you know?”

“Three days ago when they released me to come find Grizzly, I found one in my things. It was just after I left Beaumont and I destroyed it, so they wouldn’t follow me.” She shrugged. “I’m not sure but Levi must not know where you guys are.”

“How did you know where we were?” Boone asked.

“I asked dispatch. I have a friend in Beaumont and she knows where every MC is located. She told me where you guys were and she also told me they’ve used your services before as bounty hunters.”

“So you knew who we were before you got here,” Gunner stated. “If you knew that then you knew we would have defended anyone shooting one of us, right?”

“Yeah, I knew,” Teddy admitted softly. Her voice was little more than a whisper. “I was hoping that if my shot was good, your shot would be better.”

Gunner just glared at her at her admission. “Do you realize when Grizzly went down, I would be aiming to kill?”

Teddy nodded. “At that point, I really didn’t care. I knew my dad wouldn’t survive and I was throwing my common core values into the toilet. At that moment, I just didn’t give a fuck. When my finger tightened on the trigger, I knew then that Levi and my mom had won the battle.” She snorted. “They never would have let me live anyway. I have a target on my back even now.”

Gunner looked up at Grizzly and saw he realized she was right. If Levi ever found her he would try to kill her. He motioned for them to sit down. When they did, Gunner sat forward and asked, “We need to find this joker before he finds us. What do you know about Levi Nixon?”

“I know his dad, Darren Nixon is on death row for murder. That’s what this is all about,” Teddy stated. “They’re trying to muddy the waters around his conviction.”

“Did you ever meet Darren?” Gunner wanted to know.

Teddy shook her head. “No, I never have. Reva couldn’t be sure I wouldn’t tell my father or grandfather if she ever brought us together when I was a kid.” Shrugging she admitted, “I’ve always been closer to my dad than I ever was to the woman they call my mother. I’m sure having met the witch, you can understand why.”

Boone and several of the others snorted at this with nods of their heads as well.

“Do you have any idea where Levi would take your dad? Any idea at all?” Gunner wanted to know.

“Maybe if we knew why Darren killed my grandfather, we might have a clue,” Teddy replied. “I’m sure whoever paid that bill is being blackmailed by Levi in order to keep that secret.”

“What makes you say that?” Grizzly asked.

“Something he said before they turned me loose.” Teddy tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Levi said he would take my dad to the man who paid him for his silence all these years. Then he could shove my dad into a hole and just dump some dirt over him and no one would ever find his body. Then Levi asked why my mom hadn’t done that before. My mom told him my dad had his uses. He’s paid all the bills since Darren went to prison.”

Gunner shook his head. “Did she even care who killed Theo?”

Teddy felt the tears roll down her cheeks. “She might not have but my dad did.”

Grizzly frowned. “What do you mean?”

“He has been digging into the shooting. I think he was close to finding the truth.”

“Did he know Darren is trying to get himself free on a technicality?” Grizzly snarled.

“Yeah, he knew and I think he had the proof of exactly what happened that night.” Shaking her head she added, “I didn’t know it at the time but my dad has been looking for a motive for the last fifteen years. I think he finally got what he needed, and then this happened.”

Grizzly froze and stared at her. “The fuck? Do you know where this information is?”

Teddy nodded. “He gave it to me just before Levi took us hostage. Nobody knows where it is, except for me. I didn’t think it mattered now. I was so caught up in how all of this was over. My dad dead, me practically dead.”

Grizzly grabbed her by the shoulders. “Where is it?”

“It's in my pack.” She narrowed her eyes at the look on his face. “Does it even matter now?”

Grizzly shook his head at her and released a frustrated growl. “Teddy…you cannot just give up like this.” He then dropped his hands from her shoulders.

Teddy looked saddened. “Everything in my world crashed down. It was all done and said by the time they even made me turn…” She paused. “…into a killer. So, I never thought about the evidence anymore.”

Turning, Grizzly looked at Gunner. “This is what we missed fifteen years ago. This is the motive we’ve been looking for all these years. It could finally give us the man behind the scenes.” He turned to Teddy. “Sweetheart, I need whatever your dad found and I need it now.”

Pausing, Teddy studied his face for a moment then walked over to where her pack had been stored. She picked it up, opened it, and began digging through the contents. When she found what she needed, she returned to Grizzly. She held it out to him but before she handed it over, she looked into his eyes and asked, “Promise me, you’ll try to find my dad? Please promise me, you’ll at least try?”

“I’ll try. We all will really try,” Grizzly stated in that low, deep voice of his.

Teddy dropped the flash drive into his hand.


Chapter Seven



Grizzly’s hand closed over the flash drive and he closed his eyes. He prayed that Ethan found something the Marshals missed all those years ago. He knew more today than he did back then, so it might finally be possible to understand why Theo had to die. “Have you seen what’s on here?”
She shook her head. “He only gave that to me after Levi took us all hostage. Reva never knew it because she wasn’t in the same room as Dad and me.”Teddy saw her mother’s purse on the table and went over to it. She opened the bag and dumped the contents out of the table. There was the usual wallet and lipstick tube and when she opened the wallet she didn’t feel the least bit disrespectful. The one thing her mother had insisted all the while she was growing up was that no one was allowed to go into her purse for any reason. Reva didn’t mind going through her husband’s wallet but no one had better go through her own purse or all hell would break out.
But now, it didn’t matter. At least not to Teddy. Opening the wallet, she went through the items. Her mother had credit cards in there and a driver's license. When Teddy took out the license, she noted the address on it. It wasn’t the address she'd shared with Ethan. It was her grandfather's address, down in McAllen. Then she looked at the last name on the license and sure enough, it wasn’t Alexander, it was Riggs and the funny part? It had just been renewed.
Looking further for more stuff in the wallet, she found another license. This one had the name Alexander and the current address on it. Shaking her head, Teddy grabbed both and held them out to Gunner.
Gunner stared at her for a moment, then took the two licenses from her. Studying them carefully, he shook his head and handed them to Grizzly. “That doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would she have two id’s?”
“She needed to hide where she was going," Teddy explained. "I’ll bet if you check with the prison system, you won’t find Reva Alexander on their roll for visiting days, but you might find Reva Riggs.” She shook her head. “She’s been living a double life all along.” A single tear rolled down her face and she didn’t even try to stop it.
She sat down and continued searching through her mother’s wallet. Tucked in with the cash, she found a folded piece of paper. Teddy took it out and unfolded it. Frowning, she read it. Suddenly, she realized what she was looking at. Reva had written out what seemed to be a list of things to do.
*Get things set up so Darren can claim he wasn’t in the area Theo died in.
*Take the evidence to Darren’s lawyers for an appeal
*Take Ethan and Teddy hostage
*Make Teddy think she has to kill a man to save her dad’s life, Yeah right!
*If things don’t go well, fake a beating and leave plenty of blood behind
*Have Levi leave with Ethan for McAllen. If taken, Levi will have to rescue me before he takes the trip to daddy’s. Without me, he knows Daddy will shoot him on sight, because Daddy will know something went wrong.
*IF Teddy does her job and kills the man who testified against Darren, we just walk away, leaving her to take the heat. If she doesn’t, then Levi will kill her and Grizzly both, ME? I’ll get to go home and wait for Darren to be released.
*Darren will be so happy to be out of jail, he’ll appreciate me even more. The old fool.
*Have daddy kill Levi for giving me shit all these years. Or convince Darren to kill his own son by lying to him. haha

Teddy swallowed hard and passed the list to Gunner. Then she laid her forehead on the table. Her hand curled into fists and for the longest time, she couldn’t even speak. The first five items on the list had been crossed off, leaving the last four left to do.

Gunner read the list then snorted as he tossed it to the table. “Did she really think this would work?”

Teddy lifted her head and nodded. “Oh yeah, she really did. No one was supposed to ever find that list. No one was ever allowed to go through her purse, so she wasn’t worried about it.”

Rigger came into the room and looked over at Gunner. “Boss, your prisoner is yelling up a storm. Something about wanting her purse.”
Gunner snorted. “Yeah, I’ll bet she does. Tell her she’s out of luck.”
“Hang on a minute,” Teddy called out. She picked up the bag and felt the inside of it. Shaking her head, she held out her hand to Grizzly and motioned to the knife at his waist.
Grizzly looked at Gunner before he handed her the blade.
Teddy used it to make a tear in the lining, then handed the blade back to Grizzly.
Grizzly took it back and frowned. “What the fuck are you doing?”
Teddy held up a finger as if to say, 'hang on a minute' then she ripped the lining of her mother’s purse and shook her head. Reaching inside, she took something out and held it up in her hand. It was a small blade. When she flipped a switch the blade doubled in size and the blade itself gleamed it was so sharp. The blade itself was small and slim but in the right hands it could have been a deadly weapon. She looked over at Gunner and told him, “All my life, my mother has hated guns. She always said they were too loud and they made too big a mess but she did tell me once that her dad taught her how to use knives or a blade. She'd said they were smaller and more dangerous than anyone realized.”
Gunner reached over and took the blade from her hand. He studied it for a moment then shook his head. “She would have used this on anyone coming to see what she wanted, wouldn’t she?”
Teddy rolled her eyes. “Oh yeah and if they had the cell’s keys, she would be gone so fast, you wouldn’t even know she was here. She would be gone but you can bet she would have left nothing but devastation behind her.”
“That’s just damn cold, baby girl,” Cobra told her. He ignored Grizzly’s growl at the endearment
Teddy looked at him then glanced at Grizzly. “That’s the woman that I’m supposed to call my mother. God, I don’t even want to even acknowledge her by that name anymore.”
“So from this list, we can take the fact that your grandfather Riggs is involved in this plot?” Gunner asked.
“You can take it anyway you like.” She shrugged. “But I don’t think he ever liked me that’s for sure. When Reva would go to visit him, she always went alone. And even when she did come back to my father’s house, she was impossible to live with for the first several weeks. I’ve only met the man a half a dozen times in my life and I never liked him much either. He always had secrets and he was cruel, just like his daughter.”
“You still claim Ethan as your dad? Even when you aren’t sure?” Cobra wanted to know.
Teddy slowly turned her head to glare at the man. “Ethan Alexander will always be my father. He held me when I was born, he held me when I was hurt or just needed a hug. He protected me from day one. He took her abuse to protect me when I couldn’t protect myself. He loved me and taught me right from wrong. He is my dad and Theo was my grandfather, whether we share a bloodline or not. I don’t care what that bitch says.”
Cobra nodded. “I hear ya girl.” Then he stared at her for a moment, “And that was why you took that shot this morning. Even when you knew it was wrong, you had to take that shot.”
She ducked her head and looked over at Grizzly. “I’m sorry, but I would do it again, if I had to.”
Grizzly nodded. “I know.”
She let out a heavy sigh. “Still doesn’t make it right.”
“So ok...” Gunner rapped his knuckles down on the table again. “So how do we lure Levi and your dad here?”
“What makes you think my dad is still alive?” she asked.
“Levi isn’t stupid.” Gunner raised a brow at her. “He knows he can’t kill him too soon. If he does, then he’s lost his leverage. And right now, he needs that bargaining chip.”
“He can’t fudge his way through this either,” Boone assured her. “He knows he’ll have to prove he still has your dad at some point. If for some reason, he can’t, then he’s lost and he knows it.”
Grizzly sat forward and took her hand. “I gave your dad’s file to Rigger to make up a hard copy of what he found. We found enough evidence fifteen years ago to convict Darren Nixon and I thought we had a rock solid case. But now, since this clusterfuck began, I have a feeling we might have missed something back then.”
Teddy frowned. “Like what? If you had the evidence and got your conviction what did you miss?”
Grizzly shrugged. “I’m not sure but I think we missed the motive. I mean when you think about it, it does make sense, how and why would a lowlife like Darren Nixon ever think to kill a man like your grandfather? That murder is what started our manhunt back then. Then there was the fact Darren just didn’t want to get arrested. That’s what caused the man to turn on me and my partner. That was when he killed Abe and shot me and when I shot back, I took him down. It was in the aftermath that the original motive was lost and now, he thinks he can use that to get out.”
“You can’t let that happen.” She shook her head.
“I’m not planning on it but as someone pointed out, all this went down fifteen years ago,” he explained. “Memories might not be the same as it was back then, some of the eye witnesses have moved or worse...they died, evidence might be missing. A hell of a lot has happened between then and now, and that might be exactly what Darren Nixon is counting on in order to win his release.”
“That could be the reason my dad did his own private investigation.” She shrugged.
“No, I’m sure your dad just wanted to know the truth.” Grizzly nodded at her. “In his case, we got most of it right but like I said, I think we missed something back then. He just didn’t want us to forget it.”
“What do you suppose he found?” Teddy asked.
“I hope he found we did it the right way," Grzzly replied. "And I hope he found the answers he wanted. But if we did miss something, I hope to hell he found it and lives long enough to give me shit for overlooking the obvious.”
She looked over at Gunner and the others. “What are you going to do with Reva?”
Gunner sat back in his chair and answered, “We got eyes on her all the time. For now, she stays in the cell. She can rant and rave all she wants. We have eyes and ears on her and we can cut the ears if we need to. She isn’t going anywhere and from what we just read on that whacked out list, we just may use her to lure Levi here with your dad, like I said before.”
“Well then, I hope Levi hasn’t been stupid and killed him yet.” She looked upset as she replied.
“That would be foolish on his part,” Gypsy said. “He needs your dad to hide behind, your dad is his ticket and he knows it.”
She sat back in her chair and leaned against Grizzly. “Then I’ll hang on to that hope that he’s still alive. At least, I have that much.”
“You got more than that, Teddy.” Grizzly met her eyes. “You got me too.”
“You got us as well.” Gunner nodded. “We all got your back and if there’s a way to save your dad, we’ll find it. You aren’t alone in this fight anymore. We’ll find the truth and when we do, we’ll act on it and let the chips fall where they may. It’s the only way, I hope you understand that?”
She nodded. “Yes, I do. I know after all of this, I’ll face a judge for what I did and I’m okay with that. It's something that has to be. After all, no one is above the law. That goes for me as well as anyone.”
Gunner nodded slowly. “You’ll face a tribunal when this is done then. That’s MC law.”
Teddy nodded. She could only hope that by the time she faced this tribunal, the secrets would be out and the people involved in this mess were finally brought to real justice.


 

Chapter Eight

 

 Grizzly had all the evidence later that day.

 When it came in, the officer who delivered it asked, “What did you need all this stuff for? This case is fifteen years in the past.”

“I know but it's become warm again,” Grizzly replied. “I want to make sure I didn’t miss anything.”  

The officer snorted. “Kind of a high profile case to mess up on, don’t ya think?”

Grizzly leaned back in his chair and stared at the officer. He glanced at the name tag on his uniform and took note of his name. “You’re Justin Marlow, aren’t you?”  

“Yes sir, I am,” Justin admitted.

“Do you know anything about this case?” Grizzly wanted to know.

“Everyone knows this case,” Justin stated. “It isn’t everyday a man like Theo Alexander gets shot down like a dog in the street. What was it you missed the first time around anyway? You got the man who killed him.”

Grizzly frowned slightly. There was something in the young officer's voice that told him he knew more about this case than he was letting on about, but he couldn’t pin it down. He glanced over at Gunner and gave him a look. 

Gunner nodded slightly but didn’t say anything.

Grizzly looked back over at Justin and nodded, “Thanks for bringing this stuff over to me. I’ll make sure it gets back to the Marshals when I’m done with it.”

Justin shrugged. “I can stay and help if you like.”

“That won’t be necessary.” Grizzly shook his head. “There’s probably nothing here that was missed fifteen years ago but I just wanted to double check everything. Like you said after all, it's been fifteen years.”

“Well if you find something, I would be happy to volunteer to work with you in the reexamination of the case if you could use another hand,” Justin offered.

“I’ll keep that in mind if it comes to that.” Grizzly nodded. “But for now, I’ve got what I need, thanks.” 

Justin nodded back and then held out a paper for him to sign. 

Grizzly studied the paper and took note of the number of boxes Justin delivered. Then he glanced at the boxes. Grizzly frowned as he counted them again. “Excuse me, there are two boxes missing.”

Justin frowned. “Really? I thought I brought them all in.” He turned to leave the room, “Let me check the car again.”

Grizzly and Gunner both got to their feet.

 Grizzly said, “We’ll walk with you.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Justin insisted. 

“Not a problem kid,” Grizzly assured him.

Justin shrugged and walked a little faster. He reached the car before Grizzly and Gunner did and went to get into the driver’s seat.

 Gunner motioned for the guard at the gate to close things up.

Justin watched as the gate closed up and he knew he was caught. He looked up as a shadow blocked the sunlight to his left. 

It was Grizzly. “What’s going on here, kid?”

Justin shrugged. “It was an honest mistake man.”

“Why don’t I believe that?” Grizzly growled. “Oh yeah, it might be the fact that you just tried to run.” He reached down and grabbed the young man’s collar. “Come on, you got some questions to answer.”

Meanwhile, Gunner and Boone brought in the two boxes Justin coincidentally forgot in the car.

 Grizzly marched Justin inside. He pushed him in the chair and asked him flat out, “Now, tell me what the hell is going on here?”

“Like you said before this case is fifteen years old, the bad guy is in jail and that’s all,” Justin grumbled.

“So why were you all so fired up and ready to try and keep part of the evidence?” Grizzly demanded. 

“Hey man, why bother to look back into a fifteen year old case?” Justin argued. “The facts have already been debated in a court of law, like I said.  Darren Nixon isn’t getting out of jail anytime soon and looking into it again, isn’t going to change the fact. Theo Alexander will still be rotting in the ground and you can’t change that.” Shaking his head, he added, “You’re wasting your time here, man.”

“It’s my time to waste.” Grizzly shrugged. “and you are in no position to hold back evidence because you simply have a different opinion!”

“Some of us are thinking you should just let sleeping dogs lie,” Justin warned.

“Who the fuck are ‘some of us?’ And that’s shit’s not up to you or them, now is it?” Grizzly growled. 

“It might be, you never know,” Justin told him. 

“Is that a threat?” Gunner glared at him.

Justin just glared back.

Gunner looked over at Grizzly. Then he nodded at Boone and said, “Show our guest to a cell.” 

 Boone looked over at Gunner and asked, “You want I should search him for weapons first?”

Gunner nodded.

 When Boone got close to him, Justin got to his feet and snarled at the man, “You have no right to search me or lock me up! I’m a fucking Marshal not a thug.”

“Except I outrank you and you just threatened my life,” Grizzly reminded him.

“You gave up your badge, so you no longer outrank me,” Justin claimed.

“I am so surprised a punk like you is so ill informed.” Grizzly nodded. “The Captain wouldn’t accept it until this case is over. So I’m still a Marshal.”

“That’s just bullshit!” Justin screamed.

Grizzly shrugged. “I don’t care if you believe it or not, it's true.” He leaned closer. “So I have every right to arrest and detain you, if for nothing else, for insubordination. Plus, you fucked up when you crossed the front gate. This is MC territory and their rules are enforced here. So you’re screwed either way.” He motioned his head over at Gunner and Boone, “They make the MC rules here and they enforce them too.”

“Fuck you old man.” Justin snarled. 

As Boone searched him he didn’t find any weapons and when he led him away Justin began struggling but Boone wasn’t allowing him to get free.

Grizzly shook his head. “I do not understand what his problem is.” Looking over at Gunner he asked, “Why? What the fuck would a kid like Justin Marlow have against me?”

Rigger had joined him and when he came in, he was holding a stack of papers in his hand. “I think Ethan found that answer.” 

Gunner turned his gaze to his IT man. “What does that mean?”

“I think Ethan found out why his father was shot down in cold blood,” Rigger told them.

“What did you find?” Grizzly asked.

 Just then, Teddy came out of the kitchen with DeeDee and Winona.

“I found a list of Logan Riggs’ employees,” Rigger explained. “One of the names is Leonard Marlow. Leonard is Logan’s ranch manager. That’s Justin’s dad. So, Justin may have a good reason to NOT want any of this looked into. He’s here to protect his dad from being exposed.”

Teddy gasped when she heard what Rigger had to say. She sat down hard in a chair at Grizzly’s table.  She looked up at Rigger and asked in a shaky voice, “What else did you find  from my dad’s drive?”

Rigger looked at Grizzly then at Gunner before he answered her. 

Gunner nodded at him.

 Rigger then went on, “Your dad Ethan found out your grandfather was in Laredo the weekend before he died.  Ethan wrote himself notes as if he were recording his own thoughts and one of the things he wrote was that he felt his dad saw something he shouldn’t have that weekend. So he went to Laredo a few weeks ago, he spoke to your grandfather’s friends. Well most of them, he never got the chance to speak to Weston Holt.”

 Teddy shook her head. “But he did speak to Weston Holt,” she told them. “Well, he was going to anyway. My dad told me he called Weston and spoke to him about two weeks ago. Weston was going out of town but he promised he would contact dad as soon as he got back.”

 “Would he be back now?” Grizzly asked.

Teddy shrugged. “I don’t know.”

Gunner grunted. “Well, why don’t we call him and find out.”

Grizzly found the number in Ethan’s notes and made the call. When he hung up, he looked over at Gunner. Then he looked over at Teddy. “He was waiting for your dad’s call. It seems he might have something to say that might give us a clearer picture of what happened to Theo.”

“Why didn’t he speak up fifteen years ago, when it might have mattered?” Teddy asked.

“Honey, he said he tried but no one would listen to him back then,” Grizzly repeated what the man told him. “They all thought he was crazy back then. He told me Theo gave him something just before he died and he told him to one day, give it to Teddy. He said Theo told him if anything happened to him, she would one day let the world know what really happened. He said this was Theo’s way of safeguarding her until she was old enough to know the truth.”

Gunner looked over at her. “Do you have any idea what he’s talking about?”

Teddy shook her head. “No, I don’t.”

Grizzly nodded. “Well, we’re about to find out. He said he would come to us, so he’ll be here in about an hour.”

“Well, before he gets here,” Gunner cut in. “We should have a look at what else Ethan found out before all this hits the fan.” 

Teddy stared at the stack of papers on the table. This stack represented the work her father had uncovered. As a daughter, she wasn’t sure she could look at it, but as a cop, she knew she had too. Not knowing whether he was dead or still alive was breaking her heart. But she knew he would be mad at her if she let him down like this. So, taking a deep breath, she reached for the stack of papers in front of her. 

Grizzly grabbed her wrist. “Teddy, why don’t you let Gunner and me look through this info first.”

Teddy shook her head. “Because if I give into the grief I’m feeling, I’ll be lost. Someone out there killed my grandfather and wants to kill my dad and me. I was sent here to kill you in order to save my dad’s life and even when I pulled that trigger, I knew my dad might already be dead.  I pray that he is still alive. I pray that soon...I will be able to look him in the eyes and tell him I love him one more time. I have to think he’s still alive because the thought that he’s not here anymore just hurts too much and I don’t feel the loss here, yet.” She pounded on her chest. “I don’t feel the same kind of loss I felt when my grandfather died.”

Grizzly shook his head and let out a saddened sigh.

Teddy looked angry now as she continued, “Whether the bitch called my mother has lied to me all these years or not, it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to me. I was raised by Ethan Alexander and Theo was my grandfather. I’ll be damned if I turn my back on all of that and what they taught me. So while going through all those papers will probably hurt like hell... I have to do it with you. Please don’t shut me out of any part of this. I have to do this for my own sanity.”

Grizzly nodded. “Ok.”

Teddy reached again for the papers to take the first look at what her dad found.

Over the next hour, they studied the evidence of the trial and the drive that Ethan had given Teddy. Before they knew it, Weston was at the gates. When he came inside Teddy knew him at first glance. She didn’t know if she would know him or not but she sure did. She got to her feet and ran to him. 

When Weston hugged her to him he trembled. “Oh, my god girl, you have grown into a beautiful woman. Theo would be so proud of you if he were here today.”

Teddy stepped away from him and wiped the tears from her eyes. Shaking her head, she told him, “I don’t think so but thank you for saying that Uncle West.  I needed to hear it.”

Weston Holt just smiled when he looked at her. “You look so much like your grandmother. But I think Theo knew that the day you were born. You have her eye color.”

Teddy was stunned. “What? What did you say?” she whispered.

Weston smiled. “You have your grandmother’s eyes little girl, didn’t your dad ever tell you that?”

“Not that I remember.” She shook her head.

“Oh, your grandmother was a little spitfire.” He chuckled. “To keep up to Theo, she had to be.  He lost a good woman though, when she died. He was never able to forget her that’s for sure.” He looked over at the men standing there. “Ethan contacted me a few weeks ago and when he told me what he was doing, I gave him hell and told him it was about freakin’ time.”

“You know what’s going on here today?” Gunner asked.

Weston nodded. “Yes, I do. Ethan was afraid something like this might happen.”

“What did he know?” Teddy asked.

“He knew who murdered his dad,” Weston told her.

“That would be Darren Nixon,” Grizzly stated.

Weston shook his head. “Nope, sorry young man, Darren Nixon was just a tool he used to get the job done. No, Nixon isn’t the one who killed Theo, that honor goes to one man who is hiding a terrible secret. And he’s been hiding that same secret for thirty-five years. That man is Logan Riggs.”

Teddy gasped and with her mouth open in shock, all she could do was just stare at him. “Logan Riggs? How do you know that?” she could barely whisper.

“Because I know Logan Riggs and everyone in the Laredo area knows what he’s doing. They’re just too afraid to say anything.” He shook his head. “He had Theo killed and when I raised some hell, he had me run out of that part of the state. I thought he was going to silence me as well but I stayed out of his way.  I left but I know he had me watched for a couple of years.” He reached for something in his pocket. He brought out a small wooden box. The box itself was only about 3x5 and about two inches wide. “He gave me this a week or so before he died. He said he had a feeling something bad was coming. He’d said he could feel it in his bones. But when he gave me this he told me to hang on to it and give it to you when you were grown. He said you would know how to get into it. He never told me what was inside but he said you would know.” 

Teddy took the box from him and studied it carefully. Then she smiled and placed her fingers at different points and pressed buttons. Theo had shown her the trick of the box many years ago. The top of the box slid open and she gasped as she looked inside. She then stared at Weston with tears in her eyes. “Oh my god, this is what he died for. This is Logan’s secret?”

 

 

 

Chapter Nine

 

Teddy went back to the table and sat down. She pulled out some pictures and a few handwritten notes from her grandfather. Studying the photos, she passed them along to the others.

Grizzly held up one picture and asked, “Who is this guy?”

Teddy looked at the photo, as did Weston. They both answered as one, “That’s Logan Riggs.”

Teddy nodded. “I’m not sure who the other guy is but that’s Logan.”

Grizzly growled. “The other man is Francisco Brago. He’s one of the cartel leaders along with his two brothers, Luis and Angel. The Marshals have been trying to bust them for years but we could never get close enough or find enough evidence to bust them.”

Gunner looked over at Weston and asked, “Can you identify any of these other men?”

Weston pointed out the men who worked Logan’s ranch. He tapped at one man and said, “That’s Leonard Marlow. He shook his head. “He’s got a son in the Marshals and he’s using that boy to keep one step ahead of the police.”

“How do you know that?” Boone asked.

“Why do you think you can’t get enough evidence to bust them, son?” Weston asked carefully as he stared at Grizzly. “Leonard’s boy tips them off every time. That gives Logan time to hide his illegal shit.” He snorted. “Each and every one of his ranch hands is well armed and not afraid to shoot people that get too close.”

“Have you seen this up front?” Gunner wanted to know.

Weston nodded. “Yeah, I seen it. Theo and I both saw it. About ten days before he was shot, we were on the ridge above Logan’s ranch and we saw the cartel come through one of the tunnels they have. We saw them carrying box after box of drugs and guns. They loaded them all into two vehicles and drove them to Logan’s barn.” He looked over at Teddy and shook his head. “Your grandpa took a video of the shenanigans but I have no idea where that ended up. He also said he left you a message on tape with it but like I said, I don’t know where it all went.”

“I do,” Teddy told them quietly. “My dad gave me a small, wooden box after grandpa died. I just couldn’t touch it but I still have it.”

“Well, get it out,” Grizzly urged. “Let’s play it and see if the information is still there.”

Teddy got up and went to her room for the small wooden box.

Grizzly looked over at Weston. “You said before, she has her grandma’s eye color. Did you mean that?”

Weston nodded. “Wilma Alexander was a rare woman even for her time. She had pitch black hair and copper colored eyes just like Teddy. Why?”

“Her mother told her several weeks ago that Ethan wasn’t her real father, that a man named Darren was her father.” Grizzly stared at him.

“That’s a god damn lie! I knew Wilma and I know Reva. Reva couldn’t tell the truth if her life depended on it.” Weston looked disgusted by the whole idea. “Trust me when I say, she looks like her grandmother. I think that was why Theo fell in love with her so hard. She’s the spittin’ image of her grandmother. He would have loved her anyway but that girl was the apple of his eye, for sure.”

No one said anything when Teddy came back carrying the small box. She sighed then opened the top. She reached in and brought out a picture of a much younger Theo with his arms around a young woman. She looked just like Teddy but it wasn’t Teddy.

“That’s Theo and Wilma,” Weston said.

Teddy gasped at the likeness between herself and her grandmother. Looking up at him she stated, “Then Ethan is my father?”

“Of course, he is sweetheart.”

She turned to Grizzly and begged him, “We have to find him. I have to know he’s still alive!”

“We have to lure Levi here, then don’t we.” He stared back at her. “And we both know how to do that.”

“No. I won’t do it!” Teddy cried out. “Please don’t ask me to do that.”

“Teddy, we have to.” Grizzly shook his head slowly.

Teddy got up and rushed to his side. She wrapped her arms around his waist and Grizzly held her closed for a long moment. She took a step back and shook her head. “I can’t do it.”

“You have to do this,” Grizzly repeated to her softly. “This needs to be over for both of us.”

“But he will kill you and everyone here knows it. I couldn’t take that shot but Levi will. You know he will!” she argued.

“That’s why I want you on the roof with your rifle,” he continued. “I want you to take him out before he takes me out.”

“Your brothers will never allow that.” She shook her head firmly.

“Yes we will,” Gunner assured her. “I’d rather have you up there to take that shot than allow Grizzly to face this prick with anyone else and believe me when I say, we have righteous backup. We could do it without you, never doubt that, but I think you might just be what he needs to step out and face this prick.”

“Just don’t close your eyes when taking this shot.” Boone grunted. “You find that bastard and you take that shot. We can tell you right where he is, all you have to do is pulled that trigger. You nail his hide before he gets a shot off.”

Teddy took a shaky breath and exhaled. “If you can tell me where he is, I’ll take that shot.” She looked over at Grizzly. “But you have to promise me that we find my dad.”

“That goes without saying it sweetheart. We’ll find your dad,” Grizzly vowed.

Taking a moment to look around at the men then at Grizzly, she released a breath and said, “Ok, I’ll make the call.” She picked up her cell phone and tapped in a number. When the call was answered, she snarled. “Is my father still alive?”

“Why do you want to know?” Levi seethed back at her. “Is that fucker dead yet?”

“My shot hit him but they hustled him inside so fast, I don’t know how bad it was,” Teddy explained. “I had to wait until midnight to get clear of the clubhouse. They put everything on alert and I couldn’t get away for the longest time.”

“I don’t give a shit what you had to do, you stupid bitch!” Levi snarled. “Where is your mother?” He paused, then asked, “I had to get away from her, she was driving me crazy with her demands. She acted like I owed her something. She’s a right pain in the ass.”

“How the hell am I supposed to know where she is?” Teddy asked him. “Last thing I knew, she was with you.”

“Yeah well, I popped her one and while she was out, I got the hell out with your dad. Oh, by the way, he’s not in such good shape. I mean he’s still breathing for the moment, but he might not be come morning. Tell me where you are.”

“I’m in Jasper. Just outside their clubhouse on the east side of town,” Teddy finally told him.

“I’ll be there before dawn. If you can’t get the job done, I sure as hell will.” He growled at her. “Maybe I’ll even set things up, so your dad takes the blame for the shot. Yeah, I think that will give me time to escape after I take the shot. Maybe, I’ll kill more than just the bastard who put my dad away. He isn’t the only one who will die tomorrow.”

“If my dad isn’t alive when you get here, I will hunt you down like the rat bastard you are,” Teddy threatened with a growl in her voice.

“You think you can take me on and win the game, bitch?” Levi laughed at her. “You can’t even take out one fucking man that’s not so hard to miss. You ain’t got no game. You be there tomorrow morning and I’ll show you how it’s done, then I’ll shoot your dad right in front of your own eyes. That way, you’ll know his death is on your fucking useless hands. He’ll die because you couldn’t damn well do what you were told. I’ll show you just how his head will explode when its hit with a high powered rifle. I got one that will do the job.”

When the call went dead, Teddy dropped to her knees. Tears ran down her face as she struggled to deal with Levi’s threats.

Grizzly lifted her into his arms and her legs went around his waist as she sobbed into his neck.

No one said a word, but Boone disappeared for a moment and when he returned, he laid her rifle on the table behind them. He brought out not only her rifle but her camo bag as well. They had found it up the tree after she fell. That bag held her scope and her ammo. She would need both in the morning.

When she stopped sobbing, Grizzly continued to hold her, whispering words in her ear that only she could hear.

Eventually, she loosened her legs and slid her feet to the floor. She stepped away from him and wiped the tears away with her hands then rubbed her wet hands on her jeans. Taking a shaky breath, she looked at each of the men standing in the room. “That fucking bastard is mine. You may have a bead on him at dawn but he’s mine to put down like the rabid dog that he is.” She looked over at Weston. “Come morning, I’ll make grandpa proud of me even if it’s the last thing I do. I will take out the trash, then I’m going after Logan Riggs.”

“Not alone, you’re not.” Gunner glared at her.

Turning to him, Teddy shook her head. “This isn’t your fight, its mine. You can’t get involved. I won’t bring down the law on your MC.”

Gunner just grinned. “Honey, we are the law here. We hunt bounties for a living and we know just how far we can go without a warrant. But even that won’t stop us, because we can always get a warrant if we need too. Besides, Grizzly is a Marshal he can get us a warrant if he thinks we need one.”

 “Ok, but first things first,” Teddy replied. “And that would be Levi. From my own observations, I thought the front of the building would give the most advantage points to take the shot. From the front, you can cover a hell of a lot more ground than you can from either side of the back.”

Gunner and Boone both nodded.

“That’s true enough,” Boone agreed.

“We got heat seeking cameras all around the clubhouse,” Gunner told her. “That’s how I knew where the shot came from the morning you shot at Griz. We picked up your heat signature.”

“I need to check out the roof and find my spot then.” She nodded at his statement.

“Come on, I’ll take you up there.” Grizzly took her hand and on the way to the hall, she grabbed her rifle from the table.

They mounted the stairs and when they got to the top, Grizzly opened the door. They could immediately feel the heat as they stepped out onto the roof.

Teddy paused and noted the wall around the perimeter of the roof. It was a low wall but high enough to cover the form of someone kneeling. That would not only give the sniper protection but concealment as well. No one would be able to see them.

She nodded and walked around the area toward the front of the building. She took a knee and peeked out over the edge. She whipped her gun to her shoulder and took aim at the trees below her. Making a sweep, she could fire from this position to any one of the many trees on the other side of the fence she wanted to.

Grizzly simply watched her in silence.

Finally, after a few minutes she got to her feet and nodded. “I can take that shot.” She turned and walked back to where Grizzly stood. “I’m good. I just need to get out here before he arrives and be waiting for him.”

“We will get you there,” he vowed.

“Knowing Levi, I wouldn’t trust him any farther than I can throw him. So be ready for anything come dawn, Teddy warned him. “If there is a way to cheat, he’ll find it and use it. That’s just how he is.”

Grizzly cupped her face between his huge hands and looked her in the eyes. “Sweet Teddy, we got this, all you have to do is take that shot, only this time make it count.”

Teddy growled. “You can bet your ass on that. I’ll make this one count.”

He leaned over and brushed his lips on hers. When she moaned at his action it was all Grizzly could do not to take her right then and there. Instead, he pulled away and led her back downstairs.

Teddy sat alone at one of the tables and cleaned her weapon. She was meticulous in her efforts.

Jett and Gypsy both watched her work. Jett had seen her method only a few times in his life and he just shook his head. Looking over at Gunner he said, “She’s been taught by the fucking best of the best.”

“What do you mean?” Gunner stared at him curiously.

“Whoever taught her how to clean that weapon knew what he was doing,” Jett explained. “He’s spent some time in the service too.”

“My granddad taught me this,” Teddy finally spoke up. “He said a clean gun shoots straight and more to the mark, than a dirty one does.”

“He’d be right about that.” Jett nodded.

When she was done, she put her things away and began loading her weapon. With a full clip, she lifted her rifle and peered through the scope. Then she lowered the weapon to the table and looked at them. “If I miss my shot for any reason, I want you to make sure that bastard is dead.”

Gunner, Jett and Gypsy nodded.

Gunner pushed a small tape recorder towards her, “There’s something on here that you need to hear. Weston was right… your Grandpa Theo left you a message. You need to hear his final words before the shit hits the fan.”

With an unsteady breath, Teddy sat down and stared at the recorder. Then she looked at Gunner. “Have you heard it?”

He nodded.

“Then play it again.” She didn’t touch the recorder but waited for Gunner to hit play.

He did.

'Baby girl, I know if you’re listening to this message, I’m probably gone and your heart is hurting but I wanted you to know that I loved you from day you were born. By now, you know what kind of woman your mother is but I wanted you to know your dad and I love you.

I need you know who killed me and why. Logan Riggs gave the order for my death. He might not have pulled the trigger but he ordered it all the same. He’s sold out to the cartel and is working hand in hand with them to bring drugs and guns into this part of the state. He’s got a special place in his barn where he stores the shit in until they can get it out. I’ve seen it. It’s under the floor and there’s a stairway to the vault through the tack room.

The Marshals will find it if you show them the video, I left for you. It doesn’t matter when, but you need to stop him. He sold his soul to the cartel a long time ago and his daughter did as well. She’s nothing more than a whore but your daddy won’t leave her because he’s afraid she’ll take you with her. And that’s something he couldn’t take but one day, she’ll turn on him. He knows it same as I do. So you have to be ready for anything from her. I know she never loved you as a mother is supposed to, she’s only really ever loved one person, and that was herself.

But me and your daddy loved you enough for both of them. Take care of yourself and to yourself always be true. That’s really all that matters. We are only on this earth for a short time in the overall scheme of things. Remember, I love you and we tried to raise you right.'

The message ended there and Teddy couldn’t seem to say anything. She got up, grabbed the recorder, and put it in her camo case. She then picked up her gun and walked down the hall to the bedroom she shared with Grizzly.

The men all heard her close the door quietly and they didn’t have anything else to say.

~*~

At something like four a.m. the door to the roof opened and a shadow slipped through the opening. Teddy made her way to her spot near the front of the building and she settled in for the duration. She was dressed in black and as she waited, she remembered her grandfather’s words. “Be true to yourself.” That was top priority in his books. She vowed that she would try.

An hour later, the door opened again, and this time two shadows came out. When they got close to her, they weren’t surprised to find her there. No one said a word as they too, found their positions.

As the dawn’s light began chasing away the night shadows, Teddy turned and began searching the area in the front of the clubhouse for intruders. That’s when she saw him.

She looked through her scope and saw the badly beaten man with his hands tied to the lower limb of the tree. She knew right away it was her father and he wasn’t moving. What she hadn’t heard was Levi placing him there.

She looked down at her phone. She’d had Rigger download his cameras to her phone, so she would be able to detect Levi’s heat signature when the time came. At that moment, she could see a faint heat coming from her dad but not one coming from Levi.

She was patient and she looked again. There it was. A heat signature high above in the tree her dad was tied too. She raised her rifle and looked through the scope. Taking a deep breath, she studied the area well before she picked him up. She had a feeling she would only get one shot at this and she had to make it count.

Exhaling, she moved her finger to the trigger. She adjusted her scope and looked again. She could see his face and it was just as ugly now, as it ever was. She could even see him sweat. Looking into his glazed eyes, she could tell the man was higher than a kite.

She wrapped her finger around the trigger and engaged the safety. Her rifle was the kind that had a double click to engage. Everything else faded way. It was just her, the rifle and her target. With a calm she hadn’t felt in days, Teddy snuggled the gun into her shoulder and gently squeezed the trigger.

The shot echoed loudly in the predawn silence.

With that same calm, Teddy watched as the bullet entered Levi’s head and it exploded upon impact.

His body fell to the hard ground with a thud and her nightmare was over.

Men rushed outside from the front doors of the compound and over to the tree. They cut down Ethan’s body and carried him inside.

Jett and Gypsy got to their feet but before they could go to her, the door to the roof opened up and Grizzly came through it. He went straight to her and helped her to her feet. Then he simply held her.

Teddy breathed in his scent and held onto him for a long moment.

When she would have moved away from him, Grizzly growled as he leaned in and kissed her silly.

 

 

Chapter Ten

 

“Can you just hold me for a moment?” Teddy whispered as he broke the kiss.

“I plan on holding you for the rest of eternity, sweetheart.” He growled.

She buried her face in his chest and sobbed for a moment. She had a bad case of the letdowns right now and she just needed to borrow his strength for a moment. When the moment passed, she looked up at him. “I need to see my dad.”

Grizzly nodded and escorted her to the door. They went down the stairs together, and headed straight for the infirmary. When the got to the doorway, Teddy walked in slowly. She laid her rifle on the table just inside the door and moved forward. Gunner, Boone, Weston and several of the others were lined up along the wall but she ignored them as she made her way to the bed where her father laid.

Patriot was working on him and Teddy waited and watched for a moment. “Is he still breathing?” she had to ask.

Patriot looked up at her briefly. “Yeah sweetheart, he’s still breathing. But he’s hurt really bad. He took a hell of a beating.”

“Can I sit here for a moment without being in your way?” she begged.

“Yeah, go ahead.” Patriot nodded.

Teddy sat down and tears ran down her face when she looked at him. His face was swollen and bruised, his nose and cheekbone were broken and his skin was covered in dried blood. Even his hair had dried blood crusting it.

His right arm looked broken as it was laying there and the bones were so close to the surface but they hadn’t broken through. His wrists were raw and still bleeding with grooves from the zipties. His chest and belly were covered in bruises from the beating.

She reached out tentatively and took his hand in hers very carefully. His skin was cool to her touch and her thumb rubbed across the space between his thumb base and his fingers. She leaned closer and whispered in his ear, “Daddy, I got him. I took the shot. I couldn’t kill the man he wanted me to kill but I did get Levi. You told me not to take the first shot, you said your live wasn’t worth the life of an innocent man but I had to try. You were right daddy, I couldn’t do it. I did as you and grandpa taught me, I looked into his eyes and I couldn’t kill him. But I could kill Levi. I read the evil in Levi’s eyes. So I took that shot. He won’t hurt anyone else now.” She laid her head on his hand. “Please come back to me daddy. I still need you so much.” She smiled slightly. “I found myself a guy daddy. I really want you to meet him. His name is Grizzly and he’s part of an MC. But you would like these guys. They’re good people. Please daddy, don’t leave me, I couldn’t bear it, the world wouldn’t be a better place without you in it. I still need you.” Her words faded into silence then finally she lifted her head to look at him again. After a few minutes, she got to her feet and leaned over him gently kissing his forehead. Looking over at Patriot she whispered, “Please save him.”

Patriot looked up at her and nodded. “I plan too, honey.”

She turned to Gunner and said, “I need to see Levi’s body.”

“It’s not a pretty sight.” Gunner warned her with a frown.

Teddy snorted. “I don’t expect it is. I had an up close and personal peek when his head exploded, but I still need to see it. I have to know he’s really gone.”

Gunner nodded and glanced over at Boone.

Boone pushed away and motioned for her to follow him.

Grizzly fell into step beside her as they went out to the main room then out the front doors. They traveled to one of the outside sheds and when they entered, they could smell the blood in the air. Someone had laid the body on a worktable and covered him with a sheet.

Blood stained the cloth at one end of the table.

Boone stayed back and let her moved forward on her own.

She grabbed Grizzly’s hand as she walked toward the table. She took a moment then pulled the bloody sheet back. She looked down at him and couldn’t recognize the man he once was. Half his head was just gone. He did have one eye left and it was wide open while staring at nothing. Blood pooled around his head and it still looked fresh. The lower half of his face was still intact but his skin was waxy looking.

Finally, she lifted the sheet again, and covered his face.

Grizzly pulled her to him and held her, one hand behind her back and the other behind her neck.

Teddy held on to him but she couldn’t cry. They stood like that for a couple of minutes.

Finally, she stepped away. She looked up at him and nodded. “I need to see Reva.”

“You sure you want to do that?” he asked with doubt in his voice.

Teddy nodded. “Yeah, I’m sure. I want her to know her boy toy is dead and I’m still alive. I want her to know she failed and that I saved my dad, despite her hopes that Levi would kill him.” She paused as her gaze went hard. “It’s the least, I can do for her. I want to see her face when she finally realizes she’s going to face the consequences of her actions.”

Grizzly nodded and together with Boone, they walked back to the clubhouse. They escorted her back to the cell area where Reva and Justin we sitting in separate cells.

Reva looked up at the sound of their footsteps and actually looked shocked at the sight of her daughter. “How are you still alive?” she screamed harshly. “Levi told me you would be killed for sure after you took the shot!”

Teddy shook her head. “Hello, to you too, Mother.

Reva sneered at her. “Let me out of here! I haven’t done anything wrong and I have places to go. You have no reason to hold me.”

Again, Teddy ignored her rants and demands. “I want you to meet someone. This is Grizzly. The man Levi sent me to kill.”

Reva snarled as she glared at Teddy. “You little bitch! He’s supposed to be dead. You’re supposed to be dead. Why are you both still alive?”

“I took the shot but I missed,” Teddy revealed with a shrug.

“How the hell did you miss that shot?” Reva screamed. “He’s a big enough target. How could you miss something as big as him?”

Teddy glared at her. “I closed my eyes at the crucial time because I knew that shot was wrong.”

“Well, that’s just fine then isn’t it?” Reva sneered. “Levi is gonna kill Ethan now, and you know it. You couldn’t even do it to save his life. Nooooo, now you’ll lose him and his death is on your hands.”

“Not quite,” Grizzly informed the older woman.

“What does that mean, not quite? Not quite what?” Reva demanded.

“Ethan is still alive and being given medical attention right now,” Grizzly told her.

Reva frowned at his words while looking from him to her daughter, she asked, “How is that possible? Levi would never give him up. He was our ace.”

“I took another shot,” Teddy told her. “And my second shot didn’t miss.”

“What does that mean?” Reva paled. Here eyes darted around the cell as if she was looking for an escape route.

“Levi is dead.”

“No!” Reva shrieked. “I don’t believe you. You murdered him?”

Teddy didn’t have to say a word. She just listened to her mother rant.

“You little bitch, you killed him. You murdered your own brother.”

“He wasn’t my brother. Ethan is my father and you lied to me,” Teddy informed her. “I look just like my grandmother on dad’s side.”

Reva sneered. “Levi was your brother as he is also my son. I gave birth to him two months before my sixteenth birthday. My father never knew he had a grandson but he did. I’ve been with Darren since I was fifteen. Levi was my son so yeah, you murdered your own brother.”

Teddy just shook her head. “How could your own dad not know you were pregnant at fifteen?”

“That’s none of your business you bitch.” Reva snarled. “But you better look out because once I get out of this cell, I will see you dead.” She switched her glare to Grizzly. “And I’ll see you dead as well.”

“What makes you think you’re going to go free, lady?” Grizzly growled. “You are up to your neck in a plot to kill a US Marshal and the attempted murder of your husband.”

“You can’t prove anything.” Reva sneered. “You need evidence to take me to court and my father will never allow that to happen.”

“We got Levi’s own words and your dad’s gonna have his own legal problems coming up. He’s not gonna be worried about your dumb little ass.”

“You mess with my daddy and you’ll be buried before they even know you’re gone.” Reva snarled. “He’s got friends that watch his back.”

“That’s true he does.” Grizzly nodded his eyes like cold steel. “But don’t worry, they will drop his ass in a hurry when we bust his whole operation. They will scurry back through their tunnels, go back to their side of the border and just wait until the hoopla settles down. Then they’ll stick their noses out again and have to take the time to reset up their business again. That gonna take time and money that they’ll lose when we take your dad down.”

“You’ll never take Logan Riggs down. He’s too big a man down there.” Reva snorted. “He’s got high class friends too.”

Grizzly scoffed at this. “When his high class friends find out he’s nothing more than a drug lord, they won’t want to be around him for long. When they find out, he paid someone to murder a man, the likes of Theo Alexander they will run away from him so fast, he’ll just be standing in a breeze. Theo was more of a man than your father will ever be no matter how rich he is. His money is dirty money and people will know the truth. About him and about you.”

Then he turned and glared at Justin. “You’ll be facing charges of your own. You betrayed your oath and your office when you allowed them to use you for information on raids and our movements. You put our lives on the line time and time again, every single time we went after these bastards you risked our lives, And don’t think I forgot about the two officers we lost in the raid in Durango either. They died because you told the cartel we were coming. You are a disgrace.”

“I didn’t have a choice,” Justin tried to tell him.

“Don’t give me that shit. You did have a choice!” Grizzly replied. “You could have stood your ground and not made that call but you made it anyway. You chose to make the call.”

“They would have killed my old man.” Justin grunted. “What would you have done in my position?”

“You should have told him to get the hell out of there. He didn’t have to stay and let this go on.”

Justin shook his head. “If he would have left, they would have hunted him down and shot him in the street. Neither of us had a choice.”

“Every single day you wear that badge, you have a choice. To pin it to your shirt or not. You chose to pin it on, then you have to remember the oath you took. You turned your back on that oath and now, you’ll face the consequences.” Shaking his head Grizzly added, “You and your dad have no honor. How the hell can you be a man and have no honor?”

“How can you say that to me, man?” Justin cried out. “I hated what they made me do. But I couldn’t risk my dad’s life!”

Grizzly stared him. “Sometimes, you have to take a stand no matter what. A man has to stand up for what he believes in and sometimes, he takes a hell of a hit but at least he took a stand for something.”

Teddy glared at her mother. “If Ethan dies, you’ll go down for his murder. Think about that while you sit here in chains.”

“When Darren gets out of prison, he’ll hunt you down and kill you both for killing his son,” Reva swore. “He’ll make you pay for what you did.”

“He’ll never get off death row, bitch,” Grizzly informed her. “I’ll make it my mission to see him get the needle in three months. He’s got no chance of any appeal. He’s getting desperate now and he knows he’s doomed. He’s nothing more than your regular everyday coward. Only now, he’s got no hole to crawl into anymore.” He put his hand on Teddy’s back and ushered her out of the cell area.

They listened to Reva swear and scream at them but they never halted in their steps. Then when they closed the door, the silence was welcomed.

“Damn, she’s just exhausting isn’t she?” Teddy commented.

“Oh yeah, she is that.” Grizzly grinned.

 

 

Chapter Eleven

 

Teddy went back to the Infirmary to sit with her dad. She just sat there holding his hand as Patriot finished up. She noticed he had an IV in his hand but he hadn’t been cleaned up yet. She looked over at Patriot and asked, “Can I wash him up a bit?”

Patriot nodded.

She got up and went to get a basin of warm water. Grabbing a wash cloth, she began wiping the dirt, grime, and blood from his skin. She used a gentle touch and soon his face was cleaned. Once he was cleaned up, they could see the bruises and cuts better.

Tears ran down her cheeks as she began cleaning his shoulders, chest and arms. His right arm was in splints and he hadn’t woke up yet.

She sat down in her chair, laid her head on his shoulder and sobbed for a moment.

Grizzly came up behind her and gently lifted her from her dad. Then he sat down and held her close. “Come on Teddy girl, please don’t cry, you’re breakin’ my heart here.”

She nodded and wiped her tears away. “This man taught me not to cry. He always said, tears don’t do you any good, just face whatever it is you gotta face and be done with it.” She shuddered. “But grandpa would say, sometimes you just got to cry. Tears wash away the pain and they clear your mind so you can get on with life.” She looked up at him and asked, “I know you guys are planning to bring Logan down. When do you plan to go?”

“Why do you want to know?” Grizzly frowned as he arched a dark brow at her.

“Because I want to go with you.”

“No way. I won’t allow that." Grizzly glared at her."This is a police matter, so the MC that are bounty hunters will be going in along with the Marshals.”

Teddy smiled. “But you forget, I am a police officer.”

Grizzly shook his head again. “I forbid you to go. I need to concentrate on what I’m doing and if I have to worry about you that would take away my concern for what I have to do.”

Teddy shook her head as she raised a brow at him. “You are so cute.” She ran her finger down his cheek. “Thinking you can forbid me to do anything. That’s almost funny.”

Grizzly growled. “You’re my woman and I can tell you what to do.”

She shook her head. “I can’t just wait here and wonder what’s going on there. I have to be there too. I’ll stay out of your way but I have to be there to see this finished.”

“We’ll discuss this later,” Grizzly promised.

“No discussion necessary,” she assured him. Looking up at him she turned her head to view the others in the room. “This has to end soon. Please make it soon. Too many people have already shed blood for this cause and if you don’t stop it, many more will continue to die for nothing.”

“We plan on it,” Gunner told her.

Teddy laid her head on Grizzly’s shoulder and closed her eyes. She raised her hand and laid it over his heart. She could feel the thunder beating in his chest and it gave her comfort. She raised her eyes without lifting her head and studied her father laying there. She prayed he’d wake up soon and be okay. Well as okay as he could be. She needed him to get through the next few days and she needed him to live. She refused to think that Levi and Reva would win this round.

Grizzly brushed his lips over the top of her head and looked over at Gunner. His eyes got hard and he knew what he had to do next. He had to go against a man with strong ties to the cartel. He had to stop the madness going on in McAllen, something that never should have been allowed to get started in the first damn place.

Gunner nodded back as if he knew what was on Grizzly’s mind. They were going to war and Gunner had to believe they would win this battle.

~*~

Much later in the day, Grizzly found Teddy sleeping beside her father’s side. She’d been here since they brought him in this morning, except for time she spent with her mother. She hadn’t eaten anything all day and it was time to fill her belly, he decided.

He gazed down at her face. He could see her exhaustion and worry, then he looked over to her father. He seemed to be breathing better and his color was returning. His sleep was more natural now and Grizzly knew he needed to rest to heal. He laid his hand on Teddy’s shoulder.

She jumped and looked over at him confused. Then she gasped and turned her head to look at her father. Seeing he was still asleep, she crumbled a bit.

“Come on, babe. You need something to eat and drink. He’ll still be here when you get back.”

“But he’s not awake yet,” she argued. “I want to stay until he comes around.”

Grizzly squatted down to be eye level with her. Brushing a stray strand of hair out of her face, he said gently, “Teddy, you need to eat something. You need to be at your best when he does open his eyes. You can’t be strong for him if you don’t eat something soon. Look, his color is returning and he’s breathing better. He’s healing some and will continue to heal as he sleeps.”

She turned to study her father and after a couple of minutes, she nodded. “Ok, I’ll go with you but after I eat, I want to come back here and wait with him.”

Grizzly didn’t say anything just held out his hand. When she took it, he led her away.

When they got to the main room, everyone went quiet. Their conversation just stopped when they noticed she was there.

~*~

Teddy pursed her lips. She knew they were hiding something. She glanced at Grizzly but he wasn’t talking either.

When she sat down, DeeDee came out with a plate of food and set it down in front of her. A burger with fries, a salad, and fruit.

Teddy looked down at her plate and groaned. She did feel hungry but she knew she couldn’t eat this much food.

Grizzly sat down next to her and set a cup of coffee down in front of her. He stared at the plate of food and shook his head. “DeeDee thinks you need to eat apparently,” he quipped.

“I can’t eat all this,” she grumbled.

He shrugged. “Eat what you can, and I’ll finish the rest.”

Teddy began to eat but she could feel every eye in the room on her and it was making her uncomfortable. Grabbing a French fry, she nibbled on it while trying to overlook their stares. “So what did you guys decide to do?” she asked idly.

Grizzly shifted in his chair and swallowed hard. “What do you mean?”

Teddy put down the rest of her fry and turned to glare at him. “You guys suck at being subtle. Just tell me what’s going on. Don’t hide it from me, just fucking tell me.”

Gunner shook his head. “You got a mouth on you, did you know that?”

“Yeah, I’ve been told that before. And just like those times, I could give a flying fuck.” She snarled. “So tell me what your plans are?”

“We’re going after Logan Riggs,” Boone stated.

“ I know that, but when?” Teddy wanted to know as she looked around at all of them. "That's the main thing here. When?"

“Soon.” Gunner nodded at her.

Frustrated at these vague one and two word answers, she asked, “How soon?” she gritted out between her teeth. Getting information out of these men was like pulling teeth out of a gator’s mouth, she thought to herself.

“Very soon and that’s all I’m saying. This is club business and none of yours,” Gunner stated flatly.

“The hell it isn’t!” she barked back at him. “It is very much my business.”

“Not this time sweetheart,” Grizzly countered. “This is between the club and the Marshals. You got no say in this at all.”

Teddy just stared at him for a moment, then she got up and walked out of the room.

~*~

Weston just shook his head. “Well, hell that went over like a lead balloon didn’t it?”

Grizzly shrugged his wide shoulders. “She’ll get over it.” He needed her to not be there when this all went down. He wanted Teddy to stay safe. He was determined to protect the woman whether she damn well liked it or not.

Weston barked a laugh. “You don’t know her at all do you?”

“What do you mean?” Gunner asked the older man.

Weston shook his head. “That girl is as stubborn as a mule. Once she makes up her mind, dynamite can’t change it. She’s a lot like Theo in that respect, but he did raise her didn’t he? One thing about Theo, he always did hate to be told what to think and what to do. He always did things his own way and they always worked out for the best. He taught her that same as he did his son Ethan.” He shrugged. “But then none of you actually knew the man did you?”

“We know his reputation,” Gunner stated in defense.

Weston shook his head. “His reputation means diddly squat. You should study his actions if you want the truth. Many a time, he went against orders from above to get the bad guys and it turned out to be the right way. His methods were instinct and were mostly always right.”

Gunner shook his head. “That’s all well and good but if we’re going to move on this, we don’t have time to do that now do we?”

Weston nodded. “No, you don’t but don’t you dare dismiss Teddy. Number one, she won’t let you. Number two, that would be a serious mistake on your part if you did.”

“Is that a threat old man?” Gypsy asked.

“God, no.” Weston shook his head. “I’m just pointing something out to you.”

“Whatever.” Gunner dismissed the old man and looked around the room. “So we leave tonight. Get there in the morning, then study his layout, using what we know from Ethan and Weston. Then at dawn the next day, we make out move.”

Weston didn’t say anything but the look on his face sure did.

Boone had been watching him and called him out on it, “What’s wrong with our plan, old man?”

“Your plan is fine but you’re giving Logan too much time to get his men into place. Logan will know the moment you get to town. He has people scared enough of him they will call and tell him the moment you guys arrive.”

“We can’t just hit him up,” Gunner argued. “We need to know what we’re dealing with here, before we make our move.” Shaking is head he snarled, “I’m not willing to put my men in danger when they don’t have to be.”

“I’m not suggesting you do that, young man.” Weston glared at the bikers. “But you want surprise on your side and if you give him a full day to get ready? Well, the surprise will be on Logan’s side.”

“What do you suggest then?” Gunner asked.

“I know a way to watch him without him knowing I’m even there. I’ve been watching him for years and he’s never seen me. Believe me when I say that because if he had seem my old ass, I wouldn’t be here. He would have hunted me down and left me dead in the desert a long time ago.” He took a drink from his mug. “Where the hell do you think I was a couple of weeks ago when Ethan called me? I was on my way to check on Logan. I wanted to give him the most up to date information I could give him.”

“Ok, so what do you think we should do?” Gunner stared at Weston.

Weston grinned. “I was hoping you would ask.” He snickered at his own joke. As if they wouldn’t ask. “This is what Theo would have done.” Weston then laid out his plan.

The men were all silent for a few minutes.

Gunner thought about it for a moment before he could see the wisdom of it.

He only made a small change or two before everyone was on board.

Then Grizzly got his boss on board too, and they all agreed to meet in Laredo the next morning to get them in the know about their plan.

They planned to catch Logan short on men with no cartel backup to help him.

~*~

Teddy brushed her dad’s hair back. “Daddy, please come back to me,” she whispered. “I still need you. Levi is dead. I took the shot to end his miserable life. I tried to do what he wanted me to do but I just couldn’t. I know I told you that before and that I’m babbling right now but if I don’t, I might just fall apart. The man I was telling you about before? He told me I have no say in what they plan to do. He told me it was club and Marshal business and none of mine.” She paused then shook her head. “I didn’t know how a heart could shatter but mine did in that moment. I know he thinks he’s protecting me but I’m full grown and I don’t need his protection. I can think and act for myself.”

“I know you can baby girl.” Ethan slowly opened his eyes and looked at her. “I taught you how to do that but he doesn’t know you well enough to trust that. But you need to consider something here, every once in a while you have to let the man protect you.” His eyes held pain but they also held resolve.

Teddy grinned. “You’re back! Thank God for that. I thought I’d lost you.”

“I thought you had too, baby girl.” Ethan grunted. “Damn, I hurt all over. I must be getting too old for this shit.”

Teddy giggled. She just felt happy to hear his voice again.

“I’m glad you didn’t take that first shot honey.” He looked over at her. “My life isn’t worth his.”

Teddy nodded. “I looked into his eyes daddy, just like you and grandpa taught me. I couldn’t find anything in them that said he was a bad guy. Then I closed my eyes. I still took the shot, but I didn’t kill him. I just couldn’t.” Teddy licked her dry lips, as she now felt nervous about telling him what she had to tell him next.

Ethan could see it and he told her, “Just say it girl, don’t sugarcoat it.”

Teddy nodded. “They caught Reva red handed. They have tons of proof of her part inn all this. She’s in cuffs sitting in a cell.” These guys are bounty hunters and they plan on turning her over to the Marshals for her role in what happened.”

“Good enough for her. It all comes back around, like it should. That’s what your gramps always said. She earned everything that’s comin’ to her.” Ethan closed his eyes and rested easier on his pillow. “I’m tired, Teddy girl. Think I’ll just take a nap now.”

Teddy smiled. “Ok daddy, you rest, I’ll be here when you wake up.”

 

 

Chapter Twelve

 

When Teddy woke up the next morning, she was alone in the big bed. Her whole body ached from the passion of last night and she smiled when she remembered the night before.

They had come together four times and each time was better than before. They started out slow and gentle the first time. Then he woke her up a short time later and even though it was short, it was oh so sweet. Then she woke him up for a coupling that neither one could deny. The last time it was slow and easy again and in her exhaustion, she hadn’t felt him leave the bed. She looked over to the window and saw the dawn chasing away the shadows of the night.

She stretched her arms over her head and sat up. She frowned as there seemed to be something missing. Then she realized what it was. It was too quiet. There was no hum of voices coming from the main room. Granted, the door was closed but you could always hear something. But this morning, there was nothing but quiet.

She pushed the covers off and scrambled to get dressed. Then she ran for the door and throwing it open, she rushed down the hall.

Weston sat there with a cup of coffee, along with three or four of the others, but the main group of men weren’t there and neither was Grizzly.

She made her way over to the table and joined Weston.

 He took a moment to pour her a cup of coffee from the pot on the table. When she sat down, he pushed the cup toward her. “They left this morning around four a.m.” he told her.

“They left me behind on purpose,” she said softly.

“Grizzly did leave you a message if you care to hear it.” He stared at her.

Teddy nodded as she picked up her cup.

Weston took another sip and said, “He said to tell you he was sorry but he didn’t want you anywhere near the trouble. He said people were going to die today and he didn’t want one of them to be you.”

“He seems to think I’m a helpless little girl.” She growled. “Or that I can’t take care of myself.”

“Are you going to let him continue to think that or are you going to show him the kind of stuff you’re made of?” Weston asked her.

She met his eyes above the rim of her cup. “Oh, I plan to show him and all the others, the kind of stuff I’m made of. I’m going to show them all what grandpa taught me. I will not be ignored.”

“Good girl.” Weston grinned. “I got the truck already packed. All you need is that fancy rifle Theo gave you.”

She got to her feet and nodded, “I have to tell my dad where I’m going and then I’ll be back.”

Weston raised an eyebrow at her. “Are these guys going to try and stop you?”

Teddy smiled but the smile didn’t quite reach her eyes. “They better not, or I’ll show them another little trick grandpa taught me.” She turned on her heel and went back down the hall. She walked into the Infirmary and saw that her dad was wide awake. “Daddy, I don’t have much time but I wanted to tell you the guys left early this morning. They went after Logan.”

Ethan raised an eyebrow. “And they left you behind?”

“Yes Daddy, I know it doesn’t make sense does it?” She shrugged.

“But you’re following them right?”

“Of course, I am. This is my fight too. Besides, why should they get to have all the fun?”

“Well honey, you better get going then huh?” Ethan knew his daughter very well indeed.

She bent down to kiss his cheek. “I’ll be back daddy.”

“You’d better be. Take care baby girl. Do your grandpa and me proud.”

“I will.” She smiled then turned to leave.

 She got almost to the door when Ethan called out, “Defend honey, not revenge. Logan is still your grandfather as well.”

Teddy  turned her head to look at him. “Oh, I won’t kill him. I think he deserves everything that he’s got coming to him. The same with Reva. No one is above the law.” She disappeared out the door.

Ethan had to shake his head. Her young man Grizzly had a lot to learn about his woman and he just hoped Grizzly was man enough to realize that.

Patriot walked in and looked at Ethan. “Where does your daughter think she’s going?”

Ethan shrugged.

“Gunner locked up her rifle, you know that don’t you?”

“Never crossed my mind that he wouldn’t,” Ethan told him.

Patriot just stared at him.

~*~

Teddy growled when she reached the bedroom and couldn’t find her rifle. Then it dawned on her, she knew Gunner didn’t trust her not to follow them. She just shook her head. “Oh ye of such little faith,” she whispered. She grabbed her bag and marched out to the main room.

Then she joined Weston again. “They took my rifle.”

Weston snorted. “And they thought that would stop you? The damn fools.” He shook his head. “Come on, I said I had the truck loaded and there’s something waiting for you in there.”

Teddy got to her feet and frowned. “What did you do?”

“Fifteen years ago, after your grandfather died, the Sheriff took all your grandpa’s guns into custody. Only problem was they didn’t find them all. He had three in a hidden gun safe.” He shrugged. “I was under no obligation to tell them anything at the time, so I didn’t.”

Did she dare to hope? “Was one of the rifles they missed grandpa’s ole Blue?”

Weston smiled but didn’t say anything. Instead, he said loud enough for everyone to hear, “Come on girl, let’s go to town, and get you some clothes. Levi didn’t leave you much time to pack for this trip. The lousy bastard that he was.”

Teddy nodded. “Yeah, I do need something other than Grizzly’s shirts.”

The men sitting there didn’t seem to care.

Weston got to his feet and motioned for her to leave the room. Walking to the front door, he ushered her out of the building and over to his truck. When he got behind the wheel, he told her, “Let’s get out of town and I’ll stop and get ole Blue out for you. You’ll have to clean it in the truck as we need to get some miles behind us but I know that won’t be a problem for you.”

She snorted. “I can’t believe you saved ole Blue.” She looked over at him. “Do you know what they did with the rest of his guns?”

Then it was Weston who snorted. “They put them on display at the Capitol building in Dallas. They said it was to honor Theo but your dad asked them to release his weapons and the chief there wouldn’t do it.” He shrugged and said, “There will never be another man like your grandpa for sure. But they should have let Ethan have his weapons. That was just wrong.”

She shrugged. “He’ll be happy to know what happened to ole Blue though. That was one gun, grandpa would never let me touch. He always said ole Blue was fitted to serve him and him alone.”

“Well girl, you better get used to it if you plan on having your man’s back in this fight. There’s no room for error here.”

“Don’t you worry about me. I have a feeling ole Blue will cooperate with me. He’s been waiting for justice for too many years and it's finally time.”

Weston shook his head. “You actually talk like ole Blue has feelings. Honey, it’s a gun, nothing more, nothing less.”

“I know that. But Theo Alexander was one hell of a man and he deserved more than a bullet in the back, a hell of a lot more. Only a coward shoots a man in the back. He should have at least faced grandpa when he shot him. Now is the time for justice to be served.”

Weston got well out of town before he pulled into a rest stop. He went to the silver tool holder just in the back of the cab and using a key he opened it and took out a buckskin rifle sleeve. He grabbed Theo’s ammo bag and cleaning kit as well. Shutting down the lid again, he passed the weapons and other stuff through the open door.

Teddy took the buckskin sleeve and put it between her legs. She waited until Weston got behind the wheel again and back on the road before she asked, “Did you hear anything about their plans?”

Weston had to chuckle. “Oh yeah, in fact I drew them a map of Logan’s property and I pointed out where everything is located. I also showed them where the tunnel openings were located and suggested they blow them up, so the cartel can’t keep coming back and forth. That should stop them for a while anyway.”

Teddy nodded. “Do you know when this will take place?”

 “I suggested around dinner time. That would give them time to get there and get set up and time for all the ranch hands to leave the ranch. Logan doesn’t like a lot of people around when he’s done for the day. He likes his privacy at night. The hands usually go home around four.”

She peeked over at the other man. “And you got all this information how?”

“I’m a patient man, sweetheart. When Theo was still alive, we used to watch that old bastard all the time. I think your grandpa knew Logan was up to something and he just needed to verify things. Then he found out about the cartel and he knew.” He paused then added, “But Theo being the sort of man he was, made his one big mistake. He talked about his plan to your dad about his taking Logan down, and we are thinking your mother must have been in the house. She must have warned her dad what was coming. That’s when Logan hired Darren to ambush Theo.”

She turned her head to look out the window. “She told me days ago that she’s always been in love with Darren. That Levi was my true and full brother. She told me that when I told her he was dead, that I took that shot when I couldn’t shoot Grizzly. She finally showed her true colors.”

“Reva never loved anyone but Reva.” Weston shook his head. “Logan never had a clue how to handle her and by the time she and your dad got together, it was too late to change her. Ethan stuck by her though, for your sake, even if it didn’t do any good in the long run.”

“I’ve known that all my life,” Teddy said. “I wouldn’t cross the street for her but I took that shot for my dad.”

Weston nodded but didn’t say anything.

They’d traveled in silence for some time, when Weston finally spoke, “So what are your plans when we do get there?”

“I need to find a spot high enough to where I can see what’s going on, so I can watch their backs but close enough not to miss when I take my shots.” She shook her head. “And I don’t want them to know I’m there until after the shooting is over. They need to concentrate on what they’re doing.”

Weston agreed. He’d been thinking for the longest time, trying to remember the outline of the ranch. Then he grinned. “I got just the spot for you, little one.”

“Ok,” Teddy said. “How much longer before we get there?”

Weston looked at his watch. “About three hours.”

“That’s enough time,” she mentioned then she loosened the ties of the buckskin sleeve and drew out her grandpa’s rifle ole Blue. Pushing her seat all the way back, she laid out her supplies and then she began cleaning the weapon. She took her time, just the way both her grandfather and her father taught her to do. When she was done with the inside, she began polishing the outside. Rubbing down the long barrel, she noted the dark blue gleam of the metal. This color was how the rifle got its name. The gunsmith had crafted this weapon from specs her grandfather had given him. He was very particular about his weapons and demanded only the best.

When she finished, she put the rifle back in its sleeve and looked over at Weston. “How close are we now?”

“Maybe twenty minutes away yet.”

“Where are we going to set up?” Teddy asked.

“Right in the middle of the action but high enough that they won’t know you’re there.”

Teddy frowned. “What are you talking about?’

“You’ll see,” was all he said.

They drove around Logan’s ranch and came in from the back door, so to speak. This way brought them to a mesa, overlooking the front of the ranch house.

Teddy got ole Blue out of the sleeve again, and went toward the edge of the rocky terrain. As she got close to the edge, she dropped down and crawled closer. Using the rocks as a shield, she lifted the rifle to her face, and peered down the scope. She just wanted to find where the men were before any trouble began.

She took her time and found most of them before she sat back. She looked up at Weston and smiled. “Now, we wait until the battle starts.”

Every few minutes, she would look through the scope again and locate where everyone was. The last time she looked over at Weston, she gave him a thumbs up. Excitement was growing in her belly and she never looked away.

She tracked them as they moved closer. Then from the corner of her eye, she saw movement from the right. She swung her scope over to see three men appear from nowhere.

“Fucking hell,” she swore softly. “Where did they come from?”

Weston grabbed up a small pair of binoculars and followed her direction. “Shit. That’s Francisco Brago. The men with him are some of his cartel.”

Teddy swung the scoped rifle back to where her men were. They didn’t seem to know the cartel were at their backs. Swinging the scope back to Brago, she got a feeling he didn’t know the men were there either.

She had to wait and see what would happen. Tension was building as she could see Brago moving closer.

Suddenly, he stopped and looked around. He must have spotted someone as he shouted a warning and drew his weapon.

Then Teddy found her target and wrapped her finger around the trigger. A calm settled the butterflies in her belly and she took aim carefully. Her finger squeezed the trigger and the shot echoed across the valley….

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

Teddy watched through her scope as Francisco Brago dropped like a stone. Two more quick rapid shots and his men were down. They were writhing and screaming in pain, so she knew they were still alive. Then she swung her rifle toward the house just as Logan Riggs came running out with a shotgun in his hands. She fired off a warning shot and he stopped quickly. Several hands came running from the barn and each of them were carrying a gun.

The MC and the Marshals joined the battle but when one of the Grizzly’s men was about to be shot in the back by one of Logan’s men, Teddy took him down.

The Marshall officer turned around and saw the man on the ground then he looked up to where the shot came from and held up his hand in thanks. This guy was huge and his back had made a perfect target for a coward’s bullet.

Teddy grinned as she watched the battle below her go on.

“Show off,” Weston grumbled as he grinned at the accuracy of her shots.

Teddy didn’t say anything but instead, she watched over the men below. The bikers and the Marshals seemed to be winning and that’s the way it should have been all along.

Logan was wounded before he gave up his gun and she was happy to see him surrender. The fight was pretty much over by that point but Teddy kept her eyes on the scene below. She didn’t trust Logan and as she scanned the area one more time through her scope, she saw a man with a rifle in the big barn door on the second level.

She didn’t care who he had in his sights but she wasn’t going to let him win. She squeezed off a shot and the man screamed as he fell out the door. He hit the ground in a cloud of dust and hay.

A couple of men ran toward him but the man hadn’t moved since he fell.

She looked down at the group of men and found Grizzly. She caught her breath, when she saw he did not look happy. She lowered her weapon and glanced over at Weston. “Grizzly doesn’t look to happy.”

Weston shrugged. “If he expected anything less than what happened, he doesn’t know you very well does he?”

Teddy sighed and shrugged her shoulders. “I just couldn’t stay back at the compound and let them face this on their own. I had to do something.”

“You protected their backs. That’s what they needed. Now…” He leaned closer. “When I was here earlier, I left the cartel a little surprise. It's just inside the tunnel. Can you see it?”

Teddy lifted her scope to her shoulder again and focused on the tunnel. “I can see a red box.”

“That’s it baby girl. Can you hit it?”

“What is it?” She looked over at him.

Weston smiled but the glee never met his eyes. “It’s enough C4 to blow that fucking tunnel to hell and back.”

“Did you tell the club about this?” she wanted to know.

“I told them to find a way to shut it down but they said they didn’t have the time to get any explosives. They agreed it needed to be done but they couldn’t take the time to get the C4.” He shrugged. “I didn’t tell them I already planted it.” He looked over at the hidden tunnel. “All you have to do is hit that box and its bye-bye tunnel.”

“What if they wanted to follow it back to where it started?” Teddy asked.

“There is another tunnel no one here except Logan is aware of. Well, no one alive anymore anyway,” Weston assured her. “It was actually the first tunnel the cartel used to bring their shit over here, but then they needed a bigger tunnel to bring more and more of their shit over the border, so the first one isn’t used very often because the cartel has gotten so brazen, they figured they no longer had anything to hide.” He shrugged. “Actually, the two tunnels do connect at one point, so they won’t be out of anything.”

Teddy checked to make sure no one was close enough to get hurt by the blast and when she was sure no one was, she lined up her shot. Carefully squeezing the trigger, she hit her mark.

The next few moments were deafening as the blast rocked the ranch. Dirt, fire and debris flew up into the air and rained down on everyone. When she gazed down at the valley below her, she found everyone down on the ground. She breathed a sigh of relief when after a few minutes—they all began getting to their feet.

 Grizzly turned his head and roared his anger at her.

She could hear the pure rage in his voice and it shook her deeply when he shouted out her name.

Teddy felt badly about his frustration. She glanced over at Logan and found him down as well but it was the huge piece of wood sticking out of his belly that hadn’t been there before that worried her. He had caught some of the bracing from the tunnel blowing up and she knew he probably wouldn’t survive. She watched his face as he writhed on the ground and all she saw was pity, pity for himself.

She lifted her gun and turned to look at Weston. “I suppose we have to go down and face the music now, huh?”

He shrugged as he smiled. “We? No, I think I’d rather just head back to Jasper. You might want to consider facing him there too. Giving him a little time to cool off might be the best plan.”

Teddy chuckled. “You might be right about that, but my grandpa and daddy didn’t raise me to be a coward. Come on old man, time to face the music.” She got to her feet and went over to his truck.

Weston followed and got behind the wheel.

While they drove down to the house, Teddy wiped down the rifle and put it back in the buckskin sleeve she’d found it in. By the time she got finished, they were driving into the dooryard of Logan’s ranch.

Grizzly stomped his way over to the truck and threw the door open. “What the fucking hell were you thinking woman?” He roared.

Teddy looked up at him and said calmly. “I was thinking you needed someone to watch your back. You guys didn’t even see the threat coming up from behind you. I love you… you stupid man. I wasn’t gonna lose you to the bullet of a coward.”

“Well, hell Grizz, I for one am glad your woman had our backs, and was here for us,” Moose argued as he joined them. “I’m the one that almost caught that bullet to the back.”

Teddy nodded. “Yeah big guy, you’d be hard to miss, that’s for sure.” She turned to Grizzly. “I had to be here, I’m sorry you didn’t trust that. I guess you didn’t trust me either and you know what? That hurts. You just dismissed me altogether.”

“I didn’t want you caught in the crossfire, don’t you get that?” Grizzly growled.

“Yeah, I get that.” She nodded. “But you took the free choice I had away from me by not telling me what was going to happen. I knew you’d come here to confront Logan but you never included me in your plans. You shut me out. I can’t be in a relationship with a man that would think so little of me he would think he could do that and think it was okay.” She reached up and cupped his cheek. “I wasn’t only here to protect your back, you big bear. I love you and I’m a lot stronger than you give me credit for. I’ve had to be. My daddy and granddaddy taught me that.” She moved to close the door. “I’m going back with Weston and you guys can clean up.”

“Logan Riggs is dying,” Moose told her. “Don’t you want to say anything to him before you go? He is your grandfather after all.”

Teddy looked over at Logan. “No, I’ve got nothing to say to him. I hope he rots in the fires of hell. We all live by the choices we make, right or wrong, he made those choices. He and his daughter never wanted to accept responsibility for what they chose to do. Well, this is the consequences of his choice.”

~*~

Weston motioned for one of the Marshals to come closer. When he did, Weston said, “Make sure you check every one of the buildings and the house. One more thing Logan was doing was selling women and kids. The cartel would collect them and take them through the tunnel into Mexico and they would disappear from there.”

“What the everlovin fuck?” Moose swore as he glared at Weston. “Why didn’t you mention this before old man?”

“I’m telling you now. Search the buildings. He had a woman here a few days ago. I’m not sure if she’s still here or not, but she was here a few days ago.” Weston glared back at the men standing around his truck.

Gunner joined the group. “Why the fuck did you blow that tunnel? We could have followed it through and shut it down from the other side.”

Weston gripped the steering wheel as he heard the anger in the other man’s words toward Teddy. She had just saved their miserable lives and all they could do was yell at her. He glanced over at Teddy and found her staring out the front window. Then he looked over at Gunner. “You see that shed about four hundred yards from where the entrance of the tunnel used to be?”

Gunner turned around and found the shed Weston was talking about. Turning back to Weston he nodded slightly.

“Go inside that shed and against the back wall you’ll find a door. That’s the original tunnel. They only use this one anymore because they had to widen it. They were moving too much product through to keep using the original tunnel anymore. This new one was safer and wider. The two tunnels connect about three miles in.”

“How do you know this?” Gunner asked.

“Because I’ve been inside them, of course.” Weston nodded his head. “I’ve been watching this place for years. Logan never knew it but in the years following Theo’s death, I’ve been here watching him. I wanted to know his whole operation. I had to be part of bringing him down. This was my justice for Theo’s death.” He reached over and started the truck then looked over at Gunner. “I’m taking Teddy back and then I’m going home. If you need me for anything you got my number.”

They drove slowly around the number of Marshals and bikers and were soon on the road going home.

After a couple of hours, they had to stop for gas. When they were back on the road, Weston looked over at a silent Teddy and asked, “What are you going to do now?” She had been so quiet along the way that he was worried about her.

She kept staring out the window as she shrugged. “I don’t know. I thought I found my forever guy, you know.” Shaking her head, she said, “But to find out he doesn’t trust in me, that sort of shattered my heart.”

“Honey, he doesn’t really know you, or he never would have doubted you.” He shook his head. “Give the guy a break. He only thought he was protecting you.”

“I’m not sure I can,” she whispered. “I know I may not be the best catch out there but I could have been for him. I was sent to kill him and I ended up falling for him. And boy, did I fall hard.” She leaned her head back and let out a sad sigh. “All he had to do was trust in me. When I saw his rage towards me it shattered me, something broke inside my heart. I’m not sure I can put the pieces back together.”

“Take a deep breath and wait and see what he has to say when they get back. Give the man a chance, baby girl. Don’t give up on him yet. You need him. From what I’ve seen … the way he looks at you…and I’ve seen you looking back. He is the man for you.”

“He may be but he has to take care of my heart in the process and he didn’t do that today.”

Weston didn’t say anything else, she was too heart sore to continue talking about this. He could see this with his own eyes.

 He continued to drive, then he remembered another heartbroken woman, a very long time ago. She was about to marry his best friend. But Theo messed up and she was having doubts about him, the same doubts Teddy was having today. So Weston decided to share this, for her sake. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told your grandmother Wilma. Theo had messed up bad and she almost didn’t marry him. I told her he was a man and what might make sense to a man, don’t always make sense to a woman. Women like to think things through, where men only act. Right or wrong, men protect and don’t often think a woman can protect herself. Your beautiful grandma, she listened to me and married him anyway. They were very happy right up till the day she died. Theo never found anyone else who could measure up to his Wilma. They were truly what people refer to as soul mates.”

“Why are you telling me this?” She finally turned to look at him.

“Because you and Grizzly have the same look in your eyes that Wilma and Theo had in theirs. You two belong together.”

Teddy gazed out the window and didn’t say anything for the longest time.