GUNNER-Savaged Souls MC
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CHAPTER EIGHT IS UP AS OF
At the Tribunal…
Gunner gazed around the room and saw the truth in every man’s eyes. Then he looked over at Dana. “Well, what do you say Dana? This is what the tribunal has declared. As part of this MC, you know that’s the best you’re going to get. If you want to stay and be a part of this family, you have to be willing to change. Can you do that?”
Dana nodded slowly at first, but she spoke with disdain in her voice, “I think I can as long as she isn’t here. She wants to set up shop in Jasper, I’m okay with that. I’ll stay away from her as long as she stays away from me. That’s all I can promise.”
Gunner shook his head in disappointment. But he grabbed his gavel and pounded on the table. “So be it. The tribunal has spoken.” Then he turned and walked down the hall to his bedroom. He shut the door behind him. Leaving Dana standing there.
A single tear rolled down her face but she wouldn’t look at Winona. Slowly, she turned and went back to her bedroom while not even acknowledging the men.
Boone reached over and tipped Winona's face up to his. “Did you mean it? Can you really forgive her for what she put you through?”
“As long as I don’t have to live with her or see her again, I can live with it. But I meant what I said earlier about going back home. I can’t stay at the compound anymore. I just can’t.”
“But you could move your business here?” Boone asked.
“I could try it, but I can’t live in the same house as her and she can’t come around me. I again, just saw that look in her eyes and I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her.”
Boone nodded and even agreed with her, “Thank you for not demanding that we kick her out. I think that would have killed your dad.”
“And that’s why I did what I did,” Winona admitted. “He loves her, he’s known her all her life. He doesn’t know me, but I would like the chance to get to know him.”
Boone nodded. “I think he’d like that."
They both headed to Boone's room.
As Winona got ready for bed, Boone watched her. He still worried about her. She had just went through some sever trauma. He wanted to take Blacky apart with his own hands. In fact, he would have if the MC laws would allow it. He had trusted his brothers to carry out justice and he would have to live with not getting his hands on that sonofabitch. At least in a few days, the man would be gone forever.
Boone released a sigh as he watched her brush her hair out. The girl had such beauty and more on the inside. He wanted to make a life with this woman, but ever since he'd dragged her here, all she'd gotten was hell. He wanted to make it all up to her. Give her all the happiness she deserved. Her bruises were slowly fading but her spirit seemed to be a little broken. Blacky had done a number on her but he thought maybe Dana had done more damage than Blacky ever thought about.
Blacky had bruised her body but that would heal, Dana had damaged her psyche. “So will you be okay with moving here?” he finally spoke.
Winona sat down and leaned against him. “Are you sure you want me to? I mean this thing with Dana is never going to get any better. I really don’t want to put Gunner in the middle between us. I would like to get to know him and learn more about my mom but I can’t and won’t come between him and Dana. I will not be the one to make him choose between us. I just can’t.”
Boone wrapped his arms around her and pulled her onto his lap. “Babe, he would never be able to do that. Sure, he’s known her all her life but you, he just found you. You two are as different as night and day. He wouldn’t be able to choose between the two of you.”
Winona sighed deeply. “I know but I would like to get to know him. I work with an older woman named Lucille at the bakery. She’s holding down the fort while I’m on vacation. I hope she’ll agree to move here with me. I’d like to make her a partner in the business and she doesn’t seem to have any family. Maybe I should call her and ask her about it. You know to give her a chance to make up her mind too.”
“Well, tomorrow we can start looking at shops in town and see what we can find.”
“I have to find a place to live too,” she reminded him. “I can’t stay here. I told Gunner and the men, I would find my own place.”
“As long as there’s room for both of us.” Boone kissed her to remind her. “It also can’t be too far away from the clubhouse.”
Winona nodded. “Ok, how soon can we go back to the Moss Bluff and pack up the bakery?”
“We have to wait until Blacky and Arizona are taken care of then we can go.”
She nodded, “Good, that will give me time to call Lucille and give her time to make up her mind what she wants to do.” She sighed and said, “I really hope she agrees to come here. She’s so much a part of my business I wouldn’t know what to do without her.”
“Come on sweet girl, you need some rest, it’s been a long day.” Boone pulled her down with him on the bed and got her under the blankets. He kissed her ear. “Everything will work out. I just want to hold you.”
Once Gunner left the tribunal and was in his room, he began to think and then he opened the door calling out for Jeeter to set up watch outside Dana’s door. Sadly, he just could not trust she would keep her word…
Jeeter called out to Carter and another brother and shared what their Pres wanted done, silently he set up outside her door to make sure nothing happened.
Gunner laid on his bed in just his boxers. One of his arms was thrown over the top of his head and he was staring at the ceiling. He didn’t know why but for the first time in a long time, he was missing DeeDee.
Twenty-five years ago, they were quite a pair. She was someone he had strong feelings for and he thought she had feelings for him too. She had wiggled her way into his heart with very little effort. Most women never got past sleeping with him and he would push them away.
She had been just like their daughter Winona, and boy could she cook. Winona had certainly got her skills from her mother. He also thought that maybe if DeeDee had lived, Dana wouldn’t have made such a mess of her life. If she’d had a mother maybe she wouldn’t have been so spoiled and now so selfish.
Gunner closed his eyes and remembered her face. It had been fading in his mind for a while now but tonight he could see her clearly again for the first time in twelve years. Her dark auburn hair and green eyes against her pale skin made her stand out from other women.
When Blacky brought back his daughter Dana, he’d been thankful that DeeDee had lived long enough to give him his greatest gift. His child. Every time he looked at Dana, he remembered her mother. It had always been painful but he had tried to get over it.
He never knew why she’d left him back then and he supposed it didn’t make any difference, she chose to walk away from him and the life they could have had and that was that. He hadn’t known back then about his second daughter or the fact that DeeDee died the day they were born.
Seems he didn’t know a lot of things going on right under his nose. He’d made a lot of mistakes in his lifetime but DeeDee hadn’t been one of them. Even though their time together was short, he would always remember her and the love they shared in his heart. And yes, even if he couldn’t admit it back then he could admit it now, he had loved her and if she had stayed, he would have married and protected both her and their babies. They could have been a family if only DeeDee trusted him enough to keep her safe. Not that he was blaming her, she knew her cousin Blacky better than he had back then. He hadn’t know what a lowly person Blacky really was or what a black heart he had. He had done many cruel things to him and his kids.
It was too late for DeeDee, but he would keep their daughters safe. There in the darkness he made a promise to his lover of the past. “DeeDee if you can hear me,” he whispered. “I will keep our daughters safe from each other and everyone else who wishes them harm. I may not have known Winona until now but she’s part of you and me. So is Dana. I know I’ve made mistakes with her but I’ll try to do the right thing now.” He shifted in the bed. “They won’t have to live with the same fear you did. Blacky is days away from paying for what he did all those years ago to both of us and our girls. But those are just the beginning of his sins.”
He grew restless just thinking about what one man had done. Gunner hadn’t known the hatred Blacky felt for him fully until now. The list of his sins was growing each and every day and Blacky had no compassion for his fellow human being. The man had no soul to tarnish.
The next few days should be interesting. He would use the time to read everything Blacky had been up to in the last twenty five years to find out just what kind of mess he was leaving behind for the MC to clean up. They had already dealt with the cartel and the Russian mob was next. There was no way of knowing what else he had going, well not yet anyway. But Gunner would find out.
One thing he’d made up his mind about was Dana would be starting to change her life around too. He would make sure she was watched at all times. She would be working full time at her job at the spa starting tomorrow. No more shopping all day or loafing around doing nothing. She was going to start pulling her own weight around here.
He and Boone would help Winona find a place to live and a new shop for her to set up in. Then after Blacky and Arizona were taken care of, they would go and move her over here. It would be a busy week but he was looking forward to it and discovering more about Winona’s life before they found each other.
Dana would just have to deal with it until they could get her sister settled in her new place. Gunner grimaced. That was another thing he’d have to get used to. Boone wouldn’t always be right down the hall when he needed him. He was positive Boone would be living with Winona.
They would have to find them a place close to the compound to live in. Life around the MC was going to change forever and Gunner was one who didn’t like change. He just hoped everything could be worked out for the better of the club.
He’d been their leader for a long time. These men were his family and he couldn’t give them up. Winona might not know the changes that were coming her way but she would learn, just as Dana would. Just as they all would.
This ship was going to be run tighter, so this sort of thing never happened again. The Savaged Souls MC would have to change if it was going to survive, and by God, change it would. He closed his eyes and began thinking about the changes needed and how he would implement them. They would all need to change, including him and that would start tomorrow.
Gunner was up and drinking his third cup of coffee when everyone else began stumbling into the dining room. When he opened his eyes this morning, he felt better than he’d felt in a long time. He had a firm plan in his mind now, and he couldn’t wait to set the changes in place. When Boone joined him, he nodded at the other man.
“What’s on your mind Boss?” Boone asked with a raised eyebrow.
Gunner grinned. “You know me so well, don’t you?”
“I’d like to think so but now, I’m not so sure.” Boone chuckled.
“Well there will be changes coming and today, I’m laying down the law,” Gunner announced.
“But you don’t like change and everyone knows it,” Boone spoke as he sipped his coffee.
“Yup, you’re right about that part, but after the fiasco of the last few days. I think changes are needed. If we want to survive, everyone needs to pull their own weight around here. We need to tighten our ranks and that includes everyone, especially me.”
“Are we going to be able to live with these changes or will the men cry for mutiny?” Boone asked with a grin.
Gunner scoffed. “Well, one of us is going to cry mutiny but that’s to be expected. From this day forward, Dana is going to start pulling her own weight around here.” He looked over at his VP. “Right after we deal with Blacky and Arizona, I want to get Winona moved back here and settled. I want you guys to find a place to live and for her to open her shop. But you have to be close to the compound in case I need you. I can’t protect her, if you guys are all the way across town.”
“We were talking about that last night. I think she’s willing to move but she wants to bring her partner Lucille with her.” Boone looked at his President. “If you want us close, then you need to make that clear to Dana. She promised to leave her sister alone and she’d better keep her word.”
Gunner nodded. “I’ll let her know.” He finished his coffee then got to his feet. “I guess it’s time to be a daddy now. I’d rather not do this in front of the men, so I’m going to talk to her in her room.”
Boone nodded. “That might be better for the men as well as for her.”
Gunner stared at him for a moment then asked. “How is Winona doing this morning?”
Boone grinned. “Why don’t you ask her yourself? She’s been in the kitchen since four this morning.”
Gunner snapped his head toward the kitchen door. “I’ve been sitting here for an hour, how did I not notice that?”
Boone shrugged but grinned as he watched Gunner storm toward the kitchen.
Gunner swung the kitchen door open and glared at his daughter. She was busy taking a tray of baking powder biscuits out of the oven. She looked up at him and nodded. The sausage gravy bubbling on the stove top smelled wonderful. She had a huge bowl of whipped eggs ready to cook as well.
“What the hell are you doing?” Gunner growled.
“Well dad, in case I need to tell you, I’m making breakfast.” Winona smirked.
“Why? You just took a beating a few days ago and you look like hell yet.”
She set the pan down on the counter then took off her oven mitts. Then she looked at him. “I learned a long time ago about pain and how to deal with it. I didn’t have a choice then and I found I could work through it. I may look like hell but the bruises will fade in a couple of days. I will never give into the pain or let it rule my life. Please don’t ask me to do that now. If I give in to this, then Blacky wins and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that happen.”
Gunner felt her words slam into his soul. He had somehow failed her through all this time. Well, one of the changes he had to make would be to not underestimate her again. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled and ran his hands over the back of his head. “Ok baby girl, this one is on me. I still have a lot to learn about you don’t I?”
Winona nodded but she was smiling.
Gunner walked closer to her and wrapping her in his arms, he kissed her forehead. “I’ll learn as we go, baby.”
She squirmed in his arms. “Dad, I have to tell you something.”
Gunner wouldn’t let her break away but he leaned back and looked down at her. “What is it?”
“I called my partner last night and we agreed to move here and set up shop together here in Jasper. I really couldn’t do this alone and Lucille agreed to move here to help.” She paused. Then added, “I hope that’s okay?”
“Of course, it’s okay. Honey, whatever you need and as long as you’re happy, then it’s fine by me.”
“Who knows dad, maybe you’ll come to like her. She’s a very nice woman.”
“Well, we’ll see about that, little girl.” Gunner snorted. Sighing heavily, he shook his head. “Gotta go. I have to lay down the law, new changes are coming so something like Blacky, never happens again. And the first change is not going to be pleasant but it needs to be done.”
Winona shrugged then turned back to what she was doing and soon breakfast was ready to serve.
Gunner made his way to the bedroom hall. He nodded at the man sitting outside Dana’s room.
Gypsy got up and walked to the dining room. He needed coffee.
Gunner took a deep breath and exhaled as he reached for the doorknob. When he entered the room, Dana was still asleep. He went over to the window and threw open the curtains.
When the sun shone in the room, Dana angrily screamed out. “What the hell?” she sat up in bed grasping the covers. “What is going on, dad?”
“It’s time to rise and shine girl.” Gunner crossed his arms over his chest.
She turned her head and looked at the alarm clock. “It’s only seven thirty. I don’t go to work until noon today.”
“Wrong. You’re going to start working full time and full time starts at nine a.m.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Dana asked. “I’ve only ever had to work part time before.”
“Well that had been true baby girl, not anymore.” He gritted his teeth. “Things are going to change around here and this is one of those changes. You are going to work full time and live on what you can earn. Everyone else does it, so can you. Which means you’re going to have to hustle to earn your paycheck.”
Dana just stared at him in shock.
“Also, your sister is going to be here until she can find her own place and get her bakery set up, so you’re going to have to deal with it. I suggest you stay clear from her and leave her the hell alone. You will be on probation for the next six months. Get up, do what you’re told to do and keep your nose clean. That also means you have to pull your own weight, your earning that starting today. You broke the trust of the men and you have to prove you can keep your word now.”
“And if I can’t?” Dana asked while looking stunned.
“They are giving you only one chance to change, you said you could do that. You have to prove what your word is worth. I can’t stand up for you anymore if you aren’t willing to show them you want to change. You are my daughter and I love you but you are the only one who can do this. It’s sink or swim time baby girl.”
Then he turned and walked toward the door.
When Gunner walked out and closed the door behind him, Dana realized something. She’d lost her Princess status because of her sister. Pushing the covers off, she got out of bed. Her dad was right. He couldn’t help her, this was something she had to do on her own. All her life, her dad tried to tell her a person’s word meant their honor.
If this was her last chance then she would do things right. She was his daughter after all. Winona might be her sister but Gunner raised her, she knew all his quirks and expectations. She would come out on top of this contest and leave her sister crying in the dust.
After she got dressed and brushed her hair, Dana joined the group in the dining hall, her eyes went to the spot where her father always sat, only to find it empty. Looking around, she finally found him sitting with Boone and Winona. Her Dad had his arm across the back of Winona’s chair and the two were laughing at something. Pursing her lips tight at the annoyance she felt, she went to get herself a cup of coffee.
She fixed herself a plate and went to her usual seat. Sitting down, she cast dagger eyes at Winona’s table. When Jeeter sat down next to her, she cast a frown at him.
“You about ready to go to work now?” he asked.
Dana sighed. “So now, I am going to have a babysitter?”
“Yup.” Jeeter nodded.
“Wonderful.” Dana rolled her eyes.
“Would you rather be thrown out on the streets?” he asked her softly. “You might deserve it, but I don’t think your dad deserves that, do you?”
“What about me?” Dana asked.
“What about you?” Jeeter stared at her. “This isn’t about you. You brought this on yourself and you know it. You put all of us in danger and didn’t give a shit about that did you? All because you didn’t like your sister. Did you ever once think about what she went through in her life, while you were using an abusing this club?”
Dana glared at him. “Maybe I just don’t care. She wants me to leave her alone, so fine I’ll leave her the hell alone.”
“Yeah?” Jeeter stared at her. “Is that right? Well honey, maybe you better start caring. You’re the one who said she could change.” Shaking his head, he got to his feet. “I’ll be waiting at the door, you got 10 minutes.”
Dana wanted to smash her coffee cup up against his head, but she knew she had to behave herself. As Jeeter said, it would be up to her to show them she could change. She let him talk her into that conversation. She had to be more careful if she didn’t want to have to leave this place. This was her birthright not Winona’s. From now on, she’d just have to be more careful that’s all.
She got up and without looking over at the table her father sat at, she stomped her way to her bedroom to grab her stuff, then she stalked toward the front door.
Jeeter just raised an eyebrow when the door slammed and she stomped her way over to where he was waiting and glared at him. “Do not say word, just take me to work then get lost.” She growled.
Jeeter reminded her to go clean up her table spot as she was now responsible for cleaning up behind herself.
Dana gritted her teeth as she wanted to scream and walk out but she had to play nice. After clearing her dishes, she followed him out.
Jeeter got in and waited until she opened her own door and got inside the vehicle. Neither one of them said a word as he drove across town to the club’s beauty shop and spa. She barely waited for him to stop before she was out and stormed into the building.
Julie was standing behind the counter and she was startled when Dana stormed inside. “Miss Dana… you’re here already?”
“Obviously,” Dana nearly spat the word at her. “My first appointment isn’t until one this afternoon, what the hell am I going to do until then?”
“Well we did have a last minute hair cut call in first thing this morning,” Julie told her.
Dana growled. “I’ll take it. I suppose you heard I have to work here full time now right?”
Julie nodded. “Yeah, we got the phone call this morning.”
Just then, a woman entered the salon. She was tall and thin and had a hard look to her. She hid her eyes behind a pair of dark sunglasses. She was wearing a pair of nice dark blue colored slacks and blue linen jacket that covered a black tank top.
She looked nice and carried herself well. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and reached half way down her back. It was a rich cascade of dark curls. “I’m here for a hair trim,” she reminded them. “I called in last minute under the name Yvette.”
Dana looked her over quickly and motioned for her to follow her. “I’ll be doing your hair this morning.”
Yvette reached up and lowered her glasses just enough to look out over the top. “And you are?”
Dana raised her eyebrow at the query. “I’m Dana.”
Yvette smiled and said. “I guess you’ll do nicely.” Then she replaced her glasses and took the lead as she walked down the aisle to the back.
Dana stopped at the last chair and motioned for Yvette to sit.
Yvette kept her sunglasses on as long as possible while Dana loosened her hair and combed it out with her fingers. When Dana reached to her table for a comb, Yvette grabbed her wrist and turned it so she could see the tat Dana had there. “What is this?” Yvette wanted to know. “What is this Savaged Souls group?”
Dana tried to pull her wrist out of the other woman’s grasp but Yvette only tightened her grip. “It’s my father’s MC.” She gritted through her teeth.
“Your father? Who is your father?”
Dana heard the demand in her voice and she didn’t like it. “That’s hardly any of your business now is it?”
“I will ask you again,” Yvette growled. “Who is your father?”
Dana could hear the hint of an accent in the other woman’s voice and it sent a shiver through her body. She had no idea who this woman was but she wasn’t going to answer any of her questions. “I said that’s none of your business.”
Yvette smiled but the glee never made it to her eyes. Yvette reached up and removed her glasses.
Dana gasped, as she read nothing but cold emptiness in her eyes. “Who are you and what do you want?” she finally whispered.
“I want information only,” Yvette told her. “If you give that to me, I will not be forced to kill you and the other girl.”
Dana began to sweat at her announcement. “Why would you want to kill us? We didn’t do anything wrong.”
Yvette tapped Dana’s face hard with her free hand. “I did not say you did, I just like killing people. If you tell me what I want to know I might not have to kill you,” She looked over at Julie and said, “...or her.”
“What do you want to know?” Dana asked as a thread of fear trickled through her. Nothing like this had happened to her before and she wasn’t sure what to do.
“I want information on one of your men.”
“I don’t know anything about their work or club duties.” Dana whimpered as Yvette tightened her grip again.
“You know the men in your father’s club though don’t you?”
“Do you know a man named Blacky?” Yvette asked.
Dana eyes went wide and sweat beaded on her forehead.
Yvette noticed this too. “Oh, I see you do know him. Is he here? In this area? I need to have a conversation with that bastard.”
“He’s here,” Dana admitted.
“You will take me to him,” Yvette demanded.
“I can’t,” Dana told her with a trembling voice.
“You will take me to him,” she insisted as she twisted Dana’s arm.
“You don’t understand!” Dana cried out but not too loudly. She looked over her shoulder at Julie and saw she was busy doing paperwork. She looked back at Yvette. “I can’t take you to Blacky because he’s sitting in our jail cell. He’s been judged by a tribunal and found guilty. He’s going to be hanged in two days.”
Yvette bit her lip for a moment then shook her head. “No, he will not be hanged, not yet. He owes us lots of money and he cannot die until we get paid.” Then she got to her feet and looked down on Dana. “You will come with me in his place until your father gives this Blacky up to us.”
“But I can’t go anywhere. I’m being watched,” Dana argued.
Yvette scoffed. “By the biker sitting in the car watching this place? He won’t be a problem. We will just go out the back door, but you will come with me now.” She leaned toward Dana. Lowering her glasses again, she glared over the top of them. “Do not force me to hurt you. If you cooperate with me, I will not kill you. If you do not, I will take my time with you. You will beg for death before I’m done with you and I will have no mercy.” She spared a glance at Julie then nodded at the door not too far down the hall. “Go and do not raise any alarm or you will be the first to die. Then all your coworkers will join you in death as well.”
Dana was shaking so badly that she could barely move. She made her way to the back door. She knew it would set off a silent alarm to the clubhouse and she knew that was her only hope to get out of this without losing her life. She only hoped her father would check out the alarm and notice she was missing. She really didn’t want to die.
When the silent alarm went off, Rigger was in his office at the compound as he cued up the camera at the spa. When he saw Dana exit the building, he frowned. Then he saw another woman exit right behind her. As she grabbed Dana by the hair and pulled her back, he saw the look of terror on Dana’s face. The next thing he saw was Dana looking into the camera with a frightened stare.
The other woman grabbed her hair and pushed her along. The exchange didn’t look friendly so Rigger got up and went out to get Gunner and Boone.
When they all returned along with Winona and a few of the other brothers, they all watched in silence as the footage played out.
Winona gasped when she saw the other woman but said nothing.
“What the fuck is all of this?” Gunner growled low. “Get Jeeter on the phone and have him check this out. If this is one of her tricks, I swear I’ll slap the piss out of her.”
No one noticed Winona as she went to the corner of the room and sat down on the floor. She was shaking so badly, she couldn’t think. She was remembering a night long ago when she was a girl of eight years old.
She’d been sitting on the floor that night as well, when she heard loud voices coming from the other room. She knew better than to even look but she heard a voice she didn’t recognize that night and she couldn’t help herself. She had to find out what was going on. She crept over to the door and peeked out.
She saw three men standing there with a tall thin woman with long dark curly hair. The men were talking to Mike Brewer and another man he called Blacky. She didn’t understand the words as they were muttered in a low voice but she could understand the threat behind them. Their words were spoken in a voice she didn’t understand but she saw Mike and Sheila were watching what was going on but nothing made a difference to them. She could tell they were too stoned to even care what was happening around them.
There was another man there as well. The other man was on his knees and beaten up pretty bad. The woman looked down at him and drew a weapon from her pocket. Then she took a moment to twist something on the end of the gun. Then she pointed the gun at the kneeling man’s head and pulled the trigger.
Winona heard a soft pop and saw the man collapse to the floor. Spatters of blood and human flesh flew everywhere. She almost screamed out loud but managed to watch what happened next without uttering a sound.
Mike and Sheila didn’t move a muscle and Blacky just looked annoyed.
The woman just smiled and untwisted the piece from the barrel of her gun and pocketed both items.
One of the three men made a phone call and soon, two more men joined them. They reached down and dragged the dead body away.
Then she heard the men speaking again. She didn’t stay to listen to their words. They were too hard for a child to understand anyway.
She was so stunned she didn’t say a word. She knew she couldn’t watch anymore and she crept back to her corner and stayed there the rest of the night but no one bothered to check on her. No one bothered to check on her the next day either.
Finally, she came out of her room to get something to eat and no one else was even there. While she was eating, it had become late and she never turned on the lights cause she knew better when Mike and Sheila were missing, but she saw headlights through the windows, so she hightailed it back to her hiding spot.
It was two days later, when her parents returned. It wasn’t the first time they’d left her on her own and it wouldn’t be the last time.
Someone knelt in front of her and she raised her head to see Gunner there. “Baby, what’s wrong?”
“That woman is a killer,” she whispered.
“How do you know that?” Gunner asked looking over at Boone to get his attention.
Winona began to shake. Her body was going into shock and she didn’t want to remember.
Boone rushed over to her, pulled her to her feet then gathered her into his arms and carried her out to the dining room.
When he got there, he sat down in the nearest chair and yelled out, “Someone, grab a blanket or something. She’s freezing cold.”
Gunner sat down next to her and began rubbing her arms as Boone held her. “Baby girl, stay with us,” Gunner told her quietly. “We need you now. You need to tell us about this woman.”
Winona rested her head on Boone’s shoulder and felt the cold invade her body. Soon enough, a blanket was spread around her as she was tucked into Boone’s body. She so wanted just to forget that woman but she knew she couldn’t. She had to tell them what she knew. This could hold Dana’s life in the balance. “I only saw her the one time, but it was a long time ago. I was only eight years old that year. Mike and Sheila were meeting with some people and I was told to stay in my room no matter what I heard. I knew better than to come out anyway. After dark in that house, bad things happened. One night there was a loud discussion but when I heard a strange woman’s voice, I had to see who was out there.”
“And what did you see?” Gunner asked.
“I saw three strangers and a woman. There was a man kneeling on the floor that had been beaten. Mike, Sheila and Blacky were there as well. I didn’t know Blacky at the time but I’d seen him before. I just never knew his name, back then.”
“What happened next Winona?” Boone asked.
“That woman at some point in their loud discussion, slowly pulled a gun out of her pocket, twisted a silencer on the barrel and just put a bullet into the man’s head.” She shook her head. “She didn’t even flinch when she killed him. Her eyes were so cold. Shortly after that, everyone left the house. Nobody came back until sometime in the next night. I didn’t say anything, I knew better.”
Gunner sat back in his chair and just stared at her for the longest time. “So Blacky has been mixed up with these people all this time huh?”
“Do you know who they are?” Winona wanted to know.
Gunner ran his hands over the back of his head. “I think they are known as the Vory V Zakone. A branch of the Russian mob. Not the regular mob, mind you, but a branch of the outlaw part. They aren’t nice people and Blacky owes them a great deal of money. We just turned over all the money we found to the cartel connection.” Gunner looked up at Boone with dread in his eyes. “What do we do now? She’s going to kill my daughter.”
Then Winona remembered something else from that night so long ago. “Maybe not. That night the three men were holding large duffel bags. When they left that night they took the body with them and Blacky had the two duffel bags. When Mike, Sheila and Blacky returned they spoke of the money and where it was hidden. Blacky told them they would never find it but it would remain hidden in case he ever needed it. He said that was going to be his go to money, in case he ever had to disappear in a hurry.” She looked over at his father. “Maybe that money is still where he buried it.”
Gunner shook his head. “Even if it is, he would never tell us. He hates me that much. He won’t stop until me and mine are dead.”
“Perhaps they’ll take his life in trade for Dana’s? “Rigger suggested. “We won’t know until we ask.”
“All I know is we have to get her back.” Gunner growled. “No matter what she’s done to us, we have to get her back. She’s still my daughter.”
“Maybe Arizona would know?” Winona suggested.
Rigger growled. “That fucking backstabber. What the fuck would he know?”
“He might know more than you think,” Winona offered.
“Why don’t we find out?” Boone suggested.
“How can we really trust anything he says as fact and not just a bid to save his own neck from the hangman’s noose?” Gypsy asked.
“We can’t just leave her to that woman!” Winona cried out shivering in Boone’s arms. “Dana even in her worst behavior, doesn’t deserve that.”
“How can you defend her?” Gypsy wanted to know. “In her anger, she hurt you the worst and never once thought about your welfare.”
Winona turned to look at the man. “She may be a spoiled little bitch in your eyes but in mine…” Winona let out a deep sigh, “…she’s still my sister. For someone like me who’s never known where she came from, or having any real family, having a sister and a dad means something. It means I’m part of a family I never knew I had. I have a past I never knew about.” She looked around the room at all their faces. “That may mean nothing to you guys but it means a hell of a lot to me.”
There was nothing but silence for the longest time, then the front door was pushed open and Jeeter stomped into the clubhouse. “What the fucking hell boss?” He was rubbing the back of his head. “Someone hit me from behind and I was out for the count for over twenty minutes. Then I get a call to get my ass back here. What’s going on?”
Gunner got up on his feet to face the other man. “Dana is gone. She was taken out the back door by an assassin for the Russian mob.”
Jeeter looked surprised then confused. “How the hell did she manage that? I saw only one woman enter the shop the whole time I was there.”
“That was the woman who she left with,” Gypsy told him. “Winona tells us she’s a killer.”
“Blacky mentioned he owes the Vory V Zakone a huge amount of money and they will come here to collect it,” Gunner informed him. “He told us this, after we gave all the money he had to the cartel but we think he’s got more hidden somewhere. We just have to find it first before they come here to get it.”
“How are you going to get him to tell us where it is?” Jeeter asked. “He isn’t going to just tell you. He’s a dead man either way and he hates you enough to not say a word and let you suffer losing your daughter. He never liked her either.”
“I know that.” Gunner growled. “But maybe Arizona knows and would be willing to bargain his life for hers.” Shaking his head, he sat down again. “But that’s not a deal I can bargain with him. The Tribunal sentenced him and I can’t go against the Tribunal. Not even for my daughter’s life.”
“Maybe not but the Tribunal can issue a reprieve of sorts,” Gypsy told him. “We can’t stop his death but maybe we can postpone it until we find the money.”
“If the money still exists anymore.” Gunner shook his head. “It’s been a number of years since Winona was eight years old.”
“What do you want us to do boss?” Rigger finally asked.
Gunner looked up at his men and shook his head. “I can’t ask you to do anything. I won’t abuse my office of President to do that. But I will ask you to help me find her.” He got to his feet and walked down the hall to his bedroom.
Winona and the others watched him go and Winona wasn’t the only one that was worried about him.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Arizona was laying on his bunk. Blacky was laying on his bunk as well but Blacky was almost asleep while Arizona was wondering how not to get himself dead. “You aren’t worried about the day after tomorrow at all are you?” Arizona growled.
“Why the hell should I worry about something I can’t change?” Blacky asked him with his eyes still closed.
“We’re gonna hang you stupid man.”
Blacky smiled, his eyes still closed. “No we’re not at least, I’m not. I still have an ace up my sleeve.”
Arizona snorted. “You mean the money from the Vory V Zakone?”
Blacky quickly sat up and turned to face him. “What the fuck do you know about that?” he snarled.
Arizona raised his arms up and put them behind his head. Then he smiled at the rage in the other man’s voice. “More than you would care for me to know I’m thinking. Perhaps I can strike a deal with Gunner? The money for my life.”
Blacky threw his head back and began laughing out loud. “If that’s what you think you don’t know Gunner very well at all. He won’t ask that of his men, no way, no how. He’s got too much honor to go against the Tribunal like that. Not even if one of his kids were in trouble.”
“So says you, but he knows they are coming now, and he has to pay them the money or face his own death,” Arizona reminded him. “Do you really think he’s going to let one of your schemes take his life?”
Blacky laid back down. “He’s got no choice. I’ll never tell him where the money is so he has no bargaining chip.” Blacky chuckled. “He’ll die cursing my name, so who will get the last laugh after all?”
“You really are a sick fucking bastard aren’t you?” Arizona shook his head.
“Yeah, I may be a bastard but what does that make you?” Blacky asked him. “No, my friend, Gunner isn’t going to be able to save either of us now.” He shook his head and he said, “He won’t be able to save his own life either though. The only consolation I have is that I’ll meet him in hell in a few short days.”
Just then, they heard heavy footsteps coming down the stairs.
Arizona and Blacky sat up in their bunks as Winona, Boone and several of the other brothers came down.
“To what do we owe this pleasure?” Blacky asked. “And where is your fearless leader?”
“This has nothing to do with Gunner,” Boone told him.
“Huh?” Blacky scoffed. “I have a feeling this has everything to do with that bastard.”
“A Russian hit woman took Dana this morning. They want the money you took from them years ago.” Boone glared at him. “As much as it pains me to say this, we want Dana back.”
“You can’t force me to help you, you put me under a death sentence. All I have to do is wait two more days. By then, Dana will be able to meet me at the gates of hell.” Blacky chuckled.
“Or we can contact the Russians and offer them a trade you for her,” Gypsy suggested. “Hell, we’ll even throw Arizona in for free. I wonder which of you will blab first?”
Blacky shook his head. “That goes against everything the Tribunal stands for. Gunner would never do the deal.”
“Gunner isn’t doing the deal, we are,” Tramper told him. “The members of the Tribunal are setting the terms of this deal.”
“So, Gunner is hiding behind you guys now? Such a fucking coward.” Blacky growled.
“They are asking this for me, not Gunner,” Winona finally spoke up. “You made my life a living hell when you separated me from my mom and my twin. Your sister and her husband abused me almost to the point of death several times. Then you would show up, I never knew your name until I came here but I knew you were evil. You were the boogey man in my nightmares when I was younger. You told me at the warehouse that you watched my mom bleed out after Dana was born, then you took me to your sister because I was your ace in the hole as far as Gunner was concerned. Did you beat the hell out of your sister when they forgot to come home that one time? Or did you use drugs to finally kill them?”
“What the hell are you saying bitch?” Blacky began to sweat. No one here knew about that before.
“I know you looked all over town for me, before you finally gave up. Mrs. George saw the wanted posters on me, but she never told me about them until the last time she got sick, before she died. She used to tell me I had to hide myself or the bad men would find me. She knew who you were but she kept me safe the only way she could. She hid me for years. She was the only real mother I had until the day she died. On her deathbed, she told me everything. She told me how hard you looked for me and why, because you sold me to someone for a lot of money and when you couldn’t find me, you had to give the buyer his money back. But your buyer wasn’t happy about not getting me. Mrs. George told me everything. I had to change my name and move to another city after she was gone. That I’d never be safe from you and that I should watch my back because you would never give up on finding me.” Winona was almost sobbing by the time she was done. This was something she hoped never to reveal about the bastard who made her life a living hell. This was just a part of her nightmare and now she had shared it with the very men that respected her father to the point of overruling their own tribunal.
The cell area went quiet as she stopped talking.
“I prayed I was doing the right thing by staying so close to Lake Charles. I prayed so hard you would never find me, but then I came here didn’t I? I came here and found my father and the sister I never knew I had. I wanted to forget about you until I saw you again. I thought you looked familiar even though I never knew what your name was.”
“Bitch, you need to keep your mouth shut!” Blacky shouted at her.
“Why? Why do I need to do that?” she asked him with narrowed eyes. “Are you afraid I might know where the money is buried? Afraid I might take away any ace you had in the hole?” Winona moved closer to the cell. She was still hurting from the beating she’d taken at his hands. “I’ll bet you didn’t know while you searched high and low for me in Lake City, I was following you all over town. I watched while you made your rounds every week. You had no fear walking around that town doing your business, you never turned around to see if you were being followed or not. “Hell, one day I saw you meet with the Russians,” Winona scoffed, “You stopped in a park, I was hiding in the tree you sat under. You never knew I was even there.”
Suddenly, Winona had a flash of memory and her eyes widened as she remembered that day. She was fifteen and she wasn’t as afraid of him as she’d been when she was eight. Now his words began making sense to her. “You lousy bastard!” She screamed at him. “You fucking lousy bastard.” She turned to the men standing there and told them what she’d overheard that day. “Nine years ago he sold out this club. He promised the Russians that in ten years he would disband this group and bring down their leader Gunner. He said those he couldn’t control he would just kill and be done with it. He also promised that he would put some people into position where they could watch the group and then when he booted out everyone he knew he couldn’t control, the Russians could just walk in here and take over your business.”
Then she turned to Arizona. “He was the first of four he was setting up. He told the Russians something else too. He was going to set up the President’s daughter as his own whore and she would serve him and whoever else he wanted her to. He’s had this planned for nine years.”
The men snapped their heads around to glare at Blacky who was sweating.
He raised his hands up. “How the hell did— could you have overheard that conversation? It never happened. Come on, you guys know me. What she’s saying is all lies. She’d say anything to get herself out of trouble. Don’t you guys see that?”
Winona shook her head. “No, I’m not and you know it. The Russians need legit workers to launder their money. This was an option you gave them to do that. The bounty hunting business would help them track down the people that owed them. It would also help them with their blackmail scheme. With the bounty hunting contacts this club has, they could find out whatever they needed to know and use that information to blackmail businessmen all over the world.”
Boone nodded. “It makes sense. That’s the real reason why they need to know where to find you. They want the deal you made them. They don’t care about the money end of the deal, they want the deal you promised them.”
“Now they’ve got Dana and they won’t hesitate to kill her instead of you.” Gypsy growled.
“Not if we can find them first.” Boone snarled.
“We’re gonna have to be careful, we won’t know what Dana will tell them about the club,” Tramper suggested. “She’s not known for enduring much pain. She’ll tell them anything to avoid being hurt.”
“We have to find out who the woman is that took her,” Winona told them. “We can call Julie at the spa to find that out. Then we can go from there.” She turned to Boone. “Can you help me back upstairs?”
Boone swept her into his arms and went back upstairs.
They were followed by everyone but Tramper. He stayed behind.
When they were alone, Tramper looked over to Arizona and said, “I suggest if you know anything else you’d better tell me. If we have to go to war with the Russians you might not last until the day after tomorrow.”
“You better keep your fucking mouth shut or I’ll kill you slowly.” Blacky threatened from his cell.
Arizona looked over at Tramper and said, “Make me a deal that doesn’t include my death and I’ll tell you everything I know.”
Tramper looked from one man to the other. “You two deserve each other. Treason only ends with death. Maybe you’d be better off with the Russians. But then these bastards aren’t the real Bratva are they? No they are the Vory V Zakone. Outcasts of the real Bratva. The real Bratva has a sense of honor, these bastards don’t know what honor is. By the way, do you know how they treat betrayers? I’ve only heard this so I can’t be sure if it’s true or not but hell, even if it is just a rumor, I wouldn’t wish this on any man.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Blacky demanded angrily.
“I’ve heard when they want to make a prisoner suffer, they peel their skin off from head to toe.” He shrugged. “Now to me that seems excessive and normally, the man will die screaming long before they reach his knees, or wait… do they start from the bottom and go to the top or do they start from the top and go to the bottom?” Tramper laughed. “Hell, either way, you wouldn’t live very long before you bled to death.” He shuddered then said, “Like I said, I wouldn’t wish that on any man. Guess you might have a chance to find out though.” Then Tramper turned and walked up the stairs.
Arizona turned to Blacky. “You fucking bastard.”
Blacky didn’t say a word He couldn’t say anything, mostly because Yvette had promised him that very same fate if he failed them. Yeah, he had no doubt she was the woman from the spa this morning and he began to sweat. She was one cruel bitch and worse than this, she really enjoyed her work.
Dana was scared, she had never been treated this way before, her father hadn’t even spanked her growing up. She had no idea where she even was. Yvette had zip tied her hands behind her back and thrown her in the backseat. Yvette drove them to an address she didn’t know and because she was face down on the seat, so she didn’t see where they were going either.
When they got there, two men were waiting for them. They dragged Dana inside and tossed her down to the floor. With her hands still zip tied, the fall made Dana scream.
Yvette had slapped her hard and told her to shut her mouth.
Dana had done just that.
They let Dana lay on the cold dirty floor for some time.
Yvette then began asking questions and Dana had answered them all. Unfortunately, she didn’t know the answers to some of her questions and had gotten hit for those she couldn’t answer. Now Yvette and the two men were talking as far away from her as they could be. They kept looking over at her and talking. They were speaking in Russian, so she didn’t understand a word they were saying. But also at the moment she didn’t care about anything but her own pain.
Dana was laying on the floor where she had been tossed after taking a beating from the woman she left the spa with. Her whole body hurt. It hurt to even breathe. She had told her what she wanted to know and yet, she’d still been beaten. Yvette was a cruel woman who loved the pain she was dishing out. Dana had seen it in her lifeless eyes every time Yvette hit her.
Dana groaned as she tried to move which drew the attention of the trio.
Yvette walked leisurely over to where she was huddled on the floor. She knelt down beside her and grabbed her face in her cruel fingers. “So, you are the daughter of Gunner huh?” She sneered as she looked down at the girl. “I figured you’d be a little tougher growing up in a motorcycle club.”
“I was club princess not an MC member,” Dana told her, then winced in pain when the woman’s fingers tightened on her face.
“Club princess huh? Maybe I will send you back to your father with a crown nailed to your head then.”
Dana cried out, she knew she was in big trouble this time and now her dad might not be able to save her.
Yvette threw her head down hard and watched as it bounced off the dirty floor.
Tears rolled down Dana’s face and she finally understood deep-seated fear.”
“Stop with the tears little girl,” Yvette ordered as she contemptuously scowled at her. “I’m sick of listening to you weep.”
Sniffling, Dana whispered. “What are you going to do with me?”
“Well that depends on your father now doesn’t it?” One of the men joined them.
Dana looked up and saw his face closely for the first time.
He was a tall man, around six foot or so. He wore a suit and had shiny black shoes. His head was covered in grey hair but his eyes were cold. He also had a scar down the side of his face. The edges of his scar was puckered and nasty looking.
“What do you want him to do?” Dana whispered fearfully.
The man shrugged. “Not much, just walk away from his club and his businesses. You see Blacky took our money almost ten years ago to make that happen, now we know it never will, but we still need your father to make good on Blacky’s promises. We need the club members and the bounty hunting business.”
Dana was stunned by what he said. Her father was the MC and he’d never just give it up, not even for her. She closed her eyes and felt her own death coming for her.
Winona sat at a table with Boone, Tramper, Gypsy and Gunner.
When they filled Gunner in on what was going on, Gunner was furious with Blacky. They actually had to hold him back from going downstairs to beat the man to death.
“I can’t believe that fucker did this.” Gunner growled. “He’s been working on this fucking plan to dismantle this club for the last nine years. Now the Russians have my daughter and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
“We can try and find her before they hurt her,” Winona suggested.
Tramper and Gypsy snapped their heads up and looked at her. They couldn’t believe she was willing to have Dana come back.
Finally Tramper said, “Honey, she’s probably dead already. They’re not known to have mercy with their victims.”
Gunner slammed his fist onto the table, hearing Tramper say those words.
“I know. That’s what scares me.” Winona nodded.
Suddenly, the front door was thrown open and a woman rushed inside. She stopped on a dime when suddenly several chairs were scraping across the floor as members got to their feet with their weapons in their hands. The weapons were pointed straight at her and she looked a little wide eyed at the reception she got.
Winona frowned and slowly got to her feet. “Lucille, what the hell are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry, sweetie but when you called me I was worried about you.” Lucille began wringing her hands together. She looked around the room. “I’m…” Clearing her throat, she continued, “I’m really not here to make any trouble. I just—I wanted to check on my girl.”
Winona got up and slowly walked toward her.
Lucille gasped when she saw the extent of her bruises. “Oh my god, what did that bastard do to you?” she whispered as she held out her arms.
Winona looked like she might cry as she stepped into her embrace.
Lucille held Winona close for a moment, then released her. “Where is that nasty sonofabitch? I’ll kill the bastard!”
Winona chuckled. “Lucille, I’ll be okay. The bruises will fade.” Winona grabbed her hands and turned to everyone. “Guys, this is my business partner, Lucille Rodman. She works with me in the bakery over in Moss Bluff.”
Gunner got to his feet and moved over to where the two women were standing. Holding out his hand, he shook Lucille’s hand. “It’s good to meet you, Lucille.”
“Likewise,” Lucille answered him with a small tremble in her voice.
Gunner paused. Yes, he scared people sometimes, but she was trembling when she shook his hand. It was a curious reaction. He might be the president of an MC but he’d never hurt a woman. “Winona is thinking about moving the bakery over here. I hope that isn’t going to cause you a hardship.”
“Not at all,” Lucille assured him. “I got nobody but her, so where she goes, I go. I just hope you guys don’t mind me. I think of her as a daughter.”
“I just found out that she is my daughter.” Gunner nodded, looking over at Winona with a smile. “I’ve known about one of my kids since she was a few days old but I never knew I had two of them until recently, but now that I know about her, I can’t let her go.”
Lucille turned her head to stare at Winona. “You have a sister? Is she here? How old is she?”
“Her name is Dana and guess what? We’re twins. We just turned twenty four the other day,” Winona explained while shaking her head. “If I hadn’t gone on vacation and been mistaken for her, I never would have known I had family here.”
Lucille gasped. “You are twins? Are you sure?”
Winona frowned at the other woman’s question. “Yeah Lucille, Dana and I are twins and we’re both Gunner’s daughters.”
Lucille began to cry. Hugging Winona she said, “Oh honey, I’m so glad you found your family!”
Winona pulled away and stared at her, a surprised expression on her face.
Lucille swallowed hard as emotion seemed to get to her. “I’ve known you for three years now and I know how much you missed being part of a family.” She looked around the room. “Where is your sister, can I meet her?”
Gunner shook his head with a grimace. “Unfortunately, she’s not here right now. She was kidnapped earlier today.”
Lucille gasped and paled, as her body seemed to tilt sideways.
Gunner caught her before she could fall to the floor and he escorted her over to his table.
Winona followed them back and asked, “Lucille, are you okay?”
Lucille nodded. “Don’t mind me. I think my blood sugar just dropped. I’ll be fine. And to hear this has happened to you sweet girl upset me a bit, I’ll admit.” She looked over at Gunner. “Do you know who took her?”
Gunner nodded and frowned at the woman’s questions. “Yeah, we know who took her. We just have no idea where they took her.”
“Do you know why?” Lucille asked.
“Yeah, we know why.” Gunner nodded as rage boiled inside him.
“Can you get her back?” Lucille asked in an urgent, desperate sounding tone.
Gunner frowned and looked over to Boone. He saw the same confusion on his VP’s face that was on his. Lucille was mighty interested in all of this. But maybe she was just fond of Winona and she maybe cared a bit too much?
Winona patted the other woman’s hand. “We’re going to try.”
Lucille stared at Winona and nodded. “That’s good. I mean to find a sister then… Oh baby, I’ve been so worried about you. Ever since your first phone call. I can’t imagine you with an MC. It was quite a shock you know.”
Winona smiled. “I told you I was okay.” She glanced over at Gunner and Boone. “She worries over me. I think she wants to adopt me or something. She tends to mother me.”
“Oh baby girl, you already have a mother out there somewhere,” Lucille told her.
Winona shook her head. “I was told our mother died the day Dana and I were born.” She turned to Gunner and smiled brightly. “But at least I found my dad. After all these years, I have a family.”
Lucille smiled but sadness remained in her heart at hearing this news about the twin. “That’s good, baby girl. I’m so happy for you.” She took a deep breath and managed to calm herself. She had entered a place she’d thought she might not be welcome in and if she wanted to stay, she needed to not make any waves.
Sneaking a peek at Gunner the seeming leader here, she almost drooled. He was a strong, good looking man. She wondered if he had a woman. His blonde hair might have streaks of grey in it but life had been good to him, apparently. For a father of two girls in their twenty’s, he still looked like he was in his late thirties.
However, Lucille thought that time hadn’t been so kind to her over the years. Although, she wasn’t old…she wasn’t young anymore either.
She looked over at Winona and found her eyes studying her intently. Lucille flushed a bit but ignored it. Reaching over, she grabbed Winona’s hand and just hung on to it for a while. “I hope you get your sister back,” she whispered.
“I hope so too,” Winona told her. “Even though she hates me, I still don’t want to lose her.”
Lucille frowned. “She hates you? But why? She hasn’t had time to even know you yet. How can she hate you already?”
Winona shrugged. “She thinks I’m here to replace her as club princess and she hates that she has to share that title. I guess.” She shook her head sadly. “She didn’t even give me a chance and I think that’s what hurts the most. All my life, I wondered if my real family was out there somewhere, or even if I had someone out there looking for me.” She gazed over at Gunner. “I never dreamed I had a father that didn’t know I existed.”
Lucille nodded. “Aww I see. She’s a bit spoiled then.”
Winona snorted then winced. “You might say that.”
“Well, I’m glad you found your father at least. I hope he takes good care of you too. And I pray that you get your sister back. I really do. I’d love to meet her someday.”
Gunner listened to Lucille’s words and he had a feeling he didn't like. He needed to know more about this baker who was so close to his daughter. She was just a little too involved in his daughter’s life and he wanted to know if she presented a danger, to Winona, and to the club.
Above his own life, he had to put the club first. But before he could do that, he had to find his daughter Dana. Blacky had sold them all out ten years ago and before he could stop that, he had to find out the extent of what Blacky had done a decade ago.
He already had Rigger looking into this woman, Yvette the one that took Dana and the members of the Vory V Zakone in this area. He only hoped they could find their weakness and put a stop to them before it cost him, Dana’s life.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” Lucille asked.
Her voice seemed to jolt Gunner from his thoughts as he looked up and stared at her.
Winona grinned. “Actually, it’s almost time for lunch and these guys need to eat something, even if they don’t think they’re hungry, they need nourishment. Can you help me fix something?” She shrugged her shoulders. “I still move a bit slowly.”
“Of course, my dear. That is something I can do.” Lucille smiled. “Come on, lead me to your kitchen.”
Winona got up and with Lucille’s help, they both disappeared into the kitchen.
Gunner watched them walk away. Something about this woman definitely sparked his interest. That might or might not be a good thing. He just didn’t know what it was.
Boone moved over to sit in the chair next to him. “Am I mistaken in believing she’s just a little bit too interested in our present problem?”
Gunner shook his head slowly. “No I don’t think you are mistaken. I think we need to have Rigger look into her background a bit. I don’t need any more trouble right now.”
Boone nodded. “I’ll have him check her out.” He paused then asked, “What are you going to do about what Tramper told us?”
Gunner shifted in his seat. “About the deal Blacky made ten years ago? What can I do about it? He planned our downfall even back then. We had a well established bounty hunting business and the MC and he betrayed both. He took money to make it happen and now, he can’t do what he promised. I’m sure we’ll uncover more of his plans as time goes on. The brothers are working on a plan to get Dana back and I hope we can find these bastards and wipe them off the earth.” Shaking his head he said, “Blacky has to die and someday, I’ll put the rope around his neck, but that day isn’t going to happen until I get Dana back. But I also have to remember my role here as well. I can’t put my needs in front of the club’s needs.”
Their conversation was interrupted when they heard footsteps coming from down the hall. Gunner looked up and saw Rigger rushing toward them.
“I may have found her, boss.”
Gunner felt his chest tighten as he sat up straighter and looked around the room. The brothers were gathering around him. “What did you find?”
“When they did not take Dana’s car, I remembered back to the day I tagged her car,” Rigger excitedly said in an excited voice. “I also added a tracker in her shoes. Hell, I figured there might just come a day when she would have to be driven places. I had no idea it would come in so handy. I know where her shoes are at least.” Rigger grinned at him.
Gunner felt a lurch in his chest. “Where the hell is her shoe?” He hardly dared to breathe.
“It’s near the warehouse section, out by where Blacky had his place,” Rigger informed him.
Boone had been listening intently then he got to his feet and looked around at all the brothers sitting or standing in various parts of the room. He raised his voice as he spoke to all of them, “Gunner can’t ask this of you as president of this MC, but I can. We need to stop them from killing her and taking over this club. We found out earlier that Blacky fucking sold us out over a decade ago, both the club and the bounty hunting business we built up. I say, we take back what is ours. These people are vicious, soulless fucking killers and one of them is a woman.”
The brothers all gathered closer to listen.
Boone wore a look that many in the club hadn’t ever seen. It was an intense rage filled expression. His eyes seemed to glow with some inner fire as he went on, “It’s going to get bloody brothers, but if we don’t go after them, it’ll be our lives on the line. Blacky would have put a bullet in every man here to rebuild this club as his own hell hole. He was willing to kill us all if we didn’t fall into his greedy plans. He made the first strike over twenty-four years ago when he threatened our president and his family. It’s too late to take that back, but now we’re all in danger. We all have a say in what happens next. Do we stand together as a club and stop this fucking insanity, or do we all lose our place here? I for one, am not willing to fucking lose. I’m willing to fight for the right to keep what we’ve all worked long and hard for. Fuck these assholes and their greedy fucking plans!”
The men around him banged their fists on the tables, while a few grumbled, as they didn’t want war. But from the rumbles and boot stomping that could be heard in the room, most of them showed that they were behind him one hundred percent.
“What do you need us to do?” Tramper asked.
“We need to find out if they have Dana at this warehouse,” Boone told him and he looked around at the other brothers. “Then we move in to take her back and maybe even the odds a bit by taking out this woman and whoever else is fucking there when we hit it. We need to show them that we are an MC that will fucking fight back.”
Gypsy glanced over at Tramper. “We’ll go and stake out the place then let you guys know what we find.” He looked over at Rigger. “Show us where she is.”
Rigger laid a map on the table and they talked about what they had to do.
After a few minutes of planning, Gunner spoke up, “Take the infrared along, so you can see how many people are actually inside. It’s safer to know ahead of time than be surprised after the fact.”
Gypsy nodded as he looked over at his boss, a determined fury in his eyes. “Don’t worry Prez, we’ll get her back. If she’s there, we’ll fucking get her back.”
Gunner nodded. “When you do, we’ll go after the Vory V Zakone. By the time we’re done, they’ll wish they never fucking made that deal with Blacky. They’ll wish they never came up against the Savaged Souls MC.” He took his own time to gaze around and look at each and every member of his MC. “They’ll fucking wish that they ever heard our name. Do you all remember what we NEVER do?” Their president gazed around again, meeting every pair of eyes in the room.
The men all went silent. You could then hear a pin drop if any had one to drop. Some looked like thunder had just pealed. Others stared hard at their Prez and VP.
Then a noise started as they all began to catch on to what A Savaged Soul never did. Starting as a low mumbling, the sound grew. Then suddenly, all at once the men broke out into a war chant.
“Never say die to save your soul.”
It was something they’d made up years ago before they had established the MC, when they had been fighting for their own right to live as a club. It was now on a plaque above the door to the club, almost a forgotten motto in fact. Something they all saw every day, but something that had apparently, not been forgotten when it came down to do or die.
Lucille and Winona pushed the kitchen’s double doors open with wide eyes and a little fear on their faces as they’d come out to see what was going on. They just stood there staring at the men.
Now, Lucille didn’t look surprised by the chant or startled by the roaring noise made by more than forty men in the room. Her expression looked hard and determined.
Winona looked confused like she wondered what all this meant.
Never say die to save your soul was chanted over and over in many deep, growling voices as huge fists pounded the tables and large boots stomped the floor.
The entire building seemed to shake and the windows even rattled.
Then suddenly it all died down.
Silence pervaded the huge room as all the men lowered their heads. Gunner and Boone did the same.
The silence seemed to stretch on. It looked as if they were praying.
Then one by one, they raised their heads as they all got up or the ones who stood, moved away.
The Savaged Souls were now silent soldiers while getting ready for the coming war.
Eight men left the clubhouse in search of finding Dana and returning her to the club. Gunner was forced to stay behind and he hated it. He’d never felt so fucking helpless in his entire life as he felt today. Dana was his little girl and while he didn’t agree with her recent actions, he still loved her.
He had no idea what she was going through and this bothered him. Was she hurt, or scared? He had to wonder if she was even still alive. His heart pounded in his chest at the thought of his little girl being out there on her own probably in pain, and most definitely in danger.
Then the kitchen door opened and Lucille walked out with a tray of sandwiches and desserts. Winona followed with cups and silverware. Lucille was doing the heavy lifting and again, she seemed to fit right in.
He watched her with hooded eyes.
He couldn’t believe how closely she had attached herself to Winona. He hoped Rigger would find something out about her. Good, bad or otherwise, he needed to know more about her. The moment he looked at her he felt... he didn't know what it was, but his inner alarms went off.
He 'd noted the slight cock to her head, the way she moved and there was something about her scent. Everyone had their own unique scent, whether they were animals or humans. It was what set us apart from others.When he was helping her to the table earlier, he breathed in her scent and realized it was something that really affected him. But why?
Yes, he had to admit, even in the middle of all this chaos going on with the club and Dana, he felt something shift inside him whenever he saw this woman... this Lucille. But dammit, he knew she was hiding something.
Trust wasn't something Gunner had a lot of and after DeeDee, he never trusted a woman again. Oh, he'd had women in his bed but he never let them get close. He couldn't. DeeDee had just up and left him without a word. One day, she was there and the next, she was gone.
Now years later, he learned that she'd done it to protect him and to protect their unborn children. She had gone with Blacky under extreme pressure and in fear for Gunner's life. It had been a punch to his gut to finally learn this and learn what had happened to her. So, he also knew that she would be the only woman that he could ever feel any love for. No other would ever get in like that again.
Frowning, he thought about the questions he had about this Lucille woman. Was she using Winona to get to him? Was she connected to Yvette somehow? Could that be the reason she came here? Did she know Winona was his daughter? Had she planned all of this? If so… for what reason?
Gunner groaned and leaned forward putting his head into his hands. Thoughts like this were driving him crazy. One daughter was in serious trouble and the other might have brought trouble to his doorstep.
Frustrate and on his last nerve, he grabbed the walkie-talkie and touched base with Gypsy, “Are you guys in position yet?” he growled.
“Yeah, just got into position boss,” Gypsy assured him.
“Any sign of any trouble yet?”
“Nope, not a thing. We're using infrared to check out the warehouse now,” Gypsy told him. “We found the car she used this morning, but the engine is cold. It hasn’t moved since they got here. There are tracks in the dirt of a second car but it isn’t here anymore.”
“Just find Dana and bring her back here.” Gunner growled. “We’ll deal with the rest when they come back for her.”
“Prez... you gotta chill man. We know what we’re doing here. Let us do our jobs,” Gypsy told him. “We know how to do an extraction.”
Gunner held his breath for a moment, the he let out a deep breath of air. “I know you do man. Please be careful. She’s still my kid.” His men were Bounty Hunters and they knew how to do their jobs, it was just so personal now that Gunner had trouble keeping it together.
“We know that boss and we’re being as careful as we can. We’re not taking any chances with her life, but you gotta give us time to get it right.”
“Good luck boys.” Gunner threw the walkie talkie on the table and pounded his fist onto the table in anger.... As much as he wanted to yell, he knew it wouldn’t do him any good. He had to stay strong for his MC, for himself, for Winona. Not necessarily in that order.
He looked up and saw Winona coming toward him with a tray in her hands. He got to his feet and took it from her. On the tray were two cups of coffee and a piece of chocolate cake. Setting the tray down on the table, he watched her sit down with him. As much as he wanted her close, he wasn’t going to be good company right now.
He was about to tell her that when she held up her hand to stop him. “Please hear me out…” she pleaded.
Gunner let out a sigh then sat down next to her and waited.
Winona looked at him with tears in her eyes. “Dad, I’m scared.”
“Why?” Gunner frowned. “Don’t you think I can take care of you?”
She shook her head. “It’s not that. I know you can protect this club. I’m scared for Dana. She’s out there all alone right now. She most likely has been hurt and she’s feeling so very much alone.” She bit her lip and looked everywhere but at him. She gazed down at her lap for a moment then raised her head. “I know what she’s going through. There have been many times in my life when I’ve been in her shoes. But I’m pretty sure this is a first for her. When I came here the first time and saw you, something inside me began to hope. It was a tiny hope but suddenly, it grew and I prayed it was true. From day one, Mike and Sheila were never real parents to me. They tolerated my presence because Blacky would bring them the drugs they needed. All they had to do was keep me alive. And they did. Barely, but they did.”
Gunner sighed and listened as she finally shared some of what she went through with him, even though it was hard for him to take.
“I grew up never expecting much because it was never given to me. But when I came here, I felt hope. When I looked into your eyes, I saw something of myself in them. An echo of a past I never knew was really mine before.” Winona let out a deep sigh. “Then I met Dana. I didn’t have to do anything to her and she hated me from the moment we met. I wasn't looking to replace her in your heart. I couldn’t do that either, even if I wanted to. You’ve known and loved her all her life. You just met me by accident.” She smiled at him. “An accident I’m very glad for by the way.”
Gunner cocked his head and asked, “So what are you saying here?”
“I never knew my mother, never met her, but I realized something, I have as much of you in me as Dana does. You are a stubborn man, but a man of principal. She’s watched you while growing up, hopefully she’ll remember all the things you did every day of her life. She’s got you in her, she just has to remember it. She’s scared to death right now, I’m sure but I hope she remembers the lessons you and your brothers taught her. That’s what will get her through this. All she has to do is remember.” She leaned over and patted his arm. “I hope they get her back in one piece.”
Gunner stared at her and it him him all at once. Winona was an incredible wonderful person. And despite all that had happened, she still worried for Dana. This girl was full of warmth and sunshine and he couldn’t have felt prouder of her.
Winona struggled to get to her feet as her injuries were slowing her down. Once she managed to stand, she leaned over and hugged him. Without saying another word, she turned and went back to the kitchen.
Once she was back in the kitchen, Gunner stared at the door for a long time.
When Boone joined him, Gunner glanced over at his VP and shook his head.
“What did she have to say?” Boone asked.
“Only that Dana might be stronger than we ever thought she was. And that we shouldn’t give up on her yet.”
Boone nodded slowly. “She could be right, you know. As spoiled as Dana is, she knows you would move heaven and earth to protect her.” He shrugged. “She is her fathers’ daughter too, you know.”
Gunner closed his eyes and nodded. “That’s what I’m praying for.”
Dana was cold. Her hands were still tied back behind her and she was still laying on the cold concrete floor. Her whole body hurt but as long as she didn’t move much, she didn’t feel the pain so much.
She barely moved but she was keeping her eye on Yvette.
The two men had left hours ago and now it was just the two of them. At first, she’d been terrified by her kidnapping. The thought to cooperate popped into her head but then with the thought of them killing her anyway, she knew she couldn’t give up the club. Not altogether anyway.
The longer she laid here, the more her thoughts began to invade her mind and she could see clearer. With the arrival of Winona, she had been such a bitch. She never realized how far her life had been spinning out of control before her dad laid down the law to her. He’d never set down rules before and at first, she’d been shocked then she just felt hurt.
But the longer she laid here the more she realized he’d been right all along. She only hoped this bitch Yvette didn’t take what she had told her before as gospel. Some of the things she’d told them were true but the rest of it were all lies. Dana had to lie because she hadn’t taken account of the everyday things that the club was into before.
She was shamed by the fact she hadn’t paid attention for all this time. They had asked and she hadn’t known even the simplest of things they wanted to know. In fact, she only worked at the spa because she didn’t have any marketable skills. She couldn’t do anything else and now when she looked back at her life, she realized she didn’t even know how to earn a decent wage. If she had to live her life on what she could earn, she would be in deep trouble.
Looking over at Yvette, she realized as soon as the other woman found out she had lied to her, she wouldn’t live much longer anyway. As much as she feared her own death, she realized she didn’t want to die, not like this.
Dana also realized something else. Her father would be so disappointed in her for giving up like this. She might not be perfect but he’d protected her all her life. She had to stay strong for him if not for herself.
Staring at this horrible bitch, Yvette, Dana made up her mind. This psycho bitch wouldn’t win. Dana might die but she wouldn’t just allow her to kill her easily. If she were going to die in this horrible place, she would face her death with a grace her father would approve of.
Dana felt stronger after this realization. This near to death epiphany. She didn’t know where this strength came from but she wouldn’t, no… she couldn’t let her dad down. She would find a way to survive.
Yvette’s phone rang and she left the room.
The men outside dared to barely breathe as they set themselves up. Gypsy used the infrared device to locate if there were any bodies inside. He found them on the main floor, not too far away from the outer doors. Scanning the entire warehouse, he only found the two heat signatures in the building.
One was laying on the floor and the other was pacing in another room.
Gypsy motioned to the nearest man giving him the go ahead sign to where the people inside were situated. He whispered orders to the others and watched from his place as the others infiltrated the building. He watched his men's heat signatures as they closed in on the targets. He had two men on alert scouting the road and the rest of his men were closing in on who he’d guessed was Yvette and Dana.
Being members of a bounty hunting group, they had done this move hundreds of times over the years and while it was dangerous, they knew what they were doing. Gypsy dared to breathe as he saw on the infrared scanner that his men were in place. He whispered where Yvette was and watched as the woman in question moved closer to his men.
His men had no clue where she was, only Gypsy was holding the scanner so they had to rely on him to lead them.
Tramper was inside the warehouse and roughly in place to take her out. He could hear her footsteps as echoes coming from the next room.
Now those footsteps were coming his way, so he dropped slightly to a kneeling position. He grabbed his weapon carefully and silently. His orders were to disarm her but not to kill her. They still needed to question her about what plans the Vory V Zakone had, regarding Blacky’s promise of ten years ago.
He raised his weapon up and waited for her to step through the doorway. His heart pounded in his chest and sweat beaded his temple. As the drop of sweat found its way down the side of his face, Tramper waited for the order to move from Gypsy.
They had to time this just right or they would put not only their lives on the line but Dana’s as well. Then he looked down at the floor and saw a foot encased in a four inch high heel step through the doorway.
Gypsy’s voice came through the ear bud he wore and Tramper exploded into action.
But so did Yvette. She brought her gun up and squeezed the trigger.
Tramper had blocked her shot and it went up but Yvette brought her foot down on his as she struggled. Tramper growled as he struggled with the incredibly strong woman. He got a shot off and Yvette screamed, clutching her shoulder but she also got away, running in her heels, she moved quickly into the shadows.
Tramper gave chase but lost her in the shadows. He finally turned back.
Going back to the spot where he’d encountered her, he searched and found a bloodstain on the floor. He looked back into the darkness around the warehouse but the shadows hid her well.
He joined the others in the room where Dana was.
Moose lifted her from the floor. Someone had cut the rope that bound her hands behind her back and they all watched without saying a word as she struggled to get the feeling back in her arms.
The men could see the bruises on her face and arms and they could all hear her weeping but hardly any of the men there to rescue her, seemed to feel at all sorry for her. No one said anything as Moose carried her out of the warehouse.
They had done their job and rescued Dana.
Gypsy had directed a search for Yvette but no one had spotted her. The rest of the men were patrolling the streets and the alleys for her.
After about forty five minutes of searching for the woman, they finally collected the rest of the group. Apparently, Tramper had wounded Yvette but she still managed to get away, so they would have to deal with her again, but that would be another day.
Without saying a word to Dana, the brothers all got in the vehicles and headed back to the clubhouse.
When the three vehicles stopped outside the clubhouse, the front door was thrown open and Gunner appeared. He watched as Moose got out of the backseat with Dana in his arms. He swiftly looked her over and found her to be alive and Gunner collapsed against the door jam.
Gathering his strength, he pushed himself upright. He went over to Moose and took his daughter from him then carried her inside the clubhouse. He carried Dana all the way to the Infirmary and laid her on the second bed in the room.
Becky watched from the first bed. Her bruises were just beginning to fade but she still looked a mess, she still hadn’t gotten her memories back yet. Since the attack several days ago, she was trying so hard to remember but her body had almost shut down on her. Both Patriot and Gunner had told her to not try so hard. She had been badly traumatized and they reminded her that her body and mind needed time to recover.
Becky laid back on the bed and watched as Patriot checked Dana over.
Gunner watched from a close place against the wall but his eyes never left his daughter.
Boone joined Gypsy, Moose and several of the others as they reported their mission to him.
Tramper’s turn came and he shook his head. “I should have been able to take that bitch but she was quicker than we thought. She was also battle ready. We may have caught her unaware but she was nowhere near unprepared. She already had her backup route planned out. She knew exactly where to go and she moved without fear of getting caught. She never hesitated a second. She is wounded though. I saw a blood trail in the dust on the floor.”
Boone shook his head. “Damn, we have to question Dana and find out exactly what she told them.”
Gypsy shrugged. “We have to do that anyway.”
“I know,” Boone agreed. “We just need to do this sooner rather than later, I just hope she’ll tell us the truth. They are out there waiting for us to fuck up. If we don’t want them to just stroll up to our front door, we have to be extremely careful right now.”
Tramper grimaced. “Well, let’s hope she remembers what she said to them.”
They all journeyed to the Infirmary and entered just as Patriot was making his report to Gunner.
“They slapped her around a bit but didn’t do too much damage. She’ll be sore for a few days but she’ll be okay.”
Boone looked over at Dana and saw the bruises on her face and arms. Her wrists looked a little raw from the rope burns but he’d seen worse. “Has she said anything yet?” He looked over at Gunner.
Gunner shook his head. “I haven’t asked her yet.”
“These people aren’t going to wait,” Tramper urged his boss. “I know she wants to ignore this but we can’t afford to let it go. Yvette got away tonight. She’s wounded but she’s going to be a like a wounded animal…. Looking for blood and payback.
Patriot caught a sound of distress and turned his head. He frowned when he saw Becky crouching with her knees drawn up to her chest. Her eyes were glazed over and she was rocking slightly. He moved over to her bed and sat down next to her. Pulling her onto his lap, his arms around her to hold her he whispered, “Honey, you will be okay.”
Becky shook her head. “No I don’t think I will.” She lifted haunted eyes and stared at him. “When Blacky held me prisoner he used to get visits from a nasty woman named Yvette. Tall, thin, with long dark curly hair and she had soulless eyes.”
Patriot stared at her for a moment then shook his head at her as they all realized this was the same woman.
“That’s Yvette,” Dana finally spoke.
Everyone turned and stared at the two girls.
“And you’re right, she’s one nasty bitch.”
“Wait a minute.” Gunner frowned. “You said she made visits to Blacky’s warehouse.”
Becky nodded. “She was there at least once a month, while I was there.”
“So the bastard keeps in touch with them huh?” Gunner snarled as his fists tightened as his knuckles went white.
Boone turned and faced Dana. “We need to know what they wanted with you. Did this bitch Yvette ask you anything?”
Dana paled and nodded slowly. “She wanted to know about the club and the bounty hunting operation. How it worked where the jobs came from, what other businesses the club had. That sort of thing.”
“And what did you tell her?” Gypsy wanted to know.
“God forgive me, I answered their questions,” Dana admitted. “Two men met us at the warehouse and they told me if I didn’t cooperate, I wouldn’t live very long.” She began shaking her head and crying. “I didn’t want to die, not like that. Not alone, in a dirty warehouse. They got so mad when I couldn’t give them what they wanted to know.”
Gunner’s heart broke at the dismay in her voice. She was still his daughter after all. The looks on his men’s faces though, that spoke volumes as to what they were thinking.
“Did one of the men have a long scar on his face?” Becky asked with a whisper.
Dana looked over at her. “How did you know?”
“He’s the leader of this group.” Becky trembled all over as she spoke, “Blacky isn’t too fond of any of them but he always deferred to that bastard. He might not have respected him but he always yes sir’d him. I think Blacky was afraid of him.”
Gypsy looked over at Gunner. “Now that is something we might be able to use against him.”
“Meaning what?” Gunner wanted to know.
“Maybe we can use this information to sweat Blacky a bit,” Gypsy explained. “We can tell him his Russian friends are here and they are looking for him. He may think he’s safe by hiding behind his Tribunal sentence but if it comes down to us or him, he’ll lose.” He snorted and shrugged, “Hell, we’ll throw Arizona in for free. Either way, he’s a dead man walking.”
Dana nodded. “One of the things they wanted to know was if Blacky was here and how they could find him, I couldn’t lie.”
“Fuck a duck.” Gunner swore. “We need to find out more about these people. Names would be nice for a start.”
“I’ll get Rigger on it right away.” Boone grinned. “This could be just what we need to knock them off their path.”
“Please be careful with these guys,” Becky begged as she grabbed hold of Patriot’s arm. “They will be just as happy to put a bullet into your head as to look at you.” Her eyes were still haunted as she remembered something from her past.
Patriot tightened his arms around her and held her tight. “Don’t you worry about them no more. We’ll protect you as our own until this is over.”
Gunner began to pace. “Damn, we need this info like yesterday.” Looking at the men in the room he said, “I’m going to talk to Rigger.” He stomped out of the room and made his way to Rigger’s office.
He threw open the door and bellowed, “Rigger we need you to find out who we’re up against.”
“Working on it boss,” Rigger told him without looking away from his screen.
“What do you mean, “working on it?”
Rigger looked up at him explaining, “As soon as I found out who we were dealing with, I started looking. The Vory V Zakone is an underground organization and they are not easy to find when they don’t want to be found. Fortunately for us, I found someone out there who found them and is willing to share what she knows about these bastards.”
“Oh, who is that?” Gunner wanted to know.
“A woman named Annie.” Rigger told him. “She claims Becky is her sister. She hopes she is anyway. She’s over in the Killeen area, I talked to her man, Harry. He says this Yvette woman is bad news any way you fucking slice it. They both confirmed the fact that Yvette is a hit woman, not only that but she’s been looking for a man named Terrance Wilder.”
Gunner startled and stared at the other man. “Terrance Wilder? Are you sure that’s the name she gave?”
“Did she say why she’s looking for him?” Gunner demanded.
Rigger thought about it for a moment, then nodded slowly. “She claims he was with her sister, down in Beaumont area when she disappeared three months ago. She thinks he kidnapped her for slave trafficking. She just can’t find a trace of this bastard.” He paused then asked, “Do you know who this fucking creep is?”
“Yeah, I know him.” Gunner growled. “Get a hold of her and find out what she knows about this guy.”
Rigger looked confused. “Who is this Terrance Wilder boss?”
“I haven't heard the name Terrance Wilder for years but, as I understand it that's the name Jared Racer was using when he kidnapped Becky months ago and evidently sold her to Blacky …Jared Racer continued to use the name Terrance WIlder to meet and kidnap women for his cousin to sell through the cartel and his partner's club. He lures them in and grabs them.”
Rigger looked confused. “I didn’t know Blacky had any family other than Sheila, and Dee Dee... dead or not.”
Gunner nodded. “Terrance died over twenty-three years ago so this was all before your time. He and Blacky were on a run together. They were delivering a package to Wichita Falls when they were ambushed by another MC. Or so that was story Blacky shared. When Terry died, his bike went over a bridge and the package they were supposed to delivery was gone. Blacky was slightly roughed up but he walked away fairly clean.” Gunner shook his head. “I did some checking but never found anything out. There was no one after us but one man was dead and Blacky survived, walking away with barely a scratch. Everything seemed just a little too pat back then and I haven’t trusted Blacky since then. Still don’t and for good reason.”
“So what is Blacky’s real name then?”
Rigger nodded. “I already put this woman, Annie off for a few days. I didn't think it was at all safe to bring anyone else here.”
“Well, we need more information and you can assure her that Becky is fine and we’ll keep her safe until she can come her to get her. But that it still isn't safe to come and get her right now.”
“Don’t worry boss, I’ll get whatever info I can on these bastards,” Rigger assured him.
Gunner was about to walk away but instead he turned back, “Did you ever find out anything about Lucille?”
Rigger turned his seat around slowly to face his president. “About that… I don’t think you’re gonna be happy with what I found.”
“Why is that?” Gunner frowned.
“Boss, Lucille Rodman didn’t exist beyond three years ago.”
Gunner felt himself go cold. “What do you mean she didn’t exist?”
“Just that.” Rigger shook his head. “I can’t find a birth certificate, marriage license or anything for her. Not even a bank account in Moss Bluff.”
“So who the fuck is she then?” Gunner frowned.
“Not sure but I won’t give up until I know for sure.” Rigger nodded at him.
“I’ll keep my eye on her as well. She seems just a little too close to Winona for my comfort, especially if we can’t figure out who she is,” Gunner stated. “I really hate liars and thieves.”
Rigger nodded. “Yeah boss, we all know that.”
“We also need to put the MC on alert and have people do a roving patrol. If Yvette is out there, we’re not going to let her just walk in and start shooting.” He shook his head. “Becky damn near went catatonic when she heard that bitch’s name.”
“Are you going to tell Blacky about her?” Rigger wanted to know.
Gunner growled. “I’ll have Boone do it. If I go near him right now, I might kill the bastard. More importantly, we need to set up protection for the club. I have a feeling they are out there watching every move we make and that stops now. They want a fight? We can and will give them one but I refuse to lose what took us years to build up and I refuse to just hand over what we got here. I don’t give a shit what Blacky promised them. That’s between him and them but it wasn’t his to give away in the first place.”
Gunner turned and walked out of the room. Making his way to the dining room, he found Lucille sitting by herself, drinking a cup of coffee. He walked over to her and sat down beside her. Staring at her for a moment he finally asked, “Just who the hell are you and why are you hanging around my kid?”
Lucille stared at him for a moment then carefully set down her cup. “My name is Lucille Rodman and I’m working in your daughter’s bakery. It’s not really all that sinister.”
“Yes, maybe to you that’s the truth but lady, Lucille Rodman didn’t exist until three years ago and there is no birth certificate for any Lucille Rodman at all.” He growled.
Lucille bit her lip and looked away but didn’t say anything.
Gunner growled under his breath. “I really hate liars and thieves. I don’t trust them and now, I think I want you out of my club and away from my daughter. Make up any excuse you like. I’m sure a liar such as yourself can make her believe whatever you want her to believe. But do it soon. I want you gone.” Gunner got to his feet and walked back down the hall to the Infirmary.
Lucille watched him go as tears of regret washed down her cheeks. There was so much to tell him but she knew he would never believe her.
She could give up everything except for Winona. She’d come to love that girl over the last three years and after everything that happened so long ago, she wasn’t willing to give her up. He would just have to live with it.
Wiping her tears away, she got to her feet and went in search of Winona.
Later that same night, the clubhouse was quiet. Brothers patrolled the grounds and kept watch from the roof while everyone else slept but the shadows came alive and unfriendly eyes watching for the perfect moment.
That moment came late into the night hours as the shadow moved inside the club. The shadow moved quiet as a whisper as it moved directly to the basement door. She knew exactly where to go to get where she wanted. Her hand grasped the door knob and slowly turned the knob. Her footsteps were almost not even there but she made her way down to the bottom.
Her eyes had adjusted to the dark and she could see properly see him laying on one of the beds in the cells. Her eyes narrowed as she glared at the man that had turned her life into a living hell for so long.
Drawing her weapon. Stepping closer she whispered his name, “Blacky.”
Blacky startled and slowly turned his head. He heard Arizona snoring in the other cell yet her voice hadn’t woke him.
Even in the dark, he could see her standing there. The glint off the edge of her weapon brought a bead of sweat to his forehead.
“We finally found you,” she whispered evilly. “You made us promises you never had any intentions of keeping didn’t you?” she growled low enough not to wake the other occupant in the room.
“Oh, I intended on keeping them I just couldn’t,” He assured her in a sleepy voice.
“I call bullshit.” She growled. “This club was never yours to bargain with. Nor, do I think was the business. You failed us and we do not suffer failure well.”
Blacky swung his legs over the side of the bed and glared at her. “I’m under a death sentence for what I’ve been doing all these years. Hell, I almost made it out of here with my neck still attached to my shoulders. You want to kill me?” He glared at her. “That might be a kinder death than hanging which will come the day after tomorrow. So do it! Blacky shouted, “Do it bitch!” Put a bullet in my brain. I can only die once and I’d rather have it over with.”
Yvette raised the gun in her hand sneering as she took aim. She watched his eyes and when she saw resignation in his eyes, she shook her head. “No, no I won’t give you mercy. Why should I give you an easy death?” She lowered the gun to his leg and told him, “I’d rather watch you bleed out over a longer time.”
But just before she could pull the trigger the silence was broken by a whirring sound and then something hit her in the back and she screamed dropping the gun as she went down to the ground. The pain made her flop around on the floor before she finally passed out from the shock.
Blacky looked up just as the light was snapped on and heavy footsteps came down the steps. Boone and Tramper, joined Gypsy as he was still holding the stun gun he’d used to bring down Yvette.
“We didn’t save your life to watch you die by a bullet,” Gypsy informed him. “We’re still going to watch you die with a rope around your neck.” He disconnected the points of the stun gun then dragged the unconscious woman closer to the bars of the cells.
Boone watched him tie her to the bars. “You might want to tie her hands separately so she can’t wiggle them free or untie herself. Tie her feet separately as well. I don’t want that bitch to be able to move. From what I hear, she can get out of any situation make sure to check for knives also.”
“We’ll make sure we lock the door on our way out,” Gypsy grumbled. That way the only ones she can vent her rage on will be Blacky and Arizona.”
“That won’t do. We want them to hang, not die by her screeching or her hands.”
“Then let’s make it happen.” Gypsy nodded.
Arizona looked white as his hands shook. He never said a word as he watched everything going on.
Gunner was sitting at a table inside the clubhouse, hosting the visiting MC members. They had taken down Douglas Bonner early that morning, and burned his hotel down to the ground after releasing the women he was holding in captivity. Bonner was now in custody of the FBI and they were busy rounding up his business partners.
Thor, Jett and Cobra were sitting at a table with Gunner and Boone. Cobra and about eight of the other’s had taken off at daybreak when the call had come in from Gunner about Bonner’s takedown. They had all done good things today and while that made the men happy, Cobra wasn’t completely satisfied. He took a sip of his whiskey and looked over at his friend. “Thank you for letting us take part in this raid but we didn’t find the one person we really hoped would be there.”
Gunner leaned back and peeked over the top of his own glass. “And who might that be?”
“A girl who was taken three months ago, down in Beaumont. Her sister has been looking for her since then. That’s how we know as much as we do. Annie is digging into places no one else can find.”
“What’s her sister’s name?” Boone asked.
“Becky, her name is Becky.” Cobra shrugged. “We were so hoping Bonner had her and that he hadn’t sold her yet.”
Boone looked over at Gunner but didn’t say anything. “How did she get taken?” Boone finally asked.
“A bastard by the name of Terrence Wilder grabbed her and sold her to Bonner, we aren’t sure what happened to her after that. This was a far as we’ve been able to uncover. Annie and Harry are still trying to find out more.” Cobra shrugged. “That poor girl has been working overtime to find her sister. This setback is gonna just about kill her.”
“What if we were able to give you the next step?” Gunner asked them. “Would your friends be able to follow the clues and tell us more about these people?”
“Why do you ask?” Cobra raised a brow at him.
“One of the members of this MC sold us out ten years ago. By that time we’d set up a legit club, we were just starting out but everyone voted on going legit. Those that didn’t want it were free to go their own way or join another club. Over the years, we built our bounty hunting business into a good business and picked up a few more. But the brother we call Blacky sold our club and the bounty hunting business over to the Vory V Zakone. Only problem was he forgot to tell us about it. We just found out and right now we’re gearing up for a war to keep what’s ours.”
Cobra sat there and thought for a moment. “I think you’re only telling me half the story, what else did this fucker do?”
“He ran a profitable skin game. Buying and selling along with these Russians and the cartel south of the border. We haven’t found everything yet.” Gunner glared at the other man. “Then I found out he ran my woman off twenty five years ago. The only problem was she left here carrying my twin daughters.”
Cobra sat up and became more interested in the story Gunner was telling him.
Gunner drank his shot and continued his story, “The fucker found her just as she was giving birth to the girls. He brought one of the girls back to me but gave the other one away to his addict sister. She was his ace in the hole, according to him. Then he let my woman bleed out. Her name was Dee Dee Racer, she was also his cousin.”
Cobra looked quickly over at Thor then back to Gunner. “Racer? Are you sure that was her last name?”
Gunner nodded. “Yeah and before you ask, Jared Racer is her brother, also Blacky’s cousin. We found Winona by pure accident. We are also still trying to discover the truth. Last night, the Vory V Zakone assassin came after Blacky. They took my daughter Dana to find out more about the club and the bounty hunting business and they would have slit her throat without hesitation if we hadn’t found her quickly.”
Next, Boone picked up the story, “Three days before this, Blacky kidnapped my Winona. He was getting ready to leave here and set up in another state but he knew he had to get rid of her first. He took her to a warehouse and beat the living shit out of her. He told her everything then, as he really didn’t expect to let her live. We found them before he could get away.”
Gunner looked over at Cobra. “After everything that bastard had already done, I didn’t think it could get any worse but I was wrong.”
“What does that mean?” Cobra scowled.
“Boone found another woman in that fucking warehouse. She’d been there three months. Ever since the day Bonner sold her to Blacky. Blacky tried his damndest to break her. And I suppose in a way he thought he had. But she refused to give up on the idea that she had someone out there that wouldn’t give up on her. She hung on through the toughest times and never gave up.”
“What are you saying old man?” Thor finally broke his silence.
“What he’s saying is we only know one thing about this woman,” Boone told them. “Because she only knows one thing about herself and that’s her name. Becky. Well, that and the fact that she’s been here about three months. She doesn’t remember anything else. Her body was all but shut down when we found her.”
Cobra quickly glanced over at Thor then back to Gunner. “Can we see her?”
Gunner shook his head. “She really doesn’t remember anything and big men tend to freak her out. Even now, she’ll only let one of us close to her and that’s our medic Patriot.”
“I won’t scare her but I have to see her,” Cobra stated. “If she is who I think she is, I’ll be able to help the sisters reconnect. Annie and Harry have been looking for her for a long time.”
“Is this Annie your computer expert?” Boone asked.
“Both her and Harry. They make a damn fine team.” Cobra nodded.
Gunner sat there and stared at the other man. “Answer me this then Cobra.” He shifted in his seat. “Did they have anything to do with the trouble Liam and the Steele brothers had down south of here?”
Cobra grinned but didn’t say anything one way or the other.
Gunner shifted his gaze to Thor and saw the same smile on his face. “And Lolainie James? Is she still alive?”
The smile slid quickly off Cobra’s face. “Lolainie James was cleared of any MC crime and yes, she’s still alive and she’s out of bounds. She’s under not only my protection but the Lost Sons MC protection as well.” He got to his feet and glared down at Gunner. “I’d like to meet Becky now.”
Gunner stared up at him. He’d know Cobra from the early days and he knew the man would finds a way to see her in any case. He got to his feet and led the way down the hall.
Thor and Jett rose and started following them when Boone reached out to stop the other man. Thor just glared at him but Boone didn’t intimidate easily. “Who is this Lolainie James?”
“She’s Cobra’s daughter and he just found her. Sore subject by the way.”
Boone nodded. Then held his hand away from his body. “Noted.” Then he grinned. “And for what it’s worth I’m glad he finally found her.”
Thor nodded. “So is he.” Shaking his head. “But Lola? She’s getting there. It was a mess at first but they’re finding their way.”
Boone nodded. “I get that. Same situation here, only here we had a wrench in the mix with Winona’s sister. You have never met a more spoiled bitch in your life. But you’ll know what I mean when you meet her.” He shrugged, “She couldn’t or wouldn’t accept she wasn’t the only daughter anymore. Winona wasn’t here to replace her, all she wanted was to know her family. Dana didn’t make that easy.”
“Can I meet this woman? Not Dana I’m not into selfish bitches but the other woman.” Thor wanted to know.
“As long as you realize she belongs to me.” Boone growled.
Thor grinned and held his arms out to his side. “Noted.”
They arrived at the doorway to the infirmary and watched as Cobra stepped up to Becky’s bed. They all watched and big man gently knelt at the side of her bed. He looked her over and saw the multitude of bruises covering her body and no emotion could be seen on his face.
Her eyes were closed as she slept but Cobra took note of her dark hair and facial features. He gently called out her name, “Becky.”
Becky slowly woke and when she opened her eyes, she found herself looking at Cobra. She froze and couldn’t take her eyes off him. “Who are you and what do you want?”
Cobra smiled slightly. “I’m not here to hurt you darlin.’ I just wanted to look at you.”
Becky shifted slightly. “Why? Do my bruises thrill or excite you?”
“God no.” Cobra shook his head. “A friend of mine has been looking for her sister and I thought maybe she was you. That’s all.”
“Sister?” Becky frowned as she looked over at him and began rubbing her temples, as the pain in her head got stronger. “Do you know me?”
Cobra shook his head slowly so as not to scare her. “No, I don’t know you.”
“But you know this woman looking for her sister?” Becky whispered.
“Yeah, I know her,” Cobra admitted. “She held a shotgun on me once.” He smiled at the memory.
Becky frowned. After a moment she asked, “Not a 12 gauge Marlin, painted with skulls on the stock?”
Cobra froze then turned his head slowly to look at Thor. He turned back to Becky. “How did you know that?” He glanced over Gunner. “No one that wasn’t there knew about the skulls painted on the shotgun’s stock. For a moment that day, I thought mine would add to the numbers of skulls on the shotgun.”
Becky reached out her hand and touched his arm. Her hand was trembling so hard it was shaking. “Do you know who I am?”
Cobra shook his head. “I’m sorry I do not.” He watched as she crumpled in front of him. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. “But I might know someone who might.”
Becky looked up at him with hope in her eyes. “Really?”
Cobra nodded. “I just might.” He looked over at Gunner and got to his feet. “I think this woman is the one I hoped we’d find here.”
Gunner stared at him for a moment then looked down at Becky. Looking back at Cobra, he nodded. “Do it. Make the call.”
Cobra turned back to Becky and smiled. “These guys aren’t going to let you down sweetheart. But they have to be sure. I hope you understand.” He walked out of the infirmary to make his call.
Gunner followed but before he reached for his phone, Gunner grabbed ahold of his shoulder and pushed him further down the hall and into the room, they used for Church.
Cobra glared at him. “Take your fucking hands off, Gunner. We are old friends, but the fuck?”
Gunner snarled at him. “Don’t you give that girl false hope. Don’t you break her heart again. I’m not sure she can take much more. She’s very fragile right now. We didn’t even know if she would live.”
Cobra shook his head. “I may be a hard man but I’m not a complete bastard. I would never hurt anyone like her. She’s an innocent and while I wouldn’t hesitate to hurt a woman who betrayed me, I would never hurt an innocent.” Shaking his head he snarled, “Besides, she’s been hurt enough. Annie too. Right now, Annie is going crazy worrying about that girl in there and I’m going to do whatever I can to bring them together again.” Cobra straightened his shoulders. “Besides Annie and Harry are the ones you need to dig up the info you need to defeat your enemies.”
Gunner nodded. “Then I hope this is the right Becky then because I have a feeling our time is running out.”
“Then I suggest we not waste any more of it arguing.” Cobra nodded. “Let’s get this party started.”
Later that afternoon two very large trucks and a few bikers showed up at the compound and Gunner watched as a woman got out of the car. She was joined by several other men and together they all walked inside. The last couple of days had been busy as the MC had taken down another faction of the sex trade Blacky was in.
Because they’d gotten additional information from this woman Annie the pieces were beginning to fit together and the puzzle was starting to come together.
Unseen eyes watched as several vehicles pulled into the parking lot of the Savaged Souls MC compound. He stood in the shadows of the tree line surrounding the clubhouse. He wasn’t sure why these men were here but he had a feeling Gunner was building his numbers for the upcoming battle he wouldn’t win.
His group might not have the numbers an MC had but they had something more valuable. They had men who fought to win.
The man watched as a woman got out of the truck. His eyes widened as he recognized her and he growled under his breath. He knew who she was the same, as she knew his face. She might not know his name, but she knew what he’d done three years ago. She had gotten away from him back then but she was here now and this time, he wouldn’t miss taking her out. This time he wouldn’t miss putting a bullet in her head.
He’d been here all day waiting and watching for some sign his sister was inside and while he hadn’t seen any sign of her yet, he couldn’t discount that she was nearby waiting for the opportunity to make the first strike. It had been fortunate he was in place today and had seen someone he’d been looking for. Hell, he’d been hunting her for the last three years. This bitch could undo everything he’d been working for, for the last three years and he’d wanted to kill her to keep his secret.
Then he thought a minute more on the situation. Maybe he had nothing to fear from her after all? Maybe he could get the cartel involved and let them take care of his loose end for him. As far as he knew, they still had a price on her head. A price he might have put there on purpose, by lying to the cartel about who exactly did the deed she was blamed for. He had rolled the body into the river then watched as the river took it away so there was no evidence what really happened that night. So he had been free to spin his lie and blame her for his deed.
Even covered in a dead man’s blood he told his lie and the cartel had believed him. The man with the scar on his face grinned in the darkness. Yeah, he would call the cartel in and have them take care of the nosy little bitch, as he would be busy taking down the MC with his sister.
The Vory V Zakone had plans for this area and it was now time to set them in place, but first he had to find Yvette.