Rogues Of Hell MC-

THE NEXT CHAPTER BOOK IS

 

 

When Cat is drawn back to Granite Falls, she has no idea she’s coming home. To face her past, she has to face the family that she didn’t know existed. But when the memories start returning, someone doesn’t want them to and her life is now in danger. But the MC her grandfather runs is also under attack by someone and they figure out its all by the same person. But who is it that wants Cat dead and the MC gone? Secrets from the past are coming back and being revealed and someone doesn’t want that…

How far will they go to protect themselves?

 

When Cat is drawn back to Granite Falls, she has no idea she’s coming home. To face her past, she has to face the family that she didn’t know existed. But when the memories start returning, someone doesn’t want them to and her life is now in danger. But the MC her grandfather runs is also under attack by someone and they figure out its all by the same person. But who is it that wants Cat dead and the MC gone? Secrets from the past are coming back and being revealed and someone doesn’t want that…

How far will they go to protect themselves?

 

Prelude…

Odessa, Wisconsin

Deep into the night, the wind picked up, carrying the message to those who could hear it. It traveled through time and space, but only a few could hear the sounds it made. Only a handful of those listening could hear and see what hummed along on the waves of the wind. It invaded at least one person's dream and she didn't want to hear it. She didn't want to bear witness to this evil of man, yet she was caught up in its fury, a reluctant voyeur, whether she wished it or not.

She frowned in her sleep as images began flashing in her subconscious. Images of a place, yet the place she saw was one she'd never been to before. She could see the moon lighting up the landscape.

The rolling hills were covered in sweet smelling native flowers, the clear waters of the river rushed over the rocks onto the bank, the stones of a burnt out clubhouse and the dark outline of a new clubhouse sitting on a rise flitted through her mind. The strong smell of blood and stale gunsmoke filled her nostrils. She knew the land for she had been born there but she didn’t live there very long. In fact, the day her father was gunned down, her mother took her away from the life she didn’t know. She was too young, only three years old, to know what her mom was running from and since that day, she hadn’t been back. It didn’t take her mom long to dump her off at her grandparents’ house and disappear and to this day… her daughter had never seen her again, nor had she been told what had happened to her mom.

 Cat Lamond struggled against the oncoming nightmare. This was the third terror dream in as many months and she knew how it would end. She wanted so much to open her eyes and break from the nightmare but that wasn’t how this worked. She needed to watch the whole thing play out before the connection broke.

Sweat and tears appeared on her face as she watched the knife come into view. He held the blade comfortably in his left hand. When he turned the knife, she caught a glimpse of his eyes, they were very green and very disturbed, then they were gone as he turned the knife in his hand again. His hands were smeared with her blood, and she could hear her voice begging him to let her go. She didn't want to die. There was a tearing sound echoing in her brain as he ripped through the clothing that hid her skin from him. He wanted nothing between them as he bared her chest. Before he could stop himself, the tip of the knife drew across the bottom of her rib cage, leaving a budding line of red. Blood welled and ran down her body, soaking the band of her jeans.

Cat screamed and she shivered in terror. She watched as his hand slipped inside the opening left by the knife. She felt as his hand searched for the prize he wanted. She felt his fingers close around the beating organ, ba-boom, ba -boom. She felt every heartbeat then the beating of her heart slowed as his fingers grabbed hold. One last ba-boom before his fingers ripped her heart out of her chest.

One last scream cut off as her breath was forced from her lungs.'But for Cat, it did not stop there, she witnessed all the rest of it too.

~*~

Everything was silent as he withdrew his hand. Blood stained his fingers as he brought her heart from her body. He glanced at her glazing eyes. Her face was frozen in terror and pain. He seemed to be almost dazed as if her pain and horror hadn't touched him at all.

He quickly put the heart into a glass jar and tucked it carefully away. He cleaned the blade of the knife and slowly slid it into a handmade sheath. Placing both items into a leather backpack, the man walked over to an old truck parked in the bushes near the ruins of a rural church.

He went back to her and took her in his arms. He carried her over to the truck and laid her carefully in the back. There was a thick tarp on the floor, and he was careful in her placement. He couldn't afford to get any blood in the bed of the truck.

Getting into the vehicle, he started the engine and pulled onto the road. Turning around, he headed for the town of Granite Falls. He would dump the body in a place where it would be found within a few hours. He knew it would be found because he had plans to call it in himself. This was his third kill and so far, no one put the blame on the people he wanted it on. But this time it would be, this time he would name the Hell’s Rogue member as the person he saw putting her body into the ground.

Driving through the silent streets in the misting rain, he eased the truck into an alleyway. He was familiar with these streets and had driven in the dark, turning his headlights off as he entered the town. He didn't want to attract attention, not now. Pulling in to the back of the butcher shop, he put the truck in park and opened his door. For a moment, the interior light came on and he could see his own eyes in the rear view mirror. They were red rimmed and his skin looked pale. He stared at them for a moment and the sharp emerald green eyes staring back at him closed. Raising his hands, he rubbed the skin on his face. The healed burn mark on the right cheek and his jaw gave his face a look of injury, but that had been a long time ago. He did have a few drops of blood on his skin. Grabbing the edge of his shirt, he wiped the dry blood off. Then without looking at the mirror again, he got out of the truck and moved to the back.

Gripping the edge of the tarp, he pulled it toward him. Her arm slipped out of the canvas, and he quickly tucked it back in. He paused to search the area, just to make sure there weren't any witnesses. When he found a clear path, he hoisted the bundle over his shoulders and moved toward the wooded area at the end of the alley.

Once in the trees, he dumped the body on the cold damp ground. The canvas opened and her face was uncovered. Her skin looked pale. Her eyes were open but glazed with death. Her lips were parted and blood drizzled from the corner of her mouth.

He stared at her for a moment then reached inside his coat. Pulling out a small bag of lyme, he dumped it on her chest. Needing to disguise the real cause of death, he watched as the lyme began eating into her flesh. He felt nothing as he pulled the canvas over her. He was counting on the body heat and the lyme to finish destroying the chest cavity, so the coroner wouldn’t notice the missing heart.  He grabbed a few twigs and tried to cover her body, but to him, it made no difference. He didn't really care if the police found her or not. There was no tie to him left alive anyway. Before he left, he withdrew something out of his pocket and threw it on the ground. In the moonlight, the skull of the patch shone clearly through the flames in the background. The police would know the patch. He snorted gleefully. They would know it because the police saw that patch everyday as the bikers lived near their town.

He went back to the truck. Starting the engine, he pulled back out onto the street. He made his way to the edge of town, still without turning his vehicle lights on. Leaving the city behind him, he drove for another half hour before he pulled into a private drive. Bumping along, he pulled up to a house and shut the truck off. Four dogs came out of the blackness to greet him, and the front door opened revealing the shadow of a woman. He joined her and the door closed behind them.

Now all he had to do was make the call.

 

Chapter One

 

Cat sat up in her bed and screamed as the nightmare finally played out and released her from its grip. Her long dark hair hung in front of her eyes and she had to push it away from her face. Sweat and tears ran down her cheeks and for a moment, she didn't know where she was. Raising her hand to her chest, she could feel the rapid beating of her heart through her clothing. Taking a deep breath, she tried to calm down the fast pace of her heart.

Pushing the covers off her legs, she put her feet on the cold floor. She barely felt the coolness as she made her way over to the windows in her bedroom. Looking over the city of Odessa, she didn't see it. Instead, she saw the streets of a faraway city of Granite Falls, Minnesota. Why she knew it was Granite Falls, she didn’t know but she did. The glass she pressed her forehead on reflected her green eyes and the haunting look in them.

Leaning on the glass between her and the real world, she felt the hot tears rolling down her cheeks. She hated the recent nightmares. In her dreams, she felt the woman's terror and pain. She never knew if they were real or not but somehow, she knew they were.

The first dream came to her about three months ago. She'd been both terrified and out of her mind with horror. She didn't understand why she was involved, but then she never did. The visions she had were not new to her. She'd had this "gift" since the accident that took not only her grandparent’s life but those of her aunt and uncle as well. The accident happened when she was seven. They had been on vacation, the same as they had always done every year since her mother had dropped her off and disappeared.

She had been thrown clear of the car. She had spent the next two weeks in a coma. When she came out of the coma, she discovered she had the gift of second sight. To her, it had become a curse and a secret she never shared with anyone, except her late husband, Davey. With him, she'd shared everything. She had only been seventeen when they got married and they had spent seven years together before the accident that took his life and left her a widow at the age of twenty four. That had been three years ago.

Now Cat stared out into the darkness surrounding the night and didn't know what to do about her dreams. A madman was on the loose. She could help the police find him, putting an end to his killing, but how could she get anyone to believe her without telling them everything?

She'd tried telling the truth once and it cost her dearly. Not everyone was comfortable around her and her gift had cost her more than one friend. Cat had been so lonely since her husband died and she prayed to find someone out there who wouldn't fear her or shun her.

She went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. While it brewed, she thought about her options. She could ignore the dreams or act on them. If she ignored what she knew, the dreams would never stop. They would continue to plague her if she did nothing to put a stop to the killing. She didn't know if she could continue to dream about more young women being murdered.

 She hadn't seen the killer's complete face, but she'd seen enough to identify him. She also knew where he lived.

Yet, if she brought what she knew to the police, they would look at her like all the rest, as if she were either involved with the crimes or she was just all out crazy. They would for sure look at her as if she were crazy, because the crimes hadn't happened yet.

She took her cup of tea over to the window seat. Parting the half curtains, she sat there and watched the sun come up. Her backyard overlooked the marshland behind the house. Ten years ago, Davey wanted to buy the house because of the view of the backyard. It was wild and overgrown and for reasons she didn’t know it reminded her of home, wherever that was. After her grandparent's death, she had been shipped to an orphanage, where she was stuck until she aged out of the program.

That's when she met Davey Lamond. They met at a coffeehouse in Odessa, where he was going to college and she was working to pay her rent. Cat took one look at the young man and fell in love with him. Davey swept her off her feet and they never looked back. They were married a week later. They spent the next three weeks as only lovers could and by then Davey had been her lifeline, and when she lost him three years ago, she'd been devastated. It had been just the two of them, but for Cat that had been enough. She had loved him with her all her heart and soul and when he died, a big part of her died too. One thing she learned from Davey had been to follow her dreams, even if it meant no one would believe in her.

She knew that she had to make enough noise until someone listened. Glancing down at her wedding ring, she knew what she had to do. She had to go to Granite Falls and find someone who would listen to her. She had to stop this killer.

Cat Lamond watched as the sun lighted her world. Her mind was full of secrets and images she couldn't face at the moment. So with a heavy heart, she took her tea cup to the sink and went to pack for her trip. Someone there had to listen to her, because someone was going to die and others would be wrongfully blamed. She didn’t know if she could make a difference but she had to see this through.

~*~

Two days later, Cat got into her car and found a map that would take her to the Falls. Her body felt hollow and she had the beginnings of a headache. The girl, Jenna Bannoch, came to her in her dreams the night before. She was lying in the morgue now as the police had found her body but she had begged Cat to help the police find her killer. She didn't want to stay alone in the dark or not get justice for her death. She didn’t want the wrong man to take the blame for her murder. She had begged for Cat to help her as the wrong man would soon stand trial for her murder and she didn’t want that to happen.

As Cat settled down in her car and drove, she prayed for Jenna and for herself. She knew it would be a battle to find someone to believe her, but her dreams suggested there would be someone in Granite Falls who would. She didn't know who, but he was there. She just had to find him.

As she turned onto the highway that would take her to her destination, she closed her eyes briefly and saw him again. The shadow of a tall man with red hair and a soft blue aura. His blue eyes were icy and the area around his eyes had a stern look, but the rest of his face was in the shadows. Her heart skipped a beat when she remembered the rest of her dream from the night before. She had been locked in an embrace…in strong arms and the man had these same eyes.

This had been an odd thing to see and she wondered if the embrace was for her or was it another vision? She shook the thought away as she had more important parts of her visions to track down.

~ * ~

When she got to the city of Granite Falls, Cat felt at home, and the feeling left her a bit uneasy. As far as she knew, she’d never been here before but she followed her inner compass that had her driving over to the courthouse. When she parked, she stared at the building with dread. Something was going on that didn’t make any sense to her. What brought her to this place? What would she find inside? Did she dare go inside? What would she find if she did? She opened her door and got out of her vehicle. Walking slowly over, she reached the huge double doors, she paused but she made herself go inside. Her footsteps echoed in the halls of justice and she frowned as she stopped at one of the courtrooms. She didn’t know what made her stop but when she looked into the courtroom through the window, she frowned.

Taking a deep breath, she pushed the door open and slipped inside. The courtroom was full of people and she gasped as she viewed the room section by section. The section on the right side was filled with people, just ordinary people of the city while the people on the left side looked to be filled with bikers. They all wore dark colored t-shirts and a vest made of soft leather. The back of the vest had a huge Gate and was surrounded by flames and in the middle of the gates was a huge skull that seemed to keep the gates closed. You could see the flames in the hollows where the eyes and nose should be and the skull was smiling eerily.

She shivered as she looked toward the front of the courtroom.

 A man sat at the table on the left and another man sat there with him. The first man looked like someone she should know, someone she remembered somewhere in the back of her mind. But she knew she hadn’t met him before which was confusing for her.

Just then, a man who’d been sitting directly behind the other man turned to look at her.

Cat gasped as the sun came through the window and shone on his red hair and his icy blue eyes. Her belly rolled and she felt lightheaded for a moment.

She slipped into the last seat in the back row, then watched as the crowd stood when the Judge walked into the courtroom. For the next hour, she listened to the charges being read and the plea entered on behalf of the defendant, Dakota Hawkins.

Cat shook her head when the clerk read out the charges, Murder in the first degree in the deaths of three women, Marla Gibbs, Janet Rainer and Jenna Bannoch. She sat there with tears running down her face at the mention of Jenna’s name. She wanted to cry out that he wasn’t the man who killed her but she couldn’t. Suddenly, she couldn’t breathe and her throat began to swell.

Cat got to her feet and stumbled as she slipped into the aisle then turned to push the door open. The door seemed heavier than it had been when she came in then at the last minute, she turned to look toward the front of the courtroom. Dakota’s eyes caught hers and he frowned when he saw her tears. Then she glanced over at the red haired man sitting directly behind him and his eyes were icy steel now as he stared directly at her.

Cat turned and made her way through the door. She ran from the courtroom, her footsteps clattering loudly in the silence of the courthouse. As soon as she gained the outside, she slowed down to walk along the street.

She didn’t know where she was going and she didn’t care. She just had to get away from the drama back in the courthouse. Finally, she stopped and shook her head as she found herself on a street filled with shops. The scent of fresh bread and coffee permeated the air.

She made her way to one of the coffee and tea shops. Opening the door, the heavenly scent of freshly baked breads and cakes hit her.

After ordering, she glanced around the shop and smiled. This was such a relief after the upset she just had. To simply be sitting here, watching the people around her. She soon remembered a time in her youth, when she would make up stories about the strangers she sat next to. Now as she sat here, she picked up the habit again.

The gentleman sitting at the next table could have been a pirate sitting in a pub a hundred years ago. His long hair and bushy beard lent him a rakish air, and he could have stood on the deck of a pirate ship.

Next to that table, a young woman sat with two kids. Cat imagined they could be waiting for a husband, a father coming off duty from one of the ships docked. She grinned as the baby looked up at his mother and yelled, "Daddy coming."

Looking beyond them, she found herself staring into cold green eyes. She sucked in a deep breath and was caught in the revelation that she'd seen these eyes before in her nightmares. She tried to pull away from them, but she couldn't. She felt her heart stop beating in her chest for a moment, then when it began pounding in her chest again, the sensation hurt sending shards of pain throughout her entire body. 

The green eyed man then looked away from her to give his attention to his companion.

Now, Cat was able to confirm his identity with the burnt skin along the right side of his face. She couldn't see his companion's face as she was sitting with her back to her, but she did note her long curly hair.

Cat wondered now. Did she just wander in here or did that sense she had lead her here to this very spot?


Chapter Two

 

Cat felt a sudden chill and the cold inside her grew. The tea in her cup went cold too, as the nausea inside her rose. She lowered her eyes as the couple at the other table got up to leave. They walked right past her table on their way out and she dared to raise her gaze. She heard the door open and close again, she became aware that she had been shaking. She closed her eyes against the nausea roiling in her tummy. He didn't seem to recognize her and that was a good thing. She took a deep breath and tried to calm her fears.

It took her a few minutes to collect herself enough to get her things together but when she went to get up, several men sat down around her. She looked up and caught her breath as they were all looking back at her with hostility in their eyes.

Then one man pulled the chair around and straddled it.

 She slowly lifted her head to stare at him.

“Going somewhere sweetheart?” he asked her in a growly voice.

“Why? What business is it of yours what I do?” she asked sarcastically.

The red haired man smiled but his eyes held no warmth. “What’s your name honey?”

Cat smiled. “What’s yours, honey?” she snipped.

The red haired man paused then tipped his head in her direction. “They call me Titan. Now what’s your name?” he growled.

Looking him up and down, she nodded. “It fits you. I mean you barely fit into that chair.”

Nodding back, he almost smiled. “Your name?” he asked again.

“They call me Cat,” she acknowledged reluctantly.

“So Cat, why were you in the courtroom today? Do you know Kota? Or maybe one of the women?” Titan stared at her.

Cat slowly shook her head. “No, I didn’t know any of them and do I look like I would know this Kota person? He would hardly look twice at a woman like me.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that.” Titan slowly looked her over carefully. “But you never answered my question, what were you doing inside that courtroom?”

Cat leaned forward and crooked her finger at him. When he leaned forward, she whispered, “I don’t answer to you or anyone here, so don’t make a federal case over this where none exists. Maybe I was just curious.” She stood up, leaving money on the table, she went to take a step but suddenly, she was blocked on all sides. She looked down at Titan only to see him smile and motion toward her seat as if to invite her to sit back down. She huffed out air through her lips. “Really? You want to play this game?”

Titan nodded. “Yup.” He emphasized the p sound with a pop.

When she sat back down, Titan smiled but his eyes held no glee, “Now darlin, that was just plain stupid on your part, don’t you think?”

“Rude too.” One of the other men at the closest table growled.

Cat shrugged. “Ok you wanna know what I was doing there? The truth is ... I have no clue what brought me to that courtroom but I knew I had to come.”

“That doesn’t make any sense at all, woman.” The other man growled again.

“Keep your cool, Nash.” Titan nodded at the brother while keeping his eyes fixated on Cat. “Our little lady isn’t going anywhere.”

Cat shook her head. “To think you were so much nicer in my dreams,” she whispered just loud enough for him to hear but no one else. “In real life, you’re an asshole.”

Titan’s eyebrows rose as her words hit him like a sledgehammer. “I’m flattered, you’ve been dreaming about me sweetheart?”

Cat felt her face flush but she didn’t say anything. Instead, she just stared at him.

Titan leaned forward and whispered, “Was it good, this dream of yours?”

He watched as she licked her dry lips and looked away. He growled and surged to his feet. Grabbing her by the arm, he dragged her to her feet and out of the coffee house.

 Cat pulled back on her arm and tried to get away once they were outside. “Let me go.” 

Titan pulled her closer to him and growled, “No way, Little Cat. You and I have a lot to say to each other and until I find out why you were in court today, we’re going to be attached at the hip.” He pulled her along behind him.

Cat cried out, “I need my car and you have no right to stop me from leaving. This is kidnapping!”

Titan stopped and held out his hand. “So not kidnapping sweetheart, nothing more than an invitation so we can clear something up. Now be a sweet lady and hand over your keys, someone will bring it out to the compound. We need to go back there and plan our strategy now that he’s been officially charged. Kota’s attorney will meet us out there.”

Cat stopped trying to get away from him. She shook her head. “No, no I’m not going anywhere with you,” she whispered. “And I really can’t go to your clubhouse. I-I can’t, I just can’t.”

~*~

Titan glared at her then something in her eyes made him ask her again, “Who the hell are you lady?” He read the fear and terror in her gaze and watched as she completely freaked out at the thought of going to their compound.

He grabbed her purse and dug for her keys then handed them off to Nash. “Trade keys with me. I’ll drive her back in your truck, you bring her vehicle.”

Nash caught the keys and asked her, “What are you driving, babe?”

Titan growled at the endearment but Nash curled his lip at the man.

“A dark grey Ford Escape. Lot three,” Cat whispered as she trembled.

Titan dragged her toward the pickup truck at the curb but Cat held back as much as she could. When he opened the door, he read her eyes again and he knew without a doubt that she wouldn’t get into the truck voluntarily. He grabbed her around the waist and lifted her easily into the vehicle reaching across to buckle her in.

When he got into the truck, Titan drove through town.

 Cat looked at him and asked, “Where are you taking me?”

“Back home.” He shifted gears. “Back to the compound, why?”

“What if I don’t want to go there? This is called kidnapping and you know it. You are taking me somewhere I don’t want to go. That’s against the law, you asshole.”

Titan growled. “Now honey, why you gotta be like that? I just wanna ask you a few questions and I’m having your vehicle brought out there, so as soon as you answer my questions, I let you go. Simple as that.”

Cat felt the dread inside her increasing. She shook her head, “You don’t understand I can’t go there, that place is haunted, and I can’t get sucked in. There’s ghosts in those hills. Something bad happened there a long time ago and the dead never got justice.”

Titan snapped his head to the side to glare at her. For a moment, he didn’t say anything then he asked, “What kind of nonsense are you spouting lady? And just how the hell did you know all that? You aren’t from here, how did you know something bad happened there years ago?”

Cat snapped her mouth shut and refused to say anything more. But the closer they got to the top of the ridge above town the more distant she became. By the time they turned into the private driveway that led to the compound, her fingers were clenched so hard around the door handle that they were white.

Even though she stared straight ahead, her eyes were closed and she was whispering as they passed the burnt out old clubhouse, she dared not look at the building in front of her.

Titan pulled over and finally stopped the truck.

She dropped her head to stare at the floorboards of the old truck.

He turned his head and frowned when he saw how pale she looked. “Are you okay?”

Cat slowly shook her head back and forth. “I told you I don’t want to be here and you brought me here anyway. I think I could hate you very easily.”

Her voice was barely more than a whisper but he could hear her well enough. Titan snorted. “Hate me all you want darlin, I need answers and you have them. You should have told me what I wanted to know in town, then I would have left you alone.”

“Why don’t I believe you?” She shook her head. She still couldn’t or wouldn’t raise her head.

Just then, the big double doors opened and three older men walked out as the bikers began to arrive.

One of the older men came around to Titan’s side of the truck and he looked at the other man with a frown. “Where’s Kota?” Hawkins growled.

“He didn’t get out. They fucking charged him with the three murders,” Titan stated in disgust.

Hawkins opened the door and hauled Titan out by his shirt. “What the fuck did you say?”

“The fuckers charged him with murder,” Titan snapped. “Without any evidence for or against, they just figured he did the deed cuz he wears a cut. They can’t even find the first two bodies but they charged him anyway. What evidence they do have is circumstantial but the judge remanded him to a jail cell anyway. Said he was a flight risk or some stupid shit like that.”

Hawkins snorted and said, “They don’t know Kota very well if they think he’ll run away. I raised that boy better than that.” Then he noticed Cat sitting in her seat but looking down at the floor. He frowned and studied her for a moment then asked. “Who’s the chick?”

Titan turned his head and frowned as well.

Cat's body seemed to be wired so tight it looked like she would crumble to dust if anyone touched her. He shook his head and turned back to Hawkins to explain it the best he could, “She says her name is Cat but she just showed up in the courtroom today. Nobody knows her. She says she doesn’t know Kota or the three women and she won’t tell me what she was doing in the courtroom today.” He hesitated and told him, “She also claimed she didn’t want to come here because of the trouble we had here a long time ago, now how the hell would she know about that if she’s never been here before?”

“That’s odd,” Hawkins said as he turned his head to study her again. He turned back to Titan and told him, “Bring her inside and we’ll talk to her.” Then he paused to glance back at Cat again. Her trembling and shaking had worsened since he’d first walked up to the truck. He frowned and looked over at Titan.

Titan pursed his lips and told him, “She doesn’t want to be here for some reason but she won’t tell me why, the only thing she did say was that we got ghosts here and she didn’t want to meet any of them.”

Hawkins looked disgusted at this like it was a wild tale as he shook his head. “Bring her inside.” He turned and went back inside the clubhouse.

The rest of bikers followed him in.

Titan walked over to Cat’s door and opened it. He looked down at her and noted her pale skin. “Come on darlin,” he spoke softly.

Cat said one word, “No.”

Titan shook his head. “You don’t understand, you don’t have a choice here.”

Cat smiled slightly. “I always have a choice and I choose not to go inside.”

Titan growled as he bent down, then he grabbed her around her waist and threw her body over his shoulder. Cat fought him all the way but he got the upper hand when he stood. She was facing the ground over his shoulder now. He clamped his huge arm over her legs.

~*~

 His leg clamping didn’t stop her from feeling hung out to dry. Cat absolutely hated being hung upside down and she pounded on his back in protest. “Put me down. I’m not going in there. I don’t belong here!”

When he walked along while carrying her, she grabbed his belt and hung on as nausea rolled in her belly. “I’m gonna be sick!” she called out in panic.

Titan just grunted as he strode inside the clubhouse. He gently lowered her to the floor.

When she stood up, she clamped her hand over her mouth and looked around the room carefully. She saw an open door and ran for it. Moments later, she upchucked everything in her belly. Her tea tasted so much better when she drank it earlier but not so good now.

Titan stood at the door for a moment then stepped inside. Pulling the door shut behind him, he shook his head at the sight of her kneeling on the floor while hanging over the toilet. He squatted down beside her, flushed the toilet, and handed her a wet wash cloth to wipe her mouth. “I don’t know what you’re so scared of, but we’re not going to hurt you.”

She reached up to brace herself against the toilet to get to her feet and shook her head. “Why couldn’t you just leave me be? Why drag me clear out here for nothing?”

Titan gently lifted her face with his finger. “My president and friend is in some serious trouble. I don’t know why, but I feel you have information that will clear him and we need your help.”

 

Chapter Three

 

Cat shook her head. “I can’t help you.”

Suddenly, someone pounded on the door.

Titan sighed and got to his feet. Holding out a hand to her, he lifted her up and set her on her feet. “Come on, Hawkins wants to talk to you.”

Cat snapped her mouth shut but glared at him.

Titan shook his head and explained, “Hawkins is Kota’s dad and when he stepped down, Kota took his place and is taking this MC into new territory. For the last six months, someone has been targeting us and we don’t know why. Maybe you know something that could help us.”

“I don’t,” she assured him. “Hell, I didn’t know this MC existed until I saw you in the courtroom. I can’t help you.”

Titan scoffed in disbelief. Opening the door, he hauled her out to the main room.

Cat found herself facing a double line of unhappy men.

The older man she saw outside stood there with his arms folded over his chest and a frown on his face.

She shrank back from him and tried to hide behind Titan but he wouldn’t let her. He hauled her around in front of him and held her in her place. “Hawkins, this is Cat.”

She wouldn’t look at him and instead, she stared at the floor.

Undeterred by this, Hawkins stepped closer and reached out to raise her face. Then he met her eyes and his frown deepened as he stared into her eyes. What is your name, young lady?” he growled.

“Cat,” she whispered.

“Cat what?” Hawkins raised brow at her.

“Cat Lamond.”

 “I don’t know that name.”

“And I don’t know you, so can I go now?” she asked sweetly.

Titan wrapped his arm around her waist and growled in her ear. “I don’t think so sweetheart. We still have questions and you have the answers.”

“What does that mean?” Hawkins’ frown deepened.

Titan told him what he saw, “When the bailiff read the charges, we looked back towards her, she was shaking from head to toe, and tears were streaming down her face. She knows something about what’s going on here and I want to know what that something is.”

Hawkins stepped closer and grabbed her face again, leaning in he asked, “Well, what do you have to say woman? You heard his question, what’s your answer?”

“I don’t know anything.” Cat snarled as his fingers tightened on her jaw. “I told him that already and I’ll tell you the same thing. I don’t know anything.”

Hawkins growled as he released her and stepped back. “I don’t fucking believe you.”

Cat just stared at him. “I don’t care what you believe, I know it to be the truth.”

“Put her in a room and make sure it's locked.” Hawkins ran his hands over the back of his neck. “I want her to be here if she changes her mind and decides to talk to us.”

Titan gave him a nod then showed her to a room down the hall and when she stumbled in, he stood at the door and shook his head. “The one thing you don’t want to do sweetheart, is piss off Jedidiah Hawkins. He can and will bring the fury of hell down on you and it will not be pretty.”

Cat caught her breath when she heard Hawkins’ full name. She knew that name but it wasn’t one she’d heard in a very long time. “Jedidiah Hawkins? Is that his name?”

Titan stared at her and frowned. “Yeah, that’s his name. Why?”

Cat didn’t answer him but instead, she wrapped her arms around her waist and stepped over to the window to look outside. She just stood there until Titan finally closed the door and turned the key in the lock.

Then she turned her head and gazed at the door. She was in so much trouble and if they knew who she really was, they wouldn’t be any kinder to her…that was for sure.

Sitting down in the corner on the floor, she cried for a while.

After another hour, there were no tears in her eyes. Those tears were long ago dried.

~*~

Cat woke with a start before dawn, sitting up from her pallet on the floor. Wrapping the blanket around her shoulders, she went over to the window to wait for the sun to come up. But it must have been earlier than she thought as dawn didn’t come. She had slept on the floor because she couldn’t sleep on the bed. She didn’t understand why, but she just couldn’t make herself crawl into the bed.

Her dreams last night had not included more murder scenes, but she had been haunted by a female’s voice calling out to her to find her killer and bring her justice. She knew the voice had been Jenna's and while Cat wanted to jump up off the floor and rush to her, she knew she couldn't. She had to be very careful in the next few days, if she didn't want to be sitting in jail or the nut house.

Ever since she'd become a widow, Cat hadn't slept much. No more than five hours a night had become her usual, and when she had something on her mind, she liked to walk. Her path at home had been the wetlands behind their house, but here she was sure wherever she walked, she would find someone waiting to bring her back.

After a bit, she felt like the walls closing in on her. She went over to the door and studied the lock, then she smiled. When they had taken her to the orphanage, she found she had a way with locks and very shortly afterward, there wasn’t a lock she couldn’t pick. This lock didn’t hold her for long either and soon, she was walking softly through the clubhouse to the front door. Apparently, no one here got up this early, lucky for her. Finally, she was out in the open.

With no one to stop her, she was free to walk where she wanted. She didn’t want to go into the woods but she did want to see something else. She turned south and began to walk. Before very long, she was at the edge of the clearing. Looking over the tall grass she could see the outline of a building in the distance. For some reason, she knew this building but she didn’t know the how or why. No matter how hard she tried as a child, there were just certain things she couldn’t remember. She had a feeling this building was tied to that part of her childhood.

Just as she turned to walk some more, she froze where she stood.

There stood the largest dog she’d ever seen. He was as black as the shadows and huge. He wasn’t quite a pure blood wolf but he was close. He just stood there for a moment then he walked over to her.

Cat knew enough to stand very still. “Hello Bear,” she whispered softly. She didn’t know how she knew that name but it came easily to her and the dog? She realized that she knew it too. “How are you still alive after all this time?” Her eyes widened as she remembered another animal who looked just like this one, the original dog she had named Bear.

The dog stared at her then showed his teeth.

Cat just stood there as moving would get her mauled. Then she heard another growl and she slowly looked over to the edge of the trees. There stood several more animals that she would consider wolves. Now, she stared back down at the dog in front of her. “Ok, so you’re not Bear. He probably died a long time ago. I’m sorry if I disturbed your hunt.” Tears were rolling down her face as somehow, seeing this animal made her feel so saddened.

The dog launched at her and Cat stood still as his huge paws landed on her shoulders. For a moment, they stared at each other, and then the dog leaned forward to lick her tears away.

Cat slowly reached her hands up to scratch his head. “Oh boy, I don’t know your name but that’s what Bear would have done. He would have tried to make me feel better. Thank you for that memory.” She grasped his fur between her fingers and hugged the dog to her. “I loved you Bear.” She stepped back.

 The dog then went back to all fours and moved toward the trees.

“Stay safe, Bear,” she called out softly then turned to go back to the clubhouse. The early morning light was increasing and she didn’t want to panic anyone by being gone. With a small smile on her face, she headed toward the clubhouse.

When she got close to the door, it was thrown open and two bikers rushed outside.

They stopped and glared at her.

 One of them grabbed her. "So, where were you off to so early?" the one they called Nash demanded as his fingers bit into her arm.

Cat hissed in pain and replied, "I just went for a walk."

"In the dark?" the other one asked. "Are you sure you weren't meeting someone?"

Cat frowned as she tried to get away from Nash but he wasn’t letting her go. " I was alone. I met no one. I’m new here, so who the hell would I be meeting?”

Nash snorted. “Your kind of woman could be meeting just about anyone, right Cage?”

“How long you been out here?” the other biker, Cage wanted to know, ignoring Nash completely.

“Maybe an hour or so,” Cat answered. “I had to get out and breathe, I was coming back.”

Nash raised his hand and slapped her.

The slap caught her unaware as she stumbled back and fell on her ass. 

Just then, the door opened again and Titan was there. He took in everything at a glance and snarled, “If you fucking touch her again, you’ll have my fist down your throat.”

Nash turned to glare at him. “She was outside walking this morning, who knows what the fuck she was doing or who he was talking to.”

Titan narrowed the gap between them and snarled in the other man’s face, “You know the rules Nash, we don’t hit women. Why the hell did you hit her?”

“She isn’t exactly what I would call an innocent nor is she under our protection. That makes her open game,” Nash insisted.

“She’s under my protection.” Titan growled. “You touch her again, and I will hurt you, do you understand that?”

Before any of them could say anything more, they all heard low growls from the edge of the trees.

Then one by one, wolves came out of the shadow of the trees. Three of them moved into the parking lot of the clubhouse. They came over to Cat and stood between her and the three men standing there.

Titan, Cage and Nash slowly reached for the weapons at their sides. 

Cat cried out, “No, don’t shoot them! Please don’t hurt them.” She reached out for the largest one and tangled her fingers in his fur. Shaking her head, she glanced at the men. “Don’t hurt them.” Turning her face into the big animal’s fur, she whispered, “Thank you Bear, but you need to go back and protect yourself and your family. Be safe and watch over this place. There’s already too much pain here.”

The animal licked her cheek then he and the others turned and trotted back to the tree line. Every wolf waiting for them followed their leader and soon, it was just the four people in the parking lot.

Titan stepped past Nash and held out his hand to her.

Cat took it and allowed him to guide her back to the clubhouse.

“What the hell was that?” he growled. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” Cat wiped her tears away as she looked up at him.

 Titan could plainly see the mark Nash had left on her face when he struck her. He took a deep breath and shook his head.

Cat, explained, “I went for a walk this morning, and your men felt that I shouldn’t have left the club house.”

“And the wolves?” He wanted to know.

Cat just shrugged and looked away from him.

Titan knew better than to try to get any answers from her.

“Hawkins wants to see her,” Nash reminded him harshly. “Better bring her inside.”

Titan turned his head and glared at him.

 Nash just shrugged and walked into the clubhouse.

Titan cupped her elbow and ushered her inside.

Hawkins was there and when he saw the red mark on her face, he turned toward Nash and growled low, “The fuck, man?” Then he turned back to Cat. “Where the hell have you been, woman?”

 

Chapter Four

 

“Oh my god, I went for a walk. Is that a crime?” Cat cried out.

“You were supposed to be locked in your room.” Hawkins growled.

“Yeah, well me and locked doors don’t get along, I can’t stand being locked up.” She shrugged. “Blame it on my childhood.”

Hawkins frowned. “You were locked up a lot as a kid?”

Cat shrugged again. “I was a little shit as a kid and let's just say, the Nuns didn’t like me much and leave it at that.”

“Nuns?” Titan asked.

Cat nodded but didn’t elaborate.

Before she could say anything else, Nash walked over to Hawkins and handed him something. “Maybe you should ask her about where she got this.” He glared over at Cat.

Cat watched as the ring on the chain she had all her life slid into Hawkins hand. She allowed her face to go blank as she watched Hawkins hold up the ring and look at it intently for a long moment.

She raised her head to look at Nash for a moment, glaring at him. “You went through my luggage. Why? Why would you do that?”

Hawkins narrowed his eyes at her as he answered,  “I told him to, I wanted to know who you were.”

“I told you who I was!” Cat exclaimed.

“Where the fucking hell did you get this ring then?” Hawkins demanded. “I’ve been looking for it for twenty five years.”

“You know that ring?” Cat quietly asked.

He raised his hand up, the ring matched the one he wore.“I should, I had it made for my wife and when she died, I gave it to my oldest son Jesse to give to his wife or daughter one day. I had the rings fashioned for both of us from a single stone and when I stepped down as President, I passed this ring to Jesse but he died before he could take my place. That position will fall to my other son Kota. So again I ask, where did you get this ring?”

Cat couldn’t answer him as she had no answers. Her grandmother had given her the ring and told her that her father requested that she give it to Cat when she was older. Her grandmother had called her into her bedroom about a week before the accident that killed her. She had presented the little seven year old Cat with the ring. She said it was something her daddy left for her when she was only a few months old. She told the little girl it was the only time she’d ever met the man, and she didn’t understand why he gave her the ring but he had. He also told her grandmother that he hadn’t told his wife about the ring because he wanted his daughter to have it, not his wife. Her grandmother had shown it to her when she was three and told her to never let her mother know she had it. Cat hadn’t seen her mother since she’d dropped her off with her grandparents four years earlier, which was shortly after her dad died.

She didn't remember her dad now, as he died when she was very young and she hadn’t seen her mother since the day she left her with her own parents. She could walk past her mom on the street and she wouldn’t know her. She also doubted her mom would recognize her either, much less care. She made that clear when she didn’t even show up for her own parents’ funerals.

Cat walked over to a table and sat down hard. “Ok. This is all I know…I haven’t seen my mother since she dropped me off at my grandparents when I was three, and I don’t remember my father at all. Four years later, my grandparents were killed in a car wreck and my mom never even came to their funerals. I was sent to an orphanage until I aged out. That ring…” Cat sighed, “Well, my grandmother gave it to me when I was seven, just a week before their deaths. I was told it was something my dad wanted me to have one day but by then, I couldn’t even remember what he looked like. Now you tell me the ring belongs to you. Then take the damn thing and let me go.”

Hawkins frowned. “If you got the ring from your dad, then you are my missing granddaughter. The granddaughter I haven’t seen in well over twenty years.”

Cat’s head shot up and she stared at him in shock. “Oh no, no sir, absolutely not!” She got to her feet. Wide eyed, she glared at the man they called Hawkins and then backed away toward the main doors.

Titan guessed her goal and got between her and the door.

She only came to a stop when she ran into the brick wall that was his chest and when he wrapped his arms around her waist, she began fighting him to get free. “No, you can’t keep me here, I don’t belong here!”

“You know Jed, there’s one way to settle this,” one of the other older men said. “If I remember correctly, your granddaughter had an accident when she was about two years old. She tore her leg open, remember? And she had a large gash. That cut was deep. She took about 20 stitches or so if I recall, so it was enough to leave a scar. If she has the scar, she could be your Caterina.”

Cat froze and lifted her head to stare at the man. Fresh tears rolled down her face and she went pale. Her hand went to her thigh and the scar she’d always had but never remembered how she got it. Now she knew. Cat spoke, not really asking a question, yet not a statement either. “My full name is Caterina Lamond.”

“Well, I don’t know where the hell Lamond comes in but your mother was Isabel McCormick until she married my son Jesse. I guess that makes you my granddaughter,” Hawkins grumbled as he shook his head. “We didn’t know where you and your mother went, she ran away shortly after your dad died.”

“I took my husband’s name, that’s where the Lamond comes in,” Cat angrily admitted, ignoring the part where her mother just left. “Davy and I got married when I was seventeen and I lost him when I was twenty four.”

“Well, this is convenient isn’t it?’ Nash snarled. “She comes here under suspicion and ends up being your granddaughter. Well played lady, well played.”

Cat turned her head while looking perplexed. She glared at him. “Fuck you mister. I didn’t come here to claim anything, you hear me? I never knew my family. I don’t remember my father at all. The only ones who ever cared about me were my grandparents and they died when I was seven. No one else came forward to claim me so I ..I was alone. So fuck you and whatever the fuck you rode in on.” She moved her gaze over to the old man claiming to be her grandfather and

Titan quickly lifted his hand to cover her mouth. Some things Hawkins would allow you to say but he didn’t think what she was going to say to him would do her any good right now.

She dragged Titan’s hand down and snarled, “And if you wanted me here, you should have come for me back then. Apparently, you didn’t, so you have no claim to me now.”

Hawkins just glared at her. “How long has it been since you’ve seen your mother, girl?”

“She took me to her parents when I was three. Then she left. She didn’t even bother to look back at me, I know cuz I watched her leave. I haven’t seen her since that day. She just unloaded me and a small grocery bag with some clothes in it at the door, then she left.” Cat growled. “I already told you that.”

Hawkins nodded as if he knew the kind of mother she was. “She snuck out of here under suspicious circumstances, and three days later we buried you father. His death wasn’t settled, nor was the report back from the fire marshal. Someone burned down the old clubhouse and the police found two bodies inside when they put the fire out. One of the bodies was my son Jesse, and the other we never found out who that one was.” He paused and stared at her. “You might as well know there was some speculation about what role your mother played in the fire that cost us two brothers too. But that was a different time and a different pair of brothers.”

Cat frowned at him. “Are you telling me she started the fire that killed her husband and another person?”

“We don’t know for sure, but Jesse was getting ready to boot her ass out of here,” Hawkins told her. “You would have remained here but when she left, she took you with her. We looked for her and you for a full year and never found her. Or you.”

Cat pushed herself away from Titan then went to the front door and walked out.

Titan looked over at Hawkins.

 Nodding, he motioned for Titan to follow her.

Hawkins turned to face Nash and growled, “What the hell did she ever do to you that you would mistreat her so badly? You all but accused her of coming here with a purpose and if you ever hit her again, for any reason, I’ll kick your stupid ass.”

Nash stood very still as he spoke, “You might have missed the info but when we found her, she was coming back from her walk. There was only one thing out where she was coming back from and that was Jesse’s old house. Not only that but the wolves came out of the trees and three of them surrounded her like they knew her and were protecting her. There was one that had a little bit of your old dog in him and she called him Bear. Now how the fuck would she know that name if she hadn’t heard it before today? Nobody here ever said it around her. She’s playing us and I don’t fucking like it.” He snorted, “It's just all a little too convenient. I mean why would she come back now? Now, of all times? Hell, we got half the damn town looking at all of us like we murdered those women and suddenly, she shows up?”

Hawkins glared at him for a moment then turned to look at the front door where she had walked out of a few minutes ago. Then he glanced at the clock on the wall. Kota’s attorney was meeting them again this morning and he would be here any minute now.

He turned to look at Wanderer and nodded at the door. “Go keep an eye on her will you?”

Wanderer nodded and went outside to find Titan and the girl.

~*~

Cat walked down the road then went over to the side and sat down on a huge rock that overlooked the valley below. She sat there while her mind was racing from the amount of information she'd learned this morning.

She hadn’t known before today that this had been her home once upon a time. She should have, as it had all looked too familiar to her since she arrived. She sat there just staring at the valley below her.

 Titan joined her. “Are you okay?” he asked.

Cat didn’t look at him but she shook her head. “No, I don’t think so. I didn’t come here  to make a claim or to find a grandfather... I had to... Well, it wasn't for that reason, anyway.”

“Why did you come here?” Titan tilted his head as he looked at her.

Cat snorted, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but it wasn’t to find him, this Hawkins man. I never knew where I came from. I mean I was barely more than a toddler when I was dropped off to live with my grandparents and I was in the first grade when they died. What could a kid know about family at that point? All I ever knew was living with my grandparents. I couldn’t even remember my parents at seven years old.”

Titan stared at her profile. “Yet, here you are. Back where you were born, apparently. Do you have an explanation for this?”

A lone tear rolled down her cheek. “ Mister, I never have an explanation when odd things like this happen. They just happen is all and I have had to accept that. I came to Granite Falls for a whole different reason. And let me makes this clear, I never would have come out here to this place on my own. Never.”