Titan For Alice
Titan For Alice
The most enthralling Chapter book yet…
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?
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.
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?
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.”
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.
“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?”
“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 Isobel 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.”
Cat dropped her head and her breath caught as she sobbed, her tears splashing down on her jeans. “All my life…” she choked out, “I’ve been different from the other kids. They all said I was lucky because I still had a mother out there somewhere, but she had left me years before. I couldn’t even remember her face. She just pushed me on her parents and then they died. The only home I ever knew was gone. Then when I grew up, I met Davy. He made me feel like someone understood me, loved me in a way no one ever had before. Then he was gone too.”
Titan listened then he reached out and patted her hand.
She went on, “Now I come here and find I have a family that could care less about me, and I feel the danger coming in waves around me. I know I can’t stay here, yet I can’t leave either.”
“Waves of danger?” Titan frowned. “What does that mean?”
Cat lifted her head and stared at the valley below them. “The real killer is out there and when he finds out that I’m here, he isn’t going to be happy. Especially, if I can lead the police right to his door and then there’s your brother Nash, I think you called him? He isn’t happy I’m here either.”
“Hold up a minute,” Titan growled. “You said the real killer… What do you mean by that? The police think Kota killed those women, they aren’t even looking for anyone else right now, and they haven’t ever since they found the bloody patch next to Jenna’s body. Are you saying the real killer is still here, watching this whole charade go down?”
Cat didn’t say another word. She'd said too much already and if she explained what she knew, what was real for her, the whole MC would think she was nuts. But maybe she was crazy. Most of the time, her dreams were so off the wall she couldn’t believe in them herself, but this dream had been so real. Not so much as like the other dreams, she’d had over the years. Those dreams had been like a film in her head. Disjointed places, disjointed voices, different buildings, and smells she never got the chance to put together. No, she could never tell the MC about her curse, because that’s what this thing she had was, a curse.
Wanderer stepped up and called out to Titan, “We got company coming. We should get back to the house. Kota’s lawyer will be here soon.”
Titan nodded. He nudged her shoulder. “Come on, Hawkins will want us there for this meeting.”
Cat looked up at him and shook her head. “I don’t have to be there for this. I don’t know this man Kota and I can’t help you.”
Titan reached out and took her hand. Curling his fingers around hers he said, “Well I’m not leaving you alone, so you’re coming with me.”
When the three of them got inside the clubhouse, they saw Hawkins and several men sitting at one of the tables with two men in suits.
Hawkins looked up and saw her then he turned his head to the attorney and asked, “So what’s going on? Why isn’t Kota sitting here with us?”
Titan sat down at the table and pulled her down into the chair next to him. They sat there waiting for the lawyer to speak.
The lawyer sighed heavily and said, “The prosecutor claims the crimes against three women was so heinous that he feared Kota would run if he was out on bail. In reality, there is usually no bail allowed in first degree murder cases with a murder count of three.”
“Three counts?” Hawkins frowned. “But they only found one body and they won’t come out and say the manner of death of that one, only that it’s murder.”
“The autopsy claims the victims were stabbed but that’s all that came out in court today,” the lawyer explained. “The coroner did say the killer used some sort of chemical to try and destroy the real cause of death but he wouldn’t say more than that.”
Cat shook her head slowly then she looked over at Titan.
Titan was watching her but wasn’t saying anything.
It was Nash who spoke up as he glared straight at her, “What? You know something we don’t?”
Cat pursed her lips and lowered her head. She couldn’t tell them.
“Caterina,” Hawkins called her out sharply. “What do you think you know about this that we don’t?”
She shook her head. “I can’t tell you anything. I wasn’t there.”
Nash sneered at her.
Hawkins growled at the attorney, “So what else do they have against my son?”
The lawyer took out a sheet of paper and threw it down on the table. “Just this bloody patch. It doesn’t look anything like the patch you guys wear now, so I’m assuming it's an old patch but the coroner said the blood matches Jenna’s blood type. It’s O positive.”
Hawkins studied the picture of the patch and frowned. “That’s our patch alright and it is an old patch. Old, as in over twenty years old, plus a lot of people have O positive blood. So that’s not real evidence.”
The lawyer shook his head. “It may be circumstantial evidence but people have been convicted on lesser evidence like this.”
The paper with the image was passed from man to man until it reached Titan. He looked at the patch and shook his head. Then he passed the paper to Cat.
She picked it up and suddenly went deathly pale. She stared at the patch then with trembling hands, she dropped the paper.
Titan stared at her. He frowned then looked over at Hawkins.
Hawkins stared at her as well then he finally turned back to the attorney and told him, “You go to him and tell him we got his back and we will find out what’s going on here. Keep trying to get him out. He’ll show up for his trial and we won’t stop until he’s cleared.”
A few minutes later when the lawyer rose from the table to go back to town, Cat got up and walked down the hall to the bedroom they gave her the night before. She went inside, shut the door then walked over to the window and looked outside. She could see the back of the clubhouse, all the way to the tree line.
But she wasn’t seeing the trees. She was seeing memories, an overload of memories she didn’t realize she had until she saw that bloody patch. She had seen that patch before but the blood on it wasn’t Jenna’s, like they thought. It was older than that, about twenty four years…
So intent on her memories, she must have missed Titan coming into her room. It wasn’t until he put his hands on her shoulders that she jumped at the contact and realized she wasn’t alone.
“Are you okay?” Titan whispered.
She shook her head. “I don’t think so.”
“How so?: Titan whispered. "What did you see when you saw that patch? You were awfully pale.”
“I don’t think the blood on that patch is Jenna’s,” Cat finally broke her silence. She raised her hands and rubbed her temples as more memories poured into her mind, as her past was unlocked. “I don’t remember much but I can hear harsh words, screaming, yelling, and someone is fighting. I’m hiding under a table, I’m scared. I hear a gunshot then someone falls down to the floor next to me. I’m frozen in fear and the man on the floor is just staring at me. His face is contorted with rage, I know because I’d seen that look on his face before. I can see his face and I know him but I-I can’t talk. I can’t reach out to wake him up. Then another man grabs him and turns him over and he’s panicking, he’s screaming that the man is dead and I hear a woman’s hysterical laughter. Then the other man who was panicked collapses on top of the other body. I begin to shake as I see a woman moving the bodies apart and she spits on the first body, then she reaches out and rips off the patch from the vest he’s wearing and she kicks at the other man. His eyes are closed but I didn’t hear a second shot, only him falling. Then I hear the sound of something heavy falling on the floor. I peek around the table leg and all I can see is something red on the floor. Then I hear footsteps and a cabinet opening. Suddenly, something is splashing on the floor. I’m so afraid then I smell smoke. Finally, I start screaming and the table I’m hiding under gets moved. I’m yanked up to my feet and hauled out of the room.” Cat paused as her body quaked in fear from the memory.
Titan remained silent as he held her and waited for her to say what happened next.
“I look at the woman and she’s laughing at the fire that’s now burning the building we just left. I remember thinking to myself that she’s crazy. Finally, the building is nothing but flames as she calmly walks over to a car and puts me in the backseat. She drives us away. We go down a big hill and when we get to the bottom, she turns one way but I’m on my knees looking out the back window and I see motorcycles coming toward the driveway we just came from.” Cat stopped talking and leaned into him. “I’ve never had that memory before and I hope I never have it again.”
“You got all that from a photo of a bloody patch?” Hawkins exclaimed as he joined them in her room.
Cat looked over at him then recoiled at the look in his eyes. He didn’t believe her but more importantly, his green eyes were the same green eyes as the man who fell on the floor in front of her. She trembled and wanted to tell him but she wouldn’t give him something he could throw back in her face. She moved out of Titan’s embrace and wrapped her arms around her belly. Her stomach was churning at the vibes of distrust in the room.
“I asked you a question, woman.” Hawkins snarled at her.
“I don’t believe the blood on that patch is Jenna’s,” was all she could say.
Hawkins pushed Titan out of his way and grabbed her by the upper arms to haul her in close. “What are you doing here? Who the fuck are you?” he snarled in her face.
Cat sobbed as she tried to break his hold on her. Her memories were getting stronger and she had to hide from the pain they brought. “No, let me go! I haven’t done anything. Let me go. The ghosts are waking up from their long sleep and I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to see them again. They scare me. Let me go!”
Hawkins threw her away from him and she hit the wall.
Titan watched as she slid down the wall.
She was a huddled mess as she curled into a small ball and sobbed.
Her tears were breaking his heart.
Hawkins went to grab her again.
Titan stepped in and grabbed his arm.
Hawkins glared at him.
Titan told him, “She’s had enough.”
“Jed, come on man, leave her be for now,” an older biker called out from the doorway. “You’re scaring the bejesus out of her.”
Hawkins looked over at the door and saw several of the brothers standing there looking at him. He nodded and ran his hands over the back of his head. “I’m sorry but she’s bringing some awful memories to mind. Her words made me think about the day we came back to find the old clubhouse burning and then we found two bodies inside.” He turned back to stare at her before he said, “One of those bodies was my son, Jesse.” He looked over at Titan and ordered, “You stay with her. Twenty four seven until we know who she is and why she came here. Don’t let her out of your sight.”
Hawkins and the others left them alone.
Titan squatted down and gently gathered her in his arms. Standing upright, he carried her over to the bed. He sat down and settled her on his lap. Grabbing up the blanket from the end of the bed, he covered her in it and just held her. “Hush now,” he whispered in her ear, as her sobs were now quieter. “You’re breaking my heart here, little Cat.”
Her sobbing slowly stopped. After a couple of minutes, Cat finally whispered, “Their faces were the same for a moment. Both were filled with so much rage.”
“Well honey, you have to realize…” Titan let out a sigh. “Hawkins just lost his head. A lot of us feel you just described his oldest son’s death. That was something nobody here knew before. I wasn’t here yet, but I heard the stories about how they came back that day and found the clubhouse burning so fiercely they couldn’t get close. The fire department didn’t even get here in time to save it. Then they found the two bodies lying side by side. One of them was Jesse but we never knew who the other one was.”
Cat looked up at his face and the trail of her tears still framed her face. “When she tore the patch from his vest a key slipped to the floor. I saw it fall between the floorboards. Did he have such a key? Or was that only something I thought I saw?”
Titan frowned. “I don’t know but we can ask.”
Cat nodded and laid her head on his chest.
Titan hesitated then asked, “Why do you think the patch doesn’t have Jenna’s blood on it?”
“I could see the outline of the key in the photograph. It looks like a shadow but I saw the outline of the key.”
Titan got to his feet in a hurry. She started to slide to the floor but he hitched her up in his arms and they left the room in a hurry. “Hawkins,” he called out loudly as he rushed into the main room.
Hawkins and several of the others turned while looking at him like he was crazy. “What?” Hawkins growled as he glared at the two of them.
“Do you still have that picture of the patch the police found?”
Hawkins nodded and picked it up from the table. “Yeah, why?”
Titan let Cat down to her own feet and grabbed the photograph. Thrusting it at Cat he said, “Show us, show us what you see when you look at this photo.
Cat stared at him like he was insane then shaking her head she looked down at the photo. “It's right here.” Her fingers outlined the faint shadows on the picture in her hands.
Titan studied the photo and as soon as she began outlining it, he saw it too. He glanced at Hawkins and the others, then he asked, “Did Jesse have a key, a special key he always kept on him? A key only he or you would know about?”
Hawkins paled and stared at him for a moment then slowly turned his head to look at Cat. “Yeah, he did. I gave it to him when he took over as president, why?”
“What the hell is this?” Nash called out.
Wanderer slapped the back of the other man’s head. “Just shut up and listen, fool.”
“The key was never found, not by the cops or by us,” Hawkins admitted.
Titan grabbed a marker off the table then laid the photo down on the table and traced the outline Cat pointed out. He handed the photo to Hawkins.
Hawkins looked down and paled. He snapped his head up and stared at Cat. “How did you know about this?” he whispered.
“I saw the outline when I looked at the photo,” she whispered. “I was hiding under the table that day, I saw the key slip to the floor then go through the cracks when she tore the patch off.”
Hawkins slowly looked down at the photo of the patch the courts took. “This is Jesse’s patch. My Jesse’s blood is on this?” he whispered.
The two older bikers came over to where Cat was standing with Titan and they smiled kindly at her. “They call me Cash and this is Wilder, the two of us and Hawkins started this club thirty years ago. Once a biker always a biker, so we’ve been here a long time. I remember that day as clearly, as if it were yesterday. We came up that road and found the clubhouse burning. It was so hot, we couldn’t get near the place.”
Wilder nodded and took up the story, “By the time the fire department got up here, it was all but gone. They put out the flames, the sheriff came up and found two bodies. It took them weeks to figure out one of the bodies was Jesse’s, there was almost nothing left for them to test. You and your mom were gone and we couldn’t find either of you. We looked for you for almost a year but we never knew what happened and we knew the club had to move on. Hawkins wouldn’t let anything from the crime scene be touched so that burnt out building reminds us every day of the tragedy that happened.”
Wilder looked over at Hawkins and suggested, “If that blood isn’t Jenna’s, it might be enough to get Kota out of jail. And if that patch is indeed Jesse’s it could be used to get his case opened again. We can have the police test the back of the patch to see if they can find the same outline of the key that she described.”
Hawkins pressed his lips together and crushed the photo in his hand. “I’ll call the attorney back here and get him working on it right away.” He stomped off toward the office to make the call.
Cat and Titan stepped outside in the waning daylight. The lawyer had come back out and when he heard everything she shared with the group, he told them it might be a long shot as the blood on the patch hadn’t been tested, but he would open the possibility it wasn’t Jenna’s blood. He would also have the back of the patch tested for the outline of the key she pointed out.
When they stepped outside, they saw Hawkins standing there staring at the burnt out remains of the old clubhouse.
Titan looked down at her and said, “You should maybe go talk to him.”
“And say what?” she asked softly. “He doesn’t believe me, he doesn’t want me here.”
Titan shook his head. “You don’t know that. You being here is as much of a shock to him as it is to you. He lost his son twenty four years ago. He couldn’t find you back then either. This could be your opportunity to offer him an olive branch if you want it to be one.”
“What do I say to him?” She let out a heavy sigh. “I don’t know the man.”
Titan shrugged. “I don’t know. Say what’s in your heart.”
Cat took a deep breath and walked over to where Hawkins stood, then a thought came to her, and at the last minute, she turned toward the burnt out ruins. Stepping carefully, she made her way to the front of the ruins and took a moment to look around carefully. Once she saw the plan of the old place in her mind, she moved carefully through the ashes and burnt timbers. She ignored the yells and the commands to get out of there until she reached the area where she had seen the key drop through the floorboards. The floorboards were weak in some areas and she could almost feel them give way under her slight weight but she kept going until she got to where she needed to be. She brushed the ashes and debris away and found a hole in the floor. She reached through the scorched floorboards and felt around the dirt below. When her fingers touched a small piece of metal, they closed around it and she lifted her hand. It was dirty and sooty but when she opened her fingers, she found she held a small key. Getting to her feet, she headed toward the old man as he stood there glaring at her. She walked right up to him and grabbed his hand, turning it over to see his open palm. Then she opened her hand and the key fell to his hand.
Hawkins stared down at his palm and saw the key he had given his oldest son twenty five years ago. Closing his eyes, a tear ran down his cheek.
Cat slowly turned and went back to Titan, leaving the old man standing there with his head bowed and his hand clenched around the small key she gave him.
Titan turned and stopped suddenly when he saw the line of the brothers behind him.
They all looked as shocked as Hawkins felt.
He wrapped his arm around Cat’s shoulders and led her back into the clubhouse.
The brothers parted to let them through the line and then closed up after they passed.
Cash and Wilder were waiting for them at the doors.
Cash smiled at Cat. “Thank you darlin, you just gave him a small piece of his son back. That key meant a lot to him and it was the one thing he wondered about when Jesse died.”
“What does the key open?” Cat asked the older man.
Wilder answered this, “When the three of us started this MC, we put some money together and put it in a safe. Over the years, we were in charge we continued to add money to what we had put aside and the key to the safe was given to Hawkins as he was our president. Over time, we put our important papers in the safe and as our president, he was the only man that had the key. One of the papers we put in that safe was the charter for our club. The money was just money but we could never get the charter back and that’s weighed heavily on everyone since then. Then when Hawkins stepped down, he passed the key down to the next president, his son Jesse. When the key was lost, we had no way of getting anything out of the safe. But it wasn’t just the safe we were missing. A big part of us, being an MC club, was missing as well. Jesse was gone and we had to start all over again, from scratch. It was hard but we did it. Hawkins took back control of the club and we’ve grown since then but the key?” Wilder shook his head. “That key will open up so much more than just that safe. It seems fitting that Jesse’s daughter gave us back our club.”
Cash gave a nod then leaned over her and brushed his lips over her forehead. “Welcome back sweet Caterina,” he whispered.
Cat backed away from the older men and leaned into Titan’s arms. She nodded then allowed Titan to lead her inside. She went over to the bathroom and washed the dirt and soot off her hands and arms.
When she was drying her hands, she felt tears rolling down her cheeks. Now she understood why this town felt like she was coming home. She had a feeling tonight would be a bad night for her and she didn’t want to go there, not yet but she knew the nightmares would come for her tonight. Her memories were coming back now and she was remembering more and more.
She wiped her tears away and went to the door. Taking a deep breath, she opened it to find everyone was indeed standing there waiting for her.
Titan wrapped his arms around her shoulders and drew her forward. He brought her through the line of brothers and stopped in the middle of the room.
Hawkins was standing there. Cash and Wilder were there with him.
Hawkins held something out to her. It was the ring they found in her luggage. “I know your daddy wanted you to have this.” Was all he said.
Cat shook her head. “That was a lifetime ago. You keep it. I have no right to it as I can’t prove who I am.”
“Honey, you just did.” Hawkins pressed the ring in her hand. “Welcome home Caterina.” Shaking his head he lamented, “We should have kept looking for you, we could have given you a home right here, where you belong.”
Cat slowly reached out for the ring and slipped it on her finger for the first time ever. It fit her almost as if it had been made for her. She nodded at the old man and walked down the hall to her bedroom then quietly closed the door behind her.
She didn’t bother with turning on the light, instead she went over to the window and looked outside. There at the edge of the tree line she saw the wolf she’d called Bear this morning. He caught her eyes then he tipped his head back and howled. His brothers and sisters howled from where they were too, and Cat smiled slightly. “Stay safe, Bear,” she whispered. Then she watched as the animals disappeared into the shadow of the trees.
Turning away, she went over to the bed. Suddenly, she felt so tired. She laid down and as soon as she laid her head on the pillow, she fell asleep. But as she figured it wasn’t an easy sleep. She again dreamt of the night Jenna was murdered.
Tossing and turning, Cat cried out in her sleep, “Noo, no, no no…” But instead of waking up, she was pulled deeper into the nightmare. Again, she saw the knife and the man’s crazy eyes as he slit her open. This time though, instead of the man putting Jenna’s heart in the glass jar and walking away, he was making his way up to a truck door and handed the jar through the window, she saw a smaller pair of hands take it from him.
Then she heard a soft feminine voice whisper, “Thank you my love,” to the man.
Cat screamed and sat up in her bed. Shaking her head, she cried out in terror again and again, until she felt someone grab her and shake her. Tears ran down her face but she was so caught up in the nightmare she couldn’t roust herself from the memories that came forward. Before this, she’d missed many details the first time she had this particular nightmare. Someone was in league with this killer and she never knew this before now.
Titan held her as she screamed. He smoothed her hair with his hand. He’d heard the screams and had rushed into the room. “Tell me what’s happening,” he whispered to her ear.
Cat answered him, with halting words in between her sobbing. She didn’t seem to realize she was commenting on what she was seeing to the audience that had gathered as Hawkins, Wilder and Cash stood at the doorway.
Her halting words took them on a journey through what she saw the night Jenna died and the man throwing the patch down beside her body. Then she went on about the murder she just saw in her nightmare and the woman in the truck saying to the killer, “Let them try and get out of this one.” She was snarling when the man entered the truck again and the woman with long red hair whispered, “Take me home Billy Ray. I’m ready to go home.”
Cat’s voice faded away as she seemed to wake up. Now that the nightmare was over and she was coming back from the depths of hell. Her eyes began to clear. Tears were still streaming down her face but there was more color in her cheeks and her eyes were no longer glazed over.
Titan felt thankful that she was finally coming back. He just held her as the words she cried out in her nightmare finally faded. Her sobs were all the men could hear now and her weeping was breaking Titan’s heart.
“What’s happening to me?” Cat cried out in a hoarse voice which was all she had left.
Titan leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “Hush now, it's over and you don’t have to fear those nightmares again. I got your back and you're not alone anymore, little Cat.”
Cat finally broke away from him and whispered, “Jenna wants justice. She wants the man who killed her to stand trial for her murder. I think that’s why she brought it all back and allowed me to see the whole picture this time.”
“This time?” Hawkins’ voice came from the doorway. He came closer to the bed and knelt at the side, so he would be eye level with her. “You said this time? You’ve had this nightmare before?”
Cat nodded and wiped her tears away. “I think it was the night she was murdered. I saw it happen, but I didn’t see the woman that was there that night.” She closed her eyes and whispered, “Oh God, he took her heart. He just cut her then reached into her chest and ripped her heart out. He still has it, I think.”
“That takes a twisted mind to do something like that to a living human being.” Wilder shook his head from the doorway.
Cat turned her head to speak to Titan, “I saw this man in town, the day we met. He was there at the coffee house. He has dark hair and green eyes and some kind of burn on his face. He was with the red haired woman and they left, just before you guys got there.”
“What the hell?” Nash growled. “They were there that day?”
Cat nodded. “That woman has a hard on to bring this club down, I think. She wants to destroy this MC and everything you stand for. She truly hates you guys.”
“Yeah? Well, I’m not too fond of her right now either,” Hawkins grumbled as he stood up. “We need to find out if the police know Jenna is missing her heart. That might be something they might want to look into.” He looked down at Cat. “You didn’t happen to see where they went after they went home did you?”
Cat slowly nodded. “Actually… I did.”
The lawyer was there bright and early, along with the Chief of police and the Sheriff. They were all sitting at the table with Hawkins, Cash and several of the other brothers.
Chief Allen Lemmer looked over at Hawkins and asked, “How did you know Jenna Bannoch was missing her heart? Not even the coroner knew that until he went back into her chest cavity. The call from your attorney had him double checking the results and that’s when he found she was missing a key part of her.”
Hawkins just shrugged. “I didn’t know for sure, until you just told me.” He glared at the other man.
“How did you know the blood on the patch wasn’t hers then?” The Chief asked.
“Again, I didn’t.” Hawkins growled. “When we saw the outline of the key on the photo, we knew my son Jesse was the only one that might have had that particular patch. I knew he had a key that hadn’t been found the night he died.”
The lawyer recalled his steps in the latest developments and explained them to the Chief and the Sheriff, “He called me about the possibility of a key imprint on the back of the patch, and I asked for it to be tested. When everything began falling into place, I called you guys to reopen the case.”
The Chief shook his head. “I went back into the other two cases we charged Kota with and found out those two women were also missing their hearts. We found their bodies due to an anonymous phone call. Three deaths being all the same, makes this a serial killer case.” He shook his head again. “I know you guys and I know this isn’t something you would do. I don’t think I can release Kota just yet, but I will reopen the cases and I will find the killer I’m looking for.”
Cat came over to the table and laid a map on the table. “This is where you need to look first.” She then moved away and went to the far table then quietly sat down.
The Chief stared at her for a moment then looked down at the map. It was crudely drawn but he could figure out where it was going to end up. He snapped his head around to study her for a moment then shook his head. “We’ll check this out. I can’t promise anything here, but we will check it out.”
The Chief and the Sheriff got up and before they left, the Chief asked Cat, “Are you sure about this information?”
Cat gave him a firm but silent nod.
He nodded at her then they both left the clubhouse.
The lawyer turned to look over at Cat. “I don’t know who she is and I don’t need to know, but I think she might have just pulled Kota’s ass out of the fire on these charges. If they can find any evidence that ties someone else into these murders, she just saved your son’s life. Kota would have gotten the death penalty for this, if they hadn’t looked for someone else.”
“She’s Jesse’s daughter. My son, Jesse. She just found her way back here,” Hawkins told him.
“Oh, yeah?” The lawyer looked at her again. “That’s good news for you isn’t it? I didn’t even know Jesse had a kid. He’s been gone awhile now hasn’t he?”
“Yeah, he’s been gone awhile now,” Hawkins admitted. “We may need you to reopen his case too. His death might not have been an accident like we thought.”
The lawyer began gathering his things together. “Let’s get one case closed before we open a new one.”
“Just so you know when this case is over, we will look into Jesse’s old case too.” Hawkins’ growled. “If he was murdered, we need to know and take appropriate steps to bring his killer to trial.”
The lawyer nodded. “I get that but let's do one thing at a time. Jesse’s is an old case and that will have to wait. Right now, let’s concentrate on getting Kota out and free.”
After the attorney left, Hawkins went back over to the table and sat down. Then he stared at Cat for a moment before he said, “Ok young lady, just what the hell are you up to?”
Cat frowned then glanced at Titan and back to Hawkins. “I have no idea what you mean. I’m not up to anything.”
Hawkins shook his head and remarked, “I get the memory of your dad’s death. You were there, you saw it all, but the night Jenna died? How could you know all of that? You were miles away. How did you know the killer cut her and ripped her heart out?”
Cat hung her head and didn’t say anything for a few minutes. She didn’t know what to say or how to tell him.
“I asked you a fucking question!” Hawkins bellowed. “Answer me.”
Cat snapped her head up and glared at him. “What the bloody hell do you want me to say? I don’t know how I know the details of what happened that night. I just do. What I do know is that I was in Odessa, Wisconsin that night. I can also tell you I had one hell of a nightmare and I woke up screaming. You want to know how I saw it? I don’t have a fucking clue. What else can I tell you?” She crumbled just then as she folded her arms on the table and laid her head down. Her rage left her and she was too weak to move. “I don’t know why or how but I saw all three murders in my dreams. Does that make me a freak, hell if I know? Maybe it does. I’ve been called worse than that before. Hell, I was beaten for it once and every time I had a nightmare just like that one, I would get locked away because the nuns took it as a sign of being possessed by a demon. I don’t know why I have the nightmares. All I do know is that those dreams scare the crap out of me and I don’t want them but as sure as I’m sitting here, I’ll get another one someday. ” She stood from the table, slipped the ring off her finger and laid it down on the wooden surface. “I’m leaving now. I wish I’d never come here. I wish I could have turned my back on this whole thing but I couldn’t ignore Jenna’s pleas to me.” She glared at Hawkins then raised her head and looked around at the other men there. “You all can go to hell for all I care.” Then she turned, walked across the room, and out the front door.
No one moved to stop her.
Titan growled and headed for the door. He saw her pulling away in that car of hers, headed down the hill toward the main road. He ran to his bike and started the engine. He chased after her and when he came to the bottom of the hill, he was horrified at what he saw.
Cat’s car had been hit by another vehicle and two people were trying to drag her out. She seemed to be trying to fight them but it was a weak attempt. One of the people there was a red haired woman and that’s when he recalled her saying ...the woman in her dreams had long red hair. He gunned his bike toward them.
The man with the woman took one look at Titan and rushed away from Cat. He got back into his car and began backing up.
The red headed woman paused, then she too, took off running for the car as well. As soon as she opened the car door, she dove into the front seat as the man gunned the engine and sped off.
Titan didn’t give chase. He felt more concerned about how Cat was doing. He got to the car and lifted her up. Studying her, he could see a huge knot that covered part of her forehead and temple on the right side where her head had probably hit the steering wheel.
She was out cold now. Blood ran down the side of her face.
“Come on Cat, I need you to wake up.” He patted her cheek gently. “Come on baby, I need to see your eyes,” he murmured. It bothered him that she wasn’t coming around.
Then after a couple of minutes, she was still out and the bleeding wasn’t stopping. He gathered her into his arms and carried her over to his bike. Swinging his leg over the engine, he tucked her into him the best he could as he reached over her and started the bike.
He turned his cycle around and took off slowly. Going up the hill with Cat in his lap wasn’t easy but when he pulled into the parking lot, he was damned relieved to be home. Kicking down the stand, he shut the cycle off. Hitching her up in his arms, he marched toward the clubhouse.
Throwing the door open, he stomped inside.
His brothers were standing around talking in low tones.
When Hawkins saw them, he growled, “What the fuck happened to her?”
“Somebody t boned her at the bottom of the hill,” Titan growled back. “When I got there, they were trying to drag her out of the car. The bitch had long red hair and the guy with her had dark hair. I didn’t get a good look at either of them but they weren’t exactly helping her.” Then he paused and stared into Hawkins’ eyes. “Question is… is she welcomed here, or do I need to take her into town to the ER?”
Hawkins stared at her with worry in his eyes and motioned him down the hall.
Titan carried her down to their Infirmary and the man they called Boots. He'd been their medic for a long time and took care of their club whenever one of them got injured.
Titan just hoped the man could help her.
When Titan laid her on the bed, she looked so pale. The blood on her face was the only color she had.
Boots got some supplies and sat down beside her. He checked her vitals first. He looked up at Titan and pursed his lips tight. He glanced over his shoulder at Hawkins and shook his head slightly. He checked her pupils and was surprised when they reacted. He checked the pulse on her neck and raised an eyebrow. Her heartbeat was getting stronger but she wasn’t out of the woods. Then Boots began cleaning the wound on her forehead and temple.
She had a goose egg and a pretty big cut but as he cleaned the blood away at least he found the blood was slowing. She cringed away from him but he didn’t quit until the area was cleaned. When the wound was clean, they could all see just how bad it was. The cut needed closing but Boots looked at Hawkins and said, “I can’t stitch well enough not to leave a scar so I’m going to just super glue it together and hope it stays together and heals correctly.” He went over to his cabinet and grabbed an IV set up. It would be the easiest way to get liquid into her as well as some antibiotics if she needed them. Only time would tell that.
Hawkins nodded. Then he looked over at Titan. “Tell me again, what you found,” he growled his order.
Titan ran his hands over the back of his head as he stared down at the woman on the bed. “I got to the bottom of the hill and looked left but didn’t see anyone, so I looked right. That’s when I saw her. Her car had been t boned from a private driveway along the highway and there was a couple trying to open the door to pull her out. I thought they might be helping her until I got closer. They were both yelling and screaming at her. Something about her ruining their plans and how she was gonna pay for that with her life. She was trying to fight back but she was hurt and it wasn’t a fair fight. By the time I got there, she was already passed out. Then I remembered her saying something about a woman with long red hair. That same woman looked up at me and I could see her rage. The woman was going crazy on Cat. Cat was barely able to fight back and then she was out cold. The woman was doing her best to hit her but the car door was in her way. She was picking up a rock to smash the window or Cat, and I knew I had to get there quickly. I gunned my engine and came at them. The guy ran off first, he got into the car they used to ram into Cat’s and started the engine then the woman screamed and ran for the car as well. They backed up and took off like the demons were after them. I went to Cat and got her out of the car. Then I brought her here.”
“You think the red head was trying to hurt her?” Hawkins asked. “Why would she do that to a stranger?”
“What if the red head wasn’t a stranger?” Cash asked from the doorway.
Hawkins turned and frowned. “How could she know this woman?”
“I don’t know.” Cash admitted as he shrugged. “How could Cat know about Jenna’s murder? How could she describe in detail what happened to her and the other two women that were murdered? How could she give us the information about their hearts being missing? Describe both the woman and the real killer? Draw a map to tell the Sheriff where to go to find them.” Shaking his head he admitted, “There are too many coincidences here not to pay attention to every little thing that happens. This club is clearly under attack and we have to stand up and protect our own. Or we’ll all be dead. Our club is being set up, and if we listen to Cat and admit the truth, it's been under attack for some time. This didn’t just start when these women were murdered. Things have been going wrong long before that started. We either stand up against what’s coming or we die where we stand.” Shaking his head he added, “I don’t understand what is going on here anymore than the rest of you do, but I am keeping an open mind. Strange things happen all the time but there is usually a reason for them happening.” He looked over at the unconscious woman. “If these two people attacked her, then they know she’s been helping us and that means she’s not safe. At least here, she’ll be safe. But if you let her leave here before this is done, she’s as good as dead. Today showed us that much.” With that being said, Cash turned around and left the room.
Hawkins ran his hand over his head and swore, “Fucking hell.” He stared at Boots and asked, “Why isn’t she awake yet?”
Boots shrugged. “I have no idea. I mean, yeah, she took a good hit but it's been over an hour already. She should be waking up. I just checked her vitals and they’re getting better the longer she’s here.” Shaking his head, he told the other man, “I guess she’ll wake up when she’s good and ready.”
Hawkins looked over at Titan. “You stay with her, I’m gonna send a truck down and have her car towed back up here. I want to see it for myself.” He turned and started to walk away but stopped before he got to the door. “Watch over her closely, man.” He stared right at Titan.
Titan nodded at him.
Hawkins went through the door.
With a heavy sigh, Titan moved to the bottom of the bed and slipped her shoes off. He rubbed her feet for a few minutes then stepped back over to the head of the bed.
He didn’t know or understand this any more than the rest of them but he knew Cat was the key they needed to find out what the bloody hell was going on. He sat down on the chair pulled up to the side of the bed and reached out to hold her hand. “Come on little Cat. You need to come back to us now. Come back to me. I need you to fight for your life now. Don’t let the bastards who did this to you, win,” he whispered softly. He hoped his words would get through the fog in her mind and allow her to wake up.
He thought he felt her fingers tighten around his but he couldn’t be sure. He lifted her hand to his mouth and kissed her hand slightly. “Come on baby, I know you can do this. You need to wake up now.”
Boots just stood there and shook his head. “Hey man, she’ll wake up when she’s ready. Her head hit that steering wheel hard, there’s probably some damage inside. You have to let her heal first. Her vitals are getting better, but if you hadn’t gotten to her when you did, she might not have had a chance to come back. You just have to give her time.”
Titan nodded. “Yeah man I know, but it's just so hard to sit here and wait, you know?”
Boots nodded. “Yeah, I know.” He studied the woman in question. “It's like her coming back was predestined, you know? She’s Hawkins granddaughter isn’t she? It's come full circle and I don’t know about you, but she knows shit we don’t and that’s a little disconcerting.”
“Yeah and some of the brothers aren’t sure they like it.” Titan scoffed. “Nash sure as hell doesn’t like the fact that she’s here.”
Boots snorted. “Nash is an idiot. He thinks because he’s friends with Kota that if anything happened to Kota, Hawkins would step down and make him president. You know younger blood and all.” Boots shook his head. “Hawkins would never put a man like Nash in charge of this club. He has too much growing up to do first.” Still shaking his head he said, “Besides, you’re next in line for president not Nash.”
“I may be next in line but this club will always belong to Kota.” Titan shook his head. “It's his birthright not mine. And every damn man here knows this. Nash will never wear the president’s patch. He’s just too dumb to know that.”
Boots snorted. “Nash lives in his own world sometimes, that’s a fact.” He looked over at Cat. “I think she knows a hell of a lot more than she’s telling us. She just doesn’t trust us yet and why should she? We haven’t exactly been very nice to her. She came here for a reason and I think that reason has more to do than just hauling Kota’s ass out of the fire.”
Titan turned his head and stared at Boots for a moment. “Did you know she didn’t want to come up here yesterday? When I asked her why, she said there were ghosts in the woods around the compound. Ghosts that never got justice for their deaths. I thought she was loco but now, I’m not so sure. She told us about the day Jesse died. He could be one of those ghosts. I have no idea who the others might be, if there are indeed any others out there.”
Boots turned his head and looked more carefully at the woman. “I wonder…”
“What?” Titan asked.
Boots shook his head. “Never mind, it was a long shot but now that I think about it, she wouldn’t have been old enough to know anything about that.”
Titan studied her for a moment then shook his head.
“Don’t mind Hawkins,” Boots told him. “But you watch Nash real close. That boy has ambitions.” Boots was older than Titan by about twelve years or so. He’d also been with the club longer. He came along with the three men that started the club.
“How can I not mind Hawkins?” Titan snorted. “She could be his granddaughter and he wants nothing to do with her.”
“Jesse’s death hit him hard, but before Jesse died, he lost his youngest son Robby. He just disappeared along with Cash’s other son Nicky. One day they were here and the next they weren’t. Nobody knows yet what happened to them. Hawkins went crazy for a while.”
Titan turned his head and frowned at him in confusion. “Hawkins had three boys, not just the two?”
Boots nodded. “Yeah, he had three sons. After Robby and Nicky disappeared, he hoped they would come back one day but they never did. Hawkins finally banned us from even talking about the boys. It still hurts that he never knew what happened to them.”
“Did this Robby say or do anything before he left that might, like maybe give a hint that he was leaving?” Titan wanted to know. “How old was the kid?”
“He was turning eighteen the day before he disappeared. He wanted to explore the world and find his own place in it but Hawkins wasn’t having that. He told the kid he had to stay here and take his rightful place in the club. They had a big fight about it three days earlier and that led Hawkins to think that maybe him and Nicky just took off. The only thing was, they left with no clothes or money. Hell, they even left their bikes behind and that’s not something Robby would have done. As soon as he was old enough, he got himself a job and he worked to earn the money to build that bike. He got the frame and began building it from the skeleton out. He began building it at 15 and it took that kid two years to finish it but that bike was cherry when he was done. That was his pride and joy and Hawkins didn’t believe that the boy would walk off and leave it behind.”
“How long have they been gone?” Titan asked.
“Twenty four years,” Boots told him. “I told you they went missing just days before Jesse died.” Shaking his head he said, “No one has seen or heard from them since.”
Just then, Boots heard someone in the main room yell out his name. “Oh lord, now what did those fools go and do?” He hurried out the door but then came back and told Titan, “You better come with me, it sounds like world war two out there.”
Titan leaned over Cat and brushed his lips over her forehead. “I’ll be right back, I promise.”
He rushed out after Boots and closed the door behind him.
The door opened softly and a shadow slipped into the room. He came over to the end of the bed and gazed down at the unconscious woman lying there. He pursed his lips and glared at her. Looking back at the door, he moved to the other side of the bed, ripping the IV out of her hand, her blood staining the sheets, then he gathered her into his arms.
He moved toward the door and peeking out into the hall, he heard the commotion in the main room as he quickly and quietly turned the opposite way from the noise, moving toward the back of the clubhouse. Exiting out the back door, he moved quickly toward the wooded area behind the club.
Walking deep into the woods, he finally found a spot to leave her. Lowering her to the ground he dropped her heavily and her body made a slight thud as it hit the ground.
He loomed over her and whispered, “Maybe the ghosts will find you here and take you to hell with them.” Then he turned and walked away from her, leaving her to the mercy of nature.
The late day air inside the woods was cool but the temperature of the ground was getting colder. He shrugged…after all, there were wolves in these woods.
Deep amber colored eyes found her a little while later and as they gathered around her, they began to growl. Then they parted as their leader moved through them and sniffed her carefully. Then he lifted his huge head to growl at his brothers and sisters. They backed off a bit as the giant wolf laid down beside her to keep her warm and protected.
Hours later, she began to stir and Bear perked up his head. He leaned closer to her and nudged her several times. She did not wake. Laying his head down on his paws, he waited.
Cat groaned and whimpered in pain. Her head hurt, actually her whole body hurt.
She could feel more bodies around her and for a moment, she felt afraid. Then she opened her eyes to see darkness all around her. “Oh god, I can’t see!” She cried out. Reaching out with her hands, she felt the huge body next to her. She gasped and pulled her hands back. Then she cocked her head to reach out her hand slowly. She felt the fur and she knew his body. “Bear?” she called out. “Is that you? Please be Bear, oh dear God, please be Bear.”
Pausing, she jerked back as a wet tongue licked her face. “Oh, Bear.” She giggled as she embraced him.
She leaned into his body and he stayed close to her. “ Where am I, Bear?” Shivering, she felt the cool air on her skin. The sound of an owl hooted in the distance and she trembled badly. “I’m in the woods aren’t I, Bear? I’m in the woods.” She scrambled to her feet and almost fell on her ass. The whole earth seemed to spin as she got dizzy and fell to her knees. “Oh...” she cried out. “What the hell happened to me?”
Tears rolled down her cheeks. Halting, she raised her head and looked at the blackness around her even if she couldn’t see anything. Lifting her hands, she wiped away her tears and squared her shoulders. “Come on Cat, you’ve never been a baby. First things first. This blindness is something you’ve had before. Deal with it. You can do this.”
She got to her feet slowly. She knew her feet were bare but she couldn’t help that. When she was steady, she called out to her wolf. “Bear, if you’re still here, I need you. I need you to lead me home. Can you do that?”
Bear must have gotten to his feet as he nudged her in the belly.
She grasped his fur and petted him. “There you are, sweet boy. Can you take me home? Can you lead me back to where you found me before?”
Bear nudged her again and turned to move away.
Cat grabbed his fur and wouldn’t let go. Walking in the woods blindly wasn’t easy and she stumbled a lot. She stepped on every rock and sharp stick that her feet seemed to find and a few times, she had to stop and hiss at the pain to her soles but Bear seemed to remain patient.
She paused a few times as she heard more than just his paws padding in the woods and all around her.
The further they traveled, the colder she got. She feared these woods for a good reason and she shivered when she felt the ghosts here moving around her. She tried hard not to let them bother her.
Bear continued to lead her through the woods.
Finally, she felt the woods thinning out and then she was out in the open.
She could smell the fresh air, it was clean, and she could tell that flowers grew nearby. Her other senses were beginning to wake up and she could almost feel the sun shining on her face. She had a feeling it was morning now, but she couldn’t tell as the darkness swallowed her whole.
The grass she walked in seemed to be longer here than it had been in the woods. So now, she was stumbling through the tall grasses.
Bear kept guiding her and he wasn’t stopping, so she plodded on.
She had no idea where they were and that troubled her. She still couldn’t see but at least now, she could feel the sun on her face. Then she stumbled into the shade and she stopped walking. “What is this place, Bear?” she had to ask.
He led her into the shadows and when she reached the building, she had to stop. “Where are we, Bear?” she wondered out loud.
She let him go and began feeling her way along the wall she was in front of. When she reached the door, she pushed it open and stepped inside. The building smelled of stale air and mold but she didn’t have much choice.
She sniffed the air and in her mind, she realized where she was. “You brought me home, didn’t you Bear?” She turned around slowly and in awe. “I know this house or I did when I was little.”
Bear nudged her.
Cat dropped to her knees and hugged him. “Thank you, Bear. You saved me.” She laid her head on his shoulder and whispered, “I love you, Bear.”
Bear licked her face and she giggled. She knew she would be safe here, at least for a little while. She prayed Titan would find her or if she got her sight back, she would be strong enough to find her own way back. But whoever put her in the woods tonight, would also be there and she wasn’t sure who wanted her dead.
Sitting down on the floor, she began taking inventory of her injuries. Her hand hurt and when she touched it, she found some dried blood. She didn’t know what happened there but it wasn’t too bad. Reaching up, she felt her head and hissed at the pain she found there. She touched her wound and frowned. Then she remembered the crash. Or what she assumed was a crash. She had tears in her eyes as she drove and she never saw the other car. All she could feel was the pain when her head hit the steering wheel. That was all she remembered until she woke up in the woods.
Now, she reached out to her feet to brush off the dirt and leaves from them. She found a few sore spots and a few areas with broken skin. She flinched when she felt the dried blood on her skin. Cat released a sigh, felt okay because she was still alive. If she felt pain, she was still alive...despite the fact someone out there wanted her dead.
Leaning back against the wall, she released a long breath. If she remembered correctly, the first time she’d been blinded by a blow to her head was in the accident that killed her grandparents along with her aunt and uncle. She was seven then and now, she was twenty seven.
The doctors had a name for what was happening back then they called it Cortical Visual Impairment and they had said that her vision would come back on its own. She had to pray that this was only temporary as well.
Suddenly, she felt so tired. She groaned and closed her eyes.
Bear flopped down beside her.
Before she fell asleep, she pulled him closer.
Hours later, Bear’s head popped up and he listened carefully. He heard something from outside. One of his wolves howled in the distance and several howled from right outside the opened door. Then he heard human voices calling out. He looked at Cat and nudged her to wake up.
Cat came awake slowly and when she finally opened her eyes, she was still in the darkness. She paused and cocked her head to listen. When she heard her name being called, she tried to call back but her voice wouldn’t come out of her throat. She cleared her throat and tried again, and this time, her voice was working right.
She called out Titan’s name. She called it out again, and then heard footsteps rushing toward the house.
They paused outside as Titan called out her name again.
“I’m here. I’m inside the house!” she shouted.
“Cat… I’m coming in but I’m coming in slowly. There are wolves out here,” he told her.
“Please don’t hurt them!” Cat called back. “Bear is in here with me too.”
“Here I come,” Titan yelled. A minute later, he came through the door. “What the hell are you doing in here, Little Cat?”
Cat glared in the direction of his voice. “Well hotshot, it wasn’t exactly my idea. I woke up in the fucking woods. Bear brought me here just after dawn. What time of day is it, anyway?”
Titan frowned as he studied her for a moment. “It’s just after noon. Can’t you tell that?”
“Umm, no I can’t,” Cat admitted. “I can’t see anything. I’m just a little bit blind right now.”
Titan stood very still and closed his eyes for a moment. “Blind? You’re blind?”
Cat nodded slowly.
He came closer and noted that the very large wolf next to her watched him carefully. “How can this be?”
Cat sighed hard. “This happened once before when I was little. My family was on vacation and they were in a terrible accident. My grandparents and my aunt and uncle were killed outright but I was thrown from the car and I hit the ground hard. I was in a coma for two weeks and when I woke up, I was blind. The doctors said there was no damage to my eyes but I still couldn’t see. They laid the blame on the accident.”
“But you got your vision back, right?” Titan asked.
Cat nodded slowly. “Yeah, I got it back three months later.”
Titan just stared at her for a moment then asked, “Can you walk?”
“I don’t know, my feet are already torn up from getting this far.”
He looked down and saw her bare feet and they had been ripped up. “Aww damn, I’m sorry Cat. I took off your shoes to make you more comfortable. I didn’t realize you would get up and walk away.”
Cat froze. “Wait a minute, what are you saying?”
Titan raised his head and looked at her face. She looked confused. “When you woke up, you left the clubhouse and got lost in the woods right?”
Cat shook her head. “When I woke up, I was already out in the woods. I didn’t get there on my own. I can’t see…” She waved her hands in front of her. “Remember? How would I get that far into the woods alone?”
“Well, fuck me.” Titan growled under his breath. “That means you didn’t leave the clubhouse on your own did you?”
She shook her head.
“That means we got a fucking traitor among us.” Titan growled. “When I find him, I will fucking kill him.”
“Don’t do it on my account,” Cat told him sadly. “I think it's already been established that I’m not wanted here. And if you remember, I didn’t want to be here in the first place.”
Titan nodded. “I remember but you’re here now, and you belong there. You’re Hawkins' granddaughter for God’s sake.”
“He may be my grandfather but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want me here either. He’s made that very clear by his actions,” Cat reminded him softly.
“Well for now, that’s where you’re going. And this time, you won’t be left alone.” He helped her to her feet.
She called out Bear’s name.
The wolf got up and nudged her belly.
“Thank you, Bear. Now go back to your woods with your pack. Be careful out there. Don’t let the ghosts get you or anyone else.” She gave him a hug then shooed him toward the door and freedom.
Titan watched him leave and shook his head. Turning to her he said, “You know that’s not your old dog, right? I mean I’m not saying he couldn’t be part Bear but he’s mostly a wild animal in wolf form.”
“Yeah, I know he’s not the real Bear. Bear’s probably been dead a long time now but that wolf is at least part Bear and that’s good enough for me. At least with him, I have somebody who’s got my back while I’m here.”
“Cat, I brought you here and I got your back as well,” he stated as he held her. “Ok then, let’s get you back.” Titan gathered her up in his arms and walked over to the doorway.
Carrying her bridal style, he stepped out into the full sunlight. Squinting, he saw several of the brothers waiting for him by the fence line.
Hawkins was one of the brothers waiting for them on the other side of the fence. He took one look at Cat and growled. “What the fuck happened last night? Why did you leave the clubhouse?”
Cat just pursed her lips together and turned her head into Titan’s shirt.
Titan sighed and told him, “Not now boss, let’s get her back and get her feet checked.”
Hawkins' gaze went directly to her feet as he saw their condition and he looked pissed. He motioned for Titan to go.
As they all made their way back to the clubhouse, they picked up a few more brothers who had been out looking for her since they'd discovered she was missing.
Titan carried her straight back to Boots.
When he finally got her onto a bed, Boots took one look at her and snapped, “Girl, what the hell were you thinking?” Without waiting for an answer, he went to fill a basin with warm water, grabbed a washcloth and some betadine, then brought it back to the bed. Silently, Boots gently put her feet into the water and began cleaning them.
Cat hissed when her feet went into the water but other than biting her lip, she didn’t make a sound while he washed them.
Titan looked at Hawkins and the others in the room and he caught Cash’s gaze.
Cash could read the other man like a book and he knew something had happened that only certain people should hear. Cash looked over at the brothers and suggested, “Why don’t you guys start checking out the car? There’s not really a whole lot to see here. We’ll let you know what happened after she tells us.”
Everyone but Cash, Wilder, Hawkins, Boots, and Titan left the room.
When the door shut behind them, Cash looked over at Titan and asked, “What the hell happened here?”
“Why don’t you ask me?” Cat snarled. “He wasn’t there last night.” She lifted her foot out of the water when Boots hit a sore spot. “Ouch, watch it buddy.”
“Watch your mouth missy.” Hawkins growled. “We wouldn’t have spent half a fuckin’ day looking for you if you hadn’t decided to leave the clubhouse last night.”
Cat snapped her head up and looked in the direction his voice was coming from. “Oh yeah, well let me inform you of something here, Mr. Hawkins. I woke up in the fucking woods last night with no idea how I got there. Or how to get the hell out.”
The whole room went silent for a moment.
“What the hell are you talking about young lady?" Cash demanded. "You woke up in the woods? Didn’t you wake up and leave on your own?”
Cat shook her head. “No, I didn’t.”
“There’s something else you guys need to know,” Titan grumbled. “She can’t see any of us right now. She’s blind.”
Total silence hit the room for the second time, then chaos as Cat cried out, “Ouch, stop it, that hurts.” She swatted at Boots’ hand as his fingers tightened on her foot at that announcement.
“What the hell do you mean she’s blind?” Hawkins whispered. He came closer and gripped her chin to raise her head to his. He could see her eyes and he could see that she couldn’t see him. He waved his hand in front of her eyes and she didn’t even blink. Looking troubled, Hawkins looked down at Boots. “Did you figure on this situation?”
Boots shook his head. “No, sir I didn’t. I never even considered this aspect of her injuries.”
Cat pulled her chin out of Hawkins’ grip and rubbed along her jaw. “This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. My grandparents liked to go on family vacations. When I was seven, we went to South Dakota and on the way back, their car was t-boned so hard, it rolled seven times down off the road into a ditch and it ended up in a field. I was thrown clear of the car but the others were killed outright. I spent two weeks in a coma and when I did wake up, I was blind. The doctors did a bunch of tests and there was no damage to my eyes so they diagnosed me with Cortical Visual Impairment. They figure the blow I took from hitting the ground caused my body to go into major stress and that I would get my sight back when the stress was gone. I was blind for three months then I got my sight back. As soon as I could see well enough, they shipped me off to the orphanage.”
“Did the police ever find the other car?” Wilder wanted to know.
Cat shrugged. “I don’t know. I was just a kid and was in a coma for two weeks, then I was blind for the next three months. I had other things to worry about and I had no idea what had really happened. Besides, I just lost my family and I really didn’t care one way or the other,”
Hawkins looked over at Cash and Wilder. “Maybe we can have Wanderer check the police files.”
Cash nodded, “Maybe we should ask JuJu to look into it as well. He can sometimes get into places where Wanderer can’t.”
“Do it,” Hawkins ordered. “I want to know everything that happened regarding the accident.”
“So did you notice anything about whoever took you from here?” Wilder asked her.
Cat shook her head. “I didn’t know who carried me out of here, all I know is that I woke up in the woods. I think the wolves were watching over me though. They were all around me when I woke up, I do know that. I could feel Bear lying next to me keeping me warm.”
Hawkins snorted. “I hate to tell you this sweetheart but wolves do not keep people safe. They are predators pure and simple. And your dog Bear died a long time ago. I buried him out in those woods myself.”
Cat raised her head and stared at the direction of his voice. “I know it's not the original Bear, but he knows me and I know him too. I can’t explain it... it just is. You are free to think what you want but I know Bear was lying next to me. When I woke up, I asked him to take me home. He led me back to the house I was found in. Then he stayed with me until Titan found me.”
“Jed,” Cash called out. “When we saw those wolves in the front yard before. When Titan walked up to the door with her, they got up and went out to the edge of the woods. They never left there until their leader came out. Then they all disappeared into the trees.”
“I remember.” Hawkins growled as he ran his hand over the back of his head. “It just doesn’t make any sense. No one has even been close to those wolves, yet she has the whole damn pack at her fingertips? That’s just fucking weird.”
“But we’ve all seen it, Jed,” Wilder reminded him.
“I know but it doesn’t make any sense." Hawkins shook his head. "In fact, there's a fucking lot going on here that doesn't make sense. And I'm getting damn tired of it too. And now gentlemen, we have at least one person here that doesn’t like her and he deliberately carried her unconscious body out to those woods. This man is a fucking traitor, no matter how you look at it. He took her and fucking dumped her there then walked away.”
Cash and Wilder stared back at him.
“And I don’t know about you guys," Hawkins added. "But I never thought we’d have someone within our ranks that would ever do something like that. Most of the men here wouldn’t. They are better men than this one seems to be. And as soon as I find out who it is, I’ll kick his dumb ass out of this club. He put her life in danger and I won’t have him in the club.”
Cash and Wilder nodded.
“She is an innocent and a woman besides," Wilder stated.
“I want five minutes alone with the bastard before you kick his dumb ass out of the club.” Titan snarled.
“Easy there, son,” Cash advised as he shook his head at the notion. “I think we’d all like five minutes alone with him.”
“At least promise me it will be my boot up his ass when you kick him out of the club?” Titan asked Hawkins.
“Might be a little crowded as my foot will be there first,” Hawkins assured him.
Cat picked up her feet and wrapped her arms around her knees. She began rocking back and forth, as tears rolled down her cheeks. “You have to let me go. I can’t stay here. I don’t feel safe anymore.”
Her words were whispered but everyone in the room heard them.
“Catarina, you are safe here but if we allow you to leave, we can’t protect you,” Cash pointed out. “We can have a man with you twenty-four seven.”
Cat shook her head. “That might have worked before but now I can’t see. What if the guy that carried me into the woods is the one man you leave to protect me? How does that work out?”
“I’ll be the only one protecting you.” Titan growled. “You feel safe with me right?”
Cat nodded slowly. “But not even you can watch over me twenty four seven.”
“Don’t you worry about me,” Titan added. “Wherever you are, I will be also. I’ll be on you like white on rice.”
Cash and Wilder smiled slightly.
Hawkins shook his head. “Let’s go get Wanderer and JuJu going on getting that police report. We’ll just leave you to watch over her then.”
The room was vacated by everyone but Cat and Titan.
Titan came over to the bed and sat down beside her.
Cat looked over in his direction and finally asked, “What happened yesterday after I left here? Nobody ever told me how I ended up being hurt.”
Titan reached for her hand and explained it to her, “I followed you down the hill and when I got there, someone had t-boned your car just down from the highway turn. There were two people, one was a red headed woman and the other was a dark haired man. I didn’t see their faces close up because as soon as they saw me, they got back into their car and took off. I got you out of the car but you were already unconscious. So I got you back here as soon as I could.”
Cat trembled when he described the red headed woman. “Are you sure the woman had red hair?” she whispered.
“Yeah baby, she had long red hair and she wasn’t happy to see me at all. In fact, they were both trying to get you out of the car and I don’t think they were good Samaritans. They were actively trying to get to you to hurt you.”
Tears rolled down her face as he told her what happened yesterday. “Who is this woman? What does she mean to me? Why would she want to hurt me? I never did anything to her.” She hiccuped through her tears. “I mean why?”
Titan shook his head. “I don’t know sweetheart, but we’ll find out. You can bet your ass on that. We’ll find out when we find the two of them. And we’ll deal with both of them.”
Cat shook her head. “I’m not sure I want to know.”
“Well, I damn sure want to know the same as everyone else here,” Titan stated with a growl in his voice. “We all want to know.”
“But to what end?” Cat asked. “It's not going to bring Jenna or any of the other girls back. It’s not going to stop her from hurting me or trying to get to me. I don’t even know who the hell she is. Or who Billy Ray is. Their actions got Kota arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and we still don’t know why they are coming after your club. There has to be a reason, I mean who has a reason to come here and try to destroy you guys?”
Titan snorted. “The only one might be….” He paused for a moment then asked her, “Are you sure you haven’t seen your mother since she dropped you off when you were just a kid?”
Cat frowned. “What does my mom have to do with any of this?”
Titan paused. “I don’t know maybe everything, maybe nothing. I don’t know what I’m even saying.”
Cat shook her head. “I wouldn’t even know what she looked like anymore. I mean the last time I saw her was twenty four years ago.”
Titan wrapped his arm around her shoulder and whispered, “Don’t worry, I’m here and I got your back. I won’t let you down.”
Just then, Cat’s belly told her loudly that she forgot something… like eating.
Titan chuckled as he listened to her belly growl. “Let’s go get some lunch.”
Cat just shook her head. “I could eat but I really could use a cup of coffee.”
“I heard that, we’ve been looking for you since we found you gone at two a.m.” Titan got to his feet and grasped her hand. “Come on Little Cat.”
Cat stood from the bed and cried out when her feet touched the floor.
Titan reached out to set her back onto the bed then he knelt down and swore, “Damn, I forgot your feet.” He examined them and saw that fresh blood had seeped through the gauze Boots had wrapped her feet with. The wounds had marked the floor in red.
He stood and went over to the small table Boots used. Gathering more gauze and tape, he came back over to the bed. "I am going to try to do this gently, but...Just hold on, ok? I'm going to fix these bandages." Quietly, he unwrapped the bloody gauze on each foot and steadily redressed her feet.
Cat sat very still as she stared straight ahead. She flinched a time or two, but kept quiet.
When he was finished, Titan gathered her into his arms and carried her down the hall to his room. Setting her on his bed, he went over to the dresser and picked out a pair of thick socks. When he came back, he wrapped her feet in the socks. Grabbing a pair of never before worn slippers, he gently slipped them onto her feet.
“How does that feel?” he wanted to know.
Cat wiggled her toes and nodded. “Feels better and the socks are warming my feet.” She wiggled her toes again, and added, “I really don’t like cold feet.” She giggled. “Davey always gave me hell for wearing socks twenty four seven, all year round...” Her words faded away as her smile disappeared and sadness appeared in her eyes.
Titan studied her face. She had paled a bit and she looked saddened. He had actually seen her smile and laugh for the first time since he'd met her. Now, she had withdrawn again. He waited for her to speak. Something more had triggered this state in her and he would simply wait until she told him what it was.
After another minute or two, she finally spoke, “When Davey died, I was lost for so long. I mean he was my whole world. One day he was there and the next, he wasn’t. He’d been hit by a car crossing the street, a hit, and run. The car never even slowed down.”
Titan frowned. “Really? Were you with him?”
Cat shook her head. “No, I was down the street waiting for him. I screamed his name when I saw the car barreling toward him but there was no way I could get there to help him before it was too late. I saw him get thrown twenty feet and end up in a broken heap as the car raced away. A woman was driving it and she never even slowed down.”
Titan halted and stared at her. “She didn’t have long red hair did she?”
Cat froze as she tried to remember that awful day. Her expression changed as she if realized something terrible. Her mouth hung open as her eyes widened with absolute horror. “Oh, my god,” she whimpered. “I never thought about that before but yeah, she had long red hair. The wind blew a lock of it out the window as she sped away.” Tears fell down her cheeks as she now rocked her body back and forth.
“Honey,” Titan softly called to her. “Are you absolutely sure?”
Cat nodded. “Yeah, I’m sure,” she whispered. “Why? Who is this woman and why is she messing with my life? What did I ever do to her?”
Titan shook his head. “I don’t know, but we’re going to find out. I damn well guarantee that. While Wanderer is looking into the accident that killed your grandparents, we can have him look into your husband’s accident as well.”
Cat sighed as she paced her hands into her lap. “It won’t bring him back.”
“No it won’t but he might get justice, or we will,” he vowed as he looked down at her face and saw the sadness there along with the confusion. He definitely thought this red haired woman had a connection with Cat and he couldn’t help but wonder just what that connection was. And if she would one day ‒ get to her real target ‒ Cat herself.
Titan scooped her up and carried her out to the main room.
The men at the various tables sat there staring at her.
Titan ignored them as he took her to a table off to the side of the main tables. “I will be right here close by, ok?” He gently set her down in a chair while he went to get them some food and coffee from the buffet table next to where he had placed her.
Nash came over and sat down next to her. He then reached out and waved his hand in front of her face. When she didn’t flinch or move away, he scoffed. “Lady, you are good, I’ll give you that. But nobody is that good.”
“Excuse me?” Cat frowned as she turned her head in the direction his voice had come from. “What are you saying?”
“Yeah Nash, what are you saying?” Titan growled as he returned to the table with a couple of plates and two cups of coffee.
Nash looked up at his brother. “I don’t believe for one moment that she didn’t walk out of this clubhouse on her own last night. She led us all on a merry chase and then she claimed to be blind. How convenient for her.”
“Why would I claim to be blind if I wasn’t?” Cat asked quietly. “I hate the dark, always have, even as a kid I hated being in the dark. After I went to the orphanage, the Nuns knew this. So when I would fuck up, they would lock me in my room and shut the lights off. There were no windows in the room and the only light came from the light bulb and without that it was pitch black dark. They would leave me in the dark for days sometimes. I would cry and scream and pound on my door but they never came back to let me out. Not until they were good and ready, that is. They tried their damnedest to break me but they never did.”
Titan heard her damning words and he felt compassion for her, no one should suffer like that, especially as a child.
Nash just sneered at her admission. “You came here with an agenda and now, you think you’re golden. Well, I see right through you little con artist and soon, everyone else will too.”
Hawkins joined them and ordered, “Go talk a walk, Nash. Clear your mind and get rid of that nasty temper. Then when you come back, I expect to hear you apologize to her and everyone else here. Whether you like it or not, she’s my granddaughter and I will not have her disrespected. Not by you, not by anyone. Do you hear me, boy?” Hawkins leaned over and got in his face.
“You would turn your back on the same men you need to have your back, over her?” Nash asked while looking stunned.
Hawkins straightened and glared down at him. “These men know me, and most of them were here when Jesse died. They know I got their backs and that I trust them to have mine. What is it about her that’s got your dander up? She didn’t have to come here and help us but she did.”
“And don’t you think that’s just a little suspicious?” Nash surged to his feet. “How do we know she isn’t working for this red haired woman? How do we know she wasn’t there the night that woman died. She could have been there, seen it and now she is lying through her teeth.”
“To what purpose?” Cat asked. “If you will recall, I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”
“But you came anyway didn’t you?” Nash stated with anger. “Then you worked your way in by finding a lost key, a key that has been missing for twenty four fucking years.”
“She was there the day her dad died.” Hawkins snarled. “She saw the key fall and slip between the cracks of the floor. She explained all of that.”
“A little too convenient for me.” Nash scorned. “It should be for all of you too.”
“Take a walk boy,” Hawkins ordered.
Nash pushed his way past Hawkins and stormed out the front door.
Cat just sat there while seeming to stare at the floor. When the door banged shut, her body jerked. She was visibly trembling as she wrapped her arms around her waist
Titan sat down beside her to haul her into his arms. “Hush now, I’ve got you,” he whispered in her ear.
She shook her head. “I swear I don’t know that evil woman. She killed my dad and the man that was with her then she made sure they both burned.”
Hawkins sat down and frowned at her words. “Honey, you’re describing your own mother. From what you tell us, she was the only other person there that day.”
Cat raised her head up and swung it around to where she heard his voice coming from. “What?”
“You just said you didn’t know that evil woman and that she made sure your dad and the man she was with both burned. Is the red headed woman your mom?” Hawkins asked her.
Her eyes widened. “Oh God, she’s my own mother?” She got off Titan’s lap and stumbled away from the table. She cried and fell to her knees as she began rocking back and forth.
Everyone there could see the devastation on her face as she faced certain truths.
After a while, she raised her head up whispered brokenly, “T-Titan? Are—you still here?”
He knelt down and wrapped his arms around her. “Yeah Cat, I’m still here.”
“Can you take me back to the room?” she asked him. “I may not be able to see them but I know everyone here is staring at me. It's kind of creepy.”
“Catarina,” Hawkins called out to her. “We need to know more about your mom. If we want to find her, we need to know her habits and such.”
“What do you want me to tell you?” Cat asked as Titan gathered her in his arms and carried her back to the table. He sat down with her and she laid her head on his shoulder. “When we left here, we drove to my grandparents’ house in Odessa. She dragged me up to their door then took me inside. She screamed for her mom. So when my grandma came running, she pushed me into her arms and told her mom that she could keep me. That she had better things to do than be a mother to a sniveling little brat. That was when she turned and walked out. I was so scared I couldn’t even cry. I was three years old and my own mother didn’t want me. I stayed with my grandparents that didn’t even know me and I didn’t know them. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or even talk the first three days I was there. I had this old teddy bear I carried everywhere and that was all I had when mom dropped me off. Just an old teddy bear. No packed clothes or shoes, just that old bear. My grandma gave me a room and instead of sleeping in the bed, I grabbed an old blanket and went over to lay in a corner of the room all night. My grandma found me in the corner the next morning and she cried…”
As Cat’s voice faded away, Titan wanted to strangle the woman who gave birth to her, but he wasn’t the only one.
“When did you see her next?” Hawkins asked quietly.
Tears ran down her face as Cat shook her head. “I didn’t, at least I didn’t know I did until you put it together for me. The day my grandparents and my aunt and uncle died in that crash, I couldn’t be sure but I thought I saw a woman standing on the bank where the car went down. She just stood there, looking down at the wreck. I'd been thrown clear but then just before I passed out, I thought I heard an explosion of some kind. Then the woman standing on the bank disappeared. The one thing I remembered about her was her long, red hair.” Cat shivered as if a ghost just walked over her grave…Or many graves it seemed.
“Did she ever come around again?” Cash asked.
Cat shrugged. “If she did, I didn’t know about it. At least I never thought about it before but maybe?” She frowned as she tried to recall if she ever saw the woman again. “I remember seeing a red headed woman watching me from afar at the orphanage, but she didn’t come near me. She never told me who she was.” She took a deep breath and shuddered as she exhaled. “Then I remembered the day my husband died. He was hit and killed by a red-haired woman in Odessa, three years ago. I was down the street waiting for him to join me for dinner. I looked up and smiled then I was screaming as the car came out of nowhere. It drove right for him and after it hit him, she drove off. All I saw of her was a strand of red hair as she left. I just didn’t put it together until today.”
“But what would your mother want with us?” Cash asked. “She left here a long time ago.”
Cat began to shake her head but then she halted as if she remembered something. She was quiet for a moment.
Hawkins stared at her. “What is it?”
“Something happened a few days before we left on that trip. I’m trying to remember. It was odd and I had forgotten about it.”
“Honey, that was twenty fours ago and you were just a kid,” Cash told her.
Cat nodded. “I know but somehow I think it’s important that I remember. I’m just not sure why. The time leading to the day my dad died were bad, they were fighting a lot I think. It scared me and I would hide when they argued. I remember hiding in my room with Bear one of those times. It was just me and him under a blanket. I figured if I couldn’t see them then they couldn’t see me either.” She scoffed. “Well, I was only three at the time.” Then she frowned again. “The next day, my mom left me with Bear and told me to stay at the house. She had to go to her bank and would return shortly. I thought that was strange because she walked up the hill and into the woods out by our house. I mean she didn’t use the truck. She just walked from the house. So me and Bear followed. I don’t know why we did it but Bear led me through those woods. Then we heard loud voices screaming and yelling at each other. I almost turned around and went home but Bear wouldn’t let me. He stepped toward the voices but he wouldn’t let me get too close.”
“What did you see, child?” Cash asked her quietly.
“My mom.” She turned her head to look in his direction. “I saw my mom standing there with two young men but she had a gun in her hand. There was another man standing there a little ways away, trying to hide in the trees but I saw him, Bear saw him too. Before I even knew what was happening, there were two loud sounds that echoed in the woods. I dropped to the ground and started crying. The noise scared me. When I looked back the two men, I’d seen with my mom, they were laid out on the ground. One of them was looking my way and I knew him but I was in shock. My mom still had the gun in her hand and she was yelling at the man who’d been hiding, telling him he had to get rid of the bodies, she said to take them to the cave and dump them there.”
Wilder looked over at Hawkins and then twisted around to look at Cash.
Both men looked crushed at this news. There were only two men that ever went missing back then. One was Cash’s son Nicky and the other was Hawkins’ youngest son, Robbie. There was speculation at the time the two young men just left without warning but neither of them had ever been back and no one ever heard from them again.
It hadn’t made sense back then and this could be the reason why.
“Who were the two men?” Hawkins asked worriedly.
Cat shook her head. “I can’t remember. I was so young, I mean I knew them but I don’t remember their names.”
“Do you know where this cave is?” Wilder wanted to know.
Cat shrugged. “I don’t know maybe if I could see, I could maybe find it.”
“But your mom knew about this cave?” Hawkins asked her.
Cat frowned. “Yes, she….I think she called it her bank.” Her eyes widened as she remembered. “Like her bank, her own personal bank. I remember I asked her one time why she had her own bank and she told me she didn’t trust daddy’s bank and her bank was open twenty four seven.”
Hawkins glanced over at Cash and Wilder. Then he looked around the room at the others. He finally swung his gaze back to Cat. “Those woods are dangerous. Not only is there a pack of wolves roaming them, we’ve heard shooters up there too. We don’t own them, so we stay clear of them but sometimes we see hunters up there. They don’t bother us as long as we stay clear of the woods but every once in a while, their shots come close to the clubhouse.” He shook his head. “You don’t know how lucky you are to be alive if whoever carried you out of here last night dumped you in those woods.”
“What I don’t get is why those wolves trust her like they do,” Wanderer spoke up while looking puzzled. “Nash is right about one thing, it really is uncanny.”
Cat shook her head. “I don’t know what to tell you about that. The first morning I was here, I went for a walk. I got as far as the fence line from the house where the pack found me and when I turned around, I saw the leader standing there. I called him Bear because he reminded me of the dog I had a long time ago. I guess he took me under his wing and he won’t let anything happen to me. I know he isn’t my old dog Bear but he’s got part of Bear in him. His eyes are the same as Bear’s were. I was sure glad to feel him next to me last night when I woke up and couldn’t see.”
“How long are you going to be blind?” Hawkins wanted to know.
Cat shrugged as she had her hands in her lap. “I don’t know. The first time this happened to me, the doctors told me there was nothing wrong with my eyes and that it was stress causing my blindness. It took me three months to get my eyesight back when I was seven. This time? I don’t know. It might be permanent or just temporary, I just don’t know. I hit the steering wheel when they hit my car, and I must have also hit the window.” She lifted her fingers to the side of her face then winced when she grazed her wound. “I just don’t know.”
“What I’m wondering is why she had her own bank?” one of the brothers named Brute asked. He looked around the room. “I mean really? No one here has enough money that they need their own bank.”
Hawkins agreed. “And twenty something years ago, we sure as hell didn’t. The three of us, Cash, Wilder and me decided when we started this club that we weren’t gonna be running drugs as we didn’t want to have to outrun the cops every day. We would do guns once in a while but not drugs and contraband, as it just wasn’t worth it. Jesse and everyone else agreed with that and if they didn’t, the road was open to them but not this place. We were doing okay, but we weren’t at the point where any of us needed our own bank.” Hawkins turned to look at Cat. “What else can you remember about that time?”
Cat shook her head. “Not much really, I mean I was pretty little but I do remember one thing, she wasn’t much of a motherly type when we were alone and she spent a lot of time in those woods. She would always leave me with Bear and sometimes she would be gone for hours.”
“We need to find that cave and figure out what this woman has been doing all this time.” Wilder growled.
“Yeah,” Hawkins grumbled. “But the only one who can lead us there can’t see right now.”
Cat perked up a moment then shook her head. “Bear can. He knew those woods inside and out.”
Another of the brothers named Seymore snorted. “Yeah, well Bear died a long time ago, didn’t he?”
Cat looked crestfallen as she let out a heavy sigh. “Yeah, I guess he did. When we left that day, he ran along the side of the car, barking at my mom. I begged her to take him with us but she screamed at me to shut my mouth. She said I wouldn’t need Bear where I was going…” Suddenly, Cat paused. “Oh my god, I’d forgotten about that.” She covered her mouth with her hand and tears rolled down her cheeks. “The longer I’m here the more I’m remembering.”
“Is that such a bad thing?” Hawkins asked.
Cat shook her head. “No I think I was happy here and when she took me away, I missed this place. I missed the people here and never felt at home at my grandparents’ house.”
“That was because you did belong here,” Cash explained. “You were born here and should have grown up here if your mother hadn’t been such a selfish bitch.” He glanced over at Hawkins. “We would have raised you better than she did. She just threw you away like yesterday’s trash.”
“You mentioned something about a cave right?” another brother, JuJu asked.
Cat nodded her head.
“Been talking to the locals,” JuJu explained to the brothers. “And some of them had a lot to say about the cave setup in this area.”
“Oh, yeah?” Wilder asked. “What do they say?”
“Well, it was real interesting. Some of them say that there’s a set of caves in the area that are connected but you have to be real careful about entering them because over the years, the ground swells in the spring. That has weakened the inner walls, one old man said that one of these years, the walls won’t hold, and they figure the caves will collapse. So the entire system will just cave in.” He shrugged. “But that’s happened here before about a hundred years ago. Nothing like that has happened since then but it's always wise to be careful.”
“Well shit, JuJu… that was a worthless piece of useless information,” Hawkins grumbled.
Cat frowned. “Maybe not. I just remembered something else mom said that day she shot those two men.”
“What was that?” Wilder asked.
“She told the man who joined her to take them deep in the cave, so deep that no one would ever find them, even if they did come looking. I never understood before what that meant. Maybe her bank cave was just at the opening of a set of caves that linked into this tunnel of caves.”
Hawkins cleared his throat and said, “Catarina, when you first came here, you told Titan that you didn’t want to come here because there were ghosts in these woods, what did you mean by that?”
Cat curled even tighter into her little ball in Titan’s lap. She moved her head to his chest. Ignoring his question, she began whimpering.
Titan could feel the tension in her body. Looking up at Hawkins, he shook his head. Wrapping his arms around her, he held her close. “I got you Little Cat. I got your back. You don’t have to be afraid anymore,” he whispered in her ear.
Cat shook her head as she whispered back, “You don’t understand. I’m a freak. I can’t explain how I know certain things… I just do. I can see people’s faces when I tell them things and they don’t believe me, or they think I’m looking for attention. You saw their faces when I told them Jenna wanted justice for her murder. You saw the disbelief in their eyes when I told them about my dreams. They didn’t believe me then why would they believe me now?” She shook her head as her tears soaked his shirt. “I don’t know why I came here but I was drawn here by ghosts, ghosts who just want people to hear them, to know they died and why. I don’t understand it any more than anyone else does. But I think the ghosts in the cave just want someone to find them. They don’t want to be forgotten.”
“Then help us find them,” Titan told her softly. “Help us bring them home.”
“I’m scared,” she admitted. “I don’t have a reason to be here or know what I do. I feel broken inside like I’ll never find my own way home, wherever that is.”
“Oh honey, that’s so not true,” Hawkins called her out. “You did find your way home, girl. This place is where you belong. You were born here, Catarina. This place is your home.”
Cat turned her head and stared in his direction. “Maybe that was true a long time ago, old man but not anymore. Not after what my mother did. People here will blame me for something I didn’t do just because I’m her daughter and you know it. Nash already does.”
“Nash is an idiot,” Wanderer scoffed. “Don’t pay him no mind, we don’t.”
Everyone chuckled softly.
Even Cash had to agree, “That’s true enough. The boy has a long way to go. He has to grow up before we will ever call him a real man.”
In the moments of silence following his statements, Cat flushed bright red when her belly growled loudly.
Hawkins chuckled and pushed the plates toward the couple that Titan had gotten for them. “You two better eat something, she sounds a little hungry.”
Cat shook her head. “I know I should eat, but I don’t think I can.”
“At least, have some toast or something,” Titan whispered to her. “You need to eat.”
Brute pushed his chair back and stomped out to the kitchen. They all heard the sound of the blender for a few minutes after he went in there. Moments later, he returned and set a tall glass in front of her. “At least drink that. It's only a smoothie but it will fill that hole in your belly until you can eat solid food again.” Then he went back over to his chair.
The whole club just stared at him.
Cat heard the silence and whispered to Titan, “What’s going on?”
Titan cleared his throat and explained, “Brute just made you a smoothie, one of his own drinks. That doesn’t happen every day. In fact, he never makes them for anyone. So please drink it.”
Cat reached out to grasp the tall glass and carefully brought it to her lips. The smoothie was tasty and she could taste the mixing of vegetables and fruit but there was also something else in there. She smiled when she figured out what it was and she turned her head and smiled. “Thank you Brute, wherever you are. It’s delicious.”
“You bet, sweet lady.” Brute snorted.
Cat finished the drink and felt a wave of overwhelming tiredness wash over her. She curled up again on Titan’s lap and closed her eyes. She listened to the brothers talking all around her and she was just on the verge of sleep when suddenly, she was transported to another place.
She frowned and whimpered as she heard curses and threats. “What the fucking hell was he doing in the woods tonight?” She heard a female’s voice demand. “Those fucking bikers never come into these woods.”
“How the hell do I know?” She heard a male voice snarl. “But he almost caught us.”
“Put him where you put the other two losers.” The woman chuckled. “Maybe they can escort him into hell. At least, he’ll have the skeletons to talk to while we’re living the good life.”
The man snorted. “They’ll probably freak him the hell out. We should have just buried those boys years ago. I can’t stand to look at them.”
The woman scoffed. “No, this is much better. If we don’t bury them, they can’t reach the other side. They will haunt these woods until some poor slob finds them decades from now.”
“You want a bullet in his brain?”
“No, let him die on his own. The bikers might hear a bullet and come looking for him. This way, it’ll take a while and he’ll die on his own. We have more important things to do. This shipment isn’t going to get out if we don’t move it, Billy Ray.”
“I have to move the biker first, and then we’ll get the pills loaded up,” Billy Ray told her.
Cat shook her head back and forth, as the voices in her head faded away. “Noo, no….” she called out. She threw herself off Titan's lap and ended up in a heap on the floor. She opened her eyes and frowned. “What happened?” she asked.
Titan picked her up as he cleared his throat and replied, “I think you were caught up in another nightmare.”
The room had gone quiet and she could feel their unease as the room filled with hushed whispers. Cat hung her head and her tears dripped down her face. “Whatever this is, I don’t want it anymore,” she whispered.
“What did you see this time, Catarina?” Hawkins asked her.
“Isobel and her lover Billy Ray caught a biker in the woods and they dragged him into the cave,” she whispered as she rubbed her arms. “They were there to pick up a shipment of pills I think and he almost caught them. They talked about not shooting him because you guys might hear the gunshot but then Isobel told him to put him with the other two. They’re going to leave him tied up where no one can hear him screaming if he wakes up. They’re going to just leave him there to die.”
Hawkins looked around the room and counted heads. There was only one of the club members missing. “It's got to be Nash.” He growled. “I told him to take a walk, God Damnit. I fucking told him to talk a walk!” His chair scraped across the floor as he got to his feet and roared in his rage.
“Calm down Hawkins,” Cash told him. “We’ll find him.”
“How the fuck are we going to find him when we have no fucking clue where to look and Cat’s just a little bit blind right now,” Hawkins shouted at them. “She can’t even find the fucking front door, let alone a cave she hasn’t seen in decades.”
Cat snapped her head up as she paled. “I can’t go into those woods. I won’t do it.”
Wilder shook his head. “Honey, you can’t just let Nash die, not like that. And you’re the only one of us that knows where that cave is.”
Cat shuddered and took a deep breath. Exhaling heavily she nodded. “Ok, I hate this I really, really hate this…I don’t know if I can find it but I will try. Bear would know where it is.”
“Bear is long dead.” Hawkins growled as he ran his hands through his hair. “What is it with you and that damn dog?”
Cat turned her head and glared in his direction. “That damn dog as you put it protected me when my parents never did. I remember my childhood better than most kids would. Jesse may have been your son but he was never there for me when I was just a kid. I would look at him and wonder if he would just hold me for a minute but he was always too busy. He always had better things to do, or club things to do. All day and half the fucking night. He was never home. He’d come long enough to sleep and then get up and do it all over again the next day. Isobel wasn’t much better. She was up and gone into the woods all damn day. The only one I had was Bear. At least, he was there with me. But even when they were together, all they would do was scream and fight with each other. They never paid any attention to me. They barely remembered I was even there, let alone fed me or take care of me. Most days, I was hiding in my room with my hands over my ears, but Bear was always with me. He licked my tears away and he stayed with me. Do you know why he did that, huh? He did that because he loved me and I loved him. He was the one I missed when my mom dragged me away from here. He was the one I cried over, not my mom or my dad but a damn dog.”
The men all stared at her.
Cat got to her feet. “I need my own shoes, Titan, if I’m going to be walking in the woods tonight. Can you help me find them?”
Titan stood and walked her down the hall. As they exited the main room, they left an uneasy silence behind them.
Cat’s tears streaked down her face but she didn’t make a sound.
They got to her bedroom and when he opened the door, Cat stepped inside.
Titan led her over to the bed and she sat down. “Are you up to doing this?” he asked her softly.
Cat shrugged. “Seems I don’t have a choice do I? Those woods scare the hell out of me but I can’t let a man die because I’m too scared to look for him. That would put me on the same level as my mother and I’m nothing like her.”
Titan looked toward the window and said, “The daylight is almost gone, do you want to wait until daybreak?”
Cat shook her head. “No, I’ll be just as blind at daybreak as I am now. Besides, Nash might need medical help before then. Hawkins was right we need to go now, while I still got the courage.”
Titan hesitated then said, “You know Hawkins didn’t mean it the way it sounded with what he said just now.”
Cat sighed heavily. “Oh, but he did. I heard it, you heard, hell everyone in that room heard it. He meant it too.” She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter.”
“The wolves will be out in the woods tonight, just like they are every night,” Titan reminded her.
“Please don’t let anyone hurt them,” Cat pleaded with him. “Those woods are their home and we are invading it. If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. Please tell whoever comes with us not to hurt them.”
“I’ll do the best I can,” Titan promised her as he found her shoes and put them onto her feet. They looked a little snug with his socks on but he wanted her to have his socks on to protect her feet. Then he stood. “Are you ready?”
“No but I suppose I don’t have any other choice.’
“No, not really,” he agreed with her.
Cat finally stood. “Then let's get this show on the road.” She reached out for him.
He took her hand. They got back to the main room and Titan found a group of seven men waiting for them.
Hawkins was sitting down again while glaring at the bunch of them.
Cat didn’t say a word and neither did anyone else. They just left the clubhouse.
Once outside, Cat suggested, “Take me back to Jesse’s old house, whatever memories I have start there.”
The group as a whole turned south to go down the road to the old house she grew up in. Finally, they crossed over the fence and got to the old structure.
Cat took a moment to turn toward the wooded area behind the house. Then she began to walk toward the trees.
The men spread out in a line and followed her closely.
Before they got to the first tree, Titan looked over at the men and said, “We all know there are wolves in these woods, Cat asked that we don’t hurt them, in fact she insisted on that request and now, I have to ask you to do the same.”
“But Titan, those wolves are wild animals, that’s asking a lot.” Wanderer shook his head.
“I think as long as we’re with her, they won’t bother with us,” Brute said quietly. “They all know their leader likes her and if we don’t give them an excuse to come after us, they might leave us alone.” He shrugged. “I’m willing to try.”
Cat took a step toward the woods and when she entered the tree line, she could feel the difference in the air. The woods were cooler somehow and her footsteps were silenced as she walked over what had to be the debris of fallen leaves and moss that grew here.
Each step took her deeper and deeper into the canopy of the trees and soon, she stopped cold. She really wished she had her eyesight as she had no clue where she was at the moment. She heard the men’s boot steps also stop.
An eerie few minutes went by before she heard one of them gasp.
Then he cleared his throat and whispered, “Well we’re about to find out if Titan’s theory is any good or not. Here come the wolves with their leader in the front of the pack.”
“Bear, are you here?” Cat called out softly. She couldn’t see but her hearing was especially strong and she could hear the movement of the wolves.
As Cat felt bear lick her hand, she dropped to her knees to run her fingers through his fur and leaned into him. “I know you aren’t the real Bear, but I have a feeling he’s somewhere inside you, maybe just a just small piece of him could be, at least I’m hoping he is tonight. I need him and you to help me find the caves. Do you know where they are? Can you lead us to them Bear, please?” She hesitated then added, “We got a man down and need to find him, or we wouldn’t be here.”
The wild wolf licked her face, then she heard him back away from her.
Cat got to her feet and motioned for him to lead the way.
Bear began walking away.
Titan grasped her elbow and they followed the animal.
As they walked along, Cat frowned. She was remembering this trip from the time she was little. The same sights and sounds that echoed in the woods back then were what she was hearing now.
She knew where she was going and Cat had to smile. “Thank you Bear. You were always there for me, just as you are here for me now.”
When she heard the wolf stop, Cat turned a bit and pointed toward a wall of sheer rock in the woods. “The cave should be right there.”
“Right where?” Wanderer called out. “I don’t see any caves around here.”
“The entrance is hidden but it's there,” Cat told them. “Come on, I’ll show you.” She moved toward the wall of rock in front of her.
“Cat, there’s nothing there but a solid wall,” Titan told her.
Cat smiled. “I told you, you just have to know where to look. Now, come on. The door is right…” She moved while touching the wall. “Here.” Suddenly, she seemed to slip right into it.
Titan had noted that the pack had followed Bear. The men had followed them at a distance, but they all seemed to be calm and he felt grateful for that.
Now he stared at the spot where she had just disappeared. He glanced back at the others then moved forward. He found an opening and he called to the men, “Come on she’s right, there is an opening here.”
He slipped through and found her on the other side waiting for him.
One by one, the others joined him and soon the cave filled up. The men that came along looked around the cavern with interest. Each of them turned their flashlights on through their phones and looked around.
“What do you see?” Cat asked Titan.
“A number of empty boxes and a small safe,” he told her.
“You guys need to look for a tunnel of some kind,” she called out. “That’s where you’ll find Nash and the others.”
“Found it,” one of them shouted back.
The men started to rush toward the tunnel when Titan stopped them cold with his warning, “Wait, we all can’t go! We don’t know how stable these walls are. Remember we’ve all been warned that these tunnels may be crumbling.”
“I’ll go,” Brute volunteered. “I’m the biggest one here and I can carry him out if I have to.”
“I’ll go with him,” Wanderer stated.
Titan nodded. “Good, we should try to stay together but guys, stay safe. We’ll be waiting for you to get back.”
“How the hell are we going to find where they took him?” Wanderer asked. “If there’s more than one tunnel we have to check all the offshoots.”
“Follow the drag marks on the floor,” Cat suggested. “I don’t imagine Billy Ray carried him.” She felt a dozen pairs of eyes staring at her. She shrugged. “Well, I doubt he was worried about hurting Nash, after all he just knocked him out, and they had pills to load up and get out of here.”
Titan shook his head. “She’s got a point. Be careful, watch the floor for drag marks.”
Wanderer and Brute nodded then they disappeared through the tunnel.
The rest of the brothers began exploring the main cavern and there were disgruntled growls as they figured out what Isobel had been doing this whole time.
One of the brothers, Bounder knelt in front of the safe and tried the handle. It opened he was more than a little surprised and shocked as he pulled the door open and could see what was hiding inside.
“Well, son of a bitch.” Bounder growled as he turned toward Titan. “Take a look at this, VP.”
Titan went over and knelt down beside him. Looking at his brother he asked, “What did you find?” He was shocked at the stuff he saw, he looked over toward Cat. “What did you call this place, Little Cat?”
Cat shook her head. “I didn’t call it anything. My mom used to call this place her bank, why?”
“And you’ve never been in here?” he asked her.
Cat frowned and shook her head slowly. “No, I knew there was a cave here but I’ve never been in here this far.”
“Well, your mother’s got a shitload of cash and a ledger book in her safe,” Titan informed her. “She must have forgotten to close it or was in a hurry to get out of here.”
Cat froze at his words and then wrapped her arms over her belly. Tears streaked through the dust on her cheeks. She hung her head in shame.
Everyone crowded around the safe to see it for themselves.
Titan looked over at her.
She walked until she hit a stone wall then turned and slid down to the floor.
Titan then looked back at the contents of the safe and shook his head. “Pack it all up. Don’t leave her even a dollar to her name. We’ll take it back to Hawkins and let him sort this out.” He reached in and took out the ledger book. Tucking it into his cut, he backed away to let the men empty the metal box. He stood up and headed over to Cat as she sat up against the wall sitting in the dirt.
He knelt beside her. “Are you okay?”
Cat shook her head. “How the hell am I supposed to be all right? My own mother sold her soul to the devil and for what? She’s caused others to die so she could keep her fucking secrets and she didn’t even care about the lives she’s ruined. She threw her own daughter away like yesterday’s trash and now, she’s trying to take down this MC.” The look in her eyes was total devastation.
Titan shook his head. “But that’s on her, Cat, not you. You’ve done nothing but try to offset her evil.”
Cat shook her head. “And don’t you think these brothers of yours will ever see me as anything but her extension? You think they won’t look at me as someone who is just like her. They will see me as coming here to finish her work of destroying this club, just like Nash has.” She snorted. “Who’s the fool here? You or me?”
Titan reached out to her but one of the brothers called out, “Brute and Wanderer are on their way back. I can hear them.”
Titan got to his feet and helped her to hers. They turned and waited with the rest of his group of brothers.
A few minutes later, Wanderer came through the opening first and then Brute came through. He barely fit as Nash was over his broad shoulder.
Nash was still tied and gagged, he also looked like he was still unconscious. But Brute didn’t lay him out on the floor.
“We need to get back to the house and have his injuries checked out,” Wanderer urged them.
Titan nodded and the brothers all gathered.
Bounder looked up and nodded. “We got it all,” he said as he hefted the box in his hands.
“Good, let's get the hell out of here.” Titan grabbed Cat’s hand and led her to the doorway. Ducking out, they found Bear waiting for them. Along with all his pack.
When Cat felt the cool air on her face she called out, “Is Bear still here?”
“Yeah baby, he and his pack are still here,” Titan told her.
“Bear, can you lead us back home?” Cat called out.
Bear got to his feet and turned to start walking away.
Cat and Titan followed him.
Then one by one, the others followed.
Titan called back to Bounder, “Can you find a way to mark the path? So we can find it again?
On his way out, Bounder one of the brothers began tagging trees along the route. He wanted the way to the cave to be marked.
They got to the edge of the woods above the clubhouse and Titan stopped her. “We can get back now.”
Cat nodded. She knelt on her knees and called the wolf over to her. “Bear, I need you.” When the big wolf came over to her, she reached out to hug him. “Thank you, my friend. We never would have found Nash without you and your pack. Please stay safe within these woods. The brothers won’t hunt you or hurt you. I love you Bear.” She hugged him for a moment, soaking his fur with her tears. “I don’t know if I’ll still be here much longer but please don’t forget me. Look after the MC for me will ya?”
Bear ended up licking her tears away that rolled down her cheeks.
Then she released him and got to her feet.
Bear walked back into the woods and howled at his pack.
The brothers all watched as the wolves took off and disappeared into the darkness.
Titan shook his head and taking her hand, he led her down the hill behind the clubhouse. The rest of them followed and as they made their way down the incline, the back doors opened and Hawkins, Wilder and the rest of the club came out the back door and were waiting for them.
Hawkins looked at Brute who was carrying Nash and shook his head. “You found him? You found the cave?”
Titan nodded. “We found that and so much more. Let’s go inside.”
Hawkins stared at Nash and asked, “Is he still alive?”
Brute nodded. “Yeah, he’s out but he’s breathing.”
Hawkins stepped back and allowed Brute to move inside.
They all followed and gathered in the main room while Brute carried the injured man down the hall to Boots.
“What happened?” Cash wanted to know.
Titan shook his head. “We started at Jesse’s old house and when we entered the woods above, Cat called out to Bear. The wolves came out and she asked Bear to lead us to the cave and I’ll be damned if he didn’t do just that. He took us through the woods right up to the door of the cave. A cave we never would have found without Cat.”
“Why was that?” Cash asked worriedly.
“The entrance was hidden,” Wanderer explained. “We would have walked right past it and never found it or Nash without her.”
Hawkins looked at the boxes the brothers put on the table and motioned toward them. “And what’s all this shit?”
“This is what was in Isobel’s safe. It’s all cash,” Titan acknowledged. “She was using the cave as her personal bank.”
Hawkins walked over to the boxes and opened them one at a time. He was astounded by the amount of cash that was in there. “What the fuck?” he swore.
That was when Titan took the ledger he found inside the safe out of his cut. “This was in there as well and I think you’ll find it to be a very interesting read.” He tossed the book down on the table and turned to Cat. He led her down the hall to her bedroom and opened the door.
Cat had been silent the whole time after they got back to the clubhouse. She waited until he touched her arm before she moved around. She hadn’t told him yet, but she was beginning to see the difference between the light and the dark. The first time she lost her sight, it took months to get this far but now, her eyesight was coming back much sooner.
She turned to where she thought he was standing. “So, now what?”
“Now we leave it up to Hawkins and the rest of the club. I just figured you would want to get out of that room.”
Cat nodded. “I did. I could feel the waves of anxiety coming off the men there.”
Titan nodded. “I could too.” He blew out his breath. “You do realize that what happened tonight was just a little weird, right?”
She shrugged. “Welcome to my life.” She moved over to where she thought the window was by counting her steps. She looked away from him. “I told you I was a freak.”
Titan wrapped his arms around her waist and whispered, “So nowhere near a freak, Little Cat.”
“Then why do I feel like one? Ever since Davey died, I’ve been in hiding, just hoping no one will see me, I mean really see me.” She shook her head. “And until today, no one really has. But I have a feeling my secret is out now. And no one will ever look at me like just a woman again.”
“What does that mean, just as a woman?”
“Oh, people look at me and they know I’m a woman but no one wants to touch me. They think I’m contagious or something. The fact that you aren’t afraid to wrap your arms around me is something I haven’t felt for almost three years. And it feels so good.”
“You feel good to me too,” he whispered in her ear as he kissed her. His lips pressed into her temple.
Cat shivered. “Please stop…You’re making me want things that can’t be.”
“Why can’t they be?” he asked.
“Do you know how long it's been since someone’s wanted me? Someone who’s not afraid to touch me?” she sobbed. “Davey was the last man to touch me and he’s been gone for a long time now.”
Titan grabbed her hips and hauled her back against him.
She could feel his hard body against her own and one particular hardness made her sigh.
“You know that’s not fake,” his voice rumbled in her ear. “I want you and I have wanted you for days.”
“You want me?” she echoed him in a soft whisper. “You really want me? All. Of Me? Curse and all?”
Titan growled. “Yeah, woman, I want all of you.” He turned her around in his arms and his mouth came down on hers forcefully. She opened her mouth as he thrust his tongue in and deepened the kiss. When he broke it, they were both out of breath. His hands went under her ass and he lifted her up off the floor. She wrapped her legs around his waist and her core was against his hard cock.
Titan groaned as he felt her heat and he carried her over to the bed. He laid her down and followed her, unwilling to let her go completely. “God woman, you undo me,” he told her before he kissed her again. Now, he took his time and explored her completely.
Cat wrapped her arms around his neck and held on as feelings she never felt before exploded inside her. This was passion and she knew the feeling well but this time was so unreal as colors were exploding behind her closed eyelids. Bright bold colors exploding, swirling, mixing into each other. Her belly was fluttering and she could feel her body temperature rising. Her core was wet and she couldn’t control her body as she ground herself against him.
Titan broke away for a moment then asked, “Are you sure about this?”
“God yes….” she whispered brokenly. “I want you.”
Titan pulled away from her as he tugged his cut and his t-shirt off over his head then hung them over the post of the bed. Then he looked down at her. Remembering she couldn’t see him, he groaned and began tugging her shirt over her head. Cat lifted herself up enough to help him get her shirt off and his fingers unsnapped her bra to remove that as well.
Titan had to suck in his breath at the sight of her breasts. They were high, taut, and full. He leaned down and began licking at her nipples with the tip of his tongue.
Cat moaned and thrust her breasts into the air.
Titan toed off his boots then reached down and unbuckled his jeans. He shucked them down. As soon as his cock was free, he reached to her jeans, undid them and pulled them down her legs. She barely kicked them off when he was there pushing his cock into her. “I need you right now, as in this fucking moment, now,” he whispered as he pushed himself inside her. She was slippery enough o he slid into her despite the fact that he was bigger than most men were. Her walls tightened around him and he groaned.
He got all the way in and had to pause. “God, you feel so damn good.”
“I really need you to move, Titan,” she pleaded “I’m so close.”
“We just got stated, little Cat.” Titan chuckled then began the age-old dance. With each stroke, he went in deeper and harder and soon… he lost control altogether while slamming into her.
Cat whimpered then screamed as she exploded in pleasure.
Titan paused as he let out a low growl and exploded inside her. His hot seed spilled into her as she took all he had and then some. He braced her face with both hands and kissed her deeply. The feelings running through him were like none he had ever felt before. This woman was his. In his heart, he knew it. He only hoped she would believe it too. Breaking the breathless kiss, he slipped out of her and slid down beside her. “Damn, that went way too quick.”
“I know but I couldn’t stop,” Cat told him. Turning toward him, she had to grin as she reached out to feel that his jeans were still on his legs.
Titan chuckled, “Yeah, I was in a hurry too, I guess.”
Cat giggled then grew serious. “I just wanted to say thank you.”
Titan kicked off his jeans then he paused look at her. “Thank me for what?”
“For reminding me what a special feeling the human touch can be,” Cat told him simply. “I had forgotten that.” Shaking her head she admitted, “I guess I never had it that good before. Davey was a wonderful lover, don’t get me wrong but tonight you showed me something else entirely.”
“Yeah?” Titan asked.
“Oh, yeah,” Cat admitted. “I never felt that way before. Colors were bursting behind my eyelids.”
Titan smiled and settled down beside her. “You are some kind of woman, Cat. And I mean a beautiful woman. Never forget this.” He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her temple.
They hadn’t bothered turning on the lights when they came in, so they both just settled down to get some sleep.
Early the next morning, Cat woke up with a frown. The sunlight streaming through the window and shining in her face hurt her eyes. She tried to open her eyes but the light was far too bright.
She groaned and turned away, grabbing the edge of the blanket and pulling it over her head.
“What the hell are you doing?” Titan asked her as he woke up growling.
“The light is too bright.” She whimpered. “It's making my head hurt.”
Titan frowned as he turned his head and looked at the light coming through the window. It wasn’t all that bright. “Can you see the light?” he wanted to know.
Cat froze, then lowered the blanket and turned toward the light. Squinting, she opened her eyes carefully and slammed them shut again. “Yes, I can see the light. I can see the light and the shadows but it hurts.”
Titan flipped the blanket off him and grabbed his jeans. Pulling them up, he zipped them and did up his belt. Then he told her to wait for him and he left the room. It only took him a few minutes to return and when he did, he put a pair of sunglasses in her hand. “Try these.” He instructed her.
Cat slipped the glasses on and immediately felt relief from the light. She opened her eyes and looked around the room. “My sight is returning I think. It's still pretty messed up but I can see the difference between light and dark. At least it's not all black.” Then she looked up at him. “I suppose we have to go out there and face everyone, don’t we?”
Titan nodded. “Yeah baby, we do.”
Cat looked up at him with a look of expectation on her face. “Maybe not just yet?’ She smiled.
Titan grinned and leaned toward her. He removed the sunglasses and his hands went down to his belt. “No baby, not just yet.” He leaned in closer and kissed her, toppling her onto her back.
He dropped his pants and got back in bed with her. This time their lovemaking was slow and easy as they both explored each other’s body. Up to a certain point, Titan felt his tight control in action then when Cat’s body tightened around him, he lost it. He thrust into her deeply and she screamed out his name. He placed his hand over her mouth to hush her and he continued his onslaught as they climbed higher and higher. Finally, they both burst over the top and as he spilled his seed inside her, she wrapped her legs tightly around his waist.
Titan slipped to her side and leaned toward her, kissing her gently on the forehead. “Damn woman, you get better and better.”
“And you were amazing,” Cat agreed as she snuggled close to him.
Titan looked at the clock on the nightstand and groaned. “We’ve got to move, Little Cat. Hawkins is gonna want to talk to us this morning.”
Cat groaned and buried her face in his chest. “Is it wrong that I don’t want the rest of the world to intrude on us this morning? I just want a few more minutes?”
“We got time to take a shower together if you want?”
Cat groaned. “Ok, well that’s a few more minutes then isn’t it?”
Titan smiled and smacked her butt. “Come on Little Cat, let’s get this day started.”
She paused and tried to see him as she asked, “Why do you call me that. Is it just because of my name?”
He laughed and took her hand. “No, it’s the way your little nose scrunches up and your eyes get this look in them. It, well, reminded me of a little wild cat, I found when I was a teen. She was hurt and she would hiss at me while I patched her up. Something had attacked her. You are just as skittish sometimes and the name just stuck in my mind ever since I met you.”
Cat smiled. “That was a heck of an explanation and one I totally did not expect! Cute, really cute.”
“Not really, she could have scratched my eyes out.”
They both laughed as he helped her to the bathroom.
Thirty minutes later, they were both clean and dressed. She put the dark glasses on and Titan reached for her hand.
The main room when they entered was quiet but definitely not silent.
Hawkins, Cash, and Wilder were sitting together.
When they came in, Hawkins looked over at her and nodded at Titan. He motioned for them to take a seat at his table.
Titan walked her over and held out a chair for her to sit down then he sat next to her.
Hawkins asked her, “What’s with the glasses?”
“I’m beginning to get my sight back. I can see light and dark and the light hurts my eyes.” Then she took a deep breath and exhaled. “What did you find out last night?”
“We found out your mama is truly guilty of murdering your dad. We now know why it happened,” Hawkins told her. “She’s been dealing drugs for almost twenty nine years. She’s an upper lieutenant in the Alvarez cartel.”
“Damn.” Cat shook her head. “What else did you find?”
“She was responsible for ramming the car your grandparents were driving the day they died and you were hurt,” Cash told her gently. “She was also driving the car that killed your husband, Davey.”
Tears fell below the rim of the glasses but Cat didn’t make a sound.
“And remember those two men in the woods that day?” Hawkins asked her.
“One of those men was my son, Robby. The other was Cash’s son, Nicky.” He looked over at Wanderer. “When Brute and Wanderer went after Nash they found the remains of the boys and Wanderer cut off the name… patches.” His voice shook toward the end.
Cat hung her head. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“None of this is your fault, Catarina.” Cash shook his head. “This is on your mother, not you.”
“What are you going to do now?” Cat wanted to know.
“We got the law coming this morning and we’re going to turn everything over to them. They can go after her and Billy Ray. They can take the credit and get the glory and maybe your ghosts will get their justice. We plan to go and get Robby and Nicky’s bones out of that fucking cave and give them both a proper burial and then I will make damn sure Isobel McCormick gets hers in the justice system.”
“Is Nash okay?” Titan asked.
Wilder snorted. “That boy is lucky he has a hard head. He got clocked but good. But yeah, he’ll be okay. We got to him just in time it seems.”
Just then, they all heard a couple of cars pull into the parking lot.
A few minutes later, the Chief of police and the Sheriff both came in and sat down.
The Chief looked over at Hawkins and Cash then shook his head. “I need to tell you that Kota’s attorney is waiting for him to be released from jail and then they’ll be here. I don’t know how you knew what you did the last time we were here but when we investigated, we found out you connected the dots we missed the first time around. We did search the address you gave us and we found the missing organs of the three women. We have a warrant for Billy Ray Fontaine and Isobel McCormick and we are looking for them. Apparently, they left town late yesterday but their neighbors seem to think they’ll be home in a day or so. We’ll watch out for them and get them when they come back.”
Hawkins nodded. “I think it's fair to tell you we found more evidence against those two since the last time you were here.” He looked over at Cat. “I want you to meet my granddaughter, Caterina Hawkins.”
Everyone looked over at her.
She nodded. “Isobel McCormick is my mother. But I haven’t been in contact with her since the day my father Jesse died in that fire. She took me to my grandparent’s house in Odessa, Wisconsin and left me there. I was all of three years old at the time.”
Hawkins now jumped in, “Then she tried to kill her four years later by forcing her grandparent’s car into a ditch. She did kill them and her aunt and uncle. She left Cat to die but the girl didn’t die. She survived. Then she murdered Cat’s husband Davey Lamond with a hit and run. We found evidence that put Isobel in both places. It was Billy Ray that murdered those women at Isobel’s behest. She was looking to frame the MC for it.” He shook his head and said, “She’s been after this MC for a long time and she was getting desperate. We also know she was here a couple of days ago when she and Billy Ray t-boned Cat’s car. She was injured and ended up blind from the attack but she seems to be getting her sight back, so we’re hopeful she’ll recover.”
The Chief looked over at her and frowned. “Has she seen a doctor yet?”
“No, she’s seen our medic but that’s because we can’t protect her if she’s outside our control,” Cash explained. “As soon as you get Isobel in jail, we’ll make sure she sees a doctor.”
“Excuse me, can I ask you something?” Cat interrupted the conversation. “Who did you say my mom was working with?”
“The Alvarez Cartel.” Hawkins frowned. “Why?”
“The second man that burned when Jesse was killed, I think she called him Juan. Juan Alvarez. I think I remember her telling him she would tell his daddy that Jesse got to him before she could stop him.” Cat shook her head. “But Jesse was already dead when she told him that. I remember hearing the sound of something hitting the floor just after he fell. He looked up at her and asked her why she stabbed him.” Cat gasped as she remembered. “Oh, I’d forgotten that part of what happened. My mom’s face was twisted with anger and she said she never liked him and his death could be swept aside and it would let her take his place in the cartel. She could tell his father anything and he would believe her. Then as he laid there dying, she started the fire that burned them both. Juan and Jesse. I don’t think he was even dead yet when the fire started. I could still hear him screaming as we drove away.” She shook her head. “All Isobel could do was laugh as she watched the place burn to the ground.”
“Damn, that woman is cold,” Wanderer stated as he shook his head.
Hawkins crossed his arms over his chest. “Well, if you miss her, we can always let the cartel know how Juan died. That way, they can look for her as well.”
The Sheriff shook his head. “That could get very ugly, real quick.”
Hawkins leaned forward to glare at him and the Chief. “She deserves that and so much more. She’s ruined a lot of lives. We found two bodies in a cave system in the woods behind the clubhouse. Bodies of my son, Robbie and Cash’s son, Nicky. They’ve been missing for twenty four years and they’ve been right under our noses this whole time.”
“How the hell did you find their bodies?” the Chief asked.
“We were looking for another member that went missing late the other night,” Wilder explained. “Cat was able to lead us to the caves and we found the man there along with the bodies.” He laid the patches Wanderer had cut from the cuts of the two men on the table for everyone to see. “We’d like to collect their remains and bury the boys properly soon.”
The Chief nodded. “Can we talk to the man you went after?”
“That would be our brother Nash Nobel. He’s in our Infirmary at the moment but we’ll get him for you.” Hawkins looked over at one of the men.
Bounder got up to walk down the hall. He returned a few minutes later along with Nash.
Nash looked a little beaten up when he sat down. He looked around the room and shook his head. “What do you want to know?” he asked when he saw the Sheriff sitting there.
“What happened to you, son?” the Sheriff asked.
“I was confronted in the woods by a man and a woman. I think I surprised them as much as they surprised me. The man was tall and dark haired with a burn scar on his face. The woman had long red hair and was older. Before I could even say anything, the guy cold cocked me and when I woke up, I was back here. That’s all I know.” Nash shrugged.
The Sheriff shook his head again. “I don’t know what it is about you guys but there’s more to this story than you’re telling us. I know it and you know it. I’ll be digging into who owns those woods and I’ll be in contact with them about going through them to collect the remains.”
“Excuse me Sheriff,” JuJu interrupted him. “But I found something interesting when I began looking into who own those woods. I found Isobel bought those woods years ago under her daughter Caterina’s name. So I’m just guessing here but even though she was a minor when her mom purchased the land in her name, Caterina owns them now.”
“I do?” Cat frowned as she looked over at him.
“Yeah, I looked it up and you are the owner and have been for twenty four years,” JuJu told her. “I guess your mama never told you.”
Cat shook her head. “No, she never told me much.”
Hawkins nodded at the haul of boxes the men brought back with them this morning. “That’s the stuff we found in the cave early this morning when we went after Nash. That should be enough to free Kota and put the blame exactly where it belongs, on Isobel’s shoulders.”
The Sheriff nodded. “Kota should be out in about an hour, we just have to process his paperwork. We found enough evidence at the other house when we raided it.” He hesitated then said, “It would be best if he would stick close to home until we have Isobel and Billy Ray in custody and you guys should watch your backs until then.”
The Chief looked over at the boxes waiting for them on the table and asked, “What’s in the boxes?”
“Mostly cash but there’s also a book, a ledger of some kind. I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it all out.” Hawkins snorted and told them, “Isobel used to always call the caves her personal bank open twenty-four seven, I guess we all know why now. She had a shitload of cash in her safe.”
The Chief and the Sheriff both got to their feet and gathered the boxes.
“We’ll be in touch as soon as we hear more about where Isobel is,” the Sheriff said. “Hopefully, we’ll have her in custody soon.”
Then they walked out of the clubhouse.
The silence was shattered by Nash when he swore, “What the hell happened after I was knocked out? How the hell did you guys find me so fast?”
Cash got to his feet and glared down at the other man. “We found you through Cat, if you really want to know. You owe her your life, you little worm.”
Hawkins glared at Nash as well. “She knew what was going on and she told us what happened to you as it was happening. If she hadn’t, you would be dead right now.”
Nash slowly turned his head and stared at Cat. “How could she know? I don’t understand it. How can she connect with people being murdered or taken prisoner? How is that even possible?”
“I think one of the priests at the orphanage told me one time, it was a gift, but I’ve always called it a curse,” Cat told them. “The Priest Father Kelly told me that it was a gift from God that I would be able to hear the voices of the damned. I would hear them and if I chose to, I could get them justice but that I should be careful as others would use my gift for evil and then my gift would turn into a curse. He said not everyone can hear the voices of the dead.” She hung her head. “I never understood it either and I always hated it.”
Just then, everyone heard the sound of a lone bike rumbling up along the driveway.
They all got up and went out to the parking lot.
Hawkins watched as a car followed the biker into the lot.
The biker stopped, parked his bike, and took off his helmet. He grinned and said, “Damn, it's good to be home.”
Hawkins smiled and called out to him, “It's damn good to have you home, Kota. Now come here and meet your niece, Caterina.”
Kota grinned and walked over. He smiled at the dark haired beauty. “I think I know you, don’t I?”
“She’s the woman you saw in court the other day,” Titan reminded him. Then he shook his head. “So much has happened since then. So much you would not believe it.”
Kota threw back his head and laughed. He then picked Cat up off her feet and twirled her around as he laughed. Setting her down on her feet, he said, “Thank you for what you did. I’m not sure how or why but I owe you my life and that honey, I can never repay you for.” He paused and looked around. “Hey Pa, you got any coffee? Being in jail on murder charges makes a man mighty thirsty.”
Hawkins shook his head. “Yeah boy, we got coffee.” Then he turned and walked back into the clubhouse.
Titan took Cat’s hand and glanced up at Kota.
Kota blinked as he stared at their joined hands then he looked up at Titan. “Wow, a lot has happened for sure.”
Hawkins then called out to them, “Well come on, coffee’s inside, you idiots.”
Titan looked over at Cat. “See? He is rude to everyone, so don’t feel so special.”
Cat actually laughed.
They all went in before Hawkins got even meaner.