It was a tense ride out to the clubhouse.
The Nighthawks knew we were in town—they had to know. You couldn’t bring that many bikes into a place as small as Hallies Falls without people noticing, and the arrests down in Ellensburg the day before just added to the gossip.
A fresh wildfire had broken out that day, and while it was more than a fifty miles away, even more smoke filled the air and tiny white ashes had started falling on everything. I’d never seen a summer like this for fires. If we’d been on a TV show, I’d have taken it for a sign that they were going to ambush and kill us all—it’d be a good show, too.
Seeing as we weren’t on TV, I’d be just as happy without the ambush.
Pulling up to the clubhouse, I spotted eight bikes. Not bad odds. Cord’s faction had four, and the others might be prospects or hangarounds friendly to his cause. Or not. What the hell did I know, anyway? Cody—one of the prospects, and not a particularly promising one—watched over them, his face paling as we pulled up, backing our bikes into line carefully.
Picnic strode toward him, followed closely by Hunter, and I watched Cody swallow.
“Prospect?” Pic asked, looking him over. “Gage, you know this one?”
I joined them, studying the kid.
“He’s one of Marsh’s,” I said. “Bought his first bike a few weeks ago.”
Pic sighed, running a hand through his hair.
“Kid, you have no fucking idea what you’ve gotten yourself into here,” he said, and his voice wasn’t unkind. “Here’s the best offer you’ll get tonight—hand over your colors, get on your bike, and leave. Your president and his friends are locked up and they’re gonna stay that way for a while. The club you signed up for isn’t going to exist anymore after tonight, and you aren’t ready to prospect anyway. Learn to ride your bike, grow up a little, and give it another shot in a few years. We won’t hold this against you.”
Cody had never struck me as one of the brightest, although he seemed like a decent-enough kid. Now I could practically see the hamster running frantically on the wheel in his head, desperate for escape.
Get on the bike, kid. Get out of here.
“I’m not giving up my colors, sir,” he said, and while his voice trembled, he didn’t blink. “I’ve been told to stay out here and watch these bikes, and that’s what I’m gonna do. You’ll have to take them off me.”
“You’ve been watching Sons of Anarchy, haven’t you?” Pic asked, sighing heavily. Cody swallowed, then nodded. “Fucking show. Whole damned world thinks they’re Jax Teller. Pat him down and bring him inside.”
In an instant, Horse and Ruger had him up against the wall, checking him for weapons. I watched as they pulled off one small pocket knife, and I do mean small. Little red Swiss Army, with the tweezer and toothpick.
Pic and Hunter shot me incredulous looks, and I shrugged. Wasn’t like I hadn’t warned them.
The Nighthawks had fallen to shit.
New York Times bestselling author Joanna Wylde returns to the “wild and raw”* world of the Reapers MC with the story of Gage and Tinker…
The club comes first.
I’ve lived by those words my whole life—assumed I’d die by them, too, and I never had a problem with that. My Reaper brothers took my back and I took theirs and it was enough. Then I met her. Tinker Garrett. She’s beautiful, she’s loyal, and she works so damned hard it scares me sometimes . . . She deserves a good man—one better than me. I can’t take her yet because the club still needs me. There’s another woman, another job, another fight just ahead.
Now she’ll learn I’ve been lying to her all along. None of it’s real. Not my name, not my job, not even the clothes I wear. She thinks I’m nice. She pretends we’re just friends, that I’ve still got a soul . . . Mine’s been dead for years. Now I’m on fire for this woman, and a man can only burn for so long before he destroys everything around him.
I’m coming for you, Tinker.
Available August 9