I nodded and finished gassing up the bike. Then I grabbed my phone and wandered off behind the station to give Pic a call.
“I’m gonna head over to Tinker’s first when we hit town,” I told him. “Gotta explain shit to her. It’s important.”
“You’ve been holding off for weeks,” he pointed out reasonably. “You sure it can’t wait one more night? We’ve got BB watching the house, just in case things go bad. She’s safe enough, but it’s tense here—we gotta get this resolved before Marsh makes bail.”
“I need to talk to her. I’ve been in Hallies Falls long enough to know how it works—Tinker’s probably heard ten different stories about me landing in jail, each one worse than the next. It’s not just about seeing her. I’ve got damage control to do.”
“How long do you think it’ll take?” Pic asked. “Because I get it. I really do. And as your brother I want you to be able to take care of your business. But remember—you went through everything so we could take these fuckers down, and now’s the time to do it. Don’t throw away what you’ve accomplished before we finish it off.”
“Don’t lecture me about doing my duty,” I snapped. “Last I checked, you were back home partying and getting laid while I ate Marsh Jackson’s shit. You owe me this.”
He didn’t respond for a minute. Probably pissed him off, but I didn’t regret my words. If I couldn’t be straight with my brother, then he wasn’t really my brother.
“Someone’s panties are in a twist,” he finally commented.
“Someone spent the night in jail while his woman got fed a load of shit.”
“Okay. Do what you gotta do.”
“That’s it?” I asked for the second time in ten minutes. Something was wrong here. Fucked up and wrong. My brothers were being nice, and that wasn’t really our way.
“Yeah, that’s it,” he said. “It’s obvious your mind is made up. Not gonna hold a gun to your head. Then I might have to shoot you, and blood’s a real bitch to get out of leather. Just don’t make it too long—maybe an hour or so? We really do need you out here, Gage,” he added, his voice growing more serious. “We have to go in tonight, and we can’t go in blind. But you’re right—you’ve made a hell of a sacrifice and I respect it. We all do.”
Thank fuck for that.
“I won’t take more time than I need to,” I told him. “But the more people who get to her, the harder this is gonna be. And it wasn’t like it was gonna be easy under the best of circumstances.”
“Well, that’s definitely the truth,” he said. “I’ve got one question for you, though—have you showered?”
“What do you think?”
“Okay, so you probably smell bad. Got any bruising? You feeling calm and laid-back?”
“Yeah, they gave me a spa card as a parting gift when I got out. So fuckin’ relaxed I can hardly stay awake. Where are you going with this, boss?”
“Don’t scare her,” he said seriously. “I know you want to do damage control. But sometimes when you go in too fast, you make things worse. Think it through, brother.”
“All due respect, fuck off.”
“Fine, do it your way. Good luck with that.”
I hung up—because fuck him—and walked back over to Horse and Ruger.
“When we get to Hallies Falls, you guys can head to the hotel. I’ll be joining you about an hour later. Pic knows the plan.”
“Okay,” Horse said. “You want me to come with you? Watch your back? There’s still Nighthawks that didn’t get arrested. We haven’t figured out what to do with them yet.”
“I can take care of myself. We’ll keep BB on Tinker, though, just until we know where Talia is. Got any idea what’s up with her?”
“They didn’t arrest any of the girls,” Ruger said, shrugging. “They all ran off after the fight. Nobody’s seen them since.”
“All the more reason to catch her before she hears more shit.”
By the time I pulled up to Tinker’s house, it was dark. BB—one of our prospects—was just cruising by to check on her. I nodded to him as I rode past, glancing up at the house. The light was on in Tinker’s room, and I saw a flash of movement in the window.
Nobody answered when I rang the bell the first time. The night air was warm, the smell of flowers and distant smoke hanging in the air. I nearly tripped over an empty glass of wine abandoned on the porch.
That was her Sunday ritual.
She’d sit out there every week, drinking wine, laughing, and whispering secrets with her friend Carrie. Driving me slowly fucking crazy with lust, watching me with those eyes and licking those lips and pretending there wasn’t a damned nuclear bomb hanging between us. Even after she’d started avoiding me, she hadn’t given up her Sundays.
I made sure she always got a show, too.
Lots of work that needed doing around that building of hers, and damned if I didn’t take off my shirt every time she was out there. My cock twitched, thinking about her ass in those cute little shorts she loved so much. Not to mention the way she’d tasted . . .
Soon she’d be under me.
Raw need burned through me, building with every mile like a wildfire, and for the very first time I wondered if Pic had been right about holding off—I wasn’t feeling kind and gentle and loving.
I needed to fuck.
I needed to fuck tonight.
And yeah, it would probably scare the shit out of her, and no, at this point I just didn’t care, because she was right inside and no door was strong enough to keep me away from her. Not now that I was so close. Punching the bell again, I wondered if I’d have to kick the door in.
Then I heard the lock scrape open.
“Sorry,” she said, opening the door. “I was upstairs and . . .”
Her voice trailed off as I looked her over, not bothering to hide the need burning me alive. She wore this long, flowing silky robe thing that’d been tied tight around her waist, and her hair was up in a ponytail that’d be perfect for holding tight while I fucked her from behind.
My balls tightened, and I swallowed, staring at her nipples. That thin fabric was doing exactly jack to hide how hard they’d gotten.