“Breakfast!” she shouted.
It didn’t surprise her that no one answered. She’d gotten into the grove of getting up early for classes for a while. Her brother was used to waking up when he wanted since he hired a manager to look after the lumber store for him.
“Lucas!” she shouted again.
She took the last piece of bacon off of the griddle and put it on the paper towel with the rest to drain. Lucas made a grunt from the other room after a few moments, which gave her a few minutes before he actually made it to the kitchen.
She wiped her hands on the kitchen towel and looked out of the blinds. Patch’s motorcycle wasn’t there which shocked her. Where did he have to go that early in the morning, not that it was her business, but she was a little curious.
Lucas’ shuffled in a few short minutes later, no shirt and a pair of basketball shorts riding low.
“Why are you up this early? Dear God, is there a fire?”
“I hope not, you’d be dead by now,” she said, fixing him a plate. “Is, um, Patch here? Should I leave some for him?”
Lucas groaned and shook his head no. “Nah, dude’s weirder than you, he gets up with the roosters.”
Delaney relaxed a little knowing he wasn’t going to be there. He put her on edge for far too many reasons to list. “Okay, well, I’m gonna eat and head on downtown to see if I can find me a summer job.”
Lucas reached over and grabbed a piece of toast from the table, lifting a brow. “Why? You don’t need to pay bills here. I got you.”
She knew that, but Lucas didn’t know she didn’t really have a plan, per se. “I like to have my own money.”
Lucas studied her face, making her squirm. “What is it?” she asked.
He ruffled his hands through his matted dark hair, and leaned back against his seat. “You’re not going back, are you?”
Delaney sighed, and started to pull at the fringe of her jean shorts. “Well, I’m not sure. My place is with him. I’d have to move and start all over. I’ve already graduated, why should I have to go back?”
Lucas rolled his eyes. “Don’t let that little prick scare you out of Boulder if you don’t want to go, sis.”
“That’s the thing, I kind of do want to find a grad school closer to home, and be here. Why not? Schools down here are just as good as up there. I want to get away from him.”
Lucas shrugged his shoulders like it didn’t make him any difference. “That’s fine, but don’t run away from him. I get it, though,” he said. “Sit down, you’re making me nervous.”
She sat beside him and they ate breakfast, mostly talking about the store and dad. After their plates were clean, Lucas stopped her from cleaning. “You cooked, I clean. Go get ready, and go downtown.”
Delaney hopped up and ran toward the stairs to get ready. She hardly had anything to wear that wasn’t gonna leave pit stains, but she settled on a short sleeve pink, silk blouse and a gray skirt. She put on a pair of black booties, and tied her hair up halfway in a bun.
It was exciting trying to find a job; it’d been a while since she went on a job hunt. The two part-time jobs at school were enough for her share of the apartment and they pertained to her major.
This was different, she felt like a high-schooler looking for a summer job. With the size of the town there was a chance that she wouldn’t find anything, but she had to try before her dad found out. At least if she had income she’d have something to back up her moving back home.
Downtown was tiny like you would imagine any small town to be. The streets were mostly busy because of the time of year and school being out. Several school kids walked up and down laughing with Sonic drinks, window shopping. It appeared not too much changed since she graduated.
Delaney parallel parked her Civic in-between a huge pickup and a small bug, proud that she’d even fit between them. Down the strip were a few T-shirt printing places, two bakeries, a retail store and a bank. She didn’t have too many options, but judging by the line of people down the walk, she figured she’d start there.
More business meant needing extra help. When she neared the group of people she noticed, a sign sitting out front with a cupcake on it and Fat Bottomed Chicks printed in funky pink print. She chuckled to herself, because with her weight gain, she was sure to fit in nicely.
She stepped around the line of customers and sat at a small table to scope out the place. Two ladies behind the counter were dripped with sweat, and one looked oddly familiar. She had straight reddish brown hair, with bangs and a nice tan, but she was shorter than Delaney which was rare. When the line dwindled down, and the two girls started to laugh,
Delaney walked up to the counter.
The familiar girl turned and her smile widened. It hit Delaney quick who those hazel eyes belonged to. “Katie?” she asked.
“Delaney? Little Delaney, is that you? What in the—what are you doin’ here girl? I thought you were off at college?”
“I graduated,” she said, shrugging. “Staying with my brother for a bit.”
Katie turned toward the brunette with high cheek bones and the cutest nose ring and gestured toward Delaney. “This is Lucas’ little sister, I used to babysit her.”
And date her brother if she remembered correctly.
Her friend waggled her eyebrows at the mention of Lucas. It wasn’t like she wasn’t used to it because people beg to spend the night just to get close to her brother growing up.
“Is he doing okay?” Katie asked and lowered her gaze to her flour stained fingers.
“He is good from what I can tell, I just got into town.”
“Coming over to get some of our famous snicker doodles?” she asked, gesturing toward the display box to her right.
“Actually, no, I was on the hunt for a part-time job and noticed y’all had a line from here to the moon, and thought this would be the first place I’d need to check?”
Katie wiped her hands against her pink apron and blew her bangs up with a sigh. “Well, I’m not really hiring right now, but we have had a rush lately with these new snicker doodles.”
She looked over her shoulder at the brunette who shrugged. “I don’t see why we couldn’t have someone on backup? In case we need a day off or stay this busy?”
Katie turned back around and smiled. “It’s not guaranteed hours right now, but I could definitely use a backup and some extra hands,” she said. “Maybe she could fill in for you so you can go to Cooper’s T-ball games on Saturdays?”
“Great idea,” brunette said.
Katie offered her a handshake. “Looks like you’ve got yourself a sometime, part-time job Ms. Summers.”
Delaney took her hand and grabbed the apron the brunette threw toward her. “I’m Joey,” she said. “Nice to meet you.”
Katie dug around in one of her drawers and pulled out an application. “Fill this out and come back tomorrow morning so you can train. We’re real laid back here. You can wear jeans, and grab you one of those Fat Bottomed Chicks shirts on the way out. It’s yours to keep.”
Delaney thanked them both, and grabbed a gray shirt on the way outside. She admired the outline of a curvy woman holding a cupcake and laughed on her way back to her car.
Who would have thought she’d just graduated with a degree in English and now she worked for Fat Bottomed Chick’s Cupcakes.
Delaney walked into her brother’s house around noon. She’d already changed into her shirt and apron in the driveway to show her brother, and did a twirl when she walked into the house.
“You’re now lookin’ at the new Fat Bottomed Chick—,” she stopped when she noticed all three guys sat at the kitchen table eating pizza … again for lunch.
Lucas belted out a laugh, and a pepperoni flew from his mouth to the table.
“Gross,” she said, trying to hide her embarrassment from her lame dance with a curtain of blonde hair. Through those strains she noticed a smile on Patch’s face, and her own heated even more.
“Fat Bottomed Chicks, huh?” Lucas asked, leaning back against his seat. She wanted to smack the smile off of her brother’s face but her eyes drifted over toward Patch, who sat beside him, eyes on her like she was the only thing in the room.
“Your ex-girlfriend Katie owns it,” Delaney said, using her shoulder bag as a cover for what now seemed like an embarrassing outfit.
Lucas took another bite of his pizza and rolled his eyes as Dillion shoved his shoulder. “Looks like your sister is gonna be the love connection you needed along—,”
“Love connection?” she asked.
“Shut up,” Lucas spat, shoving Dillion’s shoulder.
Dillion turned to her and jabbed his fingers toward Lucas. She noticed for the first time that Dillion wasn’t that bad looking with sandy hair and green eyes. His build looked more like a football players than anything else.
“He has a crush on her,” Dillion said.
Patch chuckled and she did her best to hide how it made her stomach clench. “More like an obsession,” he said. “I’ve never seen your brother act like a lunatic around a girl.”
This piqued Delaney’s interest, so she took a seat beside Dillion and snagged a piece of pizza.
“Really now? Lucas is stressed over a girl, since when?”
Lucas shoveled in another piece of pizza, shut the box and walked toward the living room, ignoring their howls of laughter. When the tears from her laughter stopped, she wiped them away, noticing Patch hadn’t gotten up from the table to follow Lucas like Dillion had.
Something lingered on his tongue, and she wanted to taste it so badly that she ached. His eyes traveled down her new shirt and apron and back to her blue eyes.
After the blaze of heat from his glare made it to her toes, she cleared her constricted throat and looked him dead in the eyes. She’d have to get over her fear of speaking to him eventually. “You work at a garage now?”
He slowly nodded, his tongue capturing his lip ring and slowly letting it go. “Yep.”
What an answer. Not wanting to pry, she shifted her gaze to the boys in the living room, and mustered up the courage to say, “I’m assuming it’s Fallen’s Garage, right? Since it’s the only one?”
Patch lifted his chin, and nodded again. “That’s the one.”
“That means you’re part of—,”
“The Fallen Kings,” he answered for her.
Shock paved her to her seat, and sealed her mouth. A motorcycle gang? She would have never pegged Patch for that type of guy, because everyone in their small town knew what they did, or supposedly did.
Took care of crime, and sold illegal weapons, or at least that was the rumor circling around.
“Cat got your tongue?” he asked after a few minutes.
She shook her head quickly and tucked her hair behind her ear. “No, I just didn’t think you liked groups of people you were always a loner.”
Patch tapped his dirty oil stained finger against the table, and looked at her like she was the one getting judged. “Things change. People change.”
Delaney felt his scrutiny as a challenge and suddenly she didn’t like it. “People like who? You?”
The corner of Patch’s smile rose and he shrugged as if he didn’t care. “I’ll take your silence as compliance,” she said standing up. “I can see you’re not as friendly as you used to be.”
Patch didn’t move from his seat, only took a slow bite of pizza and watched as she tapped her toe against the tile of her brother’s kitchen.
Once she realized he didn’t plan on answering her, she walked toward the stairs. Her apron caught on the door to get there, and she jerked backwards, heat rushing her cheeks.
When she looked back at Patch his eyes drifted up from her ass, and no shame was there, only lust she’d never received from him. How had things changed so drastically in Patch’s life and what had she done to get his attention in anyway other than being his best-friend’s kid sister?
And why in the heck is it your clothes only get caught when you’re trying to make a dramatic exit?
“Patch,” her brother yelled from the living room.
He answered but never looked away from her. “Coming.”
A cold shower helped her calm her raging hormones. The adrenaline that pumped through her compared to her first kiss when she twelve. That feeling of uncontrollable nerves that forms a heavy feeling in your stomach and drives you to do stupid stuff, that was the feeling, and all they did was stare at each other.
If his stare alone continued to make her stomach flip inside of her, she didn’t know what she would do the rest of the summer.
She figured he was gone since lunch was over, so she changed into her bathing suit that she hadn’t realized had gotten so snug. Lucas sat out by the lounge chair, tossing a basketball against the side of his house.
“Don’t you get bored being here every day?” she asked, tossing her towel on the chair beside him.
He shrugged. “Yeah, and I go down to the store when I do.”
Delaney couldn’t imagine having the freedom that her brother did on a daily basis. He got up when he wanted, ate when he wanted, and did exactly what he wanted every day.
“I can’t imagine what I would do with all that time,” she said, taking a seat beside him.
“What do you like to do?” Lucas asked, still tossing the ball.
She shrugged even though his back was to her, and she knew he couldn’t see. The truth was she didn’t know what she wanted to do exactly. Was reading a job someplace? The obvious choice was to go back and go for teaching English but she wasn’t a kid’s kind of girl. Not other peoples kids at least.
“Read all day,” he said after a bit. “Daydream.”
She was a good daydreamer but she rolled her eyes anyway. “That won’t pay for things.”
“Well,” Lucas said tuning to face her. “It looks like its baking cakes now. Maybe you’ll get real good, who knows, right?”
Her hopes weren’t high.
Lucas laughed after a few minutes, picked her up and jumped with her into pool.
Delaney spent most of the afternoon in the pool, lounging about with Lucas until he called it quits. The sun felt too good for her to leave, hell, she didn’t have anything else to do.
After an hour or so, she fell asleep reading her Kindle until the sound of laughter woke her up. She jerked up, rubbing her tired eyes and let them adjust to the setting sun.
The bay doors were opened and she could hear voices from the inside. The towel she’d brought with her wasn’t anywhere to be seen, her brother must have jacked it.
Sighing, she walked over toward the doors and thought she could slip through the kitchen and up the stairs without drawing their attention.
Delaney heard the low hum of the television and her brother’s laugh. She tiptoed into the kitchen, keeping a close eye behind her when she noticed Patch standing in the doorway that led through the hallway past the living room, and up the stairs she needed to go.
It was as if Supernatural had a baby with Sons of Anarchy, and they had a super spawn. What kind of man had Patch Larson become since high-school? He’d always been that bad-boy, yeah, but not like this. It was different and she could feel it by looking at him.
Those dark eyes were stronger than she remembered. At one time they had been softer, when he was younger, but she could tell he’d grown out of that boyish charm and into a man that she wasn’t sure she knew how to handle.
But that didn’t mean she didn’t want to.
One thick forearm was braced against the door frame, the other shoved into the depth of his dark jeans pocket. The cigarette that hung out of his mouth wasn’t lit yet and that made her attention draw to his mouth.
The things she would let him do with that—
He stood up straight after a few seconds, watching her closely as he lit the end and took a drag.
Smoking was not cool, she didn’t care what anyone said, but damn her to hell if he didn’t look amazing doing it.
Patch hadn’t looked away from her panicked eyes until Delaney swayed to the side, trying her best to cover her mid-section.
His eyes dropped with her movement and swept her dry of any innocence she had left in her.
There was no denying in his mind he’d ripped that suite off within seconds, and she felt a rush of heat with each bite of his lip and clench of his fists.
“What the hell are you doing?”
Delaney broke from her thoughts and focused on her brother standing behind him in the doorway.
Patch moved to the side, to let him through but hadn’t looked away from her yet, and she wondered if he cared that Lucas stood beside him.
“What?” she finally asked.
“Not, you, him. Put that damn cigarette out.”
Patch didn’t show any indication that he thought Lucas meant something else, but he put the cigarette out on the bottom of his boot.
“And go put some damn clothes on,” Lucas said.
“Well,” she cleared her throat, not realizing that she lost her breath. “Someone stole my towel.”
Lucas laughed. “That was my bad, sorry.”
Delaney gave him a tightlipped smile and dashed out of the kitchen, shoving past her brother. Leaving her dignity in the kitchen with the man that she was sure could do ungodly things to her … and she wanted him to.
Patch slammed his fist against the kids jaw once again, watching blood fly out of his mouth and sling against the concert. It’d been easy to say that this would be an easy distraction from what he’d seen in his best-friend's kitchen the night before, but sadly, it wasn’t. Patch hadn’t stopped thinking about the way she looked in her swim suite, and the way it clung to her, and the curve of her breasts. She’d turned into one hell of a woman Patch had promised to stay away from. Go figure. That bright pink suite would be engrained into his head for the rest of his life. He knew she wasn’t the most experienced girl in the world, and it turned him on so badly it ate at him. He could show her how to feel good. He wanted to be the one to show her. That stupid promise he made buzzed into his view, every time he even thought about looking at her, like a gnat. The guy picked his head up and slobber slung from his tongue, the bandana he wore was some kind of South Side stuff they cam
The house was quiet when Delaney arrived home that afternoon. Her brother left a note for her not to wait up, he had plans, which gave her some time to herself, not that she needed it but a little time to drink a glass of wine and cool down didn’t sound too bad. Delaney opened the chicken wrap she’d grabbed from the corner store on the way home and poured herself a glass of red wine. She curled her feet underneath her and turned on some rom-com she’d passed when channel surfing. By the middle of her glass she could feel it in her toes. It’d been a while since she drank, with finals she used every free moment to study. She hadn’t realized she’d fallen asleep, or how tired she had grew at the store. The girls were crazy busy, but a lot of fun to work with. Delaney didn’t even mind the work they had her doing. Seeing her work on the display shelf made her proud, and she’d missed that feeling. The sound of a truck door slamming woke her from where she’d fallen asleep on the couch
Patch shut the hood of the woman’s convertible and watched as the twins relentlessly flirted with her in the lobby. She seemed vaguely familiar from high-school, but he knew one thing for certain, she hadn’t ran with their crowd. It was evident by her perfectly straightened hair and the nice whip he’d just changed the oil for, not to mention the clothes he would have never even dreamed of having growing up. If she did ever consider dating or sleeping with one of them it would be done in secret. It was the socs and the greasers all over again. Snake raked his fingers through his dark black hair, and gave the girl a sheepish smile. “I’m free any night for you, Princess.” The girl liked the attention, it was apparent, but Patch could see the worry in her eyes. What would her parents think about her dating someone like Snake, or even someone that went by name of Snake? “Your car is ready,” Patch said. She stood up from her chair
The night air was thick with humidity from being in Texas, but the fun of the party distracted her from her drenched dress. Her brother obviously knew how to throw a party, as a badly as she didn’t want to like it, she had a good time. People began to crash and leave around two, so she took a chance to walk back up to her room. She’d shower in the morning before work, and wash her sheets sometime before the weekend was over with. Running her fingers into her hair, she walked into her room and sat on the corner of the bed. Her shoes were gone, she hadn’t remembered where she’d left them, and those wine coolers had fogged her brain faster than they used to. She blamed it on college, because she wasn’t a partier in then, she was there to graduate. An occasional wine glass at dinner, but definitely not a drunkard. Delaney began to unzip her dress when her door opened, and she shrieked trying to hide herself. At first she thought it was some drunk person trying to find a place to sl
Patch revved his engine and sped down the small road that would lead him to town. He’d been in shock to see her standing there on his mother’s back porch. Her Fat Bottomed Chicks T-shirt neatly tucked into a pair of expensive jeans, looking more out of place than anything else.The look of fear on her face made him angry, and the slew of curses his mother tossed her way, not even realizing who Delaney was or why she was there.Patch groaned and shook his head slightly. He never imagined staying away from Lucas’ sister would prove this difficult. He wanted nothing more than to go get a shower and sleep off his bad day. He’d dropped his mother off at the rehab center being she passed out on the couch, and it would buy him a few days before he had to worry about her getting out.Those short two days that she would make it in drug rehab were the best days of his life because he didn’t have to worry about her.&nbs
So much had happened that it was hard for her to believe. She’d woken up the next morning with Patch’s scent on her brain, an overload of skin on skin action and the image of his naked mom.Not to mention the fire. Someone call Smoky Bear because Delaney is on a roll. What’s next? The forest, you say?Delaney sat at the dining room table, eating one of the donuts she’d gone out of her way to get that morning, and stared at the front page of their little paper.“What a show I am,” she whispered to herself between another bite.A door behind her closed and she turned to see Patch coming out of the house with his work clothes on. He had a James Dean, Soda Pop kind of look and it fit him well.There was that hard edge about him but something about that slow talk and gentle heart that made her want to know more.He’d been clear, but oh how his face betrayed
Patch was daydreaming at the garage when Daz called an emergency meeting. Jimmy put the closed sign on the garage door, and turned to look at Patch. His long dark hair was pulled back into a man bun, and unlike his twin, he was more serious about the club than Snake. “You ready to do this? I wonder what it’s about?” Patch lit a cigarette and followed him out the back and toward the clubhouse. Once they got near the doors he could hear the rumble inside. All the group sat at the long table Daz put in for meetings, and most of them looked mad as hell. “Finally,” Lonny hollered from the corner chair. Patch ignored the old man and took a seat by Twello who looked at him with a worried stare. “What happened?” he whispered to him. “Lonny and Daz’s bikes were tampered with at the bar last night. Someone beat the hell out of them. We’re guessing The South Side,” he said. Patch knew it wouldn’t be long before a rival started between the two of them, especially since he’d threatened
Delaney stared out of her balcony window at her brother pulling into the driveway. She’d been waiting to talk to him since she felt like a moocher lately, and that wasn’t her style.She bounded down the stairs, meeting him at the door with a muffin that she’d baked him. He looked at it and slowly took it to take a bite. “What is this for?”She hovered as he closed the door and kicked off his shoes. “Just because I feel like an asshole mooching off of you.”Lucas rolled his eyes. “It’s fine.”“It’s not. I hate not having anything to do and no income coming in. Katie swears she isn’t mad but I feel like a sore thumb here. Maybe I should go back—,”“To your loser boyfriend? No,” Lucas said.“No,” she said, shaking her head. “Look at this,” she said, digging her cell from her jeans pocket. She pulled