Eight years ago
Kayla met me in the bathroom after last period, and watched as I changed out of my
super tiny mini-skirt into jeans. God, if my dad saw me in this skirt he’d have an aneurism.
“I can’t believe you lost Brain. God, Ang, he’s the best biker-bitch you’ve had yet.”
Speaking of aneurisms, my dad nearly had one when he found out Kayla called me Ang.
He calls me Angel, but says no one else is allowed to shorten my name. One of the reasons I love
Kayla is she isn’t afraid of my dad, or any of the other bikers, and she just kept calling me what
I shrugged as I buttoned my jeans and stowed the skirt in my backpack. “I got one of the
new guys, I’ve only met him a couple of times. He looks like he’s pissed at the world, and I
seriously doubt he’s going to be any fucking help at all with my calculus or chemistry
“He have a cool name?” she asked as we left the bathroom.
“Bash, and best I can tell, it isn’t ‘cause he’s bashful. And damn, the boy is beautiful.”
And he’d be so fucking pissed if he knew I’d called him a boy.
“How you gonna break him in?”
I shook my head. “Haven’t decided. He’s actually kinda scary, even for one of my dad’s
men. Also, I don’t think he’s that much older than us. I know when he first came, he couldn’t
have even the prospect patch yet, ’cause he wasn’t old enough. They treated him like one, which
had to suck, but he didn’t get his first patch until a few weeks ago, so I think he just turned
“You know his story?”
I shook my head. “He has a fucked up accent though. He isn’t from around here.”
Kayla showed the assistant principal the note from her mom saying she could ride home
with me, and he waved us to the RTMC vehicle waiting in the car line.
I got into the front passenger seat and settled my backpack at my feet as I put my seatbelt
on and told him, “Bash, meet Kayla. She’s my BFF and you’re her ride now, too. Not just mine.”
He breathed deep, and I assumed he’d just realized she’s human and not wolf, and I
added, “We have a problem, you take care of her first, then me. I can handle myself a few
minutes, but she isn’t a fighter. Get me?”
He pulled forward and glanced in his rear view mirror at Kayla before looking forward
again. “My orders are to keep you safe, Princess.”
I sighed and leaned my head back, looking at the road instead of him. “Those are your
orders from my dad. Thing is, I can make your life a living hell if I want, or I can help make this
a cushy assignment until you get your patch. I’ve grown up in the club, I know the drill. When
Kayla and I became best friends in the fourth grade, our dads had a talk. Their agreement was
she’d come to the house, but never to the club, and there’d be no parties at our house when she’s
over. She hasn’t been around ya’ll much at all. Her parents have met my prospect chauffeurs
over the years, and they’re mostly chilled about it now, but they’ll need to meet you sometime
“Basically,” Kayla said from the backseat, “you’re our bitch now. You’re our ride when
we need one, and you go get stuff we need, even if it’s tampons at two in the morning. You’ll
carry our packages for us when we go shopping at the mall, and if we ask if our ass looks fat
when we try on clothes, you’ll be honest and tell it to us straight from a guy’s perspective.”
“And not,” I added, my voice low and deep, “from my father’s viewpoint.” I held my
wolf in, so I didn’t growl at him in front of Kayla. “I know you’re supposed to cock-block us, but
I also know you can’t actually hurt any of the guys.” He held his hand up, thinking he could
silence me, and I said, “Fuck you, asshole. I’ll talk when I fuckin’ want to.”
He pulled into a church parking lot, put the SUV into park, tossed his cellphone into the
little compartment in the dash, and got out.
Bash might only be eighteen, but he wasn’t a boy. He paced like a caged animal and I
realized he was on the edge. This wasn’t a wolf thing, though — it was something else. He
moved with a lethal, fluid grace that set something inside me on fire, and I didn’t get out of the
vehicle, knowing he’d smell it on me.
I’d had a crush on my prospect when I was twelve, and my dad had given me someone
else and then hadn’t assigned anyone else who was my type, since. Brain had truly been like a
big brother to me. I mean, I knew he was dangerous, all the men of the RTMC are, but to me,
they mean safety. I’m their little sister, the president’s daughter, and they’ll all protect me with
I instinctively knew Bash didn’t necessarily represent safety for me, though.
With his back to me, he said, “Out of the car, Princess. You and I need to have a talk
without your friend hearing.”
My insides shook from the threat of violence in his voice, and I didn’t want to get out of
the car. I reminded myself he couldn’t hurt me without risking my dad’s wrath, and felt my body
chilling out. I couldn’t go outside smelling of fear — he’d eat me alive.
I heard him with my wolf hearing, but Kayla wouldn’t have a clue he’d spoken. I sighed
and told her, “Stay here a sec. Maybe we pushed him too hard? I’m gonna go talk to him.”
“He’s kind of scary, Ang.”
“My dad wouldn’t have assigned someone who’d hurt us, Kayla. I’ll just go talk to him a
second. It’ll be okay.”
As I got out of the car, I suddenly wasn’t so sure my dad wouldn’t have upped his game
with my prospects. He and my mom had a huge argument last week, but she convinced him it
was time he let me start double-dating with an early curfew. She’d successfully argued they had
to let me take baby-steps and learn responsibility slowly, or I’d go wild when I went off to
college without him around to supervise my every move. He’d finally agreed to it, but only if my
prospect tagged along. It was more than I’d hoped for, but at the time I’d thought it’d be Brain.
As I got out, Bash said, “Leave your cellphone — and anything else with a battery — in
This was standard RTMC procedure when we wanted to make sure we weren’t recorded.
Apparently, he was gonna say stuff my dad wouldn’t approve of. I tossed my phone onto the
dashboard, turned the radio up a little, and told Kayla, “I’ll be back in a minute.”
I followed him off the parking lot pavement into grass, assuring myself all the while that
my dad wouldn’t have sent someone likely to hurt me. Still, Bash was harsher than the other
guys my dad had assigned me, and I needed to be careful with my strategy. As soon as I caught
up to him, he said, “Here’s the way it’s gonna be, Princess. I may not be able to bash any of your
boy-toys’ heads in with witnesses around, but that don’t mean I can’t do it later. You want ‘em to
live? You make sure they stay on my good side. Nobody disrespects someone in the RTMC, not
even a prospect.” His voice deepened, and I heard his wolf. “Second thing, is you may be under
RTMC protection, but you’re a split tail, and that means you do what you’re told. You want me
to show you respect? You show it to me. I’ll throw your words right back at ya — we can either
get along, or not. I don’t give a flying fuck which you choose, Princess. You think you can make
my life hell? You have no idea what I can do to yours.”
Yeah, this I could work with. I gave him a half smile and shrugged one shoulder. “Take a
deep breath, Bash. You smell any fear comin’ off me?”
He took a whiff, shook his head, his eyes suddenly a touch uncertain.
“My dad stopped assigning me guys I could walk all over when I was about eight. He’s
miscalculated a few times, though he quickly gave me someone new once he figured it out. So, I
can’t boss you around — okay, I get it.” I offered my hand. “Truce?”
He shook his head. “No, Princess. No truce just yet. Let’s give it a couple of days, see
where we stand then.”