“Guys.” Caine tipped his head to the crowd of men gathered around. “This is Trent from the shop.”
One guy snorted. “Looks like you took a wrong turn.”
Another stepped out of the corner, cracking his knuckles. He was round and bushy as a Biker Santa, and as I recalled his name was Fitch, Caine’s father. Also known to the club as The Wise One. He and Sawyer would play a large role in my continued association with the club—or my demise if I fucked this up.
“Used to be with the Brotherhood, right?” Fitch asked.
“Nothing official. My uncle rode with them. I was too young to join up.”
“Uncle have a name?” another asked. I knew him as Gavin—or “Vin” among his friends. He frequented the shop to do—well, fuck up would be a more appropriate term—his own repairs, and usually ignored my presence entirely. His black, curly hair was slicked back and clung to the sides of his head so tightly it looked like a tacky, faux mullet.
“Vic ‘Hawg’ Clevenger.” A real member of the Brotherhood. Although he’d died about twenty years earlier when the members of the club turned against each other, leading to a string of murders and violence.
“Hawg?” Fitch’s eyes narrowed. “Whatever happened to that Softail of his?”
A subtle and carefully laid trap. “Didn’t know he ever had one. He loved his custom Wide Glide though.”
Fitch didn’t respond. He merely leaned back into his corner and took a long drag from his cigarette.
The others, however, weren’t so easily appeased.
“You must’ve made some deal with the Devil to escape that mess,” Gavin said.
“He’s a brother looking for a new home,” Caine interrupted. He sounded forceful but wore his tension in shifting his weight from foot to foot. I’d seen it enough times to know.
“Not our brother yet,” Gavin said.
I had to walk a treacherous fine line. Too much of a pushover and they’d never respect me or take me seriously, bit if I overstepped the bounds too much, the results would be just as bad. I cocked my head. “Then, why am I doing a job for the club? Does Sawyer not trust you assholes any more than a stranger off the streets?”
I knew that comment would tick them all off, but I chose to get it over with. I had to be brash, cocky, and confident, goading them into making the first move.
A man to my right charged toward me, throwing a punch, but I ducked and elbowed him in the gut. In standing my ground, I chose each maneuver carefully to keep the damage minimal. “I’m not here to cause trouble in the club.”
The next attacker’s punch came at me low, so I stepped aside and kicked out his knees, bringing my elbow down against the back of his neck as he stumbled.
The first man swung at me again, his fist connected with my jaw, but I grabbed his forearm and twisted until he went to his knees as well. “Is this necessary?”
“The Wheel fell because they trusted the wrong person,” Fitch said, still puffing his cigarette lazily in the corner. “You understand our concern.”
“Concern?” I stepped back as both men who’d attacked me straightened. “Looks a lot like animosity to me.”
An arm tightened around my neck blocking my airway while the first two threw an additional punch each.
“Boys.” A female voice filled the room. “If you can stop playing, we have work to do.”
“Well, get to it, Mama,” the man with his arm around my neck said—I then recognized his voice as Gavin.
“You’re holding up my—” I watched her jaw pulse. “Trent is with me tonight. We have a long ride to the Grove. Not to mention, you have your own run to get ready for, so fuck off and don’t hold me up.”