Reaper's Property (Reapers MC, #1)(8)

“Let’s get a couple of things clear,” Horse said after a pause that lasted approximately ten years. “We’re not going to hurt you, Marie.”

“You aren’t?” I asked, not sure if I believed him. Jeff listened anxiously, blinking rapidly against the moisture in his eyes. I watched as a trickle of sweat rolled down his forehead, making a track through the still-oozing blood.

“Nope,” Horse said. “You didn’t do anything wrong, we aren’t pissed at you. This isn’t about you. You’ll keep your mouth shut about this if you want to survive, and you’re smart enough to know that. That’s not why you’re here.”

“Why am I here?”

“So you can see just how seriously f*cked your brother is,” he replied. “Because we’re going to kill him if he doesn’t find a way to pay us back. I think he might be able to pull it off with the proper motivation.”

“I will,” Jeff babbled. “I’ll pay you back all of it, thank you so much—”

“No, you’ll pay us back twice as much, f*ckwad,” Picnic said, kicking him viciously in the side with his heavy leather boot. Jeff pitched to the floor, keening in pain, and I flinched. “That’s if we let you live, which is entirely up to your sister. If it weren’t for her you’d be dead already.”

My eyes flew to Picnic’s face. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I’d do anything to save Jeff. Anything at all. He was the only real family I had left, and while he was a dumbass, he was also a sweetheart who truly loved me.

“I’ll do it,” I said quickly.

Horse snorted, his eyes wandering down my body, lingering on my boobs, then trailing back up to my face. I realized the rest of the groceries had fallen to the floor and my fists were clenched tightly.

“Don’t you want to ask what it is first?” he said dryly.

“Um, sure,” I said, studying him. How could such a beautiful man be so cruel? I’d felt how gentle his hands could be, where was this coming from? Real people, people who laughed and shared meals together, didn’t act this way. Not in my world. “What do I have to do?”

“It seems Horse here wants a house mouse,” Picnic said. I looked at him blankly. He shot an annoyed look at Horse. “She’s clueless, you sure about this? Seems like work to me.”

Mohawk guy smirked as Horse narrowed his eyes at Picnic. Tension filled the room and I realized that contrary to what I would have thought, things could probably get a lot worse pretty fast. What if they turned on each other? Then Picnic shrugged.

“This is your option,” Horse said to me abruptly. “You want to keep dumbass alive, pack a bag and climb on my bike when we leave. You do what I tell you, when I tell you, no questions and no bitching.”

“Why?” I asked blankly.

“So you can cook dessert for me,” he snapped. Mohawk man burst out laughing. My mouth dropped open—all this for dessert? I knew he liked sweets, but I didn’t get it. Horse shook his head at me, wearing that frustrated look he got around me sometimes, like he thought I was a crazy woman.

“Why the hell do you think?” he said, voice strained. “So I can f*ck you.”

Chapter Three

July 8—Nine weeks earlier

My phone buzzed. I grabbed it to find a message from Jeff.

Krissys 2nite. Dont wait up

If a text could give a shit-eating grin, this one would do it. I shook my head and laughed silently, shoving my phone back into my pocket. Jeff was getting laid tonight and feeling pretty pleased about it.

That worked out nicely for me too.

It was the end of the day and only three kids were left on the playground. Gabby had started cleaning already so closing would be easy, and now I would have the trailer to myself. I decided I’d stop and get a Redbox video on the way home, and maybe some ice cream. Life was a lot better now that I’d gotten my first paycheck. When the last kid left, I checked with Gabby and discovered the cleaning was all done, as I’d suspected. We waved goodbye to each other and I went out to my car. The Redbox was outside of Walmart, which was busy this time of night but not busy enough for me to give up on the ice cream. I settled on slow-churned French silk, which I assumed was practically a health food because the package said it had half the fat and one-third fewer calories than the regular kind. This, combined with the Johnny Depp flick in my purse, almost guaranteed an orgasmic evening.

My mood just kept improving as I drove home.

One of my favorite dance songs came on the radio, which kicked ass because I didn’t have a plug for an iPod or even a CD player in my little junker (thus the Def Leppard incident when the Reapers had come to call). I almost got caught behind a slow-moving farm truck, but they pulled off to let me by. I car-danced my way down our long driveway through the orchard to find a single low-slung, black motorcycle parked outside the house.

Not part of the plan.

I got out of the car and looked around cautiously but didn’t see anyone. Nobody near the table, nobody in the folding chairs I’d set out in the newly cleared lawn area (I couldn’t call it a lawn in good conscience). What the hell?

I walked cautiously to the front door, clutching my cell phone like a weapon. What I planned to do with it I wasn’t sure, because if a murderer was waiting inside I wouldn’t exactly have time to call for help. I debated getting back in my car and driving away, but part of me wondered if Horse had come back. You know which part—that little nub between my legs, the bitch. The door swung open at a touch and I found Horse sitting at my counter, texting, all muscular and tattooed and incredibly hot.

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