Ryder pulledhis pick-up into the parking lot at Savage Heat and noticed that the place was pretty empty except for Hart’s truck. “Looks like your brother’s already here,” he assessed.
“Yeah,” Tatum agreed. She turned to stare down Ryder and he knew she was going to give him some fight with what was about to happen. “Listen,” she ordered. “I want to know that I’m going to have a say in whatever happens in there today,” she said, nodding to the bar that housed his club.
Ryder seemed to hesitate and then finally nodded. “All right,” she agreed. “And I want you to give me an honest chance to take care of you and keep you safe,” he said. That sounded fair, even though a part of her wanted to protest. She loved that he and Jackson wanted to protect her, but she was also pretty good at taking care of herself—always had been.
“Fine,” she agreed.
“Thank you for that, Baby,” Ryder said. He pulled her hand to his mouth and gently kissed her knuckles. “Now, let’s go in to see what your brother wants.”
She got out of his truck and waited for him to hobble over on his crutches. “I have to admit, I’m a little nervous,” she said.
“That’s normal, Honey. If you weren’t nervous, I’d worry. If the Dragons and Anarchy Kings are coming for you, they won’t stop until they have what they want. I’m not telling you this to scare you—I just want you to know what we’re up against.”
They walked into Savage Hell side by side and it felt good to have Tatum with him. He hoped that soon she’d let him introduce her to his club as his Ol’lady but right now, they had other things to deal with. Namely, why her older brother was staring at Ryder like he wanted to tear him apart.
“Tatum,” Hart breathed, pulling her in for a big bear hug. “I’ve missed you, Sis,” he admitted. Ryder felt bad for the guy. He hated that he and Tatum were on the outs but he needed to loosen the reigns some if he wanted his sister to start coming back around. She was tough as nails and Hart needed to see that and give her a chance to prove herself.
“Jackson,” she said. “It’s good to see you too.” She sighed and wrapped her arms around her brother. “You remember your friend, Ryder,” she teased. “He’s the one you were mean-mugging when we came in.”
Hart grumbled something about his sister being a smart ass and he shook Ryder’s hand. Savage came in from behind the bar and from the way he was laughing at what Tatum had said, he had heard most of the exchange.
“Tatum,” Savage said, “it’s damn good to meet you. Especially if you’re going to keep giving your brother shit.” He flashed Hart a smile, “I like your little sister,” he said.
Hart moaned, “Of course you do. Everyone seems to like Tatum,” he grumbled, eyeing Ryder.
“Yeah,” Savage said, carefully pulling Ryder in for a side hug. “I heard about you two shacking up. How’s that going?” Ryder chuckled knowing that Savage was asking to piss Hart off. The guy hated even thinking about him and Tatum together, in any capacity.
“It’s going very well,” Tatum said, cuddling into Ryder’s side. Savage barked out his laugh and shook his head at her.
“Yeah—I really fucking like your little sister, Hart,” he repeated. “How about we have a seat in the corner booth over there? I’ve invited Bowie and Rachet if that’s okay with you both?” he asked, looking between Hart and Ryder.
“Rachet?” Hart asked. “Do I know him?”
“No,” Savage said. “But Ryder met him when we were in Mexico helping out Whiskey. He’s a good guy and I have a plan that might need his involvement.”
“I’m good with it,” Ryder said. “Rachet was a huge help in Mexico. He’s a little weird, but still, a good guy.”
“I don’t know,” Hart said. “I don’t want everyone involved in this. The more people who help me, the more people I put in danger. I’ve already involved you guys and Tatum; I don’t want that hanging over my head.”
Rachet walked in through the side entrance and nodded to Savage. “I overheard what you were saying, man. If you don’t want me here, I’ll walk back out that door, but I have my own beef with the Anarchy Kings. You won’t be involving me in your problems with them—I already have my own. It’s your call, man,” Rachet said, holding his hand out to Hart.
He took it and smiled, “Thanks, Rachet,” Hart breathed. “Name’s Jackson Hart but everyone calls me Hart.”
“Good to meet you,” Rachet said. “I’m guessing you’re the sister we’re here to protect,” he asked Tatum.
She smiled and held out her hand, “I’m Jackson’s sister, Tatum. Thanks for offering to help, Rachet,” she said.
He turned back to Hart and laughed, “Guess not everyone calls you Hart, man,” he teased. “Ryder,” he said, nodding. Rachet looked him over and whistled. “How the hell you break your leg?”
“It’s a long story,” Ryder started.
“My sister ran him over with her car,” Hart helped.
“Shit,” Rachet said, smiling down at Tatum. She seemed just as mesmerized by the big guy as most of the women in Savage Hell were when Rachet stopped in for a beer. “Well, that’s one way to get a guy, Honey.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose or anything. And I didn’t get him—Ryder isn’t mine,” she squeaked.