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She stared at her brother, seeing the violence right at the surface, knowing for a fact he’d kill for her to make sure she was protected. “No, just some crusty old man that is old enough to be my grandpa who thinks sexual innuendos are cute.” The silence stretched for a second, and finally, he spoke again.

“You know I have to go after anyone who fucking hurt you.” He didn’t phrase it like a question.

“I know.” She didn’t feel any sympathy about Steven getting what he deserved. Maybe she should, but the asshole had laid his hands on her, threatened her, and she’d ran to the club because she’d known they could help. No way could Claire overpower Steven. She might have gotten in a good hit, but he hadn’t been expecting it.

He was prepared now if he’d survived the blow. But deep down, she knew he had, because his dark words, his threatening promise that had been shouted before she ran out the front door still played through her mind.

“And you don’t care what we do to him? How we make this right?”

She stared at the scarred door to the bathroom and the off-white tile on the shower. Maybe it was the fact she hadn’t been dating Steven long, or maybe it was the fact she’d grown up around the MC and her empathy was gone. Or maybe she just believed in an eye for an eye, and Steven had this coming.

But she shook her head, thinking she felt no emotion for what happened to that prick.

“If I was strong enough to take him down myself, I would.” She looked at Mayhem, at her brother who had always been there for her. “I wish sometimes I could be the one to clean up the messes.”

He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her in for a side hug. “What good am I if I can’t protect you?”

She smiled even though he couldn’t see it. As they sat there, the silence comforting, she thought about Big. Damn him and the fact he’d never left her mind. Of course, she’d told Steven there was nothing between them. It hadn’t been a lie, but what she hadn’t admitted, not even to herself most of the time, was that she loved Big and had this entire time.

“You have to talk to him.”

She nodded, knowing he was referring to Big, but feeling stubborn over the fact.

“He wants to talk, Claire. I know he does. But he’s hard-headed just like you.”

That had her clenching her teeth. He wants to talk now but hadn’t when I left.

“What happened between you two is just that, but you’re my sister, and he’s like family. I know you guys care for each other, even all this time later.”

“I don’t want to talk about that right now, Mayhem.”

He nodded and gave one of his characteristic grunts. “Come and party with the club for a little while. Take your mind off things.” Mayhem stood and held his hand out to her. She contemplated just staying in the room and getting some much needed sleep, but drinking and visiting with the guys she hadn’t seen in forever sounded much better.

She took her brother’s hand, let him help her up, and let go of him to smooth her palms over her jeans.

He opened the door for her, and once she was out of the room, both of them headed down the hallway and toward where the music.

Loud voices, and obvious good times were being had.


“Get the fuck off of me,” Big said and pushed away the drunken club bitch who was trying to grab his cock. He was finishing off his beer and wanted another one. Since the meeting with Mayhem and the few days Claire had been here, all Big had been able to think about was her.

God, he fucking loved her still, and as much as he wanted to pretend that he could turn his back on how he felt and what he wanted from her, the truth was he couldn’t stop thinking about her, no matter how hard he tried, how much he told himself it was the best idea for both of them.

She had been the one to walk away two years ago, so he shouldn’t feel like he’d been the one to do something wrong, but the fact remained, it had been his fault she left.

You didn’t go after her. You let her walk away. You let her fuck some other guy. If you’d been a man and told her how you felt, she would be here with you by your side and not trying to avoid you like the fucking plague.

“Line, man?” Dealer asked, shoving a rolled-up dollar bill and mirror covered with white lines of coke toward Big. But he was too busy watching Claire.

Big leaned back against the wall, the shadows in the corner hiding him slightly but giving him a prime shot of her. She wore tight jeans, holes in the back, right by the ass. God, her ass was full and round, her hips flaring out and giving him a prime shot of all of her curves.

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