*Unedited and subject to change.
copyright by Jewelz Baxter
Ayden Monroe—or Mac as everyone called him—had been away far too long for his liking. He was antsy to be back to work. Now he stared through the windshield of his truck, his wrist draped over the steering wheel allowing his hand to fall lax and his left arm rested on the driver’s door. Although his focus was on the road ahead of him, his thoughts were hundreds of miles behind him. And decades ago. He was traveling purely on muscle memory guiding him home. To the garage.
Each holiday, the club gathered to celebrate together and last week they had traveled to Colorado to spend Christmas with Brew. Little did they know, he would be getting hitched that very day, so that lengthened the celebration before everyone returned home to ring in the New Year at the clubhouse. As was also a tradition. That was two days ago. He had hit town just in time to welcome in the new year.
With his brother’s nuptials, along with the seemingly steady addition of children being born into the club, his thoughts reverted to his younger years. A time when he thought he had it all—youth, a career, and a beautiful woman who would be by his side forever. He was sure his life was perfect. Until the day it wasn’t.
When the party in Colorado faded, he hopped a plane to where his heart had been laid to rest. He had spent most of the day sitting at her graveside talking and speculating about what their lives would have been like if they had spent all these years together raising a family. He didn’t regret his life now. Not at all. He had clung to the local motorcycle club during his grieving time and had been accepted and patched in. He loved his life and his club, but no one had tempted his heart like she had. Sure, he had had women pop into his life from time to time. But when they drifted away, so did his memory of them. And his heart remained fully his.
He shook away the past and pulled into the lot of the garage he owned. He had been away from this place for over a week, and it was time to get back under a hood and dirty his hands again. Wasting no time, he jumped from his truck the moment he parked and strolled toward the open bay door. “Hey, Dutch.”
The old man twisted from the ’70 Chevrolet Chevelle they were restoring. “I was beginning to wonder if you had abandoned us.”
Mac grinned and the thrill of being back in his zone filled his eyes. “Crossed my mind.”
Dutch laughed with a shake of his head. “I put notes on your desk and . . .”
Mac threw up his hand, cutting off Dutch’s words as he pulled his vibrating phone from his pocket and glanced at the screen before swiping it. “You got me. What’s up?” Focusing on the voice of his club president, he turned and headed toward his office. “Got it. I’ll check my stock and get back with a timeline.”
He slid the phone back into his pocket and pushed open the office door, eager to arrange the delivery King was putting into motion. The door slipped from his hand, and he jerked to a halt. A stranger occupied Mandy’s chair. She appeared tall in the small chair with her dark waves cascading over the back rest. “Who the hell are you?”
The woman spun in the chair where Mandy, his receptionist, should be, the heels of her stilettos clicking against the floor when it came to a stop. She crossed her arms, boosting the already ample cleavage that seemed to be testing the strength of her blouse. “I’m Lorelei.” After a moment, she snapped her fingers. “Those are not my eyes. And who are you?”
“I own this joint. Where’s Mandy?”
“Well, now, if you were any reputable type of business owner, you would know where your employees are. And, you would know why I’m here.”
Mac stepped back without losing sight of her and gripped the door handle, swinging it wide. “Get out.”
Lorelei huffed out a breath. “What? You’ve had your fill of my legs and breasts? Now need to assess my rear end?” She stood, smoothing her skirt over her curvaceous thighs, and spun on her spikey heels pausing only for a moment as she faced away from him. “First one’s free. Best get your fill.” She spun back. “Now keep your eyes in your head and away from me. And don’t even consider accidentally bumping into me. I carry mace and I have no reservations about removing a shoe to stab you with it.” She plopped back into the chair and swiveled it to face toward the customer window.
Mac’s chin dropped. The nerve of her waltzing in here and talking to him like that. He considered rolling the chair from the building with her still in it. Or throwing her over his shoulder and carrying her out. Yeah, she probably would stab him before he reached the parking lot. But smacking that ass in return would lighten the sting. He took a step toward her ready to do just that.