Needing Me, Wanting You

By: C.M. Stunich

Tease

Chapter 1

I like my job because it's easy. The most difficult part of my day consists of choosing what color eyeshadow to wear, which corset makes me look the curviest. I'm not saying that what I do is going to change the world, but it's all I know, so I roll with it. I think my dad was disappointed in me though. I don't know why, but I always got that feeling when his eyes meet mine from across the room. Like father, like daughter, Dad, I think as I move across the carpet in my heels. Unfortunately, he's not around to ask. Not that he would've admitted it anyway. My dad and I had a strange relationship.

“Emilie,” my brother says, greeting me with a frown and a chaste kiss. Nobody calls me that anymore, but him. Even though I can tell some serious business is brewing, I give him a smile.

“It's good to see you, bro,” I say, and I get the teensiest, tiniest smile back. It only lasts so long though before it's wiped away with responsibility and worry. My brother never stops worrying. It's like a hobby for him. I shrug my jacket up my shoulders and move to the side, giving the Sergeant At Arms of our club, room to face the green-eyed devil everybody calls Tax, but who I still call Dare-Bear. Only when he's not listening, of course.

The two men stand facing each other for a moment before reaching out and shaking hands, hard and gruff. Formal. My brother is really into formalities. And he enforces them. I guess if you can keep a group of seventy-seven wild men in line with a single word, you have the right to. Since the moment our father died, Darren Jr. has been whooping ass and taking names, fighting his way to the top, doing everything in his power to preserve my father's legacies. So whether I agree with the way we do things in Seventy-Seven Brothers or not, I obey.

I look down at the floor beneath my feet, the dark carpeting of the clubhouse framing my black heels in burgundy with cream colored diamonds. I don't have any business here, but I had to see my brother. He's the one that raised me anyhow, so I owe him the courtesy. Besides, it's expected of me. I'm the only woman here who isn't an old lady. I ride with the club out of respect to who my father was, and who my brother is. To everyone else, I'm just a bitch in the garage.

It might bother some ladies, but it doesn't bother me. Despite what you might think, this isn't a blood in, blood out sort of a scenario. I'm free to walk away at any time. I just choose not to. Like I said, my job is easy, and I don't know anything else. The club is my life.

“Go get yourself something to eat, Tease,” Darren tells me, nodding his chin and dismissing me, just like that. I smile again and wink at him, sliding past Oren and his vicious grin. He is absolutely relentless, even in front of my brother. Out of the entire group, that man is by far my least favorite. “I'll come see you later.”

“Is that a promise?” I ask, but Darren's green eyes have already switched off, taken him out of this world and into himself. It means he's thinking about club business and not about me. It used to bother me, but it doesn't anymore. It's amazing how accustomed you can get to something you used to despise. The human race is remarkably adaptable.

A couple of the guys escort me out of the room and down the stairs. Darren might be my brother, but he's still the President of our motorcycle club. Nobody gets in there without some serious trust and a particularly thorough pat down.

Eyes follow me as I move through the halls toward the dining room. Eyes are always following me. That's sort of my whole purpose here. I'm like a walking, talking canvas, a piece of art to be admired. But never touched. A sex symbol who doesn't have sex. Does the name make sense now? Tease is not a monicker I'd have picked out for myself. But then, Emilie Hathorne doesn't work either. I guess I'm just trapped in the in-between. That's okay, though, because I've been here forever and forever I will stay.

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