Hell or High Water (The Four Horsemen MC Book 8)(3)

By: Sara Rayne

The men crowded around Josie echoed her words.

Lex forced a smile over teeth gritted at the mention of her college nickname. Josie meant no harm; she didn’t know how much it grated on Lex’s nerves.

Screw them. They’d be sweating their GPA until Santa came. Lex had it in the bag.

“You’re not walking back alone, are you?” Josie’s face scrunched with concern.

“It’s a straight shot back to campus.” She dug in her bag and pulled out her keys, dangling her pepper spray. “And I’ve got this in case of creepers. I’m good.”

“Text me as soon as you’re back in the building?”

“Of course.” Lex hugged her friend goodbye, promising to visit…eventually. As she wound through the crowd toward the exit, she told people she knew “good luck on finals” and “have a nice break”, keeping her head down to avoid eye contact with Grant. She grabbed her hoodie from the pile near the door and started the fifteen-block walk back to her dorm.

The party was located in the older part of town, and the nearby houses did nothing to block the cool night wind whipping around Lex’s face. Residents had made an attempt at wintery holiday cheer, placing Christmas lights in the branches of the skeletal trees hunkered down for the winter along the brown lawns. The sounds of the party faded, and the squat houses along the street were dark and silent.

Lex blew out a breath and tightened the strings of her hoodie, pulling the fabric close to her face. She rubbed her fingers together to ward off the bite of the cold as she walked. Not given to flights of imagination, Lex usually didn’t mind walking all by herself in the dark, but tonight, the street felt tense, eerie.

To distract herself, she pulled out her phone and brought up Voo’s latest text. Making you something special this weekend, ma petite. When you in town?

There. A blush warmed her face right up. She hadn’t replied because she wanted to surprise him. Lex smiled to herself. Her last final would be over by noon, and she planned to be at Hades Hotel & Diner by sundown. She bit her lip, excitement growing in her chest.

Maybe she should text him something? What if he had…other plans? Lex frowned. She could show up and find him all over some hellion.

There was a caveat her mom had added to the Four Horsemen MC warning label: get attached to a Horseman and spend eternity looking at the competition taking body shots in tiny scraps of leather. Hellions, the wild women who hung around the brothers, loved to be casual with sex—but what do you expect from biker groupies? It was enough to give the most confident of women self-esteem issues, and truth be told, Lex wasn’t the most confident of women.

She liked herself, believed in her worth, her value. Lex was smart, capable, resourceful, and funny. Sure, she was girl-next-door pretty, but she wasn’t leather-and-teased-hair, dancing-on-a-pool-table hot.

Lex had to face it—she was the anti-hellion.

Blinking yellow lights down the road caught her eye. Two blocks up, a truck pulled over and a man got out, slamming his hands on the hood in frustration.

Her stomach fluttered, and she slowed, her instincts warring. In broad daylight, she wouldn’t hesitate to approach someone having car trouble to ask if they needed help. Being neighborly came with the territory in a small college town, and she’d gotten to know many of the locals over the years.

But something felt off about this. Her gut stirred with suspicion.

She scanned the route ahead. To avoid the truck, she’d have to detour via one of the side streets instead of following her straight shot home. She peered down the closest road. No streetlights, and she had no idea when it would reconnect with the main road. It could be a block—or a mile.

Lex dialed 9-1-1 on her phone to be safe, but didn’t complete the call. Screwing up her courage, she gripped the pepper spray cylinder and continued towards the car.

The man turned at her approach. “Lex?”

Grant. Dammit.

“Hey, Grant. I thought you were going to stay at the party.” Lex pocketed her phone. This kind of trouble, she could deal with.

“Nah, I bailed when you blew me off.” He shrugged, and the gesture was almost disarming. “Started swerving on the road, so I figured I’d pull over and sober up.”