All The Sky (Signal Bend #5)

By: Susan Fanetti

To Jess, Sarah, and Elena, who never complain when I dump mountains of words on their heads.

And especially to my writing partner, Shannon Flagg, who sees me through every painful stage in the loving labor of my stories.

I never would have even started this crazy obsession if it weren’t for you.

Love you.

love is less always than to win

less never than alive

less bigger than the least begin

less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly

and more it cannot die

than all the sky which only

is higher than the sky

from “[love is more thicker than forget],” by e.e. cummings


The clubhouse was as packed as if it were Super Bowl Sunday. And there were a bunch of damn kids around, too, so Havoc couldn’t even get himself a lapful of chick. Not just Isaac’s kids, but town kids. Running around like they were at a playground, or Chuck E. Cheese, or some shit. And there were grandmas and shit. Fuck. Marie Bakke and Rose Olsen were sitting next to Showdown and Shannon. Shannon was sitting on Show’s lap—like fucking always. Rose was knitting. Knitting!

He sat at the bar and scowled into his glass. When he heard an eruption of feminine chatter, he turned his scowl to the television. Fucking pissed him off. He didn’t know why the holy fuck either the town or the Horde thought this was a night to fucking celebrate. It was a damn outrage, far as he was concerned.

Draining the last of his tequila, he slammed the empty glass on the gouged surface of the bar. “Keep ‘em comin’, Wrench.”

“You got it, Hav.”

Havoc didn’t think Wrench was going to earn his top rocker. Too soft, too slow, too dim. Even in these quiet times, he didn’t have much to offer. But he was eager to please and amiable enough. After all the shit with the Scorpions, and fucking C.J. putting Isaac out of commission for over a year, they’d needed the help, and he’d stepped up. Havoc wasn’t in any hurry to kick him, as long as things stayed mellow like they’d been since then.

Mikey would probably be ready for his patch soon, on the other hand. He already had a lot of the responsibility of a patch. His minimum had passed awhile back, but they were taking their time. Len had sponsored him, so he’d make the call about when to bring it to the table. It was hard to test the spine of a Prospect when the club was quiet and working legit. These days, the Horde mostly kept order in town—oh, and owned a damn pussy wine bar.

Havoc had sponsored Doogie, who’d bailed after the holidays, moving to Iowa to work his uncle’s farm. Havoc had been incensed. He’d vouched, and the kid had walked away like the Horde had been nothing more than an angle he’d been playing. People bailing. Pissed him off worse than anything.

On that thought, and as the crowd in the Hall got louder than ever, he scowled at the television again. Just in time to see Riley Chase and Bart Elstad walking down the fucking red carpet at the motherfucking Academy Awards.

Because yeah, that made any kind of sense at all.

He fucking hated seeing Bart trussed up like a damn penguin, standing a step behind his woman while people screamed her name and took her picture and stuck microphones in her face. He fucking hated that Bart seemed to be doing okay in the Scorpions, that he was married to a goddamn movie star and living in a goddamn mansion and that he was right this minute smiling down at the little blonde bitch—oh, and now kissing her while the screen practically went white from all the goddamn flashes.

Havoc knew he was being irrational, but he didn’t fucking care. He knew that it had torn Bart up to give up the Horde. He knew that his sacrifice had allowed the Horde to fucking exist at all. If he hadn’t given up his patch and his ink, the Scorpions would have flattened the Horde, one way or another. They’d either be dead now, or they’d be wearing Scorpions patches, too. Instead, because Bart did what he did, the Horde was solid. They were even strong. And their truce with the Scorpions was intact. Guarded, but intact.

Havoc didn’t think they’d ever be really solid with that club again. Too much had gone down between them. And with all this Oscars bullshit, they weren’t in the clear yet. People had gotten interested in the Horde again. But Bart was on it. Only thing was, now he was protecting the Scorpions’ interests first.