Craving Redemption

By: Nicole Jacquelyn

Prologue

Callie

I’d gotten a call from my baby brother almost three months earlier, telling me he’d been shot, but not to worry. Who did he think he was talking to? I’d been taking care of him since the day they brought him home from the hospital—that wasn’t likely to stop just because he was doing God knows what in some town in Oregon. I’d never stop worrying about what was going on with him, just like he’d never stop standing between me and the world. That was why he was in this mess in the first place—why he gave up his education at one of the most prestigious universities in the country and joined a motorcycle club—leaving me all alone.

I hadn’t had any say in the matter. He’d left with Asa that day a year ago and I’d been too wrapped up with holding myself together to be able to stop it. I’d been such a mess—in shock and trying to figure out how it had played out the way it had. But I was no longer that broken girl who allowed herself to be patted on the head and told that everything was going to be okay. I was going to bring my brother home, no matter what I had to do.

When I pulled up to the gate, there was a man leaning against the fence outside. When he saw me, his shoulders stiffened for a minute before relaxing again as if he wasn’t overly concerned about what I was doing there. That was his first mistake. Then he grinned at me, checking me out and staring at my chest as he started toward my car. That was his second mistake. His third mistake was to walk up to my window and lean in, never even glancing at my hand that rested in my lap.

If he had seen me as a threat instead of staring at my boobs, he wouldn’t have been so surprised when I pressed the Taser against his chest.

Once he was down, I got out and rolled open the gate in front of my car. I was glad, but a little baffled, that there was no lock on the gate. They must have trusted whoever was guarding the gate to keep intruders out. Their mistake.

I started back for my car, skirting around the man lying on the gravel. I wanted to just leave him there. I really did. But the light was fading, and I was afraid if I left him lying there in the middle of the driveway someone would drive right over his ass. So instead of hopping in my car and heading down the road before someone could catch me, I leaned over and grabbed both of his ankles. It took me forever to drag him to the side of the road, and by the time I got him settled he’d begun to twitch as if he was waking up. I needed to get the hell out of there.

I once again walked toward my car, grabbing his phone off the ground as I passed it. If he woke up before I got to the big house, or whatever the fuck it was called, I didn’t want him warning anyone I was coming. I didn’t need them waiting for me. The only thing I had going for me at the moment was the element of surprise.

I pulled the car through the gate, but my conscience wouldn’t let me just leave things as they were. Jesus, I needed to stop having such a freaking bleeding heart. I left my car running and quickly ran back to shut the gate before heading down the road. They weren’t going to be thankful that I knocked out their guard, but at least I didn’t leave the gate open. That had to somehow work in my favor.

When I pulled up to the huge building, I could see there was some sort of gathering going on, but it didn’t stop me. Not once did I think I should come back or wait until a better time. I was on a mission to get my brother the hell out of there and nothing was going to stop me.

I knew it was a bad idea—knew the entire trip was one step away from a clusterfuck—and as soon as I saw Asa I took that final step. I was so consumed by rage; my vision had darkened at the edges. It was his fault. All of it; from the son I had at home in some shitty worn down apartment, to the fact that my brother was living in some biker compound in the middle of goddamn nowhere ruining his life and ultimately getting shot. It could all be traced back to Asa. The bastard.

There was a couple standing outside when I pulled up, but before I could even get my rental car’s door open, the man was shouting toward the building. I couldn’t understand what he was saying over the pounding in my ears. I was finally there; I knew it from the leather vest that the man was wearing. It was almost identical to the one Asa had worn for as long as I’d known him.