Thorn (A Brikken Motorcycle Club Saga Book 4)By: Debra Kayn
OVER THE LOUD MUSIC rolling out of the clubhouse, a wounded cry broke up the night. Thorn straightened from leaning against the building and tilted his head, straining to hear. He'd heard the same soulful scream on and off over the last four years.
There were no houses near the boundaries of Brikken Motorcycle Club property for foreign noise to reach his ears. Chief, his father, and Johanna lived across the creek behind the clubhouse, but his little sisters were long past the age of crying.
The sound had to be from a bird or maybe a rabbit. He tilted his head the other way. Or, maybe the screams of his past were coming back to him.
Whatever made the noise left him on edge. The shrill wail followed by sniffling sobs, familiar to those he'd heard from his nieces and nephews, was enough to get his attention earlier and draw him back outside.
His skin prickled and his senses hummed in intensity. It was almost like someone was watching him.
Soft thumping footsteps added to the mix. He jerked his gaze to the right.
Johanna stepped fully around the corner of the clubhouse. She pressed her hand to her chest and gave an embarrassed laugh. "God, Thorn. I thought you were Chief standing there. What are you doing out here by yourself?"
Ignoring her question, he asked, "Do you hear that?"
"What?" She flipped her hair to the side and looked around the field. "The song?"
His chest tightened. Tired of feeling like he was losing his fucking mind, he leaned against the side of the building again and muttered, "It's probably nothing."
Johanna put her hand on his arm. "Are you okay?"
"Yep." He lifted his chin. "Chief's inside if you're looking for him."
"He called me a few minutes ago." Johanna sighed. "He wants Jackie out of there."
"It's a rough night. The men are blowing off some steam." He hooked his thumbs under his belt. His little sister by Chief and Johanna was old enough to be around the parties and too young to trust her judgment toward the men inside letting loose. "It's best she gets out of there."
Johanna squeezed his arm and walked off toward the front door of the clubhouse. He stayed outside because he couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. With three hundred and fifty-eight Brikken members milling around twenty-four/seven, he couldn't understand why no one had picked up on something wrong over the last four years.
He rubbed the back of his neck. Maybe he was losing his fucking mind, but he wasn't going to let his guard down or let an enemy walk onto the property.
He'd make sure the club remained safe. His father. His brothers. The Brikken officers. None of those in charge of the club were shut in the slammer, and he planned on keeping them and himself free.
The heat was always on them by the Feds. His due diligence kept the agents from linking the chopped bikes back to Brikken on a recent raid, but that wouldn't stop law enforcement from keeping eyes on all of the members.
Pushing off the building, he walked out to the gate, taking the hundred yards to listen and look around. He'd almost convinced himself that he'd imagined the crying but his skin continued to crawl.
Someone was out there. Watching. He'd stake his life on it.
Freddy sat on his Harley and lifted his chin as Thorn approached. "You're not on guard tonight."
"No." He stopped a few feet away. "Just stretching my legs."
"It's a sad world getting old." Freddy chuckled. "Hell, you're still a kid. I have six or seven years on you. My best friend is my bike seat."
"Yeah, I hear you." He used the different position to look around the vehicles parked across the field.
He was forty-eight years old. His years of riding the seat, working with his hands on the motorcycles Brikken manufactured from stolen parts and resold to an organization down in California had put scars on his body and worn the ligaments down in almost every damn joint in his body.
Not to mention the women, the drinking, and fights.
"Have you seen anything tonight?" he asked.
"I've seen a lot of ass." Freddy whistled softly. "As soon as my time at the gate is up, I plan on heading in there and getting a piece."
It wasn't the answer he wanted. He walked off, drawn to the cars of the non-members at the party.