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A noisy sound boomed over the muffled beat streaming from the Belle View dance club into the street.
The sound I’d been waiting to hear for hours.
I didn’t mind. I’d have waited for him to show up till the end of the night. And many nights to come.
What were a few more days to eight months?
I squeezed the steering wheel, eyes pinned to his small reflection in the rear mirror, one thought in my head. Tonight, I’d get what I came here for.
He pulled up in front of the club and killed the engine. The security guard greeted him with a brotherly handshake, a hug, and a little chuckle.
Lucky for me, Dusty didn’t fit the filthy biker stereotype that only went to MC bars to bang cheap whores and chug down beers for everyone to hear how loud he could belch.
Despite being the son of Roar, The Night Skulls’ leader or president or whatever shit they called him, Dusty drove his bike alone, without the gang flanking him, and went to uptown dance clubs in San Francisco.
The perfect setting for my plan.
I waited for a few minutes after he went inside the club, and then I followed.
The next part was easy. All it took was a blond wig, a skanky mini dress and makeup, and skankier moves on the dance floor to get him buzzing around me like a fly drawn to an exposed honeypot.
He didn’t recognize me. I didn’t think he would. Not unless The Night Skulls handed every member a poster of my face with a warning below.
The disguise was to lure him in, not to hide who I was. Not from him anyway. I was sure he’d show up here alone, but I did my best not to look like myself in case any of the few gang members who knew me accompanied him. They probably wouldn’t have recognized me either with the wig and all the makeup. I didn’t look like the Cameron they knew at all. There was no such thing as being too careful, though.
I learned that the hard way.
And for later, when the security guard or any friends of Dusty’s here were asked to id the woman he was with all night, the new look would come in handy.
When I sat at the bar, Dusty offered to buy me a drink. I nodded, giving him a small—hopefully sexy—smile. I didn’t speak, afraid my voice would shake or give him any hint of the psyche underneath. Even though I’d been planning this for months, determined to go through with it no matter what, I was nervous as fuck.
“What do you like to drink?” he asked.
I glanced at him. It was the first time I could take a close look at his face. The dance floor was too dark to notice the details, and before tonight I’d always watched him from a distance.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was his smile. The kind that melted hearts and messed up with heads. A very powerful weapon coming from those fleshy lips.
His eyes weren’t any less dangerous. Warm. Beautiful. Bright with shades of green in them. I couldn’t make out the exact color in this light, but I would say hazel was more like it.
He had thick, black hair that reached below his ear, a heavy stubble, and ink covering his neck. The white T-shirt and leather jacket must have hidden more tattoos…and muscles. Big ones. Lots of them. I could see the outline of his bench and six packs through his T-shirt. According to my information, he wasn’t over twenty years old, but he looked a lot older.
To say Dusty was good-looking was an understatement. He was really beautiful and didn’t look anything like Roar. His piece of shit father was blond with long, unkempt hair. Rough face. Hard jaws. Sickening smile. He was large and rugged with a threatening presence—Dusty was large, too, but in a…more appealing way.
I had no doubt he was not the monster his father was either. As far as I knew, Dusty wasn’t there when…
But I didn’t care. Couldn’t. With that fire in my heart, caring was a luxury I couldn’t afford.
A weakness I could no longer allow.
My gaze shifted to the barkeep. “Whatever you’re having.”
Dusty ordered some tequila shots and a beer. I had one shot with him so it wouldn’t be too suspicious. I needed my strength and clarity tonight.
He took a swig from the beer, and I fumbled with my purse and let it slip out of my hands. He put the bottle down and picked the purse off the floor for me.
“Thank you. I think I’m already tipsy.” I pretended to giggle.
A crooked smile curved the corner of his mouth. “What do you say? Wanna get outta here?”
Goosebumps spread across my skin. “Okay. You finish your beer. I’ll hit the lady’s room real quick and meet you back here?”
“Sure, babe.” He took another swig.
The second I hit the restroom, I braced myself against the sink, shutting my eyes, evening my breaths.
You can do this. It’s all working according to plan. You can do this!
As I opened my eyes, I noticed the few girls who were already inside. They were looking at me through the mirrors on the wall.
“You all right?” One of them paused reapplying her lipstick to ask.
I stared at her for a moment, clutching at the marble to hide the shaking of my hands. Of course she didn’t know when I dropped my purse earlier, I’d slipped a drug into Dusty’s beer, and now I had to wait here for a few minutes before it kicked in. But my face must have shown how nervous and scared I was.
I never had second thoughts about what I was about to do to Roar’s son. It didn’t mean I was okay with it, though. I felt horrible. Torn. Afraid. How did those thugs from The Night Skulls do it with smirks on their faces? Taking someone, hurting them without an ounce of guilt or fear?
The concerned look in the girl’s eyes nudged me back to reality. Even remorse was a luxury I couldn’t have. Nodding once at her, I wet my lips in silence. I spun and sprinkled some water on my face. Then I fixed my makeup and headed out.
No turning back now.
He was still at the bar, finishing the last of his beer. I took a deep breath as I reached him. “Ready when you are.”
He slid his arm around my waist, no signs of the drug on him yet, his hand low on my hip. Pictures of me breaking that hand to the point of permanent damage occupied my imagination all the way out of the club and to the parking lot.
The shiny Harley stood out in the middle of the lot, and he wanted to take me for a ride and then to his place.
I needed him in my car. In my place.
“You don’t look like you have an extra helmet,” I said.
“You always follow the rules?” he retorted, fully sober.
Why the fuck wasn’t he out yet? Did I mess up the dose? Or he didn’t really drink that beer? Oh my God, what if he figured it out or saw me slipping that drug?
My heart thrashed.
Don’t freak out now. Just don’t.
I blinked, laughing under my breath, leaning into his chest. “How about we break some rules in the backseat of my car?”
He laughed. His hands found my butt. “I like the way you think.”
Quickly, I took his hands off my body and into my own palms, dragging him to the car.
As soon as I unlocked it and opened the door, he pushed me inside and ducked in, slamming the door behind him.
“What the fuck?” I yelped, my eyes wide, curling heat sinking in my stomach.
His hazel eyes washed over my body and then lifted to my face. The way he looked at me held me in place.
Not out of fear.
His gaze was rather warm and…sweet.
That was never a word I thought I’d use to describe Dusty.
The back of his fingers brushed over my naked arm so softly. “Easy, kitty. I’m just messing with you. Didn’t mean to scare you. Thought maybe you liked it a little rough, breaking the rules and all.” He gave me that smile again and leaned in for a kiss.
I ran out of ideas or excuses to stall him, so I let him kiss me.
Please pass out already.
His lips grew greedy. Hungry. His hands too.
Then he slowed down. “Wait… Something is… I…”
I stared at him, holding my breath, his eyelids drooping. Then his body went limp, and he was out.
Just like that.
Eight months of agony and rage and waiting and planning reduced to the nine minutes it took Dusty to lose conscious.
Nine fucking minutes that felt like a lifetime.
I couldn’t take another second of this or him touching me I almost vomited in his mouth and blew up the whole plan.
Had we been different people in a different time, I wouldn’t have minded the touching. I would have loved it, encouraged it with hungrier moves. He was beyond sexy. Any woman could fall into his arms without a second thought or regret. And the way he kissed me, the way his hands explored my body—despite everything—set me ablaze.
But we were not different people in a different time.I was Cameron, Annie’s sister. He was Dusty, the son of her abductor.