No worries here, she decided resolutely, eyes once again roaming aimlessly around the bar. No worries at all. Thinking about exactly how they’d celebrate when it was all over, she smiled, but that smile died a quick death as the beefy biker she hadn’t realized she’d been staring at nodded, climbed to his feet, and hitched up his leather pants.
Uh-oh, she thought, as he lumbered toward their table, and nudged George with her elbow. “Excuse me, but—”
“Almost done here,” he assured her, gently squeezing her hand. “Couple more details to iron out.”
Candy eyed the behemoth bearing down on them. Did a creature that weighed close to two-fifty and resembled an amorous grizzly on a bad hair day qualify as a detail? She had a strong, unpleasant hunch they were about to find out. Scary Hairy was almost on top of them.
Candy sat up straight, her fingers fluttering frantically in George’s grip. “Heads up, guys. I think we’ve got—” Company? A problem? She didn’t have time to decide.
“You ready to split, sweet mama?” Coming from what seemed like a mile above her head, the biker’s voice was a slow growl-drawl reminiscent of John Wayne on steroids and downers.
Gep went still. George went still. Every soul in Hog Heaven went still as George’s head turned left, angled up.
“The lady is with me.”
The grizzly’s beady eyes never left Candy’s face. “Got a full tank of gas and a bitch seat on my Harley.” A grubby plate-sized paw tipped with oil-rimmed fingernails reached down to wrap around her arm. “So let’s ride. I wanna be in Bakersfield by sunrise.”
Candy was about to suggest he and his sunrise visit a place even hotter than Bakersfield when Price firmly removed the paw from her arm and stood.
“Maybe you didn’t catch my drift,” he said, oh so softly. “Let me see if I can make it simple. Like you.” He laid a hand on Candy’s shoulder. “Mine.”
“Yeah,” she said, “I’m his,” and simply beamed at George when he flashed her an exasperated look.
Hairy nodded ponderously. “Sure. Sure, I know how it is. You were his when you walked in, then you saw me. And smiled. So you don’t wanna be his no more. You know ol’ Bear will take good care of you.”
George’s head swung in her direction. “You made eye contact with a guy named Bear in a biker bar? You smiled at him?”
“I didn’t know his name was Bear,” she snapped, “and I didn’t smile at him, I smiled toward him. Big difference.”
“What in the hell did you find to smile about in this dump?”
“If you must know, I was thinking about after. What we’d do?” She waggled a finger between them. “You and I?” When the light didn’t go on, she huffed out a breath, raised her eyebrows. “How we’d celebrate?”
Gep chuckle-coughed into his hand as Price nodded.
“Something to look forward to,” he said, and turned back to Bear. “Look, pal, you’ve made a mistake. Not your fault, so we’ll call it bygones. But the lady is happy where she is.”
“Bygones, my ass. Bear wants her. And what Bear wants, Bear takes.” He tried to shove past his lighter opponent and found himself face to face with an immovable object.
“Here we go,” sighed Gep.
“Over my dead body,” George informed Bear, pleasantly.
Bear shrugged. “Okay,” he said, and lunged.
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