Fuck! Just like a car revving from zero to sixty, I went from frustration to guilt. I couldn’t blame my rapid mood change on Peyton. It was symptomatic of the shit lodged in my brain. Something is seriously wrong with me. I floored the accelerator, gave the vehicle too much gas, and sped out of the garage.
Forty minutes later, I was back in shit-hole Secaucus. As soon as I was old enough, I got the fuck out of town via the military—my ticket to freedom. Sadly, that stint didn’t last long. When you had hair-trigger emotions, working around weaponry was a terrible idea.
The one good thing that came out of my tours of duty—it took two before I was deemed a hazard—was my friendship with Deidrick Hines. Everyone called him Rick except for me. The big lug would always be Ollie, short for his middle name. He’d accepted a medical discharge and left the Marines, but the fucker saw so much shit overseas that he couldn’t hold down a regular job. First chance he got, Ollie came home to Secaucus and joined an MC. It wasn’t what a vet should have done, but dude was seriously messed up in the head. When he wasn’t running guns or some shit for the club, he hung out at Black Jack’s Bar & Grill.
A handful of degenerates littered the rickety chairs and cracked vinyl booths. They were like the useless remnants at the bottom of a bottle—not enough to make a decent drink but too much to throw out. A plume of smoke curled up from a corner booth, and I headed straight for it.
The tall blond sat with his back against the wall. I slid into the booth and tried my best not to touch the sticky, dirty table. His tired green eyes looked over at me.
“What the fuck do you want?” Ollie tapped the cigarette into an ashtray piled high with butts.
“Now, now, is that anyway to treat your best friend?”
Ollie leaned forward, his biceps bulging from beneath his cut. “Maybe if you came by more often, I’d be fucking happy to see your ass.”
I eyed his tumbler of whiskey—it was all he ever drank—and licked my lips. Thanks to my father, I didn’t touch alcohol either. The man was a mean drunk who spent the better part of my childhood beating the shit out of my Ma—the reason why she did drugs. When he got tired of wailing away on her, he turned to me. At one point, I had so many bruises my skin looked like a tie-dye shirt.
“Okay, Savage, I’ll bite. Why the hell are you in town?”
Only Ollie called me that. The name stuck after he saw me beat a man within an inch of his life. I loosened my tie and sat back.
“Got the night off.” I reached for his pack of smokes—my chosen vice. “I have to check in on Ma, but then we could—”
“I’ve got to make a run for the club. I’ll be gone for a couple of days. You’re welcome to stay at my place.”
I shook my head and took a drag from the cancer stick. “Pass. Your place is a fucking pig sty.”
His lips curled up on one side. “It’s clean enough for your ass.” Ollie studied me for a moment. “Wanna tell me the real reason you’re here?”
“Daniels. He called the team in to find out who’s sleeping with Peyton.”
Ollie’s eyebrow quirked up. “And does he know?”
I closed my eyes and said, “About me? Possibly.”
“Is she worth it?”
A smile spread across my face as I cracked open an eye. “Oh, yeah, brother. Every time is worth it.”
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