Fuck that. Happenin’ too fast. London grunted and rolled onto her back, making a smacking noise with her mouth. It wasn’t the sexiest thing I’d ever seen, but the sight of her tits flattening out across her chest was right up there. She’d seemed too sweet, too soft when I met her. She’d never survive in the club, I’d known it in my bones.
Then she’d sucked my cock like a pro in the courtyard, and the fact that any one of a hundred people could’ve walked up on us at any moment didn’t seem to bother her at all. Earlier, when I’d gotten stuck talking to my national president and left her hangin’ for hours with a crowd of strangers, London did great on her own. The woman wasn’t a coward.
Not only that, she brought food to the party and she wasn’t scared to stand up to Painter. She pitched in to keep things tidy, made sure everyone had enough to eat. Hell, she didn’t even freak out when her house exploded, which would’ve been totally fair, even in my book.
Old lady material.
You don’t want her, maybe you should pass her along to a man who does? Heather suggested, her voice sly. Don’t waste a good old lady—bring her into the club. Doesn’t have to be you claiming her. We need women like this one … Bolt’s lonely as hell these days.
“Bolt touches her, I’m shootin’ him.”
London stirred, then opened her eyes.
“Did you say something?” she whispered. I shook my head.
“Must’ve been someone in the hallway,” I grunted.
“You mind if I sleep some more?”
“Not at all,” I told her. “You rest. I think later on the girls are goin’ out, getting their toes done or some such shit. You should go with them.”
London’s eyes were already closed again.
I gave Heather the finger and slipped out the door.
“It’s time,” Hunter declared, looking around the big game room on the second floor of the Armory. We had men from three clubs here—nowhere near enough room in the chapel for all of us. “We’ve been playing defense against the cartel for too long. The Jacks are standing strong, but we don’t have the manpower to hold out much longer. We’re already losing territory. They’re gettin’ more powerful and soon they won’t be satisfied with anything less than open war. We think it’s better to attack them before they come after us with full strength, but we can’t do it alone. We need the Reapers and the Silver Bastards to join us, along with your support clubs. This may be our last chance to stop them.”
I sat back in my chair, wishing I didn’t dislike Hunter quite so much. Hard to listen to him making such sense and reconcile my respect for his opinions with him fuckin’ my baby girl and putting a baby in her. Shade, the Reapers’ national president, gave Hunter a respectful nod. The younger man sat back down, making way for Boonie—the president of the Silver Bastards—to speak.
“I agree,” Boonie said, surprising me. The Bastards had the most to lose in a war at this point. They were smaller than us, and so far as I knew, the cartel wasn’t directly interfering with their operations in the Silver Valley, which meant they were only here out of loyalty to the Reapers. I knew Boonie would lay down his life to save any one of us, but there’s a big difference between standing by a brother and following him into war. “The Jacks can’t hold—no offense meant by that, it’s just numbers. And when they fall, the Reapers will fall and then it’ll be too late for the Bastards. If we’re going down, I want to do it with my gun in my hand while there’s still a chance we can win.”
“So we agree?” Shade asked, looking around the room. “I know there are details to be worked out, but if I’m hearing right, all three clubs are on board with an offensive?”
I raised a hand, and Shade gave me a nod. I stood.
“I’m not sayin’ we shouldn’t go after the cartel,” I started. “But I think we need to be damned careful how we plan it, because even with the support clubs behind us, we just don’t have their firepower. Straight-up confrontation won’t work. This needs to be a smart attack, take out their head and then smack them down before a new one pops up. That should buy us some space, at least for a few years. I don’t think anyone here is naive enough to think we can destroy them completely.”
“Wouldn’t matter if we did,” said Duck, the oldest man present. He’d been through Vietnam and had watched more than one MC president rise and fall. Normally only officers spoke at a meet like this, but Duck had earned the right ten times over. “You take out one, another one comes. But we can defend our territory and make a difference if we hit it right. Just remember this—they’ve probably got the CIA behind them. Not that I have any proof, but there’s plenty of evidence the feds have fingers in the drug trade. Goes all the way back to ’Nam. But those spooks aren’t loyal, which means if we weaken the cartel enough, they’ll pull out their backing and it’ll fall apart. Could buy us years of peace. Maybe more if we strike a truce with whoever comes along next.”
Men grunted in agreement, and I sat back, deep in thought. Duck had been goin’ on about the CIA for decades, and it used to be we tuned him out. Recent years had proved him right, though. Time and again they’d been caught out doing business with the cartels, until I hardly noticed when the news reported another incident. I guess their theory was pick a partner and back them against all comers, because some influence over the drug trade was better than none?
Throw in legalization and things got even weirder.
“It settled, then?” Shade asked. “We go in together, take out select leadership targets in a coordinated attack. Anyone got a problem with that plan?”
“Then we got some other business to discuss,” Hunter said, startling me. Given we’d been in here talkin’ for the past four hours, seemed like there wasn’t much potential left for uncovered ground.
“What’s that?” Shade asked.
“It’s about London Armstrong.”
I sat up and caught his gaze, jaw tensing.
“Christ, not enough you’re fuckin’ my daughter?” I asked. “Now you gotta climb into my bed, too? Not club business how I handle my woman, so back the fuck off.”
Hunter shook his head slowly, eyes holding mine, not giving an inch. God damn, but I should’ve killed him when I had the chance. Probably too late now, what with the baby and all …