RIDING THE NIGHT, the last book in the Wild Riders series, releases 2 weeks from today.
I thought I’d give you the entire first chapter over the next couple weeks to tempt you before release day. Here’s the second part of Chapter One (See blog post here for Part One of the Chapter One Excerpt)
AJ and Pax work together as undercover operatives for a government agency of bad-boy bikers known as the Wild Riders. And though they play as hard as they work, both men are looking for the one woman who can tame them…
On vacation, AJ and Pax run into AJ’s high school sweetheart, Teresa. While they’re catching up at Teresa’s bar, a fight erupts between two biker gangs, leaving one man dead and Teresa’s brother wrongly accused of murder. With no proof and Teresa as the only eye witness, the trio points their Harleys toward the annual bike rally in South Dakota in hot pursuit of the real killer…
Her life in jeopardy, AJ and Pax become Teresa’s fierce protectors. But a past trauma keeps Teresa guarded, unable to trust them–until AJ and Pax uncover her secret and vow to do anything to help her heal. And in their arms she discovers a sensual desire that knows no boundaries, a passion strong enough to overcome her tragic past and awaken a force that brings both men to their knees.
Danger may temporarily bind the three together, but it’s their shared passion that will lead them to the ride of their lives: love.
Excerpt after the jump:
Ten years had changed her, and all for the better. Raven hair fell long and straight over her shoulders and settled over her generous breasts. Her eyes, still as green as emeralds, widened with the same shock and recognition.
They locked gazes, and time stood still. It was ten years ago, and everything they’d ever been together, what they’d done together, came rushing back in a blast of heated memories.
“AJ?” she asked, her voice unsure and tentative, as if she couldn’t really believe it was him.
He nodded, realizing now what an epically fucked up idea it had been to come back home. “Teresa.”
He couldn’t take his eyes off her. She had been a beautiful girl at eighteen. Ten years later, she was a stunning woman, the kind of woman men follow with their eyes. Tan, tall, in blue jeans and a midriff-baring top that hugged her breasts, bared a flat belly and narrow waist and showed off slim hips and long legs. Three silver earrings dotted each ear, and a piercing sparkled in her belly button.
That was all he had time to see, because she backed away.
“I have customers, guys. I’ll be right back.” Her gaze lingered on his for a second, then she turned to grab some beers out of the ice, bending over to show a tattoo—a tramp stamp on her lower back—a heart, with a dagger through it and blood dripping off the end. And holy shit she still had one fine ass, one that had aged well over the past ten years.
She moved down the bar with beers in hand, and AJ finally blinked.
“Teresa? The Teresa? That’s your Teresa, the one you told me about?” Pax asked, leaning over the bar to follow her with his gaze.
“Dude. You’re fucking insane for ever leaving that woman. She’s the hottest thing this side of the Red River. Or the Mississippi River. Or any river.”
AJ slumped onto the bar stool and took a long swallow of beer to coat his now parched throat. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” He’d had a lot of reasons for leaving her, the least of which was his stepfather. He’d had enough and had to get away from the life he’d been leading. Leaving Teresa had been part of it.
So why the hell had he come back? To kick himself in the gut again and remind himself of all the things he could never have?
“What brings you back to town, AJ?”
Pax kicked him, and AJ lifted his head. Teresa cast inquisitive eyes at him, seemingly friendly and open, but the spark that used to lift him up was gone.
He’d wanted her like he’d never wanted a woman since. But he’d never had her. He’d been proud of himself for turning down the one thing he wanted more than anything else. Why taint her with everything that was bad about him?
God, he’d hurt her. Even now he wanted to fold her in his arms and tell her how sorry he was for walking away from her, from what they could have had together.
But what could they have had?
Nothing. Not then.
And not now.
He shrugged. “Pax and I are doing some riding. We happened to be coming this way so thought I’d ride through and see if anything had changed. I see Greasy’s has.”
She grinned and put her hands on her hips. “You like it?”
He saw the pride in her eyes. “You own this place?”
“Sure do. Todd got sick about five years ago. I was working for him then, and he said he was going to have to close up. We’d grown so much by then, bikers were crowded in here like sardines. No way was I going to let someone else take all that business, so I got a loan and bought the bar. Made a few changes, things kept going well, so we ended up remodeling last year.”
“You’ve done a great job with it, Teresa. It looks great.”
“Thanks.” She popped open two more beers and slid them to the guy who’d moved in next to Pax, took the guy’s money and made change, smiling at her customer as if he was the only man in the room. No wonder bikers piled in here. Who wouldn’t to spend time with Teresa?
But as she moved on to help another customer, AJ finally opened his eyes to see a couple more bartenders step in. Both women, young and beautiful, wearing tight jeans, cowboy boots and midriff-baring tops. And with great bodies, just like Teresa.
Teresa had always been smart. She had a good thing going here. Bikers with their girlfriends or by themselves having a good time on a Friday night. Music blaring, pool playing, sports on the various TVs set up in the corners, and plenty of drinks flowing. He took a pull of his beer and watched the women work the bar. They smiled at the guys, took no shit from them, in fact threw it right back at them, shoving them and hurling insults at them when they got too close. The men loved it.
Of course they did. Men loved a strong, take-no-shit kind of woman, the kind who could hold her own. She was the best type of biker babe, and those were the types of women men like these guys fantasized about.
Come to think of it, who the hell were all these guys?
“Seems like a pretty small town for all these bikers,” Pax said as he leaned against the bar and surveyed everything around him.
“I was just thinking the same thing. Greasy’s used to get maybe a half dozen, dozen at most on the weekends.”
There had to be thirty or forty bikers in the bar right now, and it was still early for a Friday. “I have no idea where they come from.”
“We’ve grown,” Teresa offered, obviously overhearing them talk. She kept her voice low and leaned toward them, which made Pax and AJ move in to hear her. “Joey is managing a club on the south side here.”
AJ’s brows lifted. “Joey leads a club now?”
“Yeah,” she said, laughing. “Hard to believe, but he started riding with the Thorns not too long after you . . . left.”
She let the word trail off. “Anyway, he’s been with them ever since, moving his way up as the group expanded. Now he leads the south side.”
“And what about the north side?”
She wrinkled her nose. “The Fists. Tough gang. Into some bad shit.”
“Like?” AJ asked.
“They’re running drugs on the north side. I don’t like serving them when they slide into the territory here, but not much I can do about it since their money is as good as anyone else’s. They’re looking to take over the Thorns.”
“Why?” Pax asked.
“They want territory expansion and they don’t make any secret of it. It’s gotten ugly a few times, but the Thorns try to keep things clean, so the cops have stepped in to keep it cool between the clubs.”
“Here?” AJ didn’t like the sound of this, or that Teresa was in the middle of it.
“Not a good position for you.”
She grabbed a cloth and wiped up the bar, her green eyes intense as they met his. “I can take care of myself. Been doing it for a long time, AJ.”
“I’m sure you can. But what happens when a Fist pulls a knife on you?”
She grabbed his wrist and pulled up on his thumb. AJ winced as she lifted just to the point of pain, just to get his attention. Her hold was firm and strong as she hit all the right pressure points, like someone who’d been well trained. AJ knew a countermove that would lay her flat, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to use it on her. She’d made her point. What she knew would take down someone who wasn’t trained.