RIDING THE NIGHT, the last book in the Wild Riders series, releases 1 week from today.
I thought I’d give you the entire first chapter to tempt you before release day. Here’s the last part of Chapter One (See blog post here for Part One of the Chapter One Excerpt, and see blog post here for Part Two 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:
She let go and AJ shook his hand.
Pax laughed. “I guess you can take care of yourself, can’t you?”
She nodded. “Damn straight.”
Teresa rolled her eyes. “Pussy. I didn’t hurt you. But I could have if I wanted to.”
“I believe you. When did you become a tough girl?”
“When I bought the bar. I was dating one of the local cops who taught me some self-defense maneuvers. They come in handy.”
“So do their handcuffs, when used in the right situation.” Pax waggled his brows and Teresa laughed.
“Yeah, those can be handy, too.”
AJ did not want to hear about Teresa dating one of the local cops, or what they did with handcuffs. This whole thing was surreal. She had definitely changed. Grown up. Become a woman. With some other guy, who’d had what he could have had.
“Son of a bitch, AJ Dunn. I thought you were dead or in prison.”
AJ flipped around on the bar stool, then slid off and enveloped Teresa’s brother Joey in a bear hug. “You asshole. I thought the same about you. I even brought flowers for your grave.”
Joey Oliveri took a step back and smirked. “Prick. What the hell are you doing here?”
“Riding through. Teresa’s been filling me in on what’s been going on around here since I’ve been gone. I hear you’ve done well.”
“Yeah. Pretty good.”
“This is my friend Pax. Pax, this is my former best friend Joey.”
Joey snorted and shook Pax’s hand. “Any friend of AJ’s should have his head examined.”
Pax laughed. “I hear you. But somebody has to look after him. Nice to meet you.”
“You’ve gained weight,” AJ said, looking over Joey’s stomach. “Too much pasta?”
“You know how Italians are. We can’t resist spaghetti.”
“Doesn’t seem to have affected Teresa any.”
“She burns off calories working this bar. Me, I just sit on my ass and drink beer and ride.” Joey patted his protruding belly.
Joey and Teresa were twins, though you couldn’t tell it by looking at them. Same hair and eye color, and that’s where the similarities ended. Where Teresa was slender, Joey was filled out all over, and not all of it was muscle.
But then again he’d always been a little on the heavy side, and the guy liked his beer.
“So what is this I hear about you leading a club?”
Joey grinned. “Yeah. Imagine that, me at the head of the Thorns. Pretty cool, huh?”
“It is. Teresa told me you have some trouble with a rival gang.”
Joey narrowed his gaze. “Yeah. The Fists are in our business, trying to take over our territory.”
“Because they’re dirty motherfucking drug runners and they want some of the action here.”
AJ stilled. “You aren’t . . .”
“Nah. No illegal stuff here. We keep it clean and have a good relationship with the law. But our presence keeps the Fists from gaining control in this part of the county, and they see it as a prime opportunity to expand their drug distribution operation. Plus we’re situated near the river, which is good for shipping. We have the best territory and the Fists know it. They’ve wanted it for a while now, but they’re not going to get it as long as the Thorns are here.”
AJ didn’t like the way that sounded. “You need to be careful. Some of these gangs will stop at nothing to get what they want.”
Joey nudged AJ on the arm. “I’m not a moron. I’ve got it covered.”
“You and your guys armed?”
Joey nodded. “We’ll use ’em if we have to. We protect what’s ours.”
Pax slanted his gaze at AJ, a look of concern of his face.
Yeah, AJ knew. In their line of work with the Wild Riders they’d infiltrated plenty of gangs looking to distribute anything from drugs to guns. And once these gangs wanted something, they’d let nothing stop them, including people.
“So what are you up to these days, AJ?”
AJ slid his gaze to Pax, then back to Joey and shrugged. “Nothing much. Odd jobs here and there. Pax and I just ride.”
“Yeah? Thinking about settling back here in town again?”
AJ noticed Teresa watching him intently. “No. Just passing through.”
Teresa averted her gaze and moved down the bar. AJ wondered what her life was like now. Was she married? Did she have kids?
“Teresa’s done well. I can’t believe she bought this place.”
Joey grinned. “Yeah. She’s always been damn smart. Smarter than me, that’s for sure. When Todd got out, she stepped in and scooped this place up, cleaned it up, hired the sexy bartenders, and bikers started coming in here by the hundreds. She made enough money to expand and it’s still going strong.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” He hesitated, but something drove him to know. “She ever settle down and get married, have any rug rats?”
“You want to know about my personal life, AJ, why don’t you ask me directly?”
AJ did a half turn on the bar stool to face Teresa, hadn’t realized she’d moved back into earshot again. Shit. “Just wanted to make sure you were doing okay.”
“I’ve always been okay. Since the day you left ten years ago, I’ve been just fine. I didn’t need you then and I don’t need you now, so you can quit worrying about me.”