"I have always been strong, independent and wanted a life that belonged to me. It's the very reason why I chose to attend Stanford because it is away from the small-town life that seems more Twin Peaks than charming. Secrets are a dangerous commodity and Pine Bluff has them in spades. So do my parents, and the dirtiest secret of all is my brother, Trey. Sergeant at Arms for the Demon's Bastards, a criminal, a felon, and perhaps the catalyst for the tragedy that destroyed my life just days before I was supposed to leave for college.
"Now I am on the run because my life is in danger and I could be next. I don't want to live my whole life looking over my shoulder and I don't want to live my life shrouded in despair. Anxiety has me in a death grip, unable to let go. I pop Xanax to get through the day and were it not for my famous cousin, I would probably be dead already.
"My name is Trista Lennon, and I am tired of being afraid."
Linx Carter never thought he could help anyone when he could barely help himself. He is hanging on by a thread after a tough, six-month Gods of Rock Tour with his band, Winter's Regret, and Scarlet Fever. He has a greedy ex-wife, two sons and all he wants is to put the pieces of his life back together.
Linx knows there is something special about Trista from the moment they meet. She's wounded, in desperate need of a friend yet feminine, feisty and no one's charity case. She is the strongest woman he has ever known.
Through their friendship, they will find the strength to heal themselves and love one another but a feud between two gangs is brewing. Trista is caught in the crossfire, and by proxy, so is Linx. What they discover might not only cost them the love they have for one another but their lives too.
The motorcycle clubs, and the violence they brought with them, was the major reason why I wanted to leave this place. I couldn’t take the biker gangs and the casinos, the whores and the drug trade any longer. I was sick of it and how our whole lives were affected by it. My parents owned their own accounting firm, but it was mostly a front to do the books for the Lucifer’s Saints MC and every illegitimate businessman come tax time.
Like most men, my father was a contradiction. He didn’t want his children to be involved in a life of crime though he and my mother were neck deep in it. I suppose it made me feel slightly better they’d been bullied into their position as accountants mainly for a biker gang but they also had to take some of the blame. We could have moved to another town, another state but perhaps they were just as greed-driven as the average adult and could only see working for the MC as an end game toward early retirement.
We lived comfortably but I couldn’t disguise my quiet disgust at how our lifestyle came at the cost of lives lost, ruined and destroyed. They dealt with unsavory people and washing dirty money clean didn’t make me feel any better, no matter how comfortable my life was as a result of my parents’ profession.
Of course, I was a walking cliché myself. I had secretly been the girlfriend of an MC prospect for over a year, Tristan dated a woman with direct ties to a rival MC and Trey was in the MC. I needed to get away because I didn’t want this kind of life. I certainly didn’t want to bring children into this kind of environment, no matter how charming Pine Bluff and its proximity to Lake Tahoe were. Underneath the town lurked a rot and filth that marred our beautiful surroundings and vaguely reminded me of the show, Twin Peaks. Like that idyllic town, nothing was as it seemed and it was the same for the nearby towns of Birch Tree, where the Saints ruled, and Black Oak, the town where the Knights had placed their claim.
“Earth to Trista, how are you and what are you doing here?”
I turned towards Tristan’s voice before I smiled and walked over to embrace him and Taryn.
“I’m great, although to be honest, I can’t wait to get out of this po-dunk town,” I said, before I sipped from my drink.
Tristan glared at me with harsh sky-blue eyes. “What’s that? Coke? You better not be drinkin’. Mom and Dad would have my ass if they found out their perfect daughter was caught at a Bastards’ party with this many drunk and fucked up people running around. What they hell is wrong with you? If anyone can understand how out of control these events can become, it’s you.”
“Well,” I said as I placed my hands on my hips. “If you have any ideas on how I am supposed to spend my New Year’s Eve, especially in our little hole in the wall town, I’m all ears,” I replied in a sarcastic voice.
“Maybe you should spend some time at home for a change. Take Clooney with you—he’ll make sure you get home safe and sound.”
I laughed out loud. “That can’t happen. Trey would go postal if he knew I was alone with Clooney. He told me I had to leave with you two when you decide to go home or he would have another prospect drop me off. He’s demanded I cut any and all ties to the MC before I leave for Stanford.”
“He’s right, you know,” Taryn replied in her soft, barely-there Northern Irish accent. “You’ve been surrounded by this whole sordid scene since you were a wee child and it’s not healthy. I was so happy to get the hell out of Belfast, I didn’t know what to do. Of course, I miss me Ma but do you know what it’s like to attend high school and university in a normal environment? No bombs exploding and not having to worry about being a Catholic?”
She paused and wrapped her arms around Tristan’s waist. “That’s why I love your brother so much. He loves me for me and it doesn’t hurt that he’s one of the most fit men I have ever met.”
My brother looked at her before he kissed her lips softly. “I love you too, babe.”
I smiled at both of them before I pursed my lips and left the clubhouse. I sat outside on a wooden bench and watched a few revelers in more than close-for-comfort positions while I drank my SoCo and Coke.
The sheer need to leave this place had become an all-consuming obsession and I couldn’t wait for the New Year. As far as I was concerned, it couldn’t come fast enough.
About the Author:
Selene Chardou is a world traveler and the alter-ego of Elle Chardou.
Ms. Chardou’s writing is all about hot romance and exciting times with the wild, damaged, out of control and/or rich and famous set in the New Adult realm.
She is currently working on Rock My Heart, the first novel in the Scarlet Fever Series, which concludes the story of Kasper “Kaz” Gillian and Sydney Lundvik; she is also working on In Too Deep, the conclusion to The Lovers Duet. She also has a pop stars series planned and an MC series planned that chronicles the issues between Lucifer’s Saints and Demon’s Bastards motorcycle clubs.
Ms. Chardou has lived abroad in Stockholm (Sweden), Manchester (England), Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Blog: The Realm of Selene Chardou located http://selenechardou.blogspot.com/
Follow Selene Chardou on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ellechardou
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