She laughed, scanning the street. It was quiet in this corner of Wakefield, and there was surely no way anyone could have tracked them here, but her mind turned shadows into hitmen, car engines backfiring into gunshots. She wanted nothing more than to hide in the Cactus Club until daybreak, huddled down with Kayden and drinking cocktails until the night passed. The bar felt like a safe haven, especially with Slater there. He seemed so in control, so certain of what was going to happen, it was impossible not to feel comforted.
But she wasn’t sure hiding out in his biker gang den was going to feel quite as safe. She saw stories in the news all the time about gang violence, turf wars, drug deals gone wrong… And then there was the inescapable fact that Slater worked for Benedict.
She wanted to trust him. Wanted to cling to him. But how could she when there was still so much she didn’t know about him? She had no idea where his loyalties would lay if it came to the crunch, and he owed her nothing. Well, almost nothing.
“Freya?” Slater called, breaking her moody reverie. “You ready to go?”
Well, what choice did she have? Punk had already absconded with Kayden. She nodded, taking the helmet. Then she hesitated again, one leg slung over the back of his bike. The sight of her fishnet-clad leg, capped by a ridiculous high heel, froze her.
“Your club…” She paused, not sure how to ask without insulting him. “They’re not going to think I’m a hooker, are they?”
Slater twisted round to look at her, his face solemn in the glow of the bar lights. “It is a risk,” he said. “My brothers…they’re sex fiends. Animals. It’s wild in there, Freya, I’ll be honest with you. Taking a beautiful young woman like you in there is like taking a virgin to dragons.”
She gaped at him, completely at a loss as to whether to take him seriously.
“Luckily for you,” he continued, “I’m a knight in training, ready, willing, and more than able to protect you from the fierce onslaught of sexual demands and obscenities you’re going to encounter.”
She went cold, then hot with indignation when he smirked at her. She slapped his shoulder, her hand bouncing off his leather cut. “Be serious. Look at me! I’m dressed like…like a stripper, and I’ve already had one man think I’m for sale tonight. You don’t think I know about MCs? I’m not walking into some sex party –“
“Freya.” He stopped her, raising his hand. “I wouldn’t take you anywhere you wouldn’t be safe. Yes, there are girls at the club who are there for sex and not much else, but you’re not one of them, and I’ll put straight anyone who thinks otherwise. My brothers are good men. You don’t need to be worried, okay?”
She bit her lip, worried anyway, then settled herself properly onto the bike. Her short skirt and fishnets offered her no padding or protection, but she’d found on the ride here that she didn’t mind that. The throb and purr of the engine was embarrassingly delicious, and the chill of the night air contrasted sweetly with the heat of the bike. She wrapped her arms round Slater’s waist and pressed her cheek to his back, inhaling the scent of old leather and woody musk. Something else she’d learnt on the ride here – she really liked the way he smelt.
She really liked a lot of things about him. Why couldn’t he be a doctor or a lawyer instead of a biker with possible Mafia connections? The universe was cruel. She sighed, the sound lost in a rush of air as he gunned the engine and they shot away.