Preacher really didn’t care about the brutal display. He’d known long ago Dog wasn’t a man to be reasoned with. It’s why he knew if he ever wanted to double cross him, he’d have to take the son of a bitch out first. Dog wouldn’t let shit go.

The woman lay in a pool of blood. Dog still held the gun as he walked toward him.

He waited.

His men still had their guns focused on him.

The moment he was close, Dog stopped, held out his hand, and in his own way, smiled. “You bring good news.”

“Is this how you deal with anyone who comes to your territory?”

“Only those that have no right to be here. Hate to say it, Preach, you’re not supposed to be here.”

“Well, I’m here.” They walked right past the woman and went straight to Dog’s house.

It was not the first time he’d been to the guy’s place, but this was more of a business call. He tried to avoid entering Dog’s territory as much as possible. He had way too much of his own shit to handle that, and dealing with Dog was a whole new kind of headache.

Handing over the phone, he declined the beer Dog offered him.

“Holy shit, this dude is a fucking coward.”

“Why’s he a coward to you?” Preacher asked.

“Dude beat down on a woman.”

“You’ve just killed one.”

“I killed a betraying slut. She’d hoped to use one of my boys to spill crew secrets, and that shit doesn’t amuse me. It didn’t happen as my boy came to me. She wanted something, offered a trade, and tried to take me down. Her death was necessary. I don’t beat down on women unless they come after me. I have some … morals.”

“You’re telling me you’d never beat the shit out of a woman?”

“Unless she threatened the safety of my club. What about you and your club? I know you took out that slut who hurt your girl.”

“Let’s say we’ve both done bad shit.”

“Yep, and this man, he’s a piece of work. He wears a badge he has no right to. I can deal with cops who uphold the law. I can even deal with cops who strike a deal, but those that come after us and are just as dirty or more so, I can’t deal with. What do you want me to do with this?”

“I’m going to make a copy. Meet me at our old place. I want the witnesses protected, but I also want them clean as well, just in case. This is a precaution in case I can’t deal with O’Klaren myself. I always want something to back me up. He took something special of mine, and well, that kind of shit, you don’t forget. It’s payback, and he’s got a whole lot coming. If anything comes back on me, I’m going to want you to deliver the witnesses to these men.” He pulled a card out of his jacket, handing it over to Dog. It had the details of the cops he knew he could trust.

“I’m impressed you even have these men on your payroll.”

“It’s not easy and they cost a fortune, but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”

“What do I get out of it?”

“The pleasure of knowing you’re doing the right thing, and for your help with the witnesses, a new split, not fifty-fifty anymore. For the next year you can take seventy-thirty.”

“Wow, this asshole really did a number on you didn’t he? That’s a big old split right there for me to keep an eye on a couple of bitches.”

“What he did is not relevant. I want him to pay and suffer. I know he made your life … difficult, but he killed an innocent. I need you to make sure these women are cared for. It’s why I’m allowing the seventy-thirty.”

“I know what he did, Preacher. You can keep the cryptic shit for the tourists and Feds. He pushed your car off the road and in doing so, killed your unborn child. I know.”

Another time, another day, he’d try to figure out how Dog was able to know everything, but for now, he’d let it slide.

“I’ll take the seventy-thirty cut for one whole year. I want one of your whorehouses for the boys.”

“I don’t do that,” Preacher said. “Eighty-twenty, no whores, no other business. Just the shit we share.”

Dog sat back. “Fine. I’ll take the deal. Your bitches will be protected and clean, and this information will be handled properly.” Dog held out his hand. “Pleasure doing business with you.”

Preacher shook his hand before heading out.

Dog’s men were still waiting in exactly the same place, all of them acting like trained dogs.

The moment Preacher got on his bike and turned around, he looked in his mirror and saw Dog outside and the men dealing with the dead woman’s body.

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