“So many trees,” she muttered.

“Over the years, I’ve learned that trees are a lot easier to live with than people. All I’ve ever needed was my club.”

She wanted to be included in the equation, not just his club. There was a broken darkness in Forge, and she felt connected to him because of it.

“Where are we going?”

Forge ignored her question until he reached a Harley parked at the side of the clubhouse. It was separate from the others, and he immediately slung his leg over the side and sat down. He glanced over at her standing there on the sidelines. “What are you waiting for, sweetheart?”

Chapter Three

Beth had never ridden bikes before coming here. She’d never gone to the park to enjoy life, nor had she ever had any fun. Her father had always dominated her life. He’d been there to keep her in line and tell her what to do. There was never a time when she could be her own person. He was always there, waiting, ordering her around, telling her what to do. His word had been law.

She didn’t have a choice in the matter. She had to follow his instructions, his rules for as long as she could remember. No matter how much she hated him, he’d tried to beat her into submission. In a way, she’d followed him for fear of the pain, but that had been as far as she’d been willing to go.

Like now, her father still believed she was nothing but a willing pet, a slave. Someone he could order around, and she’d do as she was told.

What her father didn’t realize was that all this time she’d been biding her time for him to make a mistake. In the beginning, she thought his mistake would come in the form of letting her go, giving her a chance to escape. He’d always covered his ass, or at least hers. Someone was always waiting in the wings to drag her back home, or he had a guard posted outside of her door, waiting to keep her in hell.

When he’d told her she was going to be a present for a biker club, at first, she’d been afraid, but then, she knew she was going to take this chance and find a way to enjoy her freedom one way or another.

Wrapping her arms around Forge, she felt the wind all around them. She closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling, but then she opened them to watch the passing view. There were no chains around her. Even though she had no choice but to hold on to Forge, it was still better than driving in a car. The city was all the same. People covering the paths, crossing roads, monstrous buildings filling up all the available space. It was all created by man. No beauty unless you counted the planted trees that were always kept in neat order.

She hated the city.

What she saw now was life. Country life was worth living for. Nothing else ever was.

Forge rode the bike, keeping on the roads, bending when needed. Not once did she fear for her life, and she couldn’t stop smiling.

This was what it meant to be free.

Forge slowed the bike down, coming to a stop at a diner. There were only a couple of cars parked in the dusty parking lot, and the diner itself looked like it was in serious need of repair.

“Are you hungry?”

“Yes.” She hadn’t realized how much until he asked.

“What do you want?” He patted her leg.

“What?”

“First, I need you to get off the bike,” he said.

“Oh, of course.” She slid off the bike and didn’t expect the jelly-like feel of her legs, and she stumbled.

He let out a little laugh, capturing her before she hit the ground. Her father would have let her fall. Men would have laughed. Forge held her close. “Sorry, I should have warned you.”

“It’s fine.” She liked his arm wrapped around her. He had a way of making her feel protected, connected to him.

It was unlike anything else she’d ever experienced in her life.

She knew she held a lot of issues when it came to love and affection. For so long, she’d gone without. She was the outcast, the bastard child nobody wanted. Any kind of affection was like a drug to her. All she ever wanted was love, and well, her father saw her as nothing more than a pawn to be used. He didn’t care about her at all. He’d never loved her, and most of the time, she was okay with that, at least she tried to tell herself repeatedly she was okay with that.

“I’m going to have to teach you how to ride a bike,” he said.

“You mean by myself?”

“You’re a strange woman. Yes, to ride a bike and by yourself. I can’t wait to see you all in leather.” Forge frowned. “What did your father let you do exactly?”

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