My eyes shot to the black script on my inner forearm.
Yeah, darlin’, go and make it happen.
I’d gotten the tattoo the day before the party at the MC clubhouse in honor of Cade’s heroism during the school massacre. The day before everything had fallen apart.
I tugged the sleeve of my shirt down to hide the tattoo and changed the radio station. I wasn’t that girl anymore. I didn’t need to travel down memory lane and rehash all the gory details of some guy doing wrong by me and breaking my sorry teenage heart.
Okay, so Cade was never just some guy. At one point in time the asshole had been everything to me. My cocky, beautiful MC man with the confident, manly swagger and piercing blue eyes that defied Mother Nature.
And I had another tattoo to prove it.
My eyes shifted to the elaborate daisy on my ring finger. It hid the fine black script underneath that simply read: Cade.
Yep. Like a prized fool I’d gotten his stupid-ass name permanently inked on my ring finger. Not hard to do when you are eighteen and raised in a motorcycle club full of tattoo artists. It was the one time my mom got pissed at me about my ink. But at the time I had truly believed Cade and I would be together forever, and that I’d never have a reason to not have his name on my finger. It was ironic, really, that four days later we broke up and I walked away from him for good.
Sometimes it was funny how things worked out.
My cell phone rang, and with one tap I put it on speaker.
“Hey, beautiful, are you in Mississippi yet?” It was Anson.
“Yes. I’m in the car heading toward Destiny now. I got in about half an hour ago.”
I turned down the radio. “Damn airline lost my luggage. Otherwise, things are great.”
“I wish you’d let me come with you.”
“There was no need. I don’t plan on staying long enough to show you the sights.”
“They have sights in Destiny?”
I laughed. “City snob.”
He laughed back. “Hick.”
I smiled. Anson always had a way of pulling me out of my funk. Maybe bringing him with me would have been a good idea. You know, be the safe buffer between me and my old life.
Between me and Cade.
I shook my head as if I could rattle the thoughts of Cade out of my brain.
“Don’t you worry about me, I will be fine,” I said.
“You’re lying. Your voice just went up an octave.”
I grinned. Anson knew me so well. “Oh, shut up…I’ll call you in a couple of days.”
“Okay. Love you.”
I smiled. “I love you, too.”
When my granddaddy formed the Kings of Mayhem MC, he wanted a legit club. The rules were simple. No drugs and no guns. And women were to be worshiped, not enslaved. My granddaddy had seen enough shit in Vietnam to hold onto these values with determined grit.
My granddaddy hated drugs. And he hated guns. He had been a dust-off pilot during the Vietnam War and had risked his life flying an unarmed chopper into the jungles of battle to save the lives of the wounded. More often than not, he’d flown his Huey chopper into heavy gunfire to save soldiers who’d been shot or blown up, or trapped by enemy forces. And in the three tours he did, he had the scars of two near-fatal gunshot wounds and a chopper crash to remember it by.
He never spoke much about the war, and he died when I was thirteen years old, so I never really had the chance to talk to him about it. But his aversion to guns and drugs were legendary in the club. He always said they were the reason so many of his buddies never made it out of Vietnam. Illegal guns had found their way into enemy hands and had been used against his Army buddies. And the heroin that was so prevalent in the area at the time had claimed the lives of so many of his friends and military brothers. To my granddaddy, heroin was a dirty word. He had watched it destroy not only the lives of soldiers, but doctors and medics, too.
When granddaddy had come home from the war, he had been rocked by the lack of empathy and pride for what he had done over there. The fact that he’d risked his life to save American and allies’ lives meant little to the society that had been permeated with a deep, anti-war movement.
The lives he’d saved meant nothing.
The missions he’d flown into enemy territory to save the lives of wounded soldiers meant nothing.
In the end, he’d slowly withdrawn from society. He’d climbed on board his Harley and hit the road.
He had ridden out to California to catch up with Hank Parrish, his crew chief on the Huey, who was experiencing the same lack of empathy and difficulty in re-joining society. Hank joined him on the road, and the Kings of Mayhem MC was born.