They asked if I wanted to see my father. Figuring it was better to get it over and done with, I agreed, but when it came time to walk into the room, I couldn’t. I hesitated, apologized, and then fled.

Outside, I ran into an old face I hadn’t seen in twelve years.

Abby Calley.

She was Cade’s cousin.

And Isaac’s twin sister.

And at one time, my best friend.

Abby was pure biker chick. Except she was the blinged-up version. She didn’t wear a leather cuff on her wrist, she wore a cuff made of black Swarovski crystals. Her tank top wasn’t cotton, it was sequined and glittery, and her jeans weren’t a simple blue or black, they were a pair of bedazzled awesomeness. She didn’t do vanilla, and she didn’t do bland. She did dazzling. With a side serving of biker cool.

But today she was in scrubs. Mom had mentioned she was a radiographer at the hospital.

We stopped a few yards away from each other.

“Abby,” I said, feeling an immediate awkwardness radiate between us.

“Well, I’ll be goddamned,” she breathed.

In high school, we had been inseparable. We did sleepovers, smoked pot, and dreamed big. We also hung out with Cade and Isaac, and the four of us were the popular kids you didn’t fuck with. She was there from the very beginning when Cade and I finally hooked up, and she was by my side when it all fell apart.

We had tried to stay in touch. Well, actually, that wasn’t true. She had tried; I didn’t. After moving to college, I went quiet, forgetting to reply to emails and text messages. I was always too busy to answer her phone calls. Eventually she gave up trying and stopped contacting me. I told myself it was what happened. Lives moved in different directions and friendships faded. But the truth was, I had pushed her away. I had pushed all of them away because I wanted to put it all behind me. The club. My father. Cade.

“You’re back,” she said.

Twelve years of silence filled the space between us. Loudly.

“I got in yesterday.”

She nodded. Then, like she didn’t know what else to do, she said, “I’m sorry about your daddy.”

I nodded back. Just as clueless. “Thank you.”

Being Isaac’s twin sister, she shared his blonde Viking looks. Long hair. Ice blue eyes. Flawless skin.

And like her cousin Cade, she had the same shadow of resentment in her eyes.

“You’re wearing scrubs,” I said, because stating the obvious seemed to be all I was capable of doing.

“I’m a radiographer,” she smiled awkwardly. “It’s not as fancy as a doctor, but you know, it pays the bills.”

I didn’t know what to say. It was a dig at me. And I deserved it. Abby probably suspected I thought I was too good for her. I couldn’t blame her. When I’d turned my back on Cade, I’d turned my back on her, too.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you tonight at the clubhouse,” she said, keen to get away.

“Sure.” I gave her an awkward smile. I wanted to go to the party as much as I wanted to be thrown into a tank full of piranhas. “It will nice to see everyone.”

But she didn’t say anything.

She just nodded and walked away.



The party was in full swing when we arrived at the clubhouse. I came with my mom and Caleb in the Sticky Fingers van, and after helping them get the mammoth cake into the clubhouse kitchen, I made my way to the bar.

Bob Seger’s “The Fire Down Below” cranked out of the speakers as I came face to face with a past I’d left behind years ago. A clubhouse party. Dressed in sensible black pants, polyester blouse, and flat shoes, I belonged here as much as a vegan at a keto party. I looked around me and took it all in. The smoke. The music. The sound of pool. The smell of beer, hard liquor, and poor choices.

So far it looked like a typical clubhouse celebration.

Later, a band would bring on the night with songs from Rose Tattoo, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, Credence Clearwater Revival, and Deep Purple. There would be fires lit and a barbecue, and the stripper poles would see more than one or two girls wrapped around them.

As if on cue, a woman with short blonde hair and a sleeve of tattoos walked into the room dressed in nothing but bikini bottoms and began to twirl on the pole.

Yep. Things hadn’t changed.

I perched myself on a barstool. I didn’t really want to hang out, but I had a feeling it was important to my mom that I was here.

“Well, hello there, lil’ lady,” came a voice from behind me. A pair of strong Viking arms wrapped around me for the second time in two days. Isaac. He grinned as he put me down. “Didn’t think we’d see you at one of these parties again.”

Tags: Penny Dee Kings of Mayhem MC Romance