I climbed off my bike. “You’re telling me someone torched this place?”
Buckman looked uncomfortable, glanced around and then leaned in. “You guys got something you need to fill me in on? Something I should see coming before it shits on my doorstep?”
“Relax, Bucky. This wasn’t us,” I said. He didn’t look convinced. “I swear to God. We’ve got no cause to torch our studios.”
“Great.” He shook his head. “I don’t know what’s worse. A half-cocked insurance job I didn’t know about, or —”
“Or what?” Isaac asked.
“The person trying to get your attention.”
It took them more than an hour to put the fire out, and what was left was a smoldering pile of rubble. More than six-million-dollars’ worth of pussy and ass, gone.
Isaac, Indy and I did a walk around. If a rival club were responsible, then it would be easy for us to spot. To make sure we got the message loud and clear they’d leave something behind… but we found nothing. I called Nitro, because if anyone knew about fire, it was our friendly pyromaniac club member. He arrived twenty minutes later with Hawke and they did a subtle circle of the scene.
When a falling portion of the roof injured one of the firefighters, Indy left us to tend to him until the ambulance arrived, while Nitro and Hawke met us by the smoldering rubble of what had been the entrance into the studio.
“You find anything?” I asked Nitro.
“It’s definitely someone’s handiwork.” His eyes skimmed the still glowing and smoky ruins of collapsed timber and steel behind us. “Probably broke in through the rear, found the film reel room and doused it with some accelerant. Gasoline.”
“How do you know that?” Isaac asked.
“Because it’s exactly what I’d do.” Nitro’s eyes glittered with some weird respect at the thought. “Whoever lit this wanted to cause as much damage as possible.”
Isaac looked at me. “What do you think? Is it someone we know?”
I glanced around feeling a rush of unease. “I don’t know.”
“You think it’s The Knights?”
I kicked a charred piece of rubble with my boot. Was it The Knights? Had they heard about Isaac’s rogue heroin deal and decided to send us a message?
“Did you speak to your contact and sort out the heroin situation?” I asked.
Before he could answer, Buckman walked up to us.
“You boys might as well leave it for the forensics team,” Buckman suggested. “Go home and get some shut eye. We’ll let you know if we find anything.”
I took out my phone and snapped a picture of the smoldering skeleton that had once been our studio and sent it to Bull who was in Jacksonville on business.
Shoving my phone back into my cut, I nodded at Buckman. “As soon as you know something, I want to know something.”
I didn’t need to tell him. He would call me the moment forensics turned up something—a fat, monthly retainer ensured it.
Indy approached us, her face dusted in soot.
“How is he?” Buckman asked her.
“He’ll be fine. He’s on his way to St Gabriel’s now.” She turned to me. “Any idea on what happened here.”
I shook my head. “No. Not yet. But one way or another, we’re going to find out.”
Nitro and Hawke walked up to us.
“We’re heading home. Unless you need us,” Nitro said.
I shook my head. “Go home. We’ll catch up at the clubhouse tomorrow.” We did the typical MC brother hug goodbye, and then they were gone.
“You ready to go home?” I asked, guiding Indy onto the back of my bike.
It felt good to feel her body in close proximity to mine.
“Yeah, take me to coffee.”
I grinned and nodded at Isaac. “Ready?”
He agreed. “Yeah, let’s get out of here.”
We took the back road through Humphrey, a windy, long stretch of smooth highway flanked by misty forests on either side. Dawn was breaking over the tall pines as we pulled up at the set of lights just before the train crossing that would lead us back into Destiny.
I glanced over at Isaac. He was checking a message on his phone. “It’s Cherry. She wants a slice of Mavis’s pecan pie. And if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you don’t fuck with your pregnant wife’s cravings.”
He was putting his phone back into his pocket when he was suddenly thrust backwards. It happened so fast that it was already over by the time I understood what had gone down. Isaac fell from his bike, disappearing underneath it as it fell on top of him.
“Isaac!” I jumped off my bike and ripped his off him. He was lying flat on his back with a red stain spreading across his chest. Eyes wide with terror, he was coughing up blood as he struggled to breathe. I dropped to my knees. He’d been shot. Isaac had been fucking shot.
“No, no, no!” I yelled, putting my hand over the wound to his chest to stop the flow of blood. God, there was so much blood. So much. “Indy, he’s been shot.”