Ignite, page 1part #3 of Devil Chasers MC Series
A Devil Chaser’s MC Romance
Copyright 2014 L Wilder
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication or any part of this series may be reproduced without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This book is a work of fiction. Some of the places named in the book are actual places found in Paris, TN. The names, characters, brands, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and owners of various products and locations referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication or use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. This book is intended for readers 18 years or older due to the sexual content.
I dedicate this book to
Shake It Up Club
Thank you girls for all of your support, and
for bringing my characters to life.
You all mean more to me than you will ever know.
My chest felt tight, and my heartbeat pulsed through my veins. Tears streamed down my mother’s face as she tried to explain everything to me. Even though she was obviously upset, I couldn’t hear anything she was saying. My eyes drifted over to the baby carrier resting at her feet. My nephew, John Warren, was nestled inside his car seat, and his big green eyes were focused on me. Even with all the commotion going on right beside him, he had such a peaceful expression on his little face. I took a deep breath and tried to pull myself together.
I’d pretty much lost all train of thought as soon as my mom had mentioned my sister. She was trying to explain how Hailey had died from a drug overdose last night, and now she thought John Warren was in danger. I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of panic. How could this happen? My sister. My only sister was dead.
“Lily!” Mom shouted.
My eyes snapped up and locked on hers. “What do you mean Hailey’s dead? I just talked to her a couple of days ago, and she was making plans to start rehab! She was getting her life…” I started. I felt like someone had reached inside my chest and grabbed my heart in their fist. I struggled to even take a breath.
“Focus, Lily! We don’t have time to go through all of this again! You need to take John Warren and leave before they come looking for him,” Mom pleaded.
“You need to give me a minute here…. You just told me that my sister is dead, Mother,” I said with more anger than I meant. A million thoughts raced through my head, and I couldn’t make sense of any of it. “What are you talking about? Who will come looking for him?”
“I’m sorry, sweetie, but there’s no time to explain all of this right now. I’ve already packed all of his things and put them in your car. You need to pack whatever you can in the next twenty minutes and then, GO!”
“Just wait a damn minute! I need time to think about all this!” I felt totally overwhelmed and confused. Everything was moving too fast, and she wasn’t making any sense. “Have you even thought this through? I don’t know a damn thing about kids! How am I supposed to take care of an eleven month old baby?”
“Use your instincts. He’s a sweet baby, Lily. You’ll do fine, and whatever you don’t know, you’ll figure out.”
“Stop! Just…stop! I can’t do this! You know this is crazy!” I shouted, feeling my panic rise. My mother had always been my voice of reason, but now she’d gone completely off her rocker.
“Calm down. You don’t want to scare him. Lil’, you’re a smart girl. You can do this, and Tessa will be there to help you once you get to Tennessee.”
“This is insane, Mom. I can’t just leave my life here and head off to the other side of the country. I have a job… and what about the house? I can’t just leave everything behind. Why don’t we take John Warren to Maverick? He’s his father; he can take care of him.”
“You can’t be serious, Lily! Haven’t you heard anything I’ve said? Maverick was awful to Hailey! He’s the one that got her hooked on all those drugs in the first place. He used her and then threw her out when she was pregnant! And he’s dangerous. Satan’s Fury is even worse than your father’s club. They run guns and kill just for the fun of it! They will come looking for John Warren, and we can’t let them find him.” Mom stood quietly, searching for the right words. I knew she was trying to do the right thing.
After a few seconds, she continued, “I promised Hailey that we’d keep him safe if anything ever happened to her. It’s like she knew something was going to happen. She was scared, Lily. I’d take him myself, but they’ll come looking for me first. They don’t know anything about your cousin Tessa. No one will think of looking for you there,” Mom explained.
“Do you think we’ll be in danger? Do you really think his club will come looking for us?” I asked. After hearing everything she’d just said, I knew the answer, but I had to ask. I knew if I did this, I would spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder.
“If you hurry and get out of town, you’ll be fine. You just need to play it safe. Don’t contact me. I’ll get in touch with you as soon as things settle down here,” Mom said as she handed me a thick white envelope.
“What’s this?” I asked as I looked inside and saw a large amount of money.
“There’s enough there to get you started. Find an apartment and a daycare for the baby. I already talked to Tessa, and she said she’d help you get a job as soon as you got there. She’s seeing some new guy and promised that they’d take care of you both.”
I stood there silently. Even though everything in my life was about to be thrown into a shitstorm, there was no way I could say no. When I looked back over to John Warren, I couldn’t help but think of Hailey. His dark hair and that cute lopsided grin remind me so much of her.
I walked over to him and bent down to meet his gaze. He hadn’t made a sound since Mom walked into the house with him. I ran my hand over his little head, smoothing the baby fine brown hairs. His mouth curved into a small smile that melted my heart.
“Okay…. Help me pack,” I told her.
Once we loaded my car, I buckled John Warren into his car seat and checked my GPS. I quickly realized it would not be an easy trip. It was over thirty-nine hours from Clallam County, Washington to Paris, Tennessee. I’d have to cross seven states to get there, and I wasn’t known for my great sense of direction. I’d be lucky if I ever even made it to Tennessee. As I pulled out of that driveway, I instantly knew my life was never going to be the same.
I felt relief wash over me when I finally crossed over the Kentucky border. I decided it was time to call Tessa, so I c
After a few rings, she answered. “Lily, are you okay?” she asked frantically.
“I’m fine. I’m sorry I haven’t called sooner. It’s been a long couple of days,” I explained.
“I’ve been worried to death about you. I didn’t know what to think when your mother called. She said you were moving here and bringing John Warren with you. What’s going on?”
“I wish I knew, Tess. Everything is just so screwed up right now. I feel like I’m running in a hundred different directions, and I haven’t even had time to think. Did she tell you about Hailey?” I asked, fighting back the tears.
“She did. I’m so sorry, sweetie. I know that must have been difficult for you. I remember how close you two used to be. How are you handling everything?” Tessa replied.
“To be honest, I haven’t had time to really think about it. John Warren has been a great distraction, but let’s just say, he isn’t a fan of long car rides. I can’t wait to get there.”
“Oh! I can only imagine. Bless his little heart. I can’t wait to see you both. We found you a great little house not far from Bishop’s.”
“That sounds perfect. I can’t wait to see it.” Honestly, I couldn’t wait to get John Warren out of that car. I didn’t care where, as long as we got there soon.
“Your mom mentioned that you were working as a bartender back in Washington and you were really good at it. Would you be interested in doing that here?”
“I’m not sure how that would work with John Warren. I’d have to find someone to take care of him while I work.”
“Let me worry about that. Bishop just lost his bartender at the clubhouse, and I’m sure he’d love to have you work for him. It’ll be a little different from what you’re used to, but I’ll help you figure things out. I hate that you had to spend Thanksgiving on the road. I’ll have you plenty of left overs ready when you get here.”
“That’d be great. Thanks, Tess. I really appreciate all this. We’re going to find a place to stop tonight, and then we’ll head that way in the morning. I’ll call you when I get closer.”
“Great. I can’t wait! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a baby around,” she said excitedly.
“Well, get ready. You’re about to have your hands full with this little guy. See you tomorrow,” I told her as I hung up the phone. After talking to her, I felt a little better about the whole thing.
I couldn’t believe how hard the trip had been, and I was more than ready for it to be over. We’d barely made it to Montana when everything went to hell. John Warren had started in with a fit, and he’d let it roll. And I mean ROLL. I never knew a kid could scream like that. It was excruciatingly high-pitched, paint-peeling screaming that would have the best of them running for the hills. I was frantic. I tried everything I could think of to calm him down. I gave him a bottle, changed him again, burped him…. Yeah...I didn’t even know if you were supposed to burp an eleven month old. Damn. I didn’t have a clue. When I couldn’t get him to calm down, I decided to find a place to stay.
The clerk at the hotel gave me a hesitant look when I checked in. John Warren was still having a meltdown, and I’m sure he wasn’t excited about giving us a room. I gave him my best look of desperation, and he handed over the key. As soon as we got in the room, I put John Warren in a warm bath, and he immediately stopped his tantrum. He splashed around in the water and smiled. Yeah, the little man likes a bath. That was pretty much the routine for the trip. Drive… meltdown… drive… meltdown.
Now, it was time to find another hotel. We were only a few hours from Paris, but we were both worn out. I found us a cheap hotel in Paducah with a little diner inside. It wasn’t as nice as the other hotels where we’d stayed before. The paint was chipping off the walls, and the clerk could barely speak English, but he was sweet and I needed to save our money. Between gas, food, and hotel rooms, it was going fast. We ate a quick dinner and made our way to our room. The room was the same as any random hotel you’d find on the side of a highway, but it was clean, and I didn’t feel scared being there alone.
I gave John Warren a bath and put on his pajamas. I laid him next to me and just stared at him. He had to be the prettiest baby I’d ever seen. Those gorgeous green eyes were going to break hearts one day. He had no idea what was going on in the world around him, and it just broke my heart. He didn’t know that he’d never see his momma again. He would never hear her sweet voice or feel her soft kisses. He’d never feel her hugs again. Hailey’s hugs were the best. You could feel the love radiating from her when she wrapped her arms around you. John Warren was going to miss so many wonderful things. It was just too much.
I felt the warm tears stream down my face as my mind became clouded with thoughts of my sister. Hailey had been going through a hard time, but she’d always loved John Warren. He was all she ever talked about. She always had the funniest stories to share, and I could hear the love in her voice every time she talked about him. She was a good mother, and now she was going to miss everything – not only his first words and steps, but the bigger milestones, like kindergarten and graduation. I continued to cry as I thought of all those lost moments. I truly believed she would’ve gotten herself together. She’d just needed a little more time.
It didn’t matter anymore. She’d never get the chance. Her time had run out and now he was stuck with me. I began to worry, What if I mess him up? I knew Mom was concerned about John Warren’s safety, but I’d never forgive myself if I screwed up with him. I fell asleep praying that Tessa would be able to help me once we reached Paris.
I had no idea what time I finally nodded off, but I was rudely awakened by a small finger jabbing me in the ear. When I opened my eyes, John Warren had the cutest little smile on his face. It was obvious that he was proud of himself for waking me up.
“Okay, Little Man. I’m up…. I’m up. Time for us to get you changed and ready for another round of torturous driving. I’m sorry, but we gotta do it,” I told him as I lifted him off the bed. I changed him and gathered up all of our things. When I checked myself in the mirror, the image was not a pretty one. My eyes were swollen from crying, my hair was a mess, and I already had a stain on my shirt from the leak in John Warren’s bottle. Nope, I was not a pretty sight to behold.
I’d just have to suck it up and go. We didn’t have much farther left, and I still needed to call Tessa. We would be in Paris in a couple of hours, and I didn’t have time to waste on worrying about what I looked like.
I don’t know why I thought this Thanksgiving would be any different from all the others. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment when it comes to my mother. The minute I walked through the front door, I could tell she was wasted. The blinds were drawn, and the TV was muted while she sat in the recliner completely zoned out. I used to get pissed and give her hell hoping that it would make some kind of difference. Now, I’d just stopped trying. I knew that sounded pretty shitty of me, but I’d been trying for years. She wasn’t going to change, so I just tried to make the best of it.
“Mom, where’s Bryce? Has he been here today?” I asked, knowing that she didn’t know the answer.
“Hmmm? I …,” she stammered. “I… uh… think he was here earlier, but had to go take care of something?” she slurred.
My brother was almost as bad as she was, but instead of being addicted to drugs and liquor, he was obsessed with making money. He was some fancy ass lawyer in Memphis, and he didn’t like to be associated with the likes of us. He’d called last week promising that he would take the time to check on Mom over the holidays, but he was apparently a no show like always. Prick.
“Have you eaten anything today?” I asked. I hated seeing her like this. She was getting thinner by the day, and her eyes were glossed over. I didn’t know h
“I ate some cereal earlier,” she murmured. “Might have some chicken in the fridge if you want it.”
“I thought I’d make us a nice dinner for Thanksgiving,” I told her, hoping that she might eat some real food for a change.
“Knock yourself out,” she said as she flipped her wrist, dismissing me from the room.
If I didn’t still remember the woman she used to be I probably would’ve walked out the door and never come back. There was a time that I had actually been proud that she was my mother. She had gone to every ball practice, all of our award programs at school, and taken pictures of every crazy thing my brother and I ever did. Everything changed the day my dad was killed. It was late one night when his car swerved into oncoming traffic. He’d hit an eighteen-wheeler head on, and it killed him on impact.
My parents weren’t the perfect couple, but I knew they’d loved each other. Mom’s face would light up every time he walked through the front door. I remember how he’d pull her in for a kiss when he didn’t think we were watching, and he was always holding her hand - in the car… in church… walking into the movies…. He couldn’t keep his hands off of her, and just knowing that he loved her like that, made me love him even more.
The day we buried him, my life changed forever. Mom had started drinking and missing work several days a week. It didn’t take long for her to get fired, so the drinking just got worse. She stopped fixing dinner and rarely made a trip to the grocery store. Everything just fell apart. My brother left for college, so I was left to take care of Mom. Being a senior in high school, I didn’t have a clue how to help her. I tried to hide the bottles and gave her hell any time I saw her drinking. She reeked of alcohol, and I hated seeing her wilt away. I even tried begging her to get help. Nothing seemed to work, so I decided to do what I could to keep her safe and alive, and leave the rest to the good Lord himself. That was over fifteen years ago, and nothing had changed.
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