Hart, page 1
Steel Cobras MC
By Evie Monroe
Copyright © 2019 Evie Monroe and BookBoyfriends Publishing LLC
Hart Steel Cobras MC
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Copyright and Disclaimer
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2019 Evie Monroe and BookBoyfriends Publishing LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of the trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
The Steel Cobras stared at Jet like he’d grown a horn on his head.
Jetson “Show-No-Mercy” Nash, Steel Cobras’ Sargent at Arms, the kid who hated Hell’s Fury more than any of us.
Had he lost his fucking mind?
We were all on edge. It had been a shitty night. We’d gone out with plans to dispose of Slade’s body, the Hell’s Fury president we offed trying to save his daughter from his wrath. To make it work, we had to keep it under wraps, but a Hell’s Fury newbie had seen us. We couldn’t let him go and squeal on us, so we brought the skinny kid in as our hostage.
So Cullen, our Steel Cobras President, had called church with the purpose of finding out what the hell we were going to do with the dickhead, now that we had him tied up in our clubhouse.
My first thought? Kill him. We weren’t in the business of playing nice with the Fury. We weren’t running an orphanage here, especially for boys who’d made the mistake of choosing our rival gang.
As long as I didn’t have his blood on my hands, I didn’t care. I had better things to do.
Of all the guys, I thought Jet would be most in agreement. For the past year, he’d been ready to go out killing, every time anyone even brought up the Hell’s Fury.
But in the past week, he’d changed. The rumor was, he was shacking up with a sweet little doctor. Leave it to our pretty-boy Jet to get a girl who was well above his pay grade. Now, he seemed almost . . . soft.
Maybe I didn’t hear him right. I pretended to clean out my ears, cupped my hand around the ear closest to him, and leaned in. “What did you just say?”
He shrugged. “I think we should let him live.”
Cullen had the same thought I did. We were all a little Twilight-Zoned out, especially since it was well after two in the morning. He raised an eyebrow at Jet. “You feeling all right, Jet?”
Drake, who was thick as thieves with Jet, the peanut butter to his jelly, gave him a knowing nudge and murmured, “What? Did the old ball and chain tell you that?”
Another thing I’d been thinking. Then again, it could’ve been his brush with death. He’d taken a bullet in the stomach during the raid at Slade’s place.
Jet just grinned. For our youngest officer, he had balls. Wasn’t afraid of ruffling feathers and getting in people’s faces. From the moment Phoenix, our Vice President, had introduced him to me as a prospect, I didn’t like him. Too cocky. Arrogant. And liable to get us all into trouble.
What could I say? I was the safest one in the club.
Which, in a bunch of yahoos like this, wasn’t saying much. But I calculated, thought things through. I didn’t like to play the odds.
Drake started to taunt him, and I joined in, just because the pretty-boy deserved it. I said something about him not wanting to break a fingernail, and Drake made the same comment about him not wanting to mess his hair up.
Usually, that got Jet riled, but now he just ignored us. Looked like that girl of his had finally made him a man.
While we were laughing about him finally popping his cherry, he cut us off. “—Look. I think I have a better way.”
Our eyes all went toward the kid, who was sitting in the corner of the warehouse, tied to a chair, a sullen expression on his face. In the shadows behind some of the rides we’d lifted, he was too far away to hear our conversation, but he was watching us, with a mixture of fear and suspicion. He hadn’t moved much all night, except now his head hung lower and the circles around his eyes had darkened to huge black rings that looked like he’d been punched.
“All right. We’ll get to that,” Cullen muttered. “First order of business is Slade.”
Right. Slade. We didn’t take killing men lightly, but Slade was one asshole who’d had it coming. We’d all done a little victory dance when he got offed. Jet and Nix had gone off, trying to make his death look like the Cobras weren’t involved, so that the war between us wouldn’t reach a fever pitch. The kid in the corner had been our one complication.
We’d been led on a high-speed chase all through the streets of Avalon Bay, California, trying to evade the police while keeping the kid from getting to the Fury and blowing the whole plan.
We were all waiting to find out if our little plan to dump Slade’s body had worked.
“Police found him last night. It was all over the news. Haven’t heard so much as a buzz from the Fury but I’m hoping them not retaliating on us yet is a good thing. But that’s not saying they won’t come after us, even if they don’t think we’re responsible for Slade. They hate us, and we hate them, and this war ain’t over.”
We all nodded solemnly.
We’d been in a war with Hell’s Fury for a long time. They’d been trying to take over our business of lifting cars for our partners overseas for as long as I’d been part of the Cobras. But it’d just about reached a boiling point. Blood was being shed every few months on both sides, little skirmishes, with the real battle yet to come.
We knew it was inevitable, but Cullen was biding his time to make sure we were fully prepared, in order to limit our casualties as much as possible.
“Second order of business.” Cullen hooked his thumb over his shoulder, toward the kid. His name was Joel or something. Wasn’t yet out of his teens, I’d say. Didn’t look much like MC material, but hey—we’d all been there. I’d been the fat kid with glasses before I hit puberty—pushed into every locker in middle school. Good thing I’d grown out of that shit.
The men leaned forward. “So tell us,” Nix said, looking at Jet. “What is it? I’m pretty sure, Jet, that you’re the one who wanted to show the
He grabbed a pack of Marlboros off the table and tapped one out. He brought it to his lips. Keeping us in suspense, the cocky asshole. “Because we can use him. He’s worth more to us alive, than dead.”
“How?” Zain asked.
“Simple. We turn him. To our side.”
The men looked from one to the other. Simple. Sure. Jet was probably still on pain meds if he thought it was that simple.
Cullen nodded his head slowly, and asked the other thing we were all thinking: “Simple? How? That’s impossible. How do you plan to do that?”
“It’s possible,” Jet said, pointing at Zain. “Zain—”
“In case you didn’t notice, we didn’t have Zain tied up in our clubhouse as our hostage all night before he defected to our side,” Cullen muttered. “This guy? Joel? He don’t like us very much. And I don’t blame him.”
“Plus,” Nix interjected. “Did you forget, baby brother? He was shooting at us.”
Zain looked over at the kid and stroked his chin. “I don’t know. It could work. It all depends on—”
“Look,” Jet said. “What do we know about him? He’s new to the area. Doesn’t even know his way around. Was off on his own. Doesn’t look like the Fury was taking good care of him. If we show him what it is to be in a real club, it could . . .”
“You know,” Zain said, clapping Jet on the back. Great, that was all Jet needed to feed his big ego. “Jet has a point. The guys in the Fury were shits to me when I was prospecting. We could feel this kid out and see.”
Jet and Zain fist-bumped across the table.
“I think we should. We should at least give it a chance,” Jet said.
The men nodded.
Christ. I didn’t know about this. I would have felt safer just offing the kid and moving on. But I didn’t want to be the one putting a bullet in his head. None of us did. We weren’t cold-blooded killers. So I reluctantly lined up on Jet’s side. “All right. I mean, he is just a kid.”
“All right,” Jet said, slamming his hands on the table. “Let’s vote and get this over with!”
Cullen gave him a look. “Who the fuck are you callin’ for a vote?”
Cullen tolerated Jet because he was Nix’s little brother, but the guy could get on people’s nerves. He was always trying to take over Cullen’s job. Finally, he said, “All right. Who’s for it?”
Zain, Nix, and Jet all raised their hands at once. Drake and I followed.
Finally, Cullen lifted a finger. “Fine. We’ll just test him out first. But if it ain’t workin’, we come up with another plan.”
Jet flashed a smug grin. He probably expected the kid to get down on his knees and kiss his feet. Then he got up out of his chair. “Gotta go, guys, I’ve got someplace to be.”
We all stared at him. He always thought he could float in and out of this place like a fucking movie star. No one ever kept him in check. If it was up to me, I’d have kicked his out ass long ago.
“See you later, ladies,” he said, pulling open the door and making his exit.
“Elvis has left the building,” I muttered.
Zain tipped the ash off the end of his cigarette and scrubbed a hand over his face. “More like he has some pussy to be in.”
“This meeting over?” Nix asked.
Cullen nodded and the guys started to get up. I closed the top of my laptop and looked over at Joel, who was staring at us with his lip raised in a snarl. “What about the kid?”
Cullen motioned to Nix and Zain. “Put him in the storage closet for now.”
I didn’t like the sound of that. I watched as the two guys grabbed him under his arms and hauled him to a closet where we kept a bunch of random shit and tossed him in. The kid let out an “oof” as they closed the door. Nix locked it and brushed his hands together.
I shook my head. “Sure. Let’s throw him in the storage closet. That’s a great way for us to turn him to the Cobras. Hell, we’ll be his heroes after spending the night in there.”
Cullen crossed his arms. “You have a better idea?”
I frowned. I didn’t. But I didn’t like how King Jet breezed in here with his half-assed plan, got us to agree with him, and then breezed on out, expecting us to clean up after him. This had the makings of disaster all over it.
“Yeah,” leaning forward in earnest. “Let’s not tie him up. Let’s just talk to him and reason with him. Maybe we can get some intel out of him.”
Cullen listened to me, nodding his head, so I could tell he agreed. “You didn’t think we should kill him. Right?”
“That’s what I said.”
I glanced at the closet where we’d dumped the kid. “At first, I did. I thought we should just get rid of him. We don’t need the complication. But he’s just a kid. I sure as hell didn’t know what the fuck I was doing when I was his age.”
Cullen took the end of his cigarette and sucked on it, then stubbed it out in the ashtray. “You joined the Cobras when you were just a kid.”
I shrugged my shoulders. The point? “But it was dumb luck I didn’t end up on the other side. I probably could’ve, just as easy, if the Fury had chosen the Lucky Leaf as their garage.”
The Lucky Leaf was my dad’s garage. Most of the Cobras worked there and brought their bikes in to get fixed. I’d grown up watching the guys come in with their bikes, each one tougher than the next . . . and even when I was that fat kid with glasses, I knew what I wanted to be. A Cobra. I got my first bike when I was fourteen and grew up into the club.
He pointed at me. “Then you’ll be perfect for this.”
I snapped my eyes to him. “For . . .what?”
“For watching the kid. Taking care of him. Getting him to like us, senator.”
Senator. That was a nickname Cullen sometimes used for me. He said I was like a politician. Likeable. Diplomatic.
My mouth opened, and for a second, nothing came out. “You’re fucking kidding me. I’m not a fucking welcome wagon.”
“Yeah. But otherwise we’ll have to kill him.”
“Okay. But why me? What about Jet? This was his bright idea. Let him—”
He clapped me on the back. “But you’re a likable guy. You have more charm than any of us. If we let Jet do it, you know what would happen? The kid would end up hating us more and beg the Fury to kill us. Jet rubs people the wrong way.”
I let out a big breath of air. Zain always told me I should run for office. He said I was nice. Too nice, obviously, since it was pretty obvious where I was about to finish.
“You can keep him in line, right?”
I muttered under my breath and grabbed my helmet as I watched the rest of the guys slip out the door.
“Listen,” Cullen said, quietly in my ear. “Can you put something on his phone so we can track his calls to the Fury?”
That, I could do. In addition to being the club nice guy, I was also the club tech guy. What he was asking for? He knew I could do it. I’d done it before. “Not a problem.”
“So go in there and talk to him and see what you think. If you think you can work with him, do what you want. Don’t leave him in the storage closet. Take him home with you. Give him something to eat. Whatever you think. We trust your judgment.”
Great. Fucking great. Last thing I needed was this kid to be my shadow. I liked my apartment the way it was. Liked living on my own. This was for shit. But somebody had to do it, and the rest of the guys had already left for the night. So I guessed I was the sucker. “Got it.”
I took a step toward the closet.
“And Hart,” he said, his voice turning even more serious. “If the kid tries to get away from you or gives you any indication he ain’t playing by our rules. You have our permission to put a bullet in his head.”
Right. Let the nice guy kill the kid.
“Turn off the lights
I nodded and shoved my helmet back on the counter. I guessed I wasn’t going to be going home any time soon.
Yeah, I was definitely too nice. How’d I let myself get talked into this shit show?
I walked over to the door and opened it. It was pitch black inside. As light flooded in, I saw the kid lying curled up on the ground like he wanted his mama. He lifted his head to look at me as I came in, his eyes pleading.
I grabbed him and hoisted him up, setting him down on a chair in the back of the room. I loosened the gag down over his chin.
He unleashed a stream of curses into the air and started to shout for help.
Fuck. I pulled the gag up so I could think for a second.
“Listen to me,” I said, leaning down. “You can use a fucking bullhorn if you want. You are too far away for anyone to hear you. So don’t waste your breath.”
He stopped growling and moaning like a dog and looked at me, eyes narrowed, trying to be a tough guy.
“Now. I’ll take the gag off, if you’ll talk to me like a reasonable person. Okay? That’s all I want to do. Talk. Can you do that?”
He gazed at me warily and then nodded.
I pulled the gag down. He didn’t speak.
“Okay. Now that we’ve established that . . . can I get you anything? Beer? Water?” I asked. Christ. Listening to myself, I felt like I was in a parallel universe. Never thought I’d see the day when I was offering refreshments to the Fury.
The kid sniffled a little. “Water.”
I left the room and returned a few minutes later with a bottle of water. I motioned to the ties on his wrists. “If you won’t be an asshole and try to escape, I’ll untie you.”
He hung his head. “’s all right. I won’t.”
I grabbed the knife from my jeans and cut the ropes behind his wrists. His posture loosened, and he relaxed as I handed him the bottle. He downed it in big, thirsty gulps. When it was empty, he crunched it and handed it back to me and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
Then he looked up at me through his mop of dark hair.
I leaned against the wall. “So tell me. What did you see, when you were out in that field by the gas station?”