Mute Dragon Runners MC Book 1 by ML Nystrom Genre: Contemporary MC Romance
“HE LOVES LONG, LOVES HARD, BUT HE DON'T LOVE EASY.”
Katrina Vega is set on one thing: finishing college. She’s determined not to let anything or anyone distract her, especially not hot brooding bikers. On her mission to stay focused, she doesn’t expect to be pulled into the fold of a motorcycle club, let alone into the arms of Alec "Mute" Stillwater.
Unable to keep her guard up, Katrina soon discovers that beneath the hard and rough exterior of a family she’s grown to care for, there’s also loyalty and passion she’s envious of. But falling for the club’s enforcer will not only threaten her plans but quite possibly her life.
Mute observed the bar as he always did, drinking coffee, and looking for problems. He already could feel the new help was going to be one. All night he had watched her, slipping through the crowd, deftly avoiding eye contact, staying out of people’s way. She seemed to want to melt into the background, and in some ways that made her the perfect employee. One who would do her job and get things done with no muss or fuss. She didn’t dress to impress, wearing jeans and plain T-shirt, simple sneakers, hair up in one of those stretchy things. It was hard to tell if she wore makeup or not.
When he had first walked into the bar, he’d been angry. Brick had called for a church meeting at the Lair earlier, and all the ranking members and officers had to be present. The older man had shown his frustration, banging the gavel repeatedly to maintain order at the formal meeting. There was bad business going on around town, rumors of drug running, even though the club had gotten out of that shit years ago. Brick and Betsey had worked hard to get the club out of the one-percenter limelight and into legit businesses without feeling the loss of income, but people had long memories when it came to the bad stuff. He’d spent the afternoon searching corners with a club prospect, hanging around, looking for leads. Nothing. It was hard enough to make himself understood, let alone get anyone to communicate with him, and the prospect was either too scared or too stupid to try.
When he’d arrived at the bar tonight, he’d slumped heavily into his spot at the bar and tapped at the new girl for his coffee. She looked at him like she was ready to run out the door. Real pretty eyes, but fuck this shit! His patience was at an end. He stood up and thumped the bar again, knowing his frustration was showing and he was taking it out on an innocent girl. Betsey was there in an instant, talking fast and light, pouring his coffee. The girl settled and went back to work, steadily if uneasily. Too soft, thought Mute. Pretty girl but too soft for the life. Probably not stick it out. Leave in a week.
Stud Dragon Runners MC Book 2
Can the club playboy ever fall in love?
Bold and brash, Eva MacAteer has spent her life working in her blue-collar family’s construction business. In doing so, she’s had to fight for her own place away from her overbearing father, as well as for her own identity as a woman. Struggling between her loyalty to her brothers and her desire to strike out to be her own person, Eva knows one thing for certain: getting involved with a womanizer, no matter how hot he may be, is not the path for her.
Stud is not one to be tied down to any woman. Fiercely loyal to the club and his single ways, the last thing he expects is to become fascinated by the fiery Eva. He sees his own life reflected in hers and is not quite sure how to handle the connection.
Can two mismatched people find enough common ground to overcome their fears and allow love to grow?
I looked at my watch again and growled. I’d been sitting there waiting for my brothers for over an hour. Fuck this! I downed the last of my beer. I was about to leave when the bar noise got deafeningly louder. The band started playing an old Garth Brooks song about friends in low places. Stud was the front man, singing into a mic, thumping his bass, and winking at the crowd. He was really putting on a show, drawing everyone’s attention and had a bevy of young women dancing, whooping, and shaking in front of him, including the bleached blonde—surprise!
The band was good, and it had been a long time since I got to hear live music. I raised my hand to the bartender for another beer, deciding to stick around for a little longer.
Stud had the crowd eating out of his hand as the band moved from song to song. I watched him work the instrument, stroking the neck lovingly, smiling at the women around him with those Nordic blue eyes. He wore jeans, like 90 percent of the crowd, but topped it with a burgundy Henley that showed o his broad shoulders and gave a hint of how defined his chest and abs were. He wore his leather club cut over that but I expected he’d lose it eventually. Those stage lights were hot and he was probably sweating. He wasn’t muscle-bound huge, but he was definitely built, as my brothers would say, like a brick house.
The band segued into another country tune by Rascal Flatts this time. I sipped at my fresh beer and stared. He really was magnificent. I was far enough into my own head that he caught me watching him. His blue eyes met mine and he gave me that half smile like he knew I’d been admiring him and shared a special secret with only me. He jerked his chin and winked at me. I nearly choked and ended up swallowing more than I wanted.
I gave him a nod back, trying to play it cool. He turned his attention to the bouncing woman in front of him, one with black hair on the top of her head and bright blue from her ears down. I pondered for a bit if that was by design or if she was growing it out.
The band was really good, not just because of the appeal of the Viking front man. The guitarist ran ris like nobody’s business and the drummer was tight in sync with Stud on the bass. All of them had nice voices and when they harmonized together, I bet more than one set of panties melted. Before I knew it, another forty-five minutes had passed and my fucking brothers still hadn’t shown up.
“We’re going to take a short break, ” Stud said into the mic, smiling at the crowd and winking. Damn, he really knew how to work it! Even slightly sweaty from the heat on the stage, he was beautiful. He exited the stage through the back, disappearing to the screams and whoops of the bouncing biker bunnies at the front.
I glanced at my watch again.
Fuck my life, I’m done with this! I got up from the barstool, taking quick inventory of my condition. Three beers and two whisky shots wasn’t much in a hard-drinking Irish family, and I felt okay to drive my truck back to the job site where my tiny house was parked. Still, it was a lot and I needed to break the seal, so I went to find the restrooms.
I made my way through a side room, passing by some other bikers in Dragon Runners cuts shooting pool and playing darts, to a narrow hallway where the restrooms were located. A big bald member was lining up a dicult shot and I waited until he stroked his cue stick before moving around him. The nine ball sank in the side pocket with a click, and he raised his fist over his head with a crow of victory.
“Whoo! Take that, you fucker! Ha! Oops!” He finally noticed me. “’Scuse me, baby.”
He wore a tank under his club cut showing o his bulky arms and brightly colored tattooed sleeves. His head was shaved but his mouth was framed in a dark brown Fu Manchu with a chin duster. Not drop-dead gorgeous like Stud, but still good-looking.
“No problem, big guy. Nice shot by the way, ” I commented, hoping he wouldn’t want to strike up a conversation. I just wanted to pee and get home.
“Thanks, baby.” His brown eyes roamed my plainly clad body from my head to my tooled leather toes. “You want to shoot a game later? I’ll be glad to teach you.”
I smiled and raised my eyebrows devilishly. Maybe I’d take him up on the oer sometime just to see his face when I cleared the table. In building bars for a living, well, let’s just say I knew a thing or two about pool.
Maybe another night. I’m hitting the head and getting home. Gotta work tomorrow on getting your real bar finished so you can move back in, ” I said, squeezing between him and the wall. “You’re on the construction crew?” he shouted at my retreating back. Not the first time I’d heard the disbelief that a woman could work a crew.
I reached behind my back and tapped the logo between my shoulders, not bothering to turn around. I hoped he didn’t think I was being rude or disrespectful. I’d heard bikers could get mad about stu like that, but I really needed to pee.
Dragon Runners MC Book 3
How much weight can a man take on his shoulders before he buckles?
Blue’s life is in shambles.
He has to fight off his MC brotherhood on a drug problem threatening his town, balance his time as a father while dealing with a vicious custody battle with his ex, and somehow manage the huge load of responsibilities of his job. All the while, he is fighting his attraction to the quiet shopkeeper who lives just across the street from him. The last thing he wants is to take her down with him.
Psalm’s life is uneventful.
Finally healed after the heartache of losing her husband, kind-souled Psalm throws herself into her store and rescuing dogs. Her crush on Blue can be traced back to high school so many years ago, and even after being widowed, she still carries a torch for him. From the sidelines, she aches for Blue and his children. With her caring nature, she reaches out to him, over and over again, even when he pushes her away. Is Psalm’s heart strong enough to take on this broken man and heal him?
“Good morning, Deputy.”
“Mornin’, Psalm. Thought I said last night you can call me Blue.”
I took a sip of the delicious brew and let it roll across my tongue. Pam was a coffee master!
“I think since you’re in uniform, I should probably call you Deputy. I wouldn’t want anyone to get the idea I get preferential treatment.”
Blue took a sip from his own cup and one corner of his mouth raised. “I’ll still ticket you if you mess up, Psalm, but maybe you’ll pay with somethin’ besides money.”
My insides quivered at his reply and I was at a loss for words until he opened his mouth again.
“I may charge you soap bars and those bath things. Christmas is comin’ and I know Mama likes bubble baths.”
I smiled and dropped my eyes to the floor.
“Mind if I ask you something personal?”
His question had me looking up again.
“How come your parents named you Psalm? I remember you were the only one in high school with that name. It’s nice, but it ain’t common.”
I smiled. “I don’t mind answering. Mom wanted a Bible name and shuffled through a bunch of them. Esther, Hannah, Naomi, Mary, lots of them but couldn’t choose. When she went into labor with me, she was reading in the book of Psalms and decided it was a sign that was what she was supposed to name me.”
He drank more coffee and nodded. “Makes sense to me. Unique and pretty-sounding. Suits you.”
The heat of a blush crept across my face and I dropped my eyes again, making an acknowledging hmm sound.
“You got stuff to ship?”
I nodded while taking another healthy swig of my drink. “Every day. Now that I have the website, I get a lot of online business. It’s a pain, but it’s a nice problem to have.”
He grunted, tilted his head, and swallowed the last of his coffee. I watched his throat work with fascination.
“Let’s get to it then.”
Table Dragon Runners MC Book 4
Intimidating and living by a strong code of ethics, Table’s integrity is unwavering, as is his ironclad will when it comes to safeguarding those he cares about. He’s the man to guard your back, shelter you in time of need, and be the shield.
Just don’t ever lie to him.
Table’s life is turned upside down when he unexpectedly discovers he’s a dad. Trying to navigate his life as a single father to a baby girl, he takes a break from his Dragon Runners MC brothers, moving to the family farm.
When Table meets nomadic Lori, who trades work on the farm for rent, he’s as intrigued as he is wary. She’s a woman who wears her attitude like armor. And despite her fierce independence, Table can see the fear dancing in the shadows of her eyes. It’s enough to make him look that little bit closer.
With the support of his MC brothers, Table not only is reminded that family is more than blood, but that some women are just worth fighting for.
The bald biker from the previous night answered the knock. He was tall, broad, and shirtless, showing off an incredibly colorful array of intricate tattoos on his defined arms and chest. The details were astounding. I forced myself to look up at his face and not at the gold loops decorating his dark nipples. The color of his hair, if he ever let it grow in, would be a dark, deep brown going by the neatly groomed Fu Manchu mustache and chin duster that framed his mouth. There was a touch of gray, indicating some maturity. He was big all over, his stomach and shoulders showing clear and precise delineations that could only come from a lot of physical work. Power exuded from every pore, and I found it both intriguing and intimidating. I should have been scared, but I wasn’t.
Because he had a tiny baby dressed in pale pink cradled in the crook of his hard bicep. He held her close, curling her securely into his body, protecting her. How could anyone be scared of a hard, strong man who was cradling a baby like she was the most precious person in his world?
It was enough for me to relax. Right?
His deep brown eyes regarded me silently, and I held up the basket.
“I have the eggs.” My voice came out croaky as my dry tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth.
His mouth split into a grin that showed off the whitest teeth I’d ever seen. I could see his natural charm, the kind that was irresistible. One look at that devastating smile and women would be lining up. My lower stomach tingled as I remembered him burying his head between the woman’s legs and her reaction.
He turned his head and yelled back in the house, “Yo, Nanny! Your tenant’s here with the eggs!”
“Imma comin’!” I heard faintly from the interior.
The baby squirmed in his arm and let out a little grunt. He jostled the pink bundle and made shushing noises at her. “Ch-ch-ch almost there, baby girl. Almost there.”
He looked at me and smiled again. “Bottle’s not quite ready and she can get impatient.
Table? Strange name for a girl, but the last year had been a strange one for me in a lot of ways.
“Never knew a little girl named for a piece of furniture.”
If I hadn’t been holding the heavy egg basket with both hands, I would have slapped one over my mouth. I didn’t want to anger my landlady and that probably should extend to her grandson.
He seemed to take my faux pas in stride and laughed, those beautiful teeth flashing again.
“Nah, my name’s Table.”
“Nice to meet you, Table. I’m, uh, Lori.”
His smile got bigger and he nodded at the fussing baby. “This is my little girl, Angel.
Come on in to the kitchen. Nanny’s gonna have food ready soon and I’ll bet money she’s got a full plate with your name on it.”
I entered the house like I was stepping back in time. The furniture was old, antiques you’ d see in a museum-type house, but the pieces were still being used regularly and looked well cared for. I caught a faint scent of bacon grease in the air and heard the pop and sizzle of cooking meat. The kitchen contrasted with the antique look of the furniture. It was huge, with stainless steel modern appliances. Martha was shuffling around the stove, wearing another bright floral top, this time with blue denim capris. Her wiry gray hair stuck out and curled up into an odd- looking crown around her head.
Brick Dragon Runners MC Book 5
In the beginning, there was one determined man and one strong woman. In their struggles, they created a dynasty.
Brick had one mission since he was a boy: become a Dragon Runner. The motorcycle club meant everything to him. Blood and bone from his brothers paid the Dragon’s dues time and time again. And watching it split apart was more than he could handle.
Then he met Betsey.
An unwanted daughter born into abuse, Betsy lived her life beatdown under a rigid thumb, never allowed to be herself. Her one goal was to leave her abusive family and be free. She fought on the losing end of that fight.
A tentative knock followed by the wooden classroom door opening caught his attention. Mr. Atwood, the school principal, entered, followed by a new girl. A wave ran through the room as every student sat up straight to get a look at the newcomer. She wore a mud-colored dress that did little to hide an impressive chest and rounded hips. Her plain brown hair was pulled back into a long ponytail, and she hunched into herself as she met the twenty pairs of eyes fixed on her.
“We have a new student, Betsey Fullerton. She and her family just moved here from Mineral Springs, and her father is the head minister at First Methodist Church. Let’s everyone welcome Betsey and help her learn her way around.”
Several “Hi, Betseys” popped up from multiple students, but Deuce’s comment rang out over them all.
“Damn, look at the size of them titties. Betcha can shelve books on them things.”
The room went silent. The principal turned beet red but said nothing. Blackjack’s reputation was well known, and no one wanted to anger either him or any of the other Dragon Runners.
But Betsey was new. She didn’t know the town or the motorcycle club that many of them feared. Her blue eyes lasered to the back of the room and landed on Brick’s. The zap from that look held him in place and burned through to his toes. She wasn’t scared. She wasn’t confused. She understood exactly what was uttered and why. Her expression was one of… of… contempt.
Betsey’s gaze moved to Deuce, who was laughing at his own joke. She straightened up to her above-average height, and her perfect hourglass figure became clearer even in the ugly dress. Her breasts were full and larger than most other girls of the same age. The dress nipped in sharply at the waist and flared out over her curvy hips. Brick had overheard more than one conversation from girls talking about the right skirts, the right shoes, or the right hairstyle. Betsey stood out proudly and with no apology for her less-than-fashionable appearance. She cocked a hip to the side, crossed her arms under her breasts, lifting and displaying them even more, and stared down at the laughing cocky boy with the shiner on his eye.
Brick lost his breath at the picture she presented. He reached over and popped his friend in the back of his head. “Shut up, dumbass.”
“What the fuck, asshole? I’m just messin’.”
“Mess with someone else. That girl is gonna be mine someday.”
ML Nystrom had stories in her head since she was a child. All sorts of stories of fantasy, romance, mystery and anything else that captured her interest. A voracious reader, she’s spent many hours devouring books; therefore, she found it only fitting she should write a few herself!
ML has spent most of her life as a performing musician and band instrument repair technician, but that doesn’t mean she’s pigeon-holed into one mold. She’s been a university professor, belly dancer, craftsperson, soap maker, singer, rock band artist, jewelry maker, lifeguard, swim coach, and whatever else she felt like exploring. As one of her students said to her once, "Life’s too short to ignore the opportunities." She has no intention of ever stopping... so welcome to her story world. She hopes you enjoy it!
Inspiration for Mute When I was a child in school, I often got called down by the teacher for daydreaming. My mind would drift constantly into wildly creative worlds, where I would take an incident or a picture or a person and make a story about it. I remember thinking entire sets of female superheroes and paired them up with Superman and Batman. I thought about magic talking dogs that resembled my own dog, Freddie. As a teenager, I did the same thing, making up stories in my head about boys I had crushes on or mean girls I wanted to punch. College, early adulthood, all the way up to the first moment I put pen to paper with the purpose of gleaning my brain of words, I’ve fantasized and built fiction around facts and events in my life. Much of what is in my books came from those memories.
The opening scene to Mute, my first book in the Dragon Runners MC, was very real. I lived in Minnesota at repair school and found myself pumping gas one night and timing the tank. When I finished, I had less than a dollar in my checking account and four days until payday. I had food in my pantry and no expenses to speak of for a few days, but it was scary nonetheless. I built the entire main female character around that one scene.
The setting in Bryson City came from a camping trip my son and I made one year. North Carolina Mountains are a fantastic place to get away and in the Bryson City area there is so much to explore and do. It’s there I learned about route 129 more famously known among motorcycle enthusiasts as the Tail of the Dragon. Three hundred and eighteen curves in eleven miles. The history of the road fascinated me. Legends and ghosts of riders who lost their lives, hangings during the civil war, moonshiners who ran the road in races against revenuers, what better place than to create a motorcycle club whose origins started by running the dragon?
Mackie’s character came from my stepdad. In the book, Mackie is a Vietnam vet, lost an arm in the war and suffers from Parkinson’s disease. In real life, my stepdad is the same person. He drove a tank in the war and sustained a direct hit during an early morning attack. He sacrificed an arm to save his platoon and earned a purple heart and bronze star medals. Before the Parkinson’s disabled him to the point of incapacitation, he always had fun and joked constantly. I thought it a tribute to him as in the book I put in a special paragraph just for him. Betsey appeared at my side, coming from the back storage rooms with several bottles in her arms. “Hey, darlin’. No need to fret. We don’t charge him here. Mackie’s a Vietnam War vet. Lost his arm over there saving a whole platoon of soldiers when he got blown out of a tank. His tab was paid a long time ago.”
Inspiration for Stud.
Stud, book two, was born from a pet peeve of mine. I lose interest when an author starts writing cookie cutter books where the plot, the characters, the words, everything becomes the same. I read several stand-alone works by an author I liked, but they became predictable. The female character always had auburn curly hair, tip turned-up nose, green eyes, and make homemade pesto. I still like this writer, but I did stop buying her stuff for a while. I did not want my second book to fall into that loop, therefore, I profiled my people as opposite as I could. In Mute, my main female is shy, plain in appearance and wants to be left invisible in the background. In Stud, the female character is bolder, in your face, cusses like a sailor, built like an athlete and works construction. Each book following, I did my best to change the male and female personalities to keep it interesting and fresh. I may yet repeat myself, but I’ll try to stay out of it.
Eva had a lot of me in her. My main career is in a male-dominated field. I too cuss at times, and very briefly, got into body-building. That didn’t work out too well as I lacked the time and strict food discipline, but it made a great addition to Eva’s character. I ended up tearing out an entire scene for this strong woman. Originally, I wrote the confrontation between Eva and Stud’s brother as something different. I had Eva cowering down against a physical attack and Stud coming as the knight in shining armor to rescue her. I thought about it and realized there’s no way Eva would do that. She would be the one to turn and fight back, not wait for someone to come help.
“Get off me!” I hissed, pushing at him, trying to escape both him and the bushes behind me that were scratching into my back and arms. He roughly grabbed a breast, squeezing it painfully. “You suck cock? Mah wifey does! I seen ’er!” He forced a hand between my legs and gripped me hard. To hell with this! I shoved the drunk man hard and screamed as loud as I could. “GET THE FUCK OFF ME YOU FUCKING SICK BASTARD!” He landed against the stone statue hard enough to knock it over. It crashed through the bushes, exposing Beau Sr. and Vanessa, still at it. The noise was deafening. I vaguely heard a squeal and a shuffle coming from the direction of the gazebo, and the sound of running feet coming towards us. Danforth wasn’t done. He came at me again in a red-faced rage, pulling back a fist to take a swing at my head. Fuck my life! Not again! was my first thought as my own fist leapt up to crack across his face, sending an arc of blood spraying from his nose. My second thought was to duck under his flailing arm and come up with a hard punch to his middle. He “oofed” and bent over, all the wine he had consumed rushing out of his mouth and splashing on the broken stones. Ugh! My shoes got some of it too! Molly would be pissed. That was the absolute last straw!
“What the fuck is wrong with you people?” I yelled, my Irish bitch in full form. “I’ve never seen so much fucked-up shit in my life! Why in the fuck would Stud ever come back to this crap? If this is what it means to be rich, it’s one big stinking pile of bullshit!”
Inspiration for Blue
More of my personal life made it into Blue, Book three. The coffee shop scene came from me visiting Starbucks on daily basis before work and running into the same cop several mornings a week. One morning he smiled and winked at me. Never spoke other than hi and have a nice day, but from that moment on, he became Blue. I turned from the counter to check out her newest displays of mugs and teapots, then glanced at my watch. It was six forty-five. The bell over the door rang, and Deputy Blue walked in. Right on time. He spotted me, those deep brown eyes of his taking me in, and he nodded a short greeting. My stomach fluttered. I smiled and blinked a greeting back. This was the other part of our morning routine. Sometimes he made it to the coffee shop before I did and sometimes after, but we were there together at some point every morning. He greeted Pam in his low, gruff voice. He didn’t have to state his order either. Large Americano. No cream or sugar. Simple and straightforward. He fiddled with the tourist brochures on display as his cup was being poured. Pam called out for me.
“Morning, Psalm. You’re all set.” She handed me a steaming paper cup in a cardboard holder. I swiped my card and left a cash tip. As I exited the coffee shop, I glanced in Blue’s direction and lifted my cup in a see-you-tomorrow gesture. He nodded again, his face unsmiling. That was it. That was our complete routine and one I’d come to look forward to on a daily basis. Yes, I may have had a small crush on Jason “Blue” Davis that started way back in high school, but I knew I’d probably never act on it.
All the dogs in that book are real ones that have been adopted over the years by various family members. I paid special attention to Toto and Sam. They were my first personal rescues. Toto came from an abandoned litter of puppies and Sam was my first pittie. Both of them lived to old age in doggie time and I miss them still.
Psalm is another side of me. One of my hobbies is making soap. Since I try not to do anything halfway, I did the local craft show circuit for a while. I sold soap, bath bombs, lotions, lip balm, and clay face masks. Never made a big profit, but enough to finance my soap supplies. I still make soap, but only for gifts, giveaways, and Christmas presents.
Inspiration for Table
I hadn’t planned on Table book 4. Not at all, but so many people mentioned how much they like him and asked about his story. I have a file of scenes on my laptop. No books, just random scenes that I dreamed or got inspired to write. One of them stood out and Table was born. He needed to be a hero. That was his nature at his introduction, and what better way to write about a hero than to have him find and rescue someone.
I crawled onward, dragging my broken arm, my body in agonizing pain. I finally collapsed into the fragrant grass of the wide median strip between the sidewalk and the street. It was cool and smelled so clean. My eyes were nearly swollen shut, but I saw the clover. It was right in front of my face, four bright green leaves attached to a thin stem. It shone at me like a beacon. I reached out my good hand and stroked the round discs, hoping this was a sign that my luck was about to change. I noticed the pristine white of the sidewalk and the cerulean blue of the early evening sky. A strange sense of peace came over me as I stared at the tiny plant. Blackness was swirling in front of my eyes and I was fading fast. If I was going to die here on the sidewalk, at least I would die free. I heard a voice shouting, “Oh my God!” and then sirens in the distance. I might have laughed if I’d had the breath to do so. I knew the sirens were for me and whoever opened the gates had had enough integrity to call emergency services. I stroked the clover over and over again, hoping to glean more of its luck. The sirens got louder and pulled up next to me, and I heard the slam of doors and rattle of other equipment being gathered. I took one last look at my clover, still standing tall, and let the blackness take me.
I have more in common with Table in this book. He is a single dad and tattoo artist and relies on help from his family. I have to give a nod to single parents as I was one for the first fourteen years of my son’s life. Raising a kid by yourself is tough and many sacrifices happen along the way. Table gives up his club status to go nomad in order to raise his daughter. There are parts of my life I put on hold during my time as the lone adult in the house. Just like Table, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.
Inspiration for Brick
Brick, book five was also a surprise and a story I thought of when people asked about it. There were a number of questions about the backstory of Brick and Betsy, the patriarch and matriarch of the Dragon Runners MC. I could not find a full-length book about them, but my wonderful editor suggested a novella. Because it is a prequel, the setting is back in the 70s and I had to remember, cell phones, computers, internet, didn’t exist. The cover is a nod to that era as well in that black and white photos were just as popular as the emerging color. I recall the little flash cubes that spun around for four snap shots on the Kodak Instamatic camera we had.
Walrus grunted and pulled at his mustache. “Huh. Far’s I can tell, don’t matter who your daddy is. You’ve been working hard an’ staying straight for the club a long time. Fixin' Deuce’s fuckup was somethin’ you didn’t have to do, but you did. If he an’ Ratchet hadn’t been playin' games on the Tail, there never woulda been a problem.”
“I didn’t do it for Deuce. I did it for Ratchet. He was the one who got hurt an’ sat in that jail still hurtin’ an keepin’ his mouth shut for the rest of us. I can’t call myself his brother unless I’m willin’ to take his back. If that means crawling around through vines all night, so be it.”
“Deuce is gonna get someone killed. Takes too many chances. Jesse shoulda never patched him so quick.” Brick tensed up. This was the first time he had heard a senior member say anything negative about another. Walrus must trust me. Why else would he say somethin’ ’bout my father? Keeping secrets was not the code Brick thought the club should live by, but he planned on keeping the older man’s confidence. He chose his words carefully. “Jesse and Blackjack have been fightin’ a lot. I figured it was more than just Deuce.” Walrus sighed. “Yeah, them two get into it every day over something. It’s gonna boil over soon, an’ God help us when it does. I said I’m too old for this shit, an’ I meant it. We need us some strong new blood to get in there an’ get this club right, else we ain’t gonna be around much longer. You’re a smart man, and I can see you takin’ us where we need to go. You follow what I’m sayin’?” The intensity of Walrus’s eyes bored through Brick. It was as if the world had landed on his shoulders and was asking if he could hold it up. “I follow you.”
“Here ya go. You boys want any ketchup or hot sauce?” Betsey plunked two plates in front of them along with two red plastic cups. Brick picked up a fry and popped it in his mouth. “I’m good, sweetheart.” She smiled and turned away. Brick reached out to grab her wrist. He lifted her hand and lightly kissed the back. Dishwashing soap was her perfume for the night, but he didn’t mind. “I’ll see you later, baby.” She turned beet red and rushed away.
“You sweet on her?” Walrus had doused his plate in ketchup and had an impressive amount already smeared on his bushy mustache. Brick picked up his burger, and a few drops of grease landed on the plate. “If I ever do it, that's the woman I'll marry.”
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