If I had known what was going to happen… I would have begged him not to go. I would have fought him even to keep us from walking through those doors. That’s the thing about fate though, you’re never given a heads up. But I should have known because everything was just right. And when everything is perfect, it’s all going to crumble and there’s not a damn thing you can do to stop it.
4 years ago
As my heels click against the cement stares and I walk into the garage, I note that it feels like home. I know every square inch of this place. I’ve practically grown up inside of these four walls. With an arm wrapped around my waist and the bite of the night chill outside waning, all I can do is let the smile slip into place.
Everything is familiar, from the smell of the oil that’s ever-present to all the mechanic tools hung neatly on the walls. Any item you could ever need to repair or build a motorcycle is here. Hell, I don’t care in the least about the work thats’ done here, yet I bet I could name most of the tools, just from Cill asking me to hand them to him over the years. At a glance I could tell if any of them were out of order—that’s how much time I’ve spent here. Hours and days and years. Basically my whole life. It may seem strange to other people, but the rumble of bikes and loud laughter and hollering that comes with the men who are always here is my kind of heaven. I bet ordinary people feel like this when they walk into their cozy living room.
My leather jacket slips against Cillian’s leathers we squeeze by the narrow opening to the rest of the three story building.
The best part by far is holding Cillian’s hand, like I’ve done for years. His fingers loop easily through mine like we’re meant to be together. We are meant to be together.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a crush on him. In high school we started dating with approval from both of our fathers. My heart warms to think about him as my high-school sweetheart. My father said it would make sense, his father said it was a business decision done right. Mob connections from my father, MC from his.
I’m head-over-heels for the boy I’ve always been told I’m meant to be with. Now that we’re older, it’s only gotten more intense.
An hour ago, we were in his bed. With his hard body pressed against mine and a cold sweat slipping across my sensitized skin I cried out his name and he murmured his love for me in the crook of my neck.
Cillian’s tall, I just barely come up to his shoulders, with hard but lean muscles that work against me, and when he comes, and whispers all those promises and adoration, it’s like he’s showing me some secret part of him that no one else will ever get to see. I don’t think anyone could imagine a man like him saying the sweet things he does to me. I hold that secret with me while we walk into the garage together. He pulls me tighter as we move through the door to the staircase at the side of the building.
One thing everyone does know: he’s my ride or die and I’m his and we’re both protected in every way imaginable.
With the rec room on the main floor only a threshold away, he bends down and kisses me. “I wish I could take you back to bed,” he murmurs, his voice throaty and laced with sin and sex appeal.
A shiver runs through my body and travels lower, bringing a blush to my cheeks.
“You should.” I tease him, nipping his bottom lip. I’d fuck him all night, every night. On more than one occasion we’ve fooled around till dawn. Nothing is better. He knows my body, every inch of it and every secret. Cillian’s my first, and I don’t want any other men.
“You want to turn back then and not go to Sunday dinner?”
“Yeah,” I murmur and capture my bottom lip between my teeth before adding playfully, “Let’s go before anyone sees us.” Tugging on his hand is useless and I already know it’s not going to happen.
Every Sunday, we have to be here for dinner. No exceptions. After all, it’s both a family and MC occasion.
He laughs and with his gaze lifting past me to the threshold, he seems to consider it. The rough pad of his thumb glides down the stubble on his chin before he looks back down at me, a wanting look I know well in his light blue gaze. “They’d wonder where we went. They’d talk about us.”
“Who cares?” I slip my arms under his leathers and tug the fabric up, making my desire known as I slip my fingers up his back. “ They already talk about us.”
If our fathers weren’t in charge, the whispers would be heard far more often. I don’t care what people say. I only want Cillian. Everything I dreamed of in high school is right there in his eyes. Our whole future.
“After,” he promises with a handsome but cocky grin. “I’ll take you back to bed after dinner.”
The guys are already gathering in the rec room and someone must catch a glimpse of us because they call out for Cill. A low groan of annoyance leaves me and Cillian gives me a rough chuckle in response. It’s like one big family, and I love that too. One big happy family with Cillian’s dad in charge and mine handed him a business deal he couldn’t refuse. I don’t know exactly what they do, and if I’m honest, I don’t want to. Cill says not to worry, my father tells me to do as I’m told and not as questions. All in all, I’m aware that they go out on runs for weeks at a time. When they leave, Cill is anxious and calls me every night. When they come home, he can’t keep his hands off me.
He’s loyal to me and all Cill’s ever asked is to stay loyal to him, to trust him and not to worry. I’ll take that response over my father’s any day.
There’s already a crowd in the rec room, the chatter intensifies as we walk in and both Reen and Brendan, his friend and cousin, greet us with nudges and tips of their chins, smiles on their faces. They both look like the cat that ate the canary and I wonder what they know.
My mind slips back to what I thought Cill said last night. I could have sworn he mentioned marriage. It seems silly to be nervous like I am for him to ask, since we both know we’re meant to be married. But he hasn’t yet and every day that passes by, I know he’s going to ask soon. I feel it in the pit of my stomach.
“You want a beer from the back?” Reed questions, gesturing to the other side of the floor.
“Hell yeah,” Cill answers and I nod too. I’m only eighteen and Cill’s nineteen, but liquor has always poured easily for us here. Maybe that’s another reason I prefer this place to home.
Part of this open space is an expansive kitchen, separated from the rest by a countertop, and there are leather couches, an old coffee table and a professional pool table on the other end. The cue is on the table, but the sticks are hung up so no one’s playing right now.
A couple of women, two friends I’ve met a handful of times but I forget their names, sit on the side of the coffee table, leaning forward and talking to Cill’s Uncle Mike and Finn. It didn’t take me long to learn everyone’s roles. Finn is the treasurer which seems at odds with his large stature and weight. Mike is the road captain… but also the enforcer. He’s much leaner and again it seems to go against natural thought until you see the man in a rink. Cill’s uncle loves to tell stories of “back in the day, when I was a fighter….”
If another person walked in right now, they might be intimidated. The room is riddled with leather and tattooed skin. Not everyone gets it, but I do. I’m not afraid.
Unlike one of those women, who has a nervous laugh that still hasn’t left her. I watch as Finn’s brow raises and he leans back. Both him and Mike are older than the two blondes, one platinum, one dirty blonde, both of them gorgeous. The two men have always had hanger oners and it’s never sat right with me. I get that they don’t want commitment, they don’t want ‘old ladies’, the term makes me roll my eyes, like the others. But seeing women come and go is uncomfortable. It’s family dinner and if they don’t intend on them being family, they shouldn’t be here. It’s not like it’s an intimate gathering. There are over a dozen people here already and another two dozen or so to come. But still…
I’ve always found his Uncle Mike a bit disrespectful when it comes to things like that, but as Cill says, they’re old school. Which again, makes my eyes roll.
I start to take off my jacket, but a chill blows in and I think better of it, opting to leave it on even though Cill takes his off.
All the windows in the rec room are open. Fresh fall air comes in through the screens. It’s early fall, but already chilly at night. The sun is just starting to set and through the blinds it’s easy to see it falling into the woods behind us.
Nerves settle through me as Cill’s hand parts from mine and he has a hushed conversation with Reed. Tonight’s the night we’re going to tell our fathers our plans for next year. Any other daughter would probably be excited to tell her parents she got an acceptance letter. My father though, he doesn’t like the idea of me leaving and lately he’s been kind of off. My mother passed two years ago and he’s been downhill ever since, falling into the bottle every night. Part of me feels guilty for leaving, but like Cill said, I have to live my life and I’ll show my father it’s for the better.
I start college in town next fall, and Cill’s happy for me. He’s proud. He’s staying with the club, obviously, he has to since he’s Vice President and this is our home afterall. But we’re going to get our own place together halfway from here to State College.
The crack of a beer snaps me out of it and Reed smiles as I look up at him and tip my head in gratitude.
“Thanks,” I mock cheers him and he and Cill don’t miss a beat to continue their conversation. My gaze filters through the room, but I don’t see Missy anywhere, Cill’s aunt and practically his mother since she passed when he was just a baby. She’s probably out grabbing a few more things for tonight. I’m restless without her here, telling me what I can do to help.
Someone comes down the stairs from the third level, footsteps loud and unselfconscious. It’s mostly offices up there in the top floor of the three story construction and a few bedrooms for people to crash if they need them.
“Kat’s going to college,” Cillian blurts out to Reed. “She’s got in pre med, isn’t that fucking amazing?” His fingers slip through mine again and he brings my knuckles to his lips, and kisses them.
My cheeks flush at the compliment, but I don’t have much time to react other than to hug Reed back because my phone is ringing.
I hear Reed ask about my father’s reaction as I dig out my phone from my pocket. Reed knows how it is, and speak of the devil, my dad’s name is on the screen.
He’s probably on his way and forgot something or he’s running late. He’s been late to everything recently.
“Are you already at the garage?” his voice sounds different than expected, anxious maybe.
“Yes.” I huff a laugh at him a little. “Can’t you hear it?” It’s far too loud in here and it just got louder with Missy yelling out coming through, a pan of something in one hand and a bag in the other.
It’s too loud to hear what my dad is saying.
I have to drop Cill’s hand. I hate letting go of him, but I’ll only be gone for a few minutes. He looks down at me and I tilt my head toward the stairwell. He bends to kiss my cheek. I plug one ear and make my way through the crowd to the little empty space at the foot of the stairs. Cill watches me go as I try to hear to what my father’s saying.
Something about going somewhere quiet. No shit, I can hardly hear him.
“Kat.” My name is nearly a curse hissed through the phone with impatience.
“Sorry, Dad. I couldn’t hear you. Say that again?”
“Did you find your mother’s mug?”
My whole body goes cold with a numbing chill. My mother’s mug. I cross my arms instinctually over my chest, hoping I didn’t hear those words. The party is still pretty loud, even in here. Maybe I got it wrong. “What did you say?”
“Did you find your mother’s mug?”
The blood drains from my face and it’s hard to keep my expression straight. It’s our code phrase. It means I’m in danger.
We made the phrase before my mom died, and just the mention of her makes my stomach sour. My dad has only used it once before while I was at school. I walked out the front doors without telling anyone and came to the club. Everything was fine and it was only a test. Which I’m hoping he’s doing again. Just testing me, even though it would be fucking cruel to do it today.
“I’m already here, Dad.” My voice tightens when I realize, it could be that he’s the one in trouble. Something might have happened to him.
“Is there anyone around you who can hear me?” My gaze lifts and locks with Cill, only a few strides away through the threshold. He mouths to me, “Everything alright?” and I can’t answer.
“Kat, answer me.” My father demands at the same time that Cill motions for me to come back to him. I slip closer to the chaos that is the rec room but staying just on the other side of the threshold where most of the noise is blocked.
Cill looks down into my eyes, keeping me there as he asks in a hushed tone, “Are you okay?”
All I can do is is answer “No.”
My father hears me say it too. “Good,” he states over the phone.
I almost correct him to tell him I’m not alone and that Cill may be able to hear, probably everyone else around us too, but Cill takes my phone out of my hand.
His expression turns from concerned to serious in an instant. He’s silent as he raises his hand.
Fear slips down my spine and then over my shoulders and deeper inside as Cill’s expression hardens. Frozen to the core all I can do is watch. With Cill’s hand raised, one by one the room is silenced. One by one their eyes move to the VP and then to me when they realize it’s my phone in his hand. The laughter stops. We’re surrounded by his uncles and his dad. Their friends. Members of the club. They’re all friends with my father, too. They were friends growing up and now I grew up here. Cill grew up here. That’s how we’re part of the MC. We belong here. I tell that to myself over and over again. I belong here. I’m safe here. I am.
I’ve always been a part of this club, but as the room goes silent and Cill puts the phone on speaker, careful to mute himself first, I feel the walls caving in.
This must be some kind of nightmare.
“The cops are coming,” my father says into the dead silence of the room. If I wasn’t paralyzed with fear, I’d fall over or run. I can barely swallow, let alone move a limb.
“He says the cops are coming,” Cill says, loud enough for everyone to hear.
“Kat. You’re going to be safe when the cops come,” my dad continues and I wish I could tell my father he’s on speaker, but he would want everyone to know too wouldn’t he. If the cops are coming, everyone here should know. “Just let them arrest you.” My eyes widen in shock and then my mouth drops open. “They’re going to let you go, but you’re going to be arrested for your protection. You understand me?”
Cill’s dad, the head of the MC, the President, the man in charge, reaches in for the phone. As I peek up at him, his gaze is filled with a hate I’ve never seen from him. My hands tremble and I instinctively take a step back, my shoulders hitting the wall behind me.
It takes Cill wiping my cheek to realize there are tears streaming down my face.
“I don’t understand. I don’t understand any of this.” I barely get out as Cill’s father turns his back on us and everyone in the rec room moves at the President’s command.
Cill stays in the hall with me, comforting me of all things and as if on cue, the sirens can faintly be heard sneaking in through the opened windows.
My heart hammers and I still can’t wrap myself around what’s just happened.
I know, without my father telling me, that there won’t be enough time to run. He’s giving me this information with only minutes to spare. My dad isn’t at the party, because he knew this would happen and he didn’t want to risk getting arrested.
“He’s a rat,” I whisper as reality grips me and Cill pulls me in close to his chest. “It’s going to be okay,” he says. “I’ve got you.”
Oh, god, how could my father do this?
Cill rocks me and kisses my hair, whispering something but I don’t hear it over the pounding of my heart.
It’s surreal, the moment I know everything has changed and there’s no going back.
For four years, I live with this memory. The memory of everything crumbling before my eyes. Even with Cill’s arms around me, I knew nothing would ever be the same. I couldn’t have imagined what I’d have to live through next. What we’d both have to live through.
Cillian said it would be okay, and I wanted to believe him so badly. He promised he’d help me. He’d make it alright. I wish he’d had the power to do it. Cill thought that since he was only nineteen, he’d get a lighter sentence. And he might have, if he’d named names.
But he didn’t name names. He took the fall for the club with a sentence of ten years, with the chance of getting out on good behavior.
My father ran, but I stayed.
And my world changed forever.
Sexy as Sin is coming December 21st! Pre Order HERE!