By: Jayne Blue

Tate nodded and backed out of the door. Colt was our club prez. He and our V.P. Kellan were away for a few weeks down south, leaving me in charge. I moved to the room next door and sat behind Colt’s desk, the big red-and-black wolf logo above my head. Though we’d left the one percenter shit behind, anyone in this town knew who the Great Wolves M.C. were and what we were capable of. Which left me curious as hell why someone like Nicole Ridley would voluntarily walk back into my life.

She did though. Tate opened the door. She paused in the doorway, looking from him to me and back again, unsure. I gave her a sly smile and gestured toward the chairs in front of Colt’s desk. She clutched that purse tight to her chest and gave an unsteady smile to Tate as he nodded and closed the door behind him.

Yeah. I’m a dick. I could have put her at ease right away with a genuine smile and maybe a quick hug. But man, she stirred something in me. Standing there with that tiny pulse beating just above her breast. God, close up, she really did look just the same. She had dark brows that slashed in a straight line above those flinty gray eyes. That pouty bottom lip she liked to catch between her teeth. I remember wanting to know what it tasted like and getting the chance to find out all those years ago.

“Hello,” she finally said, her voice sexy and low, just like I remembered. “Thank you for seeing me. I wasn’t sure if you remembered who I was.”

I let her off the hook a little. She sighed and smiled when I stood up and offered her my hand. “Sit down, Nicole. It’s good to see an old friend. You looking for a donation to the class reunion    ?” I meant the last part as a joke and she laughed a little, but she was nervous still.

She took a seat and I couldn’t help watching as she crossed her legs. I got a flash of pink cotton panties and thighs that didn’t quit. I should know. I remembered that too. She’d been timid at first or wanted me to believe that she was. But once we got started, it had been all her. She’d leaned up on her tiptoes and kissed me, threading her hands through my hair. She said she loved it long, called it Viking blond. I still wore it like that and I caught her looking at it now and wondered what part of that night flashed in her memory. God, for me it was her delicate hands loosening my belt buckle, her nails painted alternating blue and silver to match the school colors.

“I’m good, Brax. And it’s good to see you. This place.” She spread her hands and gestured like a runway grounds crewman. She folded them quickly in her lap again but not before I saw the little tremble. “Your club has done amazing things down here. I never thought I’d live to see the day downtown Lincolnshire would be so vibrant.”

I nodded. “It’s been hard fought. But yeah. We’re moving in the right direction. What’s up, Nic?”

Her eyelids fluttered at the nickname. I guessed maybe no one since high school had called her that. Certainly nobody like me should have even then. It was too familiar. I was rough, dangerous, nothing but a thug. But none of them knew what I knew about her. That one night, after the last game of the season, the Homecoming Queen, the captain of the cheerleading squad needed something she thought only I could give her.

“I . . . I didn’t know who else to turn to. I probably drove by this place a dozen times, afraid to get out. Afraid of what you might think of me if I came in here asking you for what I need.”

Her cheeks colored with a rosy blush that spread down to her chest. It took everything I had not to stare at her there. God. She was even sexier now than she’d been under the bleachers that night. Older, with curvy hips and lines of wisdom near her eyes. It looked like she’d earned them all.

I reached across the desk and caught her hands where she fidgeted with her purse strap. I couldn’t stand it. As much as I liked watching her like this, it wasn’t fair to her. “Nic, what is it? What can I do to help you? I seem to remember telling you once a long time ago that if you ever needed anything, all you had to do was find me.”

She smiled and it damn near melted me. Her shoulders dropped and her lashes fluttered like birds’ wings as her eyes glistened. Then her story came gushing forth. “It’s my kid brother. I don’t know if you remember him. Doug? He was five years behind us.”

I sat back in my chair and nodded, even though I had no idea who the hell the kid was. Why would I? People like Nicole Ridley usually steered way the hell clear of me back then and still do now.

“What’s he done?” I let out a sigh. I’d heard this shit a thousand times. Messed up with dealers probably. If she’d said it was her sister, I could have predicted the problem there too. Caught up with some douche who liked to use her as a punching bag maybe? Yeah. Not my scene. Not back in the day. Not now. I didn’t get involved in other people’s shit. Club business kept me busy enough. Good as it was to see her, this conversation was about to be over quick.

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