Shattered following a devastating betrayal that results in the death of his friends, Lane Robinson finds himself in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a world away from his previous life as a Marine. Robinson is trying to forget the past, but healing from the deadly deceit that cut blood deep is hard, and memories of that treachery taint every interaction in his life. He misses the comradery and bond he had with his brothers in arms, and now can’t help but view everyone around him with mistrust and suspicion.
Robinson meets a member of the Rebel Wayfarers motorcycle club, and with an introduction into the biker’s circle of friends, he finds that elusive sense of home that has been missing from his life for too long. Initiated into the club and now called Gunny, Robinson buries himself in his new life as a Rebel member.
Secure within his newfound family, Gunny fills his days with solitary work and finds he possesses a gift for motorcycle restoration, forming a career out of this exacting passion. Trying to leave behind the man he was before the club, unfortunately his feelings of cynicism aren’t so easy to set aside. Even within the club, surrounded by members he readily calls brother, he grants his trust to only a few. One of those is Davis Mason, national president, and a man he is proud to call friend.
Into this meticulously constructed life dances Sharon Elkins, the one woman who seems to possess the ability to tear down the walls he has spent so long building. She is the first person who sees beyond his surface façade, the first he’s let get close in so long…can he trust the emotions she stirs in his soul?
As she becomes an ever more important part of his world, darkness from their former lives collides in a dangerous cascade of conspiracy and schemes. Can he protect the woman he has come to love, and will they be able to fight their way clear of the chaos that threatens to entrap them?
“These towering walls you have built to protect your heart do nothing more than imprison your spirit.” – Dean Jackson
**Gunny introduces readers to the tough issue of Mental Health. To learn more about this important issue, how to find help, or how to get involved with helping others please check out my Empower Yourself page.
Under my skin
Onstage, the acts were changing out, the two girls on the side stages sauntering backstage carrying their costumes in their hands. Slinky’s didn’t have a DJ or announcer during the day, but the next shift of dancers usually warranted the expense, and sure enough, Gunny heard the buzz and hum as the PA system clicked on.
The speakers popped loudly and then a smooth voice slipped through the room. “Good evening, gentlemen. We would like to welcome you to Slinky’s, where your every desire is ours, too. We are very pleased to invite a beautiful lady back to our stages. Too long gone from view, she’s here tonight for your yearning pleasure. I give you the stunning Sharmane.” Loud pop music blared as Gunny went rigid at Sharon’s stage name, jerking upright, his eyes locking on the center stage in disbelief. What the fuck…
He watched as Sharon strutted into view, her full lips curved into a smile, her gaze sweeping the area around the raised platform. That’s my woman. What the hell is she playing at? The click of her stiletto fuck-me heels might be inaudible over the music, but there was no missing the seduction implied in the sway and pop of her hips as she worked the edges of the stage. His gaze traced her form down and then up, making that circuit twice in the time it took her to circle the stage once, her carriage and the way she moved resonating with pure class. Slipping her shoes off, she lined them up near the edge of the platform, placing them neatly side-by-side before turning her back to the audience.
Most of the bruising from the beating had faded, and in the areas where he knew she still carried marks, it looked as if body makeup evened out the flaws. Tonight, her movements were fluid, the smoothness at odds with the jerking, flinching woman he had held such a short time ago. Lying in bed last night, his hands had moved over her shoulders and back, gently tracing the outline of the remaining bruises. He hated she still carried marks from Elkins on her skin, and resting there beside her, he had to work hard to make certain the tension of knowing the motherfucker was still breathing her air never made it through his fingers and onto her. He shuddered now, thinking, She doesn’t need that. Not last night, not ever.
The sheer dress she wore floated around her as she twirled in the space between the end of the stage and the pole. Her face lifted to the ceiling, and his mind went back to the first time he saw her in his backyard, recognizing the pose. He saw she was looking up at the stained tiles above her head as if they held the sun, with its warmth drawing her onto her tiptoes, arms spread wide. Spinning slowly to a stop, she dipped sideways and rested one hand on the pole, eyes closed, touching it tenderly with the backs of her fingers and hand, as if she were reintroducing herself to the feel of a lover. God, I fucking love it when she touches me like that. Swaying in harmony with the music, her face broke into a smile when she leaned close, nuzzling one cheek against the pole, saying hello to a favored friend. That is my smile.
Arms out, as if playing airplanes with a child, she ran swooping and twirling around the pole, spiraling closer and closer with each circuit until she was standing tall, face-to-face with it. Whirling to place her back to the pole, her head tipped back, her cheek again stroking along the metal.
His mouth drew tight on a silent groan, watching as her eyes snapped open, looking at him. His breath caught in his chest as he took in her eyes, the look on her face. She’s dancing for me. A sultry smile crossed her face while her chin tilted down, eyes inviting all viewers in on a secret, making each person a participant in her performance. Dancing only for me. Elegantly stretching one hand over her head, she used the other to grasp the hem of her dress, pulling it up and off in one movement, abandoning it near her shoes, and his shout of panic stopped in his throat. Undressed, but still covered in nearly nude shorts and a sports bra, she looked completely accessible, but was fully shielded from the men’s eyes. That is my body, goddammit.
One hand on the pole, she danced in a curving arc around it, winding around and gaining momentum until she reached up, her hand clasping and lifting herself off the floor, her upper body strength allowing her to pull up the bar, hand over hand. Still twirling around the pole, she flipped sideways, pushing her leg around the pole and locked it into place with her arm, spinning slowly towards the floor. It looked as if she were drifting downward, nothing holding her up but the air beneath her.
Pausing the descent mid-pole, she continued her spin, moving slowly and gracefully from position to position, legs twisting around the pole, and then spread wide as she whirled. Hands and feet vied for position; she angled her body to gain or lose speed on her spin, maintaining the impression of effortlessness. Fuck me, she’s become my obsession. I can’t wait to be buried deep inside her.
With a start, he shifted his gaze around the room, realizing he had been staring at Sharon since she came on stage. Looking around at the other men in the room, he understood every man who was the same way, fucking mesmerized. He felt his cut shift and realized he had tightened his shoulders, was clenching his fists. Every one of those motherfuckers was looking at his woman, wanting to fuck her, and he was ready to take them all on. She was seducing the entire fucking audience, and still had her goddamn panties on. That’s my goddamn pussy.
Gunny realized that damn smile had never left her face. My fucking smile.
She dismounted twice during the set, the first time climbing back up the pole upright, hand over hand. Her body swayed alongside the bar, as if it were a mast and she the sail in a high wind, flipping and fluttering as she willed. He watched without breathing as she set her arms wide on the bar, effortlessly looking like she was flying free as she whirled in space.
The second time she mounted the pole upside down, her bare soles looking somehow more intimate than any other part of her body as she flexed and pointed her feet, trapping the bar between them and then releasing it in natural, relaxed movements. He had never been possessive about a woman like he was with Sharon, and it had him feeling out of control, greedy, and mean. If any one of these motherfuckers tried to put a hand on her, he would lose his mind. She’s mine.
From the way her head whipped around, turning back to him again and again, he knew she kept her eyes where she believed he would be, even if there was no way she could see him through the spotlights. His smile on her face. Dancing for him. My woman.
She spun faster then shifted to an upright position and pulled herself back up the pole, where she froze in a pose that looked as natural as breathing, simple to hold. He watched her slide slowly down, dismounting a final time to collapse gracefully into a pale puddle on the floor of the stage.
Copyright © 2015 – MariaLisa deMora