“I smell sex all over you.” Raven pushed a button on her door, making both our windows roll down.
“Seriously, it must be the baby making your sense of smell crazy because I can’t smell anything. Besides, we showered like six times…” My body heated up at the memories of all six times we had showered. Sure we had gotten clean, but we had gotten very, very dirty in that shower too. With the fear of my father finding out no longer hanging over our heads, Spider hadn’t held back about making me scream with all the different ways he could pleasure me.
Raven let out a snort and finally put the car in reverse. “Do you always blush like that? It’s kind of cute.”
Excitement was making my heart race faster than it had in a long, long time. I couldn’t believe how happy I was. And I only wanted to share my happiness with one person.
I bit my lip as I pulled to a stop in the bar’s parking lot. I’d never gone to see Hawk at work and he had never invited me in for a drink. For one, I didn’t like to drink. Too many memories of my father getting drunk and beating up my mother haunted me. My father’s family was full of alcoholics and I wasn’t going to dare look down that path let alone follow in it. For another, I was sure that Hawk didn’t want me to see what went on while he was at work. Too many nights he had come home from work smelling of the booze and smoke but there were nights that he came home smelling like cheap perfume too.
Those were the nights I wouldn’t let him hold me even if I did have nightmares.
Tonight I just couldn’t wait to share my news with him. I had spent the afternoon on campus with the Dean of the university’s law school and the committee that decided who got in and who didn’t. Trinity University was a small school, but it was no less prestigious than Harvard when it came to their law school. My father had gone there when it had first opened, and had been one of their first graduates from the Trinity University School of Law.
I’d had my choice of colleges, universities, and their law programs. I’d picked Trinity not only because it had been expected of me, but it was also where my mother had gone to college. That connection alone overruled the one that was to my father, a man who I still hated even though he was six feet under in the family cemetery back East. May his black soul forever burn in hell.
Opening the door to the gray 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle, I stepped out. It was one of the many classic cars that the Hannigan brothers collected, but this one was Hawk’s and he had lent it to me for when he couldn’t drive me somewhere. I’d been scared to drive the classic beauty, and I honestly wasn’t comfortable with the looks that the guys on campus gave me whenever I pulled up in it. But it drove like a dream, and I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t make me all kinds of melted inside when I heard that fudging engine revving up.
The parking lot was crowded with bikes, or as I had quickly learned from Raider, ‘hogs’ as they were all Harley Davidson motorcycles. I’d learned all kinds of new vocabulary from Hawk and his brothers over the last six weeks or so. Not all of it had been welcome knowledge either. I could have lived without knowing what a sheep or momma or sweetbutt was. All meant the same thing. All were the type of women that I was sure Hawk went for and the reason he came home smelling like a cheap whore some nights.
Opening the door to the bar I was momentarily overcome with the mixture of smoke and the scent of alcohol. The atmosphere was tense, as if everyone inside was just waiting for something to happen. I found that there were only men inside except for Willa, who was handing out drinks.
I waved at her and headed in her direction. I hadn’t seen her in a few days and Hawk had said something about her having been with Spider. I’d figured something had been up with those two a while back, and I hoped that they could work it out. Willa stopped what she was doing and blinked as if she were trying to figure out if I was real or not. “Hi,” I greeted with a smile. “Is Hawk here?”
“Umm, yeah.” She nodded over her shoulder to a booth in the back. A group of older men were sitting with Bash, Hawk, Raider, Colt and Spider. “I wouldn’t go back there yet though…” She was calling after me, but I waved again as I hurried toward Hawk. It was selfish of me to interrupt his MC time, but I was too excited to care just now.
No one noticed me right away because they were too busy listening to something that Bash was saying. I was less than three feet away when an older man’s head snapped up and all conversation at the booth abruptly stopped. I didn’t pay them any attention as my eyes zeroed in on Hawk. He looked stunned to see me and I grinned. “I got in!”
He was out of his seat in seconds and I was being twirled around and around. His laughter blended with mine and I hugged his neck tight. After nearly being raped, I’d never thought I would ever be okay with a man’s hands on me again. Hawk was different. He didn’t make me feel dirty when he touched me. Just safe. Safe and cared for. “That’s the best news I’ve heard all night, Gracie.”
A throat was cleared behind Hawk and he stopped twirling me around. My arms tightened for a second, not wanting him to let me go, before I forced myself to release him and step back. His arm remained around my waist as he turned to face the others. I glanced down at the men I knew. Spider, Colt, Raider, and Bash gave me a warm smile. Tanner and Matt Reid even nodded their heads in acknowledgement.
“Congratulations, Gracie,” Bash said, tipping his beer in my direction. “You deserve it.”
Pleasure made my cheeks warm and I lowered my eyes. If there was ever a picture of male beauty it would be Bash Reid. The man was just breathtaking, but he still didn’t measure up to Hawk in my eyes. With his big jade green eyes, that shaggy blond hair, and a body that was both hard and so soft to lie against… Wetness gathered between my legs and I clenched them closed, embarrassed to have such a reaction to just thinking about a man who had been nothing but kind to me. “Thanks, Bash.”
A throat was cleared again and I turned my head to find the older man who had first met my eyes when I had reached the booth staring at me hard. I wasn’t sure if it was just the lighting of the bar but he looked pale, maybe even sickish. Hawk pulled me closer to his side. “Uncle Jack, this is Gracie Morgan. Gracie, this is Uncle Jack… That’s Razor, Uncle Chaz, Uncle George, and Uncle Ox.”
I greeted them shyly. “Hi.”
“Morgan?” Uncle Jack raised a brow, his face suddenly looking drawn. He stood and I noticed his hands were trembling. He took a step in my direction before stopping. His brown eyes darkened as he seemed to have trouble swallowing. “Are your parents’ names Craig and Shannon?”
I flinched at the sound of my parents’ names. It never failed to tear open a wound in my heart that was just now starting to scab over. My mom had been my everything, and now she was gone. Taken away by the drunken hands of a monster that I just happened to share DNA with. I blinked back the tears his innocent question had caused and offered him a small, sad smile. “My mom’s name was Shannon, yes. But she’s gone now,” I informed him, ignoring the question about my father. “Did you know her?” My mother had grown up in Trinity County, but that was all I knew. When I’d asked her years ago if she had any family left back in California she had been vague about it. I had always hoped she did, prayed that she had someone out there who loved her as much as I did. Someone who would come and save her from the evil that had invaded our house. No one ever had, so I had stopped praying.
“Gracie…” My name came out as a whisper and I was startled to see tears fill Uncle Jack’s eyes. “Oh my God… Gracie…”
“Uncle Jack?” Bash stood, putting a steadying hand on the older man’s shoulders, but Uncle Jack didn’t take his eyes off of me.
For some reason my heart started pounding and I took a longer look at the man standing in front of me. His long hair was pulled back into a ponytail. It was gray with just a hint of red shot through it. His face was weathered, wrinkled around the eyes and mouth telling me that he had spent many years frowning. His lips were thin, nothing remarkable about them… But his nose, I’d seen that nose every day of my life, in my mirror. On my mother’s face. And those eyes—aged bourbon, that’s what Hawk had told me just a few weeks ago when he had woken up beside me, staring deep into my eyes as if he could see my very soul.
My heart contracted and I tore my gaze from Uncle Jack to look up at Hawk. He was staring from me to his honorary uncle as if trying to figure out a complicated puzzle. “I-I’m not feeling well. I should…go…”
As if my words had