A Bones MC Romance
(Iron Tzars MC 6)
Romantic Suspense / Motorcycle Club Romance / Age Gap
Date Published: July 14, 2023
Pepper -- I’m in so much trouble. Though I’ve been with Dustin since I was sixteen, he’s not the man I thought he was. In fact, he’s turned into my worst nightmare. Afraid for the life of my daughter, I run to the only man I trusted with my daughter’s protection. Rage. He’s Dustin’s half-brother and the scariest man I know. He’s been on the outer edges of my life for four years, always there bailing Dustin out of one mess or another. Also, he hates me.
Rage -- Calm, cool, and collected ain’t my forte. Especially when there’s danger to someone I care about. So when I find out my brother has threatened his girlfriend and their newborn daughter, you’d think I’d be torn between believing the accusations and defending my brother. Truth is, I’d believe Pepper over Dustin any day of the week. She’s the reason I stuck around after Dustin and his mother got back on their feet after my dad died. From the moment I saw Pepper, I knew she was mine. Good things are worth waiting for, sure, but I’m done waiting. Especially when she drops the baby off in my car and intends on sacrificing herself to save Dustin’s sorry hide. Not on my watch.
WARNING: Graphic violence, adult situations, and references to human trafficking and domestic abuse that may be triggers for some readers. Features a grumpy hero and a feisty heroine. Eventual happy ending and NO cheating, as always.
Copyright ©2023 Marteeka Karland
I was taking a huge gamble, but I honestly had no idea what else to do. Everyone in town knew about the Iron Tzars, so finding their compound wasn’t hard. The only problem was going to be getting inside and leaving without someone seeing me. The place was locked down like Fort Knox. I finally settled on leaving my precious cargo and a note outside the gate. It wasn’t ideal, but there was no way to get in and out without having to answer questions, and I couldn’t afford that.
Waiting until I knew someone was headed toward the gate, I left the infant car seat with the attached canopy pulled up to protect her from the sun while it sat beside the gate. After draping a bright red blanket over it, I went to hide in the bushes. Thankfully, there was a large shade tree where the heat wouldn’t be bad and the sun would be blocked. My heart broke as I hurried to move into the woods surrounding the place. I’d done this dozens of times while preparing to make the drop. I could watch from a safe distance without being seen. The second someone stopped and found my sweet daughter, I could hurry deeper into the woods until I made it to the ATV I had stashed next to a dirt road. From there, I’d do my best to disappear.
Now I watched from the shadows in the fading light as a man and woman on a motorcycle stopped next to the car seat I’d left at that gate. I’d left my heart sound asleep in the form of my daughter, and the terror of the past three weeks finally caught up with me. Tears came in waves of grief, despair, and fear I was barely able to choke back. The only thing that saved me from openly sobbing was knowing it was imperative that I not be discovered. The second the woman picked up the small bundle inside the carrier, I turned and fled.
This had been my only option. The only guarantee my daughter would be safe. The note inside would explain it all. I only hoped that the man who the note was meant for would forgive me. After all, he was my daughter’s uncle. The older brother of the man who’d taken my virginity, gotten me pregnant, then tried to kill the baby because he thought I’d ratted him out. The joke was on him, though. I hadn’t been the one to tell his boss he’d been skimming money from the company. That had been his other woman. The one I’d known about but hadn’t cared enough to do anything about because if he was with her, he left me alone.
My plan had been perfectly executed. They’d taken Cassie inside with them. They might still turn her over to social services, but I didn’t think so. That wasn’t who Dustin’s brother was. He’d been against me getting with Dustin, but had warned Dustin to make sure the baby was taken care of. My letter explained everything. How he’d been right. How I wasn’t right for his brother, and how things had gone so horribly wrong in our lives. Now, Cassie’s only hope for a decent future rested with her uncle. He was abrasive and straight-talking. He’d never wanted me around but was protective of those he considered his. Cassandra might not be his, but she was his blood.
Who was I kidding? I was betting my daughter’s future on a man I barely knew. One who hated me. The man they called… Rage.
* * *
“Church!” Sting snapped. The anger on his face gave me pause. As a rule, I was the hot-headed one in the club. It’s one reason I got my name. But something was seriously off. Then I saw Sting’s woman, Iris. There were tears in her eyes and… a baby in her arms?
For some reason, that set off alarm bells in my head. There was no reason for me to think this was about me, but I knew it was. My suspicions were confirmed when Sting walked to me and handed me an envelope. It had been opened, and the contents were sticking out at one corner. When I raised my eyebrow, he gave me a hard look.
“Baby turns up at the club doorstep, privacy goes out the window.”
“Well, the baby ain’t mine. Sure of that,” I grumbled as I opened the letter and skimmed the contents. My eyes got wide, and my heart rate accelerated. “Motherfuck…” So I started over and read it carefully.
I’m sorry. I know you never wanted me with your brother. You were right, though not about what you probably thought. Having a baby definitely wasn’t a reason to stay together. Dustin’s into something bad with his job. I didn’t know until it all blew up and he thought I was the one who turned him in. I can take care of myself, but I can’t risk Cassandra.
I’m giving her to you to protect. Even if I run with her, she’ll be in danger. From Dustin’s associates. Maybe even Dustin himself. Despite this rocky beginning, she deserves a happy, safe life. The kind of life I can’t give her now. Please give it to her, however you see fit.
You told me the last time we spoke you had no ill will toward me and that if I needed anything for the baby to tell you. I’m taking you at your word and coming to you with this now. You’re the only person I believe can keep her safe. From the people Dustin works for. From Dustin. From me.
I’ll never ask you for anything again and I’ll never come back and try to take her from you. Once this has passed, if I’m still alive, I’d like to talk with you. To see how she’s doing. If it’s too much for you to have a daughter on your own and you didn’t think it best to give her to social services, I’ll be happy to be her mother once again, but only if that’s your wish.
Please be what she needs since I can’t.
I’m so sorry, Virgil.
“Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me?” I crumpled the paper in my fist, anger washing through me. “What the shit’s goin’ on?”
“That’s what we’re going to find out. Starting with Church.” Sting raised his voice, calling out to two of our best trackers. “Walker. Shooter. Need the two of you to scout the area. Lookin’ for the woman who left the kid outside the gate. Doubt she’s gotten far. Find her. Bring her here.”
“You sure she’s even still in the area, Prez?” Shooter’s voice was quiet as he asked the question. “Might have dropped the kid and split.”
I immediately answered, not even having to think about it. “No. She’d never leave her kid unattended out in the open like that. She was watching from a distance. Close enough she could intervene if she needed to.”
Sting gave me a hard look. “You sure? Any woman who gives a baby away --”
“I’m fuckin’ sure.” My anger was spiking. This was such horseshit! “Pepper ain’t that kinda woman. That little girl was her entire world from the moment she found out she’d gotten knocked up. She’s got a good fuckin’ reason for what she’s doin’.”
“Good.” Sting nodded at Walker and Shooter. “Men, go hunting.”
About the Author
Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.
Author’s Instagram and Twitter: @MarteekaKarland
Publisher on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @changelingpress