Grimm Brothers MC president, Snake, battled his way to his position by any and all means necessary. He was powerful, respected, commanding; but most importantly, he was feared. Then, at the height of power, one ruthless misstep crumbled his kingdom in an instant. Beaten within inches of his life by a member of a rival MC, betrayed and left for dead by his own club, Snake has only two things left to focus on: healing and revenge.
As a physical therapist working in the trauma unit, Amanda thought she had seen it all. That is until she met a patient known to her as Nick, a broken man who had sustained the most severe beating she’d ever encountered. Surly, brooding, and angry, he should be a nightmare patient. But under the rough exterior, Amanda couldn’t help but be drawn to his determination to heal. Not to mention he was ridiculously attractive, to the point that she found herself giving him some extra attention.
Women like Amanda—kind, sweet, intelligent, independent, respectable—don’t exist in Snake’s world. When she offers him a place to live after his hospital stay, he can’t figure her out. The more time they spend together, the more torn he becomes between two realities: a gruesome MC world full of lies, betrayal, and hatred, or a life with Amanda that promises healing and peace.
As Snake helps Amanda through some troubling times, passion flares. For the first time in his life, he actually cares about a woman. It’s enough to make him question everything. But after leading a life as a dedicated outlaw, is it too late to turn around? And if not, is he willing to leave his vendetta behind?
“He still alive?” The pissed-off voice cut through Snake’s hazy confusion.
“Think so. The bastard makes a wheezy, gurgling noise every so often. I’m surprised he lasted the whole trip. That big man worked him over good. His face is unrecognizable,” a second voice, as well-known as the first, yet not identifiable, said.
“That was Jester,” the first man said. The high pitch, almost whiny quality of his voice so familiar, but just on the edges of recognition. In fact, both voices seemed to hover on the outskirts of Snake’s reality. Like they were coming from a television. Present, but not real.
Pain, however, was there in real time. That was for damn sure. But even the hurt was difficult to place. It seemed to come from every pore in his body. But that wasn’t possible, was it?
“What’s the plan here, Casper?” A third man, also a familiar voice, spoke up.
How did he know these men? Maybe he should say something. Ask for help. With the level of pain, he was experiencing, something was obviously wrong. Snake moved his mouth to speak, but the only noise that came out was a garbled mess of unintelligible sounds.
And then the pain localized.
Holy shit, his face throbbed like it had been pounded repeatedly with a sledgehammer. Inside his mouth, his tongue occupied the entire cavity like an air-filled balloon, making speaking near impossible. He dragged in a breath, but the air met resistance before it ever reached his lungs, blocked by a throat that felt swollen shut. Choking coughs racked him, jacking the pain to an almost unbearable level.
Snake’s brain registered the things happening with his body like a laundry list of items, and it recognized that he should probably be in panic mode, but that was as far as it went. Everything else was fuzzy and he couldn’t get himself together enough to make sense of his reality or actually care about the seriousness of the situation.
“Toss him down the ravine. I’ll fire a couple slugs in him. See how overgrown it is down there? He’ll rot out here long before anyone ever finds the body.”
It was the higher pitched voice that spoke. Casper, another had called him. God, that name…it was dancing on the edges of Snake’s diminishing consciousness. So memorable… Was he a family member?
“You got it, boss.”
Rough hands grabbed under his shoulders, jerking him forward and then he was airborne. The weightless flight couldn’t have lasted more than five seconds, before a crushing jolt and the insane sensation of the world spinning out of control ensued.
Laughter rang out from a distance. “Shit, brother. Look at him roll down that ditch like a fuckin’ sack of potatoes. You probably don’t need to waste any bullets, Casper. No way he survived that trip. It’s what? Thirty feet. And with all those rocks and branches. Something musta smashed in his fuckin’ skull.”
“Yeah, well, Snake’s a slimy bastard. I want to be one hundred percent sure. Can’t have him slithering back into our lives six months down the road,” Casper replied.
After what seemed like an excruciating eternity, Snake’s broken body slammed against something hard and the tumbling stopped. His head was still spinning out of control, but at least the physical movement stopped.
He tried to move, tried to lift a limb and open his eyes, but there was a disconnect between his body and his brain. None of his muscles obeyed commands and all he could do was lie there, a giant, vulnerable target.
A pinpointed, hot, burning pain bloomed in his thigh, followed by another in his shoulder. Bullets. Hadn’t they said they planned to shoot him?
He’d been shot before and it had hurt like a sonofabitch; a lot more than it did now. His brain must be pretty fucked up not to be registering the pain of two bullets. Of course, the rest of his body was one giant ball of agony. Maybe there was a limit to how much pain the flesh could experience. Maybe after the body hit the pain ceiling, it no longer registered something new.
Snake thought he’d known pain before, but it was nothing compared to this full body tormenting sensation. He’d taken bullets, survived knife wound or two, and experienced betrayal. A man didn’t live his kind of life without pain.
His kind of life…
Recollection was right there. If he could just reach out and grab the fuzzy memories.
“Nice fucking knowing you, Pres.”
The words were called out about three seconds before a final hot flash of pain entered his side. Gut shot. The fatal blow.
As the darkness behind his closed eyes grew even blacker, realization dawned.
Grimm Brothers Motorcycle Club. Sandy Springs, Arizona.
Casper. His long time right-hand man. Close and trusted friend. Brother.
Reality faded into the distance, taking some of the pain with it. Would there be peace in death? Not for him. Not going out this way. There were men who had to pay whether now or in the afterlife.
Men like Casper.
His loyal vice president.
A murderous traitor.