Beyond Redemption

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: June 11, 2019

Reads: 79

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 11, 2019

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CHAPTER 1

Joker hated the heat. He also hated the blazing sun, sand, and humidity that surrounded South Beach. Like walking through water with your clothes on. A thousand miles and forty degrees hotter than his home in upstate, New York. Not that he was a fan of New York winters, especially when the snow made it impossible to ride his Harley, but the smell of coconut suntan lotion and this constant heat drained his energy. 

Joker slid onto a wicker stool at the poolside Tiki bar, and the waiter immediately appeared. His eyes swept over Joker’s black T-shirt, full sleeve tattoos, and silver skull rings. Not even close to the skimpy, designer bathing suits and expensive, gold jewelry on both the men and women lounging at the pool.

“What can I get you?” The tan, smiling bartender looked way too happy.

“Jack Daniels.”

Joker wiped at his brow, deciding that travel wasn’t his thing. He liked what he knew. Routine worked for him, probably why he adapted to his stint in Rikers so easily. Now he was ready to get this job done and get back home. Two days was long enough to be sweating his balls off in this swamp.

Okay, that was an exaggeration. The Royal Palms was one of those five-star places right on the beach with a spa, celebrity chef restaurants, and enough bars to make an alcoholic cry out for mercy. Supposedly, his connection, a guy named Charlie, and his Miami crew conducted their business in cabana number five and making this one last deal for his club guaranteed Joker’s freedom for him and his son.

A few minutes later, the bartender returned and slid the glass onto a fancy coaster advertising the hotel.

Joker sipped it hoping the liquor would ease his frazzled nerves. What the hell? He motioned to the bartender. “What is this?”

“Jack Daniels,” he said, then proudly announced, “I added some grappa and bitters. I assumed you wanted the specialty drink of the hotel.”

Joker pushed the offensive drink away. “Just get me a shot of Jack, no bitters and no whatever the hell else you said. Just Jack, got it?”

The bartender’s eyes widened scooped up the glass and scurried away.

Who fucked with Jack Daniels? The faster he got outta this hellhole, the better. That is if hell had ninety percent humidity at two in the afternoon, or these specialty drinks didn’t kill him first.

For the tenth time, he gazed over at cabana five along the south side of the pool. No luck. 

Charlie apparently was tall with dark hair and a badass rep. Not much of a description, but Digger, the Raider’s prick of a president, was making this job as difficult as possible because he enjoyed being a prick. Reason number one why Digger was the most feared MC president on the East Coast. The guy gave new meaning to crazy and even Joker’s six foot four, two hundred and twenty pounds of muscle and fuck you attitude stepped aside when Digger entered a room. 

Joker stuck a Marlboro between his lips and just dipped his head to the Zippo lighter when the bartender appeared swallowing hard, eyes darting from side to side.

“Sir, I’m sorry there’s no smoking here.”

Joker slowly looked around the bar, then back at the bartender. “We’re outside.”

“I know, but there’s no smoking in the entire hotel area.” His lips twitched into a nervous smile. “Inside and out.”

Joker huffed out a laugh. Another reason he hated to travel, at his clubhouse he knew all the rules. He nodded and stuck the cigarette into the pack. He wouldn’t give the guy a hard time, he was just trying to make a buck, but right now a lungful of smoke would’ve calmed his nerves and set him straight. He rubbed his hand over the scruff at his jaw, then pulled on the silver hoop in his ear. He hated waiting—one of the only reasons he liked being VP of the Raiders. Everyone waited for him.

So far, the three guys in cabana five were getting drunker by the minute. Loud, obnoxious, and sloppy. If this was the way they did business, no wonder the South American cartel wanted them out.

He and just about every other guy with a dick zeroed in on a knockout brunette strutting her bangin’ body into the pool area. She stopped just long enough for Joker to admire mile long tanned legs with a white Brazilian thong bikini showcasing a perfect ass, firm abs, and tits that almost looked real. Priding himself on the intricacies of the female body he could tell fake ones at fifty feet away, but kudos to her surgeon because these were close enough to the real thing.

Her gaze wandered to each cabana, and when it landed on number five, his interest increased one hundred percent. Maybe the drunk assholes ordered some entertainment. What a waste on a bunch of idiots who were too trashed to appreciate her. If nothing else he could enjoy the show while he waited. Or maybe the sexy brunette was ordered to entertain the illustrious Charlie who would follow soon. That thought perked him up. Get this fucked up job done, so he could get back to the cooler weather, and start his new life as a straight citizen.

In the last few days, Joker had seen plenty of beautiful women in Miami, but one with that kind of confidence stood out and demanded his attention, especially when she stopped at cabana five.

He lowered his sunglasses to get a clearer picture. Too far away to hear the conversation, so he relied on body language. The girl was obviously a pro because she surveyed the situation, then stepped back. Like him, she quickly assessed that these guys were a bunch of drunk assholes. And assholes usually had no boundaries, especially when a shitload of liquor and ninety-degree heat were involved. Her wary smile gave her away, and when she tried to back off, Asshole Number One grabbed her by the wrist while Asshole Number Two grabbed her other arm. She shifted and attempted to break free, but the stilettos weren’t giving her much help. 

Joker surveyed the pool area to see if anybody else was watching this, then realized because of the way the cabana was situated most of the pool faced the opposite way. He stood, slapped some bills down, and pushed away from the bar. He purposely went the long way around the pool so he could get a better look. The bikini brunette broke away from one of the assholes, but the other one had a firm grip on her left wrist. Joker rounded the cabana, but no one noticed as he stepped up onto the platform between two lounge chairs and surveyed the scene. Three guys with beer guts hanging over neon-colored swim trunks. Drunk, stupid, and looking for trouble. 

“Don’t fight me, baby. We both know why you’re here.” Asshole Number One leered.

“I think there’s been a mistake.” Her firm voice showed no fear.

“C’mon don’t be a bitch,” the jerk wheedled and tried to pull her closer, but she resisted with more strength than Joker would’ve expected from her willowy body.  

“The lady said, you’re mistaken.” Joker stepped closer, and all eyes turned toward him. 

“What the hell do you care what this whore does?” Asshole Number Two waved his beer at him, sloshing its contents onto the teak flooring.

“Let go of her,” Joker warned in a deadly rumble. He would’ve liked to pull the gun hidden under his T-shirt just to scare the shit outta them, but that might’ve been overkill.

They exchanged looks as their eyes raked over him, and he could hear their minds working. Sure, there were three of them, but Joker’s years of cage fighting showed in the bulging muscles under his colorful tats. Add that to the jagged scar that decorated his jawbone, and he was one scary fucker.

“Who the hell are you?” Asshole Number One pulled her tighter.

Joker lunged, wrapped his hand around the guy’s wrist and twisted until he released the girl. Then he continued twisting until the stupid sucker was on his knees.

“Geez, what the fuck?” The guy whined messaging his wrist.

“Do you know these guys?” he asked the brunette.

“No.” She moved to his side, and her dark brown eyes examined him with a mix of curiosity and wariness.

“Do you wanna stay here with them?”

“No.” She shook her head, and her hair grazed her cleavage. 

Very impressive.

Joker moved her behind him, but like all assholes, they just didn’t know when to quit. The one closest to him threw a punch. Huge mistake. Joker was already hot, pissed off and wondering why in hell he’d intervened in the first place, so he was in no mood for bullshit. Blocking the hit and slamming his fist into the guy’s jaw made it all worthwhile. He enjoyed it so much that he followed it up with a gut punch and an uppercut. When the guy stumbled backward and landed with a thud on the lounge chair, Joker eased up and stepped off. The other two backed away, their hands up in surrender, their eyes wide and their big mouths shut. 

When he turned away from them, the girl was gone. His gaze swept the pool area, but she’d disappeared. Flexing his sore fist, he headed into the hotel. He used to like crushing another man’s face with his fist. The sweet pain that washed away the real pain. Then his life changed and hitting someone had consequences.

Great. Bruised, cut knuckles that needed ice and not even a thank you from his mystery woman. When the fuck would he learn? Women came in two types. The clingy ones who sucked the life outta you, and the aloof ice princesses who sucked the money outta you. He’d been burned by both, abandoned by his mother as a baby and raised by a father who gave new meaning to the word, man-whore — not a great basis for lasting, committed relationships.

He trudged back to the hotel, looking forward to his air-conditioned room and hitting the nice big shower to wash this afternoon away. As he rode up the elevator, another thought hit him. Those guys he’d just laid out were definitely not his connection which meant that his intel was wrong. Digger didn’t make mistakes, so what the hell? Was Digger just screwing with him to get him away from New York and if so, why? 

Joker wanted to fuck finding his connection, and Miami in general, but he couldn’t. He had to see this through for the only thing that mattered in his messed up life. 

His son.

***

“Yeah, I get it,” Joker mumbled into his phone as he stared out the floor to ceiling window of his room overlooking the beach.

“They fucked up with the intel,” Digger barked into the phone. “What do you want from me?”

“What I want is for you to tell me that this bullshit job is over.” Wasn’t his fault this jerk Charlie tried to pass counterfeit money to the cartel. Also wasn’t his fault that they were now trying to beat it outta Miami and move in on Raider’s territory in New York.

“You know the deal.” Digger drew in a deep breath. “Get this done and you’re out. Free and clear.”

“Right.” Joker couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of his voice or the feeling that this whole job was a major fuck you.

“Remember, there’s usually only one way outta the club. So don’t pull a fuckin’ attitude with me.”

“So, the new meet is in two days?” Joker chose to ignore Digger’s threat. He’d been enforcing those rules for almost ten years as VP of the club, and he resented Digger reminding him like he was some newbie prospect. 

“Do the deal, and make sure they understand.” Joker’s eyes flicked to the room safe where he’d locked up the 100K. A nice incentive for Charlie and his crew to stay outta New York.

The phone disconnected and Joker blew out a frustrated breath. Two more days in this hot box of a city. 

***

A change of clothes and a shower made him feel a little more human and relaxed his taut nerves. When he pulled the slider open and stepped out onto his tenth-floor balcony, a gentle breeze blew off the ocean. The sun finally set, and the lights shining by the outdoor patio looked inviting. He’d get some food, hit one of the clubs along Ocean Drive, and check out the local talent. Most of the women he’d seen were as hot as the climate, and finding a woman for the night had never been a problem. 

As he rode down the elevator, his mood lifted. What the hell. Maybe he’d even hit up the beach tomorrow. He walked through the lobby bar connected to the restaurant, and a waterfall of wavy, chestnut hair flowing over a bareback caught his immediate attention. The way the woman sat and the cut of her dress made the best of an already smokin’ body, and again he complimented Miami on its class of women. Maybe he wouldn’t even have to leave the hotel for a little entertainment. He slowed his pace, and his eyebrows drew together. 

“You should probably buy me a drink.” Joker slid onto the white leather barstool beside her.

She turned, and her eyes traveled over him. Questioning, and sexy as fuck.

“Tell me you don’t remember,” he challenged.

She paused, sucked in a deep breath that made her breasts dangerously close to spilling out of the flimsy dress. 

“I remember.” She pinned him with her dark, brown eyes like she was daring him, and he never backed down from a challenge.

“I didn’t even get a thank you for my trouble.” Joker hit her with the sly smile that usually worked for him, until now. 

When the bartender appeared, she flashed a sweet smile on him. Shit, the bartender got a warm welcome while Joker’s knuckles still ached from defending her.

“I’ll have a Prosecco, and he’ll have a Jack Daniels neat.”

The bartender nodded but continued to undress her with his eyes, and for some reason, the whole interaction pissed Joker off. Irrational and ridiculous.

“How’d you know—”

“Harley T-shirt, jeans, biker boots. What else would you drink?”

He cocked his head. “You hang with bikers?”

“No, I’m just observant.”

Joker nodded, taking it all in, taking her in. Although the dress barely covered her, she screamed quality. A simple, classy hairstyle, minimal makeup, and diamonds circling her neck. A far cry from the babes that hung around the clubhouse and the fight club with their tits on parade, caked on makeup and fake jewelry. Yeah, this one was high-class.

Their drinks came, and the bartender managed to keep his tongue in his mouth.

She picked up her drink with her perfectly manicured fingers and raised it. “Thank you.” She sipped at it, placed it on the bar and scooped up his bruised hand. “It’s not like in the movies. Hitting someone hurts.” Her eyes locked with his. “Believe me, I know.”

“Agreed. Nothing meaner than a drunk with something to prove.” He sipped at his drink, wondering how she would know what it felt like to hit somebody. He had no idea where this conversation was going, but her clear, straightforward insight puzzled him, and puzzles scared the shit outta him. “Just ’cause this is a fancy hotel, don’t mean you can’t get roughed up.”

“Excuse me?” She circled the rim of her glass with her finger. 

“Doesn’t anybody vet these guys for you before you show up?”

“Hmmm?” She added a frown.

He sipped at his drink not entirely sure why he felt the need to protect her. “I’m assuming you don’t work alone. And whoever you’re working for should do a better job checking out your clients.”

“You’re assuming a lot.” Her back straightened, and her eyes narrowed.

“I’d just hate to see anything happen to that beautiful face.”

She raised her glass, swallowed deep, then placed the glass on the granite bar with a crack. “So, in your world, an attractive woman staying alone in a five-star hotel who approaches the wrong cabana is automatically a prostitute?”

She never raised her voice, but the fire in her eyes reminded him of his high school principal when he got suspended for fighting.

“What was the tip-off?” She raised her long, slender leg and cocked her foot. “My Louboutin’s?” She pointed to her purse. “My Gucci?” Then she cupped her hands under her perfect breasts almost shoving them out of her dress. “Or maybe it was the perfect fit of my Valentini.”

He’d seen his fair share of tits, but he couldn’t rip his eyes away from her exquisite body. When his dick spasmed, he knew he was in trouble. This woman was making him act like a teenager in heat, and he hadn’t acted like that when he was a teenager.

“I’m sorry, it’s just that—”

She drained her glass, rummaged through her Gucci, and extracted a matching wallet. 

“Wait.” He raised his hand. “I got this.”

“No, I insist. Things could’ve turned ugly earlier, and even though you thought you were saving a hooker—”

“Give me a second chance.” Shit, now she had him pleading with her. This trip was gonna kill him in more ways than one. “Have you eaten yet?”

Some of the fire left her eyes, but her lips mashed together.

“C’mon, I’m really not a bad guy.” Okay, so that was a stretch, but he’d never intentionally hurt a woman, and he sure hadn’t meant to hurt her.

“You’re just a guy with outdated, Neanderthal ideas that belong in a museum.”

“All right, I deserved that, but let me prove you wrong.”

She popped her lower lip between her teeth and his dick jerked again. He better get that sucker under control. He waved over the maitre’d and shoved a twenty into his palm. “Can you get us a table by the window?”

The maitre’d glanced between them, palmed the money, instructed the bartender to forward their tab, then led them to their table. Two minutes later, Joker enjoyed the view of the ocean at night and the mysterious woman who sat across from him. Best twenty bucks he’d ever spent.

“Bring us two more drinks,” he instructed the maitre’d.

Again, those dark eyes bore into him. “I take it, you’re a man who’s used to getting what he wants.”

“I suppose.” Being VP of an outlaw biker club left little room for argument.

“You do realize we don’t even know each other’s name.” Her perfect pouty lips graced him with a smile.

“Hadn’t thought about it.” Joker shrugged. “Are names important?”

“Probably not.”

The waiter returned with their drinks, and she held her glass up for a toast. “Here’s to not caring about names.”

They clinked glasses and Joker let the smoky bourbon coat his throat. He’d had plenty of one night stands, plenty of random sex, and even though this night seemed to be going in that direction, something seemed different. He’d always prided himself on his instinct and gut feelings. Those natural talents kept him alive in his dangerous world and although tonight waved a huge red flag, he couldn’t back away. He wanted to be close to this flame even if it meant getting burnt.

Since his tastes in food ran to steak and other basics, he let her pick from the menu. She ordered small plates, which he found consisted of an assortment of different foods. Kobe sliders with a sauce he couldn’t pronounce, an exotic cheese wrapped in dough, and some other stuff she told him to just eat. Two bottles of wine later had him liking Miami and forgetting about all the bullshit that brought him here.

“So what’s with all the black denim and heavy boots?” She’d insisted that he move to her side of the booth halfway through the first bottle of wine and now her hand rested dangerously high on his thigh. “This is Miami, lighten up.”

“I’m from New York.” He laughed. “It’s what we wear.”

“Tomorrow, I’m taking you shopping.”

“Shopping ain’t really my thing.”

“I’ll make it fun. We’ll get some Brioni, Ferragamo, and Gucci.” Her hand slipped between his thighs. “You have a body made for good clothes.”

“You got a body made for no clothes.” Oh shit, now this woman had him saying cheesy things. Next, he’d be crying at chick flicks.

Her hand slid higher and squeezed, but her eyes never left his, and without saying a word, she had him right where she wanted him. Oh yeah, he was fucked.

***

With the little strength Joker had left, he hailed the waiter and charged the dinner to his room while her hand worked him under the table. “Unless you want me to bust right here, I suggest I show you my room.”

Her smile widened, and all he could picture was a wild panther before it pounces. Yeah, he’d take his wildcat upstairs and show her just what a Raider was made of.

The minute the elevator door closed, her skilled hands undid the button of his jeans. By the time they reached the door of his room, she was rubbing his dick in a way that made sliding the key card into the door impossible. It took him three tries to get it right.

He kicked the door closed with his booted foot and ran his hands up her bare back. His frayed self-control in the restaurant evaporated. His blood rocketed through his veins, and when he pulled back slightly to take a breath, it ended up sounding like a rough, ragged moan.

When she reached around the back of her neck and untied the top of her dress, the moan turned into a growl. Her perfect body filled his brain with all kinds of ways he wanted to take her. Fast, hard and dirty, then slow, deep, and filthy. Giving her what she wanted and taking what he needed. He’d never wanted a woman more, and he didn’t know why. Crazy shit that his bloodless brain couldn’t process. For now, it was just him, her soft, tawny skin and a need that scared the fuck outta him. 

In a flick of her wrist, she pulled at the hem of his T-shirt dragging it up his chest and over his head, then flinging it to the floor. She bit her pouty lower lip again, and another feral growl escaped his throat. Running her hands down his shoulders, she inched her way over the club insignia tatted across his pecs. By the time she reached his waistband, his dick was pushing against the half-opened zipper of his jeans. Fuckin’ thing was about to explode, and he still had his pants on. His hips thrust forward, egging her on, and when she paused, he groaned.

“I’d like to know what all these tats mean first.” The teasing curve of her lips told him she was enjoying his agony way too much.

“You know what happens to women who tease me?” He braced his hands against the door on either side of her head. 

“Oh, please show me.” She dared him to be bad without an ounce of fear, and he loved it. Even today, with those guys, she showed no fear. Anger, but no fear. He’d never met a woman so stunningly beautiful and brave. Like whatever came before conditioned her for whatever the future held.

He pressed her to the door, feeling her tight nipples rub against his bare chest. He captured her mouth and invaded her with his tongue until they were each devouring each other. 

When he’d gotten his fill, he pulled back inches from her lips. “You think we can make it to the bed?”

Her gaze flitted to the bulge in his jeans. “Well, I can.” 

She ducked under his arm, and as she walked away, the dress slid down her hips and fell to the floor. He leaned against the door for support, watching her tight ass shift with each step of her stiletto heels until she disappeared into the bedroom. 

He pushed his hand against his groin. “Can barely move; you got me so fuckin’ hard.” He stumbled into the bedroom and admired her laid out on the comforter, still wearing the heels. Too fuckin’ much. 

She leaned up to him, pushing his jeans down. “Mmm, I like a man who goes commando.”

“Not so great when you got a woman who’s hot as fuck giving your dick zipper burns.”

“Ahh, let me make it feel better.” She grabbed his shaft and stroked him so hard he thought he might embarrass himself and come right in her hand like a fuckin’ kid. He didn’t want her to stop, but he also wanted to be in her the first time he came. Shit, not such a bad problem.

She released him and leaned over to her purse. When she pulled out a string of condoms, his mixed emotions jumped from impressed to surprised. Sure, women carried condoms, but a whole damn strip of them.

He pointed to the condoms strewn across the bed. “Is that a challenge?”

She wiggled her hips and crawled higher on the bed, then looked over her shoulder. “I’m hoping more like a promise.”

“Oh, fuck. You are gonna kill me, woman.” He grabbed his dick and stroked it a few times then climbed on the bed with her. He hooked his arms under her knees and dragged her to him, anchoring her stiletto-clad feet on his shoulders. He nabbed a condom, ripped it open with his teeth, and sheathed himself.

“Impatient.” She grinned up at him. “I like it.”

“I gotta have you now. It’s gonna be fast and hard.” He ran his thumb over her clit. “But I promise I’ll give you everything I got.”

He continued to rub her clit, and when her hips began to gyrate, he leaned in and centered himself. She welcomed him in, and everything disappeared. The shit job he had to do, the way his life had crumbled around him. It all faded away with lust and passion of this woman under him. Giving herself to him and letting him take what he needed. He was hitting into her hard, but her face shone with pure pleasure. When he slowed a bit, she pulled at him to go faster. Like she needed this as much as him. Maybe more.

Yeah, that was it. Two fucked up people meet and become one whole person. Nah, that only happened in the movies, not in real life and sure as hell not in his fucked up life. 

He pumped into her keeping pace with her bucking hips until she arched up, then collapsed against the pillows. Her body milking him with her release. Panting, he thrust into her once more and let his spasms wash over him. Cleanse him and release him in a way he didn’t think possible. Collapsing at her side, he stroked her glistening body. Breathless and unable to speak.

He cupped her ass and pulled her closer to him, enjoying the rasp in her breathing and the smell of their sex. He nestled her head into his shoulder, and a big ball of pressure released freeing him from the inside out. He stroked her hair draped over his chest, liking the silky feel against his rough, calloused palm.

Usually, by now, his brain rattled with excuses and reasons for the woman to leave. Trying to formulate the right words not to piss her off, but to make sure she got gone. Most times, it ended with the woman throwing on her clothes and calling him a dick. If nothing got broken he considered it a win, but tonight the thought of her leaving unsettled him in a way he didn’t understand. He liked the feel of her long, lithe body pressed up against his side. It calmed him and made him nervous at the same time ’cause wanting something too much caused problems, and when it inevitably got ripped away, it left you wide open and vulnerable.

“I’m just gonna close my eyes for a minute.” When she didn’t answer him, he brushed the hair from her face. She’d beat him to it, already into a sound sleep. Maybe she needed this as much as him. Maybe they weren’t so different.

As he closed his eyes and drifted off, he listed all the questions he’d ask her later. Like where she was from, where she was living, and what the hell was her fuckin’ name.

***

When Joker opened his eyes shards of blaring sun snuck through the drapes. It took him a second to remember he was in Miami and another second to realize he was alone. He sat up in bed and listened. Silence. He threw his legs over the bed, nabbed his sweat pants off the chair, and pulled them on. Her shoes and dress were gone, she wasn’t in the bathroom, and he knew before entering the living area that it would be empty. 

He sucked in a deep breath. What the hell did he expect? It was a one nighter. They both knew it. Better off this way, ’cause that woman could definitely get under his skin. Then he laughed out loud at himself. She’d done what he’d done countless times — snuck out in the middle of the night to avoid the morning after talk or the shit storm that sometimes followed. Un-fucking-believable.

His stomach grumbled, and he grabbed the room service menu, picked up the hotel phone, and ordered himself a nice big breakfast. Then he pulled open the drapes, admired the view, and let his mind drift back to one of the best nights he’d had in a long time. He stepped out onto the balcony and enjoyed the warm morning sun on his chest. Definitely a beach day. Might as well enjoy himself while he waited for this big meeting tomorrow.

His stomach growled again just as room service knocked on the door. He could almost taste the food he’d ordered. 

He flung the door open. “You’re not room service.”

“Even better.” She breezed past him in another string bikini and see-through cover up that covered nothing, carrying two restaurant bags. “I got breakfast from Sazon around the corner. Spanish omelet and peppers, with sweet plantains on the side. A pancake burrito with smoked bacon and cheese.” She unpacked the one bag and held up the other. “And pastelitos. Best Cuban breakfast, you’ll ever eat.”

His hand still gripped the handle as he stood by the half-open door.

“Well, don’t just stand there. Come eat before it gets cold.”

He canceled the room service as she loaded up the table with the food and two steaming cups of coffee. The smell of fresh coffee and bacon made his mouth water, so he pulled up the chair on the other side of the table and dug into the omelet. 

“It’s good, right?” She licked cream off her lips from the pastry, and his dick took notice. Fuckin’ thing had no pride.

“When I saw you were gone I—”

“Thought I skipped out? Did something you would’ve done?” She polished off the pastry and cut the burrito in half, taking the other half for herself. 

“Yeah.”

“Are you happy I came back?”

“Yeah.” And he meant it. When he opened the door and saw her standing there, his heart kicked up. Not his dick, although that sucker perked up too, but his heart actually did that skipping thing. Fuckin’ weird.

“Do you think you could say something besides, yeah?”

“Sure.” He loved her smirky grin and knowing he put it there, but something still nagged at him. “You think it’s about time we traded names?” 

She gazed at him over her coffee cup. “Names, huh?”

“We’ve shared two meals and fucked each other stupid, so yeah, I think it’s time we exchanged names.”

“Daisy Mae.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Now you know why I didn’t want to tell you.” She laid down her plastic take-out fork. “Your turn.”

“Joker.”

She returned his expression. “Really?”

“I guess I deserved that.”

“Your parents looked in the crib and agreed on Joker?”

“My parents never agreed on anything. My mother ran off before I was a month old, and my father belonged to a motorcycle club. Joker’s my road name, like a nickname.”

“I see. So are you going to tell me your real name?”

“Nah, let’s stick with Joker.”

“I have to ask. Joker? You don’t strike me as the humorous type.”

“I’m not.” He grinned. “A lot of road names are the exact opposite. My father hung that on me ’cause I was so serious as a kid.” He shrugged. “Had to take on a lot of shit at a young age. My father was too busy being president of his MC and getting his dick wet.”

Shit! Where did all that come from? He never talked about his life past or present.

“Why don’t we hit the beach.” She ignored his mini bio and crumbled up the paper bag that had held the pastries. Perfect. The last thing he wanted to do was answer questions about his fucked up life.

“I didn’t bring a bathing suit.”

Her eyes widened. “Who comes to South Beach without a bathing suit?”

“Didn’t think I’d be here that long. Just came for business.”

“Most business in Miami is done by the pool.”

“Like your business yesterday?” She still hadn’t said why she approached those guys or what she did.

“That was a complete screw-up. I was supposed to meet some clients for a new project I’m working on, but I was obviously given the wrong cabana.”

Funny, the same thing happened to him, but he’d keep that to himself.

“What kinda, business?”

“Importing and exporting for a shipping group in Miami. I cultivate the clients, and then my partners seal the deal.”

“And I guess that string bikini seals a lot of deals.”

“It’s Miami. Poolside negotiations, sun, sand, and Caipirinha’s.” She finished her coffee. “Ready to get you a bathing suit?” CHAPTER 4

Joker’s bullshit meter sounded the minute he walked into the small men’s clothing store in the hotel. He hated shopping on any level, but this experience would be a new brand of hell. 

Daisy, on the other hand, was completely at ease. She greeted the manager Manny in Spanish, and although Joker knew some Spanish, their conversation was much too intricate for his amateur level. 

They switched to English obviously for his benefit. Then she wasted no time searching the rack for bathing suits, and other assorted men’s clothing while he tagged along with a pained expression.

“I just need a bathing suit.” He reminded her.

Manny appeared with an armful of clothing. “These would look fabulous on you.” He sized Joker up. “And you’re so tall. You can wear anything.”

“I just need a bathing suit, thanks.”

“Let’s just measure your inseam.”

“Let’s not.” Joker put his hand up, and Daisy laughed behind him. She said something in Spanish and Manny transferred his armload of clothes to her then disappeared to the other side of the store.

“You look like you’re being tortured.”

“Good, because that’s the way it feels. Can we just get a bathing suit and get the hell outta here? That guy makes me nervous.”

“Relax.” She rubbed his arm. “I’ll take care of everything.”

The dressing room was the size of a small bedroom with chairs and couches, and a planet away from the Harley store he usually did his shopping. A half hour later he’d gotten two bathing suits, a pair of pants that weren’t jeans, and two button-down shirts that Manny and her both agreed were made for him. And she was right, he did relax, especially after the mind-numbing blowjob she gave him right there in the dressing room.

They stopped at a few more stores where again she knew the staff, and even though she was practically naked under the sheer coverup, no one seemed to notice. A few tourists looked, but his evil glare made them turn away.

They went back to his room, fucked again, then hit the beach where it was the same thing all over. She greeted the cabana boys by name, and they were treated to a covered daybed by the water’s edge for which he never saw a bill. 

She ran her fingers over his bicep. “You obviously work out.”

“Yes, and no.” She cocked her head, and because she seemed interested, he continued. “I work with motorcycles and cars. Lifting heavy parts and equipment all day keeps you pretty fit. Plus I do some underground cage fighting.”

“Underground cage fighting?”

“Yeah, kind of martial arts, kickboxing, no rules, fucked up free for all.”

“Sounds dangerous—and illegal.”

“Only dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doin’ and the illegal part we keep on the down low.”

“Well, whatever you’re doing, it’s working.” She brushed a soft kiss to his cheek. “I’ll be right back. Just want to make sure they get our drink order right.” 

He watched her navigate the sand, and his dick agreed. The rear view of her Brazilian string bikini was almost better than the front. Almost.

He stretched out over the huge lounger and let the cool breeze and warm sun seep into his body, relaxing him from the outside in. He didn’t think he’d ever been this totally at ease and he forced himself to remember that tomorrow it would be business as usual. Get in, get the job done, and get gone. Don’t lose sight of the prize. 

He stared at his phone lying beside him on the towel, and his throat tightened up.  He missed his son like crazy. Only thirteen and he was already tall for his age, and so damn good looking. Same black hair and dusky skin as him, but his face still held an innocence. His eyes a warm, dark brown without the hard edge of biker life.

 Joker had called home when he hit Miami. A short call just to let Derek know he’d arrived. The kid worried. Just like him, Derek was old beyond his years. Another reason Joker wanted out, so the kid could ride his bike, and hang with friends, without worrying that his father wouldn’t make it home because of a deal gone bad. Yeah, Joker remembered how much those worries hardened a kid.

The phone was hot in his hand from the blazing sun. Joker shielded the screen and hit the speed dial. It rang four times, and he prepared himself for the automated message.

“Hey, Joker.” Derek’s man/child's voice pulled at his chest. The first change he’d make in their new life was his son calling him Dad.

“Hey, kid, how’re you doin?” The tightness in his voice reminded him how much was riding on this Miami deal.

“Good. Helping Shirley with lunch. Tacos and burritos and the best fuckin’ guacamole you ever tasted.” The second change he’d make was curbing the kid’s vocabulary. Tough to do with a club full of filthy mouthed bikers and women whose mouths were just as bad. Thank god for Shirley, the fifty-year-old woman who cooked and cleaned for them at the clubhouse. She’d become a surrogate mother/grandmother to Derek and got the kid interested in cooking. 

“Sounds good.” Joker sucked in a deep breath. He wanted to tell Derek that when he got home, their life would be better, different, but definitely better. He wanted to tell him so much, but the words wouldn’t come.

“You okay?” Derek’s voice slipped. Alert and wary. The exact reactions he wanted to eliminate for their future.

“Yeah, yeah. Just wondering how you’re doin’.”

“I’m good, but I gotta go. The guys are coming in, and you know how fucked up they get if lunch isn’t ready.”

Joker smiled into the phone. He’d thrown Derek into a dark, violent life with two promises. Jail time or death, and yet the kid sounded happy. Fuckin’ amazing.

“Yeah, sure.” Joker shifted on the lounger. “See you when I see you.”

The phone disconnected, and he stared at the black screen for a few seconds. Yeah, he’d make this work. He owed it to him after the pathetic way he’d failed Derek’s mother. Now the kid had to rely on him for a shot at a normal life, a good life away from the club, a life way the hell better than his own.


© Copyright 2019 denisef. All rights reserved.

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