I knew she was struggling just as hard as I was, but she refused to let me go to her brothers. My Raven, who was scared of nothing and no one, was terrified for me. Afraid that they would kill me. I didn’t relish the beating that would follow, but I could take it. There was nothing they could do to me that would keep me from my female.
“Eyes to yourself, brother.”
I didn’t glance to my left at the sound of Spider’s voice. My eyes were on Raven as she bent over a table in the back near the pool tables. A few of the ol’ ladies were sitting there with a pitcher of frozen margaritas. They said something that made her laugh and that sound was like an electrical shock to my dick, which was already at half-mast in readiness for her.
Two tables over from the ol’ ladies sat a group of newcomers. They’d ridden in an hour or so ago, stopping on their way through to who-the-hell-knew-where. Posers, in their leather jackets and expensive boots. Their bikes had badass artwork on them, but that was about the only thing going for the young punks playing at being a gang.
That was what they h
ad called themselves. A gang. They didn’t have a clue what it meant to be part of an MC. Were clueless as to the rules. Especially the Angel’s Halo rule.
No one touches Raven Hannigan.
They hadn’t attempted to touch her, but I could see them building up the courage. It was Saturday and like usual the sheep were in attendance. Girls were all over the single club members sitting around drinking or playing pool. None of them attempted to approach the newcomers though and I could tell that was pissing them off. It was just a matter of time before one of them laid a finger on Raven.
I wasn’t the only one watching them watch Raven. Jet was standing behind the bar mixing drinks while Colt stocked the fridge with more bottled beer. Even as he was pouring shots his eyes never left the five newcomers who were talking loudly over the bar’s usual noise of rock music and high-pitched female giggles. It grated down my spine—all of it. I popped my knuckles, ready for them to make a move.
“Am I going to have to go over and rip their heads off to get you to calm the fuck down?” Spider demanded in a low voice so that Hawk, who was sitting at a table nearby with Raider and two other members of the club, wouldn’t be able to hear him. They had a poker game going, but like Jet, the other two Hannigan brothers were watching the newcomers watching their baby sister.
“I’m cool,” I assured my friend with a lie that tasted bad on my tongue. I wasn’t cool. I was boiling with rage. If only I could stake my claim, those fuckers wouldn’t be sitting there eyeing my female.
“Hey baby, how about another round of beers?”
I jerked as the one who appeared to be the leader of the five posers called Raven ‘baby’. When she didn’t automatically turn around, the loser reached out and tugged on her arm. Every muscle in my body tensed, ready and willing to kick ass. Behind me I heard two chairs scoot across the wood floor. Hawk and Raider. I didn’t have to glance at the bar to know that Jet and Colt were about to jump over the bar top. But they didn’t take a step forward, waiting to see what happened next.
Raven turned her head slowly, glancing down at the hand still tugging on her arm. When she lifted her eyes they were ice cold as she glared at the man. “I’m not your baby. Get your own beer.”
“Come on, sweetbutt.” The poser gave her a grin that I assumed was supposed to be charming, but just served to piss me off. “Go get daddy a beer.”
Spider snorted beer out his nose. He coughed, laughing so hard he was choking. I couldn’t help but grin myself. That wasn’t going to end well for the newcomer. Some of my tension eased as Raven turned to face the biker and his friends. Her olive-jade green eyes were bright with anger. Stepping closer she bent her head and whispered something in the man’s ear that had his Adams apple bobbing.
The man stood and reached a hand out as if to grab her ass. She didn’t give him the chance as she elbowed him in the sternum and then lifted her knee quick and hard to his groin. “Call me a sweetbutt again!” she screamed. “Now go get your own fucking beer, daddy.”
Behind Raven, the ol’ ladies were cracking up while the biker fell to his knees, wheezing as he struggled to stay conscious after the debilitating hit his dick and balls had just taken. As hard as she had kneed him, I was sure that the guy was going to need retrieval surgery to remove his balls from his throat. She turned back toward the table but before she could take a step one of the other newcomers reached out for her, his face set in angry lines.
As if in slow motion I saw his hand rise and I was across the room a second before he made contact with her arm. His hold on her was hard, bruising and I saw red. Jet and his brothers didn’t have time to move before I had the man on his back, his nose broken and his left eye already swelling shut. I didn’t even remember punching him the first time, let alone the second.
No one touched Raven Hannigan. No one touched my female.
Three sets of arms were suddenly around me, punching me. I elbowed the man on my right in the face, and grinned when I heard his nose break. The one behind me didn’t last long as I head-butted him twice, but he had a tight hold on me and I went down with him. The third man was the biggest and a little slow in the head by the look on his face. That didn’t mean he couldn’t fight though and I suspected that he was only kept around as a kind of bodyguard for the other four idiots.
I felt a kick to my ribs and growled at the sudden sharp pain. Working my way free of the man who still had a death grip on me and my shirt, I stood, only to have to duck when the ox of a man swung his meat clever fists at my head. The next punch landed on my jaw and I was unable to control the instinct to dismember as I hit the man over and over with my fists. Head. Stomach. Elbow to the ribs. Kidney. Kidney. The ox stumbled back, but not before he reached out to try and catch himself.
What he caught was my shirt that I wore when I worked at Uncle Jack’s on the older cars that he sometimes got in. The ox went down, ripping my shirt open on the way.
I stood there, shirt hanging wide open, sucking in air to calm the boiling in my veins that had started long before that fucker had grabbed hold of Raven. Around me the bar was quiet. Someone had even turned the music off so all I heard was the sound of the men on the ground around me groaning and my own heavy breathing.
When I turned around I expected all eyes to be on the bloody men behind me, but they weren’t. Instead their eyes were on me. Or rather the new ink Spider had slapped on me that morning.
‘Raven’ was in bold, gothic style writing across the left side of my chest.
I heard Raven gasp as she took in the brand that told the world that I was hers just as much as she was mine. She stepped forward, her fingers trembling as they slid over her name on my skin. When she lifted her eyes to mine they were full of a mixture of wonder and pure terror. Terror for me as I suddenly felt the breath of five raging Irish bikers behind me.
She pulled my shirt closed and stepped closer. “I love you,” she whispered before putting herself between me and her brothers. “Jet… Don’t.”
“Move, Rave.” Jet’s tone was colder than I had ever heard it. He was the one who had taken over as a father figure when Mad Max Hannigan had died. He was the one who had always been the most protective and possessive of Raven. She had been his baby from the day she was born. Of course he was going to be my executioner.
“Please.” Were those tears in Raven’s voice? She wouldn’t let me turn her around to see if there were. She was glued in front of me, my last wall of defense before my death—or my wish for death. “Don’t hurt him. I love him.”