Eyes Of Betrayal
The sun beat down on the back of Doctor Whitney Montgomery's neck, sending a bead of sweat running down the valley between her breasts. The humid August temperature had to be reaching near one hundred as the orange ball heated up the cloudless afternoon sky. She ran the back of her hand across her heated brow as a rumble up North Scott Street caught her attention. Looking over the shoulder of Detective LeAnne McVeigh, as the two stood chatting at the corner of the county's court house, she noticed two large Harley Davidsons, sporting three riders, making their imposing way down the center of town.
Her stomach clenched as they neared. Whit's eyes centered on the muscular, black-haired man. He hauled his shining, onyx-colored Harley to a stop as the light turned red. As if sensing her attention, he pulled his silver sunglasses low on his nose. Whit stared into a very piercing pair of blue eyes. Almost evil in their nature. A shiver ran down her spine and pooled in her gut. Had she not known better, she'd swear the feeling was darn near sexual. But men of his ilk did little for her. She couldn't be seen with the likes of him and his ill-gotten buddies. What would people think? It would likely ruin her standing and practice in the small town of Napoleon, Ohio. After all, she had a reputation to uphold.
LeAnne obviously detected Whit's attention being diverted from their conversation and turned in the bikers' direction. The raven-haired one smirked, pushed his glasses back up his nose, and revved the engine to his large bike. His leather-clad thighs hugged the heavy machinery. What she wouldn't do for a night with the likes of that one, Whit thought, as her knees weakened.
The light turned green and the two motorcycles sped off down the road, stopping about half a block away at a bar called DC's Five Stars. The other biker, with lighter brown hair tied back by a black and white bandanna, held out a hand to help the beautiful woman behind him disembark, then stepped from the bike. He took his glasses from his face, stared at the two women on the corner, and nodded before heading into the cool, air-conditioned bar.
Confused by the man's familiar gesture, Whit turned to LeAnne who seemed to have suddenly gone on alert. Something about the trio had set her on end.
"What's up? You know them?" Whit asked. She could tell by LeAnne's posture that her answer would be affirmative. Although Whit had never seen the bikers in town the year and a half she had resided there, LeAnne obviously had. And by the looks of it, her dealings with them had not been good.
"Unfortunately," she clipped. Her lips became a taut line.
Whit could tell LeAnne didn't want to talk about it, but it never stopped her before. She forged ahead, never being shy about her thoughts when it came to LeAnne. They had been friends since her moving here. "Well, I must say, he certainly looks like he'd be well-worth a toss in the sheets."
LeAnne's gaze, which had drifted back down the street, snapped back to Whit. "For crying out loud, Whit--the man had a woman with him."
A chuckle erupted at LeAnne's misunderstanding. "Not that one. The dark-haired one with the electric-blue gaze."
"Oh," LeAnne said, her cheeks coloring red.
"You know him?"
"The dark-haired one?"
Whit's smile grew. "Yes, the one with the leathers on and not the cut-offs."
She shook her head. "Never saw him before."
"Okay, LeAnne. We can skirt the issue all afternoon, but I'm due back at the office before long and I know you have some case or other that needs your attention. Since you don't know the raven-haired biker, who's the one with the chick?"
"Snake...does he have a real name other than that of a reptile?"
LeAnne smiled for the first time since the passing of the bikers. "I'm not being very forthcoming, am I?"
Whit's grin widened. "No, you aren't. So who is this ‘Snake'?"
LeAnne sighed as the smile shed her face. "Marcus Gallego."
"That was Marcus Gallego? The Marcus that walked away from you two years ago? You never said he was a biker, LeAnne. We're you holding out on me?"
"I just didn't fill in all the details."
Whit laid a hand on LeAnne's shoulder. "It must be hard to finally see him after the past couple of years and he comes riding into town with another woman. Not to mention he just drove on by and walked into DC's like he hadn't been gone at all. Forgive me for saying so, LeAnne, but the man is a creep!"
LeAnne slowly nodded. She obviously agreed with Whit's assessment. "But tell that to my heart," she said, then turned and headed for the sheriff's office.
Whit watched as LeAnne walked down the sidewalk, shoulders squared. She wanted to march down the street and slap Snake right up side the head. The only thing stopping her was the fact she had never been inside of DC's before and wasn't about to now. A lot of bikers hung there. Not her type of crowd. She stepped from the curb and headed for her shiny red Corvette. Her confrontation with Snake would have to wait. After all, she had patients to attend to.
Marcus shoved his key into the lock. The deadbolt snapped free with a click. He pushed open the door and Tate preceded him through.
He whistled low. "This is some place you have here, Snake. Cute ducks. Who's the decorator?" he added with a chuckle, referring to the wall border portraying a single row of marching geese with royal blue bows.
Snake grinned. "That would be my late wife's doing. Jillian had a thing for ducks. Maybe I should redecorate, huh?"
"Suit yourself. I just wouldn't be doing a lot of entertaining." Tate slapped Snake on the shoulder. "Pretty well-kept, though, for not having been here for two years."
"Rebel probably had it cleaned, knowing I was on my way back. Would sure be nice if he brought back Comet and Ajax, my dogs." Snake shook his head. "He claims to hate the things, but I bet those two dobies are eating out of the palm of his hand. Now let's see how thoughtful he really was."
Snake dropped his keys with a clang on the counter top and opened the refrigerator to find a twelve pack of Coors. With a large smile, Snake grasped two long necks and tossed one at Tate. "Rebel's not your typical biker."
"I see that." Tate laughed. "I don't know of any of my friends that would have stocked the ‘fridge with beer. Hell, the son of a bitches would have probably drank it and left me the empties."
"No wonder with the crowd you hung in," Virginia said as she walked through the back door. "You got a nice spread, Snake. Lots of open land. I think I might just enjoy my stay."
"You better," Snake grumbled. "I'm not about to take your sorry ass back. You want out of this county, buy a bus ticket."
Virginia, unscathed by Snake's obvious retort, walked to the refrigerator and retrieved her own beer. She twisted off the cap, tossing it in the nearby trash, and took a long pull, then swiped her hand across the back of her mouth. "You know, I might just hang out here awhile. I think I could get use to this country living."
Tate leaned against the counter and palmed his bottle to his chest. His expression no doubt mimicked the seriousness of the situation. "If you know what's good for you, Ginny, you won't ever go back. Lords of Lucifer aren't known to be the forgiving kind."
Ginny smiled, walked by Tate and patted his chest where his telling tattoo lay. "You ought to know, big boy."
Snake and Tate watched her nicely formed backside as she walked into the living room with a saucy sway. A thump could be heard as she sat heavily in the next room.
"Don't worry about her, Tate. She's bitter."
"She has every reason to be," he agreed. "But just because I wore the colors, doesn't mean I agreed with all of their dealings."
"She'll come around. You did the right thing."
Tate shook his head. "Let's hope so. I certainly wouldn't want to bring the Lords' wrath down on Henry County."
"You know as well as I do that if we hadn't gotten Ginny out of there, she'd be dead by now."
"Yeah, but don't think they won't come looking for her. And they find out we're the ones who got her out," he paused, "we'll be as good as dead, too."
Silence fell over the kitchen as the two men looked at one another. Tate knew the thoughts running through both their minds. The Lords of Lucifer would not likely give up until they found Ginny. What she had done in the eyes of the notorious motorcycle club would be considered unforgivable. Many had lost their lives to lesser offenses. Thus putting both of their lives in jeopardy as well. Tate took a swig from his bottle, then followed Ginny into the other room. She sat with her long, lean legs stretched across the sofa, her head resting in the corner with her eyes closed. Damn, but she was a looker. Tate knew better than to even entertain the idea of touching her, though. Ginny Summers belonged to the Chief. And no one touched what belonged to Randy Craig.
Snake grasped the remote to the television and hit the ON. The screen slowly faded in on the six o'clock news. He sat in his recliner as Tate sat on the floor in front of the floral sofa.
"Let's see what the hell's been happening in Northwest Ohio since I left."
Tate laughed, trying to put to rest the ominous feeling left behind by his early thoughts. "Not likely much by the size of this town."
"You're just use to LA. Here...it's a quiet life." Snake raised the remote and flipped to another news station. Just as he was about to change it again, he paused and let his hand fall heavily to the recliner arm. "Well, I'll be..."
Tate looked at the screen, recognizing the face of the woman the camera held steady on. "I saw her on the street corner this afternoon." He glanced at Snake. "You know her?"
"She's a detective?"
"Homicide," Snake added.
Tate smiled. "Homicide? Have a few run ins with her?"
Snake ran a hand down his slightly whiskered jaw. "You could say that. She's the one who arrested me for my wife's murder two years back."
"She's the one..." Tate drifted off, nodding his head in understanding. So the pretty little homicide detective is the one guilty of stealing his buddy Snake's heart.
"Yeah." Snake let out a sigh. "She's the one woman I could never forget."
Ginny opened her eyes and sat forward on the sofa, staring at the screen just before the camera panned from the woman to the surrounding area. Seemed Henry County had a homicide a few days prior. Open and shut. A man shot his wife in the back. The Henry County Sheriff had taken him into custody, then transferred him to Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, CCNO.
Ginny turned and looked at Snake. "She's a looker. What's her name?"
"So why didn't we stop and say hello while we were in town?" Tate asked. Hell, he could have used the introduction to the leggy, auburn-haired woman. Now there was a babe. Better yet, she had been darn right hot. "I wouldn't have minded getting to know the beauty standing beside her."
Snake laughed. "Since when have you ever needed an introduction? We'll likely be beating the women off with a stick once they get a look at you."
"You're avoiding the issue, Snake," Ginny interrupted their ribbing. "Why did you just drive on by her? Hell, had it been my old man that did that to me, I'd grab him by the balls."
"That's the Ginny that got us in this mess in the first place." Snake snorted and rolled his eyes. "Besides, it's been two years. She hasn't been likely waiting on my return. What if she already has an old man? She doesn't need the kind of trouble my attention would bring."
"For two years, you've been damn near celibate, Snake." Tate took a swig of his beer, then wiped the moisture from his mouth. "If it hadn't been for a couple of those drunken nights, I would have sworn something's wrong with you, man. Hell, Ginny all but threw herself at you the first time you met."
Ginny smacked the back of Tate's head, earning her a chuckle. "You're such a shit, you know that, Tate?"
Tate turned and looked Ginny square in the eye. "Tell me you don't have a thing for Snake."
Ginny glared at him and crossed her arms beneath her breast but said nothing.
"That's what I thought," he concluded.
Snake smiled and shook his head. "We all know I would have never touched you, Ginny. Last thing I needed was the Lords breathing down my back."
"Oh, that's just great," Ginny grumbled. "Because of my association with Randy, I'm deemed to remain forever alone."
"Look, I was flattered, Ginny. Really. And had I not still been in love with someone else, I might have said the hell with the Lords and your ties to them," Snake said with a wink. "We got you out of town, didn't we?"
Ginny finished off her beer and set it on the side table. "And for that I can't thank you enough. Randy's crazy and we all know he isn't about to take this too lightly."
"It's best for you stay out of sight. They have no idea where you went or who you went with. Anonymity is your best course of action." Tate turned to Snake and added with a grin, "You and I, on the other hand, ought to go check out some of the local action."
"You know, as much as I would like to disagree with you, I can't. And although I would love to check out some of those sites with you two, I'm too tired anyway." Ginny yawned as if in testament. She stood and headed for the opened staircase, stopping at the first step and glancing back at Snake. "I take it there's a bed up there somewhere?"
Snake nodded. "The only bed is in the room off to the left of the staircase. I can't promise it's clean. I don't know how far Rebel went. Something tells me cleaning these two rooms was probably the extent of his hospitality."
Tate jumped to his feet and closed in on Ginny, a half-ass grin on his face. "You sure you don't want some company, darlin'?" he asked with a wink. Hell, Tate couldn't help but bait her. Besides, she had never shown interest in him anyway. It had always been Snake she found so damn appealing. "I could maybe come up and tuck you in."
Ginny slipped a hand up the back of his loose-fitting tank and pulled him forward. She stood on her tiptoes and leaned toward his ear, whispering, "You think you could handle a hellcat like me, Tate?"
Tate grinned and brought his mouth within inches from hers. "Darlin' their isn't a woman alive I can't handle."
Ginny dug the sharp points of her nails into his flesh and raked them down his back, no doubt leaving crimson trails.
"You bitch," Tate cursed, jerking from her embrace. He ran a hand up his shirt, feeling a sticky wetness. "You drew blood."
"And I bite, too," Ginny added and nipped his lower earlobe as if to prove her point. "Think of the fun we'd have." Ginny then gave Tate her back and bound up the stairs, chuckling more than likely at her downright meanness. So much for gratitude.
Tate looked at Snake who sat in the recliner smirking. "What's so damn funny?"
"You asked for it, Tate. Ginny knows you have no interest in her, so why continue to bait her?"
His breathing came in short shallow pants. His nostrils flared. Fear clawed up his spine like water sizzling across a red-hot frying pan. Anticipation of what he was about to do made his gut churn with bitter bile. Hell, one might think he didn't have the stomach for this sort of thing. But he had killed before, and probably would again. Truth of it, he had gotten a natural high, a release of endorphins, from watching the soul slip through the eyes as the body became nothing but an empty shell. It wasn't something he could easily explain away. No, this had to be experienced first hand to comprehend the euphoria and power one feels when another's life hangs in the balance, dependent on the assailant to be granted a next breath. And he loved the feeling that came with playing God.
Reaching for the wooden screened door with a pair of latex-gloved hands, he slowly opened it, being granted an answer to his prayers when the hinges didn't as much as squeal. Testing the knob of the door, he found it to be unlocked. People in the country rarely secured their homes. After all, no ill gotten will would ever come this far from town. Fools! Hell, it was as good as a goddam invitation.
He stepped into the dark interior, easily able to hide within the shadows. The full moon poured through the opened window of the kitchen, lending him a slim path of illumination in which to find his way. White geese lined the walls and seemed to point him in the direction of his target. He knew the woman remained alone somewhere within the home's perimeter. He had watched as the two cretins crawled on the backs of their Harleys and headed in the direction of town. Waiting a good half hour after their departure had nearly killed him. And he sported the erection to prove it.
Careful not to make a noise that might alert the lone occupant, he slowly ascended the carpeted stairs. He paused at the top, willing his thundering heart to slow its pace as he surely would not be able to hear a thing above the roaring of his blood. His fingers gripped the railing to steady himself as ebullience had him half-ass dizzy and ready to topple back down the steps, breaking his own damn fool neck.
Gaining his equilibrium, he stepped softly to the first door to the left of the landing. Peering into the darkened room, he saw the woman stretched angelic-like on her back, her face turned away. His hands itched to wrap her pretty throat, to see her eyes bulge as she pleaded for mercy...his mercy. He pulled the red and white bandanna from his wind suit jacket and tore it in two. The soft ripping of the material escaping his intended's attention as her soft snores filtered across the cool night breeze coming from the room's opened window.
A heavy sleeper.
It appeared his luck would continue to hold out this night. Confident expectation had him moving forward as stealthily as a mountain lion approaches its prey. He tied one half of the bandanna to her slender wrist with barely a movement from the slut, then carefully lifted the arm to tie its end to the bed post.
The woman stirred. Her eyes fluttered in the grogginess that comes with too little sleep. "What the hell--," she muttered, trying to clear her croaking voice.
Before she had ample time to react, he straddled her chest and tied the other wrist to the opposite post. Fear brought her to full wakefulness as she tried to buck him from her. He laughed at her inability to move someone of his massive size. He easily overpowered her. Pulling a knife, he held it to her throat, careful not to make a telling mark.
"If I were you, sweetheart--I'd go along with my wishes. Less pain to be gotten for you that way."
His jaw ached from the mounting tension and apprehension. His blood roared in his ears. This hussey would be a fighter...no easy target. His erection ached at the thought of controlling her. He sat upright and placed his knife between his lips as he reached in his pocket and withdrew a foil packet.
"I'll try to make this pleasurable for us both," he grinned in the blackened night. Truth be told, he could care less if she enjoyed it at all.
"If that's all you have to play with," she hissed her sarcasm, "I doubt I'll be enj--"
Her words cut short as he backhanded her across the cheek. Damn she had forced his anger into action, no doubt bruising her cheek. The bitch would not see the light of day, so what the hell did he care what she thought of his performance. Her opinion mattered little. But revenge...revenge was oh so sweet.