Home > Ride Hard (Raven Riders #1)(11)

Ride Hard (Raven Riders #1)(11)
Laura Kaye

“As soon as I finish up with Jess I’ll get on it.” Ike gave the petite woman a look, and her answering smile suddenly clued Dare in. They were together. Well, damn. In all the years Dare and Ike had known each other, neither of them had gotten serious about a woman. But good for Ike. Given everything the guy had been through, he deserved it.

“That works,” Dare said. With a nod, he stepped out of Ike’s studio and closed the door.

Back in his own office, Dare shut himself in, turned on the desk lamp, and dropped his ass into his chair. For a long time, he sat in the dim golden light, staring at the two remembrance patches on the desk. Slowly, he became aware of a soft sound—music? Or humming, maybe? He shifted toward the window that looked out over the clubhouse’s big back porch. The darkness kept him from seeing much, but the sound—definitely a woman humming—was coming from someone out there for sure.

He stretched further, far enough to see the moonlight reflect off of long blond hair.

Haven. Sitting with her head lying on folded arms on the porch railing. Her face was totally in shadows, but her humming continued on. Soft. Sweet. Peaceful.

Dare clicked off the desk lamp and settled back into his chair, arms crossed, feet up. In the darkness, Haven’s song seemed a little louder, more distinct. As tired as he was and as calming as her singing was, Dare was surprised he didn’t nod off sooner. Instead, he hung there, right on the edge of sleep. The image of Haven standing in the doorway of the rec room played against the inside of his eyelids.

He hoped their talk had put her more at ease. She and Cora had nothing to their names as far as Dare knew, and, though he hadn’t yet learned all their details, it seemed pretty clear they were runaways from something or someone. Until he got the backstory on them, he wouldn’t know fully how to help them. So they were probably here to stay for at least a little while.

I just usually expect the worst. That way it doesn’t hurt as much when it happens.

Her words from earlier came back to him in the quiet. In some ways—and certainly in that sentiment—she reminded him so much of himself. Or, at least, of the person he’d been back before he’d found his grandfather and a home at the clubhouse. The Raven Riders MC had already existed back then, headed up by Doc and a small group of his friends. But it wasn’t until Dare arrived that the organization started to grow and take in new blood. First Dare. Then Maverick. Then Bandit. Then Caine. And many others, too.

Now these men were his family of choice if not by blood. Though they’d spilled plenty of that together over the years, too.

Finally, Haven’s humming lured him into a state of semiconsciousness devoid of thoughts, free of concerns, and increasingly unaware of the world around him. And then he was out altogether.

IT STARTED THE way it always did. With Dare standing in the doorway of Kyle’s bedroom.

“Mom’s home from the bank,” Dare said. “And Dad just pulled in after her.”

“What?” Kyle asked, his eyes going wide. Their father was supposed to be on an overnight ride with the club. That’s why they’d picked today for this.

“Shit, the bags,” Kyle said, already in motion.

They scrambled down the steps to the living room, where three suitcases and two duffel bags sat packed for the new life their mother wanted for them. There’d been a time when she’d been fully supportive of the Diablos—after all, she’d married the man who became the club vice president. But that was before Kyle had been forced to kill two men—his first kills—as a way of proving his loyalty to an outlaw motorcycle club that viewed jail time as a badge of honor. When Mom found out what her seventeen-year-old son, the youngest Diablos prospect, had done, she’d been angry, then terrified, then resolved—she wanted her boys as far away from Arizona as they could get. Kyle might not have gone along with it if their father’s alcohol-induced rages hadn’t been getting worse and worse—landing both Dare and their mom in the ER in pretty quick succession.

Kyle shoved a duffel bag onto Dare’s shoulder and a suitcase into his hand. “Gotta get these outta here,” he said, grabbing the rest. Raised voices outside said their parents were close to the front porch of the old split-level. He and Kyle had just reached the top of the stairs when the front door crashed against the wall in the small foyer.

Yelling. Arguing. Crying.

Kyle all but shoved them into their parents’ room and raced to the window which faced the backyard. He lifted the sash and squeezed the releases to lift the screen, too. “Climb out. I’ll drop the bags down to you. Just make sure you catch them so they don’t make noise,” Kyle whispered.

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