Lily is the link to ending the human trafficking ring. Now Branch and Charlie must do all they can to protect her.
Lily has almost given up believing she can escape from the clutches of the Master, the man who holds her as a sex slave in his mansion of degradation. When she has the opportunity to flee, she races into the night with a crippling fear that she could be captured.
Branch Barrigan, the enforcer of the Red Wolves Motorcycle Club, and Deputy Charlie Earenflight might be on opposite sides of the law, but they don’t hesitate to punish those who hurt women. Branch and Charlie make a pact to hunt down the head of the human trafficking organization. When they find Lily, they are unaware she’s the link they’ve been searching for.
The two men do all they can to protect her. In the process, they come to love her quiet strength. But Lily needs to learn to roar if she’s to survive the pain of her past and confront the evil that can rob her of a future.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of anal sex, violence, racial slurs and references to sodomy, rape and drugging women for sex.
Publisher's Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.
General Release Date: 30th June 2015
Branch sat in the dark, dingy bar nursing a now room temperature beer and winced every time the singer on the cramped little stage tried to hit a high note. A thousand years of cigarette smoke stained the walls a hideous brown. The floor remained sticky no matter how many times it was scrubbed. The bar counter had deep gouge marks. The place was a shithole and he didn’t know why he came here, except it had once belonged to the Demon Devils, and there was a nice sense of karma from knowing he was sitting in their old stomping grounds, drinking a beer and pissing in their bathroom.
Those fuckers were no more, of course, and North Tabion, the leader of the Red Wolves Motorcycle Club, had been quick to buy the building. The Wolves were slowly renovating it, turning it into a bar that drew patrons. Now that the Pack was out of the drug running and money laundering schemes, they were going to have to make money the legit way.
He sat near the end of the bar with his right arm against the wall. It was a good tactical position, because he could see everyone and no one could sneak up on him, although he wasn’t expecting trouble. The big patch on the back of his cut proclaimed he was a badass who wouldn’t tolerate shit. Ever since the demise of the Demon Devils, the Red Wolves had had a surge in popularity as well as respect.
The door opened, and from his peripheral, he saw Charlie Earenflight walk in, for once out of his typical deputy uniform. The sheriff, Givon Halloran, never wore one, and most of the time the other deputies didn’t either, but Charlie rarely wore anything except the light brown shirt where his badge was proudly pinned. Branch knew Charlie from high school, when Charlie had moved to Destiny during their junior year, and although they’d been in the same grade, they’d been worlds apart. Charlie had been one of the smart, geeky kids while Branch had been out smoking and drinking each break. Although looking at him now, no one would’ve guessed Charlie had once worn a pocket protector. The man had gone off to the military and came back looking like a tank. Branch certainly wouldn’t fuck with him.
Charlie didn’t see him and came up to the bar, ordering a beer. Frankie, the bartender, got him a bottle, opened it and set it on a paper coaster. Charlie handed Frankie a five dollar bill and told him to keep the change.
Truth be told, Branch was a little surprised to see Charlie in this place. It was a dive bar of the highest caliber, so it didn’t exactly scream refinement. Although Charlie wasn’t stuck up, he still seemed a little stuffy.
“Hey, Charlie,” he greeted.
The man startled a little and turned toward him, narrowing his gaze to see him in the darkened interior.
“Hello, Branch. How’re you doing? How’s the club?”
“Club’s great. North’s happy the feds are finally out of Destiny.”
“Yeah,” Charlie said. He took a deep drink of his beer. When he set the bottle back down, he shot Branch a wry look. “Truth be told, so am I.”
Branch chuckled. “Yep, I heard North cursing them out not too long ago. Guess they were a necessary evil for what’s been going down.”
Charlie sighed and ran a hand over his face. “I still can’t believe it. Sixteen fucking women.”
“Thirteen,” Branch corrected. “Allis and Dove were found. One was killed.”
“The number doesn’t really matter. Sixteen women abducted and brought through our town is un-fucking-believable. I can’t sleep at night wondering about the others.”
Branch took another sip and almost spat it out. Warm beer was really gross. He pushed the bottle away and turned to face Charlie, a little surprised to hear him ranting.
“The feds can’t find them?”
“No. Seems like Hiller had his own form of illegible shorthand. The only person left alive who knew the whole operation isn’t talking.”
“You mean Gunner Smith?”
“Yep. He’s being held in Rawlins. Won’t give them shit about the girls, not even to reduce his sentence.”
Branch looked around the bar. The Demon Devils’ grasp was still reaching here and he hated that, hated that they’d dirtied this place with their shit. For the first time in a long time, he pushed his apathy aside as he tried to figure out how to get the Devils’ enforcer to talk.
“I know some people at Rawlins,” he said softly, so he wasn’t overheard.
Charlie picked up his beer and slid to the stool next to his. “Know people how?”
He studied the deputy. Could he trust the deputy with his suggestion? Sitting here, he didn’t seem so…uptight.
“Incarcerated men, loyal to the Red Wolves. I probably could find out some information for you.”
Charlie stared at him, his mouth a tight slash. Branch met his gaze, wanting his offer to be as clear as possible. What he was offering wasn’t legit and it certainly wasn’t for the feds, and he had no way of knowing how Charlie would react to such an offer.
“But it would be for your ears only,” he continued. “Know what I mean?”
Slowly, Charlie nodded, his pale blue eyes steady and unblinking. “I do know what you mean. And I think that information may be valuable.”
Branch’s eyebrows shot up. “You’re okay with how it’s obtained, Deputy?”
“We can probably do away with the title when we’re talking about this,” Charlie murmured. “I’m really not that much of a tight-ass.”
“You helped Nimrod out, so I know you’re all right. But this is different. This could have repercussions.”
“I know. What would you say if I told you I’ve also got friends in Rawlins?”
It wasn’t often that he was surprised, but staring into Charlie’s unblinking eyes, Branch had to admit he might have had Givon’s favorite deputy figured all wrong. Charlie smiled, but it wasn’t a happy-go-lucky type of smile. No, this was dark and deadly. Suddenly Branch wondered what had happened to Charlie during his military years. This was the look of a man who didn’t have time for bullshit.
“I’d ask you if you were willing to dull the shine on your badge.”
Charlie didn’t answer right away. He took his time and thought about it while taking a large drink of his beer. When he finished and set the bottle on the bar with a decisive click, Branch saw the change that came over him.
“There’re more important things than a shiny badge.”
Branch nodded. “I think this is going to be a productive partnership.”
I like writing about the very ordinary girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances, so my heroines will probably never be lawyers, doctors or corporate high rollers. I try to write characters who aren't cookie cutters and push myself to write complicated situations that I have no idea how to resolve, forcing me to think outside the box. I love writing characters who are real, complex and full of flaws, heroes and heroines who find redemption through love.
I’ve been pretty fortunate in life to experience some amazing things. I’ve lived in France, traveled throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I am a mom to an amazing little boy. I’m surrounded by friends and family. And although I love holding a book in my hand, I absolutely adore my ereader, which I’ve named Ruby. I love to hear from readers so I’ve made it really easy to find me on the web.