By: Jade Chandler

I worked when I wanted, and when Dare and Weasel worked, and when it was busy.

Clear as shit on a shoe.

“If you feel totally like shit or something, call me. I’ll cover you. Or get one of the guys to do it. Jericho wanted everything in top shape, so I had to clean up everything and get the books in order so you wouldn’t leave the first day.” He rolled his eyes heavenward.

“I appreciate that.” I stretched, considering all the errands I needed to run.

“Hey, all part of my job as prospect to the club of all clubs.” Genuine pride sounded in his voice.

“Why doesn’t Dare do paper or texts?” The words popped out.

Zayn’s open smile shuttered immediately. “I don’t know because I don’t ask personal questions. If I did know...”

Shit. Shit. Shit. Zayn was the closest thing I had to a friend, and I’d pissed him off.

“Sorry, not trying to pry. I’ll keep it business.” I smoothed my ponytail.

“We’re good.” Zayn stood. “You’ve been here a bit but haven’t bugged any of us with shit questions.” He wrinkled his nose. “Like, ‘Are you outlaws?’ ‘Have you killed a man?’ ‘Can I ride on the back of your bike?’”

I laughed and rubbed my chin. “I’ve heard through the web it’s a sacred place—the back of the bike.”

“Depends on the biker, but asking, it’s like asking to use my toothbrush. Don’t do it. But maybe I volunteer or maybe I don’t.”

I cringed. Who shared toothbrushes? I’d definitely use my finger first. And had a few times. Sharing a toothbrush was gross.

Zayn laughed and I frowned at him.

“Don’t play poker, every emotion is on your pretty face.” He patted my cheek. “Now get out of here.”

He didn’t need to ask twice. I locked the ledger in the office before I headed upstairs for my laundry. If the fates were in my favor, I hoped to get a lot more than laundry done this afternoon, and as a reward, I wanted to pop into that store across the way with the cool clothes in the window.

Five hours later, my SUV was stuffed to the brim with clean laundry, groceries and the start of furnishings for my new place. This would be the first time I’d had my own place, not a crash pad, or my guy’s place, and I had big plans. Already, I’d spotted a couch at the thrift store I wanted, and I’d added a real bed to my long-term buy list, but no way could I imagine sleeping on a used mattress, which was too gross. I glanced across the street to see the lights out at the shop I’d wanted to stop by. In fact, most of the shops on Main Street were dark except the bar and the Marked Man.

After parking directly in front of my place, I gathered my groceries in two hands and headed for the door. The buttons lit up with the code on the outside, I opened the door—and stopped dead, bags rustling together with the sudden stop of forward motion

Dare blocked the way, stretched out on my stairs. Lithe and pantherlike, his stance reminded me he was dangerous, at least to me.

He flashed a lopsided smile. “Told you we weren’t done.”

“Um yeah, sorry to...”

He moved to me and lifted the bags from my hands with such smooth grace he must be supernatural. When his fingers brushed my palms, electricity jumped from him to me. Why did he have to be so damn sexy?

“You jet if you have shit to do, that’s cool. Zayn said he explained. I should’ve told you the first day.”

He glanced at me over his shoulder. “You coming?”

I hurried up after him, and with considerable restraint I managed not to cup his well-defined ass.

I opened the door and let him walk in ahead of me. “I bought more stuff, quite a bit, actually, so have a seat.” In my one chair. Holy hell. What story can I tell him? “I’ll be done in a jiff.” I almost ran out of my apartment and down the steps, desperately trying to come up with a story, any story, for the complete lack of furnishings in my utterly empty apartment.

Still debating the best way to answer the inevitable question, I popped open my back hatch and tugged the lamp out only to back into Dare. Startled, I turned and almost hit Zayn and Rock, who stood beside my car.

Dammit, he must have hollered for them on the way down.

Dare removed the lamp from my limp fingers, passing it to Rock. The guys packed my stuff up the stairs, leaving me nothing to carry.

I trudged up, wishing I could vanish. I should just leave them in my place and take off for a few hours.

Get a freaking grip, I lectured myself. It’s your place, your life, and none of their business.

I pasted on a huge smile, ready to brazen out any questions that came my way, and strode through my open door with a confidence I was totally faking.

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