His lips lingered long and hard on hers when he left her at the bar. The brothers had gathered in the meeting room and Gallen's presence was required. Wolf whistles and crude banter greeted him.
Taya pressed her fingers to her lips. There were certainly a few perks to this job. She set about cleaning up the rest of the clubhouse and tidying the bar. Fifteen minutes later, the bikies spilled out of their meeting room into the main hall.
Gallen gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "I gotta go out, but I'll see you when I get back." He gave her a wink and followed the men out to their bikes. Moments later, the sound of motorcycles roaring to life all but deafened Taya. She finished putting the glasses away and turned back to find Zep sitting at the bar.
"You should put some ice on that." He motioned to her cheek.
She found a clean dish towel and plucked some ice cubes from the freezer. The cold felt good against her cheek.
"Can I get you a drink?' she asked, keeping her voice low and timid.
She fixed the drink and sat it on the bar next to him. Zep took a swig, pursing his lips as the fiery liquid hit his throat.
"So, you met JD a few weeks ago?"
She shaped her lips into a half smile. “I did.”
“Obviously you two hit it off?"
Taya cleared her throat. "Yeah."
"Not much of a talker, are you?"
Even from the other side of the bar, Zep was still pretty menacing. But she needed to stay close to him in order to hear any new developments on Riley.
“JD’s different to the guys I usually date. He knows how to look after a girl.”
Zep nodded, apparently not needing further explanation. “And troublesome ex-boyfriends?”
"JD is kind of the reason my ex threw me out."
Zep took a sip of his bourbon. “I figured.”
"I didn't have anyone else to turn to, and JD was good to me." She started wiping down the bar.
"What did he tell you about the club?"
Taya frowned. Where was this going? “Nothing, really. I asked him about his vest, what the picture on the back was?”
Zep chuckled. “The picture on the back.”
“I guess that sounds pretty dumb, hey?”
He finished his drink, not bothering to agree.
Taya made herself busy, glad that Zep stayed at the bar to take a few phone calls, grunting his responses as his men reported in. An hour dragged by. It seemed the hunt for Riley had stalled.
Eventually, the bikies started to return to the clubhouse, empty-handed. The mood was tense, with more and more of the brothers beginning to suspect Riley had become a police informant.
"Someone find out if his woman is still in London," said Zep to no one in particular. Two of the younger guys jumped up, signalling they were on it.
"What's that got to do with anything?" asked Ray.
"Maybe nothing, maybe something. Just want to know she's where she's supposed to be, not off meeting Hollywood at some island resort."
"Why would he sell his ride if he’d gone off to bang his old lady?"
"I don't know," yelled Zep. "I just want to know where the fuck he is."
"I dunno where he is, but I know someone who might." Jesse burst into the clubhouse, his eyes still full of crazy. "Where’s JD?"
All of Taya’s senses jumped to attention.
"What do you want with him?" asked Zep.
"I'm gonna gut the prick slowly until he tells me where he's stashed Hollywood."
"What are you talking about?"
Taya gripped the bar, praying Gallen's cover wasn't blown. Praying her cover wasn't blown.
"He's a fucking cop."
All hell seemed to break loose as everyone started talking and shouting at once. Taya thought she might throw up. Snap out of it, McGovern! She looked around for something to use as a weapon. She could smash a beer bottle but a piece of broken glass was no match for a gun.
"Shut up!" roared Zep.
Silence fell instantly.
"Jesse! How do you know JD's a cop?"
"I've got my sources," he smirked.
"Don't play games with me, boy." Zep's patience was at an end.
"A detective from the taskforce. He's pissed off with the way the cops are handling the investigation.”
Anger and disbelief collided in her gut. There was a mole on the taskforce?
"And this detective told you JD was a cop."
"Yeah." Jesse lifted his chin, as if daring Zep to question him further.
"What did you give him in return?"
"Nothing," spat Jesse. "I'm no dog."
"It's no secret you want to be the club's enforcer." Connor emerged from against the wall he'd been leaning on. "Enough reason to give Hollywood up to the cops so you could take his place."
“Fuck you." Jesse moved in and raised his fists, preparing to take Connor on.
Connor stood his ground.
"Enough," Zep shouted. "We'll find out soon enough if JD's been playing us. Ray, Brodie, go set the workshop up for an interrogation."
Jesse crowed. "Now you're talking."
They were going to torture Gallen. She swallowed a strangled gasp, unwittingly drawing Zep’s attention. He glared at her.
"Lock her in one of the bedrooms. One without windows.”
“What if she’s a cop too?” said Jesse.
“Then you can do what you want with her.” The fury in Zep’s eyes turned Taya’s blood cold. “But after we’ve dealt with JD.”
Rough hands grabbed her and started dragging her across the room and up the hallway. She wanted to resist but knew she had only one chance to keep her cover intact and try to get a message to Gallen. She let her fear override her need to fight as two of the bikies threw her into a darkened room. The lock clicked into place. She was on her own.
Author of author of gut-churning Viking romance and romantic suspense that always includes good sex and a happily ever after - eventually.