What the hell was the infuriating woman doing?
Two months of this bullshit, and Rocket still didn’t understand what the fuck her deal was. He wasn’t a man that appreciated unanswered questions. He tended to dig and dig until he uncovered what he wanted to know. That tenacity was a part of his personality and it had served him well in the past, but sent puzzles like Chloe to obsession level.
“What’ll it be, man?” the bartender asked. Rocket spared him a quick glance. This lounge had one man and one woman working the highly-trafficked bar. Smart business move. A broad to subtly flaunt her tits and draw in the men, and a dude with the sleeves of his collared shirt rolled high enough to show his tatted and bulging forearms for the ladies. Rocket’s friend’s ol’ lady, Toni, had described the look as badass gentleman or some shit. Guys who dressed all proper and suave, but under the pricy threads were bad to the bone. Apparently, the look worked to get women’s motors revving. At least the women he knew.
According to Toni, when Rocket dressed up—which was usually rarer than a hot pink helmet on one of his bothers, he had much of the same look. Might explain the table of women currently eye-fucking him. With no choice but to blend in with the professional crowd, he’d slipped into some slacks, a tailored shirt, and a tie.
A fucking tie. Noose, more like it.
Enter the table of late-twenties women sending him come-fuck-me vibes. Whatever. While the release would be nice, they weren’t a part of his plans for the evening.
“Jack Daniels.” He held up two fingers, and the bartender nodded before turning to the bottle-loaded shelves.
Rocket’s attention strayed back to the woman who’d set up camp in his mind almost five months ago and had yet to leave.
Five-foot-nine-inches of sex appeal wrapped in a curve-hugging purple dress. And damn, did that woman have curves. Instead of sleeves, the dress had thick straps and a low square neckline showing off her tits in the most appealing way. Every man in the bar got an eyeful of creamy white cleavage, but not too much of it. Classy, while still being erotic as fuck. But it was the color of the dress that had half the men in the room slobbering into their martinis. The deep purple made those green cat-eyes ten times more intoxicating than the overpriced liquor.
Like some kind of witch, she cast a spell over every man within a ten-foot radius, Rocket included. When the hell had he even noticed the color of a woman’s outfit, let alone what it did to her eyes?
The fact that she was currently conversing with a man didn’t seem to matter in the least to the other dogs in the room. Nor did the fact that many of them had dates or at least hook-ups of their own. No, all over the damn lounge, eyes strayed in her direction, fixating on those small but high and perky tits. Or maybe it was the short skirt riding up a pair of toned thighs that did it for them.
The woman was fine as fuck.
And she was out of her goddamned mind.
“Here you go, man,” the bartender said as he placed Rocket’s double of Jack in front of him. “You starting a tab?”
“Nah, just the one, thanks.” He dropped a twenty on the bar top, and waved the bartender away when he lifted a brow in an unspoken, need change?
One drink was all he’d have time for, if that. Chloe wouldn’t stick around long. God knew, after practically stalking her for months, Rocket had her routine down pat. And it was a disturbing fucking ritual.
For the first three months following the assault, Chloe rarely left the house. While concerning, her self-imposed house arrest wasn’t exactly surprising considering what had been done to her. Then, one night, out of the blue, she emerged looking like sex on a stick. She drove to this very bar, had one drink, picked up a polished and manicured gentleman, and drove to a fairly nice motel. The pair had disappeared into a room, and Chloe emerged an hour later almost to the second.
And so began a habit she engaged in every Friday and Saturday night.
For the past two months.
The bars changed, the dresses changed, but the pattern never did.
And Rocket, being the stupid fuck he was, followed her every single time.
He told himself it was to protect her. To make sure Lefty never came sniffing around again. In reality, it was the unsolved mystery of what the hell she was doing that drew him in like a fish on a hook. And the boner he got pretty much any time he laid eyes on her? Yeah, that had nothing to do with his stalker act.
Any one of the men she invited to the hotel room could hurt her in ways he’d describe as unimaginable, but unfortunately Chloe didn’t have to imagine. She knew exactly what the fuck could happen to an unprotected woman.
Which made this entire thing, including Rocket, crazy.
What the hell was she doing in there?
Drugs? Crying on their shoulders? Raging?
Surely, she wasn’t fucking them? Not after what she’d been through.
Drugs seemed the most logical answer. Self-medicating to chase away the demons she hadn’t been allowed to purge through therapy. But why snag a random guy? And she always left the hotel room looking as put together as when she went in. Not a hair out of place. Not a wobble in her step. She even drove home without swerving.
Drugs were seeming less and less likely.
Most nights, Rocket lurked in the shadows to avoid being spotted, but tonight, the overcrowded bar had him sitting much closer. In fact, he was on the barstool next to her, however her attention was fully trained on the man sitting to her opposite side. The suit had come on to her before Rocket made it through the door, and she’d never so much as glanced his way. Some snooze fest in a fucking Armani suit. Actually, most of the men in the bar, including Rocket, were dressed in professional attire. The place was hands down a martini and banker bar.
As were all the establishments Chloe visited. Swanky, post nine-to-five meet-up locations Rocket wouldn’t be caught dead in, if it weren’t for his newfound obsession. A whiskey swilling, music blaring, dive bar was much more his speed. But concessions had to be made if he wanted to continue stalking Miss Chloe. He’d have stuck out like a sore thumb in jeans and a leather cut. Not that he gave a shit. Fitting in with this crowd was dead last on Rocket’s priority list, but remaining incognito was at the top. She’d never seen his face, but a Handlers’ cut carried the risk of freaking her the fuck out.
“Excuse me if I’m overstepping, but that dress makes your eyes look like two sparkling emeralds,” the bro on Chloe’s left crooned.
Rocket couldn’t keep his eyes from rolling skyward. Was that the shit women in these snazzy joints wanted to hear? Sure, the guy’s description might be dead on, but, shit, who spoke like that? In his experience, women preferred a dirty mouth working hard between their legs to a sweet one whispering in their ear. Talk was cheap, but oral? Yeah, that was the shit.
“Thank you,” Chloe responded, her soft voice stroking over Rocket’s dick.
No doubt about it, he was a sick fuck. No matter how many times he jerked off before tailing Chloe, or how many lectures he gave his damn cock, the prick wouldn’t lie limp in her presence. No, it filled to capacity just from the sight of her. Now that he was close enough to smell and hear her? He was in some serious damn discomfort.
A hard cock was probably the last thing Chloe wanted anywhere near her. A mere five months ago she’d been raped. By three vicious men. Rocket gripped the glass in his hand to a near shattering point. His hands ached to squeeze the life out of Lefty. The MC was working hard on finding him, but it’d proven more difficult than they’d anticipated.
“Do you live nearby?” the dude asked in his cultured voice. Cultured, hell, that was just a fancy word for snobby and obnoxious.
Come on, there was no way she’d choose this guy for whatever would go down in that hotel room.
“No,” she said. “Just in town for business. I head back home tomorrow morning.” Her voice dropped, taking on a husky quality that left no question as to her desire.
The woman wanted to be fucked and she wanted to be fucked now.
Didn’t. Make. Sense.
The sultry way Chloe spoke did nothing to stem the flow of blood to his cock. Through the mirror along the wall behind the bar, he had a clear view of her body language. Yep, the woman was open and ready for business, at least that’s what her heavy-eyed, pouty-lipped look portrayed. She leaned in, giving the guy an even better show of her stellar cleavage, and her crossed legs brushed against his thigh. On any other woman, this would scream do me big guy. But surely not on Chloe. He just couldn’t let himself believe it. What the fuck was her game?
“That’s too bad,” douche bag replied. “I was hoping to take you out, show you a good time.”
Chloe tilted her head, giving the man an assessing gaze. Then, she tossed back the last of her Cosmopolitan. Shit, even the way her throat worked swallowing down the liquid, had Rocket ready to bust a nut.
“You can take me back to my room and fuck me. That’d be a good time.”
Rocket choked on his whiskey.
Guess that answered that.
No longer caring if he blew his cover, he spun and stared at the back of Chloe’s head. The man she’d propositioned had a deep tan, platinum blond hair that must have come from a bottle, and ten perfectly shaped fingernails. They probably topped off ten very soft fingers. Rocket glanced down at his own chipped nails and callused skin.
A man’s hands.
He sure as fuck could do a lot more with them than this motherfucker.
With a bug-eyed stare, the guy gaped at Chloe. He looked as shocked as Rocket felt. For the life of him, he hadn’t really thought she was fucking the men. Why would she do that? Her bruised and broken body knew firsthand the damage the wrong kind of man could inflict.
“Uh, yeah, uh, fuck yeah. We can go to your hotel room.”
Rocket almost laughed. What happened to the Casanova with the smooth lines?
“Great.” Chloe reached out and put a hand on Mr. Smooth’s chest. “One thing before we go.”
Yeah, Rocket just bet that guy would agree to anything. He was about to get between those very sexy thighs.
“My room, my show,” she said. Gone was the come-hither tone, replaced by an undercurrent of steel. “Before we go you need to agree to fuck my way. It’s non-negotiable. If you can do that, we’ll head out now. If not, I’ll keep looking for the man I need.”
“No, yeah, that’s good. I’m down for anything.”
“Okay then.” Chloe’s voice brightened. “Let’s go.”
Rocket’s gaze fell to that absolutely bitable ass as Chloe led him to the exit. He rolled his shoulders as he processed the new information.
Chloe was fucking the men. And she was fucking them her way. What did that mean? He turned his gaze away from her, telling himself the unease in his gut was concern for her safety, not envy of the man who was about to spend one hour between the sheets with the only woman Rocket had gotten hard for in months.
If his brothers could see him now.
They’d be in hog heaven watching him act like such a fool. Meanwhile their ol’ ladies would probably castrate him for slobbering after a traumatized woman.
Or was she traumatized? Maybe she’d moved past the assault. Maybe this was how she’d lived her life before Rocket met her. Maybe her coping skills were stellar and the trauma she’d endured was all behind her.
He rejected the idea as quick as it came. Just didn’t sit right.
As soon as they were out the door, he would follow. While he waited for them to navigate their way through the throngs of thirsty patrons, Rocket switched his phone back on. Earlier that morning, he’d received a text that had him powering down and getting his hackles up. Three words, that’s all it had taken to have him looking over his shoulder for the past that might coming back to haunt him.
I need you.
Fuck no, he wasn’t needed.
He was out. Done with his former life as a glorified mercenary and had the walking papers to prove it. Didn’t stop his old employer from seeking him out every so often. Not once had he been remotely tempted to return to that way of life. With each rejection, the requests grew a little more hostile. One of these days, his reprieve would run out and they’d send someone to bring him in. For now, he’d continue to avoid them with radio silence. Hence the turned off phone.
“Fuck,” he ground out as the screen came to life. Fifteen missed calls and twice as many texts screaming at him to check in. All from Zach, the club’s enforcer.
Some shit was going down. He’d flaked on church last week while tailing Chloe to the grocery store. Copper would roast his ass on a spit if it became a pattern. But calling in meant leaving Chloe.
Torn between loyalty to his club and the hot gut-punch he experienced knowing Chloe was minutes away from fucking some businessman, Rocket paused. What the fuck was wrong with him? It was getting harder to call the souring in his stomach anything other than jealousy.
He had to put an end to this shit. Chloe was a big girl. She, more than anyone, knew what could happen at the hands of a madman. For his own sanity, he had to step back. He couldn’t continue to watch over her so much. Not when his club needed him.
Without bothering to listen to the voicemails or read the texts, Rocket left the bar, heading straight for his bike. If he pushed it, he’d be back in Townsend and at the clubhouse in thirty minutes. The guys could catch him up in person.
With any luck, they’d finally gotten a bead on Lefty.
That thought had a sinister smile curling his lips.
Just as he was pulling out, he caught sight of Chloe turning onto the road with Mr. Smooth’s car hot on her tail.
Now that his head was screwed on straight, Rocket hit the throttle and shot off toward the clubhouse.
There were just some questions he might never get the answers to and he’d have to learn to live with that.