Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

Previous: Chapter Three
Next: Chapter Five

Chapter Four

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Flint opened his eyes and tried to focus. Shit! Why did he hurt all over like a fucking linebacker had thrown him against a brick wall? He pushed himself upright and breathed deeply to fight back the waves of nausea rolling over him.

He tried to recall the previous day’s events, but his memory was a little fuzzy. The crew had ridden over to a neighboring county to discuss setting up a buy with a distributor for a huge shipment of alcohol. Shelby County, where the MC was based, remained one of the few two hundred or so dry counties in the entire United States.

Local politicians refused to approve beer, wine, or liquor licenses to any business inside the county limits. This opened up a golden opportunity for groups like the MC to become modern day bootleggers and make tons of cash - if they were willing to break the law in the process. The MC considered the rewards to be worth the risk.

Over the years, they had grown the business and now kept a steady supply of customers stocked with their favorite alcoholic beverage. The customers never questioned it or even seemed to mind paying the fifty percent mark up. Considering the cost of gas and the fifty mile round trip to the nearest liquor store, the citizens of Shelby County were getting quite a deal. Or so the MC crew members always told them. 

Flint’s arm throbbed. The last thing he remembered clearly was riding alongside Rocco as the group cruised two-by-two back through the valley. Gunshots had come out of nowhere, with the loud booms reverberating off the sides of the mountains. Then a searing white-hot pain had exploded in his upper left arm, tearing through the muscle.

Instinctively, they’d all sped up and kept riding, knowing to stop meant certain death. Flint hadn’t let on to the others that he was hurt until they’d made it safely through to the other side of the valley.

Flint remembered pulling over and arguing with Jesse on the side of the road. Jesse wanted to take him to the hospital. Flint knew that not only would the emergency room personnel be required to report the shooting, but there was a chance whoever was after them would show up at the hospital as well. The last thing the MC needed was to be involved in a shootout in a public building where innocent people could be caught in the crossfire.

For once in his life, Jesse had listened to him. Instead of taking him to the hospital, he had called in a big favor and secured the safe house instead.

Everything was a blur after they’d arrived at the cabin. Flint didn’t remember stowing his bike away or even walking inside. Not being able to recall the previous night’s events made him uneasy. He didn’t like feeling vulnerable.

He glanced around the small room for his leather jacket, which held his cell phone and his gun. It was missing, along with his shirt. After taking another deep breath, he stood up and waited a moment for the dizziness to pass.

Holding on to the furniture for support, he made his way carefully across the room toward the kitchen. He figured there had to be a phone somewhere in the cabin that he could use to call Jesse and find out what was going on. When he reached the doorway to the kitchen, he stopped in confusion.

“Who are you?” he asked, staring in shock at the full-figured curvy woman in tight jeans and an even tighter white sweater peeking into the refrigerator.

Kendra whirled around and rolled her eyes. “Oh no! Don’t tell me we’re going to go through this again? Oh my God!” She threw up her hands in frustration. “I can’t believe I got myself into this mess! Jeez, you’d think I gave you a date rape drug or something the way you’re acting.” She put her hands on her hips. “Just so you know, we’ve been through all this once already in the middle of the night. Here’s the short version this time. I’m Kendra, your nurse for the weekend. Period. The end. Now stop asking the same old questions and wasting my time.” She turned back to the refrigerator and started moving containers around to see what was on the back shelf.

When he didn’t move, she glanced back over her shoulder. “And sit down! If you fall, I’m not sure I can pick you up. I can carry a small calf, but a full-size man, dead weight and passed out on the floor might be another story.”

Flint didn’t argue and instead sank down into a chair at the kitchen table. Little by little, bits and pieces of the previous day’s events were starting to come back to him. He reached up and winced in pain when he touched the thick white bandage covering his wound. Through the thick fog in his brain, he vaguely remembered Kendra being at the cabin the night before. “You patched me up?” he asked.

“Yep! Didn’t want to,” Kendra said. She walked over and pulled out a chair to sit beside him. “I was persuaded by your brother, Jesse. Personally, I thought you should’ve gone to the emergency room. Cleaning up a bullet wound is not something I do every day.” She put her elbows on the table and leaned closer to peek at the bandage. “Is there any way I can convince you to go see a doctor this morning? Maybe an urgent care facility would be willing to double check your stitches. It would make me feel a whole lot better if you would. My work will probably leave a big old nasty scar.”

Flint leaned back in his chair. “I can’t do that.”

“No surprise there,” Kendra muttered. “Thought it couldn’t hurt to ask.” She let out a tired breath and stood back up. “Do you want some coffee, Flint? The cabin doesn’t have any creamer so it has to be black.”

Flint nodded and gave her a small smile. “Thanks. The stronger, the better.”

Kendra poured him a steaming cup and placed it in front of him. He watched as she moved around the kitchen, gathering ingredients. Then she cracked a few eggs into a bowl and starting beating them. “Don’t worry, the eggs are still good,” she explained as if he might be worried she would feed him rotten eggs. “I couldn’t find much to work with in the pantry except for a block of cheese and a jar of mushrooms for an omelette. Do you feel up to eating a few bites? Pain medicine can make you feel pretty crappy on an empty stomach.” She chatted on nervously while she dumped the mushrooms and chunks of cheese into the eggs.

It suddenly occurred to Flint that she might be afraid of him. He wondered how Jesse had convinced her into staying the night. His brother wasn’t past using strong-arm tactics to get what he wanted or needed.

“So do you want to try to eat something?” Kendra asked again. She threw a quick glance at him before looking away quickly.

To Flint’s surprise, he was hungry and beginning to feel a little better with the exception of the burning, throbbing pain in his arm. “Yeah, I can eat,” he mumbled.

“Really?” She suddenly smiled at him; a genuine smile that lit up her whole face and caught him by surprise. “That’s good. I hated pumping you full of all of that medicine on an empty stomach. I can’t take the stuff myself. After breakfast I’ll give you a couple more pain pills. After all, it’s not like we’re going to run short or anything.”

He caught the hint of sarcasm in her voice. “What do you mean?” he asked, afraid of the answer.

“Your pals left behind bags and bags full of prescription bottles for you.”

He closed his eyes and groaned inwardly at her comment. The club shouldn’t have involved her. No matter how badly hurt he was, there was no excuse for dragging an innocent woman into their problems.

Even worse, what made them think she could be trusted? Jesse had better have a good explanation for bringing her into the situation.

The sooner he got the hell out of there and back to town, the better.

“Where’s my bike?” he asked casually. “I hope it’s not outside in the sleet.”

Kendra poured the omelette mixture into the hot pan and swirled it around before answering. “It's in the back. It’s covered and should be fine.” She shot him a curious glance. “You aren’t thinking of leaving, are you?”

“Yeah, I need to get back to town. My crew needs me.”

She flipped the omelette over then slid it onto a plate. “Here you go.” She handed it to him along with a fork. She looked at him for a long moment. “Before you get any bright ideas, I’m going to go ahead and tell you that I’ve hidden your keys.”

He started to protest, but she held up a hand to stop him.

“I don’t want to hear it. I risked my vet license to help you. I also pumped you full of narcotics to take away your pain. I’m not letting you roar out of here on your bike with all those drugs that weren’t prescribed to you floating around in your system. Besides, how are you going to handle a bike with your arm in that condition? Not to mention the sleet. I’m sure the roads are slippery this morning.”

Flint was surprised, shocked really. He wasn’t used to being told no, especially after rejoining the Steel Infidels. Most people went to great lengths not to cross the MC. Maybe she didn’t realize what he was capable of. He slowly placed his fork beside his plate and fixed her with a cool stare, hoping to intimidate her into backing down.

It didn’t work.

She didn’t even break his gaze. Instead, all she did was look back at him with those soft eyes and blink with those long eyelashes of hers.

Well hell! This might be harder than he thought.

“I’ll be fine driving,” he said. He shrugged as if it didn’t matter. “And I’m not going to take any more of the pain pills, so...”

“So nothing. Wait until they start wearing off and we’ll talk about this again. You probably don’t remember, but I gave you the last one three hours ago. You’re going to be hurting very soon, but hey, it’s up to you, tough guy. Can’t say I didn’t warn you. Either way, you’re not getting your keys back until I feel like giving them to you.”

Kendra turned and went back to making another omelette. Flint smothered a grin at her unexpected sauciness and took the opportunity to admire her ample backside while her head was turned away from him.

He didn’t understand all the details yet of exactly who she was and why she was there. The only thing he knew was that the weekend sure as hell wouldn’t be boring.

Previous: Chapter Three
Next: Chapter Five
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