The hero isn't always the good guy, or girl.

I’ve been pretty busy in the writing cave. Nickel, from the Hagerstown Destroyers chapter, is getting his own book. He’s been quietly working on the sidelines to make the new club successful. But at what cost?

Maybe… Love?

Oh yeah, he shoved his HEA to the sidelines for many reasons. Foremost, Rachel has career plans that don’t include sticking around Hagerstown. Despite that, she falls HARD for the quiet biker with glasses.

Code name “Candle*” is now at 72K with another 20K in the trash. And, it’s not done yet. I figure I’m about 75% complete with this, meaning that there will be about 130K total written. I feel there will be a couple chapters that will end up on the cutting room floor, and even more tightening will be needed so the story pacing remains solid. If my estimates are correct, the final book will be at least 93,000 words.

It’s a long timeline, too. (Why do I DO that?) But in order to tell their second chance, I first need to establish WHY they split, and why they work well. No easy task when BOTH characters are really good at keeping secrets. But the best part of long timelines is you get to revisit characters we haven’t seen in a while. Namely, some of the Rebel Souls’ old ladies, who despite their husbands, are definitely best friend material.

Here’s that excerpt: (The leading lady’s name is Rachel, BTW. It’s not mentioned in the excerpt.)

“Refill?” I asked.

Jill indicated yes, then replied, “Two more of those blue things. They were good.” 

Meghan warned her, “Better pace yourself, it’s been what… four weeks since you drank?” 

Jill snorted again, but louder. “I got so shitfaced the night they found the body, I think I was drunk for a week. Then I had to deal with that bitch, Mary. At least her law firm already had the assets lined up. Transfer of everything into my name was a breeze.” 

Despite trying for a low whisper, Meghan spoke too loudly, and I could make out every word. “What did the cops say?” 

Jill shrugged. “Inconclusive. No signs of foul play, blood alcohol over legal limit, and all the bruises and shit could have been caused by the wreck. But we both know the Destroyers murdered his cheating ass.” 

The imaginary record scratch soundtrack was clear on Meghan’s face as her eyes met mine. “You didn’t hear that.” 

Jill looked up, barely able to focus on me. “Who’s she going to tell? The cops? They won’t do shit. Not that I want them to. A murder investigation would revoke the insurance payout. It’s better this way.” 

“But…” Meghan’s worried glances gave me pause. 

“I don’t even know who you’re talking about.” I waved it off like it was no big deal. Two things were running through my head on constant loop though. First was ‘the Destroyers murdered his cheating ass’ and second was, ‘he thinks he needs to prove himself.’ Why was I obsessed with Nickel? I’d only met him once. It wasn’t nearly enough time to form an attachment. I cursed my soft heart for worrying about a possible murderer. I needed a dose of reality to forget the soft-spoken, glasses-wearing biker with the pretty motorcycle. It was dumb. No, dumber than dumb to be attracted to him. Bikers were trouble.

As if conjured, five men in leather made their grand entrance. Right away, I knew they weren’t Destroyers. These five were loud, smelly, and drew attention. Lodo was one of them, and he wrapped around Meghan with a sloppy kiss. His face had fading bruises on it. The other men weren’t much better looking. 

I couldn’t see the appeal. In the scales of my mind, Nickel won the contest, hands down. His face flashed through my addled brain before I could block it. “Ugh.” I threw the bar towel down and pretended I was commenting on the trash building up behind the bar. I struggled to break the suction of the plastic bag from the bin as the Rebel Souls greeted the women.

There were a few discreet head nods at Jill, with much more subdued expressions of condolences. I overheard Bubba mentioned more than once. 

In fact, she was more an extension of her dead husband to them than an autonomous person. That irritated me. 

Thank goodness Ben filled their orders for beers and shots. 

“Congratulate your new bosses,” One of the Rebel Souls spoke so loudly to Ben, I heard them from the other end of the bar. 

Grody, I remembered his name, slapped Lodo on the back. “Nope, congratulate this asshole. He’s the one who put the money in.” 

Meghan stood up. She faced her husband, and the group fell silent. “What do you mean, you put the money in?” 

“I bought the bar.”

You could have heard a pin drop. 

“With what money?” 

Lodo half-smiled, half-frowned. “Don’t worry about it.” 

“You used the vacation account, didn’t you?” 

“Meg…” 

Instead of throwing a fit, she turned away and quietly collected her things. “Jill, I’m going home.” 

But that wasn’t going to happen. Jill got off her barstool and marched up to the leader of the group of Rebel Souls, beginning her tirade even before she stopped walking. “You sons of bitches. You know how many years of saving Meghan put into that fund to keep from touching her grandmother’s money? You are all assholes.” Her screeches drew attention and most of the patrons within kicking distance moved farther away. Not a one of them cared that a barely five foot one woman was facing off against a group of bikers who collectively weighed over a half a ton. I set down the bag and picked up a hefty pitcher. In the other hand, I grabbed a thick beer mug from the back of the drying rack. Then, I squared off with the center of the trouble. Only the bar was between me and Jillian. 

“You can’t talk to us that way anymore, Jillian.” The leader was bulky and his crew cut was steely gray. He had a goatee and a permanent sneer.

Jliian went up on tip-toe to glare in his eyes. “I’ll talk any way I damn want to you. You had no right to take her money.” 

“Listen, Lodo ain’t Bubba. It ain’t like he’s cheating on Meghan. Hell, the bar is half hers now, too. It’s the only way we get to keep it in the family.” 

“In the family?” Jillian’s fists went to her hips. “The family? The same family who saw Bubba fucking that whore and didn’t say a god-damned word to me? That family? The family who tried to take Bubba’s bike from me last week? That family?” 

“Jill.” Grody’s voice cut through the melee. “You are out. O.U.T. Out. So, fuck off, you bitch.” 

“Out of the family, huh? Now I’m a bitch?” 

“You always were one,” one of them mumbled. 

I slammed the beer mug onto the bar surface to get their attention. “I will call the police if you hurt this woman.” 

Ben stood behind me, and I heard him groan. But he stuck up for me. “We don’t want trouble.” 

Grody backed up two steps with his hands in the air. “We ain’t hurting nobody, isn’t that right boys?” Then he ruined it by singling me out. “If anyone’s causing trouble at Lodo’s bar, it’s you. I think he should fire your scrawny ass.” 

Meghan walked behind the bar and put her hand on my shoulder. “No. She’s my new manager.” 

From bar back to manager? I glanced at Ben who out of anyone here deserved it more than I did. But instead of getting a protest from him, I saw a smile tease the corner of his mouth. “That’s right. Under new management. I can already tell this one will be much better than the old one.” He winked at me. 

Excerpt from “Code name_Candle” the next Destroyers novel.

Comments

One response to “Candle Sneak Peek”

  1. Lisa C Brooks Avatar
    Lisa C Brooks

    Looking good.