Davis Mason grew up dirt-floor poor in the rolling hills of rural Kentucky, escaping that life only to find himself adrift on the hard streets of Chicago in his teens. Determined to never again feel the sting of poverty and hunger, he is willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure he has enough power and money to make that happen.
Introduced to what seemed a perfect brotherhood within a motorcycle club, Mason is shaped and honed into a deadly weapon by their sadistic president. As he slowly works his way up the ranks to gain control of the club, he’s resolved to make it better…stronger, able to withstand any challenge.
Betrayed by his bloodline, he cuts all ties with family and begins the process of building a new one. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the club he destroyed, he founds the Rebel Wayfarers MC and surrounds himself with loyal, trustworthy brothers. Mason throws himself headlong into the hard job of making certain his brothers have everything needed for themselves and their families, and he works to balance those needs within both the well-mannered citizen world of business, and with the anything-goes biker world of the MC.
Flirting with happiness time and again, just when Mason believes it’s finally within his grasp, he’s torn between what he wants…and what he knows he should do. He finally has the security and family he’s always wanted, but will Mason ever find the love and passion he craves?
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” – Nelsen Mandela
From Chapter 22: Sweet love and joy
Seated at one end of the counter, she sat swiveled around on her stool so she could view the entire room. The more he noticed about this scene, the less he liked it, and he found the ramp to rage was fucking slippery today.
There was a glass on the bar in front of her and he frowned. It was half-empty. Already. She couldn’t have gotten here much before he did, and her drink was half gone. Surely, she wouldn’t be stupid enough to get drunk in an unfamiliar bar in an unfamiliar city? Even if she couldn’t tell this was a fucking biker bar off the bat, any woman set down outside of her usual surroundings shouldn’t be fucking drinking alone. She didn’t have a single care for her own safety, it seemed.
Merry opened the door leading into the bar and he quickly shifted to one side so Willa wouldn’t be able to see him, making a face as Merry grinned at his obvious evasive maneuver. “Shut the fuck up,” he growled, and she openly laughed, shaking her head.
“Who we hiding from today, old man?” She pushed the door closed and moved to stand next to him, making a noise when she realized what he was looking at—who he was looking at. Anticipating his questions, she put him off by saying, “She hasn’t been here long and she’s not drinking…well, not actually. She asked for a near-virgin margarita, so it’s what she got. It looks real, but there’s hardly anything in it, boss. She said it’s window dressing.”
Tilting her head to look up at him, he knew she scanned him head-to-toe and he felt exposed, knowing she would recognize the tension in his bunched muscles, in the tightness in his jaw, as out of character. Other than DeeDee, he had known Merry longer than anyone else in his life and knew she could read him in ways others would miss. Quietly, she said, “She’s important to you.” Eyes on Willa, he silently nodded and Merry reached out, clasping his forearm in her firm grip, surprising him with a softly spoken, “Good, I like her.”
She turned and looked through the glass at the room beyond with a sigh. “You staying back here?” Still silent, he nodded again, knowing she’d see the movement of his reflection. “Okay, Mason. I’ll get Red to help me on the floor. You do what you need to do, son.” She patted his shoulder, walking back through the door and into the bar.
He stayed in the backroom until Willa left at nearly midnight, frustration evident on her face.
Throughout the night, she consulted her phone several times, and he laughed when the tablet pinged more than once. He knew the tracking would show it close enough to her location she would think it a program glitch. The next time he glanced over, the factory reset screen was showing, and he knew she realized it had been stolen and had taken steps to brick the motherfucker. Smart woman, he thought proudly, leaning forward on his arms, palms propped on the wood holding the glass in place, face close enough his breath fogged a small circle with every breath.
For hours, he watched, so completely focused on her he simply couldn’t see anything else. He drank in everything she did, every emotion crossing her features. Every single thing about her. Filing it all away, storing it up so he could pull it out later to examine it. The way she moved when she didn’t think anyone was watching, the differences and how things changed when she knew eyes were on her. The focus given to each person who walked in, her unmistakable disappointment at each new face. She was clearly looking for a singular someone, and he suspected it was him, but told himself he didn’t know why.
Then he realized he was trying to fool himself, remembering how she responded to him that night, his voice, his verbal demands.
From her reactions, he suspected she had never experienced this kind of instant attraction before. Knowing the type of methodical and analytical person she was, he wondered if she was trying to catalog it, decipher it. She put herself out there, gave him her number, but then he didn’t use it. At least, he hadn’t that she knew of for certain. He hadn’t called and chatted. Hadn’t asked her out. Hadn’t hit her up for a hookup. Didn’t give her any indication this thing went both ways, so now, she was working to figure it out, which meant figuring him out. She wasn’t stalking him. From her perspective, she was probably purely researching her reactions, trying to define the attraction…maybe even what felt like a need for him. Mason smiled when her shoulders slumped at another customer’s entry to the bar, and then he shifted to full alert as a man approached her.
“Bones.” He shook his head as he whispered it, even though there was no one to hear. “Don’t fucking do it, brother. She’s mine.” Cutting his gaze towards the glass, Bones grinned widely as if he knew Mason was there, and his entire body tightened and tensed at the blatant challenge. A moment later, he realized the man was smiling at Willa in the mirror, having caught her gaze because she had been using it to watch his approach. A growl filled the air of the backroom, and he didn’t recognize his own voice. “Mine.”
Mason read his lips as Bones spoke to Willa. What is a lovely lady such as yourself doing seated alone in this bar? Beauty should always have an appreciative audience.
Motherfucker, he thought then watched her duck her head, shaking it slightly. She had moved, no longer positioned where he could view her face, but he watched as Bones reacted to her obvious rejection with a predatory grin. The motherfucker thinks the hunt is on, Mason thought as he pulled out his phone with sharp movements, tension apparent in every rigid muscle. Anger evident in his tone, he held down a button and barked the words, “Dial Ramos’ cell.”
Bones reached into his pocket, an irritated look on his face until he saw Mason’s name, then a genuine smile crossed his features as he answered, “My friend, I hope you have no problems for which you need assistance.” He looked up at Willa and said smoothly, in a voice pitched for her ears, “I find myself trying very hard to convince a beautiful lady to allow me to buy her a drink.”
“Back. Off. You leave her the fuck alone,” Mason snarled. “She’s mine.” He had the satisfaction of seeing Bones’ eyes glance at the mirror then back to Willa in shock, the look on his face smoothing from charming to expressionless.
“Truth, my friend?” He spoke the question quietly, and Mason could hear the hard crack of pool balls in the background.
“Truth, brother.” He didn’t say anything else, knew he didn’t have to, because Bones nodded then disconnected the call and put the phone back in his pocket. Without another word to Willa, he took up station behind and beside her stool, impassively standing guard over her without Mason even having to ask.
Raised in the south, MariaLisa learned about the magic of books at an early age. Every summer, she would spend hours in the local library, devouring books of every genre. Self-described as a book-a-holic, she says “I’ve always loved to read, but then I discovered writing, and found I adored that, too. For reading … if nothing else is available, I’ve been known to read the back of the cereal box.”
A hockey fan, hiker, gamer, and single mom of a special needs son, she embraces her inner geek and has been working in the tech field for a publishing company for a couple decades.
Music is a driving passion, and she says, “I love music of nearly any genre — jazz, country, rock, alt rock, metal, classical, bluegrass, rap, hip hop … you name it, I listen to it. I can often be seen dancing through the house in the early mornings. But I really, REALLY love live music. My favorite thing with music is seeing bands in small, dive bars [read: small, intimate venues]. If said bar [venue] has a good selection of premium tequila, then that’s a plus!”