Hard-living biker Clint Remmick is fiercely loyal to the boys of the Demon Horde motorcycle club. He’s worked hard to redeem himself, and there’s no risk he won’t take to help his brothers, even when rivals threaten their safety. When his grandmother’s health takes a turn for the worse, though, he moves out of the clubhouse to take care of her. With his duties for the MC, he knows he can’t do it alone, so he hires Jo, a live-in nurse.
He didn’t expect her to heal him, as well.
A dedicated nurse
Jo Smith enjoys working for sweet old Anne Remmick, and she’s especially intrigued by her tattooed bad-boy grandson. Clint’s tough exterior scares her a little, but she feels a pull toward the sexy biker. Soon she’s dying to close the distance between them.
A losing bet
When Clint and his brothers have to pull a dangerous job in Reno, Jo is the perfect cover. With enemies around every corner, Clint needs to focus on keeping her safe—not the lust simmering between them. But when Clint is trapped by a rival club, Jo will have to save him…and their relationship.
This book is approximately 58,000 words
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Mackenzie Walton
Read an Excerpt
Everyone was there, crowded into the chapel meeting room. All the guys from my home club in Tacoma, plus two guys from the leadership in Los Angeles, were staring at me. I'd created a big flow chart of the operation so everyone could easily follow the money. My hands were shaking and I was nervous as fuck.
This was my first attempt at doing anything with the club leadership. I'd spent the last year clawing my way out of a gambling addiction and now I was ready to get something started for the club. Tate had spent the year making sure I was busy as hell and trusting me, even before I trusted myself. I had to repay the club and I had an idea for a new business venture. We'd import cars from Asia that were illegal in the U.S. for various reasons — sometimes they simply went too fast, other times they were deemed unsafe. Whatever the reason, I could retrofit the vehicle to the customer's demand and the club would handle the paperwork with the state to get the car registered. I even had a guy who promised a steady supply of buyers. I just needed the club leadership to agree.
"That's my plan." I set my pointing stick against the easel. It was really a piece of aluminum welding rod that I'd grabbed from the clubhouse garage. I hoped no one noticed. I was trying to look professional. "Any questions?"
"Why can't you complete the same business model from the club's garage here on-site?" asked Volk. He was the president of the entire freaking Demon Horde motorcycle empire and he called the shots when it came to the cash. "Why do you need to go off-site? It'll be a lot more expensive."
I'd anticipated that question and went to my section of the presentation on market research.
"I feel that containing our venture within the secured compound of the club will minimize our customer base." I knew this shit cold, so I just let it roll off my tongue. "While yes, our main business will be fixing up our import vehicles for resale, there is no way we can't take on easier work like oil changes from the general public. It will also be easier to hide any information from the tax man and provide a cover for the fucking cops." Shit. I cleared my throat. "By being out in the open, it will reduce our visibility to law enforcement."
"I'm ready to vote this," Volk announced, sitting back in his chair. "Tate, you wanna do the honors?"
Tate needed a vote of all the club members and the club brass. He went around the room, calling for votes, starting with us regular members. Ten guys all said aye. I nodded to each guy. They knew how much time I had put into my business plan and how much I wanted to make this a success. Finally, the vote got to Volk, the national president, and Hawkeye, the vice president. They were from the Los Angeles mother chapter and it was their money I would be spending.
"Aye." Volk slapped the table. "It's an easy vote for me."
"You did a lot of damn work," Hawkeye began. He chewed on his cigar and was still looking at my proposed revenue chart. "My vote is aye. I think you're a good investment, kid."
Yes. They'd voted yes. I let out a huge breath, like someone had kicked me in the damn ribs. I was gonna have my own business — well, with the club as a partner. Tate walked over and shook my hand.
As I gripped his hand, a cell phone ringtone pierced the air, and I groaned. I would kill the motherfucker who forgot to turn off his phone — then I realized it was mine.
The ringtone was unfamiliar because it was the special one I assigned to my mom. Why the hell was she calling me at midnight? I apologized to Tate and sent her to voicemail. She immediately called back.
"You need to get that, son?" Tate asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I'm sorry," I apologized to everyone. "It's my mom."
The guys laughed. "Go out in the hall for a quick call," Volk said. "We got some business to work out still."
I left everyone in the meeting room and closed the door behind me, then called my mom.
"It's your nana," she explained. "I'm not sure how much time she has left."
Nana's kidneys were having trouble again. Damn. Back when I was gambling, she had loaned me some money. She knew what it was for and why I wanted it, but loaned it to me anyway to teach me a lesson. When I couldn't pay her back, admitting my problem to her was one of the things that woke my ass up and got me clean. I couldn't let her go without saying goodbye. I got the details and went back into the meeting room.
"Everything okay?" Tate asked.
"Not really." I shook my head. "My grandmother's in the hospital. We gotta make this fast — I need to go." I pulled out a chair and went to sit down.
"Don't sit," Hawkeye said, walking over to me. He offered me a handshake. "You go visit that old lady in the hospital. We'll work out the details with Tate. I'm looking for a nice, reliable family man to run our business, and it sounds like you're it."
"Shit. Thanks, man." After another round of handshakes, I was outta there. In less than five minutes I was on my bike and heading to the interstate. It was a nearly three-hour drive to the hospital; I hoped I would make it.
As soon as I hit the hospital, I ran through the automatic glass doors in the emergency room and skidded to a halt. I had no fucking clue where Nana was and there was no one at the information desk. There was a big pair of double doors for medical personnel only, so I went through them. An alarm started to buzz, echoing off the sterile hallway. I blinked, trying to get used to the bright fluorescent lights. It was a lot different than the whiskey-soaked clubhouse.
After a few turns down the hallway, the alarm faded and I found a few couches. My mother and Aunt Margie were getting coffee from a vending machine as I walked into the waiting area.
"Clinton, baby." Mom smiled. "I'm so glad you're here. Nana's going to be fine. I tried to call you, but you were already on the road."
I let out a huge breath I hadn't known I was holding. I loved my nana, but she was eighty-two — we all knew her time could be coming soon. Until then, I wanted her to live every possible moment she had left.
"Thank god." I collapsed into a chair next to the vending machine. "How is she?"
"Her kidneys are shutting down." Mom gave me a grim look. "She's going to need dialysis twice a week. So, looks like we'll be going to Longview a lot more."
The tiny fishing town where my parents and Nana lived didn't have a hospital, much less a dialysis center. A trip into Longview would be two hours each way. That would be eight hours a week on the road for an octogenarian.
"There's got to be tons of places in Tacoma," I blurted out. Tacoma was huge, with several hospitals — Nana would have access to great health care. But I was the only one in the family who lived there. "She could stay with me."
"You know, that's a good idea," Aunt Margie said. "Would save us a lot of hassle."
My mom smiled and patted my arm. "Honey, you're a twenty-nine-year-old bachelor." She rolled her eyes. "You don't want to live with your nana."
"You know what she did for me. I'd still be betting on anything with a score if she hadn't stepped in," I countered. This crazy fucking idea wasn't half bad. I owed her my life and the small amount of money I'd been able to save. She had been the first step on my road to recovery. Having to pay her back was an important piece in my recovery last year and this was my chance to help her.
Then I thought of what Hawkeye said. He wanted a reliable family man running the import business. "I just got a big promotion. I was thinking of moving out of the clubhouse anyway. You know, getting a real place."
I hadn't given a single thought to moving out of the clubhouse before. I liked it there. I could bring home who I wanted and when I wanted. No one ever batted an eye at the occasional stripper or hooker. The whiskey was plentiful. It had been paradise for the last four years.
Now I had a business, though. I envisioned coming home late after a day of hard work and trying to relax to loud, thumping music and the sound of Rip with his fuck of the month getting it on in the next room over. I had nowhere to cook a proper meal, so I lived on sub sandwiches from the joint down the street. I realized right there in that stupid hospital hallway that I was sick of it. Fuck the clubhouse, I could use a change of scenery. One of the prospects would be thrilled to have my old room.
"It might be nice to talk to someone in the evening." I shrugged. "Besides, I love Nana and this would help everyone."
"Think about it, Jean." Aunt Margie looped her arm through my mom's. "Mom has Dad's navy pension and that little bit of retirement from when she worked for the dealership. She could pay rent and even hire a home health-care worker to help him out."
My mom looked at me and then at Aunt Margie. "All right. But it's okay to change your mind." She pressed her lips together.
"I won't change my mind." I shook my head. "Nana is moving in with me."
I slumped in my chair at the employment agency. I'd never been let go from a job before. The worst part was that I had nowhere to live. As a home health-care worker, I usually lived on site with my clients. No job meant no roof over my head.
"So, the old witch finally fired you, huh?" Carla, the recruiter, poured me a cup of coffee. The corner of her mouth twitched. She was trying hard not to giggle.
"You sent me out on that job, knowing I'd get fired?" I dumped three creams in my coffee and shook my head. "That was not nice."
Carla finally let go and laughed. "Elsie fires everyone. You lasted longer than most." She handed me two folders from her desk. "Okay, next on the list is an eighty-two-year-old woman with mild kidney failure on dialysis, or a seventy-six-year-old amputee. Lost his leg in 'Nam. The last girl who went out there said he really liked bath time. So, you'll get twenty percent extra for him."
The last thing I wanted was a patient making a pass at me. The old men liked to do that. Every once in a while, a girl new to being a home health-care aide would think the elderly gentleman was loaded and try to marry him or something. I shuddered. Money was tight, but not that tight.
"Let's go with the old lady on dialysis." I opened the file marked Anne Remmick. "My car works well enough. All that running back and forth to the center should be fine."
"All right, they interview tomorrow, 11:00 a.m." Carla made a note in her planner. "They're seeing two other girls, so you'll have to bring your A game. You need a place to stay the night?"
I nodded. I'd never been out in the cold like this as an adult. When you live with your patient, it can sometimes be tricky moving jobs, but never once had I faced a night in a motel because of lack of planning.
"I would be really grateful." I made a mental note to pick up Carla a bottle of wine or something. I really didn't have the cash to stay in a motel if I didn't need to. "I can sleep on the couch."
"Nonsense." She smiled. "I've got a guest bedroom and a clean shower. We'll have you spiffed and in a new job by end of day tomorrow. Have Cheryl print you a couple of resumes before you leave. See you tonight."
I stood in Carla's shower and wondered exactly how large her water heater was. She'd gone to work already and my interview wasn't for three more hours. I could empty the tank completely and she'd never notice. I closed my eyes and dunked my head under the hot water one last time and turned off the tap. I was a guest. Using up all of her hot water wasn't very nice.
I missed having my own shower. The last time I had a place of my own was with Tony. He'd worked nights as a paramedic and I'd worked days at a nursing home. We never saw each other. One day, I got off early and went home to surprise him — but I was the one surprised. All of our furniture was gone and our bills were unpaid.
The hot water had felt so nice. It almost made me want to start dating again. Move in with some guy. With two incomes we could afford to get an apartment. I shook my head as I dried my hair. Having a shower of my own wasn't a good enough reason to suffer through the heartache of a relationship again.
After wrapping up in a clean towel, I opened my suitcase on the bed and surveyed my wardrobe. I had one red dress for going out that I'd bought at Goodwill last year. It was a great dress, strapless, and it fit like a glove. Most people only wear special-occasion dresses once, so thrift stores were my secret dress boutiques. But it was hardly appropriate for a job interview. Normally I wore my beige slacks and blue button-down top, but I'd spilled spaghetti last time I wore the outfit and hadn't been able to get the stain out. I didn't think I'd need a new interview outfit so soon, so I hadn't yet bothered to replace them. Damn.
In the end, I put on my best blue scrubs. Carla had shown me where she kept the iron, so I went over them and made sure they were wrinkle free. A bit of makeup and I pulled my hair back into a French braid.
My dad was black and my mom was white. Instead of getting hair from one or the other, I got both. It was big, curly and always full of knots. I'd long ago learned that the easiest way to tame it was a braid and some gel.
From far away, I could pass for white, but up close you could see the truth of my heritage in my skin color. My ex-boyfriend told me I looked like a big glass of milk with not enough chocolate syrup. Romantic. Most of the time, people just assumed I was black and left it at that. But the reality was that I couldn't live in either world.
For a few months, my mom got tired of living out of our car and uprooted the whole family — my parents and sister and me — and we went back to Cleveland to live with my father's aunt. No one would talk to my sister and me at school. We'd never really been to school, so we didn't know all of the social cues. Lining up before class, who got the swings next, interacting with our classmates was all new to us. With our lack of social skills coupled with our skin color, the kids in our aunt's neighborhood treated us as freaks. Mama tried bringing us to her church once, hoping we'd make friends there. But it was the same thing. The white kids looked at our skin and our hair, and then their parents all stared at Mama, judging her. Judging our whole family. When Daddy suggested loading up the car and leaving Cleveland, Mama didn't argue.
Every job interview was like those first few days in Cleveland. I was going to be judged. Here in the Pacific Northwest, most people didn't seem to be racist — or were really good at hiding it. The worst interviews were when they liked the fact that I was black. It gave them some sense to satisfaction to have a person of color working for them. I shuddered.
The interview was going to be held at the agency offices. I pulled into the parking lot early and pulled out one of my textbooks, Microbiology for Nurses. Hardly entertaining reading, but I had a quiz coming up. I was in my third and last year of the nursing program at Pacific Community College and I'd come a long way since those awkward days back in Cleveland.
Ten minutes before the appointed interview time, I closed my book and went into the office. Six years of employment meant the receptionist knew me, so she waved me back to the interview area.
"Miss Smith?" Carla called. She winked at me. It was her way of wishing me good luck.
Inside the small conference room was a man and a little old lady seated on one side of the rectangular table. I scoped out the lady first — she was the one I would have to win over. Salon permanent, steady hand with her makeup, white embroidered cardigan. Her hands and eyesight were still doing well and she had enough cash and friends to go to the beauty parlor every once in a while. She'd be a great client. I sat down and smiled.
"Good morning, ma'am." I accentuated what little bit of a southern accent I had left. Then I turned to the man sitting next to her. "Good morning, sir."
The word sir caught in my mouth. I doubt he got called that very often. He was wearing a black leather vest with a patch that said Demon Horde. Underneath was a long-sleeved T-shirt, pulled up to show a skeleton hand tattoo poking out just above his wrist. His hands were clean, but stained darker from whatever his job was. Running drugs? Committing murder? Working for some neo-Nazi paramilitary organization?
I took a deep breath. I tried to calm down and not jump to conclusions. He wasn't wearing any swastikas, so I was probably okay. I needed to focus on the patient. If I wanted this job, I had to win her over. But the question was, did I want this job? Who was this guy and how did he fit in?
"Nice to meet you, my dear." The old lady smiled. "I'm Anne Remmick and I need a home health aide."
Nodding, I shook her hand.
The man cleared his throat. "Clint Remmick, her grandson." He held out his hand. "I won't bite. I promise."
Shit. I had hesitated in shaking his hand and not even realized it.
"Oh, of course." I shook his hand. "I'm Jordan Smith, but please call me Jo."
Excerpted from "Outlaw Ride"
Copyright © 2018 Sarah R. Hall.
Excerpted by permission of Carina Press.
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