I don't fuck girls who work for me, but as soon as Amelia turns those big green eyes on me I know she's trouble. I can't keep my hands off her, and the almost-but-not-quite-sex we share in the kitchen is the hottest thing I've ever had. Except she calls it quits, before we've even started.
Instead of moving on, she's all I can think about and that's bad news. I'm breaking all my rules for her, and don't even care.
Until I find out who she is and what she really wants. She's after payback, but there's no way she's going to get it. No way in hell...
Each book in the Viking Bastards MC series is STANDALONE:
About the Author
Christina Phillips is an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. She enjoys writing paranormal, historical and contemporary romance but whether the hero is a fallen angel, tough warrior or sexy mortal, the romance will be sizzling and the heroine will bring her hero to his knees.
She is a triple finalist in the 2013 ARRA Awards for Favorite Erotic Romance, and finalist in the 2012 ARRA Awards for Favorite Paranormal Romance. She has been published by Entangled, Escape, EC, Berkley Heat and The Wild Rose Press and has dipped her toe in the indie pubbed waters. She is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Dark Side Down Under group and Historical Hearts. She helped establish the inaugural Professional Development for Authors program and has been a member of the editorial team for the RWA’s monthly newsletter, Hearts Talk. She loves hearing from her readers!
Christina is addicted to good coffee, expensive chocolate and bad boy heroes. She is also owned by three gorgeous cats who are convinced the universe revolves around their needs. They are not wrong.
Read an Excerpt
Viking Bastards MC
By Christina Phillips, Candace Havens
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Christina Phillips
All rights reserved.
The early December wind isn't that cold, but still makes me shiver as I stare at the sign above the door of the bar. Odin's. For a crazy second, I nearly run back to my car and get the hell out of here, but it's like I'm frozen on the sidewalk.
When I was offered this bartender job the other day, it all seemed so easy. But it hadn't been nine at night then, and now, in the dull glow from the streetlights, the bar's giving off a sinister vibe.
Right. Sometimes having a vivid imagination sucks. There's only one reason I'm here. My dad's face fills my mind, and even though he's been dead for ten years, my throat closes and there's a familiar crushing sensation in the middle of my chest.
Not now, Amy. I drag in a deep breath and force the memory to the back of my mind. I can't meet the owner of Odin's with red eyes. I'm supposed to make him trust me, or at the very least think I'm so dumb that it doesn't matter what anyone says in my hearing.
That shouldn't be hard. Guys always take one look at me and think I'm dumb as shit until I put them straight. Not this time, though. This time I'll take it, if it helps me bring down the bastards who were behind the murder of my dad.
For about the hundredth time since Rex got in contact with me a week ago to tell me about this job, I remind myself this is a once in a lifetime chance for payback. I'm not going to screw it up.
I push open the door and step inside. It's packed with guys showing muscles and tats, but they don't faze me. Until I was thirteen, I grew up surrounded by tough bikers, and I always thought they were part of my extended family.
Yeah, some family the Silver Wolves turned out to be. I paste on a bored pout and saunter over to the bar where Tod, the guy who interviewed my boobs the other day, is grinning like a thirsty dog.
Asshole. Sure, I'd worn a low-cut top deliberately, but he might've at least made the effort to look in my eyes when he was asking me questions.
Whatever. It obviously worked, since here I am.
"Hey," he says, his gaze running over me. Disappointment flashes across his face when I don't whip open my short leather jacket and give him another eyeful of my cleavage. Not likely. That ploy served its purpose as far as Tod's concerned. He ushers me behind the bar, and I ignore the suggestive comments and leers directed my way by some of the guys.
They can look. They can even flirt if they like, but there'll be no touching if they want to keep their mating tackle intact.
Tod shows me where I can stash my purse in a small room behind the bar, and tries to help me off with my jacket. I give him a sweet smile and shrug out of it myself, and he doesn't seem to care that my shirt buttons all the way up to my throat.
"When do I meet the boss, then?" I throw another smile Tod's way, and he smirks as though he thinks he's getting some tonight. With luck, Gage Reynolds will be just as easy to wrap around my pinkie. He and Tod are cousins, after all, so I'm hoping douchebag runs in the family.
"He'll be down in a while." Tod squeezes by me, managing to cop a full body rub, and the only reason I don't stab the heel of my boot through his toes is because I can't afford to be fired before I've even started. "Lemme give you a lesson on how to handle the pumps."
"No need. I told you I'm experienced." True enough. My impressive list of part-time jobs since leaving school mainly consists of waitressing by day and bartending at night, with the occasional detour into fast food outlets. Casual shift work suits me just fine. I don't want to get tied down in a nine-to-five job when my real career plans, which don't involve working for anyone else, might blossom at any moment.
"I'll bet you are." Tod leans in close, clearly thinking his innuendos are the smartest things ever. I take a mental breath, count to ten, and remember why I'm doing this.
For you, Dad.
* * *
I drag my fingers through my hair and glower at the paperwork covering the small dining table. Even after five years of owning Odin's, keeping the books up to date drives me nuts. Somehow I thought that side of things just took care of itself, until Granddad died and left me his pride and joy, which included this apartment upstairs.
Running the bar had never crossed my mind before then. I always thought I'd end up helping my older brother, Zach, in his garage. Not that I'm complaining. It's cool having my own business.
Except for the fucking paperwork.
I glance at my watch and frown. Guess I should go downstairs and meet the new girl Tod hired the other day. He usually clears stuff like that with me first, but apparently this girl's tits were irresistible, even though he knows about my no-screwing-the-staff rule. Don't want any of that shit on my doorstep.
The bar downstairs is packed with the usual Friday night regulars, and I lean against the frame of the door that leads into the back room, where the guys are playing pool, and I survey my turf. Tod and my sister Kat are working the bar. There's no sign of Amelia Davis. Has she packed it in already?
"Hey, Gage." The breathy voice pulls me from my thoughts, and I give the blonde who's clutching my arm a cursory glance. Can't remember her name, but she gives great head. "You okay?" Her hand slides down my torso and rubs across my groin.
I push her hand onto my thigh. It pisses me off when chicks grab my junk without invitation. She doesn't take the hint.
"You work too hard," she purrs, going up onto her toes and rubbing herself over me. "Haven't seen you all week. I know just what you need to unwind."
I'm almost tempted. "Maybe later."
"Sure." She grips my arm harder. Christ, her perfume's strong. I try not to breathe it in and start to turn away from her. "Fancy a drink, Gage?"
She really can't take a hint. The thought of hooking up later is no longer even half tempting. I'm not that desperate for a blow job.
Rowdy laughter erupts from the back room, and I pull free from her grasp. Not that I'm expecting trouble, but sometimes non-regulars need a reminder of just who owns Odin's. I swing around and stop dead. Strolling toward me, grasping a handful of empty glasses and beer bottles, is the sexiest chick I've ever seen.
It's like I've been punched in the gut, and all I can do is drink in the sight of her knee-high boots, black fishnets, and short leather skirt. Her messy, copper-blonde hair frames her face, and her lips are full and inviting. But bizarrely, it's her black sleeveless shirt that snags my attention. It hides everything, when I expected cleavage, and somehow the combination of fuck-me-now legs and don't-touch tits strikes me speechless.
She tosses her head, clearly not giving a shit about the coarse comments following her, and catches my gaze. For a second I think she's going to stumble, but instead she gives me an oddly furtive once-over, before I block the door and she has no choice but to stop.
"Coming through." There's a husky edge in her voice that dives straight to my dick. Fuck, no. She raises the glasses and gives me a half smile that doesn't do anything to kill the graphic image of me shoving her up against the nearest wall. She's obviously Amelia Davis. Who the hell else can she be?
This chick has got to go. Any girl that works in the bar is hot — my sister excluded, of course. It's a job requirement. But I don't want one who can give me a hard-on just by standing there.
Instead of telling her that, I step back to let her pass, and it's got everything to do with wanting to see how cute her ass is as she walks on by. I swallow a groan. It'd be funny if it weren't so inconvenient.
"Thanks." She tosses the word over her shoulder, along with another lingering glance. She takes in my leather vest, and her smile freezes as if she never even noticed it before. Her cheeks go pink, and why that's a fucking turn-on I don't know, but instead of looking me in the eye again, she speeds up and disappears behind the bar.
I let out a breath and scan the room to make sure no one saw the effect she had on me. It's like she was full of electricity, sending shockwaves through the air. I grin at the image, which is fucking insane, but also weirdly accurate.
Shame I have to fire her. On the upside, at least it means I have a chance of screwing her tonight.
* * *
I dump the bottles in the trash in the room behind the bar and take a deep breath. My cheeks are still burning, and I resist the urge to press my hands against my face. Or escape out the back door. That'd work, too.
For almost an hour, I'd collected the empties and wiped down tables, and despite some dirty comments, no one had tried to grab me. Maybe it's a house rule, but it kind of surprised me.
Whatever. I can't believe the only guy I looked at twice is a Viking Bastard. What are the chances? I hope he's not Gage Reynolds because that's just going to be awkward as hell.
"Amelia." Tod leans into the small area. "Come and meet the boss."
No way. My stomach churns, and I risk patting my cheeks which are as hot to the touch as I feared. There's still a small chance that the guy I all but drooled over in public isn't my temporary boss.
I'm not holding my breath, though, which as just as well, since the guy behind Tod with his arms folded across his impressive chest is, of course, him.
He looks nothing like his cousin. For a start, he's got to be six feet tall, and his dark brown hair isn't nearly as long as most bikers I've known.
Stop. Staring. I blink a couple of times and pretend I can't see his gorgeous brown eyes or the hint of a smile playing about his kissable lips.
Tod slinks back to the bar, and there's nothing for it but to brazen it out. Gage probably didn't even notice me giving him the eye a couple of minutes ago, not with that blonde dripping all over him.
"Hey, Amelia," he says, and his voice is all dark and throaty and sends shivers racing over my arms. This isn't supposed to happen in real life. Except it is, and I literally have no idea where to look because he's taking up all the space.
All the air, as well. I hitch in a shallow breath and try not to stare at his patches. Or his abs. Definitely not any farther south ...
"Hi." I manage to sound bored, which is a huge relief. I have the crazy urge to tell him to call me Amy, like all my friends and family do, and I don't know why, because that never crossed my mind when I had the interview with Tod.
Gage Reynolds is not, and will never be, my friend or anything even approaching that, so Amelia it is. It's nothing to do with the way my name seems to roll off his tongue like spiced honey.
Get a fucking grip, Amy.
"Gage Reynolds." He holds out his hand and for a second I stare at it. Is he for real? I have the scary conviction if I touch him I'll spontaneously combust.
Before I can stop myself, I take his hand. His fingers wrap around me, and his thumb caresses my skin in a blatantly possessive gesture. The last of the oxygen disappears from my lungs, and I clutch his hand as though he's the only thing keeping me upright.
Since when has my hand been an erogenous zone? I can't breathe, I'm going lightheaded, and all I can see is Gage Reynolds smiling at me as though he'd like to eat me up and then come back for seconds.
This is so not right. Mortification shoots through me, and I tug my hand free. It's only a small consolation when he appears as reluctant to release me as I am to escape.
Wait. What am I thinking? Gage Reynolds is the son of the man who killed my dad. It's not my fault Gage is hotter than sin, but it sure as hell isn't an excuse to dissolve into a hormonal mess every time I look at him.
My fingers are tingling from our contact, and I resist the desperate need to wipe my palm on my thigh. It's bad enough he turns me on. I don't want him guessing just how much he does, though.
"Sorry I wasn't around to interview you the other day." He looms over me, and I step back, until my back hits the wall of the small utility room. Instead of keeping his distance, he plants one hand on the wall beside my shoulder, and I have the terrible certainty he's going to kiss me.
I want him to kiss me.
No. I definitely don't. And if he treats all the girls who work here like this, which, per Rex, he does, then no wonder he can't keep staff for longer than a week. I tilt my chin and try to ignore the sexy stubble covering his jaw and the irresistible hint of leather and sandalwood that's turning my brain to jelly.
"You plan on interviewing me now?" I can't believe how suggestive that sounds. I didn't mean it to.
His slow grin leaves no doubt that he thinks I'm coming onto him. Shit. This isn't going to plan at all.
"Guess that's one way of looking at it."
I know I wanted to get close to him, but this is crazy. "I've already been hired, remember?"
"How bad do you need this job, Amelia?"
The way he says my name kills me. And then his question manages to penetrate the fog of lust that's trying to overrun my entire body. Is he suggesting I sleep with him to keep the job?
With any other guy, in any other job, my knee would be connecting with his nuts right about now. But even if I didn't have an ulterior motive for being here, I'm not sure my survival instincts would've kicked in. Even though he's not touching me, I like the way he's looking at me, and that's so sick I should probably hand in my cards right now.
Like that's going to happen.
"Pretty bad." We might both know what he's implying, but that doesn't mean I have to play by his rules. "Rent to pay, food to eat. The usual."
Which isn't a total lie, since my last bartending job ended a couple of days before Rex contacted me. Talk about good timing. Even though I have plenty of shifts at a local diner, it's not enough on its own.
Gage narrows his eyes as though he knows I'm playing him, but he seems more intrigued than pissed off. "You live alone?"
I think of my mom and two younger sisters. Alone is something I've never been in my life.
"No. I share with three others." As if I'm going to tell him the truth. I don't think so. He'll reckon I'm weird if he knows I still live at home with my mom at the age of twenty-three.
Not that I care what he thinks. Obviously.
Huh? "No, girls." It's stretching things to refer to my mom as a girl, but whatever. "Why?"
He shrugs. "No reason. How'd you know there was a job open here? I hadn't advertised it."
I shrug right back at him. "Word gets around."
He looks as though he's trying not to laugh. Why isn't he a butt-ugly miserable bastard, like I'd imagined him to be?
He leans in close until his warm breath teases my cheek. Goose bumps chase over my skin but not because I'm cold. I fist my hands before I do something unforgivable, like grab his vest and haul him in for a kiss.
Then he speaks. "Guess I need to give you a personal tour. You up for that?"CHAPTER 2
Amelia blinks her long, copper-colored eyelashes as though she's considering my proposition, and her green eyes are kind of hypnotic. Yeah, they must be if I'm thinking shit about the color of her eyelashes.
And what the hell am I doing, offering to give her a tour? I planned on sweet-talking her until she couldn't keep her hands off me. And then I'd tell her Tod had screwed up and I had no choice but to fire her. The plan, once she was in my arms, was I'd offer to help find her another job.
My grand plans crashed the second she told me how badly she needed this job. Well, shit. I don't usually change my mind just because of a few words that might not even be true.
Same way I don't go around shaking hands with chicks. What the fuck was that all about? Good thing none of my brothers saw that. They'd give me hell.
"A personal tour?" She sounds skeptical. "I've seen everything I need to, haven't I?"
As she's been working the bar for half the night, that's true enough, but I can't back down now.
"Did Tod show you the cellar?" What the hell am I saying?
"Uh, no. He said I wouldn't need to deal with the kegs."
I laugh, can't help it. "You're not here to deal with the kegs."
"Don't think I couldn't, if I had to."
"I deal with the deliveries. You deal with the customers." Guess that makes it official. She's not fucking fired.
"Well ..." She hesitates, as though she's thinking about it, even though I'm the one having serious second thoughts. The last place I want to take Amelia Davis is the cellar. What's wrong with me? "Okay, then."
"This way." I swagger toward the end of the storeroom where a door leads to the cellar, as though this is something I do with all new staff.
"You're a member of the Viking Bastards, then." It's not a question, and I glance at her. She's a couple of steps behind me and eyeing the back of my cut.
"That's right." She barely reaches my jaw, and her faint scent is driving me wild. I want to bury my face in her hair and breathe it all in.
Excerpted from Payback by Christina Phillips, Candace Havens. Copyright © 2017 Christina Phillips. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Charming. The Aussie/Brit slang is a bit distracting since the story is based in LA, CA, USA but otherwise a great read.
Loved this story.
Although short, it was filled with a good story line. Can't wait for the rest of the series .
What-a-follow-up. Yes, it was good. Dark. Intense. Hot. Deep. Amelia. Gage. Secrets. Passion. Lust. Revenge/Payback. Depends on your own viewpoint. Amelia sets in motion the payback she felt that she deserved. That was until she had a chance to meet and assess the accused. Things change all around for both Amelia and Gage. I enjoyed book one, Hooked. It all carried over to the enjoyment of book two, Payback. Christian has given a second hot, sexy, alpha male to fall in love with and his match. Reading book one was not necessary to get satisfaction from book two, although it did provide a family dynamic to follow as it relates to Gage.
Another drama filled visit with the MC! There's just something about these guys that really gets to me ... they're supposed to be big, bad and tough, but when they meet the right woman who finally takes them off the market to all the clubhouse girls, they turn into protective teddy bears. :) On the lighter side of MC's, but lots of fun to read! Amelia Davis has been waiting for revenge for practically half of her life, but when she sets out to get it, it doesn't work out like she planned. She can't believe some of the info she was fed, and decides it's not worth it in the end ... but her original plan comes back to bite her! Gage Reynolds grew up in the MC, and he's happy that it's his way of life. He has owned Odin's bar for a few years now and when he meets the newest hire, he's not happy. Amelia sets him on fire the second he lays on her. He has rules ... he doesn't screw his employees ... but he's thinking to break that rule just for her! What starts as one night turns into much more as they both find something more in each other than they ever expected. When Gage finds out the secrets she's been keeping, will there be a way to rectify what's been done?
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. It has been awhile that I have read an MC biker book, and this one was pretty tame and I did enjoy it. Amelia wants to get revenge on the biker group who killed her dad, so she goes to work at the bar that is owned by them. Gabe is owner of the bar she works in and his dad was killed by Amelia's dad, but he does not know that because her name has been changed. He has a policy of not sleeping with someone he works with, but decides to make an exception with Amelia, because he thinks she is the most beautiful woman he has ever met. Amelia is confused because she is truly attracted to Gabe, but she feels like she is betraying her dads memory. They do get together and fall in love, but then Gabe finds out, that she was there for revenge, and feels betrayed. Amelia had already decided she could not go thru with it, but it ended up being too late. Gabe was truly horrible to her, and they break up. Then the truth comes out, what happens next, well you have to read it.
MC's, revenge, mistaken events and sexiness drive this story. Having read one other book by this Author I thought I would try this one since the blurb and cover intrigued me. The second book in the series (I have not read the first one), but I had not issues with reading them out of order. The white-hot chemistry is what got me from page one. Gage and Amy know they should not act on their attraction for their own reasons, but cannot help themselves when around each other. Amy is hiding an agenda based on wrong information that comes back to haunt her and the relationship when it comes out. This is not hard-core MC romance, so if you are looking for that...this is not it. It is a well-written romance that is MC but more main stream. I really liked both Amy and Gage. I was drawn to both and wanted their love story to work out. The story is super sexy, but with lots of emotion to it. Great read, would totally read more by this Author and more in this series. 4Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.* --
amelia davis is intent on avenging her father's death at the hands of a rival motorcycle club. and gage reynolds is the key to her plan. the manager of bar where she finagles herself a job, the last thing she expects is to be so attracted to gage that all thoughts of vengeance fall by the wayside. this revenge plan of hers is a bit full of holes if i'm being honest, but the chemistry between gage and amelia is super hot. even though he kind of knows that there's something slightly off about her reasons for working at the bar, he doesn't care because he's never felt this way about someone. and even though he has rules about mixing business with pleasure there is no way he can stay away. when gage figures out that things are not all on the up and up with amelia, she ends up caught between rival club business. the chance that she might be in danger terrifies him. for something to worry him over the concerns of the motorcycle club is unprecedented. there are things from the past that tie amelia and gage together beyond their chemistry. and as their relationship deepens they realize that they don't want to be apart. **payback will publish on may 1, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scorched) in exchange for your honest review.
I'm not a big reader of MC books at all, but this book has probably changed that. I loved this story. Amelia looking to settle a score for her fathers death while in prison. He was part of an MC club, his counterpart of a rival club was also in prison at the time. Her fathers death was blamed on him. Her mother moved Amelia (Amy) and her two sisters away and they also took her mother's last name. They were totally isolated and abandoned by the Fathers MC club after his death. Distance. Amelia is contacted by someone from the past with word that Gage who owns Odin a bar and son of the man who allegedly killed her father is looking for help. He tells her Gage is running all kinds of illegal business and is in need of a bartender. So she applies and is hired. The minute Gage lays eyes on her is lust at first sight. Amelia keeps him at more than arms length for a really long time and I loved her. She was strong and the witty comebacks were as good as Gage's. Not to be outdone though, Gage really wants to get serious with her. He's never dated. They go on a date. He's so benign and almost clueless, but you had to love him. Amelia had long ago told Sloan (bad man) that the deal was off and she wasn't digging any dirt on them because there was no dirt to be had. There's plenty of steam in this book too once these two finally decide to do the deed. Gage is panty melting, puddle making good. When things come to a head, lies spill out, truth is buried and the whole picture becomes muddled between the two of them. You have to read the book to really get the full impact of the twists this story takes that Christina has written so well and how things unravel. No one is left innocent in this one. What a great story this was, it's honestly worth a second read. Great story Christina!! Ready for book 3! **arc from NetGalley and Entangled in exchange for a fair review**
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review This story is some how familiar, but it also isn't. Don't want to complicate it. It sounds famimiar but there are twists and turns I didn't see coming. So not really familiar, I hope I didn't confude you. I loved how sassy and strong Amelia is, she is the perfect match for Gage! Sometimes Gage his thought bothered me, but that's just probably guy thinking. That gift *SWOON* damn for a not knowing what he is doing he did great! I would've loved a bit more family time and also with the mom. I don't know for me that is important. Thank you Christina Phillips for writing this fantastic book! I hope you will write an epilogue! That's the thing the book missed.
I really liked this book! A bit more of the MC side than the prior book but still not a hardcore MC read. It's sexy, rough, and full of twists that keep you turning the page. This is Gage's story. Gage is Zach's brother (Zach from the first book Hooked). While this one can be read and enjoyed without reading the first book, it was nice to have the backstory to this family. Amelia is looking for revenge at first. She's been told all her life that Gage's MC was responsible for her father's death. With that in mind she applies for a job at Gage's bar. Her plans quickly change once she gets to know Gage. Will the past keep these two apart or will they find a way to have a future together? Definitely a book I would recommend.
Ooooh are bad boy MC romances the dirty kind of fun. Amelia is on a mission to take down the man who's father murdered her own...only she didn't count on him being so goregous, and sexy..and sweet. Gage has a rule: he doesn't mess with the girls that work in his bar. But one look at Amelia and he knows it's game over: she's his. These two are hot-hot-hot! Gage is bad boy to the core and oh does he bring that to the bedroom when it comes to Amelia. He'll do and say anything to get her to fall for him. He should know better, that people aren't always what they seem. When Amelia realizes she's been taken for a fool by one of Gage's enemies, she's stunned at Gage's violent reaction to learning her truth. If she can learn to forgive Gage for his family's past, how will he learn to forgiver her for wanting payback? Hot hot hot read and definitely filled with edge-of-the-seat tension! I hope there will be more of these Viking bikers!