Enter the gritty biker world of the Raising Hellfire MC series where these L.A. bikers drink hard, drive fast, and dig deep for love.
Bike mechanic Lucy Black is running out of luck. With an attitude louder than a Harley engine, her mouth is always getting her in trouble and she’s been fired, again. Desperate for money to send home to support her kid sister, Lucy takes a housekeeping job at Wilde Hotel, the adopted home of the Raising Hellfire MC. After a steamy moonlit encounter with a dark stranger, Lucy is horrified to find out he’s her new boss so she’s more determined than ever to make her hotel stay brief.
Jake “The Iceman” Slade is drowning in guilt and can’t give himself a break. A tragic accident on set made him step away from his job as a real life action hero in the film lots of Hollywood. Now he’s reluctantly agreed to run his half-sister’s hotel, Wilde’s, while she’s away, trying to keep it—and himself—from going under. Lucy is the kind of trouble he can’t afford, but can’t seem to resist. But with an equally troubled past, will Lucy be the fire to melt his frozen heart?
Ride Me Right is a sexy, emotionally intense read that will take readers on the ride of their lives from USA Today bestselling author Michele De Winton!
About the Author
Being a writer was not what Michele de Winton was supposed to be when she ‘grew up’. But then neither was being a dancer! It’s no wonder a little sparkle of the stage is often in her work. Living in in New Zealand with her husband and two small boys after traveling a plenty, she writes from an office where the sound of the tapping keyboard is the only distraction. Okay, that’s a lie. Those boys are noisy, and busy, and into everything, but then, what boys ain't She finds wine very useful for tempering reality, and chocolate helps too, especially when it’s mixed with alcohol.
Michele likes her heroines smart and sassy. Girls can do anything right? But the heroes have to be a match as well, so you can count on men who know just how to make a woman melt. And she always kisses and tells.
Being a writer was not what Michele De Winton was supposed to be when she ‘grew up’. But then neither was being a dancer! It’s no wonder a little sparkle of the stage is often in her work. Living in in New Zealand with her husband and two small boys after traveling aplenty, she writes from an office where the sound of the tapping keyboard is the only distraction. Okay, that’s a lie. Those boys are noisy, and busy, and into everything, but then, what boys ain't She finds wine very useful for tempering reality, and chocolate helps too, especially when it’s mixed with alcohol.
Michele likes her heroines smart and sassy. Girls can do anything right? But the heroes have to be a match as well, so you can count on men who know just how to make a woman melt. And she always kisses and tells. Come distract her on Twitter or Facebook.
Read an Excerpt
Lucy Black took another slug from the flask of bourbon and stuffed the bottle into her pocket as she kept sorting her tools. One, two, three, four, five ... she was missing a wrench. "Who borrowed my six-inch?" She stood up, large wrench in hand, and cast an eye around the workshop. No one met her eye. "Seriously? You're gonna be like that?"
"No one's being like nothing," said Gav, the head of the bike shop Lucy had called home for the last four months. "If you've lost a wrench you've lost a wrench. It happens. Deal with it."
Through gritted teeth she forced the words out. "I had it yesterday. Last time I looked it hadn't grown legs and taken itself out for a beer."
"Knock it off," Gav shot behind him. "If someone has taken it, they can put it on my desk while Luce packs up the rest of her shit. No harm done."
Lucy nodded. Would have been easier if it hadn't been stolen in the first place, but she'd take getting it back over losing face in front of this bunch of idiots. She couldn't afford to replace the tool, not now that she didn't have a job or anywhere to live.
She'd known this day was coming — her final day on the tools — but she kept hoping Gav would change his mind, or something would come up. But nope, this job was toast, just like the last one. And with no way to pay her rent, her landlord gave zero fucks that she had nowhere to go.
Gav took a step forward and held out his hand. "No hard feelings. It's just not working with the rest of the boys here. I can't keep bailing you out."
"Don't expect you to." Lucy jutted out her chin and damn it if a long piece of hair didn't fall into her face. Watching his eyes follow her hair, she couldn't decide if blowing it out of the way would make it more or less obvious that she was the only one in this bike shop wearing a ponytail. Hardly looking, she threw the last of her sad collection of tools into her bag and took his hand in a firm shake. Screw them if they thought she was going to crawl out of here with her tail up her ass.
Out on the street though, her six-inch still missing, Lucy's confidence curled up its toes and pretty much turned to stone. She had no job, no apartment, and no money for rent, and a promise that she'd find some money for her kid sister Katie's glasses by the end of the week. She was not going to let a fifteen-year-old miss being able to see properly because her whack-job mom thought the power of her transcendental thoughts could heal all ills. "Shit."
"Yep. Pretty much sums it up." A young woman walking past pointed at Lucy's foot. The foot that was currently standing in the middle of a large, fresh, dog turd.
"It's okay to laugh," Lucy said. "I probably would."
"Nah. Looks like you've had plenty of that already today." The woman gave her a smile. "Hope it gets better." Just then one of the young mechanics came out and gave the woman an up and down before he noticed Lucy standing there. "Thought you left already. Or you decided to come back and work the phones?"
The curse was almost out of her mouth until she saw her recent colleague tense his jaw ready to take her on. "Best of luck," she said instead. "I know you think you can fix an engine. But it's always best to start work on your own machine, and yours needs a lot of work. If you wanna date girls who like bikes, better be sure you've got something big and hot for them to ride." His jaw dropped open and he said nothing. The smirk felt great on her face, and she slammed her helmet on before the chauvinistic pig had a chance to respond. Waving to the passing woman who gave her a wink, Lucy revved her Norton and left rubber on the road as she tore out of the parking lot. Really? Wasting rubber on that pack of monkeys? It was stupid. She couldn't afford new tires anytime soon, but it felt damn good to make an exit with a little noise rather than letting them see how close to the edge she was.
Now what? Lucy drove for a couple of blocks, letting the thrill of the wind spilling over her calm her thoughts. Buildings flicked past. Trees, then a big expanse of construction sites. This was good. She was good. All she needed was her bike. Drive, be, and remind herself that she was free.
Free of Utah, free of her mom's raving lectures, free of being a "constant disappointment." She might not be the boy her dad wanted, but she sure as hell wasn't the placid doormat her now-single mom wanted either. Can't please everyone. Or anyone, in her case. Whatever, you had to make it in the world on your own terms; that was the only way. She revved the bike. The past was the past, and it was going to stay behind her, like everything else today.
A sign for a mechanic's shop flashed past and her mood dipped with the thought of her empty future. Just because she invoiced some parts too cheaply a couple times ... okay, more than a couple times. But they were overpriced. She knew it, Gav knew it, and the guy she'd given a discount to needed to get his bike back to earn a living. But it didn't matter that she was trying to do a regular customer a favor, oh no. Gav reckoned the boys didn't like the way she worked, thought she was a disturbance. Got them all hot and bothered more like, 'cause she wouldn't put out. And her not billing every screw and twist of her wrench was enough to tip the scales against her. Three strikes and that was it. She was out.
She was a great mechanic. Better than half the guys in that shop. And still ... the panic started rising up her throat and threatened to clasp its clammy hands around her airway.
Okay, not doing so well anymore. Pulling off the road, she realized she'd headed toward Wilde's Hotel without it registering. Good one, genius. You head to the one place guaranteed to be full of men? "At least someone might give me a beer here," she muttered. After pulling off her helmet, she fumbled her hip flask from her bag. The last dregs of her whiskey burned down her throat and made her head stop spinning long enough for her to take a breath.
Wilde's was a glamorous institution with big links to Hollywood. In the eighties. Then the bikers moved in and, well, it became a place where glamour went to die. For a while it looked like it might just take the hint and kill itself in a puddle of debt and general apathy, but the new owner, Briony Wilde, took the reins and didn't let go. She and the resident biker gang, the Raising Hellfire MC, even blackmailed a rich developer with a sex tape to make sure she got the hotel going again.
Lucy blew air through her teeth and allowed a smile out. The sex tape was a brilliant balls-out move. If only she had a rich developer to blackmail ... She sighed. Nope.
She'd been riding with the Hell's Boys since she got to LA, when she'd met a couple of the boys in a shitty bike shop where she'd been trying to get a job. She lost out on the job but gained a great weekend, and in Briony had found a kindred spirit of sorts. Still, she hadn't gotten to the trust-'em-don't-bust-'em stage with the Hell's Boys like Briony had. Briony and the Hell's Boys were family. Lucy and the Hell's Boys were ... complicated.
Lucy had screwed a few of them, 'cause why not, but word got around that she was a good lay and she wasn't that girl so she'd zippered her pants and kept them that way. Lucy smoothed down a flyaway hair as she thought about the last time she'd had sex. She missed it, it was her destress mechanism, but not with any Hell's Boys. What she wanted was the gig fixing the Hell's Boys' bikes. Permanently. Then she'd be sorted: work on her own terms, not have to answer to a boss whose priority was making sure everyone thought he had the biggest dick, and have enough regular income that she could make sure her little sister Katie was okay. Lucy wanted to fix bikes the way she knew they wanted to be fixed, Ride 'em right all night long. She knew Hell's were looking to hire a mechanic for the gang, she just couldn't get them to hand the job over already. Apart from Briony, Hell's was still a boys' club and all she got from Rocco, the head of the gang, was a wait-and-see message on repeat.
"Men are dicks."
A bike flashed past her and Hade Corban, the second in command of Hell's, gave her a salute and a bright smile. Okay, not all men sucked road-dust, but Rocco, the guys in her bike shop, and her mom's wacko cult leader ...
Her folks had tried for years for a boy and then, after countless miscarriages and stillbirths, they'd had her. Perhaps her pop shared his beer with her when she was on the bottle, or perhaps it was her way of trying to get his approval, but she was a tomboy through and through from the get-go. Trouble was, when her pop left them anyway and her mom found her transcendental healing cult, Lucy being anything other than an obedient princess didn't go down well.
Lucy eyed up Wilde's. She couldn't afford to drink in a bar. Hell, she couldn't afford anything at the moment, let alone the glasses she'd promised Katie since her mom quit her job, lost their health insurance, and then decided she could cure everything anyway.
Whiskey might make it better. Unlikely. Company might though. And Briony, the owner, was the only friend she could rely on not to roll her eyes at the news Lucy had lost another job. Someone might even need some work on their bike for cash given there still wasn't an official mechanic yet. Lucy tried to coax another mouthful out of her hip flask and found it empty. "Shit." At least Hell's Boys were her sort of men. Punching the last guy who didn't understand no meant no had gotten the message across and most of the gang gave her a nod rather than a leer now.
"Screw it." The thought of Briony being at the bar gave Lucy the impulse she needed. If there wasn't mechanic's work, then Briony might have something she could do for some cash 'til she found other work to tide her over. Putting her helmet back on, she drove into the parking lot, dismounted, and started toward the bar.
It was cool and still in the hotel with only a few committed, quiet drinkers propping up the long wooden bar. Running her hands through her helmet-mussed hair and patting her bangs back into place, Lucy felt the noise and dust of the hot day fall away. Or maybe that was the whiskey hitting her system. Sliding onto a bar stool, she motioned for a shot. Just one.
Kelsey, the Friday night bartender, nodded and lined it up for her. Resisting the urge to knock the whole thing back in one go, Lucy took a dainty sip and the bartender raised an eyebrow. "Don't see anyone with lady-manners like that around here much."
"Lady-manners? Must have me mixed up with someone else," Lucy spat out.
"Must have." Kelsey raised her hands and took a step back.
Good one. "Sorry. Crap day. Lost my job. And no cash means no rent so I got kicked out of my place this morning. Didn't mean to be a bitch."
"Pretty solid bad-luck cocktail that one."
Lucy nodded. "Briony back yet?"
"Nope. Still honeymooning."
"Damn." Looking around the bar, it was clear there wasn't any mechanic work going either. "Are there any openings at Wilde's? I'm sorta desperate."
"Not in the bar. Maybe in the hotel now that the renovations are done. Need manners that last longer than one drink to work there though."
The shrug belied just how close to the surface her panic was, but damned if she was ready to let it out yet. "Yeah. Sure."
Kelsey left to pour someone a beer then returned. With hardly anyone else in the bar, there wasn't much for her to do. "Thought you were a mechanic. Don't really need one of those in a hotel."
"I am. But there's no mech jobs anywhere at the moment. I've asked everyone, and I need work now. Can't wait around forever for Rocco to make up his mind to give me the gig working for Hell's." Lucy knocked back the rest of the shot. Might as well make it count. A thought struck her. "The housekeepers sometimes live on-site, right?"
"That bad, huh?"
The sigh came from someplace deep and dark, and Lucy wished her hip flask hadn't run dry. As if she read her mind, the bartender looked around the bar, then filled up her shot glass. "On the house. Just don't tell anyone."
"That all you got with you?" Kelsey nodded at Lucy's small bag.
"Personal policy: travel light. Just in case. Tools fit under the seat of my bike. And who needs more than two pairs of jeans and a couple of shirts? Really."
Kelsey smiled but didn't look convinced.
Ten bikers crashed into the bar. One of them held his face, a smear of blood visible through his fingers. He slumped onto a stool next to her. "You alright?" she asked him.
"Fucking Reapers of Menace. Tried to shake down my brother's place. Got there just in time."
"Nah. Just a scratch. The ride did it good. It'll stop in a sec."
The smell of the road was on him, its heady mix of gravel, exhaust fumes, and hot tarmac tripping Lucy's senses into overdrive. That's all she wanted to do really. Let people ride. Get their bikes into perfect condition. Make engines purr like a tiger with a fat, juicy steak. That and make sure her little sister Katie didn't follow in her footsteps. She wanted her to go to college, and every spare penny she got, she sent back home to Katie to try to make that happen.
The bartender must have seen the slump of despondency in her features. "I'll serve this crew then ask about housekeeping. Get ready to find your lady-manners and put them on display. You could wait out by the pool if you want some peace and quiet."
"Thanks. I owe you one."
Out by the pool, Lucy stripped off her bike leathers and flopped down in one of the deck chairs. It had been a long, hot day but the guests had been and gone at the pool.
Lucy pulled her hip flask out again just to check, but it was still empty. Shame. She'd had more than enough to drink, but without anywhere to stay it wasn't like she'd be getting in trouble for drunk driving. Park bench would do fine tonight. It was warm enough. Even as the evening approached she was cooking in black jeans and a T-shirt. She let out the breath she didn't realize she'd been holding onto. What the hell had happened that she'd ended up here? "Begging for a housekeeper's gig?" She shook her head. "You opened your mouth one too many times girl."
"Maybe." Kelsey's voice came from behind her and Lucy spun around. "But this time it's got you a job. You start tomorrow, and you can crash in the bunkhouse if you need to. There's no one else in there at the moment. Everyone knows you know Bri, so it's no biggie." The bartender handed her the key to the bunkhouse. "But she'll be the first to throw you out if you mess around. My advice? If you need this job like you say you do, don't screw it up." She turned and left.
Starting to stand, Lucy wavered, almost falling as the world swayed. The cumulative effect of the whiskey, the stress of the day, and the relief of having a job and somewhere to stay for now suddenly hit her, and hit her hard. Blood pounding, eyes blinking to make sense of the whirl of color around her, Lucy put her hand on the back of the deck chair, missed, and ended up on her ass. It should have hurt, her pride at least. But there was no one around to see and instead she burst out laughing. Nothing else can happen. This is it. Where the desperate and depressed live. The laughter became overcooked, slightly manic, and a part of her knew she needed to stand up and suck it up. Now. Before she turned into the messy blob she'd so far avoided.
Heaving herself back onto the deck chair, she sat with her eyes closed, letting the last of the sun ease her face of its frown. It felt like five minutes but she must have nodded off because when she opened her eyes again, the day was at its end and an almost full moon was rising.
She had nowhere to be, and no one to report to. Pulling herself back up using the deck chair, Lucy went to check out the bunkhouse. Her heart sank; the door opened to a musty-smelling room. Bare wood on the walls and four sets of bunks. No way would she want to be sleeping in there with seven others. Especially Hell's Boys. The snoring would rattle the windows. Suck it up. Right. There wasn't anyone else in there at the moment. And she wasn't going to be living there forever.
Excerpted from "Ride Me Right"
Copyright © 2017 Michele De Winton.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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