Bouncer by Kim Jones Page 0,1
ago. I grab my cap and pull it over my head, light a smoke and shove my phone in my back pocket.
“You see that?” I point to my patch. He looks over at it and nods. My gaze follows his. It’s not often I take the time to really study my cut from the back. And a sense of purpose fills me as I look into the hollow eyes of the crowned skull. It’s a feeling I feared I’d never experience again when I left the military.
You shouldn’t have left.
You shouldn’t have even made it home.
“Don’t let it out of your sight until I get back. The only person you give it to is me. Nobody else. No. Body. If you want my signature, you won’t fuck this up. Got it?”
My eyes narrow. “Don’t call me sir. I’m not your daddy. Or your Dom.”
“Yep. Right. Got it.”
I walk away before I change my mind. I don’t like leaving my cut. Not at my house. Not locked in my bike. Not even with my brothers. The weightlessness I feel without it is unsettling. But the last thing I need is to be swarmed by people who think they need to speak to me because of who I am. In a white T-shirt, ball cap and jeans, I can be just about anyone—only recognized by the King’s in the Uprising chapter.
When I enter the clubhouse, that moment of calm I found while talking to Boots immediately vanishes. Nobody is watching the door. One of our enemies could walk in any moment with a M16 on his motherfucking shoulder and pick off all five of my brothers who are scattered across the room. Judging by their positions, I map out a kill pattern the enemy could use to drop them one by one without alerting the next in line. “Fame” by David Bowie is blasting so loud through the speakers that even the sound of gunfire couldn’t be used as a warning.
I force my feet to move and shake away the thought—fighting the urge to unplug the music and announce to the entire room to get the fuck out.
I find a less crowded area of the bar and grab a seat. Cassie, the bartender for the night, recognizes me and slides a beer across the bar with a wink. Needing something stronger to take the edge off, I search my pockets for my vape pen. But I’m not wearing my cut. The reminder makes me feel naked. And alone. Segregated from my people.
I can’t turn to face the room because I know what I find will be my undoing. Everyone is trashed. Having a good time. Enjoying life. Celebrating their freedom. I sacrificed my sanity to protect their right to do exactly what they’re doing only to come back and detest them for it.
America is not Afghanistan.
Get out of your thoughts.
Take a breath.
Calm the fuck—
My hand moves quick. My fingers curling around the piece tucked into the small of my back. I stop myself from pulling my gun on the…creature invading my personal space.
“What you doin?”
I intentionally wear a look on my face that dissuades people from approaching me. I emit a leave me the fuck alone vibe that allows me the space I need to not feel trapped or threatened or lose my shit on some innocent person. It’s always worked.
“I think I love you.”
Normally, I’d get up and walk away. Not that people make a habit of telling me they think they love me, but if I don’t want to engage in conversation, I don’t. But I let my guard down. Got lost in my own thoughts. Now I’m trapped with no way off this barstool unless I make a scene.
She’s that. Fucking. Close.
I move my hand from my back and wrap it around my beer. The movement distracts her eyes and I take the two seconds she’s not looking directly at me to study her.
Unkempt dark hair.
Are those fucking cleaning gloves?
I meet her eyes and she’s staring at me. Her lips curve into a smile. “Are you checking me out? I mean, it’s cool if you are, but there’s something you should know about me.” She leans in, getting impossibly closer. “I’m a bit of an exhibitionist. So, unless it’s public, sex is off the table.”
Between my military career, my personal life, and being a Nomad for the Kings of Carnage, I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life. But I