If Jed believed in God, he’d consider Ryder the most tempting mortal sin, just waiting to be committed. It was for the better that Ryder was straight, because Jed could safely ogle him without feeling like it was a gateway drug to fucking. Even waking up from wet dreams about Ryder had guilt choking Jed and sent him straight for a cold shower. They could be stepbrothers and best friends, but if Ryder knew just how depraved Jed was, even their platonic closeness could end. Still, Jed’s gaze trailed over the firm thighs and tight butt in the dark gray jeans, then followed the sway of the chain hanging off Ryder’s belt. And higher, to the broad shoulders.
Jed sat on a grimy bench outside the Coffin Nails MC clubhouse, beer in one hand, cigarette in the other. His stepbrother was celebrating the sergeant-at-arms patch that had been newly added to his cut, and now swayed to the music with his girlfriend, Jess. Jealousy was making its way down Jed’s throat, but it was hard to look away from Ryder’s thick, tan arms covered in dark hairs, or the smile amidst dark stubble. If only that grin were for Jed… He would do anything to get more of Ryder’s attention.
When Ryder started kissing Jess though, Jed had to look away. She was so small that she only made Ryder seem bigger, like he wasn’t already a six foot three hunk of pure tattooed muscle. Why couldn’t Jed like girls too? They could go on double dates with Ryder, talk about straight shit without Jed making stuff up. At least with the way Ryder made him feel, Jed was sure he’d never fall for any other guy. Ryder was safe. Jed could fantasize about pulling the hairband off Ryder’s barely-there black ponytail, feeling the scratch of his stubble, seeing an intensity in his eyes that would speak of bottomless lust. Nothing would come of it, and no one needed to know who Jed thought about late at night when he couldn’t sleep.
Cars were passing the club-owned compound like streaks of light in the darkness, hypnotizing Jed to look past the wire fence and into the black void stretching past the glow of the one working lamp over Jed’s head. There were two more of them in the courtyard, but the bulbs had given up long ago, and no one bothered to change them. There were fewer chairs in the clubhouse every year for the same reason.
The music was much quieter outside, and Jed liked it well enough as beer clouded his brain and opened Jed up to thoughts that were normally deeply hidden. He sighed, marveling at the way Ryder held Jess up, carrying her like a baby while she fed him liquor straight from the bottle. Ryder’s hair was so shiny and thick Jed couldn’t help but think about how it would feel in his hands. He would never know, of course, because it would be too weird to ask for permission to touch it.
Jed flinched when the door of the clubhouse burst open next to him, and Axe, one of the patched members, rushed outside pulling along two girls, one of which was intently stroking his bright red mane. With his hands on two perky asses, Axe strolled over to Ryder and gave him a strong pat on the back.
“Have a drink, Sheriff,” he chuckled drunkenly. “We need one more night of freedom until you put collars on us all.”
Ryder laughed in that sharp baritone that never failed to raise the hairs on Jed’s forearms. “Indulge. That’s your last chance.”
“Oh, I intend to,” said Axe, and he must have pinched one of the girls, as she got to her toes with a yelp, before playfully elbowing him in the ribs. They exchanged a kiss, and soon enough Axe and his two partners stumbled toward the garage where the Nails repaired their bikes. Jed suspected Axe would be taking the girls farther, to a bunker-turned-warehouse where the club kept their assets, including Axe’s babies, a tank and a helicopter.
Jed inhaled a big drag of smoke but almost choked on it when Dana, the bane of his existence, sat down next to him. Just what he needed. She smiled at him with her fake white teeth and flipped back the blonde extensions.
“Aren’t you drinking a bit too much, honey?” Her voice was so sweet he almost gagged.
Like she cared if he drank himself to death. “None of your business,” he grumbled, and hated the way she squinted at him.
“You won’t be of much use like this.” She lowered her voice, and when he got up, caught his wrist in a grip much too strong for a woman her size.
He shrugged off her hand so violently a few people turned heads. “I don’t care!” He pushed back the long hair falling into his face and made a point of downing his beer before walking off. Six months with this witch from hell would be enough to push anyone to the edge of sanity.
He walked past Brain, who played a drunken game of chess against Tower, who worked at the club-owned gym in town. He was constantly pulling on his gray sideburns and didn’t even notice Jed passing by. Brain was dealing with their papers and taxes, as he was the only one out of them who’d ever done any college courses, and it was a bit baffling to see him on the losing side of the game.
Jed spotted Ryder again and tried to catch his gaze, but when he didn’t manage, he threw the bottle into a trash can and walked into the clubhouse lounge. It was bursting with people, almost like the only nightclub in the area on a Saturday night, but here, in the Coffin Nails MC compound, it was hard rock and metal, not R&B that filled what empty space was left between tightly pressed bodies.
Dark was already completely besotted and slept on a chair in the corner with a red-haired woman draped across his lap. His long black hair obscured his face, and Jed knew the man would be out till morning. Close-by, Bert, their oldest member, was still up and running, the burning end of his cigar swinging as he ground his hips against the ass of his old lady. The man’s stamina was admirable, and Jed secretly hoped to be as lively in his sixties.
Grease, their prospect, was stinking up the lounge with the scent of hot oil as the trays next to him filled with pieces of fried chicken. Mikey, the new enforcer, was standing there with some girl and munched on a piece of the meat put between two slices of toast. Every time he closed his mouth, his large ears twitched against his bald head.
Jed briefly saw Ripper, their club president, kissing a skinny blonde girl with shorts so tiny, they covered only half of her buttocks. Jed nodded at Ripper, and the old man grinned back, gently pushing the girl to her knees in front of him. That Jed definitely didn’t want to witness, and so be pushed behind the counter of the kitchenette and maneuvered his way between pieces of broken bottles, all the way to the safety of the small restroom hidden away behind the two giant fridges.
He switched on the light and opened his zipper, happy to empty his bladder in relative peace. He closed his eyes, listening to the clear sound of the stream of liquid hitting porcelain, with the background of muffled music.
“Did you not hear what I said?” asked Dana.
Jed yelped and startled so hard he pissed over the toilet seat. Not that it had been clean in the first place. “Get the fuck out,” he hissed, looking over his shoulder to a face that was devoid of the fake smile Dana sported in public. It was now as blank as a new sheet. Jed could swear someone should make a modern day retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and cast her as the main character. Words got trapped in his mouth when her long-fingered hand held up Jed’s old phone. He didn’t need to look at the screen to know what was playing. He knew that recording so well he could rewatch it in his mind in each painstaking detail.
A pretty, boyish face in front of his cock and Jed’s own voice telling him to suck it. The boy had not been keen to be a porn star, and as a result of a struggle, the phone had fallen to the floor, catching Jed’s face on camera. That had been Jed’s one and only attempt at getting it on with a guy. A nightmare that would haunt him forever. He should have kept his dick in his pants. Then again, how was he supposed to know this vid would get into the hands of a spy?
Dana sighed loudly, like an actress on stage, and her fingers scratched Jed’s back. “Are you forgetting yourself again?” she asked, and he wanted nothing more than to squash her throat with his bare hands. She’d probably put up a good struggle, being an apprentice to a mafia assassin and all that, but Jed was pretty sure he could take out a hundred-pound woman if it wasn’t for the fact that… he couldn’t. She had copies of the video stored somewhere, and they would go live online if she didn’t enter some sort of code on a regular basis. That was her way of protecting herself against Jed’s aggression. He was trapped for as long as she needed his help. He was a victim of his own stupidity and the lust that had clouded his judgement that one fucking time.
“Can’t you fucking see I’m pissing?” he muttered, tense and slightly dizzy. “Turn it off.”
Dana harrumphed and paused the video but still stood uncomfortably close. “I will delete it forever when I finally meet the lovely Man from Colombia.”
Jed would rather eat her pussy every day for a month than hear about this ever again. The truth about him was an embarrassment to his family, to his club, but talking to an outsider about Coffin Nails’ business was a whole new level of betrayal that he didn’t want to reach. He was already scraping the bottom of the moral barrel as it was, lusting for his stepbrother.
“Yeah, sure, I’d love to help, but I don’t really know a fucking thing about him,” he whispered, paranoid that someone could overhear this conversation. If anyone knew he was not reporting her as a spy, he’d be fucked. If he actually disclosed intel to her, and someone found out, Jed was as good as dead. For the last few months, he’d juggled her curiosity by giving her scraps that wouldn’t get her anywhere and even hinting at false information, but what she really wanted at this point was a chance to talk to a big arms dealer everyone in the club referred to as the Man from Colombia. Jed was lucky not to know that much about him, but he’d already overstepped boundaries when she threatened to send the video to Ryder. Fortunately, Dana didn’t find anything of value to her in Ripper’s computer, but it could have ended in something much worse. Being gay was one thing, being a rat quite another.
A few months on, and she was starting to be restless, hungry for any information she could get. Jed was testing her patience, but there wasn’t much he could do without outing himself. He was trapped.
It was a waiting game, as he knew Dana’s boss had told her to stay here for a year. All it would take to get rid of her was a few more months evading questions and pretending he was a total fuckup, who had no way to get intel from club bigwigs.
Dana turned Jed to face her as soon as he finished pissing, and she pushed him at the wall. “You can coax something out of your brother now that he’s risen in the ranks. He will tell you what he knows,” she said, chewing on her plump lip. She had to get fillers to have a mouth like that. A lot of guys envied Jed a girl like Dana. He was twenty-five, she was probably around that age as well. Blonde, fit, sported denim hot pants that didn’t go with her personality, and presented herself to others as a bubbly, cheerful person. Too bad she was nothing like that behind closed doors.
“I will try then,” he lied, and a tiny twitch of her eyebrow told him she knew he wasn’t being sincere. Even at home he wasn’t at ease since she moved in as if it were her godgiven right to invade his personal space.
“Do it for me, baby,” she whispered, and it was just as if cold slime slid all the way down Jed’s back. He didn’t answer when she patted his ass and left without another word. So she’d chased him out of his own bedroom, and now this?
Jed couldn’t betray Ryder. He’d rather die than do that. He took a deep breath that smelled of piss and didn’t help him clear his head at all. There had to be a way out of this mess with Dana, and he would find it even if it killed him.
A loud knock on the door startled him, but knowing Dana wouldn’t announce herself, he looked out into the lounge, only to meet Tom, a hangaround he was friendly with. The guy played electric guitar in a local band and sometimes hung out with Jed in his garage. With his slightly crooked nose and lanky body, he wasn’t a threat to the barriers that contained Jed’s lust. Then again, after the consequences Jed was suffering for his one and only attempt at gay sex, he was pretty sure he’d been deterred for life. Those Jesus anti-gay camps should be using Dana as a counselor. She’d be called Dr. Celibacy.
“That was quick,” yelled Tom into Jed’s ear to be heard despite the music. “Did you get her off too, or are you holding back ‘til you’re both home?”
Jed laughed. One thing Dana was good for—being his beard. “Me? Wait? Nah, a quickie over the toilet, you know? She’s full of spunk now,” he said, feeling like the lamest person on Earth.
Tom wiggled his eyebrows. “My ex wouldn’t be caught dead fucking outside the bed. You’re a lucky man.”
“Hell yeah. She’s got a tight pussy. Milks you out of all the man-juices.” Jed reached to the massive fridge and got himself and Tom some beers. He felt a shudder go down his spine when Tom grabbed his nape and pulled himself up to whisper straight into Jed’s ear.
“Maybe you should let me watch some time?”
Those words went straight to Jed’s cock. Not because of Tom, even though his closeness was sparking arousal like any other guy’s would. No. It was remembering how he was just thirteen, and Ryder offered him a front row seat in his closet (oh, the irony), so that Jed could watch Ryder fuck his then-girlfriend. Jed had thought it was a great idea, eager to see what it was about when it came to sex, but the experience shattered his presumed straightness like no other thing ever.
As soon as Ryder’s clothes had ended up on the floor, Jed was afraid to even blink, not to miss a second of seeing his cock hard, dark, engorged, already big at that age. Jed didn’t as much as glance at the girl, completely enamoured by the way Ryder’s ass flexed when he fucked her, how his hips worked like a piston, the muscles of his back sweaty and rigid. When Ryder came on her stomach, Jed came in his pants. Just the few seconds of seeing Ryder’s cock dripping with cum provided sleepless nights for a month. Nothing had been ever the same after that one experience, and as hard as Jed tried, he couldn’t scrape it out of his mind.
“She’s not into that,” Jed said and chuckled, even though his forehead was getting hot at the memories flooding his brain.
“She doesn’t have to know.” Tom pulled Jed through the dancing crowd.
Jed liked crowds. This way at least he had a chance to touch guys without anyone noticing, and so as he followed Tom, he savored every touch of buttocks against his hips, even through the jeans. Moral? No. Delicious? Yes.
“Maybe, maybe…” Jed said, though he knew it would never happen. He’d sooner fuck a gator’s jaw. “You got something good for me, Tom?”
Tom opened his mouth with a wide grin. “Thought you’d never ask,” he said as they pushed through the corridor past the lounge, all the way to the open back door. There were some women congregated there, smoking cigarettes and talking, as there were no ladies’ rooms in the clubhouse, but no one bothered him and Tom as they rushed toward the garage. It was only when they heard loud moaning inside that Jed remembered it was where Axe and his two female friends had decided to have some fun, and so he rolled his eyes.
“We might ask to join them,” whispered Tom, pressing his ear to the steel wall.
“Are you kidding? I’m all out of cum, man. Give me an hour!” Jed grinned and thudded on the wall, just to piss off Axe. “Police, fuckers! I heard there’s some blowing going on! It’s illegal in the state of Louisiana,” he yelled.
Tom laughed out loud, holding on to Jed’s shoulder, even more so when Axe yelled back.
“I plead guilty, officer!”
The feminine laugh that followed sent Jed on his way. He drank from his bottle and pulled Tom along to a deserted picnic table underneath a tall tree, which covered the sky with its spread-out branches. The air was crisp and cool, getting to Jed even through his thick plaid shirt. How Tom was all right wearing only a cutoff T-shirt, he had no idea. He must have already taken some speed.
“Only for you,” said Tom, opening a small tin box with an old school illustration of puppies playing around with a ball. It was meant to carry mints and other small candy, but the white pills were not meant for children.
“A good friend if I’ve ever seen one.” Jed grinned back at him, and took one of the pills. For a moment, he considered taking two and keeping one for Ryder. Tom would probably not oppose. But if Jed offered when Jess was there, she’d probably whinge at him, being a nurse and all that. He remembered that time when he and Ryder took speed together and ended up smashing Dad’s car into a hydrant. The water had blasted up so high they called it a geyser, and couldn’t stop laughing even as the police arrived. Dad, being familiar with the effects of drugs, waited till the next day to execute his punishment.
Tom had a pill as well, and he leaned back, staring at the glimpses of sky between the leaves above. “My heart’s squeaking,” he said randomly, leaning closer to Jed.
Jed swallowed the pill and laughed. “What does that even mean? That you have to grease it? Wait, let’s go ask Jess.” He got up, and dragged Tom by the skinny arm.
“Might be the speed,” said Tom, leaning his weight on Jed. “Sounds like one of those rubber toys for dogs.”
“Yo, Jess!” Jed yelled from afar, eager to break up the mouth to mouth she was giving Ryder.
She blinked and pulled the handsome face against her neck, her eyelids fluttering, as if Ryder did something particularly pleasant. A shiver went down Jed’s spine when he imagined Ryder kissing his neck. For a moment, he was lost for words, but Tom was already getting restless.
“Jess, if my heart squeaks, does this mean I’m gonna drop dead?” he asked before randomly breaking into a loud laugh.
She frowned and gave Jed a disapproving look. “A heart can’t squeak. It’s just your imagination.”
“Maybe it’s pumping air,” offered Tom, making little restless jumps in place.
“Like this.” Jed wiggled his eyebrows and humped the air in front of him, pretending he was holding on to someone’s hips.
“Or maybe you need to get your ears cleaned. Might be the echo you’re getting from your artery,” said Jess, clearly disinterested in performing her medical duties.
It was then that Ryder looked up, his mouth slightly swollen from kissing, dark hair in disarray. Jed’s brain came to a halt.
Ryder nodded at him. “What about you?”
Jed stilled, awkwardly holding on to the air, and getting hotter by the second from the speed. He wasn’t a short guy himself. Six foot two, he worked out to be strong and lean, yet Ryder was still taller than him, and that made breath catch in his throat.
“I… What about me?”
“Has your heart turned into a horny mouse, too?” asked Ryder and winked at him while squeezing Jess’s ass .
Jed shrugged and put his hands in his pockets with a silly grin. Right now, his heart began fluttering, and it wasn’t the speed affecting him. “You know me. I’m always horny.”
Ryder snorted. “Then maybe you should get better company than Tommy here.”
Tom moaned in protest. “I could be the background noise… and I think Dana’s left.”
Ryder raised an eyebrow. “So?”
Jess leaned back and looked at him with her brows low. “She’s his girlfriend. Don’t put any ideas into his head.”
Jed grinned and pulled out some cigarettes, only now realizing he must have left his half-empty bottle of beer at the picnic table. “Those kind of ideas are clearly in Ryder’s head… I’m a saint compared to this guy.” He nudged Ryder with his elbow, enjoying how hard the muscles of his stomach felt.
Jess looked at Ryder, who gave her a blank stare, which must have turned a switch in her head, as she started slipping out of Ryder’s arms. He held her still and finally looked up at Jed, splashing venom out of his eyes. “Don’t joke around like that!”
Ryder was usually totally fine with this type of jokes. What was the big deal that Jess was there? Didn’t she have a sense of humor?
Jess burst out with an odd laugh. “Why not? With that patch, no girl’s gonna resist you. Your life will be so much easier now,” she said in a sour tone, and Ryder’s eyes became wider as he looked at her.
“Christ on a stick!” Jed rolled his eyes. “It’s not like she doesn’t know you’ve fucked tons of pussy.”
Ryder’s eyes narrowed, and he grabbed Jess’s wrist so abruptly it must have hurt. “What the fuck? My woman’s standing right here! Maybe you should have a doctor pour some brains into your head, because something definitely fizzled out just now!”
Jed pursed his lips with a groan. He didn’t like how serious Ryder was about Jess. It was always supposed to be the two of them against the world, in their little biker family, going to parties, and pissing off the cops.
“Sorry, Jess,” he hissed, and tried to lean down to kiss her hand, but she pulled it away as soon as he touched it.
“Take a hike and sleep it off,” said Ryder with a shake of his head.
Tom gently pulled on Jed’s sleeve, and Jed didn’t even want to look at Ryder again, going off to the other side of the yard.
As soon as he approached, the guys sitting there got up and made room for him. At least some people knew their place. This was club grounds, and the patched members were royalty.
“Is he proposing to her, or something?” asked Tom, only fueling the ugly fire in Jed’s heart. “The bitch clearly can’t take a joke.”
Jed turned to him with a frown, and took a big drag of smoke. “I know, right? There’s a fucking stick up her ass, that’s for sure. And no, he’s not proposing to the bitch. I would know!”
Tom pressed his lips together and shrugged, fidgeting in the seat. “Yeah,” he said, clearly not convinced, which only infuriated Jed more.
“I’m sick of sitting here. Let’s go do something.” Jed tapped his foot against the dirt. If Ryder got married, he’d be even less available. It was enough that he lived with Jess. She was his most serious girlfriend so far, possibly on the way to becoming Ryder’s old lady, and Jed hated the way her presence reduced the time Ryder had for Jed. They used to be inseparable, but that had changed since Jess came into Ryder’s life with her colorful sheets, fresh flowers, and fluffy slippers. Ryder even gave her a cat, a pretty tabby she called Daisy, probably the least rock ’n roll name ever. If Ryder gave Jed a cat, he’d name it Dr. Martens, shorten it to ‘Doc’. The cat would be much cuter than Daisy too.
“What?” asked Tom, spread out on the table. Jed didn’t even notice him climbing on, too absorbed in grim thoughts.
“Go find someone who wants to race me. I’m putting down fifty bucks that they lose.”
Tom rolled to his stomach and slid off the table, almost falling over on a stack of beer cans. “Do I get to be the judge?” he asked, rubbing Jed’s shoulder in vigorous strokes. Even his voice sounded excited, with its higher pitch and warmth. At least someone was eager to spend time with Jed.