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Duke(10)

By´╝ÜCandace Blevins



Six sets of eyes landed on her and suddenly she wished she hadn’t said anything. “How you figure, Darlin’?” She wasn’t sure she’d heard Dozer say anything since the initial introductions, and she wasn’t sure his ‘darling’ was meant to show he liked her.

“I’m the only one not drinking. Carry license is invalid if you drink even one drop.”

The high-beam intensity shut down on all of their faces, replaced by grins.

“Beautiful,” Keith said, his chest moving as if he was trying not to laugh, “don’t know how to tell you this, but we’re outlaws. We pretty much do whatever the fuck we want.”

She glared at him, keeping her voice low. “Alcohol and firearms don’t mix. It’s a bad idea. Not just because of physical coordination, but also your judgment, being able to make split second decisions—”

Keith put his finger to her lips. “Not gonna argue any of those points. I agree with every last one of ‘em. You want to pick this conversation back up at a later date, a much later date, we will. Until then, time to change the conversation.”

Okay, clients. Not friends. Also, there were no news articles of them pulling their guns out and randomly shooting up restaurants in Atlanta, so she’d just have to be happy with that.

“Point taken. Time for us to get back to business anyway.” She looked at Brain. “What are you gonna do with the land?”

Brain’s gaze flicked to Duke, back to her. “We’re forming a Chattanooga chapter of Rolling Thunder. We need acreage for our compound, as well as separate land, not too far away, for a bike shop and a bar. Lots of parking for the bar.”

“Compound?”

“Yeah. Walls around it, and then it’s our sanctuary. Clubhouse is big, and the back has rooms so club members can live there, if they want, or just crash if they get drunk and don’t wanna go home. Part of the first lot we walked is already wooded, which works for us. We have a paintball battle area set up at the compound in Atlanta, and would like to do it here, too. We’ll also need space to park our bikes, space for our guests to park, and spots for club owned vehicles.”

“In Atlanta,” Duke said, “the bike shop and bar are right across the street. We haven’t been able to find two tracts we like enough to make it happen here, but the third spot we looked at is probably close enough to make it work, if you think it’ll be a good spot, location wise, for a biker bar.”

Gen looked at her unsweet tea and considered her response. Keith had taken it personally at first, thinking she was carrying a weapon because she was meeting bikers. However, they had to know they weren’t looking at land in a biker haven, but in a gang infested area. How did she give them the low-down, without insulting them?

“You asked me earlier about the crime rate, so in case you really don’t know, the area has a lot of gang activity. Drugs, prostitution, fights, shootings. You could get closer to Glass Street and get a little worse, but not much. I don’t think you’re worried about it for your own safety, because I’m guessing you can all take care of yourselves, but the redneck, white-folk, country-music bars tend to be in the rural areas. If you’re asking my advice about where to put a biker bar, there are other properties I can show you.”

“Damn, and you’re honest too, even when it could mean a huge sale,” Duke said.

“Of course I’m honest. You’re paying for my expert opinion, I’m giving it you.” She didn’t mean to snap, but her tone of voice showed just how irritated she was getting with Keith. She could feel the heat rolling off his body, pressing into her side, and he just kept saying nice things.

He tilted his head, didn’t seem to take offense. “We may talk to you in eight to ten months about opening a second bar in a more rural area, but we’ll start with one in this section of town, and we’ll do it for a reason. A lot of MC’s have a problem with black people—”

Gen interrupted him. “MC?”

He chuckled. “Motorcycle Clubs.

Suddenly, she felt stupid. “Oh, sorry.”

“Always ask if you don’t know, Beautiful. You’re such a breath of fresh air, I find it charming you didn’t know.”

She had to put a stop to this. “Okay, Keith. First off, I broke up with someone from a long term relationship, last night. Isaac drove me to their house, and the four of them got me drunk and talked me through it. Second, I’m off men. Never dating again. If this is your idea of flirting, stop. You’re wasting your time.”

“Okay, Beautiful.” His eyes were solemn, serious. “I don’t tend to follow orders very well, but thanks for the information. Sorry you got hurt, but can’t say I’m sorry to hear you’re available.”

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