Home > Loose Ends, Volume One (Loose Ends #1)(4)

Loose Ends, Volume One (Loose Ends #1)(4)
Author: Kristen Ashley

Ryker threw up both his big mitts, which creaked the leather of the biker jacket that he was wearing even though it was late April, they were having a warm spell, and it was seventy degrees.

This was not a bad thing considering for Ryker it was biker jacket or wife beater (what he was currently wearing under the jacket) and Ryker appearing in nothing but jeans, New Rock boots (something he was also right then wearing) and a wife beater usually cleared entire rooms of people who didn’t know him.

“What am I supposed to do?” he demanded.

Vi spoke up. “Go to this girl, tell him your boy is shy, but he likes her, and see if she’ll make the first move. Then be his wingman so he doesn’t mess it up.”

“Are you blind?” Ryker asked Vi.

“No,” Vi answered calmly.

Ryker threw a hand up his front. “She’s not exactly gonna smile and pull up a chair for me if I make an approach for my bro.”

He had a point.

She might actually run screaming.

“I see this as a problem,” Vi murmured. Then she offered, “Joe can go talk to her.”

Cal looked down at his wife. “Say what?”

She looked up at him. “You can go talk to her.”

“Uh, no,” Ryker cut in, and they both turned to him. “Have you looked at your man recently?”

“Uh . . .” Vi trailed off, clearly not feeling like stating the obvious.

“He ain’t young anymore, like my boy, but he can take the panties off a woman with a look, especially a woman who don’t know why he’s approaching,” Ryker explained.

“He’s wearing a ring,” Vi reminded him.

Ryker shook his head. “She won’t give a fuck. Serious. And my bro don’t need competition, having some broad thinkin’ of Cal doing the deed with her when he finally gets in there.”

“Jesus Christ,” Cal muttered.

Vi giggled.

“You don’t want no girl thinkin’ of you either,” Ryker aimed this at Cal. “You’re taken.”

“I don’t give a shit about what anyone thinks but my wife,” Cal returned. “Now round up Lissa, take her to the bar, have her sit down with this girl and explain things, arrange a meet, hang close so your man doesn’t fuck shit up and done.”

“I don’t take my woman to this bar, man,” Ryker declared, visibly appalled by the thought. “It’s rough. She’s sweet. She don’t go to joints like that.”

Cal sighed.

Vi giggled again.

“It’s gotta be a kidnapping,” Ryker decreed.

“It does not gotta be a kidnapping,” Cal returned.

Ryker looked to the back yard and muttered, “I shoulda asked Jasper. He’s up for anything.”

“You are not going to ask my daughter’s husband to help you kidnap some woman,” Cal clipped, and Ryker returned his attention to Cal, lifting his hands again, but this time to press them down.

“All right. All right, hoss. Calm down.”

“Find another way,” Cal ordered.

“I could—” Vi started.

Christ, she’d be all in and probably corral Feb, Rocky, Dusty, Jessie, Mimi and Cher on the act, calling Frankie to come down from Chicago, more strength in numbers, if he didn’t nip that in the bud immediately.

So Cal tightened his hold on her, saying, “You’re not gonna do dick.”

“Okay,” she mumbled, giving big eyes to Ryker.

Jesus.

“Well, the only good thing about this waste of time is that I probably don’t gotta get shot,” Ryker shared.

He’d said “probably.”

Not a good sign.

Fuck.

“Do you want to stay for dinner?” Vi suggested, and Cal shifted his eyes to the sky.

That was his woman. Ryker suggests a fake kidnapping, she asks him to dinner.

“Thanks, beautiful, but no go. Lissa’s cookin’. I should get my ass home. Maybe brainstorm with her alternate scenarios,” Ryker replied. He looked to Cal, lifted a hand, clapped him on the shoulder so hard Cal had to brace so he didn’t send Vi flying. “Later, bro.” His attention went to Vi. “Later, babe. You don’t have to walk me to the door.”

And then he walked to the door, through it, the house, and calling shit to the kids to say goodbye, out the front door.

What he did not do was close the sliding door to the deck, so Cal reached out to do that.

When he straightened from that effort, Vi curled around to his front so she was pressed there, holding him with both arms.

He wrapped his free one around her to return the favor and looked down at her face.

“He’s totally gonna kidnap this woman,” she noted.

“Yup. Totally,” Cal replied.

They could just say that things had settled down with their crew since the last of them—that would be Cher and Merry—had sorted out their shit.

But things had not settled down for Ryker.

He was not a magnet for trouble.

He was the instigator of it.

And a fake kidnapping was not the most ludicrous thing he’d come up with.

“You totally gotta follow him so he doesn’t kidnap this woman,” she went on.

He clenched his teeth, felt his cheek pulse, then unclenched them to say, “I’ll grill, eat, round up Colt or Layne, or Mike or Merry and sort him out.”

She smiled. “It’s totally cute. Ryker as matchmaker.”

He gave her a squeeze. “There’s nothing cute about Ryker.”

“This is.”

He shook his head.

She rolled up on her toes.

And Cal had long ago vowed to himself that not ever, not even during a fight when he was pissed as shit at her, was he going to ignore an invitation like that.

So he never did.

And he didn’t right then.

He dipped in and took her mouth.

The sliding door opened, they broke their kiss and turned their heads to see Ben sticking his out.

“Mom, how firm are you on no tots tonight?” he asked.

It was Cal who answered.

“It was less than twenty minutes ago so your mother and me have not forgotten your disrespect earlier.”

Ben tucked his lips in and ducked out of the door, closing it behind him.

“I’m gonna go get out the fryer,” Vi decreed.

“Babe,” Cal held tight when she started to pull away. “You’re a pushover for that kid.”

And she was.

Ben. And Sam.

And Angie, Keira and Kate.

She shook her head. “Nope. I’m a mom. He apologized. It’s done for me. I carry a grudge, he learns to carry grudges. You can be the bad guy and take care of the follow through to make sure they learn their lesson from this.” She shot him a huge smile. “I’m gonna be the awesome mom who fries up tots.”

She was an awesome mom not frying up tots.

“Deal?” she pushed.

“Deal, baby,” he murmured.

Her smile got even bigger.

He kissed that too.

Then he let her go.

She went inside to the kitchen, her daughter and the fryer.

He went to turn on the grill and then back to the door where he stopped, looking in.

Sam was sitting on a barstool, leaned into the bar toward the kitchen, his mouth moving.

Ben was helping his mom out (and getting something out of it) by pulling out the fryer.

Angie was chopping something Cal couldn’t see.

Violet was leaned into the counter opposite her blabbing son, her attention on him, her lips curved into a smile.

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