All the rage, p.24
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       All the Rage, p.24
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           T. M. Frazier

  some kind of trick?”

  I pressed my palms to his chest. He’d lost so much weight, he was a fraction of the baseball player he used to be. “No, no tricks, Cody. You’re right. This is all right. I didn’t even give us a chance last time. Since we didn’t make it happen on prom night. Let’s try again.” I stood on my tiptoes and pressed a small kiss to the corner of his mouth, praying that Nolan was too unconscious to see what I was about to do in order to save two of the three only men I’d ever cared about.

  The other was going to die when all was said and done, but first things first.

  I’d taken out hundreds of people, but saving lives required a lot more than just a need to destroy and some wiring or bullets. It required tact. Something I wasn’t sure I had, but I was about to find out.

  “Rage, if this is a trick, I’m gonna blow that motherfucker up so fast…” Cody warned, raising his detonator in the air.

  “Sssssshhhhhhh,” I said, pressing my index finger to his lips. “I tell you what. You can frisk me if you want, but all my supplies are over there in my bag.” I pointed to where I’d tossed them both to the ground.

  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that Smoke was slowly getting up. He rolled o to his side and noded at me. As much as I wanted him to start blowing holes in Cody’s head, I knew he wouldn’t. I was too close to both him and Nolan. If he started shooting, I was either getting shot or getting blown up.

  Cody’s lust blazed in his eyes and I knew I had him. “Get on the fucking table,” he ordered roughly, gesturing to the picnic table next to the one Nolan was strapped to.

  “I was thinking somewhere a little more private,” I said, turning up the end of my sentence into a question. If I could get him away from Nolan long enough Smoke could remove the ropes.

  Cody waved me off and pushed me toward the table. “This is private enough,” he said with a laugh. His voice turned cold. “Now get on that fucking table.”

  I glanced from Nolan who’s eyes were closed and then back to Cody. Reluctantly, I stepped up onto the bench and sat down at the edge of the table. Cody stepped forward and shoved my knees apart, standing between my spread legs. “Lean back and put your hands on the fucking table,” he demanded. “Good girl. Now if you so much as lift a palm from the wood, and I don’t care if you’ve got a fucking splinter or if a snake comes out and bites you, I press this button and your biker goes BOOM.”

  It was the first explosion of my life I wasn’t looking forward to. The first one I was even attempting to prevent.

  Smoke had begun to crawl toward his gun slowly so he would go unnoticed. I never wished someone could crawl faster in all my life because if Smoke didn’t get to his gun soon, there would be no way to get around what I’d just set in motion.

  Regret flooded through me like a tidal wave of wrong.

  A twig snapped, and Cody jumped back from me, waving his gun at Smoke who froze, still several feet away from his gun. “It was too good to be true to think I killed you,” he said, turning to me and sneering. “I knew you were up to no good, Rage. Maybe that’s my fault for teaching you how to be a good liar. But now you’re gonna fucking pay for it.” He looked at Smoke and then to me. “Get the fuck up,” he ordered Smoke, aiming his gun at me. “Get over here right fucking now, or I’m gonna blow a hole in her fucking head.”

  Smoke stood on wobbly legs. Blood dripped from the bullet hole in his bicep. Cody backed away from me, his gun now trained on us both. “Rage here wanted to get fucked, and as much as I wanted to be the man for the job, it seems that I can’t do two things at once right now.” He held up the button. Nolan moaned again. He was only a few feet from us and had enough explosives around him that if Cody pushed that button, all three of us would be in pieces within less than a second.

  Smoke growled as I wrapped my hands around my breasts to cover myself.

  “Oh no, you don’t get to cover up. Put your fucking hands back on the table, Hope,” Cody ordered, the flashing light in his hand the only reason I reluctantly complied.

  Smoke stood protectively in front of me, shielding me from Cody. “What exactly are you trying to do here?” Smoke asked.

  “You are the one who took her from me. You drove her off in the middle of the night, and I never heard from her again. I want all of you to know how that feels. To have something taken from you. To be wronged.” He looked at Smoke but aimed his gun at my head. “So now I’m gonna take something from you. From both of you. I’m going to take away your free will. Your right to chose. I’m going to take this from you like you took her away from me.” Cody laughed, low and deep. Tears formed in his eyes.

  “What the fuck are you saying, motherfucker? What exactly is it that you want?” Smoke boomed, his voice echoing throughout the park.

  Cody sniffled. His eyes became darker. His jaw tensed. His shoulders straightened with newfound determination to make us suffer. “What I’m saying, is that you two are gonna fuck, and I’m gonna watch while you find out how it feels to have something taken from you.”

  CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

  Rage

  “No,” Smoke said, crossing his arms over his chest. Cody fired the gun, the bullet grazed my shin, which felt like someone had raised an ax and swung it down on my leg.

  “As I said,” Cody spat, “this isn’t a fucking choice. You do it and you can watch her die first before I kill you.”

  My world was crashing around me. I didn’t feel rage or anger. I felt defeat. I turned to Smoke. “It’s…it’s okay,” I said reluctantly.

  “Fuck,” Smoke said, dropping his head into his hands.

  “Now,” Cody demanded.

  “Shut the fuck up for a second!” Smoke roared. He looked to me, his gaze dropping momentarily to my bare chest before he caught himself and looked away. “I’m so fucking sorry,” he whispered, although there was nothing to apologize about.

  I shook my head. “Don’t be. We gotta get out of here,” I whispered.

  “This isn’t what I ever wanted,” Smoke said. “I’m a guy, so I can’t say I never imagined it. But I want what’s best for you and that’s never been me.” He paused and jerked his chin to the table behind me where I heard Nolan moan again. “That’s him.”

  I nodded. “This is just a job, Smoke. We always finish the job. No matter what,” I said, wanting to rid the hurt from his voice. I didn’t glance back at Nolan. I couldn’t. I closed my eyes tightly then opened them again, I looked back up at Smoke. “Right?” I asked, staring into his eyes, seeking his agreement.

  “Right,” Smoke said softly, although his expression said otherwise.

  “Clothes. Off. Now,” Cody demanded. “Or I shoot her other fucking leg and then her fucking head.”

  “I’m not taking my fucking cut off,” Smoke argued. Every muscle in his neck tensed.

  Cody snickered. “I don’t have all fucking day here. Shut the fuck up and do it already!” His voice was a mixture of anger and hurt and lust, and I just wanted it all to be over.

  “It’s okay,” I said again to Smoke, who shot Cody one last death glare before standing between my legs.

  But it wasn’t okay. It was anything but okay.

  I’d offered everything up, including my humanity and my soul in exchange for the freedom that being a vessel of destruction brought. And now I was hurting inside. But not for myself. For Smoke. And especially for Nolan, who I prayed was still passed out and not about to witness the death of something that had never really had the chance to get started.

  Us.

  Playing a role was one thing. I’d never actually wished to be someone else before. But for a brief moment, when Smoke was tugging off my shorts and panties, I truly wished that I was Hope Michaels, and not the devil who looked like an angel.

  But an actual angel.

  An actual good person.

  Someone worthy of the two men I’d put in the middle of my shit situation. It was all my fault. I let them in. I let them get close to me, and look what hap
pened.

  Get a grip, Rage, I commanded myself. You’re stronger than this.

  I shook off my unhelpful thoughts and tried to refocus.

  I am Rage. A tracker. A killer. I am strong. I am capable.

  I do what it takes to get the fucking job done.

  Smoke pushed his long dark hair out of his eyes and unzipped his jeans, pushing them down and pulling me to the edge of the table. He spread my legs and stepped between them. His hard cock poking into my stomach. “I’ll try not to hurt you,” he whispered. “Fuck, it’s the first time in my fucking life I wish I wasn’t able to get hard.”

  “Just do it,” I said. Feeling myself retreating into the numbness that I’d experienced with Cody, but as much as I wanted to zone out completely, I couldn’t get there.

  “Put her on top of you so I can see better,” Cody demanded, his voice hoarse.

  Smoke grunted and lifted me up by my waist. He turned so that he was sitting at the edge of the table and I was straddling him. “I’m so sorry,” he said again as he spit into his hand and rubbed it onto the tip of his dick. He grabbed the base of his shaft and lowered me onto him, quietly groaning under his breath as he pushed up into me.

  That’s when I made the biggest mistake of my entire life.

  I opened my eyes. There, over Smoke’s shoulder, I found myself in the last place I wanted to be, locked in Nolan’s gaze.

  “Fuck her, God dammit!” Cody roared, firing his gun into the air.

  Smoke pushed up into me roughly. I wasn’t remotely ready. It hurt. It hurt so much. “Just think of all the ways we’re gonna kill him when it’s all over,” Smoke whispered to me as he moved me up and down on top of him.

  The entire time, I was unable to look away from Nolan, who even with one eye swollen shut, with the most vengeful look on his reddened face, was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

  That moment changed my life forever.

  It was the moment I stopped being able to go numb when I needed to retreat. It was the moment I realized that what I’d been feeling for Nolan was love.

  Smoke grunted one last apology, lifting me off of him and coming onto his own stomach. A tear dripped from the corner of Nolan’s eye.

  I may have loved Nolan, but in that moment I hated myself.

  It was also when the bullets started flying, followed by an explosion.

  Nolan

  Sick. I was going to be fucking sick. I didn’t want to watch but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I tried to scream through the gag in my mouth, but it muffled the sound. There was nothing I could do but watch as some other guy fucked MY girl.

  I was being untied. By who I didn’t care. I didn’t even register the voices whispering to me or who it was who put the gun in my hands. Cody may have knocked the shit out of me, but it was nothing compared to what he’d done to that girl in my living room, gutting her like she was a fucking slab of beef.

  The second I was free, I stood up, ignoring the spinning sensation in my head. I started pulling the trigger. Over and over and over again, I walked toward Cody, blasting one bullet after the other into him until he was a pile of hole-filled dead flesh in the dirt.

  The explosion happened fast and quick. When I turned around I saw a poof of smoke coming from the trees. Joker and a couple of my other brothers walked out from where the explosion had just happened. “All taken care of,” Joker said. “Looks like you got things handled over here.” He pointed to Cody’s body, but I didn’t answer him. Instead, I turned toward where the guy who’d just fucked my girl was buttoning up his pants. I aimed my gun at him and fired, forgetting I’d just used all my bullets on Cody.

  “Kind of wish you had bullets left in there,” he said. I lowered the gun and ran over to Rage, scooping her up in my arms. “That’s Smoke. It wasn’t his fault,” Rage said, not sounding at all like herself. She was meek and quiet.

  I fucking hated it.

  “You might want to get the fuck out of here before I can reload,” I warned Smoke, who with a nod to me and a sad smile to Rage, turned and disappeared.

  “I…I…” Rage stammered, but there was nothing she had to say.

  “You don’t need to say shit right now. You’re alive. I’m alive. That’s all that fucking matters.” Rage looked at me like she was going to respond, but her eyes rolled back in her head and she passed out cold in my arms.

  “I got cleanup,” Joker said, pulling out his phone. He pointed to Rage. “The little arsonist gonna okay?”

  “You know who she is?” I asked. “ ’Cause if you don’t think I’m going to walk out of here with her then—”

  “Shut the fuck up, son,” Joker interrupted. “That guy you just threatened? Smoke? He paid off her debt to me a long time ago. Girl’s not on my hit list. Not right now anyway. Smoke explained to me about the two of you briefly on the voicemail he left me when he asked us to come here. Van’s parked in the lot, keys inside. Now go on, get her out of here and take care of her. Come to the clubhouse when you can. We’ll talk more then.”

  I didn’t need to be told twice. I scooped Rage up into my arms and left the park where both of us had lost a piece of ourselves and wondered after all that had happened if those were pieces we could ever get back.

  CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

  Rage

  I woke up in a familiar room. But it wasn’t the familiar room I wanted to wake up in. This one was decorated in pinks and teals. Designed for the daughter my mother wanted, not the one she had.

  “Mijn Zoeteken, I am so happy you’re awake,” my mom said, crossing the room and sitting on the edge of the bed. My father followed, sitting on the other side. “Nolan brought you home and said you were injured, and we’ve been in such distress. He’s such a good boy, you know. I’m glad you found each other. How’s your leg feeling? You shouldn’t go down slopes you aren’t trained for. Nolan was right, you’ve always been a dare devil, but it’s best you stick to the bunny slopes on your first try.”

  Nolan had dropped me off at my parents’ house. My chest tightened. I clutched the top of the comforter. He probably couldn’t even look at me, but didn’t know where else to dump me.

  I tugged off the covers and inspected my leg. It was just a scratch. “How long have I been out?”

  “Three days,” my father said. You had us worried, but the doc came and said there was nothing wrong with you and that we should just let you sleep.

  “Three days?” I asked, sitting up. My head was pounding.

  “And your mother is right. You shouldn’t ski on slopes you aren’t prepared for. It’s dangerous, and as much as we are so happy to have you home again, we want you to be—”

  “Va,” I said, interrupting him. “I think you both know I wasn’t skiing. I didn’t hurt my leg on any slope. I was never in Paris. EVER.”

  The gasps of surprise that I was expecting never came. Instead, my parents linked hands across my bed. My mother brushed a loose strand of hair off my face. “We know, Mijn Zoeteken. Your Photoshop skills are shit.”

  My father started laughing and then my mother. Suddenly, I was in the twilight zone where my parents laughed about my lies. “What the hell’s going on?” I asked.

  “Hope, my darling. We know you’re different,” my mother said, looking at me with a loving look in her eyes. “We don’t know what you do out there but we know it is not what you say. To be frank with you, we don’t want to know.” My mother continued while my father nodded and squeezed her hand. “We want you to be free and happy. So to us, you were skiing in the mountains just like that boy downstairs said you were. As long as you’re not out there hopped up on the heroin or campaigning for Donald Trump, your father and I are content to live in ignorant bliss, because we know it means we can keep you in our lives.”

  My turned my head from side to side, looking between the two of them. “I can’t believe…” I paused. “Wait, backup. Where did you say Nolan was?”

  “Downstairs,” my father said. “He’s been here the entir
e time. He refused to leave your side until your mother forced him to go downstairs to eat breakfast a few minutes ago.”

  I leapt off the bed and leapt down the stairs. There is no way this was reality. I’d slept, my parents stopped pretending like they believed my lies. And the man I loved, who’d watched as another man fucked me, had been by my side while I SLEPT for three days. There was no fucking way…

  But there was. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, he was there, sitting on a barstool at my parents’ breakfast counter, looking unshaved and disheveled with dark circles under his eyes as he picked apart a piece of toast.

  “Hi,” I said, tugging at the bottom of my T-shirt, not realizing until just then that I didn’t have any shorts on.

 
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