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Posts tagged ‘Cassie’

A to Z: R is for Raven

Last time, we left Icarus talking to Bull and admitting he’s thinking about quitting the club. Needless to say, that doesn’t go over well. Now, we’re back to Cassie, and she’s watching the men leave.

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Cassie stood on the porch and waited while the last of the bikes drove out of the yard. She hadn’t seen just about all of the Riders leaving the yard all at one time too often. Only Chief and two younger members, the ones who didn’t have the full back patch on their vests yet, had stayed behind. Even the last time they’d ridden off like this, they’d left more of the men behind, including Trace and that young man who went by the name Arrow.

But, even they had gone along this time. She’d heard Trace arguing with Bull about that very thing before she’d gone to talk to Grady. To her surprise, he’d insisted on going along. From everything she’d heard, he usually preferred to stay behind if violence was expected. And as much as she was sure they wanted to avoid that, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion when it came to Henry. Especially with what he was pulling now. He wouldn’t just let them ride away this time.

Cassie couldn’t help wringing her hands together. What if this was the last time she saw either of them? She wasn’t sure she could live with that.

Then, she felt a hand lightly touch her arm. “They’ll be back, Cassie,” Raven said from just behind her.

“You can’t know that. You might be able to see into people’s heads, but you can’t see the future.”

Raven chuckled a little at that. “I can’t actually do that, either. It would make things a lot easier, for me and the people I try to help.”

And Cassie knew Trace had been one of them. Because of things Henry had done to him. Things she should have protected him from and hadn’t. Some she hadn’t known about until they’d come here.

Raven squeezed her arm briefly. “You know he doesn’t blame you, right?”

Cassie shook his head. “Are you sure you can’t see into my head? And he probably should. I never stopped Henry. Not one time.”

“I can’t tell you the things he’s told me, but he has talked about what happened. And I don’t know how you’d be able to stop him when he’d practically knocked you unconscious.”

Cassie trembled just at the memory of what life had been like. And how she’d acted like it was normal to live like that. After a year of never having a hand raised to her in anger, it didn’t seem real. Raven gave her a quick hug, then almost as if they’d already discussed it, started walking into the house together. But, they both stopped at the sound of motors coming up the drive.

“That can’t be them,” Cassie said. “They just left. They can’t be back already.”

“It’s not,” Raven said. “That’s not motorcycle engines. It’s a cage. You should get inside.”

But, the car was already rolling into view. It was plain, non-descript really. But, Cassie recognized it. And the man behind the wheel. “No,” she gasped.

“What is it?”

“He works with Henry. He had to have sent him. He’s going to take me back there.”

“Not if we have anything to say about it,” Raven assured her.

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Well, now, that doesn’t look good, does it? Who is this person? What does he want? Will Cassie see Icarus and Trace again?

A to Z: P is for Promises

Last time we left Icarus realizing he’d been an idiot. But, he still had to get everything ready for when they rolled out. But, Cassie had one promise she needs him to make.

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Cassie found Icarus over by his bike early in the morning. “Grady, I need to talk to you.”

His hair fell into his eyes, but he didn’t look up. “What is it? Is everything okay?”

No. Everything certainly wasn’t okay. It wouldn’t be until this whole thing with Henry was done and over. They hadn’t really spoken the night before, but she had to say this before he left. “Promise me,” she finally managed. “You’ve never broken one promise you’ve made to me.”

Icarus looked up from his bike and right into Cassie’s eyes. “What do you want me to promise? I’ve already told you I’ll come back. I’ll protect Trace. I don’t know what more you want.”

Everything. But, she still hadn’t found the way to tell him that. So, she couldn’t really blame him for not knowing, could she? But, she shook her head. “You didn’t promise. You said you’d do your best, but that’s not a real promise. I need to hear you say the words, Grady.”

She saw something in his face shift at her use of his real name. She rarely heard anyone around here use it. Except for her. He stepped around his motorcycle and came right up to her. “What words are you asking for? Because I’ve tried to give you several of them, and you won’t take them.”

Shame flushed through her at that, because he was right. She was asking him for something that she kept refusing to give him. She wasn’t sure she could do it, though. She’d never stopped loving him, not even during all those years of living with Henry. She’d let her own fear push that love deep into a corner, but it had never quite gone away. Now, she was afraid to bring it back out. Afraid he’d be the one to turn away from it this time. Even though he hadn’t given any indication he’d ever do that.

“Promise you won’t be the one to face Henry. Not you or Trace.”

His jaw tightened. She could see the muscles in his jaw flexing and knew she’d asked him for one thing he didn’t think he could give her. “Cassie, he’s threatened you. Threatened Trace. You’re both mine. I swore I wouldn’t let him do anything to hurt you. If I don’t go-”

“I know. But, you don’t have to be the one to face him. Any of the others can do it, and you can back them up.”

“But, it’s not any of their families being threatened.”

“You keep telling me you’re all family. So, if something happened to Barbie or to Raven, wouldn’t you be defending your family? Why is this different?”

He didn’t answer, but his face remained tight. Then, Bull called out to him. He glanced over his shoulder, and she looked that way, too. It was almost time for them to go. Damn it. “Grady, please. Promise me.”

He looked back at her. “Fine,” he said, but she could tell he wasn’t happy about it. “I promise. It won’t be me or Trace who faces your lousy husband.”

“Ex,” she murmured even as he walked over toward Bull. It wasn’t true. She’d never felt safe sending him the papers to end their marriage. But, once this was over she’d make sure it happened. That was one promise she could make to herself and to Grady. It was one she would do everything to keep.

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Will Icarus be able to keep his promise? Will Cassie?

A to Z: O is for Options

Last time we left Icarus feeling like whatever he did it would be wrong. And thinking it would be better if he stayed away from Cassie. Now, we get some of Cassie’s feelings on that.

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Cassie didn’t know what she was going to do. “You have options.” That was what Molly had said to her just this morning. But, it was so hard to think of those. Especially when all she wanted was to go to Grady and be held by him. But, he apparently had no desire to do that. She’d hardly seen him since that story had come out in the paper.

At first he’d seemed fine. They were seeing each other at least when he walked her up to her room. But, after her talk with Molly, she’d tried to approach him. and he’d gotten distant. More and more with each day. And that was what she didn’t know how to deal with. She’d developed armor against yelling, against threats, against all those little digs Henry had been so good at. Even the slaps and punches.

The cold distance was something she couldn’t take. And it was so unlike Grady. Both the boy she’d known as a teenager for those wonderful months. And the man she’d gotten to know again over the last year. Cold and distant were two words she’d never have used to describe him before.

And really, what options did she have? Go with Henry? Maybe he would leave Grady and the rest of his Riders alone if she did that. But, she couldn’t see herself surviving the year under his control again. Didn’t think she could go back to living like that. And she would definitely lose Grady and his love then.

But, if she stayed, Henry wasn’t going to stop until he’d ruined their lives. And that was just the best case scenario. Even more likely, he wouldn’t stop until Grady was behind bars or dead. And that was something she couldn’t bear thinking about. Even more than having to live with Henry and the fear he wielded every day.

She hadn’t realized how bad she was trembling until her legs gave out, and she had to grab onto a tree for support. A moment later, she felt a hand at her back and turned her head to see Barbie standing right next to her. Raven came to her other side. “Why don’t you come sit down?” Barbie suggested. “The men are in a meeting right now, but as soon as they’re out I’ll have Bull send Icarus right to you.”

Cassie shook her head. “Don’t bother. He won’t come. He’s made that perfectly clear.”

Barbie’s mouth pursed, but she didn’t say anything as they walked with her back to the porch. Once Cassie was sitting down, Barbie said, “I think you’ve misunderstood what’s going on.”

“I can’t misunderstand when I don’t understand anything to begin with.”

Barbie’s lips twitched up at that. “He thinks he’s protecting you. He’s struggling, Cassie. He wants to be with you, but he’s so angry with what Henry’s doing, and he doesn’t want it to touch you. Doesn’t want to frighten you with what’s inside him right now.” She glanced over her shoulder toward the house then back to Cassie. “It’s killing him, staying away from you. But, he thinks it’s what he needs to do. I think you know what you need to do, though, don’t you?”

So much for options. There was really only one thing she could do. “Let him know he’s being a stupid idiot. But, there’s still no way I’m leaving his stupid ass.”

Barbie grinned at her. “See? I always knew you were one of us.”

Cassie turned and started into the house just as she saw the men filing out. She moved in front of Grady. “We need to talk,” she told him.

“I don’t have time,” he said. “We’re leaving first thing in the morning to put a stop to this. And I have to make sure everything’s ready.”

Her heart skipped at that. The last time they’d ridden out to face Henry, she could have lost her son. Could have lost Grady, too, if they’d been caught. If Henry had pointed a finger at him. She didn’t let that fear hold her back, though. “Then, you need to make time. At least for this.”

She put her hands on his face and turned it toward him, going up on her toes so she could reach his mouth. He froze for a moment, then he was kissing her back. “I’m not going anywhere,” she murmured against his mouth. “So when you get back, I’ll be right here waiting.”

He rested his forehead against hers. “I’m sorry,” he said. “Sorry for being so stupid. We’ll talk more when this is over. I promise.”

“I’ll be here,” she said again, stroking his cheek then watching as he walked away.

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Are they going to be able to talk about this? Will it ever actually be over? Is he done being stupid?

A to Z: M is for Medusa

Last time we left Cassie and Icarus promising they wouldn’t lose the other. Today we get an even closer look into Cassie’s head and she confesses her fears to an unlikely source.

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Cassie wasn’t sure what to do. It had been a couple days since that story had been printed in the newspaper. Every morning when she came out of her room, Grady was waiting for her. They walked down to have breakfast together, and if he didn’t have to have a meeting with the guys or take a ride somewhere, they spent most of the day together. He did have other responsibilities, though, and she understood that.

Sometimes she preferred it. Sometimes she just wanted a chance to breathe. And that was hard to do when it felt like you were constantly under watch.

But, he did walk her up to her room every night, and he kissed her before telling her good night. Then, she tossed and turned until dawn, thinking about how much she wished they’d take those kisses farther. And what was stopping her? She was no teenager any longer. But, the prospect of taking that step forward was almost as scary as thinking of what Henry was going to do next.

Not that she was going to admit that to anyone. Least of all Grady. He had enough on his mind.

She stepped into the library, grateful she seemed to have slipped away from Damon–Devil according to the tag on his vest and what everyone else seemed to call him–apparently taking his shift as her shadow. And she let out the breath she’d finally had the chance to take. She knew they were trying to protect her, that it was what Grady wanted. But, right now it felt smothering. She just needed some space for a moment.

“You come in here to hide out, too?”

Cassie’s head jerked up, and she stared at the woman who stood at the other side of the room. It took her a moment to place her, as she wasn’t wearing her vest. “Molly.” Everyone else called her Medusa.

Her face twisted up. And Cassie thought that was a flash of pain in the woman’s eyes. But, that couldn’t be right. She didn’t think the other woman ever felt any pain. She was too tough for that.

“Please don’t call me that,” she said. “No one does.”

“I-I’m sorry,” Cassie said. “I’m not…I feel weird using your other names.”

Molly laughed at that. But it didn’t sound as mean as it usually did. “I barely even think of myself as Molly anymore. The last time someone called me that…”

She sighed and ran her thumb over her left ring finger. Which Cassie noted was bare. Had it always been, though? She didn’t have a clue. They’d never really had a conversation before. In fact, she’d been under the impression the other woman hated her for some reason.

“Why did you come in here?” Molly asked her.

“I…I just had to get away,” she admitted. “Everyone’s watching me, and I get it. But, I had to get away to breathe. And forget for a moment that there’s something to be afraid of.” She sucked in a breath. “But, I don’t know how to do that when every minute I feel terrified. Of everything.”

“Except of Icarus.” When Cassie didn’t answer, she asked, “Right?”

“Of everything,” Cassie repeated.

And to her surprise, Molly put an arm around her shoulders and led her over to a set of armchairs. “Usually I’d say you’re better off talking to Raven. She used to do this for a living. But, her and Smoke are off somewhere I think. And I actually know what you’re going through.”

Cassie snorted at that. “Yeah. Sure you do.”

“I know the other guys say I can turn them to stone with a look. But, that’s an attitude I had to cultivate over the years. I wasn’t born with it, and people took advantage of that. People I should have been able to trust. So, yes, I lived in fear for a time. And I found the armor I needed to protect against it. Then, Flint came along.”

Cassie tilted her head at the way Molly’s voice softened on the name. “Who is Flint?”

Her thumb ran over her left ring finger. “He was my husband,” she said. “He was the only one who could get under my armor. And that scared me. For a long time. But, he was always just there.” She sent a sharp look at Cassie. “Kind of like Icarus has been doing with you.” Her lips tipped up then. “I tried to use him to fight the loneliness after I lost Flint, but it never happened. Either he didn’t see me, or he knew what I was trying to do and what it would have done to both of us. But, either way, he never looked at me the way he does you.”

“How long ago did you lose him?” Cassie asked. “Your…Flint?”

“Nearly five years. It was one of the first missions he did with the Riders. They kept me on. Would have for any family left behind, but I have skills as a medic that come in handy, too. But, I’d give anything to have him back even if it meant losing the rest. My advice to you, Cassandra–” Cassie flinched, and the woman’s face softened again– “Sorry, Cassie. Don’t waste a minute. You never know exactly how many more you’re going to have left. Don’t let fear take any more of them from you.”

She pushed up out of the chair and headed out of the library. Cassie just sat there, letting the woman’s words play through her head. When she finally left the library, nearly an hour later, Damon leaned against the opposite wall. Obviously Molly had told him she was in there. He still looked relieved.

“Do you know where Grady is?” she asked.

“He was out talking to Hawk,” he said, his face coloring slightly.

She’d seen him with the other man, the way they were together, and she smiled. “Then, let’s go see our men.”

He smiled back at her then led the way.

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What will Cassie do now? Will she take Medusa’s advice? Or let her fear keep ruling her?

A to Z: K is for Kidnapped

Last time, we left Icarus going to talk to Chief and Bull about what happened in town. Today, we pick up the next morning.

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Icarus stood in the hallway, leaning back against the wall. Cassie hadn’t said a whole lot the night before when he’d finally found her again. He wasn’t sure if she was upset he’d left her as soon as they’d gotten back to the clubhouse and hadn’t been able to find her until close to dinner. But, he hadn’t really had too much choice in the matter.

Sure, he could have waited to tell Chief about the run-in with Henry. But, he figured it was better they knew right away. No point in putting it off.

Maybe the shock of the run-in had finally worn off, and the reality had hit her.

Maybe she did actually want to go back to Henry. He shook that thought right out of his head. She had chosen to come with them. And every day she made the choice to stay. If she’d really wanted to return, any one of them would have driven her back to that house and dropped her off. Well, maybe not Icarus himself. He would let her go, but he didn’t think he could bring himself to be the one to leave her in that hellhole.

But, she’d never asked.

Who knows, maybe her thoughts had nothing to do with Henry or this situation. How was he to know? She hadn’t talked to him at all.

A door a couple rooms down the hallway opened, and a soft giggle escaped with it. “Trace,” Birdie said, almost affectionately exasperated. “Those pigs are going to eat all the breakfast if we don’t go down there now.”

He heard murmuring from inside the room but couldn’t make out any words that his son said. He shifted from one foot to the other, considering heading for the stairs right now, before either of them saw him. He was aware that they shared a room most nights; either Birdie’s or Trace’s. But, knowing his son and the girl he’d raised as a daughter from a few months old shared a bed and seeing the evidence of it were two far different circumstances.

Too late. Birdie’s gaze caught him, and her eyes danced. “Hi, Dad,” she said, nearly grinning. “You waiting for one of us?”

“Nope,” he said, feeling his cheeks pull up in a smile. She was definitely full of something this morning.

Her gaze darted toward Cassie’s door then back to him. And her grin widened. “Got you.” At least she didn’t seem to hate Cassie anymore. They hadn’t exactly gotten off to the best start. “We’re just heading down to breakfast. If there’s any left,” she threw back to Trace who was hesitating in the doorway.

“Uh, Dad,” he greeted Icarus. Apparently not nearly as comfortable as Birdie with being caught coming out of the same room when both were obviously just out of bed. “Morning.”

“Less talking, more eating,” Birdie said, and finally Trace laughed, following her to the stairs.

Cassie’s door finally creaked open after they’d disappeared downstairs. She stepped out and spotted him right away. Color rose to her cheeks, and his grin softened to a smile. “Why are you waiting for me?” she asked. “Usually you’re already down at breakfast.”

Had she been trying to avoid him. He certainly hoped not. Had he given her cause to try to? Again, he certainly hoped not. “I wanted a chance to speak to you. After yesterday, I was hoping everything was okay.”

“Everything’s fine, Grady,” she said, but she wouldn’t quite meet his eyes. “I was just tired last night. I didn’t feel like staying down with everyone else.”

He reached out and cupped her chin, bringing her face up toward his. “Are you sure that’s all?” he asked. “If there’s anything-”

“Stop,” she said quietly. “I’m fine. A little shaken up, but I’ll survive. You should probably go down to breakfast. See if anyone needs you today.”

Okay, there was a bit of a sharp bite to that. But, he did have responsibilities here. He couldn’t really help that. He brushed his lips over hers then pulled back. “Are you coming down, too?”

“Maybe in a little bit. I’m not hungry right now.”

She also didn’t look like she’d slept well. But, he doubted she’d take kindly to him saying so. Instead he just said, “We’ll talk later, okay?”

She nodded then crossed the hall to the bathroom. Right. She usually did take a shower before coming down to join them. He should know her routine by now. She wasn’t the only one still a little shaken from the encounter yesterday he supposed.

He found a fairly normal scene down in the large dining room. People talking, laughing, some kissing. His gaze skipped from Trace and Birdie to where Hawk and Devil sat hip to hip. Hawk’s face was all healed up from his ordeal with the Ivory Crows. Icarus knew his ribs still ached, though. In fact he saw a slight cringe as he moved a little too fast to meet Devil’s mouth. That didn’t stop the two of them, though, and Icarus couldn’t hold back a smile at the sight. After everything they’d been through, they deserved this bit of joy.

After grabbing a plate of food from the buffet, he moved to an empty chair, his empty chair, and was grateful to find the newspaper folded up in front of it. He imagined he had Birdie to thank for that, though she hadn’t gotten down here all that much sooner than him.

He took a sip of coffee before unfolding the paper. But, he froze with a forkful of pancake dripping syrup over his plate. All the joy he’d felt at seeing the people he cared about together fled in a single instant.

A photo of Cassie and Trace stared back at him. It had to have been taken a couple years earlier. Trace didn’t look much more than sixteen, softer than he was now, but there was already fear in his eyes. Even with the grainy image, he could see it. He scanned the article running beside it and everything inside him curdled.

“Kidnapped,” he read aloud and sensed everything around him come to a crashing stop. “Wife and son of decorated Olin County deputy sheriff, Henry Kearns were abducted from their home early last summer. Under threat of their death, he didn’t report the abduction until now. After spotting his wife, Cassandra, the daughter of the late sheriff Scott Vallis, with the man who allegedly abducted her,  he knew he had to take action.”

Icarus could not read anymore. His mouth was too dry to even speak. Trace’s wasn’t, though, apparently. “What utter horseshit,” he spit out. “I left there on my own, before I ever even met any of you, and he damn well knows that. Mom left of her own free will, too. And you’ve never threatened any of us. How dare he say any of this.”

“It doesn’t matter that it’s not true,” Arrow said from the other end of the table. “He’s said it, and it’s out there. People will believe him because of his position. It doesn’t matter,” he said again.

Icarus knew what the kid said was true. But, he couldn’t let this happen. He was not going to let that man take his family away from him. Not this time. Not again.

He didn’t realize he had the newspaper balled in his fist until Bull pried it out of his fingers. When Icarus looked up, Cassie stood in the doorway, a stricken look on her face. All his anger spilled over, and he shoved back from the table. He turned and stormed into the kitchen, taking the door in there to go outside. He needed to get away before he did something that would have scared her even more.

He just needed to calm down, before this fire raging through him destroyed everything in his path. It had been nearly eighteen years since he’d felt like this. Since Eric Parnell had plucked him from the dark path he’d started down after Cassie was taken from him.

He couldn’t let himself start down it again. No matter what it took. And if Henry ever got his hands on what was his again, Icarus was afraid that’s exactly what would happen.

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What will happen now? What else will Henry do? What will happen between Cassie and Icarus now?

A to Z: J is for Jumper

Last time we left Icarus heading back to the clubhouse, even though he wanted to go back and make sure Henry didn’t follow him. Now, for what happens next.

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Icarus slowed his bike as they reached the edge of town, and he saw another bike approaching him. He couldn’t tell who was riding it at first. He hoped it wasn’t one of the Ivory Crows. The last thing he wanted was for them to think he was breaking the truce. And only a few weeks after it had been agreed on. Hawk was still healing from what they’d done to him. Now was not the time for more trouble to start.

Especially with Henry promising to come after them.

The other biker began to slow as well, and Icarus saw the small patch on the front of his vest for his own club, and his shoulders relaxed. It was one of his Riders. Nothing to worry about then. Except he didn’t know of anyone who’d planned to ride this way. Jumper, he saw as the other man drove across the street to meet him off to the side.

Jumper flipped up the visor of his helmet, and Icarus could see the lines digging into the younger man’s face. Concern. So, this wasn’t just a chance meeting. “What’s going on?” Icarus asked. “Something happen back at the clubhouse?” Trace. Birdie. Hawk. Devil. They’d all been targeted by the Ivory Crows. Despite the truce, Icarus wouldn’t be surprised if they made an aggressive step, just to see how far they could go.

But, Jumper shook his head. “Everyone’s fine. They’re just worried about you. Didn’t know you planned to stay gone so long. With her.”

Icarus knew it was the addition of Cassie that worried most of them. Not that they thought she would do anything. But, with Henry a possible threat–more than possible after today–taking her out was risky. But, he’d needed this. They both had. He should have known better than to stop in town, though. He hadn’t thought that one through.

“We’re both fine. Had a little run-in with Deputy Kearns, though.” He saw Jumper’s face tighten at the name and nodded. “He didn’t appear to follow us out of town, but I want to be sure.”

“You want me to keep my eyes peeled for him.”

“Yes, get a lock on him. Surveillance only, Jumper.”

“Yes, sir,” he said, snapping out a quick salute before pulling the visor back down into place and starting up his bike.

Icarus chuckled as the younger man pulled away. “Sometimes I think he forgets he’s no longer in the Army.”

“How long has he been out?” Cassie asked leaning against his back.

“Regular army? About five years. Then, he did a turn as an airborne ranger. The reason he left is his story to tell.” He was sure she’d heard that said about just about everyone in the club. But, that’s how it should be. It wasn’t his right to tell anyone else’s story. “You ready to get back?”

He felt her nod against him and waited for her to settle back into the seat. Then, he twisted the throttle and pulled back onto the road. When they reached the clubhouse, he saw Chief and Bull waiting on the porch. Both seemed to slump with relief as he parked the bike in front of the garage. By the time he’d helped Cassie off with her helmet and gloves, the two men had reached them.

“Everything okay?” Icarus asked.

“It is now,” Chief said. “You were starting to worry us, boy.”

Icarus’ lips tilted up slightly. It had been a while since Eric Parnell had referred to him as boy. It brought back old memories. Not necessarily good ones, but still. “We’re fine. I do need to let you know what happened, though.” And he’d have to tell him about Jumper’s little side mission. He’d get to that. First, he turned to Cassie. “I’ll find you in a while. Okay?”

She nodded, and he pressed his lips to her cheek, then followed Chief up to the clubhouse. Bull fell into step beside him. “You sure everything’s okay?”

“It will be,” he told his friend. He had to believe that was the truth, or he wasn’t sure how he’d deal with everything that could be coming their way.

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Will everything really be okay? Or is there some trouble in store for them?

A to Z: I is for Icarus

Last time we left Henry watching Icarus and Cassie ride away and determined to find a way to take Icarus and the other Riders down. Today we’re back with Icarus and his reaction to the run-in.

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Icarus wanted to tell himself that it was the rumbling of his bike’s motor that was making all his muscles feel as if they were shaking. He knew better, though. He’d been riding long enough to know the difference.

No, this was a totally different kind of shakiness. One that he’d felt before. When he’d been locked behind that cell door. When he’d learned Henry had taken Birdie from the very parking lot he’d just left. When he thought Hawk would be lost to them, and there wasn’t anything he could do to stop it.

Being helpless, powerless. That’s the only thing that brought it on. And he absolutely hated that feeling.

He pulled over to the side of the road and let the bike idle. Cassie leaned up over his shoulder and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“I have to go back, but I can’t just leave you here.”

“What are you talking about? I thought we were going back to the clubhouse. We don’t need anything back there that badly.”

But, her voice was starting to shake. So, he thought she knew exactly what he’d meant. “I can’t just let him walk away. What if he follows us? If he tries to run us down, or just tracks us back to the clubhouse. Then, he’ll target all of us. I have to make sure he doesn’t do that.”

“He’s not behind us, Grady. You’d have seen him if he was. Wouldn’t it be better to just get back home and let everyone know what happened. Then, they can be on guard.”

Home. He was pretty sure it was the first time he’d heard her refer to the clubhouse that way. Even though he was still chilled from the run-in with Henry, that sent some warmth through him.

He tried to make himself relax. Cassie was still with him, they’d left Henry back at the store. The people he cared about were still safe.

He just wasn’t sure how long they’d remain that way. Not if Henry really did plan to come after them. But, he nodded and revved up the engine again. “All right,” he said. “We’re going home.”

And he’d make sure everyone was on the lookout for the trouble he was sure was just over the horizon.

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Will they make it back to the clubhouse okay? What will Henry do?

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