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Posts tagged ‘Icarus’

A to Z: S is for Set Up

Last time, we left Cassie and Raven in some potential trouble. Today we’re back with Icarus about to face Henry.

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Icarus was glad for the speed, and to be taking point on this ride. If he’d had to be stuck behind any of the other bikes, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to stand it. He still couldn’t believe he’d let Cassie rip that promise out of him. He needed to be the one to handle Henry. And for good this time. He’d thought they’d dealt with him once, got him to back off.

He should have known it wouldn’t be good enough. That man was never going to leave them alone.

Once this was over, Icarus would take Cassie, and Trace and Birdie if they wanted to go, and find somewhere far away from this where they could just be together. But, he had to take care of Henry first.

He finally slowed as the house came into view. He took his bike around to the same place they’d stopped the last time they’d come here. When Henry had held Birdie as leverage to get Cassie and Trace back. He hadn’t won that time. And Icarus swore he wouldn’t this time either.

Once everyone else had pulled in beside him, he glanced around, his gaze finally landing on Bull. “I need you to take point,” he said. His oldest friend, and the biggest man there, he trusted him with his life. Or in this case, the woman he loved and their son’s lives. “I promised it wouldn’t be me.”

They worked out the details of how they would handle the rest of this mission, and Icarus followed behind Bull and the men he’d called to stand with him: Smoke, Jumper, and Devil among them. They were all good men. Hawk and Arrow were on lookout duty, like usual. “You okay for this?” he asked Hawk.

‘”Sure thing, Cap,” he said, but Icarus could see him moving stiffly still.

Trace fell into step beside Icarus. “It should be us,” his son said. “We’re the ones he keeps coming after.”

“That’s not the way your mom wants it. She wants us to come back to her.”

Henry was already waiting on the porch when they crossed the street. He was expecting them, which left an uneasy feeling in Icarus’ gut. “Hiding behind your bullies, Hartson?” he called out to Icarus.

“You’re the only bully I see here,” Icarus responded, trying to remain calm. This man kept trying to take everything from him and had succeeded once, nearly two decades before. He couldn’t go back to that time.

Before he could stop him, Trace lunged forward, through the rest of the Riders. “No,” Icarus said. Again and again as he tried to grab his son. But, the other men seemed to move aside for him. He couldn’t reach him in time.

Icarus started forward, but he still couldn’t move fast enough. Trace was already starting up the steps, his fists clenched at his sides. He couldn’t hear what the boy was saying, but he saw the sneer cross Henry’s face. Then, his hand came up and faster than any of them could move, though Icarus noticed several of the men lunging forward, Henry’s hand struck out, knocking Trace aside.

The boy fell back, missing each of the steps and hitting the ground. He didn’t stir at first, and Icarus’ chest felt hollow. If something happened to his son…but no, he was moving now, pushing himself back up. But, Henry was moving toward him, aiming his foot as if he meant to kick the boy.

Icarus couldn’t do it. He couldn’t let this man take away his son one more time. He drew the gun from the inside pocket of his vest and aimed it at the man who once again threatened everything dear to him. “I’m sorry, Cassie.” This was a promise he just wasn’t going to be able to keep.

“You shoot me again and you will never see Cassandra again,” Henry said, not looking all too scared about the gun in Icarus’ hand.

Icarus’ lip lifted in a snarl. “If you’re dead, you won’t be able to keep her from me. And if you put another hand on my son, that’s just what’s going to happen.”

“If you kill me, you’ll never know where my men took her.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” But, from the smug look on Henry’s face and the ice gathering in his own belly, he was afraid he did. “She’s safe.”

“Yes, she is,” Henry said. “With my men.”

“No, you’re lying.”

“You really want to test that theory? If I turn up dead, my men know exactly who to go after. And you’ll end up in a cage again, exactly where you belong. So, either way, you won’t see her again. But, if you walk away now, everything else will be forgotten between us.”

“Don’t believe him, Dad,” Trace said, drawing himself up beside Icarus. “I don’t think he’s lying about Mom, but he wouldn’t just let us ride away and forget about this.”

Icarus knew the truth of that. But, he didn’t see what other option he had. He was still hoping Henry was bluffing. He motioned for the other men to fall back, but didn’t turn around until he was right on the edge of the yard. When they were at the bikes, he ignored the clamor of voices, everyone wondering what they would do now. Instead he took out his phone and dialed a number. “Chief,” he said, his voice trembling, “tell me he’s fucking with me.”

“I’m so sorry, Grady.”

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Well, this is really not looking good. What is Icarus going to do now? Will he get Cassie? Just what did happen?

A to Z: Q is for Quitting

Last time, we left Icarus giving Cassie a promise he really didn’t want to. But, that put other thoughts in his head and a conclusion he hadn’t expected to come to.

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Icarus couldn’t believe he’d made that promise to Cassie. All he’d been able to think of the last several days as they put this plan together, and Arrow and Hawk came back from town with more evidence Henry wasn’t going to back down, was being the one to take the bastard out. But, she had asked it of him now. And he wasn’t sure there was anything she could ask that he wouldn’t do.

He wasn’t sure how he was going to keep this promise, though. He couldn’t put the other men in danger and not be there to back them up. This was his problem, one he really should be the one to deal with. But, Cassie had taken that choice right out of his hands. He didn’t even know what move to make. He could lose Cassie for good no matter what he did. There was only one thing he was sure of that would mean not losing her at all.

“What’s going on with you, Icarus? You’ve barely said a word since we came in here.”

Icarus looked over at Bull. They were supposed to be going over final plans for this mission, but he couldn’t keep his focus on it. “I’m thinking about quitting,” he blurted. Even just saying the words had his skin prickling. This club had been his life for the last five years. But, Cassie was his heart and soul. If he lost her again…No, it didn’t even bear thinking of.

“Don’t give me any of that,” Bull demanded. “You aren’t leaving.”

“I have to, Bull. Don’t you see? It’s the only answer here. If I’m not here, Henry won’t come after the whole club. He can’t use it as a way to get to me. To get to Cassie and Trace through me. I have to go.”

“No, you don’t. That’s why we’re doing this. We’ll get him to leave us alone.”

Icarus smacked his hand against the wall. “It’s not just Henry. Me being here has brought trouble to everyone I care about. With Henry taking Birdie, and coming after Cassie and Trace. The Crows coming after Birdie and Trace. Even Devil and Hawk getting hurt.”

“That didn’t have anything to do with you, Icarus,” Bull argued.

“You go back far enough, and it does. I let Brad in here, I didn’t see through his lies. And that gave him the opening to get deep with the Crows and take them down. And with our connection to him, it led them back to us. If it wasn’t for me-”

“If it wasn’t for you, this club would have fallen apart long ago. I can’t believe you can’t see that. Dad might be the president, but you are this club, Icarus. You quit and you might as well disband the club.”

Icarus shook his head. “That’s ridiculous. The club isn’t just one person. We all make it work. I didn’t say I’m definitely going. But, if that’s what it takes to make sure my family is protected, it’s what I’m going to do.”

“Let’s take care of this business with Henry first,” Bull said, his voice subdued now. “Then, I’ll convince you you’re better off staying.”

Icarus let out a rough laugh. If only it would be that easy.

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Will Icarus really leave the club? Will Bull convince him he really is better off staying? Will he end up breaking his promise to Cassie?

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: N is for Never Again

When we last left these characters, Cassie had just had a fairly meaningful and civil conversation with Molly(or Medusa as everyone else calls her). This scene skips ahead a couple days and we see how Icarus is handling things.

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Icarus pounded his fists against the heavy punching bag. It had been a long time since he’d taken his frustrations out on one, but nothing else seemed to be helping lately. Except being with Cassie. If only he could make that a permanent condition.

But, he couldn’t hold back the waves of anger that kept sweeping over him. And he didn’t want those waves to even touch her, not come even close to frightening her. Which meant he’d had to keep his distance as much as he possibly could.

And that wasn’t helping his own state of mind. And so went the vicious cycle he’d been going around the last several days. It needed to end, but he couldn’t find the best point to put the brakes on. If he let Cassie see this violence in him, he’d lose her anyway. But, staying away only made him feel more violent.

He let his arms drop and staggered away from the bag, dropping back against the wall, his chest heaving. “A bit out of shape?”

He spun toward the voice, saw Bull step away from the stairwell, and dropped his hands back to his sides. “Apparently,” he said, a slight wheeze in his voice.

Bull smiled and put one hand against the bag, standing there watching Icarus as he attempted to catch his breath. He undid the gloves and let both of them fall to the floor. He’d pick them up later. Right now he couldn’t even think about it.

“I’m losing her,” he finally said. “He doesn’t even have to do anything, and I’m losing her.” He brushed damp hair away from his face. “I think I’ve lost count of the times I’ve told myself never again. I’d never again let myself love. I’d never again let someone get the drop on me. Never again let Henry Kearns take what I love from me. And it seems I’ve failed every single time.”

“You haven’t failed, Grady,” Bull said. “Not at anything.”

Icarus snorted and pressed his fingers over his closed eyes. He was obviously in bad shape if Bull was using his real name. “Try everything, Bull. I lost Cassie once before. Got pushed out of a job I loved. Never even knew I had a son for eighteen years. The girl I raised was used as a pawn and nearly…” He shook his head instead of finishing that. “Seems everything I’ve done turns into a failure.”

“That’s bullshit, and you know it. You loved Cassie, and at no fault of yours, she was taken from you. And how would you know you had a son when no one damn well told you. You did the right thing even if it did cost your job, and you know that as well. And what Brad did to Birdie, you know that wasn’t your fault either. His agenda had nothing to do with you.”

Maybe not, but he was the one who had brought the boy into their midst, had vouched for him, and he’d turned that on them. “Maybe it was better for them they spent all those years away from me.”

“Now, you’re just being stupid, and that’s not something you’re known for. Seriously, Grady, beating yourself up like this isn’t doing you or them any good. Cassie is worried for you. She wants to be sure that you are okay, that you’re not drowning here by yourself. Does that really sound like someone who is ready to leave you?”

Maybe she should, though. He couldn’t help the thought, even though he knew it was wrong. He pushed away from the wall, stooping to pick up the gloves on his way by.

“I’m not going to let anything happen to them,” he said. “No matter what else comes of it, I’ll never let him hurt them again.”

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Will Icarus be able to keep that promise? Will he figure things out and get off this vicious cycle already?

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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