Title: Book’em Piper
Series: Iron Badges #3, Iron Orchids #10
Series: Iron Badges #3, Iron Orchids #10
Author: Danielle Norman
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 8, 2019
I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, an area that even the cops avoided.
The only light in my dark, was the boy next door. He was my hero.
And I was his Sunshine, at least that is what he called me.
Liam Kane wasn’t just my neighbor, he was my first and only crush.
He looked after me when I couldn’t look after myself.
When he disappeared my life returned to an endless grey.
Now after all these years we’re face to face.
But we’re standing on opposite sides of the law.
He’s a part of the Heretics MC and I’m a deputy.
I’m all grown up and more than capable of handling myself.
But I dream about Liam’s capable hands.
Everything has changed… except my feelings for him.
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“Keep talking there, Twinkletoes, I’ll marry your dad and make you my stepchild.” I glared at three teenage girls who were destined to grow-up and be a drain on some man’s wallet as they walked past me on their way to the yellow Volkswagen Beetle.
“God, how manly.”
“I bet she’s single.”
“Hasn’t she ever heard of makeup?”
But seriously, what was up with teenagers these days? I was a fucking deputy in a fucking uniform and they still had the audacity to give me attitude.
“If I ever say, that I want to be a cop, shoot me, will you?” One of the girls asked her friends.
“They won’t have to, I’ll do it for them,” I said in a low whisper. The entire time they were cataloging my flaws and their disdain for my job, I was straddling my sheriff’s motorcycle, while parked in a convenience store’s parking lot. The owner had been having problems with teenagers coming in after school harassing his patrons. Case and point.
A loud wolf whistle pierced the air, and I turned to find a boy hanging out of a truck. I rolled my eyes as the girls started to giggle.
“Oh my god, Devin just whistled at you,” one of the girls said.
“I can’t believe it, does that mean he thinks I’m pretty?”
“Oh, Breezy, of course it does. You’re so pretty,” her friends reassured her.
“You really think so? I need to lose weight . . .”
I smiled as I watched her twirl one loose strand around a finger. The only thing missing was her blowing a giant wad of bubble gum. It was all a little too cliché for me.
The boys in the truck pulled out and the girls got into their car and chased them. In their pursuit they plowed through an intersection ignoring a stop sign and cutting off several cars.
I rolled my eyes. Fuck.
Nothing beat the feeling of twisting the throttle, the sun beating down on my back, or the vibration between my legs. Holy shit, I couldn’t believe that I just thought that, but it was true. There was just something about being on a Harley, and I was one of the lucky few who got to ride to my heart’s content since I not only rode for fun but also rode for work.
Okay, one thing beat all of that—the adrenaline rush I got every time I flipped on my lights, which I did a second before I went after the pale yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Some days, karma was a bitch and others she was your best friend, kind of like today. Yeah, Karma and I, we go way back.
“Well, hello, ladies, it seems that you were in a hurry.” I slightly lowered my sunglasses and smirked at three stunned teenagers. “I’m going to need to see your license and registration.”
“I can’t get a ticket; I’ll be grounded from my car.”
“You probably should have thought about that before you blew threw the stop sign and cut off those other vehicles.”
“But we came out of the parking lot and turned right. The stop sign is, like, right there, she already stopped and checked when she came out,” the blonde explained, obviously acting as the leader of the pack from the passenger seat.
“Number one, that doesn’t matter. You have to stop at every stop sign. Number two, you didn’t stop at the one in the parking lot either.”
“Just give me the ticket.” The driver turned to her friends. “I’ll just pay it before anyone knows.”
“I’m actually writing you for two different tickets for failure to come to a complete stop as well as reckless driving since you cut off those other cars.” I glanced down at the registration I held in my hands. “Oh, this isn’t your name on the title of the car.”
“No, it’s my dad’s. He gave me the car for my birthday.”
“I’m going to have to call your parents since it is in his name.” I glanced down at her driver’s license and bit back a scoff. Breezy Kidd, yes, that was her fucking name, no shit.
“You can’t do that,” the girl in the passenger seat demanded. “This is harassment. You are harassing us.”
I leaned down so I was at eye level. “What’s your name?”
“I don’t have to tell you.”
“Umm, actually you do. All three of you have to hand your IDs over to me.”
The one girl in the back seat complied and passed hers forward, but the girl in the passenger seat was on my last nerve. “I don’t have it with me.”
“Here’s the issue. Your friend Breezy is eighteen and has committed enough traffic violations that I can write her up for illegal right hand turn, failure to yield right away, careless driving, illegal lane change, and reckless driving, which is criminal, requires her attendance in front of a judge, and can cause her car to be impounded. So, either you comply with the law or the law will not be in your favor.”
Breezy jerked her head and stared at the passenger. “Hand over your license.”
“I’d listen to your friend. Because if the car is impounded, I’m going to have to call a squad car to come get you until you present your ID. We need to make sure you don’t have any warrants or that you aren’t a minor.” Finally getting through to her, she grabbed her license from her bag and handed it to me. I looked at the name. Brittany. Why wasn’t I shocked? “Now I’ll start with you, give me your parent’s phone number,” I said to the driver. She called her dad and was instantly in tears. Clearly, she knew how to play him. The girl in the back seat, Mikayla, who’d been the quietest, called her mom, had tears in her eyes, and even apologized to me . . . there was hope for the future yet. Brittany called her mom, and it was clear that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
“Mom, Breezey got pulled over. Some female cop.” The girl paused, and it didn’t take Neil Fucking Armstrong to figure out that they were bashing me. “Yeah, probably, she looks like she was probably checking us out. You’re right, that’s probably why she pulled us over. Okay. Love you too, bye.”
When all three were done, I’d written Breezy a ticket with three different citations, and then I let them go. And whoever said that being cop wasn’t fun?
It was close to quitting time, so I eased into traffic and headed back toward the stations, but before I got far, my radio crackled with an incoming a call.
“Orange County, Commercial, Signal twenty-nine, Alpha, 441 and Waterbridge.”
I wanted to get home as much as the next person, but I was only two blocks away, and as much as I hated it, this was part of my job too.
“Thirteen-seventeen, reference signal twenty-nine commercial alpha, I’m nearby. Assign it to me.”
“Orange County copies, seventeen thirty-three. Alarm, Hampton Storage, monitoring company has tried to get in contact with the property owner. Internal motion sensor has not been triggered.”
“Ten ninety-seven.” I stopped talking after giving dispatch the code that told them I was on scene. I dismounted my bike and checked the doors to the main building, which were all locked. I pulled a card out of my pocket and stuck it through the mail slot, proof that I was here and checked. The sign said that they closed at six PM, and since it was ten of six, my guess was that someone cut out early today.
With nothing of note happening out front, I got back on my bike and slowly drove around toward the back. The alarm was still blaring as I rounded the corner to find the back gates wide open and two men on Harleys parked in front of a closed unit.
Even from forty yards away, I could tell that the men were wearing cuts and not just any cuts, they were members of the Heretics. Orlando had several biker gangs, many being one percenters. Most of them lived by the rule: leave us the fuck alone and we will leave you the fuck alone. But not the Heretics. Nope, they were the bullies. The I-want-to-start-a-fight-just-because-I-can type. The type of gang that will kick someone’s ass because they thought it made them look big. When they were done, their victims were seldom left breathing.
So, I stayed where I was and called into dispatch.
“Thirteen-seventeen, ten fifty-six, Hamptons Storage on Waterbridge, signal forty-four, expedite, multiple subjects, known signal zero.” That sounded good, I needed backup because they were people who were known to be armed and dangerous.
Retreating wasn’t an option, I was a deputy, this was my job, and the last thing I wanted was to turn my back on known killers.
At that moment, I wished for a car full of snotty teenagers over these guys, I could handle them. I said a prayer for backup to be nearby and that they would hurry, and I had just finished it about the same time the subjects turned in my direction. I could feel their eyes boring into me. Chills went down my spine, and I flipped my snap on my holster to give my fingers something to do, my heart thumping as the two riders rode over to me.
They were night and day, the one on the left looked like Hollywood’s version of scary biker dude. His cut read Sergeant at Arms, Bladder.
What kind of name was Bladder? He was of medium build, had a beard that could double as a rat’s nest, chains that hung from his pockets to his belt loops, and his face was . . . well . . . all I could do was hear Ham’s voice from The Sandlot. “You know, if my dog were as ugly as you, I’d shave his butt and tell him to walk backwards.”
The other guy also had a beard, but his was what they called a groomed beard—like he actually gave a damn if crumbs fell onto his face. He probably weighed two hundred pounds, and his cut read Candy. I would never understand where bikers get their names. He was on his bike, so I had to take that into account, but I would put him at least six feet.
As I continued my mental catalog, I took in his dirty-blond hair, his muscular arms. I studied the shaped of his face, sloping nose, hooded eyes, and then froze when I locked on to hazel eyes. Eyes that I still saw in my dreams. My eyes darted to his upper lip, and I caught myself before I could lean forward, not to touch him but to get a closer look at the scar there, it wasn’t as pronounced as the one Liam had when we were kids, but that was normal, scars faded over time, right?
It was as if I was eight years old again and he had been reading me Harry Potter. He’d taken me to the park and we both picked sticks to make into wands. When we got back to his house, he’d grabbed a pocketknife and had attempted to carve my name into my “wand.” When he tried to smooth the edges, he pulled back on the blade and lost control and cut his lip. He ended up getting stitches.
It wasn’t long after that when he left during the night without saying goodbye, but I knew this was him.
“Liam?” I asked.
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Before becoming a romance writer, Danielle was a body double for Heidi Klum and a backup singer for Adele. Now, she spends her days trying to play keep away from Theo James who won’t stop calling her or asking her out.
And all of this happens before she wakes up and faces reality where in fact she is a 50 something mom with grown kids, she’s been married longer than Theo’s been alive, and now get her kicks riding a Harley.
As far as her body, she can thank, Ben & Jerry’s for that as well as gravity and vodka. But she says that she could never be Adele’s backup since she never stops saying the F-word long enough to actually sing.
Danielle writes about kickass women with even better shoes and the men that try to tame them (silly silly men).