Fallen crest home, p.13
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       Fallen Crest Home, p.13

         Part #6 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan
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  I matched his grin. “I have an idea where it is.”

  He leaned forward, held his beer up, and clinked it with mine. “Well, then, let’s add burglary to our resume. Lord knows we don’t have enough bad shit on there.”

  I leaned back, taking a long drag from my beer. “It’s nice to have you back.”

  He held my gaze. “It’s nice to be back.”

  Matteo was great to have around. He’d helped in that fight, but he wasn’t Nate, and he wasn’t Logan. He wasn’t the guy I asked to do something illegal if it meant helping out someone I loved. And I wasn’t doing this for my father. I was doing this for Sam. If Becky was back in her life, then Adam was, too. And I didn’t care how much in love he claimed to be. If he’d had a hard-on for Sam in high school, it’d come back around again.

  I wanted something on the son of a bitch if that happened.

  “When do we go?” Nate asked. He looked like he might be ready now.

  I finished my beer and tossed the empty bottle in the bonfire cage. “When Logan gets back.”

  The next day, Petey eyed me our entire shift. After the thirtieth stare, I put down the washcloth I’d been using on the counter and turned around. “What?”

  “What?” He jumped back. He’d been two feet from me.

  “Either Keifer told you to keep an eye on me and you took that in the literal sense, or you want to say something. What is it?”

  “Why are you here?”

  I frowned. “What do you mean?”

  “Your boyfriend is Mason Kade. Even I’ve heard about his football reputation, and he’s here, working some rich internship for his daddy.” He pointed at me. “And I heard what he said about you. You don’t need this job, but you don’t act like one of those rich, stuck-up bitches. Why are you here?”

  “Because I needed a job.”

  He moved forward, leaning against the counter next to me. “But that’s the thing.” He turned to rest his back against the counter so he could watch the beer garden and me at the same time. “I asked around. You usually work with your best friend at Manny’s. You’re not there this summer.”

  “What do you want me to say?”

  “The truth?”

  I paused, checking to see if that was sarcastic. It wasn’t. “Besides wanting to do something else, Heather’s boyfriend is involved in underground fighting. Some of Mason’s enemies are, too, and word would get out if I was working at Manny’s. They could find me there.”

  “That Caldron guy and his goons?”

  I nodded.

  “But they already know you’re here.”

  “They aren’t Mason’s only enemies.”

  “Why are you paying for what he did?”

  I shook my head. “I’m not paying for it. They could hurt me to get to Mason.”

  “They’re pussies then.”

  “That Caldron guy is mad because I helped put his best friend in prison. He would’ve raped someone if I hadn’t.” I left out the part where Mason had orchestrated the whole situation so someone else was in that predicament, not me.

  “File a restraining order.”

  “What?”

  A group of bikers came up to the counter. Our conversation paused until their orders were filled and they moved to sit at one of the picnic tables.

  Petey jumped up on the counter next to me, swinging his legs. “If someone’s trying to hurt you, why don’t you go the legal route? Me?” He touched his chest. “No way. We don’t work that way here, but you could. I’m not getting why you don’t.”

  I shrugged, feeling that same damned tightness in my chest again. “We’ve always taken care of our problems ourselves.”

  “Except the time you got that guy’s best friend put in prison?”

  “Except that time.”

  A slow grin stretched on his face, and he nodded, approving. “I think you guys are carnies at heart.”

  “What?”

  “Carnies at heart. We deal with our own. That’s how you guys operate.”

  I shrugged. “You haven’t even met Logan yet.”

  “Who’s he?”

  I opened my mouth, but how could I possibly explain? He had no idea. I just smiled instead.

  MASON

  “What are we doing?”

  “Sshhh!” Both Matteo and Nate replied to Adam’s question. I was in the driver’s seat, and I kept my eyes on the road, but I knew Nate had twisted around. I could only imagine Matteo delivering his own glare next to Adam in the backseat.

  The answer to his question wasn’t going to grab a burger, which is what I’d told him when we left the country club. Nate and Matteo had arrived, ready for our first errand, and we’d been leaving under the guise of going to get food when Adam decided a burger sounded good to him, too. Hence the uninvited guest.

  “You know that guy who attacked Sam at the carnival?”

  “Yeah.” His answer was slow, cautious.

  “We’re dealing with him.”

  “What?” He jerked upright, grabbing my seat. “What do you mean ‘dealing with’?”

  Nate twisted around again. “What do you think we mean?”

  “I don’t know.” Adam sat back, his eyes darting all over the car.

  “We’re not going to kill him or anything,” Matteo said.

  There was silence for a beat.

  “You’re new to this group,” Adam said.

  Nate barked out a laugh. “And you’re not? You weren’t even invited, Quinn.”

  “I was told you were going for a burger, not about to commit a crime.”

  “You’re right.” I positioned the rearview mirror so I could see him. “Next time we’re about to make a drop on some guy, I’ll make sure to lead with that. And again, you weren’t invited, Quinn.”

  “Maybe next time let me know that.” He sat back in a huff.

  I fought against rolling my eyes. “Fucking relax, okay? We’re not going to do anything illegal. We’re just going to try to find out where this guy works and lives. That’s all.”

  “And Mason didn’t fight you coming, because this guy would’ve hurt your fiancée, too,” Nate added. “Another day, another night, another place, she could’ve been caught up in this mess as much as Sam.”

  “Yeah, but Sam—”

  I stopped at an intersection and looked in the mirror at him. “What?” I had a hunch what he was going to say, but I wanted him to say it.

  He clamped his mouth shut, literally squirming in the backseat.

  “Remember you have some balls,” I told him. “Finish what you were going to say.”

  He looked away, his jaw clenching. “I was going to say that Sam’s in this because of you. Becky wouldn’t be put in this situation. Driving around and finding where this guy lives and works isn’t something I would be doing.”

  “You’re right.” The light turned green, and I moved forward. “You’d have your daddy find all the answers and deal with it himself.”

  “I wouldn’t.” His gaze jumped back to mine.

  I raised an eyebrow. “You sure?”

  I felt Nate watching me. There’d been a few occasions when I was forced to go to my own father, but this wasn’t one of them. I wanted to deal with Caldron on my own.

  Adam shrugged, turning back to look out the window. “I don’t put my women in jeopardy. That’s what I do.”

  I stopped the vehicle and had Adam outside in two seconds flat. He was up against the Escalade, my hand to his throat, before any of us comprehended what I’d just done. Even I blinked a few times before I realized it.

  Nate pulled me off, pushing me a few feet away while Matteo stepped in front of Adam, a hand to his shoulder like he was holding him back. Adam didn’t move, though. He only stood there, a dazed look on his face. When he finally realized what had happened, he surged forward.

  Matteo held him back easily, grunting, “Dude. Chill. You’d get your ass wiped, and you know it.”

  “What the fuck?” Adam yelled around Matte
o.

  My blood was pumping, and I started for him without thinking. Nate shouldered me back, saying under his breath, “Mason, calm down.”

  “He’s blaming me for Sam.”

  “And he’s right.”

  “What?” I turned on Nate, but he was right and even as I registered that, I felt a pit in my stomach. “That fucker is right.”

  He pushed me farther away, far enough so we could talk without Quinn overhearing. “Stop it. I know you’re feeling guilty right now, but it’s whatever. You are who you are. Sam knew that before she fell in love with you.”

  “But Taylor…”

  “And Taylor knew who Logan was before she fell for him, too.” He clapped me on the shoulder. “You guys don’t like to get pushed around. It is what it is. Don’t let some asshole like Quinn get in your head. He might not put his girl in danger, but you know what he does do? He cheats. He’s not this perfect do-gooder like he’s acting. He’s just another slick business guy like his dad, and some of those guys cheat on their wives. He’s going to hurt his woman in ways that Sam will never even think about. He went after Sam for upsetting Becky. He got involved in girl business. You wouldn’t do that.”

  “I got involved when Kate was going after Sam.”

  “Because that was your ex targeting your woman. Not the same thing. He doesn’t have a relationship with Sam. They aren’t even friends.”

  I sighed. “I just want to find Caldron and beat the shit out of him.”

  “But you’re not going to.” Nate’s words were a statement, with just a hint of question.

  “No,” I told him. “We’re going to ask around, find out where he works and lives, and go from there.”

  “Then let’s do that.”

  “I was planning on heading to Channing’s bar before Quinn pissed me off.”

  “Get used to it. I assumed you brought him with to try to get close to him?”

  I nodded. “I could’ve told him to get lost, but yeah.”

  “You’re not thinking of being friends with him, are you?”

  “No, but if he’s around us, he’ll relax. We can get a better window into how he really is.” A guy shows you his real self when you push him out of his comfort zone. Nate was still looking at me weird. “What?”

  “What if it doesn’t work? What if we actually have to pretend to be friends with him?”

  I grinned and clapped him on the shoulder. “Then it’s your turn up to bat. There’s no way in hell he’ll buy that Logan or I suddenly want to be friends with him.”

  “What about Matteo?”

  “He won’t be here long enough, and the less dirt I can put on his hands, the better.” We watched the two. Matteo still had Quinn blocked and up against my Escalade. Quinn stuffed his hands in his pockets and glared at me.

  Nate shuddered. “Let’s just find something at that cabin. I don’t want to have to go through that.”

  “Come on.” We were only a block away. Locking my Escalade with the push of a button, I called, “Our first stop’s just over there. Follow us.”

  Channing’s bar was dark inside, lit with neon signs. Swanky and dirty somehow described the interior, and also the few guys bellied up to the bar. We’d passed some Harleys in the parking lot, but I already knew Channing’s bar had become a biker bar, so I wasn’t surprised to see the leather on each guy—top of the line stuff. They turned to watch us. I couldn’t blame them. We didn’t look much like them, with our preppy clothes, but they didn’t scare me.

  I nodded to the bartender. “Channing here?”

  She scanned us, her top lip curving in a sneer. “Who’s asking?”

  But Channing had already heard me. He came to his opened office door, which was set off to the side of the bar counter. “Ka—” He began, then seemed to remember who was in his bar and corrected himself. “Mason! What’s up?”

  “Can I talk to you?” I pointed to his office.

  “Sure. Yeah.” He turned to the bartender. “Ang, can you get the rest of the guys whatever they want? On the house.”

  Surprise lit her face. “Sure thing.”

  I followed him back into his office and leaned against the far wall as he closed the door. I opened my mouth to speak, but he held up a finger, hitting the switch on a large fan set in the corner. When the sound filled the room, I sat down in one of the chairs across from his desk. “So you don’t just use that when it gets hot in here?”

  He shook his head, taking his seat. “Those guys aren’t dumb out there. If they hear something that could help their club, they’ll use it.”

  “They’re one-percenters?” I didn’t mean the kind my dad was.

  “Yeah.”

  “Good to know.” They were the one percent of motorcycle clubs that did illegal shit.

  He leaned forward, resting his arms on his desk. “What are you doing here?”

  “I texted Brandon, asked him if you were at Manny’s.”

  “He said I wasn’t.”

  I nodded. “So I guessed you’d be here.”

  “Okay. What’s going on, though? Sam okay?”

  “Caldron saw Sam at the carnival. He tried to hurt her again.”

  “You serious?” He wiped his hand over his face. “Wait. Sam was at the carnival?”

  “Your girlfriend hasn’t told you? Sam and Mark got jobs there.”

  “What?” His eyebrows shot up. “Mark’s her stepbrother, right?”

  I nodded.

  “What the fuck is she doing working there?”

  I didn’t want to get into it, so I just said, “Change of scenery. It was mostly Mark’s idea, but that’s why I’m here. I need to know where Caldron works and his address.”

  “Oh.” He reached for a pen and paper. “That’s no problem. He lives on a place a few miles outside Roussou. It’s an abandoned farm, but his house is mostly known for partying and drugs.” He wrote down the address and slid it over to me. “And he works in Fallen Crest, actually.”

  “Where?”

  “For your dad, his landscaping business over there.”

  “You serious? My dad?”

  “Sure am. He comes here at night sometimes.” He pointed to his closed door. “And keep his name quiet when you leave the office. Those guys are sometimes his friends, other times his enemies, depending on whether he owes them money or not.”

  “Will do, but this just got a lot easier now that I know he works for my dad.”

  “You’re going to get him fired?”

 
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