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Mystery Man

By:Kristen Ashley

ey,” I whispered and his eyes went from over my shoulder, looking at Dog, to me and my whole body did a shiver.

Then his blue eyes did a body scan and it shivered again.

They locked on mine and his gravelly voice growled, “Hey.”

Another shiver.

Yowza!

“Tack, she’s cool. She’s with me,” Dog stated, my body did a lurch and I turned to him to see he was around the counter and heading my way.

“I am?” I asked and Dog’s gaze pinned me to the spot and said without words, “Shut the fuck up!”

I shut the fuck up and turned back to Biker Hottie.

“Sheila know about her?” Biker Hottie asked.

I turned to look at Dog who was standing next to me. “Sheila?”

“How many bitches you need?” Biker Hottie went on.

“She’s not my woman, brother, she’s a friend. She’s cool,” Dog answered.

“All right. So who is she?” Biker Hottie, otherwise known as Tack, pushed.

“Her name’s Gwen,” Dog answered, Tack looked at me and I froze.

Then I watched his lips move to form my name softly.

“Gwen.”

Another shiver.

I’d always kind of liked my name. I always thought it was pretty. Tack saying it made me freaking love it.

“So who are you, Gwen?” he asked me directly.

“I’m, um… a friend of Dog’s,” I told him.

“We established that, darlin’,” he informed me. “How do you know my boy here?”

“She’s Ginger’s sister,” Dog said quickly and Tack’s entire, powerfully built frame went wired instantly and it was so damned scary, I forgot how to breathe.

“Tell me she’s here to drop the money, brother,” Tack whispered in a voice that was equally as scary as the way he was holding his body, if not more.

“She and Ginger aren’t tight,” Dog explained. “Like I said, she’s cool. She’s good people.”

“She’s blood of the enemy, Dog,” Tack whispered.

Uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh.

I didn’t want to be blood of the enemy, not anyone’s enemy but especially not this guy’s enemy. He was hot but he was also freaking scary.

Time to sort things out, pronto.

I pulled my purse off my shoulder and tugged it open, muttering, “Ginger. A pain in my ass. A pain in my ass since the day she cut off all the hair on my Barbies. She was three. I was too old for Barbies but they were mine. She couldn’t leave them alone? What’s with cutting their hair?” I looked up at Dog and said, “I think that’s what psychos do. We should have known then. She’s three, wielding scissors and causing mayhem and heartbreak.” I kept blabbing as I dug in my purse, found my checkbook and then kept scrounging for a pen declaring, “She was always, always a bad seed.”

I yanked out my checkbook, flipped it open, clicked my pen smartly, put the point to the check and looked at Tack.

“All right, how much does she owe you?” I asked irately, not happy to be bailing Ginger out again, especially when money and angry bikers were involved.

It was at this point I noted that Tack was staring down at me and he wasn’t being scary anymore. He was looking like he wanted to laugh. It was a good look.

I didn’t want to see his good looks, not his expressions or the rest of it all over his face (and hair and tats and body). I wanted to go home, whip up a batch of cookie dough and eat it. All.

“Well?” I snapped.

“Two million, three hundred and fifty-seven thousand, one hundred and seven dollars,” Tack answered, I felt my jaw go slack, his white flash of a smile surrounded by his dark goatee dazedly hit some recess of my brain and he finished, “and twelve cents.”

“Oh my God,” I whispered.

Tack was still smiling when he dipped his head to my checkbook. “Think you can get that on one line, peaches?”

“Oh my God,” I repeated.

“You need mouth to mouth?” Tack asked, leaning in and I took a step back, clamped my mouth shut and shook my head. “Shame,” he muttered, leaning back.

“My sister owes you over two million dollars?” I whispered.

“Yep,” Tack replied.

“Over two million dollars?” I repeated, just to confirm.

“Yep,” Tack confirmed.

“You haven’t made an accountancy error?” I asked hopefully.

Tack’s smile got wider and whiter. Then he crossed his big, tattooed arms on his wide, ripped chest and shook his head.

“Perhaps this is foreign currency and you forgot. Pesos, maybe?” I suggested.

“Nope,” Tack returned.

“I don’t have that kind of money,” I told him something I was guessing he already knew.

“Sweet jacket, peaches, but I was guessin’ that,” he replied.

Well, the good news was, the tufts of fur didn’t turn him off. The bad news was, my sister owed him over two million dollars.

“I think it’ll take me awhile to raise that kind of cash,” I explained then finished, “maybe eternity.”

“Don’t got eternity to wait, darlin’,” he responded, still grinning so huge, if he burst out laughing it would not surprise me.

“I figured,” I muttered, clicked my pen, snapped shut my checkbook, shoved both in my purse and lost my mind.

I mean, I had reason to lose my mind and that reason had a name.

Ginger Penelope Kidd.

I looked up at Dog and demanded to know, “Why me? Why? Just innocently being born and seven years later, zap! God curses me with the sister from hell. Is it too much to ask for a sister who giggles with you and trades makeup secrets? Is it too much to ask for a sister who finds a great sale, calls you immediately but peruses the racks to stash great deals she knows would look hot on you so you’ll get a shot at them before anyone nabs them? Is it too much to ask for a sister who’ll come over and watch the modern Hawaii Five-O with you so you can both perv on Steve McGarrett and wish you had a Camaro? Is it? Is it?” I ended on a shout.

“Gwen, babe, think you should calm down,” Dog muttered and I could swear I could read on his face that he was wondering if he should knock me out for my own good.

“Calm?” I yelled. “Calm?” I yelled again. “She owes you guys over two million dollars. She cut the hair off my Barbies. She stole the lavalier my grandmother gave me on her deathbed and

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