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Warlords MC: Book 1 – Ace (Truman) : Chapter 1

Charli Bennett wiped off the table and was walking back to the waitress station when Andy grabbed her and pulled her onto his lap.

His three friends he had with him snickered, as Charli fought to get away from him.

“Aww babe, you know you want to be here, why do you fight me every time I grab you?” Andy cooed in her ear.

“If I wanted to be here, I would sit down on my own.” She gritted between her teeth. “I fight you every single time because I don’t want to be here, you idiot.”

Token laughed out loud at her announcement. Andy glared at the other man and Token choked on his laugh.

“Now sweet cheeks, that isn’t a nice thing to say.” Andy’s fingers tightened to the point, they became painful on her hips.

“Let me go, Andy.” She growled. “Or so help me…”

“So help you what, whore?” Andy sneered as he threw her off his lap onto the floor. He pushed her away with a swift kick to her thigh.

Charli turned her head and glared at him. She didn’t bother saying anything just picked herself up from the floor and went back to the kitchen.

The cook, Louis shook his head, “Girl, you are playing with fire rejecting him like that.”

“I hate that guy, I really hate him.” Charli shook her head.

“Anybody with a brain can see that girl.” Louis shook his head. “But you know Andy, he thinks he’s God’s gift to women and the more you fight him the more he’s bound to prove not even you can resist him.”

“No he thinks just because his daddy’s the mayor of this town he can do whatever he wants and get away with it. It’s been this way since high school.”

Louis shrugged. “You could do worse I guess. He’s got money and position in this town.”

Charli visibly shuddered. “I’d be better off dating Tank, at least he would treat me right.” Tank was the town drunk, about 50ish years old and he drank himself to oblivion every night. He lived in a little shack down by the river and always managed to get up and go to work the next morning and he wasn’t such a bad guy except he drank too much and very often forgot to take a bath.

“Don’t let him hear you say that shit,” Louis warned. “Tank’s not so bad. Andy will beat that man to death if he thinks you prefer him.”

“Hell Louis, I would rather go out with you and risk your little Mary’s wrath than go out with Andy Chapman.” She cooed as she wrapped her arms around the cook’s meaty belly.

Louis was a big man from tasting too much of his own cooking, but he was lovable and everyone in their little town knew he loved his little wife Mary. He would never cheat on her because she was the one woman in that place that loved him unconditionally. Louis stepped away from her quickly as he stared out into the diner. Sweat beaded on his forehead and she didn’t think it was from the heat of the grill. He turned to her with worried eyes. “Stay away from me Charli. Especially, when that fucker is watching ok? I don’t want to get fucked up.”

“I’m not his girl you know that right?” She glared at the cook. “I’m not his girl, I have never been his girl and I’ll be damned if he’s going to bully me into being his girl. He doesn’t even want me as his girl.”

“What the hell are you saying?” Louis frowned.

“He only wants me because I told him no. He’s been trying to get in my pants since I was fifteen years old. I’ve been telling him no for eight years now and I’m getting to the point where I hate repeating myself.” She looked over at the clock on the wall and it read nine p.m. Turning back to Louis she said, “You go ahead and go home to your Mary. I’ll lock up the diner after I boot these guys out.

Louis took off his apron and began turning off the grill. “Thanks sweetie. Business is kind of slow anyway tonight.”

“Leave me one burner on in case someone comes in before I leave at ten. It’s time for me to take out the trash.” She turned back to the diner to kick Andy and his friends out of the place. They both saw a single light pull into the diner. A motorcycle from the sound of it.

Louis put his apron back on. “I guess I might be staying for a while yet. I can’t leave you alone if a customer is wanting something to eat.”

Charli shrugged and walked back out to the diner just as the front door opened and a man in a long black duster jacket walked in. He was on the younger side, Charli thought he couldn’t be more than a year or so older then she was.

He was tall, well over six feet, maybe six four or close to it. His long dark hair was pulled back away from his face and held in place in a ponytail. He had rugged good looks that when he was a few years older would be stunning. His eyes were a mix of green and blue meaning one was green while the other one was blue.

He was solidly built not a sign of fat anywhere, this man was all muscle, bit not body builder type muscle. No, this man worked hard and as she stared at him for a moment, she had to wonder if he played hard as well?

She grabbed a glass of water and a menu then walked over to his table. The biker had taken off his jacket and folded it over the back of the chair next to him, but she could see his vest. Placing the water on his table, she gazed at the picture he made. She took him in and smiled. “Hi, my name is Charli, what can I get you to drink?”

He smiled at her. “How about some coffee? It’s a little cool out there on the road tonight and I could use something hot to warm me up?”

Charli grinned. “You got it.” As she turned to leave she said, “Nice vest you got there.”

The man smiled. “It’s called a cut, sweet thing.”

She winked as she turned to get his coffee. When she returned a moment later with the hot coffee, she took a better look at his ‘cut.’ He had a name stitched in red lettering on his left side that read, “Joker”

“So you’re a Joker?” she asked with a tiny grin on her face.

The man smiled. “Not really. My brothers started the War Lords MC after we all got out of the marines. Our last name is Bridges and we were nicknamed Spades when the oldest one went in the Special Forces. Or that was his company name anyway. We all took on the cards of the deck. I’m the youngest, so I’m the Joker.”

“How many brothers do you have?” she asked.

“There are five of us altogether. Ace is the oldest, then there’s King, and Jack and Deuce.”

“Wow,” she whispered. “Are they all as cute as you?”

Joker smiled. “Well, I am the youngest son, so of course I got all the looks in the family.”

She held out her hand, “Well Joker, my name is Charli. What can I get you to eat tonight?”

Joker held her hand for a moment then caught a movement behind her. “What’s with the guy at the other table? You his girl or something?”

Charli hadn’t looked at Andy once since this man came in. She shuddered. “Not a chance, in this lifetime or any other. Ignore him, I do, every chance I get.” She hesitated then admitted, “He’s probably pissed because now he has to leave me alone. He’s a bully but he knows you could take him unless his friends helped him. He’s a fucking coward if you ask anyone in town.”

“Why does he bully people?” Joker frowned slightly.

Charli took a deep breath “Cuz his daddy’s the Mayor and he runs this town. He’s got the money and the power. He thinks he’s hot shit.” She shrugged. “Me, I think he’s a little worm.”

“Those are the kind of men you keep your eyes on sweet thing. Little worms turn into snakes when you least expect them to,” he told her as he looked over the menu. Folding it up, he peered up at her and smiled. “I’ll make it easy on you. Just bring me a bacon cheeseburger and fries.”

Charli took the menu and winked at him. “You got it hot stuff.” She turned toward the kitchen.

Joker chuckled then caught the eye of the man sitting at the other table. His smiled faded as the two of them got into a staring contest. He could almost feel the hatred pulsing off the other man but Joker wasn’t scared of him.

He wasn’t here to start any kind of trouble, but he knew the other man didn’t know that. From the look in the other man’s eyes, he didn’t care either. Trouble was coming his way no matter what.

Joker thought about the real reason he was here. He was following a drug cartel and for every intent and purpose, he was brought here to this little town, Braaken Ridge. The next town over was Big Timber, maybe only about five miles away. But it was here in Braaken Ridge, he figured he’d find what he was looking for.

He brought out his phone and sent a text to his brother Truman. Truman was the President of their ‘club.’ His road name was Ace. He finished the text just as Charli was bringing his food out of the kitchen. She went around the counter and close to the only other table that was occupied in the diner and as she passed, the man glaring at her grabbed her.

Charli screamed as Andy pulled her back and she dropped the plate in her hand. “Let me go you fool!” she shouted.

She struggled to get free of his hold but Andy was pissed. “No you little whore, I won’t let you go. You don’t get to flirt with everyone else but me. You don’t get to ignore me without consequences. I’m tired of being the dirt on your shoe. You are gonna treat me the way I demand from now on.”

Charli fought with him the whole time. “I told you years ago I wanted nothing to do with you, motherfucker. You just don’t listen. You don’t give a rats’ ass about me and you know it.”

“Yeah, I know it but you see you never gave me the respect I demand either. You look at me like I was nothing in this town. Well, bitch, I am something, and I want respect from you and from everybody else.” He grabbed her face and turned her head to his. “Now, show me your respect, you little tease.” He lowered his mouth to hers and tried to kiss her but Charli bit his lower lip hard.

Andy screamed in pain and shoved her to the floor. His hand went to cover the blood running down his chin from her bite. He raised his foot as if he were going to stomp on her when he was tackled and thrown to the floor on the other side of the table.

“What the absolute fuck?” Andy shouted. The table was shoved out of the way, chairs were moved away as the other three men scattered to get free of the melee.

Charli scrambled to get away from the two men as well.

Breathing heavy, the two men stared at one another Andy on his back and Joker kneeling over him holding his collar .

Andy got to his knees as he waited for Joker to make his next move. Joker let Andy go and the two men got to their feet staring one another down.

Joker wasn’t even breathing heavy but he never lost eye contact with the man he faced. “Come on you fucking coward. You can’t mistreat a woman smaller than you, how about someone more your own size?”

“This ain’t none of your business, you fucking biker. Back off.” Andy growled. “She almost bit my lip off.”

“She should have bit your dick off,” Joker laughingly argued.

“Fuck you!” Andy screamed as he swung his fist at Joker. His face was red as his rage built up and he missed with the first punch. But his second and third swing caught Joker’s arm and jaw He hit the other man with the second and third punches but Joker also got in a couple good hits.

As the fight went on, Andy was losing ground quickly and he knew it. He screamed at his friends to get him.

Token came around the back side of Joker and Charli tripped him. Token hit the floor hard and he kicked out at her. His foot hit her in the belly and knocked her breath out. She was gasping for breath when Token and Banger got into place as he grabbed Joker’s hair and held it tight.

Andy came up to the other man. Wiping the blood from his face, he glared at Joker. “Not so big now are you motherfucker?” He sneered. Blood was running down his face from the cut above his right eye and the broken nose Joker had given him. His right eye was black and swollen and he had a bruise on his left jaw.

“Yeah well, I don’t need three other boys to get the better of you. I was doing just fine all on my own.” Joker snarled.

Andy lost what little control he had left at the other man’s statement. Reaching into his pocket, he brought out the switchblade he always carried. Flicking open the blade, Charli got up and shouted, “Don’t hurt him Andy, you don’t need to hurt him!”

Andy slowly turned his head to glare at her, “No bitch I don’t need to hurt him, I need to kill him. I need to kill this motherfucker to send a message to you and everyone in this town not to mess with me.” He turned back to Joker and said, “Go to hell and burn in hell’s fire.” With that, he stabbed the other man in the belly four times. Each stab was hard and lethal.

Joker fell after the third strike, first to his knees but Token and Bangor and Chewy still held him up as much as they could. They were shocked at Andy’s actions almost as much as Andy himself was. He stopped at the fourth strike as gazed up at his friends. The rage seemed to fall away and he looked almost sick at the sight of the blood staining his hands.

“What the hell did you just do?” Token whispered in the silence that followed the incident. “What the hell did you get us involved in?”

“You just murdered that man.” Bangor was shocked. He always knew Andy was a little cray cray but he never expected this.

“I am outta here.” Chewy let go of Joker and charged toward the door.

Token and Bangor were right behind him.

Andy dropped the knife and turned his head to Charli who was looking shocked, staring down at the man bleeding on the floor. “If you tell anyone what went down here tonight, I will hunt you down and I will kill you and your grandfather, you hear me bitch?” He grabbed her jaw with his bloody hands and glared into her eyes. “I said… you do you hear me bitch?”

“Go to hell Andy Chapman,” she whispered. “Karma’s gonna bitch slap you so hard, you’ll wish you’d never been born and I hope I’m there to see it happen.”

Andy tightened his lips and his fingers not caring that he was leaving bruises on her face. He raised his fist and slapped her with it upside her head. Charli reeled from the blow but he held her upright. Andy pushed her away from him and turned to stomp out the door. She heard him squeal out of the parking lot, but she paid him no mind.

She fell down on the floor, half from the blow to her head and half from fear of what she would find when she crawled over to the man on the floor when she pulled Joker into her lap. His eyes were open and he winced at the pain he felt. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered as she brushed the fallen hair away from his face.

“You didn’t do this…” Joker tried to tell her.

“You are my hero and you didn’t deserve this.” She blubbered as tears spilled over her cheeks.

Joker lifted his hand to his neck. He pulled at the necklace he wore and once it was loose, he handed it to her. “When my brothers come for me and they will, I want you to give them this and tell them what happened to me. They will take care of the rest and they will get revenge for my death. I want you to give my bike to my brother Ace.”

Charli nodded. “I’ll take care of you.”

Joker closed his eyes for a moment then he opened them and looked at her, “Tell my brothers I love them all and to fight the good fight. Tell them I went down fighting. That I found Alex’s killer and he killed me. They’ll know what that means.”

Charli watched as his breathing faded to nothing and he closed his eyes for the last time. She held him close to her and sobbed her heart out. A little while later, Louis knelt down beside her and wrapped his arms around her.

Charli straightened her back and swung her gaze to him. “Will you help me get him out of here?”

Louis nodded and assisted her to drag Joker’s body out of the diner to her truck. They struggled to get him inside then they loaded his bike up in the back of her truck.

Then Louis told her he was going home. He wished her good luck and to watch out for Andy.

“You be careful too. Andy knows you were there tonight,” she reminded him.

“Yeah, but I didn’t see what actually went down,” Louis admitted. “I didn’t see it and I don’t want to know.”

“I’ll clean up the mess inside and lock up.”

“You be careful.” Louis nodded. “I think I’ll take a vacation starting tomorrow. Mary has never been to the west coast before and I might just take her to see the ocean before summer gets here.”

“You take care.” Charli nodded. She watched Louis take off then went back inside the diner. She cleaned up the mess left behind and straightened the tables and chairs. She looked around the diner before she went to snap off the lights and lock the front door. Then she caught the glint from the camera hiding in the light fixture.

Snapping her fingers, she went back to the office and grabbed the DVD that held a tape of what had gone down tonight. She slid it into her pocket and rushed out of the diner.

The darkness hid her escape and she drove all the way home with white knuckles. When she got to her grandfather’s farm, she shut off the lights and drove down behind the barn. She sat there for a moment then remembered a place on the farm that was special to her. It would be a fitting place to bury her hero. She went inside the barn and got a shovel and a tarp.

Then she drove to a place that meant something to her. Parking her truck near the old oak tree, she turned her lights on and got out of the truck.

She grabbed the shovel and began digging the hole. It took her most of the night but just before dawn, she was finished. Taking the tarp out of the back of the truck, she went to pull Joker’s body out and screamed as she looked at his face. His eyes were open and looking back at her.

“Hero?” she whispered.

Joker winced. “If this is heaven why does it hurt so much?” He tried to move but the cramped back seat of the truck didn’t allow him much room.

“I thought you were dead?” she whispered.

“I thought I was too, sweet thing,” he whispered hoarsely. “But apparently, it’s not my time to go just yet.”

She reached out as if to touch him but something held her back. “How are you still alive?”

“I’m not sure but I won’t be much longer. I’m bleeding something fierce.”

“Let me get you home and I can take care of you.” She slammed the door shut and rushed over to the driver’s door. Jumping behind the wheel, she drove slowly away from her special place. The road back was bumpy and she heard Joker groan on more than one occasion but she couldn’t help it. A few minutes later, she pulled into a spot inside the barn. Turning in her seat she told him, “I can’t take you in the house, my grandfather would never understand and Andy could find you there. But I can put you in here. I hope you don’t mind?”

Joker shook his head. “Just get me out of this damn truck.”

Charli got out of the driver’s seat and rushed around the back of the truck. Opening the back door, she helped get him out, then she had to hold him steady while he got his feet.

His legs were weak and he leaned on her while she helped him up the stairs to the second floor.

She had kind of her own place up here. This had been her spot ever since she’d come here so long ago. Her grandfather had made over this place for her so she would have a spot where she could go when she needed some alone time. It would be the perfect place to hide Joker while he recovered.

She helped him over to the single mattress and helped him lay down on it, Opening his shirt, she noted that his wounds had started bleeding again. She looked up at him. “We need to get your shirt off, so I can clean you up and dress your wounds. They’re bleeding again.”

Joker nodded and looked around her place. “Is anyone going to find me here?”

She shook her head. “They shouldn’t. It’s just me and grandpa and he can’t leave the house anymore.”

“Ok.” He winced again as she helped him pull off his cut and t-shirt. Then he flopped down on the mattress and closed his eyes.

“I’ll be right back.” She scrambled down the steps again. Running to her truck, she grabbed the huge first aid kit she had in the back and rushed back to her hero. She opened the case and began working on his wounds.

Joker didn’t move as she cleaned then checked the stab wounds Andy had given him.

She looked at his face and was almost glad he had passed out on her again. She grabbed the needle and suture kit. When she was done, she’d given him ten stitches altogether.

She drenched his belly with antiseptic and covered his wounds. Then she gathered all the bloody dressing and tidied the area. Going to the chest in the corner of her place, she grabbed a clean blanket. Draping his upper body with it, she sat beside him for a long time.

When she knew he wouldn’t wake up again, so she readied one more thing. She had to give him something to combat any infection he might get. She prepared the syringe and turning him on his side, she loosened his pants just enough to get to his upper hip and plunged the needle deep into his muscle.

Joker groaned but didn’t wake up. Making sure he was well covered, she went back down to her truck and grabbed a bottle of water she always kept there. Returning to the upper floor, she set the water next to him.

She couldn’t help herself as she felt fresh tears wet her cheeks. No one had ever stood up for her before and this man, this stranger almost died because he did. Without realizing it, her tears washed the dirt of her efforts away. “You are and always will be my hero. I know this place isn’t where you need to be right now, but it’s the best I can do. I grew up on this farm after I lost my Mom and Dad. Grandpa wanted me to have a place of my own where I could go and just remember who I really was. Whenever I was sad or lonely, I would come here or go to my tree I was going to bury you under to listen to the quiet and just talk to them. I used to pretend they could hear me. I am so sorry you got pulled into this mess otherwise known as Andy. He’s done a lot of things wrong but I never thought he would almost kill a man. If your brothers come looking for you I will tell them what happened. Andy won’t get away with what he did tonight. I swear to you he won’t. I just hope you don’t mind being in hiding here. I can’t let him find you. I just hope your brothers come soon.”

She took the necklace he’d given her earlier and put it over her head. It was a braided leather chain that held a capsule and inside the capsule looked to be a small lead piece. She didn’t know what it meant but it had been important to Joker.

She looked over at her truck and saw his shiny bike in the back. “Oh! I need to hide your bike too. I’ll come check on you in the morning before I go to work. I can’t tell my grandpa about you though. He just wouldn’t understand. I hope you don’t mind.”

She got wearily to her feet and went down to her truck. Loading the bike with Louis’s help was a heck of a lot easier than trying to get it off the truck alone but she managed it. Pulling it over to the tack room underneath where Joker laid, she covered it with a tarp. She opened the driver’s door and as she stepped up into the driver’s seat, her eyes fell on the coat sitting on the passenger seat.

It was the black duster jacket Joker had worn into the diner last night. She reached out and brushed the soft material. It really was a nice coat. She prayed when his brothers showed up they would at least listen before they reacted.

She groaned as started her truck. She was sore, dirty and covered in an injured man’s blood. She knew her grandfather Ben would never understand. He also wouldn’t let her run. He always said you stand and fight for what you know is right. But this was one fight she might not win, but she was going to try like hell.

She only hoped Joker’s brothers came before she ran into Andy again, or they might never know what happened to him, as she felt sure he would get rid of the both of them.



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