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Warlords MC: Book 1 – Ace (Truman) : Chapter 14

Charli watched the sun go down. She sat at the living room window looking out into the woods. She hadn’t said a word to anyone since she got back from the shed.

Ace and King left for a little while and when they returned there were more brothers with them.

Deuce, Jack and Joker were looking over some maps that showed the land around the town of Braaken’s Ridge along with Big Timber.

 Joker looked over at Charli and grumbled, “We can’t find anything. Can you give us a little help here?”

Charli sighed deeply. Getting to her feet, she walked over to where the map was and twisted it around to look at it. “What are you looking for anyway?”

“The building Andy’s using,” Joker told her. “It isn’t on the map.”

Charli’s laughter rang out. “Do you guys have any idea how old this map is?”

“Well, how the hell are we supposed to do this unless we know where we’re going?” King grumbled as he walked over to the table. With an irritated sounding grunt, he swept the map book off the tabletop.

Charli bent over and picked up the map book. She glared at him. “You got your brother’s temper don’t you?” she asked but didn’t look at him for an answer as she sat down and began studying it then picked up a pencil to mark the locations of several places on the maps. Turning the book around, she pointed out the different places she’d marked to Deuce and Joker who had been trying to make heads or tails of the thing.

“This is where we are right now.” She pointed to one spot. Then she followed an imaginary line to the next spot. “This is the building Andy is using.” She looked up at Joker. “The basement of the building leads into a series of underground caves. That’s the tunnel Token was talking about. Grandpa told me about them when I was a kid. He made me swear to never go down there because the land wasn’t stable in the tunnels.”

“Do the tunnels come out somewhere we can access them above ground?” Deuce asked.

Charli nodded and studied the map again to determine where the tunnels came out. Then she pointed out a cave at the base of the hill in the southwest corner of her grandfather’s property. “This is where the tunnels come out at. Grandpa and Evan always said it didn’t make sense to them. Like why the start of the tunnels would be on his property and the opening would be on grandpa’s land but they couldn’t argue with the secrets the land had. It just was that way. Now I don’t know if Andy ever went all the way through the tunnels or not but there’s a cave in the hillside that hides the opening to the tunnels.”

“Can we get in there through the cave?” Jack wanted to know.

Charli shrugged. “I’ve never been down there as Grandpa told me to stay away from there, so I don’t really know for sure but I would imagine.”

“So where were you going to stay to avoid Andy finding you once you begin this ambush on him?” Ace asked. “You mentioned earlier that Andy would have to find you first. You also said you wouldn’t be here or at the house.”

Charli looked at the map again and found what she was looking for. Turning the map around the other way this time, she pointed to a place not far away from where they were right now. “Here is another set of tunnels. It’s fortified with timbers. Actually, it’s an old mine. Back a hundred years ago, my great-great grandfather thought it might be a gold mine and he opened it up but he never found any gold.”

“Is there room enough for all of us to stay there?”

Charli paused to stare at him, then she nodded. “Grandpa had been stocking it with fresh water and provisions for a while now. He thought the day might come when we would have to hide from trouble. He wanted me to have a safe place if trouble ever came to Braaken’s Ridge.”

“Did you ever have to use it before?” Joker asked.

Charli nodded. “Yeah, we did. About a year after my parents died, we stayed there for a couple of months. Grandpa found out the family that killed my parents were looking for me to end the Bennett line and he wasn’t going to lose me to them. Most people never knew or they have forgotten about the old mine altogether.”

“Is that why you have a headstone in the family cemetery?” King asked. “I saw it there this morning.”

Charli nodded. “Yes, that’s why. They told everyone at the time that I died of pneumonia the first year I lived with them. They kept me out of school and homeschooled me for several years. Then I showed up on the local radar and they told everyone I was a child of a friend of theirs. I couldn’t tell people who I really was and everyone knew me back then as Charlotte Morgan not Charli Bennett.” She shrugged. “It wasn’t until years later when I started high school that grandpa found out the other family was gone. They had gotten in trouble with the law and to avoid getting put in prison, they escaped to Canada. From there, they went back to Italy and disappeared completely.”

“So you became Charli Bennett again after that?” Joker asked.

Charli nodded. “No one around here really knows the whole story anyway. I was always proud of who I was, so I went back to my own name.”

“Ok, so what’s your plan for the building tonight?” Ace asked.

“I think we should go through the tunnels and take his inventory. We can destroy it without him being the wiser. He won’t know until he goes down into that basement room to get the goods and it’ll be gone. It will piss him off but we’ll be in the clear while we take down the old Mill.”

“Do you think you can trust Token’s word for any of this?” Ace asked.

“I guess we’ll know when we get there won’t we?” Charli shrugged. Looking toward the window, she took note of the shadows the night brought on. “I’m leaving soon.”

“Not alone, you’re not,” Joker told her. “I’m going with you.”

“If you insist on this, there’s somewhere else I’d rather you were,” Charli told him. “Do you remember where you met me this morning?”

“The tree stand?” Joker frowned.

Charli nodded. “The tree stand. You can be lookout.” She got to her feet, went over to her cache of weapons and picked up a pair of binoculars. “These are night vision. You can watch for Andy or any other little surprise visitors.”

“How do I let you know if someone is around? I can’t exactly call you, there’s spotty cell service this far out.”

Charli smiled. Picking up a set of walkie talkies, she handed him one and she took the other one. “These are military grade, they’ll reach the underground tunnels. I’ve used them before.”

“How the hell did you get your hands on these?” Ace grumbled. “These are the best ones out there.”

“I have a friend.” She almost smiled at him but not quite as she began getting her weapons ready. She attached a fanny pack that she filled with lighter fluid and matches and a small flashlight. Strapping on a holster, she loaded twin handguns, one on either side of her hips. She slung a rifle across her back and a small handheld cross bow on her belt. Then she added several small blades to her arsenal.

She was already dressed in jeans and long sleeve dark shirt but she pulled on a skull cap and tucked her braided hair up into it.

All the guys there watched her in an almost awed silence as this little female loaded up like Rambo.

 Then Ace spoke, “What if we hit both places at the same time?”

Charli frowned and looked over at him. “What are you suggesting?”

“I’m saying we break into two teams, you take one team and hit the building. I’ll take the other team and see if what Token told us about the old Mill is true. If it is being used as a lab, I can destroy it and meet you back at the mine. Poof…little Andy is completely out of business in one night.”

“Hell, we could split into three teams and the third team could go to the old man’s office and gather intel or evidence of what’s really going on in this town,” King suggested. “The question is how do we get the evidence to the people once we find it?”

“We have to find it first,” Charli told them. “Then you can leave that to me. I know what to do with it. If that’s the new plan then whoever goes to Oliver’s office make sure you find out who he’s paying to keep his secrets a secret. I need a list of names and what they sold their souls to him for. This is still a small town with small town values.”

King nodded as he tucked small empty metal container for papers into his pack.

Then Ace and his brothers got ready as well.

 They divided whatever weapons were left between them and then they also gathered the weapons they had brought along.

 Ace pocketed a few sticks of dynamite in his own pack and then he motioned for her to lead the way.

They looked at the map once more and Charli suggested they use her truck, as it would be quieter than their bikes.

Ace took three men with him on their bikes to town and King took three men, leaving the majority of the men with Charli. They all decided 3 men would go to the main road and keep an eye out for any newcomers to the area, as they knew Andy might have called in reinforcements after Token was taken.

When they reached a certain point down the road, Charli stopped and pointed to the hillside. “The cave for the gold mine is right there. If we get separated, we can all meet there when this is done.”

The men around her nodded then one by one, they disappeared into the shadows to carry out their tasks.

“Where is this tree stand you want Joker in?” Deuce asked in a hushed voice.

Charli pointed to the front of where they were standing. “The building is right in front of us. The tree stand is up that tree.” She pointed to a big tree off to the left of them.

Deuce frowned. “How the hell is he going to see the building from there? He’ll be too far away.”

“The stand is far enough up he’ll be able to see the building just fine,” she informed him.
Joker agreed with her, “We were able to see Andy this morning. It also will give me an unobstructed view in any direction in case someone is coming. I’ll give you fair warning.”

Deuce looked over at Charli. “If we time this right, everything is going to happen all at once. Are you ready for that?”

Charli nodded. “Don’t worry yourself about me, soldier boy. I can handle my own.”

He raised a brow at the soldier boy comment. “Ok well, I’m going to take two men and go through the front door.”

“I’ll take one man with me,” Charli said as she nodded at Storm. “As I’m not willing to risk the tunnel collapsing from too many people being in it at one time. I don’t know if Andy knows about them or not but I’m not taking any chances.”

Deuce nodded.

Joker disappeared up the tree.

All the others silently split up and went their own way.

Storm stayed behind with her and they made their way to the opening of the underground tunnel.

When they entered, Charli took a moment to grab her flashlight. The beam of light broke the absolute darkness and they carefully made their way forward. As they proceeded, Charli found areas of small rubble indicating the instability of the tunnels. The further in they went the more risk they were in. The earth was damp around them and you could smell the mold. The walls of the tunnels were covered by a green slime and they took their time getting to where they needed to be.

They reached the place a few minutes later. They could see a blockage of rubble ahead of them.

Storm moved forward and began poking at the fragments of rock. The slightly damp mud crumbled away and he began clearing away the debris.

When they could see the other side, they found a wooden structure. It was a partial wall.

Charli knew they were under the building now and they had to move carefully. She motioned for Storm to go through first then she followed. On the other side, she paused then listened. She heard voices above her and she prayed it was Deuce and the men with him rather than Andy and his friends. She looked around the room and found stacks of small boxes.

The boxes were the size that might hold a tall coffee cup so they weren’t very big at all but if they had what she thought they had inside them… she was looking at a small fortune in illegal drugs. They were on the top of long table rather than stacked up on the damp floor. She went over to one of the boxes and opened it quietly.

Gasping, she raised her eyes to Storm.

He peeked into the box and growled low. The box was filled with baggies of blue pills. Looking around the room, he counted about two dozen small boxes. Storm reached in his backpack and took out what looked like a small red bag. He began loading the pills inside and together, they finished emptying the boxes.

Suddenly, they heard a scuffle and some muffled shouting above them.

Charli glanced over at Storm and lifted her finger to her lips. Then they sneaked to the stairway and taking one step at a time, they went upstairs. Opening the basement door quietly, they could see that Andy and his friends, Banger and Chewy were wrestling with Deuce and his boys.

Deuce was handling the fight extremely well but then Charli saw a third man enter the fray. He was holding a bat and was sneaking up behind Deuce. He lifted the bat as he readied himself to strike a blow in order for Andy to get the upper hand. Charli snarled and reached for one of her blades. Flicking her wrist, the blade sunk into the other man’s neck.

Andy had been watching the man behind Deuce. When he saw the blade take out his man, he swing his gaze over and when he saw Charli standing in the basement doorway, his eyes got huge and then he was crumbling on the floor as Deuce took him down.

Banger and Chewy were laid out on the floor as well.

When the fight stopped, Charli and Storm joined the others.

Deuce was breathing heavy when they joined him. “Thanks, I didn’t even see the little fucker.” He turned his head and glared at the man with the knife in his throat. “Who the fuck is he?” he growled as he kicked the man over on his back.

Charli knelt down and looked the man over carefully. “I don’t know, I’ve never seen him before.”

“They came out of nowhere,” Deuce explained to them. “We had no clue when suddenly, they were on us.”

Jack looked worried as he thought about their brother. “Joker must not have seen them.”

“Either that or they knew he was up there and they took him out before they got here,” Deuce grumbled.
Charli felt fearful suddenly. She didn’t want anything to happen to Joker or any of them. She grabbed the walkie talkie and called to Joker. “Hey Joker, are you still alive out there?”

Only static answered as she kept trying.

 “Andy must have a scanner jammer in here somewhere,” Deuce suggested. He went off to look for it.

Charli hoped so, as she worried about Joker.

Her walkie talkie made a sound. She clicked the tab button. “You there Joker?” she asked then held her breath.

“Yeah, I’m still here,” he replied. “Couldn’t get a hold of anyone on your end through. What happened?”

“We got Andy and his friends. Glad your safe. Out.” Charlie clicked off.

“Yeah, we got the little bastard.” Storm nodded.

 Deuce came back to where they stood. “And I destroyed the jammer. Now let’s get the hell out of here.”

“What do we do with these guys?” Jack kicked his boot out at Andy.

“We bury them,” Charli suggested.

“Alive?” Storm exclaimed.

“Excuse me?” Deuce barked out. “As much as I want him dead I’m not going to kill him in cold blood.”

Charli grinned wickedly. “Neither am I. There’s an underground silo near here. The above ground silo collapsed a long time ago but there is part of it buried deep in the ground. It’s been sealed to keep it safe but for now, we can put them in there. No one knows it’s there and he’ll be out of the way. He and his friends can wait there until this is over and when we decide to tell the cops where he is… he’ll be available for them to pick up, along with the extra trash”

Deuce just stared at her for a long moment. “You have all sorts of ideas for this scenario. Are you sure you’ve just always been a waitress?”

Charli shrugged. “I come from hardy people. I was trained early on. Now I aim to use all I got and all I know to take this scum out and clean up my town.” Her eyes nearly glowed with her still pent up rage.

“And this farm of yours. It sure as hell has a lot of secrets.” Storm stared right at her.

Charli shrugged. “It has been in my family for a hundred and fifty some years. Ben and I have walked every inch of it and he showed me secret places, told me stories he learned from his parents and grandparents. It’s part of my history and he wanted me to know it.”

Deuce then caught sight of the backpack Storm was carrying. He looked at his brother. “Is that what I think it is?”

Storm nodded. “Probably filled with half a billion’s worth on the street.”

Jack whistled low shaking his head. “What the hell did we get ourselves into here?”

“One step closer to the truth,” Deuce stated. “Let’s get these boys underground and regroup. Hopefully, King and Ace won’t be too much longer.”

Grabbing the unconscious men, the brothers ziptied their hands and throwing them over their shoulders, they made their way out of the building.

Charli was the last one out and just before she shut the door, she tossed a small object inside the building. She waited until they were far enough away then she turned around and tapped a remote control.

The building blew up with a loud boom as debris and wood shot out in all directions. Smoke billowed out in large puffs of doom. She stood there and watched it all.

Deuce and his brothers dropped the men they were carrying and ducked then slowly got back on their feet.
“Good god almighty woman.” Deuce growled. “Give a warning next time before you do shit like that.”

Storm nodded. “Like FITH or some fucking thing.”

She glanced over at him.

He shrugged. “Fire. In. The. Hole.”

She didn’t comment at this but instead looked over at Andy.

He was awake now and his eyes held nothing but hate for her. “I’m going to enjoy killing you bitch. Before this is over, I will.”

Charli stalked over to where he was laying and lifting her foot, she kicked him in the face.

The kick was hard enough to bust his nose as blood spurted along the ground and on his shirt and it was plenty enough to put his lights out again.

Deuce raised an eyebrow at her but he didn’t say a word. Instead, he motioned for them to pick up the men again, and they moved away from the area.

The silo remains couldn’t be seen until they were right on top of it.

Charli reached into her pocket and brought out a set of keys. She unlocked the door and pulled the trap door open. The metal against metal screeched as she yanked it open.

The men went inside, stepping down the four steps and dumped their loads on the floor.

The air was clouded with dust and smelled stale.

Deuce, Storm and Jack, all looked around the underground room. They had to use their flashlights to see anything at all but they were satisfied with what they could see. The room was enormous and all metal. The roof was solid steel and they knew it was covered above ground by grass and earth.

“How are they going they be able to breathe down here?” Jack wanted to know.

Charli pointed to the ceiling and when they put some light on that corner area, they found a small grid there. “There is a grate there and the trap door has a grate as well. They’ll have enough air if they don’t fight it too much.”

 “Then for their own good, I think we should leave them zip tied, don’t you?” Deuce grinned.

Charli grinned back at him, but again said nothing.

“OK, let’s get out of here and go to the mine,” Jack suggested. “The others could be back soon.”

Storm lifted the backpack and took out 4 bottles of water setting them next to the men. He then took the caps off. “If they are smart, they will lean over and grab the bottles with their teeth. In combat, you learn a thing or two about survival.” Then he brought out a firestick and pulled the lever then tossed it to the far wall. It lit up the room. “This will last 24 hours but not more than that. Then the poor little boys will be in the dark for a while.”

Charli glared around at the men on the floor. “Well, I hope monsters hide in the shadows here. Or maybe their victims will haunt them as they lay here tied up and helpless.”

The brothers silently stared at her with wide eyes at the cruelty of her words.

She shrugged. “They deserve worse.” She then led the way up the ladder.

Once they were back outside and Charli locked the trap door, she looked into the distance. She could see something glowing in the darkness but she was too far from town to see exactly what it was. “Come on. We can pick up Joker on the way to the mine.” She led them back into the woods where they found Joker and a few of the others waiting for them at the base of the tree. They fell into the group and Charli showed them the way to the old gold mine.

When they got to the mine, they found King and his group were back already.

Deuce frowned at King. “That didn’t take you long. Were you able to find anything we can use to get this guy?”

King nodded. Looking over at Charli he said, “You were right, this guy is not only in the drug trade, he’s up to much worse. We found his office quick enough and we took every piece of paper we could find, then we found his safe. One of the men I took with me cracked it open and we hit paydirt. We found his books. We have every name we need to bring down the locals as well as a few people between here and Denver.”

Charli nodded. “That doesn’t surprise me.”

“What did you guys find?” King looked at his brothers.

“We checked out the building and we found his stash of inventory and then we found Andy and a few of his friends,” Jack told him.

“Where are they?” King frowned.

“Oh, they’re underground safe and sound for now,” Deuce assured him. “They aren’t going anywhere,” Storm added.

King looked around as he spoke, “Just as we left town, we heard the fire sirens so I would hazard to say Ace found what we feared. Andy turning the old mill into a lab to make his pills. Knowing our brother the way we do, the fire trucks won’t be able to save the mill.”

Deuce spoke up, “Yeah well, Charli girl surprised us as she denoted the building where we found all the drugs. A regular little explosion artist she is.”

The men all turned to stare at her.

“I did what I said I would, that’s all.” Charli shrugged at them then turned to look at the opening of the mine. She moved toward the opening and began looking at the woods.

Joker moved over to stand behind her. Putting his hand on her shoulder, he whispered. “Don’t you worry about Ace, he’ll be back all in one piece.”

Charli nodded but didn’t say anything. She couldn’t. She was still upset about what he’d said just after they were together. He’d hurt her but she had to admit she didn’t regret giving herself to him.

Now as they waited for him to return, she was worried he could possibly get hurt. It didn’t make sense to her but that’s what it was. Hate him, yet care so much about him.

Ben always taught her to be true to herself. For a moment in his arms, she held what she thought was her future. Then he ruined it.

“I think you’re good for him,” Joker told her.

“Why is that?” Surprised at this odd statement, she turned her head a little startled.

“You got just enough spine to keep him on his toes and that throws him off balance just a bit.” Joker shrugged. “Ace has always been in control. He knows exactly what he wants and he goes after it, come hell or high water. I was beginning to think he would be alone for the rest of his life, until he met you, that is.”

Charli shrugged her shoulders. “I’m just me, no one special.”

“Oh, I have a feeling you’re very special to Ace.” Joker chuckled. “And I for one am glad about that.”

Charli looked out into the darkness surrounding them. “Even if that’s true it won’t stop him from leaving here with the rest of you.” She turned to face Joker and saw his brothers King and Deuce standing behind him listening to their conversation. She squared her shoulders and told them all, “I know you all have a mission you can’t and won’t talk about and that’s fine. I understand you all have an obligation to something bigger than all of us in this little town. I don’t expect you to stay here and help any further. You’ve probably already been here too long the way it is.”

“That’s true enough,” King admitted. “We might have been here too long by now.”

“But this is where we need to be right now.” Ace’s voice came out of the dark. When he moved into the opening of the mine, he nodded at his brothers. He looked dirty and his clothing smelled like smoke and there was a streak of soot on his cheek. He gave no thought to that as he pulled Charli into his embrace and kissed her soundly, when they broke apart he held onto her hand.

“What the hell did you do?” Jack grumbled as he stared at his soot covered brother.

“I went to the old mill. No one is supposed to be there but the place isn’t abandoned like it’s supposed to be. Andy has turned it into a lab to produce his little blue pills. He had the whole setup there.” He looked at Charli then back to his brothers. “I burned the place to the fucking ground.” He snorted and added, “The fire department didn’t get there in time to save a damn thing. Everything is gone. Andy won’t be able to set up another lab in time for his next shipment.”

Storm chuckled. “He doesn’t have any inventory to offer up his next pickup either.”

 “Or a place to make his delivery from.” Deuce grinned and nodded at Charli. “She blew the building up.”

Ace swung his gaze over to Charli. “You little fool. He’s going to come after you now.”

She shrugged. “I don’t think he’ll get out of the silo and when he does, he’ll probably be under arrest.”

Ace frowned. “What the hell are you talking about woman? What silo?”

Deuce took a step forward. “When we were at the building, Andy and a couple of friends showed up and we were defending ourselves. Charli and Storm came up from the basement and she saved me from getting a bat to the head. After that, we got the upper hand and knocked Andy and his friends out. We were on our way out when she set the building to blow. We put Andy and his friends in an old underground silo that you would have to know where it is to find it. He’s on ice for now.”

Ace nodded then looked over to King. “What did you find at Chapman’s office?”

“I found the motherlode, including his tie to Gauntlet,” King informed them. “Believe me when I say… those two are tight.”

“So before we leave here, we can clean up this town?” Ace asked his brothers.

“You might want to look over the papers I found before we do anything more here,” King suggested with a raised eyebrow.

“Why?” Ace frowned. “What did you find?”

“Remember when I said Chapman and Gauntlet were tight?” King asked.

Ace nodded.

“Well, they are really tight, as in brother tight.”

Charli gasped.

Everyone turned to look at her.

“Gauntlet is Oliver’s brother? Are you sure?” she asked looking a bit pale.

King slowly nodded. “Do you know him? Have you ever seen Oliver’s brother?”

Charli nodded. “I know exactly who he is and he is not a good man. He may be worse than Oliver altogether.”

“Fucking hell,” Ace swore.


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