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Warlords MC: Book 1 – Ace (Truman) : Chapter 7

“You can’t go to work this afternoon.” Ace growled. “I forbid it.”

Charli glared back at him. “You can’t say shit about what I do and don’t do. This ain’t club business and I don’t have to listen to you. You aren’t the boss of me.”

Ace stared daggers at her and ground his teeth. He opened his mouth to set her straight but Ben spoke up.

“He’s right Charli girl.” Her grandfather expressed his opinion. “If anyone sees you in town, then word might get back to Andy and he’ll come back and finish what he started. Maybe this time, he won’t miss.”

Charli looked over at her grandfather and saw the tears blurring his eyes.

“I’m an old man, he could shoot me and no one would miss me, but I can’t take the chance he’d shoot you again. I’m not going to take that chance.” He shook his head. “I won’t lose you too, please don’t ask me to do that?”

Charli rushed over to her grandfather and knelt down beside him. “Oh. grandpa. I would never ask that of you. I don’t want to die either. Or lose you, not yet and certainly not to that pig.”

“You be careful with Andy,” Ben admonished her. “He thinks he’s golden and he probably is with that rotten daddy of his. Old Oliver will do whatever he has to, to rule this town, even if that means he lets a cold blooded murder get swept under the rug. Oliver, like Andy, likes the power his office gives him.”

Suddenly, King yelled from where he was in the kitchen, “Incoming!”

Ace didn’t even hesitate, he dove to cover Charli and Ben.

For the next few minutes, chaos reigned, as bullets sprayed the house from three vehicles that circled the main house. The thuds of the lead hitting the house and the glass shattering were all that could be heard. Only when the brothers fired back did the trucks disappear, leaving in a hurry and in a huge cloud of dust.

King got to his feet and glared at his brother. “Well, I think our secret is out. They know we’re here now.”

Ace nodded as he helped Charli and Ben off the floor.

Both were stunned by what happened.

 Charlie helped her grandfather to his chair and then she gazed around. Most of the windows were shot out and she could see several holes in the walls due to the plaster being penetrated by random bullets.

“The only good thing is they don’t know who we are,” Ace told his brothers. Then he called out for his men to sound off.

Everyone came into the kitchen slowly, Jack, Deuce, Jasper, Storm, Joker, and Bullseye. No one seemed to be hurt but they seemed a little shaken by the events.

“We have to get out of here,” Charli whispered, looking at her grandfather in concern.

Ben shook his head. “And go where? Whoever that was thinks we’re dead now. If they see us, they won’t hesitate to finish us off.”

“Whoever that was?” King scoffed. “I think you know exactly who that was.”

“That may be but now, they know someone is shooting back at them,” Ace agreed as looked around the room. “But Ben is right. We can’t stay here. It’s too wide open.”

“We can go to the hunting cabin.” Charli glanced over at her grandfather. At his nod, she turned to look at Ace. “Up until about ten years ago, Grandpa used to rent out a portion of the farm for hunting. It’s in the woods some but it’s big enough to hold us all. Andy might not remember that it’s even there, as no one has used it in so long.”

King snorted and looked around at his brothers. “And what kind of shape is this cabin in?”

Charli shrugged. “It’s in great shape. I made repairs on it just last month.”

Ace lifted a brow at her. “You, a carpenter too?”

She huffed at him and refused to answer.

Ben smiled. ‘Why, this girl can bale hay, feed stock, work on the truck engine, change tires, fix the plumbing and—”

King raised his large hand at him. “Ok, ok. We get it old man.”

“If we need to we can work on it while we’re there,” Joker offered. “But we need to be there right now. This is the best we can do. It beats sleeping in the woods.”

“It’s isolated and there are cameras set up near the cabin to watch for wild animals,” Ben added. “If anyone comes around, we’ll see them before they reach the place anyway.”

“What time is Pepper coming?” King asked Ace.

“I told him to come in after it gets dark. That way, no one would see him.” Ace rubbed his jaw. Looking over at Joker he asked, “Do you remember the way over to that building? Can you find it in the dark?”

Joker nodded.

Ace glanced over at Ben. “The next few days are going to be a little rough, are you up for that?”

Ben nodded. “I’m old but not useless.” He nodded at Charli. “Better get us packed up girl. You remember what to get together don’t you?”

Charli nodded back. “I remember.” She got up and began rushing around, putting supplies together that they would need for an extended stay at the cabin. Joker helped her get the stuff together. Bullseye, Deuce, and Jasper all spread out in the trees to make sure they were safe while the rest packed everything up. Soon, they had everything tied onto two four wheelers and the other bikes.

While all the commotion was going on around them, Truman sat at the table with Ben and they were talking quietly. “So how big is the farm?” Truman asked.

“I’ve got about 500 acres of prime farm land here. Course, I can’t work the land anymore. When I pass, the farm will belong to Charli. My family has been here for five generations and that means something to the folks around here. At least it does to me.”

“We could relocate you until this is over,” Truman offered.

Ben shook his head. “No, thank you son. I won’t leave this land. My family, including my beloved wife is buried here and one day, I’ll join them.” He looked around. “I know Charli might not stay here after I’m gone but I hope she will. This is the only home she remembers. My daughter, her mother moved away when she was younger but when she died, both she and her husband were brought back here. Her husband didn’t have any other family so they are buried here too. Charli was only five when they died so she probably doesn’t remember them too well but she knows her history is here.”

“So the town is named after your family?” Truman asked.

Ben nodded. “We settled this area almost a hundred and fifty years ago. For five generations, there has been a Braaken here. That name will die out when I die but it’s still known around these parts.”

Truman nodded. He could appreciate the history the old man was talking about. “This cabin you rent out, what’s it like?”

Ben shrugged. “It was built for hunting in large parties. As you know, Montana has Elk and mule deer, we also got wild turkeys and other game here, so people used to come out here for tours and hunting. The cabin itself has electricity and running water, cost us a dammed fortune to put that in, but as time passed, hunters wanted their amenities. Charli keeps up the best she could and there is very little she can’t do around here but like she said, it’s been about ten years since the last hunting party stayed there. She goes out there every fall and every spring to tidy it up. It will be in good working order.”

Truman nodded. “That’s good.”

“Can I ask you something?” Ben stared at him.

He turned to the older man and studied him for a moment then shrugged. “As long as you understand I might not be able to tell you what you want to know.”

Ben nodded. “I know that but I have to ask anyway, but before I ask…I think you need to know what you’re up against in this town. Oliver Chapman thinks he owns the entire county. He was born here and he always thought he was a big shot. He was a bully when he was a growing up and that trait he taught his son well, but I think what really will bring Oliver and Andy down is the fact that most people around here can’t stand either of them. Oliver cheated these people all his life and when that wife of his wanted a political office for her husband, the best he could do was Mayor of Big Timber. He bought that office and made a lot of promises he knew he’d never keep to get there. Once he got in office, he began putting his own yes men into places of power and just about everyone who mattered began kissing his ass to get a little piece of his empire. It corrupted him and in turn, it corrupted young Andy.”

“What does Andy have against Charli?” Truman asked.

Ben sighed hard. “Charli was the only girl that ever called bullshit on that boy. They were both in high school, yet Andy was a senior and he was already eighteen, Charli was in tenth grade, barely sixteen, when she caught his eye. To him, she was just another bimbo or so he thought. He made a big deal of cornering her in the hall one day. As usual, he had all his buddies with him and he made some remarks about how good she was looking now that she had grown. Well, if you know anything about that girl, you know she doesn’t care how beautiful she looks. She doesn’t judge a person by how they look but instead, it’s how they act that matters to her. Andy wasn’t her favorite person even on a good day. She saw how he treated people when he was done with them. One poor girl had to leave town because he treated her so bad. Rumor was she was carrying his baby and he turned his back on the both of them. He is not a good man.”

Truman listened intently as he already knew this was a hard subject for Charli, as she’d said how this Andy had treated her.

Ben hesitated then went back to the incident that caused Andy to target Charli. “He cornered her in the hall and told her to get ready for him that night and Charli told him to go to hell. She told him she wouldn’t go out with him if he were the last man on earth. To pick another girl to show his good time to.”

 Truman felt troubled by the way the man had hounded her for all this time. He’d seen that forced kiss in the diner.

“Andy’s friends gasped at first then laughed at the look on Andy’s face. That was her first mistake. Andy didn’t like to be the cause of anyone’s laughter. He could laugh at other people but that had never happened to him before. He began going out of his way to humiliate her after that. He got downright cruel but Charli didn’t care what he did to her. People began to respect her for standing her ground and Andy hated it. She had more people on her side than he could bully. No one had ever done that to him before and he didn’t like it.”

Truman nodded. “The other night at the diner he forced her to kiss him and she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand then spit in his face. He clearly didn’t appreciate it. He wanted her to fear him but it was clear she didn’t.”

Ben chuckled. “That’s my girl.”

“I wanted to smash his face in,” Truman admitted.

Ben shook his head. “That would have brought down the roof right on top of you, son.”

“How so?” Truman crossed his arms over his chest.

“Oliver protects that boy even now. He’ll be 26 on his next birthday and he’s never been told no before. If you had hit Andy, you would have never gotten out of town without being thrown in jail. The chief of police is a personal friend of Oliver’s and he does whatever he needs to do to keep Andy safe. You mess with Andy and you’re messing with his daddy and all of his daddy’s friends as well.” Ben stopped his tirade and thought for a moment then nodded at him. “You know how to get Oliver’s attention?”

Truman watched the emotions on the other man’s face before he asked, “How?”

“You catch Andy in a compromising position, one he can’t exactly bullshit his way out of. One, he can’t use his daddy to protect him from. But you do it in front of the people. Draw his crime to the attention of the whole town in a way there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind about who the real criminal is. Andy has survived this long because he does things behind people’s backs and in secret. He sneaks around in the shadows and no one really knows what he’s up too. You show them the evidence that can’t be brushed under the rug and Oliver won’t be able to put up the wall to protect his kid.”

Truman shook his head. “It might be easier to just kill the little bastard.”

Ben agreed with him, “Yeah, you could do that I suppose but Oliver would never let that go. He would call in the big guns. They would hunt you down and take you out. He wouldn’t care who he brought down in that hunt either.”

Truman stared at him for a moment, then told him, “Old man, my brothers and I aren’t here to save a town, we’re here on a mission. A mission that’s our business and no one else’s.”

Ben nodded. “I get that, son. MC business. I was just telling you what you could expect for justice around here. One day, Andy is gonna break Charli but as you said, not your business.” He then got to his feet. “And that brings me to the question I wanted to ask.”

Truman raised a brow as he stood up too.

“I wanna know if you are playing with my granddaughter or do you intend to make an honest girl out of her? Cause, she ain’t no tramp and she ain’t like those biker… what do they call em? Bunnies?”

Truman stared into his eyes as he spoke, “I’m here to take care of some old business and while here, I intend to protect you and her. As for my intentions, I’m not sure I have any. It will be up to her whether anything happens between us I suppose?”

Ben gave him a hard stare. “That ain’t no kind of answer. You just better not hurt her. I’m old but my aim is still good.” He stalked off and went out the back door.

Truman shook his head. Hell, he didn’t know what he was doing when it came to this sassy little Charli. All he knew was he had other priorities. He had a responsibility to his brothers and his club.

It was mid morning before they got to the cabin. They were missing one bike as they’d failed to get it out of the barn in time to save it from the fire, so Joker rode with Charli on one two wheeler as Ben and Deuce were on the other.

 The cabin was well hidden in the woods. Truman and his brothers were surprised at how well kept it was. It may have been ten years since it was used last but the building itself was in excellent shape.

The cabin was dusty and smelled a little musty when they got there, so Charli opened the windows to let fresh air in and began hauling supplies inside. Joker and Deuce helped while Truman and King walked around the property looking over the points of interest. Ben had showed them where the cameras were and then he showed them the security system.

Bullseye went to work to link up the outside cameras with the security system, so they would have eyes out in the woods.

Truman came back to the cabin and watched his brother Joker laughing with Charli in the kitchen as they were putting away the supplies. Her easy laughter with Joker hit him in the gut like a fist. Her eyes softened with her laughter and her giggling sounded so free and so real that he didn’t doubt it was real.

Then she turned her head and caught sight of him standing there. He watched as something flared in her eyes. That same something flared in his soul and he recognized it as desire. Charli desired him and that was enough for him. What were her intentions as far as he was concerned? Yes, a good question. Old Ben had it wrong.

Truman took a step toward her but Charli turned and walked out of the kitchen. Stepping out of the cabin, she headed deeper into the woods.

Truman took a step to follow her when Joker stepped in his way. He laid a hand on his brother’s chest.

Truman gazed down at his brother. “Do you really want to do this right now?” he asked Joker mildly.

Joker swallowed hard as he begged his older brother, “Please don’t hurt her.”

Truman glared at him. “I’m not looking to hurt her.”

His brother shook his head. “But you will anyway. You’ll leave her crushed and she doesn’t deserve that.”

Truman let out a disgusted breath. Instead of saying anything, he turned and went into the living area. Heading down the hall, he decided to leave it alone for now as he made it the the security room where Bullseye was watching the screens, looking for anything out of the ordinary.

He went over to the screens and began watching them over Bullseye’s shoulder. He stood there for a few minutes then grew bored. He was about to look away when he caught sight of Charli walking alone.

He watched as she glided through the wooded area and just as she was about to step out of the range of the camera he saw someone slip onto the path behind her.

Bullseye straightened up and began fiddling with the controls, zooming in on the picture on the screen.

They watched as a man slipped in behind Charli then reached for her. Charli turned and they saw the look of terror on her face as she confronted him.

Truman reached for the gun in the back of his waistband, as he couldn’t take his eyes off the screen.

The man grabbed for Charli. She ducked and moved away from him. The man then pulled back his arm with his fingers curled into a fist. He punched the side of her head. Charli dropped to the ground.

Bullseye continued to watch the screen as Truman rushed from the room, calling out for his brothers.

Men came running from every corner of the cabin and without even asking, they all followed him out the back door. Moving silently, they spread out and moved forward in a pattern.

Truman didn’t care about anything except getting to Charli before the man he saw on the screen could hurt her anymore. He paused and listened for a moment then moved toward the sound of someone grumbling off to his left. He turned and made his way to the sounds he heard. The stranger came into view and Truman ducked behind a tree briefly. He leaned against the rough bark of the tree and listened as the man kept saying the same thing over and over again.

“Holy crap, what have I done? Andy is gonna kill me. He told me she was dead. Now, what do I do? Sweet Jesus…” He began to pace closer and closer to where Truman was standing.

Truman took a deep breath and stepped out from behind the tree.

It took the other man a moment to notice him standing there. When he did, his eyes widened and he paused in his pacing. “Who the fuck are you?” he shouted.

“Well, right now, I’m probably your worst fucking nightmare, asshole!” Truman growled and pulled back his huge fist.

When he brought it down on the other man’s head, he dropped to the ground. The man didn’t move but as soon as Truman dropped him, his brothers rushed to the scene. They secured the guy’s arms behind his back.

Truman looked over at the spot where Charli laid and rushed toward her. He knelt beside her and gathered her in his arms. Getting to his feet, he turned and his brothers watched as the big guy carried her down the path.

Truman looked over his shoulder at his brother King and growled, “Bring that dirtbag to the cabin. We have some questions to ask him.” He headed back to the cabin with Charli in his arms.

Half way back, she opened her eyes and groaned.

“Hush sweetheart, I got you. I got you now and you’re mine.”

Charli closed her eyes with a sweet sounding sigh and snuggled into his chest.


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