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Warlords MC: Book 5 – Joker : Chapter 1

Present day…

Joker sat in the dark of the farmhouse with only his laptop for light. He was chasing another lead that wasn’t taking him where he needed to go. He thought he was tracking down a slave ring but he was getting nowhere fast. Whoever these guys were, they were good, leaving no trace behind them.

Not that he was ready to give up yet. He came upon this ring when someone sent him a link. It was an order form, where a person could send in a list of what they wanted, then send in a secure payment and voila, whatever they ordered would be delivered. It was fucking sick. He thought he knew who sent it but he couldn’t find anything else. It had been driving him crazy for a week now.

Six months ago, Traven had warned them they had only gotten the first layer down and while they hadn’t seen Traven again, they knew he was around. All of the brothers could feel him even if they couldn’t see him.

Joker thought it was like a scratch he couldn’t itch when the other man was around. The feeling drove him crazy and he’d begun to have it again, recently. Only this time, it was different. Something was different anyway.

He’d gotten an anonymous email just three days ago. All it said was incoming. Along with a photo or two of an MC. He couldn’t make out who they were or where they were, but he knew something was coming their way.

The outside light snapped on and Joker turned his head around to stare at the front yard in surprise. He got up and reached the front door just as he heard doors opening down the hall.

Three men got out of a truck and just stood waiting.

When Joker opened the door and stepped out, he saw Traven first.

Traven had something in his arms and when Joker moved forward, Traven stepped up on to the porch.

Joker peered down at the bundle in his arms and then he looked up at Travern.

Now Jack’s brothers stepped out from behind him.

Traven looked at the others then back to Joker. He lifted his bundle and transferred it to the other man. “You need to protect her. Me and my friends have to go back and clean up the mess but she needs a safe place.”

Joker gazed down at the young woman in his arms. Her hair looked dirty and dark, her face streaked with dirt and grime. He looked up at Traven and asked, “Who is she and why does she need a safe place?”

Traven curled his lip. “There are men out here that are hunting her, bad men. Men who need to be stopped. We plan on stopping them.”

Joker studied the men with Travern. They were bikers but he couldn’t see their patches.

“Be careful out there,” Deuce called out. “Your sister will kill you if you end up dead.”

Traven chuckled at the idiocy of his statement.

“If you need some help, just call,” Ace told Travern.

Traven turned toward the brothers and nodded. “One of these days, I might just do that.”

“Luna still wants to hear about her family,” Deuce reminded him.

“And I want to tell her but right now, I have to take out the trash.” Traven skipped down the steps then all three men got into the truck and Traven drove off.

Joker hitched the woman up in his arms and carried her inside the house. He took her all the way to his bedroom. Ripping the covers back, he laid her down on his bed, he stepped away so Deuce could take over, Deuce had been their medic in the field, so he always did the medical for them and others when it was needed.

“Why did you bring her in here?” Ace asked.

“I don’t want your women to find her until it’s necessary,” Joker explained. “Right now, the less people who know she’s here, the better. The better for her and the better for us. Besides, we have to protect Annabelle. She’s so little, she might be scared if she sees a wounded woman.”

Jack snapped his gaze over to his brother. Then he caught Joker’s eyes and nodded.

Deuce began stripping off her dirty, grimy clothes. Without turning his head, he called out, “Go get some soap and water. We can clean her up a bit before she gets fit enough to shower.”

Joker walked back to the kitchen, got a big bowl adding warm water to it. When he turned around, he gasped when he saw Charli standing there. “Jesus woman, don’t sneak up on a man. You move like a freakin’ ninja.”

Charli looked down at the bowl in his hands then she raised her head. “What’s going on, Tanner? Why did Truman get up in the middle of the night and where is he know?”

“Luna’s brother stopped in and he left a little something, something with us tonight,” Joker offered. He watched her carefully and when he saw her hand cover her lower belly, he knew something was wrong. Or maybe something was right? He smiled. Then he nodded down the hall. “Come on, we’re in my room to see just how bad she’s hurt. Ace is there.”

Charli laid her hand on his arm and gazed at him. “How bad is it?”

“Not sure yet, but there’s no blood, so that’s good,” he quipped, as they walked down the hall.

Charli pressed her hand on her belly again and paled but she went with him down the hall.

When they got back, Deuce had pulled a sheet over her and was busy checking out her face, neck, and head.

Joker laid the bowl and the wash cloth at his brother’s feet and stepped back. “What are we looking at here?” he asked Deuce quietly.

Deuce nodded at her. “She’s got defensive wounds, so she fought back. Who or what she fought back against is what we don’t know. The defensive wounds are at least two days old, so what happened between then and now is unknown.” He looked up at his brothers and growled, “And then there’s this…” He lifted her left arm and showed them a nasty burn on her shoulder.

“They fucking branded her?” Joker growled.

“Yeah, they fucking branded her.” Deuce growled back. “And they didn’t care to protect it as I can see fringes of infection setting in.” He shook his head. “She’s got a low grade fever too, and I don’t like it.” Sighing heavily, he said, “She’s gonna need antibiotics, antibiotics we don’t have.”

“What does she need?” Charli asked.

“Well, penicillin would be nice, if we had it,” Deuce replied.

Charli disappeared for a moment and when she returned, she had a huge medical kit which she opened then she handed over a bottle of clear liquid and a syringe. When Deuce looked up at her she shrugged, then stepped back into Truman’s arms.

He wrapped his arms around her.

Joker looked over and shook his head. He and the others knew better than to ask where she got the drug but he for one, was happy she had it. He had a feeling this girl would need it.

Deuce began to clean her up, washing first, her arms and hands. He also uncovered a multitude of bruises and small cuts. What they thought was dirt and grime was actually dried blood. He cleaned up the branding as much as he could. Her inflamed skin looked swollen but when Deuce got done, they could all read the branding clearly.

An MC patch and it belonged to the Eagle’s Talons MC. Deuce turned his head to glare at Ace and King. “Fucking hell,” he swore.

Ace nodded and tightened his hold on his woman. He’d heard of the Eagle’s Talons MC and nothing he ever heard was good. He’d heard rumors the MC was into the skin game and that was never good.

When Deuce got to her face and neck, everyone could see her skin was pale. He uncovered from the under the dirt and grime, a series of fingerprints that told their own story. Someone had inspected her by force. They’d held her jaw so tightly, they almost left clear indented fingerprints on her skin.

Only when he cleaned her face did they see a wound at her temple. Someone had slammed their fist into the side of her head, leaving a puncture wound that resembled the outline of a heavy ring.

“Holy shit, what did they do to you sweetheart?” Deuce asked under his breath. He opened her eyes with the tips of his fingers and the clear green of her pupils was in evidence. Shining a light into her eye, they didn’t pinpoint. “She has a concussion most likely,” he grumbled. How bad it was no one knew at this moment.

He filled the syringe with the antibiotic and plunged it into her skin. He shook his head when he recapped the syringe. “That’s all I can do tonight. We need to give her time to recover.”

“Do you want her moved to one of the guest rooms?” Deuce asked his brother Ace.

“No she’ll stay right here.” Joker snarled. He turned to Ace and said in a softer tone, “I’ll be here to keep an eye on her that way. I’m not going to sleep anyway. Still looking for something I can’t seem to find. Just leave her here.”

Ace stared at him for a long moment then nodded.

Deuce pulled the covers up to under her chin then looked over at Joker. “She should be okay until morning but if her fever spikes, come, and get me.”

Joker stared at the girl in his bed and nodded. Then his brothers left. Joker gazed at her for a moment then left to retrieve his laptop. When he returned, he settled in his chair and began working on his project. He was trying to run down more info on the group, offering women and kids for sale.

Joker knew when he was done for the night, as in the very early hours, he could no longer see the screen anymore. He shut down his computer and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand. Stumbling toward his bed, he laid down carefully, not wanting to disturb the woman in his bed.

Sighing, Joker closed his eyes and drifted into a light sleep.


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