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Series: Rebel Wayfarers MC #8
Also in this series: Bear, Jase, Gunny, Mica, Slate
Genres: Romance, Fiction, MC, Contemporary, Suspense
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Also by this author: Bear, Jase, Gunny, Gunny, Mica
Reuben Nelms has worked hard all his life. First to escape the West Texas town where he grew up, then to negate the legacy of his family. One of his worst regrets was failing to protect a young woman from evil dealt by his blood brother. For years afterwards, he watched and protected her from the shadows, most comfortable in that faceless role.
Now known by his road name, Duck feels he’s finally found redemption in watching that woman blossom and grow, sheltered by her association with his brothers by choice, the Rebel Wayfarers motorcycle club. Things were settled, predictable, until a desperate call from home sets him scrambling and he is back front and center, home again in West Texas, finding himself confronted daily with reminders of his horrific family heritage.
Treading alongside the remembered fear and regret surrounding him walks a temptation, Brenda Calloway, the hometown woman he left behind. The efficient business manager of the cattle company he inherited from his father, his childhood friend is now a widow. More beautiful than ever, she’s a single parent with a secret, unaware of the power she still wields over Reuben’s heart.
Will their second chance love be able to take root and grow in the dry deserts of West Texas? Can Duck put aside the man he’s become, sloughing off the brotherhood and leaving that behind to become Reuben again, or will he be able to pick up the pieces of his teenage love and still continue his life in Chicago as a member of the Rebel Wayfarers MC?
“Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life.”
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez
ARC provided by Author/Publisher for honest review.
Duck is the 8th book in the Rebel Wayfarers series and for me it just keeps getting better and better. You have to read the series in order to follow what is going on because things get referenced from other books, different perspectives and if you haven’t read them, you will not get the full effect.
This story follows Duck at a time in his life when he is still trying to overcome what Ray had done to him and his friends. As you know Ray and their dad are psycho, sick people that get off on hurting women, Mica and Molly are two of those people.
Brenda, Duck’s woman from his past is demanding that he comes home to his family ranch. She does have her reasons for needing him home. I wasn’t expecting the reason and was delighted once I found out. Duck had his reasons for leaving to begin with and I understood them. Brenda is his soulmate, his. I loved their relationship from the very beginning. I sensed from the very start how special they were.
I loved how MariaLisa did that for me. Hell, for the whole series. She has created such a world, that I am completely sucked in and I dont want to ever let it go. The obstacles that she creates are versatile and have so much depth, never forced. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with.
All I got to say is this is an awesome story.
Rebel Wayfarers forever….Rebels forever.
From Chapter 8: Dreaming
His fingers trailed gently across her mouth, back and forth, hypnotically stroking along the bow of her lips. He embraced her. Threaded his fingers through her hair, cupped his palm to the back of her head and cradled her tight to his shoulder for a moment more, knowing he would soon need to get up and leave. Tipping his chin down, he lightly kissed the top of her head and held his lips pressed to her hair, drawing in her scent.
Leaving Brenda was always the worst part of this dream, and as always, he was already struggling against the inevitable, trying to change the path ahead of him. Wishing and hoping with everything inside him he would get to hold to this feeling for a little longer, at least in his dream.
She was sleeping so sweetly. Calm, resting. Beautiful. God, she was so beautiful it hurt his heart, a hard band constricting and tightening around his chest. No, no, he thought, feeling his body begin the sideways slide that would take him from her bed. Give me just a few more minutes. Let me hold her. Please. Not yet. Merciless as always, the dream marched on around him, dragging him through. He stood at the side of the bed, looking down at her sleeping. Bending at the waist, he brought the covers up and tucked them carefully around her. Longing for the silk of her skin, his fingertips skimmed the softness of her bare shoulder.
She stirred in her sleep, dreaming in his dream and he soothed her with a breathless, “Shhhh. Little Bee. Shhhh.” Twisting to the side, he looked for paper, finding nothing on the motel desk. Standing at the dresser where he’d tossed his bag last night, he pulled out the Polaroid the photographer had handed him of them dancing, and saw the paper napkin tucked next to his shirts. Pen in hand, he stared at the blank paper for a moment, composing his thoughts.
Brenda, he wrote and paused, finally adding in my little Bee. Even knowing exactly what he would write, he paused again, then continued slowly, begrudging every sibilant stroke of the pen, I know this won’t make sense to you, but there is something I have to do. Something I left unfinished when I came back to Lamesa, and now I have to go take care of it. I’ll always treasure you, Bee, and I hope you know how much you mean to me.
His fingers itched to write the truth, to close the note with a declaration of love, but he knew it would be a disservice to Brenda, because he learned tonight that she loved another, her bull rider. So, instead of begging her to wait on him, instead of promising to return as soon as possible, instead of declaring he would be hers forever if she only wanted him, he simply wrote, Always, Reuben.
He dressed quickly but quietly and stood for another moment in the doorway watching her sleep. He had pulled the door shut and was turning to walk away from the room as he always did, heading to the truck to drive away when he felt it. Things had shifted. His feet still moved towards his pickup, but he did it with his head turned towards the room, seeing the door easing back open and a shadow filling the open space. “Why you runnin’, Rue?”
At that voice coming from so near his Bee, he tried to freeze, attempted unsuccessfully to halt his steps. His body climbed into the cab of the truck, fingers wrapping tightly around the wheel as he saw Ray’s silhouette retreat from the doorway, hand reaching out to push the door closed, teeth glinting in what he knew had to be a wicked smile. “Why you runnin’, bro? Got you a sweet piece of ass here. Finally tagged that pussy and now you’re walking away? Loser. Just a loser, like always.”
Key to the ignition, his hand twisted it viciously, the truck’s engine roaring to life. “You walk away, you leave me no choice.” Sweat broke out on his face and shoulders as he fought against the pull of the dream. He felt the sheet underneath him dragging against his damp skin, that physical sensation anchored in reality. It’s just a dream.
“I’ll own her, brother. Rest of her life, she’ll remember you were the one that lead me to her.” The truck reversed out of the parking space and pulled into traffic, accelerating quickly while he stared out the back window at the shadow moving through the room behind the sheer curtains, heading towards the bed where his Brenda lay. Just a dream.
“No choice. We are what he made us into. What we were made to be.” The voice hissed, “I am what I am.” The motel receded into the distance, but Ray’s voice was still loud, sounding as if it came from right beside him, maybe even from inside his head. “And, you are what you are, Rue. Blind and weak. Always were, always will be. I own her now.”
With a jerk, Reuben sat up in bed, palms scrubbing against his face, wiping the sweat away along with the last vestiges of the nightmare. He stood, leaving the dream sodden bed and walked into the hallway, pausing for a moment to listen to the sounds of restless sleep coming from Eli’s room.
Turning, he padded to Brenda’s door, soundlessly opening it, sucking in a breath when he saw her lying there, bare shoulders illuminated by moonlight streaming through the window. Peaceful. Resting. Ray never got his hooks into her, never found out how much she meant to Reuben. Thank God, I saved her from that, at least.