Own the Wind (Chaos, #1)(4)

Written By: Kristen Ashley



“Shy, I keep telling you guys that this is not what you—”

He leaned in, nose to nose with her and cut her off. “Shut it.”

She blinked even as her head jerked. This wasn’t a surprise. Brothers respected brothers, and one of the ways they did that was by showing respect to their kin. Chaos was Chaos, it was all family. Brothers, old ladies, kids. Shy had never spoken to her that way. None of the brothers had. Not to her.

“Get in the f*ckin’ truck,” he went on.

Tabby rallied and started to say, “Can I just explain—?”

Shy interrupted her again. “Get in it or I plant you in it, Tab.”

Even in the shadows of night, he saw her eyes flash before he saw her clamp her mouth shut. It was with jerky movements that she yanked her hand from his, turned, and climbed into the truck.

Shy slammed her door, rounded the hood, and folded in.

They were on their way when she tried again, her voice quiet. “Shy, really, those are my friends. It’s all cool. Just a couple of beers. A few joints. I’m not smoking and I’m driving so I wouldn’t—”

“So all of those kids are nursing students?” he asked.

“No,” she answered. “They’re friends from high school.”

“You’re not in high school anymore, Tabby,” he pointed out, and felt her eyes come to him but he kept his angry ones on the road.

“You’re right,” she snapped, the quiet in her voice gone. “I’m not. That doesn’t mean they aren’t still my friends. We’ve had a lot of good times together. We’re close. What? You think I should just scrape them off?”

He didn’t glance at her when he replied, “Uh, yeah, Tab. They’re trash. You aren’t. Jesus.” He shook his head. “I do not get you. I know your mom’s a bitch, but for the last three years you’ve had Cherry in your life. It isn’t like you don’t have a good role model. Why the f*ck you can’t be like her is beyond me.”

He heard her swift intake of breath before she returned, “Maybe it’s because I should be like me and, by the way, Shy, Tyra would want me to be like me too.”

The members of the Club called Tack’s woman Cherry but Tack called her Red. His kids and everyone else called her Tyra or Ty-Ty.

“Anyway,” Tabby went on irately, “they’re not trash.”

“They’re trash,” he stated firmly.

“They. Are. Not!” she stated loudly.

There it was. That gave him his opening.

“You want that life?” he asked.

“That life?” she shot back.

“Booze and bodies, booty calls and bust-ups,” he explained.

“Um… hello, Shy. That is my life.”

“So you want it,” he concluded.

She ignored his question and pointed out, “It’s your life too, you know. Nothing wrong with it. Never was, never will be.”

A nursing student.

Right.

On this path, she’d never make it. On this path, she’d end up like those bitches in his bed. On this path, Tabby was pissing her college education away, and Tack might as well be pissing that money into the wind.

“You want that life,” he said softly, “you think that’s cool, baby? Then let’s roll.”

It was perfect timing because he’d flipped on his turn signal to turn into Ride.

“What the hell? Why are we here?” she asked, but he didn’t answer.

He drove around the store and through the forecourt of the garage to park in front of the Compound. He didn’t delay in folding out of the truck, rounding the hood, and yanking open her door.

“Shy, what are you—?” she started but stopped since he leaned into her, undid her seatbelt, tagged her hand, and hauled her out of the cab. “Dammit! Shy! What are you doing?” she clipped.

Again he didn’t answer. He just tugged her into the Compound and straight behind the bar. He nabbed a bottle of tequila off a shelf at the back then pulled her in front of him.

“Ready to let go of that little-girl-beer bullshit?” he asked, holding up the bottle.

Her eyes went to it then to him. He saw the confusion and he sensed her unease.

He ignored that too.

“Tab, asked you a question. You like to party. You aren’t in high school anymore. You wanna grow up and learn how it’s really done?”

She ignored him this time and asked, “Why are you being so weird?”

He pulled her closer and tipped his chin down to hold her eyes, now ignoring that it was starkly apparent she wasn’t breathing and her body had gone still.

“Didn’t answer my question, baby,” he said softly and watched her swallow then lick her upper lip.

Jesus. Shit.

He’d never seen her do that. Definitely not this close.

The tip of that pink tongue on the perfection of that rosy lip.

Shit.

“Tab,” he prompted, his hand squeezing hers.

“I want to go home,” she replied quietly, being smart for a change.

“Too late for that,” he muttered then moved away, pulling her with him as he moved from behind the bar, through the room, and into the back hall.

She tugged at his hand and called, “Shy. Seriously. You’re more than kinda freaking me out.”