door made both of them jump. Wince glanced at Alanna. “Where’s Hawk tonight?” “He said he had an appointment. It wasn’t club related,” she answered honestly. “Fuck.” Wince checked his phone and then flung the door open. “Everything is going to fuckin’ shit in this place.” Alanna heard him mutter as he put his phone to his ear. Alanna strained to hear the hushed whispers. “What? Are you fucking serious? Well, what the fuck does she want? He ain’t here, man. Set her up in a guest bunk.” Alanna had no idea what was transpiring, but for some reason, the drama heated her blood. It was fucking arousing. She looked to Wince for guidance and was somewhat chagrined to see the man looking out of sorts. She rather liked the domineering version of Winston Walker. “What’s going on, baby?” “Don’t baby me, groupie. Keep your distance. I mean it.” With that, Wince stalked out of the bunk that she shared with Hawk. Alanna flopped on the bed and turned on the flat screen television that graced the wall opposite of Hawk’s waterbed. That show—the one about a biker gang was on. Gemma…wow, that character was deranged but Alanna admired the hell out of her. She would do anything for the club—just like an old lady should. Whoever wrote this show was a goddamn genius. Alanna wasn’t sure what her next move was going to be, but she was going to support Dax—however that played out.
Chapter Twenty-Six Dax wasn’t sure what he expected, but he certainly didn’t expect the trepidation he felt as he headed back to Darling. To her credit, Sirena slept on the plane. Rhee insisted on a red eye flight and had kept their daughter up all day with no nap. At first, he had wondered if Rhee was being too rigid—too controlling. But there was no doubt that Sirena’s mother knew best. His tow-headed little sprite whimpered during takeoff and landing, but Rhee managed to distract her and soothe her off to never-never land almost effortlessly. Fuck, she’s such a good mom. Dax couldn’t help but compare Rhee to the vague, painful memories he had of his own mother. It still hurt inside—pained him—to think about his childhood. Being part of Sirena’s experiences, and seeing the way Rhiannon parented her, erased some of the sharp ache he carried around with him—made him feel lighter somehow. It was impossible to be perfect—no parent was perfect all the time. But, Rhee came pretty damn close. She treated Sirena like she was a junior member of a club, not a grunt who had to conform to someone else’s expectations. She accepted that Sirena might not have the same experience, but she also considered Sirena’s three-year-old perceptions of what was happening in their world, and she allowed those perceptions to guide their decisions and experiences. Sirena was sweet, innocent, and loving. She was also stubborn, messy, and prone to throwing shit when she didn’t get her way. Just the way a three-year old should be. Dax glanced in the rearview mirror. Rhiannon dozed in the back of the Suburban, her head resting lightly on Sirena’s car seat. A pink fuckin’ car seat. Man, the guys are never going to let me live this down. Dax wiggled his toes in his rubber flip-flops. Or these. Man, I can’t believe I forgot my goddamn boots. *** “You still have the house here?” Dax glanced sidelong at her. “Yup. Having fond memories?” “It will be weird to be back there.” Rhee didn’t have to explain further. He knew what she referred to—the nightmares. Dax nodded, his eyes turning flinty. Rhee wasn’t sure what it was about her comment that made him angry. She reached out and placed her small hand on his bulging forearm, noting the tension that he carried there. “Hey. It’s okay. I’m okay.” The tension in his face lessened. “Yes, you are.” “We all are.” They pulled into the driveway and the memories came flooding back. There was no anxiety…no pounding heart, no