Bikers, Badge, and Backlog: Marshal DeVille always gets his man…and his Karma.
Cooper DeVille, US Marshal
Being undercover has its perks. I get to do stuff the day-to-day me would never experience. Like infiltrating the Concrete Angels Motorcycle Club and meeting Karma, the gorgeous Enforcer of the MC. Being handcuffed to her bed is a dream, but that’s the problem with undercover work. Everything I’m doing here is only half true. The Concrete Angels—and Karma—are connected to Backlog, a shadow organization infiltrating law enforcement. The Fed undercover here before me was Backlog’s bitch, and now he’s dead. I have to determine which side of this fight the Concrete Angels are on… before Karma comes to bite me in ways I won’t enjoy.
Karma, Concrete Angels’ Enforcer
You bet your ass, I’m that karma, the one people pray never catches up to them. But my own karma has found me, seeing as the hunky P.I. who drove into the MC compound with his cool car is my Goddess-chosen true mate. But as my luck—and the Goddess’ sense of humor—would have it, Cooper’s an undercover US Marshal trying to ferret out our connection to a group called Backlog. Would’ve been nice to know before I took him to bed and discovered he’s the best damn submissive this Madam could want, because I don’t deal well with liars. And no one’s happy when Karma’s pissed. But Backlog has Cooper in its sights, and to survive… my mate might just have to die.
I caught the story on the TV behind the counter at the Gas ‘N Snacks while I was grabbing some of my favorite treats after filling up my bike. Our inhouse chef, Grub, was fantastic, but I had a craving for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and those couldn’t be duplicated. Besides, I was still trying to get over the odd thing that had happened a few days before.
There’d been a guy in the hills above the compound watching us. Correction: Watching me. He’d used binoculars and wore drab clothing helping him blend in with the scrub, but I could see him. Supernatural beings had that going for them and I was nothing if not supernatural. Despite knowing he was there, I couldn’t see the details of his face or body. I had to give him credit. He’d hidden himself pretty well behind the juniper bushes, but I suspected Loki knew the guy had been snooping around, too.
He’d jerked when I winked at him and that perversely made my day. Sometimes just the barest communication had a major effect and my good mood persisted. Good Karma for everyone! I laughed as I paid for my gas and goodies, and headed back out to my bike.
I opened up one of my panniers and slid the snacks in just as someone pulled up to the pump behind me. The engine of the vehicle purred like a tiger, deep and throaty, and I shivered with pleasure. In addition to Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, I had a soft spot for vintage cars, and this baby was totally vintage. A Pompeian Red 1962 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, its chrome mirror-clear, settled into the shade of the gas station and I drooled.
The guy driving the Caddy wasn’t vintage at all. He slid from the driver’s seat in acid-washed black jeans and a black t-shirt under a red and black plaid flannel shirt. He was tall with broad shoulders, but he had an athletic rather than robust build. Best of all, his energy zinged along mine with a sizzle of recognition, as if I’d met it before.
I raised my gaze to the guy’s face and let my Karmic Vision™ take over. Most people looked like opalescent figures with their auras transposing their life energy over an opaque white matrix. But this guy appeared like a peacock with brilliant emerald green swirling with hunter and teal. Deep royal blue tendrils mixed with royal purple and gold. Oh, glory to the Goddess, I wanted to soak him up and blend him with my own kaleidoscope of colors.
But the flashes of dull oxblood red and sickly brown stopped me. He’s hiding something that really pisses him off.
Disappointment soured my stomach and I pulled back into normal vision. I hadn’t found many humans who had a matching set of colors for me to blend with. They were a rarity and to be treasured. I’d been around a long time, and they were few and far between. But those uneasy colors equated to a warning signal I’d learned the hard way not to ignore.
I gave him my best polite smile and zipped up my pannier.
“Nice bike. Harley Road King Special, isn’t it?”
Damn, his voice sounded like smoky bourbon barbeque, sweet, tangy, and bursting with flavor. Too bad he’s not on my menu.
“Yeah, a 2017.” I nodded. “You know your bikes.”
“Yeah, I’ve developed an eye for Harleys lately.” He kept talking to me as he moved to the back of the car to fuel up. “I’m still a fan of the classics, but I’ve always liked the Road Kings. Just started riding?”
“Nope.” I didn’t want to talk to him more, but I couldn’t get myself to start the engine. “Where’d you get a 1962 Coupe DeVille?”
What the hell am I doing? I didn’t want to talk to the hot, sexy man who smelled like sandalwood and warm rich leather. It’s going to be fine. I can ride away anytime.
“I found it in an old junkyard in Mobile, Alabama.” He started the flow of fuel and moved to grab the squeegee. “The frame and the engine were in great condition, but the body needed a lot of work. It was my home project that kept me occupied after my divorce.”
Maybe it’s the divorce that’s pissing him off. Why did my inner voice sound so hopeful?
“I’m sorry to hear about the divorce.” And that was my cue to leave.
He waved it away as he cleaned the windshield. “It’s been a few years now. The car came to me at the right time and I figured it was a sign.”
“Yeah, since we share the same name and all.” He moved closer and held out his hand. “Cooper DeVille, at your service.”
I laughed, I couldn’t help it, but I took his hand.
Oh no, it’s not going to be fine.
Explosive energy zinged between us through the grip of our hands. I wanted him with an intensity I hadn’t felt in, well, ever. I raised my gaze to his and the energy switched on my Karmic Vision™ to show me his aura again. The streaks of anger remained, but they were threaded with lines of silver and brilliant ochre surprise.
In all my years of living on this plane of existence, I’d learned a thing or two about energy and the colors that when with it. The Goddess had Her plans for everyone and those of us in the plan rarely knew or understood it when it happened to us. But I’d studied enough to know that mates, long-term connections, showed up in metallic colors, particularly silver and gold, depending on the species.
This man, human despite the colors flowing through his aura like an oil slick, only flashed silver when I touched him. That meant he was my long-term connection. My mate.
Oh hell no!
I yanked my hand back and wiped it on my thigh.
“I gotta go.” I rolled the kickstand up and cranked the starter on my bike. “See you.”
Now why the hell had I said that? I shook my head and kicked backward to get around the Caddy.
“No, wait.” He took a few steps after me. “I don’t even know your name.”
Yes, he does. But I wasn’t sticking around to fill him in on that little chestnut. Panic flared in my gut as he tried to step in front of me, but I maneuvered around him and peeled out of the gas station. I heard him swear behind me but I floored the throttle and headed up the highway. It didn’t matter that I was headed away from the Concrete Angels’ compound. I just needed to get away from Cooper DeVille, my fated mate, and the only human who might really understand who I truly was.
And that couldn’t happen.