“It’s nice to meet you, Colton.”
“I met Grace at the Predator’s clubhouse. Her car had broken down.”
“I’m glad my wife was there to help. Do you know any of the Predators, or did your car—”
“She knows Ice,” Vida explained.
“Ice didn’t offer to help?” Colton frowned.
“I didn’t ask,” Grace replied, taking a seat to the side of the counter.
Colton gave his wife a hard stare.
“Your client is ready,” Vida reminded him.
“What did you do?” he asked in a low voice.
“Nothing. I just gave her a ride,” Vida said innocently.
“Vida, you know not to mess with Ice. He won’t appreciate your interference.”
She ignored her husband’s warning. “Blake, Colton’s ready for you.”
While the customer stood and went to the back doorway to wait, Colton gave his wife a hard stare before heading that direction.
“I hope this doesn’t cause any trouble for you,” Grace said, overhearing the conversation between the two.
“Trouble is my middle name.”
* * *
Ice parked his bike beside Grace’s car while his men pulled in beside him.
Why was her car here?
“Isn’t that Grace’s car?” Jackal asked.
“Yes.” He got off his bike.
“You know she was coming?” Max questioned as they walked into the clubhouse.
The noisy room went silent when he walked in. Ice’s stomach sank when he looked around the room and didn’t see Grace.
“Happy Birthday, Ice.” Brandy jumped up from the barstool to hug him around his neck. His arms stayed by his side, and Brandy’s arms fell away as she took a quick step at the fury radiating from Ice.
“Where is Grace?” Ice stared at Fade who reluctantly came forward, rubbing the back of his neck.
“She stopped by about an hour ago. She said she wanted to surprise you. She brought you a cake.” Fade nodded to the covered cake sitting on the bar.
“Where is she?” This time Ice gritted the words out.
“She and Rita got into it, and she left.”
Ice’s eyes went to where Rita was standing behind Lizard, who had come in with Ice. Lizard turned, frowning at his woman.
“What did you say to her?” Lizard asked before Ice could.
She shrugged with false bravado, but the fear could be heard in her voice. “I told her the men had called Brandy for you tonight, and she got mad and smarted off to me. She thought she was the only one you were fucking, so when I told her you had Brandy on the pool table, she left.” Her jumbled explanation ended in a barely-audible whisper.
Ice shook, he was so furious. If she were a man, she would be dead for coming between him and Grace.
“Where is she?”
“She left,” Fade said, taking a step back.
“You watched and didn’t do anything?” Ice’s eyes caught and held Griffin’s then Fade’s.
“We never mess with the bitches’ business—” Griffin said.
“I tried—” Fade began to explain but was cut off.
“Grace is my woman. Both of you knew that, and you didn’t protect her. Not only that, you let her leave before I got back. You didn’t even call me to let me know what went down. Griffin, who did your old lady call when she was in that car accident and couldn’t get you? Who was with her when she took her last fucking breath?”
“You, Ice,” Griffin’s choked voice answered.
“You’re demoted. Fade, you’ve got guard duty until I change my mind. Neither of you have my trust anymore.”
Both men turned pale. To lose trust was a deep slash to their pride. Neither would be able to participate in church or the deals that made money for the club nor sharing in the profits. He had basically turned them back into recruits without taking their cuts.
“Fuck with me again, and I’ll be taking those cuts.”
Ice turned to Lizard and Rita. “She yours?”
“Not anymore.” Lizard took a step to the side, letting Rita face Ice’s wraith alone.
“Ice...” Rita began. The arrogantly confident woman waiting for her punishment trembled, grabbing the bar counter for support.
“You also knew she was my old lady. You opened your big mouth about what happened in the club. Any brother want her?”
Blank stares and silence met his question.
“You’ve been here a long time, Rita. Too long. You’ve seen too much for me to let you walk out that door.”
“Ice please… I...”
“Be quiet! I’m going to let you live because I don’t want to kill a woman my dick’s been in.” Ice became detached as he spoke his punishment. “From now on, you’re nothing but a club whore unless one of the brothers or recruits”—Rita winced. None of the bitches were expected to fuck the recruits—“want you. I don’t want to see your fucking face or hear your fucking voice. I don’t even want to see your fucking shadow. When Grace is in the clubhouse, if she fucking sees you, you’re dead.”
Rita nodded, accepting her punishment.
“Go!” Ice yelled.
Rita ran out of the room toward the back of the clubhouse.