Casey stared in frustration at her stepbrother. “You’re holding everyone up.”
Max’s lips twitched. “We’re in no hurry. If you need some money, I can let you have some.”
“No, thanks.” Casey shook her head vehemently. She knew exactly where Max and the other bikers standing behind him came by their money. Everyone in Queen City knew the illegal activities the Predators were responsible for, including the police.
She stared at her stepbrother stubbornly. His large body was made for intimidation, and from the rumors she had heard about him when her mother had married his father three years ago, intimidation was the least of the crimes he was responsible for.
“You’d rather take a chance at this shop and have the store robbed than take money from me?” he asked grimly.
“Yes,” Casey answered truthfully. “I’m only going to work here a few weeks then quit.”
“It’s called the graveyard shift for a reason,” he remarked wryly.
“I’ll be fine. I know how to take care of myself,” she said solemnly.
Max picked up his food before stepping to the side, letting her ring up the rest of his friends.
The women in the group laid a variety of items on the counter. She kept her gaze lowered from Jackal’s amused eyes as he paid for his own things and the women’s.
Casey refused to acknowledge Max as he stood next to the counter, eating his hot dog and watching her check out his friends.
Ice, the president of the Predators, moved forward after Jackal. Thankfully, she had only been around him a couple of times since her mother had married Mugg, who was an older member of the Predators. Her mother swore he no longer went on runs with the club because he was physically unable to keep up with the younger members. Mugg might be sixty, but he appeared much younger. He was only slightly smaller than Max. They both came across as laid-back but as Casey came to realize, it was only a front for the capacity of violence that each was capable of committing.
Ice turned, motioning for a woman to come forward. Grace, his wife, stepped to the counter with a soda and a hotdog. Unlike the others, she wasn’t dressed suggestively, wearing jeans with a blouse and denim jacket. Everyone in town knew who she was. It hadn’t been that long ago since her picture was plastered all over the news when she was held hostage during a riot at a prison. It made headlines when she had married one of the men who had been incarcerated at the time.
“Max giving you a hard time?” She frowned at Max, who only raised a brow at her question.
“He’s trying to, but I’m ignoring him,” Casey stated the obvious.
“That must be new to you, Max,” Grace teased him.
“Not really. She’s been doing that since her ma married my dad.”
Grace laughed at Max, reaching her hand over the counter. “I’m Grace, Ice’s wife.”
“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Casey.”
The beautiful blond gave her a smile before moving out of the way for her to continue to check out the customers. Gradually, the store emptied out except for Max, who tore open a Twinkie package and shoved one into his mouth.
When the bell over the door rang as the last customer left, Casey was unable to put it off any longer. She stared at Max in frustration.
“Your friends are waiting.”
Max shrugged, putting the other half of the Twinkie into his mouth. Casey wanted to grind her teeth; instead, she left the counter to go out back to grab a box of hotdogs. Carrying it back out front, she began to refill the now empty carousel.
When she turned to throw the box away, she bumped into Max. Hastily taking a step back, she then moved to the side. However, Max reached out to take her arm, preventing her from going back behind the counter.
“You think I’m being a pain in the ass? What are you going to do when someone comes in and really wants to give you a hard time?” His eyes went over her shoulder to the back room.
“Call the police!” Casey snapped, jerking her arm away. “It’s none of your business what I do. I don’t stick my nose in what you have going on, so I expect the same in return.”
“Any time you want to come by the clubhouse, you’re more than welcome.” Max grinned, staring at her breasts before skimming down the length of her body then moving back up to stare into her eyes.
Casey stiffened, her green eyes glaring back at him angrily. “No, thanks. I’ll pass.”
She went back behind the counter, throwing the empty box down behind the trash can. She would throw it in the recycle bin after he left.
“Why? Your mom enjoys coming around.”
Casey stiffened, studying his face to see if he was trying to be ugly about her mom’s behavior. When she didn’t see any ridicule in his expression, she relaxed. She had been used to her mother’s actions being thrown up in her face since she was a child.