Stand Off (Predators MC 2) - Page 20

“I wouldn’t say that. I just don’t think I was the right teacher,” Grace teased.

Casey shook her head as she told her goodnight. Although she was tempted to leave without saying goodnight to her mother or Mugg, she made herself weave through the crowded clubroom until she stood by their sides.

“I’m leaving.”

Renee blinked at her rapidly, trying to straighten her shirt which had slid down her shoulder.

“Aw… come on, stay a while longer. You finally got that stick out of your ass. Stay and have another drink. We’re having a celebration! It’s not every day my man turns sixty-one.”

“His birthday was yesterday,” Casey reminded her.

“And it’s been one long party ever since. Make her stay, Mugg,” Renee whined.

Mugg turned from the bar, taking a look at Casey’s cold face. “Darlin’, she’s probably tired. Let her go home.”

Reluctantly, Renee nodded, reaching for another drink.

“Night, Mugg. Happy birthday.” Casey lowered her voice so no one would hear. “Do you need me to stay and give you a ride home?”

Mugg patted her arm awkwardly. “No, we’re spending the night here. We’re going to live the night like we’re young again.” He gave her a wink.

“Hell ya!” Renee tossed her drink back, nearly falling backward, but Max came up from behind and caught her before she could fall.

“Be careful, Renee, or you’re going to spend the night in the ER instead of the back room,” Max warned.

Renee giggled, draping herself against Mugg. “I’m fine.”

Casey shook away the futile wish that her mother would one day change. It was never going to happen.

She left the clubhouse, taking a deep breath once she was outside. The night had been a failure. Sighing in frustration, she took a step toward her car.

“You don’t like your mother much, do you?”

Casey spun around, unaware until then that Max had followed her outside and had mistaken the reason for her sound of frustration.

“No, I don’t.”

He stared back at her in shock.

“Don’t look so surprised, Max. Did you expect a different answer or for me to lie?” she asked mockingly.

“The answer, I guess. If you don’t like her, why don’t you just stay the hell away from her?”

“Because I love her,” Casey offered the best explanation she could. “Renee is never going to grow up, ever. Mugg still thinks he can change her, that eventually she’ll quit spending money like there’s no tomorrow, that she won’t flirt with everything that has a dick, and that she’ll take better care of herself. The difference between your father and me is that I realize she’s never going to change. When Mugg finally realizes that, he’ll leave again, and when he does, he won’t come back.”

“You don’t know my father.”

“Really? You tell me, Max; how would Mugg react if, for example, he went to draw money out of his account, and he didn’t have a dime left to fill that bike tank with gas?”

She watched the expressions as they crossed his face. He was figuring out for himself the answer she had already learned several times over.

“Mugg won’t let it get to that point.”

“Won’t he?” she asked doubtfully.

“No.” He said it as if he was trying to convince himself more than her.

“We’ll see. I hope you’re right, Max. I really do. I like Mugg.” She took a step toward her car then made herself stop. It was now or never.

Turning back to face him, she asked, “Want to come over for lunch tomorrow? From the way you went for that cake, I don’t suppose you get many home-cooked meals.” She held her breath as she waited for his answer, hoping he said no then praying that he would.

He hesitated before nodding. “Sure. I never turn down food.”

Casey pasted what she hoped looked like a genuine smile on her face. “Good; about one? Do you need my address?”

“One’s good, and I know where you live.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, then. Night, Max.” She went to her car without glancing back.

Her hand nearly dropped her key as she slid it into the ignition. Forcing herself to calm down was easier said than done. She let her eyes dart to the clubhouse to see he had gone back inside.

“Dear God… What have I done?” she whispered into the silence of the car.

Chapter 9

Max parked his bike at the front of Casey’s apartment, still asking himself what the fuck he was doing. He almost backed his bike out of the parking spot, unsure why he had said he would have lunch alone with her. Maybe it was the look on her face that had made him curious enough to accept.

Max hadn’t lived the life he had for years without knowing when he was being manipulated, and he was curious enough to find out what Casey was up to. Did she want him to try to interfere in Mugg and her mother’s relationship? When his father had left Renee, Max hadn’t even asked why, because he had known. Mugg had been forced to borrow money from him to cover the bills Renee had built up.

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