“I need to use the restroom,” she admitted, embarrassed.
The arm disappeared, and the mattress shook as her head turned. She glanced up to see Max rising from the bed, reaching out his hand to help her up. He opened the door without saying a word, and then Casey followed him to the small room next door which had the bare necessities. After she was done, she washed her hands and threw some water on her face, using paper towels to dry off.
Casey stared into the mirror at her face, now devoid of makeup. Her tear-swollen green eyes filled her face, and the pallor of her skin made her fear apparent.
“Hurry up,” Max spoke from the other side of the door.
Once Casey opened the door, both of them remained quiet as they went back to the room she had been locked inside. He was closing the door behind her when she pressed her palm against it, stopping him.
“Let me go, Max. You’re going to get in so much trouble for this…”
“What do you care? You did your best to make sure that’s where me and the rest of the brothers end up. You ready to tell me why?”
Casey’s hand dropped from the door.
“Ice won’t stop until he gets his answers, Casey, even if he has to drag Renee into it.”
Casey sucked in a breath at his words. “Mugg won’t let anyone hurt Renee.”
“We all took oaths. No one comes before a Predator.”
“Mugg loves Renee.”
“He’s a Predator. You know I’m telling the truth.”
“You would let them hurt Renee?” she asked in disbelief.
“I like Renee, but not enough to die for her. You betrayed the club.”
Casey shook her head. “I didn’t betray them. I don’t belong to the Predators.”
Max took a step forward with lethal intent, and Casey backed up until she was pressed against the wall in the small room.
“You belonged to the Predators the second Mugg married Renee.”
Casey shook her head in denial.
“Do you know how we deal with anyone who betrays us?”
“Stop, Max,” Casey whispered fearfully.
“They die. Betrayal in the club is a deadly sin. What you need to decide is if your reasons for betraying us are worth dying for.”
Casey turned her head to the side. Unable to bear the disgust on his face, her anger took over.
“I fucked you for the information I needed, didn’t I? So, yes, if dying is a penalty I’m going to have to pay, bring it on, Max, because I’m not going to let you threaten to use Renee against me. If she gets hurt, that’s on you and Mugg, not me. She didn’t even know I was at the clubhouse last night. If she had any idea what I was doing, she would have turned me in herself, and we both know that’s the truth.”
When his fist slammed into the wall next to her head, Casey jumped, but Max didn’t touch her. Instead, he stormed from the room and locked the door behind him.
Casey’s weak legs gave out and she sank to the floor, staring at the closed door. Her arms circled her knees, pulling them to her chest as her head lowered to press against them.
One of her hands went to her throat, gripping the starfish tightly in her hand. She had to remain strong. She had no choice.
“You win.” Max threw his cards down on the table.
“If you took your mind off that bitch, you might win a hand.” Buzzard raked up the small amount of cash that Max had left.
“Go buy us some burgers.” Max didn’t deny his attention hadn’t been on the game.
Buzzard’s chair scraped back from the table. “Be back in ten.”
Max looked down at his watch, checking the time again. It had been twelve hours since the cops had raided the clubhouse, and they hadn’t heard any news yet. He was already steaming with anger from Casey’s duplicity; as a result, worry about the brothers only escalated his already frayed temper. He had stayed away from her other than to let her out to go to the bathroom and feed her some lunch.
The sound of the freight elevator opening had him raising his eyes. It was too soon for Buzzard to be back.
The brothers filed out of the elevator with grim faces.
“What happened?” Max stood from the table, ready to face Ice’s recriminations for giving Casey the opportunity to snitch on them.
“We managed to get through by the skin of our teeth,” Ice told him, his frostbitten gaze meeting Max’s head-on. “The clubhouse is wrecked, but the cops didn’t find anything. Bring her out.”
Max went to the room Casey was being held in. Opening the door, he saw her sitting dejectedly on the bed.
“Ice wants to talk to you.” He hardened himself against the flash of fear she showed before she was able to smooth out her features and pretend to be calm.