As he made the turn onto Penni’s street, he saw the brothers already parked out front. Jackal brought his bike to a stop. She wasn’t going to be happy to see the men gathered around her yard.
As he slid off his bike, he realized Penni’s car wasn’t parked in her usual space. It was early on a Sunday morning, but Jackal saw the barely perceptible movement from more than one window of Penni’s nosy neighbors.
He walked up her path to the door that was already open. Ice had his back turned to him as he spoke into his phone.
“I’ll take care of it. I’ll call you back as soon as I find out something new. I promise,” Ice assured whomever he was speaking to. The Predators’ president didn’t make promises he didn’t intend to keep.
Jackal looked around Penni’s apartment as Ice finished his call. It was what he had imagined her home would look like. It was filled with flowers and the frills that always made him feel uncomfortable. Potted plants rested against the windowsill, and family photos had him sauntering closer to pick up one that caught his attention. His hand circled the picture frame containing the image of the woman who haunted his dreams.
“What’s up?” Jackal asked as he felt Ice move near him.
“Grace called me to check up on Penni to make sure she’s home. She’s worried about her. Seems that she ran out of gas last night, and Grace hasn’t heard from her since. She keeps trying to call her back, but it goes to voice mail.”
Anything that upset Grace made it Ice’s problem, not the club’s.
“And you woke me up because Grace is worried about Penni?”
Jackal slammed the photo down. “I’m out of here, brother.”
He tried to sidestep Ice, only to find his path blocked.
“You’re not worried? I thought you had a hard-on for this bitch?”
Jackal’s eyes and hands returned to the photo. Penni’s blue gaze stared at him from the picture. His soul tried to shrink from her scrutiny as if she were really there. Her blonde hair and direct gaze were the direct opposite of her brother Shade, who stood next to her. They were at someone’s wedding. Everyone in the picture seemed happy, especially Penni who was surrounded by several men.
Jackal knew most of them were The Last Riders. As the Predators’ enforcer, he had made sure to know the men Penni had come into contact with when Colton had asked for their help to find a childhood friend of Vida’s. Sawyer and Vida had discovered Lily, Shade’s wife, was their missing childhood friend whom they had assumed died when they were all little.
The Predators had been willing to help Colton, especially when they had realized King was Lily’s father. When one of the brothers had been sent to keep an eye on her and the Last Riders and then subsequently disappeared, Jackal had taken Penni as insurance until they could get him back.
The trip to Treepoint had been more aggravating than he could have dreamed possible. Penni had become a raving bitch, trying to escape despite his assurances that she would be turned over to Shade as soon as Eightball was released. She had nearly crashed his motorcycle twice, bit him hard enough on his back to leave a scar, and it had taken two weeks to heal from the scratches she had made sure hurt like hell. At one point, Jackal had nearly left her stranded at a rest area. Ice’s anger when he had called him to give him the location of the meet with The Last Riders had forced him to turn around to get her back.
Jackal had never met a woman who wasn’t afraid of him. When he had pulled into the meeting place, he almost hadn’t stopped. Only keeping his word to Ice had kept her safe as he’d forced himself to let her climb off his bike. She had spat at him before sedately walking away.
Jackal wasn’t sure why he had let Penni go. He was a hard-ass and didn’t care what any of the Predators thought of him. Fuck, that was why he was the enforcer. They preyed on the weak. They took what they wanted, when they wanted. The only reason the Predators were involved with Lily in the first play was because King had made it worth their time.
When Penni had walked away from him, his eyes had met with Shade’s. Her brother was as ice cold as his half-sister was volatile. Jackal had felt the chill coming from halfway across the parking lot. He was smart enough to recognize Shade for what he was—a killer. Jackal knew because he was one, as well.
The men gathered on the parking lot had vowed their loyalty to their respective clubs. With one glance, Jackal could tell the difference between the men facing off against each other. The Last Riders held a loyalty to the club that the Predators were missing. All The Last Riders had bonded together to protect Lily, while the Predators were monsters no one could control. They were willing to help King for a price, whereas Eightball had been returned at any price because no one took what belonged to the club.