Bravely, she yelled out, “My brother would have whipped all their asses!”
A fist pounded on the door at her outburst.
Tilting her head to the side, she tried to listen to what was going on in the other room. The sound of shuffling had her rising to lock the door. Then Penni lifted her chin to rest on her bent knees.
“Big brother, where are you when I need you?”
Jackal pushed his plate away. “So now I’m getting the silent treatment?”
Hennessy had found a hole-in-the-wall café to feed them lunch.
Penni’s silence was unexpectedly pissing him off. Other than her lips tightening, she didn’t respond.
Hennessy mocked him from the next table, lifting his coffee cup to salute him.
He should fucking get on his bike and leave Ice to deal with the mess Penni had created. After all, Hennessy had boasted last night that he didn’t need his or the Predators’ help. So fuck it!
The waitress laid the check in front of him. Snatching it up, he was about to slide out of the booth when Penni looked up from her untouched plate.
“I’m sorry I screwed up.” Her subdued apology was a fireball to his nuts.
“It’s okay. We’ll find Striker.”
What the hell? What crap had just come out of his mouth? It would be a fucking miracle if Striker were still in town.
“I’ll do whatever you tell me to do from now on. No more screw-ups, I promise.”
“It wasn’t your fault.” Even he had trouble swallowing that load of bullshit, but if it took that miserable expression off her face, then it would be worth the muted “pussy-whipped” that Hennessy mumbled as he stood.
“We’re going to walk around town. You’re going to keep your eyes open and your mouth closed. There’s going to be a poker run then a wet short contest. If that doesn’t make you horny, they’re having a tattoo contest. The groupies get to count them. They collected money from them to buy a limited edition Gold Desert Eagle. Any man who has a dick will be there tonight, and so will we.”
“Free pussy and guns. That’s asking for trouble.” Penni’s anxious features had the men coming to a stop outside the café.
“You worried we can’t protect you?”
Her expression cleared at Hennessy’s wounded pride. “No.”
“I didn’t doubt you could. You all proved that last night.”
Jackal smiled, taking the compliment the way it was intended. The massive fight in the bar hadn’t left him with a hair out of place. That was more than one of Hennessy’s men couldn’t say the same.
They walked back to the hotel to their bikes. Penni’s searching the crowd as they began walking down the street had Jackal thinking she was finally taking the predicament she was in seriously. She at last had realized that finding Striker was a matter of life and death.
Hennessy chose two men to ride on the poker run as they remained in the hotel parking lot. Jackal knew he was hoping they would hear of someone who had a large supply of coke for sale. It wasn’t likely they would catch a break, but the longer Striker held on to the cache of drugs, the greater his chances of having them stolen or a cheese sniffer ratting him out.
Jackal was proud of Penni for sitting on the seat of his bike as the men stood there, talking with other clubs staying in the hotel. He could see the influence he’d had on her when she didn’t interrupt the conversations, despite the crude language they were using as women began mingling with the bikers.
It wasn’t the first rally he had gone to. With as experienced as he was, he was able to recognize which women were there for a good time or to fish for a new back to hang on to. The bikers at this rally were mostly there for fun and games, but if trouble showed up, they were ready for that, too.
“She yours?” One biker talking to Cruz nodded to Penni sitting sedately behind him.
“Yeah,” Jackal answered, waiting for a smart-ass comment from Penni. He wanted to kiss her when she remained silent. He didn’t count the snort he heard at his back. No one but him heard it.
“I tell her that all the time.” Jackal knew he was egging her on, but he couldn’t help himself. Part of Penni’s attraction to him was her unwillingness to take any shit from him, unlike the whores who were beginning to outnumber the bikers.
“I lost my woman on the way here. She wouldn’t stop whining about missing the kids, so I dropped her off at a truck stop.”
“Mine knows better.” Jackal turned to see her about to break her vow of behaving.
Taking her hand so she could stand, Jackal sat down on the motorcycle seat. Breaking the taboo in his own code, he sat her down in front of him, his arm snaking around her waist, flattening his palms across her tummy.