“Viper will send Cash and Shade with you.”
Yep, they would be safe.
“Then of course I’ll go.” Penni’s disappointment burned a hole in her chest.
“Since Shade is coming, do you think you could go?” Penni asked Lily just as Lily got a text message from Shade.
“Looks like John and I are going, too. We’re going to have so much fun!”
“Yippee,” Penni said, trying to cheer herself up.
“I’ll go and get John and myself ready.” Lily picked John up from his highchair.
“Go ahead. I’ll be up in a minute.” Penni rose from the table when Jackal stood up, heading toward the door. Penni caught his hand as he was about leave. “Is something wrong?”
Jackal didn’t smile. “No. You go and spend time with Genny.”
“I was looking forward to tonight.”
“I was, too. We can do it another night when this mess is over.”
Penni’s face fell. “Are you trying to tell me that you want to wait to make love to me until after we get back to Queen City?”
“I think that’s for the best.” He didn’t meet her eyes, which wasn’t like him.
“I don’t understand. If you’re changing your mind about us, then just tell me so.” Penni felt a sharp pain she had never experienced before. Maybe she should cancel going with Genny and go to a doctor.
Before she could analyze where the sharp pain was coming from, Penni found herself pinned against the wall next to the front door.
“I haven’t changed shit about how I feel about you. You’re mine. You have been since I made you get on my bike and duct taped your hands around my waist. I can’t feel bad about it, even if I know it made you hate me, but I did what I had to for the club. I will always do what I have to do for the club.
“I never had a home before the Predators. I had been living on the fucking streets since I was fourteen years old. The only time I had a roof over my head was when I was in juvie. My father made sure that he scared potential foster parents from taking me in.”
“I’m so sorry, Jackal.”
Penni had her parents, Shade, and even Shade’s father had been kind to her, making sure she had felt like a part of their family. Meanwhile, Jackal had no one. His father was the one he should have been protected from.
“Don’t be. I’m not the first runaway who found themselves on the streets, and I won’t be the last. We live in a fucked world, and it just becomes more fucked every day.”
“That’s not true … There are good people everywhere.”
“That may be true, but they didn’t do shit to help me. I survived by doing anything and everything I had to in order to put food in my stomach and sleep in a bed. I’m not going to lie; I’ve done things that would make you sick. It makes me sick.
“Ice took one look at me, Hennessy, and DJ and fed us, gave us our rooms, and gave us a family. DJ was willing to give it up for the drugs, Hennessy for DJ, but me? Hell no. I’ll stand behind the Predators until I’m dead and gone.”
Penni felt the tears slip out of the corners of her eyes. Jackal brushed them away with his callused thumbs.
“You don’t, but you will. There are going to be a lot of fights between you and me over the club. There’s going to be times you hate me and walk away, but I’m not going to let you go.”
Penni let her head drop down on Jackal’s chest. “Is that a promise?”
“It’s an oath.” Jackal’s arms tightened around her, nearly cutting off her breath before he loosened his hold and stepped back.
She watched him go, wanting to pull back and barricade the door against the world. Lily would complain, but she would get over it.
Penni shook her head. It was a sad when she was thinking about taking her sister-law and nephew hostage just so she could have sex.
“Dammit, am I ever going to get laid?” she asked the closed door.
“Uh … Are you talking to me?” Lily said, coming down the steps.
Penni turned around to face her friend. “Do you know how many men have tried to get me to sleep with them?”
“Uh … No, and I probably don’t want to know.”
“Hundreds.” Penni’s anger had her exaggerating. “I damn near shot one’s dick off.”
Penni released a loud sigh.
Lily juggled John on her hip. “Feel better?”
“Not yet, but I will by the time I get dressed and ready to go.”
Penni stomped upstairs to her room, going to the window to slide it open. Raising her hand, she threw her negative emotions out, and there were a lot. When she was done, she slammed the window back down before they could return to her. If that didn’t help her to get laid, nothing would.