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Property of Drex (Book 2)

By:C.M. Owens

Chapter 1


What does a concussion feel like? It makes me feel pretty fucking stupid, and it feels like the worst hangover in history, minus the fun of drinking.

I blink my eyes several times as the doctor finishes looking me over. He frowns down at my attire, which is just my jeans, since that’s all I bothered to put on when Drake showed up at my house. Glad I put on that damn much.

“You’re sure Eve is okay?” I ask Axle, who takes a deep breath that doesn’t make me feel too good.

“I made sure of it. Drake has her.”

The doc is on our payroll, and has been for a while. So he says nothing before backing out of the hospital room. Death Dealer cuts are everywhere outside the room. I catch glimpses when they open and shut the door.

Private rooms for concussions aren’t protocol for the hospital, but being off the radar from a cop is our protocol. So private room it is. Would hate to mess up our relationship with the local PD.

Obviously the head injury slows my thought process, because it takes a second for Axle’s words to register. When they sink in, I explode off the side of the bed and land on my feet.

“Why the hell does Drake have her?”

Axle comes quickly when I sway, feeling like a dizzy bastard from the head rush just standing up gave me.

“Easy, dumbass. You’re in here for a reason.”

“Why the fuck does Drake have her?” I repeat, ignoring his warning.

He tightens his lips and looks over his shoulder toward the door before returning his gaze to me.

“Your dad wanted us to bring her to him. He didn’t say why, but obviously I didn’t want that to happen while you were unconscious. Dash seems to think Herrin wants her dead, which also seems to be the general consensus amongst the rest of the group. The guys are blaming her for this, because the attack coincided with the phone call she made not too long before.”

My jaw clenches, and I shake my throbbing head, trying to keep my eyes open. It’s hard to do. I feel groggy as hell and things keep doubling, then singling, then doubling again. Fuck me.

“That’s the stupidest shit I’ve heard. That phone call was two weeks ago.”

“And we both know it takes a minute to organize a hit like that, so two weeks would be a good preparation period. She keeps amassing more and more coincidences. They’re starting to think you’re too close to her to notice the threat she poses.”

I crack my neck to the side while finally retaining my balance. I still feel heavy and off kilter, but I manage to stay vertical.

My stomach is being a bitch, because it takes all I have not to get sick. Damn concussion.

“You good?” Axle asks.

“No. Fuck no. I don’t want Drake around my girl. In case you don’t remember, he has a score to settle over a damn woman.”

Axle tightens his lips before blowing out a breath. “Dude, I hate to say this, but the girl keeps being the center of trouble. She shows up, and so do the cowboy feds who are bolder than any before. We also lose our contact inside the FBI because he’s sidelined. The ATF don’t want to waste their time on us, but a special task force from the FBI gets our scent and won’t go away? Then, there’s a raid on our place. Now this?”

He gestures around to the sterile room I’m in. I can’t help but laugh now.

“And you think Eve is in on it? That she has deliberately put herself in the line of fire?”

He stops and thinks for a minute, and something close to regret crosses his eyes. “I did. Until I saw the way she was hovering over you when I got there. She was on top of you, shielding you. She even looked like she might attack me if I tried to touch you. Drake had to pull her off you to get her to budge. Then she didn’t want to leave your side. Dash even took a nut-shot because he interfered. It’s why I let Drake run off with her, because I knew he’d keep her safe.”

Yeah, maybe some pride swells up with hearing how she handled things. But before I can ask where Drake took her, the door to my room opens. Pop walks in with Sledge, Snake, Dash, and Hershel.

I immediately notice Dash limping, and I can’t help but smirk. But my amusement fades fast when Pop speaks.

“Drake isn’t answering his phone,” Pop says, glaring over at Axle. “Why the hell did you send her with him?”

Axle shrugs, not acting affected by Pop’s glower. “Drex seemed to be more important than his old lady. We had to torch the house and get him out of there. For all we knew, his brain could have been bleeding or some shit. I wasn’t willing to risk fighting over her when time was wasting.”

Before Pop can speak, I interject, “Eve made a call two weeks ago because I forced her to. Dash said her mom was at the police station freaking out. She was in that house with me when it started raining bullets. How could you think she’d deliberately set all that up? Even more importantly, how would she have set it up? Believe me, she wasn’t talking in code to her mother.”

Pop rolls his eyes. “Didn’t say she was some sort of mastermind, son. Just wanted her here so I could keep an eye on her. Christ, you’re paranoid.”

He sits down, and just because I’m fucking exhausted, I drop back down to the bed, cursing and wincing when I feel the aches in my body that I didn’t notice before. I must have hit the ground pretty damn hard.

“Call Drake,” I tell Axle, hoping he answers before I kill someone.

“Doing it.” He eyes my father warily while dialing Drake, and Pop talks while we wait.

“Hershel got word the Hell Breathers were chattering about an attack a few days before we all went home,” he says on a sigh. Axle’s head snaps up as he puts his phone away, meaning Drake didn’t fucking answer.

Again, I blame the head injury when it takes a second for Pop’s words to sink in.

“Wait, what? You knew shit was going to go down?” I demand. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Pop frowns while glancing over at Axle. Sledge looks as pissed as I feel.

“Or me?” Sledge growls.

Hershel says nothing as Dash moves into the room better, limping noticeably toward Axle. My girl must have nailed him really damn good.

He grimaces as he lowers himself to a chair, but my attention is pulled back to Pop when Axle speaks.

“So you let us think the girl had something to do with it, while you sent us home to be bait long before the attack happened?”

Pop bristles, and in this moment, I start finding a lot of questions. Where was he? Was he safe and protected while I was exposed in the middle of nowhere with no backup? Was he prepared with guns, while I had to scrounge for weapons? Was he hiding like a coward while I scraped by with my life?

“I thought they’d come after me,” he says, shrugging. “The fewer people who knew, the better. I didn’t expect them to go after Drex. And I don’t know why they did. They don’t know we know it was them. Dash tells me they were wearing all black.”

“I didn’t know you had prior knowledge of an attack that you withheld,” Dash says quickly, growling. “I was ready to kill a girl who was apparently not as involved as you.”

My fists clench, but Axle is suddenly there, stopping me from charging Dash, someone I thought of as one of my friends until this moment. If he had hurt her—

Dash leaps up, pointing at me. “Calm down! I had no idea she was innocent. I have your back. Just as always. But I didn’t know I was getting played.”

Pop slams his hand down on a rolling table that collapses and falls, clattering loudly to the ground.

“Enough!” he roars. “I didn’t tell anyone because it was supposed to be an attack geared toward me! I don’t know why they went for Drex. I don’t even know why they were attacking.”

“You didn’t even bother to tell me?” I ask calmly, which immediately ices his fury, and an impassive expression masks his features.

“You’d have told your boys if I’d told you. Like I said, I wanted this kept close to vest. I wanted to draw Benny out. I was prepared for him.”

“But Drex wasn’t,” Axle coldly points out. “Because he had no warning, and since he’s your son, Benny went for him. He’s under the delusion you care about him more than anything else.”

Yeah, it fucking hurts. My father admits he doesn’t trust me to keep my mouth shut after all I’ve done for him over the years. And he silently admits he cares more about himself and the business—my business—than me.

Deciding not to show how personal I’m taking this, I shift the conversation. “Benny doesn’t sell the same merchandise we do. He’s nothing more than contracted muscle to loan sharks and bookies. So obviously this is a personal attack. We all know why. Let’s focus on what to do next.”

Axle’s eyes find mine, but I look away. I know he wants me to say something to Pop. But I know it’s not worth it. I’ll let my actions speak. As of this moment, I’m no longer his fucking loyal puppet.

“Why strike years after his brother’s death? Why wait?” Hershel muses, ignoring the thick tension that is strangling everyone else.

Sledge still looks disgusted, probably feeling excluded, since Pop didn’t even trust him. I keep talking, ignoring the death glares everyone is giving my asshole father.