Viper (Scoundrels MC #1)(3)

By: Moira Callahan

“You kissed the housekeeper and gave Momma a wave on your way out the door. I’m thinking there’s a bucketful there.”

Duke winced at what she’d described. “How upset is your mother?”

Krista’s lips curved and she patted his arm. “She was more amused than anything until she realized you left without your pills. But she would like her eczema cream back.”

Well, that explained what the tube was. He handed it over to his daughter and took his pill container from her. “Let your mother know I’m extremely apologetic, and I will tell her the same when I get home.”

“I will.” Krista looked around and frowned. “Did you do something different up here?”

“Not recently. Why?”

“Don’t know. It doesn’t look quite right.” She waved a hand, placed it on his chest, and popped up on her toes to kiss his cheek. “Never mind. I have to get going or I will be forever behind schedule today. I’ll see you at dinner tonight. Do not be late, Daddy, or Momma will forget her amusement and go straight into full-on rage.”

“Right, dinner. I will be there and on time. Drive safe, baby girl.” Duke walked her to the door and watched her move to the stairs and then descend. He moved to the railing that kept the drunks from falling onto the pool table below and smiled when she stopped to chat with Merc, a patched member and Duke’s nephew. Her laughter only made his smile grow. A couple minutes later, she tossed Duke a wave over her shoulder before disappearing out the door.

“The pipsqueak was here, I’m guessing.”

Duke jumped and spun around to face Viper. “Jesus! Would you stop sneaking up on me?”

Viper snorted and moved to lean against the railing. “And where would the enjoyment be in that?”

“There are days I absolutely hate you.” Duke pressed a hand to his chest in an attempt to calm his jittery heart. Then he switched gears. “Where are we at with our Porter situation?”

“I talked to our friends in El Paso. They have eyes on Porter. To date he’s visited his mother’s nursing home six times, and his father’s grave once. Beyond that, he’s run around to several addresses they are trying to nail down. The only ones they have right now is for some guy with no ties to Porter and the PO he was assigned for his stay there. Best guess at this point on the guy is he might be a go-between. They’re going to talk with him later today when he gets back from work. Hopefully he’ll have some answers on what Porter’s actually doing down there.”

“Damn,” Duke muttered. He wanted Porter to pay for what he’d done to their club and the townsfolk. But he couldn’t make any moves without figuring out how Porter had gotten out after only four years—and what the fuck Porter was up to in El Paso.

The day Porter had gotten out, the guy had made tracks for his locally assigned parole officer’s office and stayed in there for over three hours. Way too long for the standard hey I’m out and look at me behaving chat. And still too long for the old my mother’s sick sob story to gain permission to cross state lines.

Unable to get anyone close to the office for a look in, they were flying blind on what might have happened or who may have been in there. Even waiting around had yielded no clues. They’d followed Porter to the New Mexico state line before handing off to a club they were in an alliance with in Texas to continue the tail. That club knew the territory better, making it the right call. But it left the Scoundrels club at loose ends waiting for word.

“Let me know when you hear something,” Duke said. Running his fingers through his hair, he headed back to his office. “I’ll be here until five and then I need to get to the house to ensure my wife doesn’t change the locks.”

“You are whipped, man. It’s kinda sad,” Viper said behind him.

Throwing up the universal sign for what he thought about that, Duke stopped to shoot him a look. “You coming over? She’s making pot roast.”

“Maybe, but likely not. You know I love Nadine and all, and she makes the best pot roast ever.”

Duke propped his shoulder against the doorframe. He knew that Viper and Duke’s daughter, Krista, seemed to be at odds, and had been since she’d turned eighteen. He wasn’t sure what had all gone down, although knowing his old lady she would know everything. Mother’s intuition was the excuse she dropped on him whenever he asked. “You ever going to tell me what put you and Krista at odds?”

“What? Did I suddenly turn into a fucking chick who has to talk about her feelings? Fuck you,” Viper said with some bite to the words. He shook his head and made for the stairs.