Viper (Scoundrels MC #1)(7)

By: Moira Callahan

Viper mouthed something else she didn’t catch, but she had the distinct impression it was not complimentary. Didn’t matter; he wasn’t insisting. Biting her lip, Krista followed on his heels into what was her younger brother’s room when he was home from school for the holidays. Empty.

Next they went into her former room at the house. Perfectly neat and tidy, exactly like she’d left it on her last trip home. The room closest to her parents’ bedroom was her mom’s home office. It was more chaotic than any other room in the house. Her mother’s online business making unique gift wrap, cards, and other pieces was booming and the room showed that with half-finished pieces waiting patiently to one side, and others ready to be boxed and shipped when ordered.

The last room in this wing of the house and the door they now faced was the master bedroom. Viper stopped with his hand hovering over the knob. If her parents were asleep, all hell would soon break loose. It was possible, but unlikely given that the entire situation was plain wrong.

Tightening her grip on Viper’s shirt, Krista pressed in closer to him. She felt a sudden chill sweep down her spine, a sense of foreboding gripping her tight. He moved his hand from the knob to grip her hip quickly. He gave a squeeze to steady her before he reached out again to turn the knob.

The bedroom was dark. The only light filtering in came from the back deck lamps and the hall lights at their backs. It was strange, given it should have been lit up at that hour. His pause this time was to let his eyes adjust to the darkness, she knew. When her eyes adjusted, Krista couldn’t stop the gasp that broke free. The room had been trashed.

This time when Viper moved, she let go, unable to take a step, her feet rooted to the floor. Time seemed to slow, and each breath she drew was painful and harsh. Staring at the broken lamp, the overturned chair, and other ransacked items, she felt lightheaded. Her mind couldn’t seem to fully comprehend what she was seeing, but her clenching heart knew it was bad. Really bad.

“Krista.” Viper’s call to her broke her trance.

Whipping her head around, she blinked at him before moving. He stood in the bathroom doorway, the light on at his back throwing his face into shadow. Once she reached him, she looked in and cringed. Her knees wobbled and she likely would have gone down if he hadn’t caught her around the waist.

“Breathe,” he ordered.

She was trying. Each gasped breath hurt her entire body. Blood. That’s blood on the floor. “Oh God,” she got out. A whimper followed and she knew she was on the verge of a breakdown.

“That’s not enough blood to worry. A small wound, nothing more.”

“Then where are they? Who the hell did this, Viper?”

“I don’t know,” he muttered. He pulled her out into the hall. “I’m going to call the sheriff. It looks like an abduction, Krista.”

She could only stare up at him when he nudged her through the house to the front door. “You’re thinking it’s the same guys that came after me, aren’t you?”

“Seems a little too coincidental for my taste that this happened tonight. The same night someone tried to get you. What I don’t get is why. Or who would have the balls to go after the Scoundrels’ president in his own home. That is the shit that starts wars.”

Another shiver coursed through her. Viper pulled her closer to his heat. Forcing her arms to unwrap from her own body, she slipped them around his waist and held on. “How are you so damn calm right now, Viper?”

“Getting pissed off without any facts isn’t going to help us. We need details before we fly off the handle. Believe me, when I find out who did this they will pay.”

Oddly enough, she didn’t shiver at the chill his voice held. It was strangely reassuring to hear that bite to his tone. It let her know he wasn’t as unaffected as she’d originally thought. He was beyond angry, but Viper was the sort that didn’t allow it to show and give others power over him. He was a smart, dangerous man. It was yet more proof he was not for her, no matter how much her body begged her to reconsider.

Krista rested her cheek to his chest and closed her eyes. She could hear motorcycle engines and the crunch boots made on a gravel drive. The club had arrived. She should probably let go. When she tried, Viper only tightened his arm to hold her even closer to his body. Unable, and unwilling, to fight it, she melted into him.

“Sheriff, it’s Viper. I need you at Duke’s place.” There was a short pause before the large biker she was wrapped around heaved a sigh. “There’s been trouble. Bring the crime-scene team.”