Today is a special day for the Bookworms! You know how much we LOVE and ADORE Katie McGarry, and her new series makes us all even more excited! Nowhere But Here is the first book in the Thunder Road Series that centres around a Motorcycle Club! How deliciously exciting, don’t you think? And today we have the pleasure to reveal Chapter 3 here at the Bookworms. And it’s a super special Chapter told from Oz POV- who just is so! swoon worthy! And.. don’t miss the Pre-Order Campaign where you can win a $500 GiftCard!
Nowhere But Here – Chapter 3
It’s three in the morning and Mom and I continue to wait. The two of us deal with the heaviness of each passing second differently. She paces the tiny living room at the front of our doublewide while I polish my combat boots in my room. Regardless of what happens tonight, we have a wake to attend in the morning.
The scratching of the old scrub brush against my black boot is the lone sound that fills the darkened house. We each pretend that the other isn’t awake. Neither of us has turned on a lamp; instead we rely on the rays of the full moon to see. It’s easier this way. Neither of us want to discuss the meaning of Dad’s absence or his cell phone silence.
I sit on the edge of my twin mattress. If I stretched my leg my toe would hit the faux-wood-paneled wall. I’m tall like my dad and the room is compact and narrow. Large enough to hold my bed and an old stack of milk crates that I use as shelves.
Mom’s phone pings and my hands freeze. Through the crack in my door, I spot her black form as she grabs her cell. The screen glows to life and a bluish light illuminates Mom’s face. I quit breathing and strain to listen to her reaction or at least hear the roar of motorcycle engines.
Nothing. More silence. Adrenaline begins to pump into my veins. Dad should have been home by now. They all should have been home. Especially with Olivia’s wake in the morning.
Unable to stomach the quiet any longer, I set the boot on the floor and open my door. The squeak of the hinges screeches through the trailer. In two steps, I’m in the living room.
Mom continues to scroll through her phone. She’s a small thing, under five-four, and has long straight hair. It’s black. Just like mine and just like Dad’s. Mom and Dad are only thirty-seven. I’m seventeen. Needless to say, my mom was young when she had me. By the way she slumps her shoulders, she appears ten years older.
“Any word?” I ask.
“It’s Nina.” My best friend’s mom. “Wondering if we had heard anything.” Which implies neither Eli nor Cyrus have returned home.
From behind her, I place a hand on Mom’s shoulder and she covers my fingers with hers.
“I’ll be out there watching their backs soon.” Now that I’ve graduated from high school, I’ll finally be allowed to enter the family business.
A job with the security company and a patch-in to the club is all I’ve thought about since I was twelve. All I’ve craved since I turned sixteen and earned my motorcycle license. “They’re fine. Like I’ll be when I join them.”
Mom pats my hand, walks into the space that serves as our kitchen, and busies herself with a stack of mail.
I rest my shoulder against the wall near the window. The backs of my legs bump the only piece of furniture in the room besides the flat-screen—a sectional bought last year before Olivia became ill. The couch and TV are extravagances we never would have bought if we’d known we would be covering medical bills.
Trying not to be obvious, I glance beyond the lace curtains and assess the road leading to our trailer. I’m also worried, but it’s my job to alleviate Mom’s concern.
I force a tease into my voice. “I bet you can’t wait until Chevy graduates next year. Then there will be two more of us protecting the old men.”
Mom coughs out a laugh and takes a drink to control the choking. “I can’t begin to imagine the two of you riding in the pack when the image in my mind is of both of you as toddlers, covered in mud from head to toe.”
“Not hard to remember. That was last week’s front yard football game,” I joke.
She smiles. Long enough to chase away the gravity of tonight’s situation, but then reality catches up and her face falls. If humor won’t work, I’ll go for serious. “Chevy would like to GED out.”
“Nina would skin him alive. You both promised Olivia you’d finish high school.”
Because it once broke Olivia’s heart when Eli, her son, dropped out of high school and instead took a test to get his GED. I might not share blood with Eli’s parents, Olivia and Cyrus, but they gave my mom and dad a safe place to lie low years ago when their own parents went self-destructive. That means Olivia became the closest person I knew to a grandmother.
“No more talk of Chevy and GEDs.” Mom tsks. “It’s bad enough you won’t consider college.”
The muscles in my neck tighten and I ignore her jab. She’s still ticked I won’t engage in conversation about college. I know my future and it’s not four more years of books and rules. I want the club. As it is, membership isn’t a guarantee. I still have to prove myself before they’ll let me join.
Mom rubs her hands up and down her arms. She’s edgy when the club is out on a protection run, but this time, Mom’s dangling from a cliff and she’s not the only one. Lately the entire club has been acting like they’re preparing to jump without parachutes.
My dad belongs to a motorcycle club that formed a security business when I was eleven. Most of the employees of the security company are members of the Reign of Terror. Not all, but most. It works vice versa, as well. Not everyone who’s a member of the Terror here in Snowflake works for the business, but work is there for any member who needs it.
Their main business comes from escorting semi-loads of high-priced goods through highly pirated areas.
Imagine a couple thousand dollars of fine Kentucky bourbon in the back of a Mack truck and, at some point, the driver has to take a piss or stop for a meal. My dad and the rest of club, they make sure the driver can eat his Big Mac in peace and return to the parking lot to find his rig intact and the merchandise still safely inside.
What they do can be dangerous, but I’ll be proud to stand alongside my father and the only other people I consider family. Maybe Mom will sleep better at night when I’m out protecting Dad. “Try not to worry. You’re acting as if they’re the ones that could be caught doing something illegal.”
Mom’s eyes shoot straight to mine like my comment was serious. “You know better than that.”
I do. It’s what the club prides itself on. All that TV bull about how anyone who rides a bike is a felon—they don’t understand what the club stands for. The club is a brotherhood, a family. It means belonging to something bigger than yourself.
Still, the medical bills from Olivia’s illness aren’t going away and between me, Chevy, my parents, Eli, Cyrus and other guys from the club giving all we have, we still don’t have enough to make a dent in what we owe. “I hear that 1% club a couple of hours north of here makes bank.”
As if keeping watch will help Dad return faster, I move the curtain to get a better view of the road that leads away from our house and into the woods. “Yeah?”
“This club is legit.”
“Okay.” Meaning that we aren’t a 1% club—that we don’t dabble in illegal.
“I’m serious. This club is legit.”
I drop the curtain. “What, you don’t want gangsta in the family?”
Mom slaps her hand on the counter. “I don’t want to hear you talk like this!”
My head snaps in her direction. Mom’s not a yeller. Even when she’s stressed, she maintains her cool. “I was messing with you.”
“This club is legit and it will stay legit. You are legit. Do you understand?”
“I got it. I’m clean. The club’s clean. We’re so jacked up on suds that we squeak when we walk. I know this, so would you care to explain why you’re freaking out?”
A motorcycle growls in the distance and it cuts off our conversation. Mom releases a long breath, as if she’s been given the news that a loved one survived surgery. “He’s home.”
She charges the front door and throws it open. The elation slips from her face and my stomach cramps. “What is it?”
“Someone’s riding double.”
More rumbles of engines join the lead one, multiple headlights flash onto the trailer, and not one of those bikes belong to Dad. Fuck. I rush past Mom and jump off the steps as she brightens the yard with a flip of the porch light. Eli swings off his bike. “Oz! Get over here!”
I’m there before he can finish his order and I shoulder my father’s weight to help him off the bike. He’s able to stand, but leans into me, and that scares me more than any monster that hid under my bed as a child.
“What happened?” Mom’s voice shakes and Eli says nothing. He supports Dad’s other side as Dad’s knees buckle.
“What happened!” she demands and the fear in her voice vibrates against my insides. I’m wondering the same damn thing, but I’m more concerned with the blood dripping from my father’s head.
“Medical kit!” Eli bursts through the door and the two of us deposit Dad on the couch. Mom’s less than a step behind us and runs into the kitchen. Glass shatters when she tosses stuff aside in her search. Mom’s a nurse and I can’t remember a time she hasn’t been prepared.
More guys appear in the living room, each man wearing a black leather biker cut, the vest that labels them as a member of the Reign of Terror. Not one man would be the type to leave a brother behind.
“I’m fine, Izzy.” Dad scratches the skin above the three-inch-long cut on his forehead. “Just a scratch.”
“Scratch, my ass.” With kit in hand, Mom kneels in front of him and I crouch beside her, popping open her supply box as she pours antiseptic onto a rag. She glares at Eli. “Why didn’t you take him to the ER?”
Dad wraps his fingers around Mom’s wrist. Her gaze shifts to Dad’s and when Dad has her attention for longer than a second, he slowly swipes his thumb against her skin. “I told him to bring me home. We didn’t want it reported to the police.”
Mom blinks away the tears pooling in her eyes. I fall back on my ass, realizing that Dad’s not dying, but somehow cracked his head hard enough that Eli wouldn’t allow him to ride home.
“You promised you’d wear your helmet,” Mom whispers.
“I wasn’t on my bike,” he replies simply.
Mom pales out and I focus solely on Eli. He holds my stare as I state the obvious. “The run went bad.”
Jacking trucks for the cargo inside is a money-maker for hustlers and the security company is good at keeping hustlers on their toes. But sometimes the company comes up against an asshole who thinks he can be badass with violence.
“Someone tried to hit us during a break at a truck stop, but we were smarter.” Eli jerks his thumb in Dad’s direction. “But some of us aren’t as fast as others.”
“Go to hell,” Dad murmurs as Mom cleans the wound.
“You should have reported it,” Mom says. “This is the fifth hit in three weeks. There’s no way this is isolated bandits. The police need to look into this.”
A weighty silence settles over the room and Mom’s lips thin. The security company is as thick as the club. Business in both areas stays private. Everyone is on a need-to-know basis, me and Mom included…that is, until I patch in. I’ll possibly learn more when I’m initiated as a prospect and I’m counting down the days until I’m officially part of the larger whole.
“He okay?” Eli asks.
“You of all people should know how hardheaded he is,” Mom responds. Eli’s a few years younger than my parents, but the three of them have been a trio of trouble since elementary school. “I believe everyone has a wake to attend in the morning, so I suggest sleep.”
That’s as subtle as Mom will get before she’ll stick a pointed, steel-toed boot up their asses. Everyone says some sort of goodbye to Mom and Dad, but my parents are too lost in their own world to notice.
“Walk me out, Oz?” Eli inclines his head to the door and we head onto the front porch. The muggy night air is thick with moisture and a few bugs swarm the porch light.
Eli digs into the leather jacket that’s under his cut and pulls out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. He cups his hand to his mouth as he lights one. “We need you out on the road.”
“They told me they’ll send my official diploma next week.” I was supposed to walk in graduation tomorrow, but Olivia’s wake is the priority. Not caps and gowns. “You tell me when to start and I’m ready to go.”
“Good.” He cracks a rare grin. “Heard that we might be adding a new prospect this weekend.”
The answering smile spreads on my face. Becoming a prospect is the initiation period before the club votes on my membership. I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire life.
Eli sucks in a long drag and the sleeve of his jacket hitches up, showing the trail of stars tattooed on his arm. “Keep an eye on your dad. He cracked the hell out of his head when he hit the pavement. Blacked out for a bit, but then shot to his feet. When his bike began swerving, I made him pull over and double with me.”
“He must have loved that,” I say.
“Practically had to put a gun to his head.” Eli breathes out smoke.
“Was it the Riot?” The Riot Motorcycle Club. They’re an illegal club north of here. I’ve heard some of the guys talk when they think no one else is listening about how our peace treaty with them is fracturing.
Eli flicks ashes then focuses on the burning end of the cigarette. “As I said, we need you on the road.”
Our club and the Riot have had an unsteady alliance from the start. We stay on our side of the state, they stay on theirs. The problem? A new client that the business has contracted with resides in the Riot’s territory.
“This stays between us,” says Eli. “This new client we signed is skittish and doesn’t want the PR related with possible truck jackings. We need this business and I need people I can trust with those loads. I need you in.”
“Two of those truck jackings were bandits, but the other three…”
…were the Riot. The shit has to be thick if Eli’s talking to me so freely. “If you choose to start working with us, there won’t be much room for a learning curve. You’ll have to be vigilant at every turn. We haven’t had trouble with the Riot in years, but when we did, they had no problem making it personal.”
Meaning they don’t have a problem hurting people—like my dad. Meaning I have to play it smart with them and be okay with the danger, which I am. I’d much rather be on the road protecting my family than sitting at home with Mom.
“The moment you give me a cut, I’m in.” I throw out the question, not sure if Eli will answer. “You had his back, didn’t you? You pushed Dad to the ground.”
A hint of a smirk plays on his lips and he hides it with another draw. He blows out the smoke and flicks the cigarette onto the ground. “Be out here at six in the morning. I’ll pick you up in the truck and we’ll go get your Dad’s bike before the wake. I want him to sleep in.”
Hell, yeah. “You going to let me drive his bike home?”
“Fuck, no. I’m bringing you along to drive the truck back. No one touches a man’s bike and in desperate situations only another brother can. You know better than that.” Eli pats my shoulder and his expression grows serious. “See you tomorrow, and be dressed for the wake when I pick you up.”
Eli starts his bike and rocks kick up as he drives off. I watch until the red taillight fades into the darkness. Through the screen door, I spot my mother still caring for my father. She uses special care as she tapes gauze to his head.
Mom smooths the last strip of medical tape to his skin and when she goes to close the kit, Dad tucks a lock of her hair behind her ear. They stare at each other, longer than most people can stand, then she lays her head on his lap. Dad bends over and kisses her temple.
They need a moment together and, having nothing but time, I sit on the top step and wonder if I’ll find someone who will understand and accept this life like my mother. Mom loves Dad so much that she’ll take on anything. His job, this life, and even the club.
Nowhere but Hereby Katie McGarry Series: Thunder Road #1
Published by Harlequin, HarlequinTEEN on 2015-05-26
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Family, Law & Crime, Love & Romance, Motorcycles, Social Issues, Young Adult
Amazon • Goodreads
An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.
NOWHERE BUT HERE Trailer
Other Chapter Reveals
- May 20-Hypable.com-Chapter 1
- May 21-Bewitched Bookworms-Chapter 2
- May 22-Chapter by Chapter-Chapter 3
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