Claiming Celia - Book cover

Claiming Celia

Lana Cathryn

2: Talking Bodies

Grave

Fucking Silver Tongue.

I pry my attention from the hall where the club’s SA leads away the woman with the hollow expression.

She’s new in town. I know that for a fact. I would remember someone so beautiful, yet so forlorn when you look into her eyes.

She’s vulnerable as fuck—that registers with me. It’s like looking in a mirror, but it’s her innocent face staring back. It’s unsettling, and I want to change it.

I will.

I should be worried that Silver seems to have taken her under his wing. Though I guess it’s his job, but so is talking.

He’s got a loud fucking mouth, and if he weren’t so smooth with it, he would probably be a dead man by now.

The other club members are gathered around the long oval table in our clubhouse’s meeting room. Our prez, Konrad, sits at the far end watching and waiting for them to settle.

It’s a damn early morning, and especially after what went down last night. Three of our guys went missing on a ride to a neighboring club.

We weren’t even the first to know that fact. Two of them were prospects who we aren’t certain are still alive.

Death is a reality we have to face on a daily basis. Our lives aren’t for the softer flesh—which is why it’s more likely our Tail Gunner, Tomb, is the only one still alive.

I’d guess the one damn reason he was caught was for doing his job: making sure no one is left behind. Tomb would have protected the prospects even with his own life at risk.

Us Reapers can hold our own. The new prospects had only been around for a week. Not at all long enough to learn how to survive and navigate club life.

Right now, though, that’s the least of our worries.

It’s possible we have an enemy. The club territory Tomb and the prospects were driving through belonged to the Grim Knights.

We’ve had our differences with them over the years, but never has a club member been taken. It’s looking more and more like the fragile peace between our clubs has just shattered.

What’s more, if word gets around to other clubs that the Reapers are easy pickings, we’re going to have a lot of fucking heat at our doorstep.

Our territory is larger than most and coveted for that reason.

At the end of the day, safety of the whole always trumps the few, even if we want nothing more than to save our brothers.

I take my seat between Konrad and Crush, the Reapers’ Enforcer. His real name is Ashur.

We take to using nicknames in the club because it’s a fun-as-shit way to identify each other and keeps the members safe.

If there’s ever a time one of us needs to disappear or a member decides to turn in his patch, then they can do so without looking over their shoulder.

Few have done it, but sometimes, shit happens, and there’s no choice.

Across from us, the other enforcer, Switch, and member, Blade, sit. They’re an inseparable duo; they do everything together.

It’s only fitting that their names capture that aspect along with their individual personalities.

Switch has a face that, no matter how hard he might try to stop it, displays whatever mood he’s in and what he’s thinking.

His jaw is set in a clench, and his eyes are dark as he watches the other patches gather around. He’s always been broody, but today, it’s more obvious, which means he’s on edge. Not a good sign.

Crush nudges me with his elbow as if asking if I noticed the same thing. I nod in confirmation and look to the prez when silence finally destroys the clamorous result of last night’s events.

Placing his hands on the table and looking over every member with sincerity, Konrad relays, “The prospects were found early this morning.”

His expression hardens. “Patch won’t be returning to the club. He’s alive, but for now, it’s best that he stays hidden.” He looks to Switch, preparing to change the angle of the topic.

But our last standing prospect interrupts.

“And what about Cage?”

Slayer’s voice is critical, borderline accusatory. Doing his part for the club, Silver walks over to stand next to him and exchanges a silent warning look.

The prez eyes the prospect for a long moment and then gives a nod of acknowledgment. He doesn’t need to answer; we all know the prospects were close and doing so might settle our last standing one.

“A jogger found them pretty banged up in the woods. Patch was lucky enough to get help in time. Cage bled out on sight.”

Murmurs fill the room until the prez cuts in. “We need someone to talk the girl that found them into coming in.” A silent demand is shared with Silver. “We also need to be on the lookout.

“Getting the drop on prospects is one thing, but a patched member? Whoever’s responsible is smart and a few steps ahead of us.”

Crush picks up after. “If you’ve got any favors to cash in on from other clubs, now would be a good time to do so. See what they’ve heard but keep it quiet.

“The last thing we need are some fucking hotshots coming in and thinking they can clean us out. Stay in groups. Keep your eyes up and ears open on the road until we figure out who’s fucking with us.”

I share my piece then. “Since Tomb is missing still, we’ll need someone to be interim tail until he gets back.” The unspoken “if” in my words doesn’t go unnoticed.

Tension ripples throughout the room and me.

The Reapers haven’t ever lost a patched member. The thought of losing one like Tomb, who’s been around for so long, is hard to think.

Blade clears his throat and exchanges a look with the prez; a silent request. He’s asking to be interim—and for a second chance.

A while back, some shit happened, and Blade lost his cool demeanor for once. He was demoted from his rank instantly, losing his job next to Switch as the second enforcer.

Konrad looks to me then. As VP, I’m here for a second opinion on decisions like this. No matter how competent a leader may be, everyone needs someone to have their back at some point.

I know Blade lost his shit that day, but he had good reason, and this past year, he hasn’t made the same mistake again.

With that in mind, I give an approving nod, and after a moment of thought, the prez gives Blade the same gesture.

The doors to the meeting room open with a resonating click. Morrigan walks in, a stack of cups and a pitcher of steaming coffee in her hands.

Konrad pauses the meeting chatter with a single wave of his hand in the air. His eyes fill with a familiar intensity as he watches his wife approach.

Morr is the only old lady to speak of in the clubhouse.

The other guys are just breaking their mid-twenties and are still distracted by the women who hang around for fun, or the others found during the club’s weekly trysts to the neighboring bars.

When I joined the Reapers, I was nineteen. Prez was twenty-three and had just inherited his rank from his father.

I was composed for my age, and that’s why I was patched in so swiftly, earning my spot at Konrad’s side as the club’s Vice President within weeks.

In the first three years of riding, I was like the other patches: eager to take in the lifestyle, to fuck, ride, and do whatever the hell the prez asked of me.

But I gave up the one-night stands and women who only lingered around for the opportunity to say they fucked a rough-handed biker. Those nights got old, leaving me with an emptiness before long.

Two more years passed, and I haven’t fucked around since—just enjoyed the pavement beneath my ride’s wheels and doing my part for the club.

Yet, after all this time, seeing a new woman walk into the room again has that urge to fuck returning at full force and then some.

It’s a deeper need in the pit of my stomach that begs me to tie her down in every way possible.

Morrigan leans over the table next to me, obstructing my view. “Her name is Celia. You should talk to her instead of staring so hard.”

I grunt in response. I will talk to her, just as soon as I get her alone, where no one can interrupt my claim. My cock hardens, and my pulse thrums at the very thought.

Yeah. I’ll claim her. It won’t be long.

She’s mine.

Only now, she’s on the wrong side of the table, leaning over the wrong damn patch. I stifle a growl of anger as Celia gracefully sets plates of food in front of Switch and Blade.

Then I find myself choking back a groan as she bends over—her shirt sagging far from her chest to reveal beautiful tits wrapped in lace cloth—and slides a plate in front of me.

The food smells good, but I can’t stop myself from thinking about how much I’d rather feast on the pale flesh she just flashed me with instead.

My cock swells against my zipper, straining to get out and do my bidding—fucking that beauty until every patch in the room understands she’s all mine. Until neither of us can walk again.

As I begin contemplating getting up to carry her out of the room caveman-style, her hollow eyes meet mine.

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