Arkham Marteeka Karland
(Bones MC, #5)
Published by: Changeling Press
Publication date: January 30th 2020
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Rain — The gangs of the underground can be brutal. I know this well and have the scars to prove it. So when a team of rough-looking men start nosing around the slums of Rockwell, I make it my business to know what they’re up to. One in particular catches my eye. He’s rough and scary looking, but his touch is gentle when it needs to be. He’s older and more experienced in every way than me, but I’m still drawn to him. I’m not sure why, but I want him. And when I let him take me, I’ll savor the experience until it’s time to go.
Arkham — The little pixie warrior is a conundrum if ever there was one. She’s strong and capable but scared inside and out. I can’t fix what’s broken inside her, but I can share her burdens and make her part of my circle. I’ll take her with me, with Bones MC. She’ll be protected there.
“Just stay put, little lady.” It was the same guy who’d nabbed her in the first place. She took the opportunity to study him. Aside from being a big-ass motherfucker, he was probably the scariest looking person she’d ever seen. A thick beard covered the lower half of his face, but he was scarred all over. What part of his body wasn’t scarred was covered in tattoos. A thin scar ran from his hairline, through his right eyebrow, and down his cheek to his jaw. His eyes were another thing. They were strange, dual colored. The right one was a rich amber while the left one was a vibrant blue. She wondered if the scar had anything to do with the strange coloring but doubted it since the injured eye was darker than the other and both seemed to focus on her intently. The one thing about the guy that scared her most were those eyes. Looking into them she could see they were dead. Void of any emotion. The eyes of a killer, cold blooded or otherwise. He’d slit a man’s throat without batting an eyelash.
He shrugged out of his military jacket and the vest underneath, tossing them to the floor. His neck popped several times as he rolled it on his shoulders.
“Whatcha got?” The leader of the second team she’d been watching stepped into their group. He was dressed in jeans, a white T-shirt and a black leather vest. A patch on the chest proclaimed him “president.”
“Five dumbasses trying to be badasses,” Goose answered. The man sounded more than a little miffed. “Fuckers winged me.”
“Jesus, Goose,” Trucker said, slamming his door after he hopped out. “Why are you still whining? Are you a pussy? Cause you know Bones don’t allow pussies.”
“They let you in, didn’t they?”
“Yeah, but I ain’t whining about getting a scratch. I bet you ain’t even bleeding.”
“You already said that.” Trucker was laughing openly at Goose, and the other man just scowled. Rain had seen more than one such argument turn into a deadly brawl. These guys seemed to enjoy it. In fact, it seemed like part of their culture. One an outsider like her couldn’t understand.
“Would you two knock it off?” the first guy said, looking annoyed but not angry. “Arkham?”
The man who’d captured her sighed, scrubbing his hand over his neck. “She was their lookout, Cain. But she expected us to take care of them.”
Cain crossed his arms over his chest. “How so?”
“Called them in once we separated, knowing we’d always have eyes on each other. Told them we were all together, not that we’d split. They did exactly what she expected. Rushed the two on the ground in plain sight. Her thought was Shadow and I could protect our brothers before those idiots could harm Torpedo and Goose.”
Cain gave Rain a good hard stare, seeming to be trying to see into her soul. “You sure about her? She might have been trying to make sure her gang had the best chance of killin’ your team.”
Arkham shrugged. “Maybe, but I don’t think so.”
“You trust her, then?” Cain raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest.
“No.” Arkham’s answer was immediate. Which pissed Rain off.
“Now, wait just a minute!”
“She mentioned the kid,” Arkham added, ignoring her as if she hadn’t said anything. “Said word was he was bein’ held until an offer of a ransom was made. Might want to let Azriel know.”
Torpedo swore. “Why the fuck won’t anyone talk? She can’t be the only one who’s heard this.”
Arkham shrugged. “Maybe I’m less intimidating than you. You know. Cause I’m so pretty.”
“We’re not doing very well in this. I don’t understand why Ivanovich needs us. His men could get the same results we’ve gotten.”
“We want you here because you have a way with the populous of the eastern sector.”
A large man in an expensive-looking suit approached them. He had the look of a predator, but a refined one. One that blended in with the elite of the city. Any city.
“If you’d let us do this our way, we’d’ve found the kid already,” Cain said. “It’s time you told us exactly what we’re doin’. I’m tired of fuckin’ around here, Azriel.”
“We have a tracking device on the child. All the children have them, with their parents’ consent, for just this reason.”
“We’ll, I’d say your tracker isn’t workin’ very well. This is the first mention we’ve had of the kid.”
“There’s interference. I know you’ve checked the sewers and subway beneath the city in that area, but we’re sure he’s there somewhere.”
“Maybe the tracker got removed. Maybe it was found and removed.”
“It’s working. We can see him moving from time to time. Probably when they take him to a new location. And the tracker also monitors his vital signs. If it were removed, the bio monitoring would tell us.”
Rain knew there were severe undercurrents surrounding the men. She was reminded of some of the gangs in the city. It was a power struggle with them. Most did everything they could to recruit the young. Those they couldn’t win over, they enslaved. Or killed. Eventually, no one dared turn them down when they came looking for service and tried to pick the least brutal gangs before they were drafted. Her included.
“The young woman knows something,” Azriel said, nodding in her direction. “She’s one of them.”
“She’s not,” Arkham stated solidly. There was no doubt in his voice. No question he was right.
“You said yourself she set your team up,” Azriel pressed. “It was just luck they didn’t kill all of you.”
“Those boys wouldn’t know how to kill if you put a knife in their hand and the blade at someone’s throat.” Arkham seemed to scoff at the idea. Rain knew better.
“They might surprise you,” she muttered.
Instantly, all eyes were on her. She winced. Not a way to gain her freedom.
“Might as well explain.” Cain scrubbed a hand over his face as if this were all a big hassle he preferred to avoid.
When she glanced nervously at Arkham, he stared back at her, the intensity of those dual-colored eyes unnerving. Lifting her chin, she looked away and shut her mouth stubbornly.
“I don’t have time for this fuckin’ shit,” Cain muttered.
“I’ll talk to her.” She snapped her head around to look at Arkham again. He had a look of grim determination on his face. “No matter how long it takes.” That look said he was looking forward to the interrogation.
“Now, wait just a Goddamned minute!”
Arkham ignored her and tossed her over his shoulder. With her hands still zip-tied behind her, there was nothing Rain could do other than kick a little. If she fell, she risked hurting herself worse than she had when she’d face-planted on the roof of the theater. Finally she just yelled at him, “Put me down!” Which did no good.
He swatted her ass. Hard.
When she stopped fussing, he grunted as if satisfied with her response. “Bastard,” she muttered, but didn’t struggle further. The sting of the swat startled her, but also made her insides tingle. What the hell had just happened? Even now, his hand rested on the side of her ass he’d just spanked, rubbing through her jeans as if to soothe her. In reality, she knew he was copping a feel, but she found she really didn’t mind when she’d always rebuffed anyone who tried to touch her. Without fail. Now this man comes along, manhandling her at every opportunity, and she… liked it? What the fuck?
Romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of. Now, she breathes life into faeries, space hunters, werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, and a few just plane ole ordinary people. She loves to see the awkward, self-conscious band geek get the captain of the football team and make him beg for it.