Broken by Erin Osborne

 

Chapter One

Vanessa

TODAY HAS STARTED out as such a beautiful day. Waking up before my alarm even goes off, I take a few minutes to stretch my sore muscles before getting out of bed so I can start my coffee. I’ve gotten a pretty good routine going now. Probably for the first time in my life if I’m being honest. Ever since the motorcycle club, the Wild Kings, moved to Cedar Bay my hometown things have started looking up once again. After starting my life source in the kitchen, I don’t hesitate in heading to the bathroom so I can get my shower. I’m opening up the salon today for the first time and I don’t want to give Sami any reason to think I’m not capable of helping her out and working to my full potential. Especially not when she’s the first person to truly give me a shot when she didn’t have to.

I can actually go outside for my daily run without having to worry about some scumbag trying to steal me off the streets for some nefarious reason. People have come up missing from here ever since the assholes started taking over our small town. We’ve literally lost almost everything as people I’ve known my entire life moved away to somewhere safer. Girls I went to school with were forced from their jobs only for them to end up being pimped out in the streets they used to believe were so safe. Our entire world was turned upside down thanks to a few fuckers who intimidated and hunted us all down to bend to their will.

Letting the hot water from my shower pour over my aching muscles from my workout yesterday, I force my mind from heading in the direction it wants to. One of the members of the club has definitely caught my attention. His name is Venom and he’s the president of the Wild Kings. I’m not sure why I’m attracted to him at all considering what a douche canoe he is. There’s always a scowl on his face, his grey eyes always look as if storm clouds are rolling through them. Add in the muscles covering him and his height and Venom is completely and undeniably scary as fuck. I’ve never met anyone like him in my life. However, under his harsh demeanor, there’s a pain and hurt so deep it’s no wonder he doesn’t let anyone get close to him. Someone or something has hurt him beyond repair.

I’ll be the first to admit a part of me wants to know what his story is. I want to take away all of his pain and replace it with nothing but happy memories full of joy and love. He’s the last guy around I should be thinking about. Period. There’s just something I can’t stay away from. Something I want to wrap around myself while healing him at the same time. Venom screams bad boy with a healthy dose of knowing his way around a woman’s body. Something I’ve never found with any of the men in Cedar Bay or the surrounding towns. They’re all out for themselves and nothing more than a quick fuck.

I’ve spent my entire life trying to escape the fate of most the girls I went to school with. Cedar Bay is a small town where your options are severely limited as far as what you do after high school. A few of us managed to escape our fate to head to college where they could make something of themselves. However, most of us ended up stuck here. We find any job we can to keep a roof over our head and food in our stomach while pumping out babies to keep the population going. Yes, I want kids and a family of my own. However, not with any of the men from around here. Most of them are alcoholics who only go to work, hang out with their ‘boys’, and cheat as much as they can on their wives. They have nothing to do with their children other than paying for what they absolutely need. At least that’s what I’ve seen happen to far too many of the people I went to school with who stayed here for their own reasons.

Finally done with my shower, and trip down memory lane, I get out and quickly dry off. With a towel wrapped in my hair, I make my way naked into my bedroom. The sun is streaming through my open curtains warming up my room even more than it already is. I kind of hate wearing clothes so when I’m home alone, I wear as little as possible. Pulling out a pair of cut off shorts I bought on one of my shopping trips a few weeks ago, I pair them with a black tank top. Knowing I’ll be at the salon all day long, I pull out my black pair of sneakers and a pair of flip flops for when I get off work.

With my clothes in hand, I toss them on my bed before heading for my dresser to grab a bra and panties. If I had one guilty pleasure I’d say it was my underwear. I love everything lace and spend way more money on the stuff than I should. However, even if no one sees what I’m wearing under my clothes, I know, and it makes me feel sexy as hell. I’m all about a confidence booster wherever you can find one. I’m not ashamed of the curves I was blessed with. Yes, my body is a blessing and my momma taught me to be proud of the body I was born in. So, I am. If someone doesn’t like the way I look, they don’t have to glance in my direction. Ever. Picking out a black lace bra with matching boy shorts, I put them on before making my way over to my bed in order to finish dressing.

After putting my clothes on, I head for the bathroom. Brushing out my hair, I let the heavy length fall down my body while I grab the gel I use to keep it even mildly tamed. Even when I wear it up, I need to use product, so my curls don’t become a tangled mess. Applying the bare minimum makeup, I’m finally ready for a cup of coffee and a light breakfast before heading to the salon for the day. I’ll get out early, but I’ll still be there most of the day. I’m honestly good with it considering there’s still not much to do around here and I don’t feel like driving anywhere after working all day and then getting in my run. Every single day I run around town or in my back yard so I can eat what I want and not gain a million pounds. I’m that girl who loves her food and no one better get in between me, and it if they know what’s good for them.

Walking through my small house, I double check the windows and doors to make sure they’re all locked, grab my phone and keys before heading out with a to go cup of coffee. There’s no point in even driving to work since I live close and it’s honestly a waste of gas. So, I take off on my walk to work as the sun beats down on my skin and warms my body. I keep my eyes peeled for any sign of danger since that’s what our town has been filled with for a long time now as the birds fly and chirp their happiness. It all just adds to the good mood I woke up in.

Opening up the salon, I keep the door open for now to let in some of the warm breeze. Clara and Sami will be in later. One would be in here with me if we were busy, but Kasey is the only one on the books this morning for a nail appointment. If walk-ins come in, they’ll have to wait or come back when the girls are here. That’s how Sami wants her shop run and has given us all explicit instructions in how to handle any customers who walk-in for their hair or any other service we offer here. Thankfully, I’ve trained in everything, so I don’t need to accept hours when someone else is here. I actually like working here alone more than when we’re all here. There are just times I want to be alone and not worry about keeping up a steady stream of conversation.

Hooking my phone up to the speaker system Sami had installed in the salon so we can play music, I choose a random song. WYD Now? by Sadie Jean begins playing. It’s not a song I’d usually listen to, but I leave it alone as I start my walk through of the shop to make sure everything is stocked up and ready to go for the few appointments we have. When that’s all taken care of, I grab the load of towels from the dryer to fold and take care of until Kasey gets here.

A lot of our customers have been the women from the club. Kasey is the only other ol’ lady besides Sami. I don’t know a ton about motorcycle clubs, but I have been taught the difference between an ol’ lady and a sweetbutt. Hell most of the sweetbutts are from here and I’ve known them my entire life. Those are the girls at the club for the men to use as they see fit. Trust me, I’ve already heard more about the cocks of the men in the club than I’d ever want to. Don’t get me wrong, the guys are sexy as hell, but it doesn’t mean I want to hear how they fuck. Especially Venom. He’s the one guy I try to stay as far away from as possible.

“Hello? Is anyone here?” a woman’s voice calls out as I finish putting the last of the towels up on the shelf.

“I’m here,” I call out, quickly making my way from the back room to the front.

Kasey is standing in the front of the salon with a smile on her face. I know she’s an ol’ lady and moved down with her man. Her dad is also in Clifton Falls as a member of the mother chapter of the club. I’m sure I met him, but I can’t remember who he is. There were so many people in here it’s hard to keep track of names and all that shit when it comes to the club. Not to mention I have no business knowing anything about the men and women who are involved with the Wild Kings. I’m just an employee of an ol’ lady with no other affiliation and that’s how I plan on keeping things.

“How are you doing today?” Kasey asks as I lead her through the salon toward the nail station.

“I’m doing pretty good. How are you?” I return

“Oh, ya know. Gotta start getting shit ready for the party this weekend. I swear these men are worse than high school boys with their need to party every single weekend and their need to constantly get their cocks wet. It’s embarrassing as hell. I’m glad I don’t have to do much more than make sure the sweetbutts don’t poison our men with the food they cook before settling in to relax with my man,” she answers, laughing at the thought of those bitches trying to kill off the men in the club because they can’t cook.

“Yeah, a lot of them have never really taken the time to worry about how to actually cook or clean. They simply expect someone else to do all that stuff for them,” I tell her, reminding her I actually know the sweetbutts they have at the clubhouse.

“Well, then they’re all in for a rude awakening. These boys aren’t going to fuck around. Their job goes well beyond fucking the guys. Ya know, they have no problem making an example of these bitches since it’s a new club and they have to prove they’re not just going to let the girls run all over them and try to take over. It’s happened in the past with the mother chapter and none of us want to see it happen again. Especially not here where we’re trying to establish relationships with everyone in town,” Kasey assures me.

“Hey, you don’t have to explain anything to me. I’m not part of the club and have nothing to do with it. I’m just one of Sami’s employees,” I tell her, knowing this is none of my business. “Why don’t you choose what color you want today, and I’ll finish getting everything set up so we can get to work.”

Kasey walks over to the wall where we have all of our nail polishes set up on shelves as I get everything out I’ll need to fill her nails and make sure I can fix anything if it’s broken or chipped since the last time she came in here. Once everything is set up and Kasey is back in the chair across from me, I don’t waste any time getting to work. We talk about anything not involving the club because I’ve made my point that it’s none of my business. Thankfully Kasey is respecting my wishes about it. Honestly, I’d love to belong to one of the guys in the club. Just from the few times I’ve seen any of them in here, they might be scary as fuck, but they’re loyal and love hard. Especially when it comes to Goose and Sami. That man is head over heels in love with my boss and they’ve been together for a long time from what I’ve overheard. That’s the kind of love I want to eventually find for myself. So, the easiest way not to get completely destroyed by one of them is to simply stay as far away as possible.

“You the only one workin’?” a deep, growly voice fills the air as one of the songs finishes playing.

Snapping my head up, I find Venom standing in the front of the salon. Today he’s wearing a pair of worn jeans which hug his hips like a second skin. His muscled arms are on full display as the sleeves of his black tee-shirt cling to his body stretched to the limits of the fabric. Venom’s ever present cut rests on his body and a small sliver of his abs are on display as he stands leaning against the corner of the wall, staring directly at me.

“Yeah, I’m the only here right now. I’m almost done with Kasey if you want to wait,” I answer him as my heart speeds up in my chest.

Without another word, Venom stalks toward the couch in front of the window and plops his ass down before pulling out his phone. Kasey doesn’t say a word to him as she turns her attention back to me while I work on her nails. When I look up at her, there’s a knowing smirk on her face. I’m not sure what that’s about, and I don’t have the guts to ask her with him sitting in the same building as us.

“I think I just want the very tips colored today,” Kasey informs me once I’m ready to start putting the nail polish on her nails. “Don’t want to make the President wait when I’m sure he’s got work to do.”

My eyes skip to the man in question as he raises one of his hands and flips her off. Kasey doesn’t take any offence to his gesture as she starts laughing her ass off. If I actually knew him, I might not be scared to laugh at him, but that’s not the case. The one thing I do know is Kasey is older than he is and grew up with him. She grew up with all the guys in the club and the few girls I’ve met so far.

“You okay over there?” Kasey questions me as I finish her nails.

“Yeah. Why do you ask?” I return, not bothering to look up from the last few nails I have to polish for her.

“You’re looking a little flushed. I know it’s warm out, but I didn’t think it was that hot in here.”

“I’m good. Just got a lot going on.”

It’s not exactly the truth as the man still sitting here consumes me. I want to continuously look in his direction and it’s taking everything in me to remain focused on the task at hand. Soon, he’ll be closer than I want him to be. Why the hell did he have to choose today of all days to come in here?

“It’s okay to admit you think he’s hot,” Kasey whispers, leaning over the table separating us.

“Oh, I can fully admit he’s hot. At least until he opens his mouth. Then he’s nothing more than another asshole who thinks the world revolves around him,” I quip.

“He’s had some rough times in his life lately. Venom really is a good guy. One of the best I know if I’m being honest.”

“It doesn’t really matter. Who he is as a person doesn’t matter to me. I’m just an employee here and not looking to be another notch on anyone’s bed.”

“You keep telling yourself that. You’ve got it bad for him, Vee. It’s okay to want something more in your life. You don’t ever come to the clubhouse for parties or anything else. These guys will have your back for no other reason than you work for Sami. Your part of us whether you want to admit it or not. I’ll leave the money on the counter so you can get started on Venom. Venom, always good to see you,” Kasey says just before standing from her chair and leaving the salon.

Instead of walking over to get started on Venom, I head for the counter to take care of Kasey’s payment and mark her off in the book. Venom doesn’t move a muscle until I begin walking back to the wash station and call his name.