AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Carmen Jenner
A savage saints MC
“Jesus Christ.” I mutter, watching Crazy through the window of my cabin as he empties an entire bottle of lighter fluid onto the BBQ. He strikes a match and throws it on the heap of charcoal and skitters back, hooting as though all his fuckin’ Christmases have come at once when the thing erupts into a burst flames that reach for the midday sky.
I growl, but my focus is quickly drawn to the two idiots firing off bullets into the woods in an effort to hit some cardboard cut-out of Santa taped to a tree. Grim hits the fat bastard right between the eyes and holds out a hand for Killer to pay up. I take long deep breaths through my nose and look around my tiny cabin that’s filled to bursting with my club brothers.
Ordinarily we do this shit at the Prez’s house, and come Christmas night there isn’t a fuckin’ surface of that place left untouched by vomit, blood or some other bodily fluid, but since I still can’t ride with my jacked up hands and Jett is insisting on keeping two guys stationed here to protect me and Ivy from the fucking Russians that are jonesing bad for my balls, this year every bastard and their dog wound up at my place.
As if on cue, as if she knows exactly what I’m thinking and enjoys taking the piss outta me, Ma pats my cheek and smiles. “It’s so nice to see this place teeming with life.”
Yes, even my mum made it to Christmas.
Deck the fuckin’ halls.
I need a serious drink. I need to see my Warrior Princess’ pretty little mouth choking down my dick, and I need all of these bastards out of my goddamn house. There’s a reason I live this far out. It’s ’cause I don’t like people. Fuckin’ period. And every one of these motherfuckers is gettin’ on my last fuckin’ nerve.
Except my Ma, and Ivy—which makes a nice change because much as I worship the damn ground she walks on, most days I wanna kill the bitch.
The roar of another bike up the unsealed drive has my brows drawing together. The only brother missing is Kick, because I left that arsehole in charge of aiding me in playing Santa for Ivy this year. She’d been houndin’ me all day for clues about her present, and all day I’d been tellin’ her she had to wait like all good girls.
So when I look out the window and see Kick on his bike, and not in the club van like we talked about, I take a deep motherfuckin’ breath and count to ten, and open the door leading down to the garage as he shuts off the engine.
Thundering down the stairs and heading off the bastard before he can make his way into the house, I snap. “Did you get it?”
“Merry fuckin’ Christmas to you too, arsehole.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I wave him off and fold my arms over my chest. “Did you get the fuckin’ goods or not?”
“Yes, I got it. Do you have any fucking idea how difficult it was to cart that shit along on my bike. I almost died, several times.” Kick says, as he pulls out his smokes and lights up, inhaling and then blowing a cloud of stinking chemicals into my face.
“Well, what the fuck happened? Is someone else bringing it in the van?” I say, running my hand through my hair. It needs a cut, badly, but I know Ivy wants me to grow it long, the way it was when we first met. I don’t know if it’ll ever get there, ’cause every arsehole and his bitch is making me so fuckin’ crazy I wind up tugging it outta my scalp. “Did you leave it at the clubhouse?”
“Jesus, you need to chill the fuck out. You’re like a bitch on the rag.”
“Where is it, Kick?”
He tilts his head in the direction of the Night Rod parked inside my garage. I used to own one of these babies, until Kick ‘borrowed’ it from me a couple years back and totalled the fucking thing. Bike never was big enough for me anyway.
The saddlebag moves. I frown but head towards it, not understanding what the hell is going on here. I lean down and open the leather flap and a teeny tiny little blue‑grey head pops out. It’s all squashed up nose, and big blue eyes, and ears for fuckin’ days.
“What the fuck is this?” I say accusingly.
“It’s a dog, dumbarse.”
“That’s not a dog, that’s a rat.” I pull the vermin in question out of the saddlebag and hold it at arm’s length. It squirms to get closer, its fat belly straining against my hands. Chubby little legs kick the air between us, and his pink tongue desperately licks at nothing as if it could propel him closer.
“It’s a puppy.” Kick shrugs. “French bulldog pup, or some shit.”
“I don’t want a fuckin’ pup. I wanted a dog. A big‑arse mean, vicious Pitbull, you’ve given me a fucking rat. Take it back.”
“I can’t take it back.” Kick smirks. “It’s not just for Christmas, it’s for life.”
“Just ring the shelter where you got him and tell them you made a mistake.” I say. The rodent in question lets out a yip and I direct my gaze back to it. His tiny mouth yawns, showing two rows of perfect sharp teeth and he stops wriggling in my hands and whines.
He is kinda cute. For a rodent.
I shake my head and glare at Kick. “I thought I said no puppies?”
“Listen, it’s Christmas, brother. That Pitbull you wanted had gone already, and the chick at the shelter was hot.” He scrubs his hand over his beard. He looks like a fucking mountain man: Shaggy, ratty‑arse hair, and a full beard, not just a little stubble, it’s like his facial hair has declared an all-out friggin’ war on his face. He looks like shit. Has for months, since that bitch walked away. “She handed me the only other blue dog they had, and he smelled all sweet, and … I don’t fucking know, new and shiny and shit, and I just …”
“You pussy‑arsed bitch. You fell for the cute puppy routine?” I ask, and set the little shit on the ground. He jumps around my boots, nips at my ankles and lets out a playful little bark. When I ignore him, he waddles over to Kick and that cockhead is putty in that mutt’s paws. “That stray of yours really did a number on you, didn’t she?”
“Shut your fuckin’ mouth, or I’ll do it for you.” He warns. I don’t know what the hell happened there. He saved the bitch, and then fell in love with her. He swore to protect her, and he did. He killed every last motherfucker who did her wrong, but he didn’t hold on to her. He let her walk, and he’s been miserable ever since.
That makes fuckin’ two of us.
Between the shit with Ivy’s dad, Butch dying, losing the use of my hands for several months, and seeing the closest brother I have to family drinking himself into an early grave, this year can bite my big hairy balls. This Christmas is no fuckin’ picnic for any of us.
The club lost two members these past few months and it’s left us wounded. One Eye betrayed us, and his death was way too fucking easy for my liking, and Squeals was just a baby. A fat‑shit of a prospect who was so fucking terrified of his own shadow he’d squeal like a little piggy when something bad went down. Bad shit always went down in the MC. It wasn’t goddamn rocket science. You play with the Saints and no matter how big and scary you think you are, sometimes you wind up dead.
Losing a patch and a prospect could be crippling for a club. Who we lost didn’t mean shit. No one cried at Squeals’ funeral—none of the brothers, anyway—and One Eye was a traitor who got a bullet to the head and a shallow grave inside a burnt out police car. It’s what we lost that matters. Numbers. Ours are dwindling. We’re down members, we’re vulnerable, especially without me being back on the job.
I know Prez can’t afford the man power he has stationed here, which brings me back to the fact that I need a fuckin’ guard dog. When I found out Butch had met his untimely end, I swore I’d never get another dog. But I need protection, because I ain’t livin’ through another fuckin’ day of seeing Ivy tortured.
“You can’t take it back,” Kick says, dropping his cigarette and stubbing it out with his boot. “I know what this is about, and you don’t need a vicious, Pitbull or a Rottweiler or any other dog, you need to teach Ivy how to defend herself.”
“How am I gonna do that?” I say raising my hands, which are still stiff and causing me grief even after the casts were removed a couple weeks ago. “I can’t fucking grip the handlebars of my bike properly, much less teach the bitch to fight.”
“Let me teach her.”
“No fucking way.” I say through my teeth. I love Kick like family, but he and Ivy have a very long, very painful history, and the thought of the two of them together: sweating, adrenaline pumping, bodies colliding on the gym mats as they spar, sets my blood to boiling point. He might be hung up on that Indie bitch, but he ain’t turning down pussy like Ivy’s because he’s a little heartsore. And though I trust my little Warrior Princess, I know she’s human. She’s prone to giving in to vices, just like the rest of us, and she has one hell of an addictive personality. Kick didn’t just aid her coke addition, he encouraged it.
“Why the hell not?”
“Listen, she’s been doin’ good.”
“I know. So what?” Kick shrugs and bends down, scooping the dog up and letting the little germ-infested fucker lick his face.
“So I don’t need you fuckin’ all that up for me.”
He grins. “How could I possibly fuck that up for you, brother?”
“No more fucking games, Kick. She loved you once. You fed her addiction for years. You’re a trigger for her.”
“I was a trigger for her.” He says, shaking his head. “I was her fucking executioner, you were her saviour, and now I’m nothin’ to no one. You ain’t gotta worry about Ivy around me, brother.”
I know he’s right, this isn’t the first time he’s seen Ivy since she got clean. He’s been around a few times. The most recent being two days ago, when he picked Ma up from her house and brought her here to the cabin. Besides, the bitch accepted my bloody proposal. I am one fucking lucky bastard. I know that, but I can’t let go of all the shit I’ve seen happen between the two of them. Yeah I know, I couldda stepped up sooner. I only have myself to blame for that, but like I said, she loved him once, and a part of me is terrified that she’ll discover I was a means to an end, and that she’ll go skipping back to my club brothers to give her everything I can’t provide.
Kick runs his hands over his face. Goddamn he looks like shit. Dark circles line his eyes, and he’s pasty as a sheet. “Jesus, brother. You’re really fuckin’ hung up on the stray, huh?”
“Yeah, turns out you can’t save a girl from a sick twisted motherfucker without falling in love with her.”
I laugh humourlessly, “Tell me about it. What are you doing to get her back?”
“Nothin’. I tired.” He scratches the pup’s ear. His pink tongue lolls out to the side. “She don’t want me.”
“You ever think maybe she just needs some time to get over what the hell happened to her? Maybe she’d have been better off if you’d let me put a bullet in her that day in the warehouse.”
“Don’t.” His hands tremble, as they work over the dog’s soft fur. Kick went and got himself all tied up in knots over a pretty little piece of arse.
Not that I was any different. I fell for junkie club whore whose psychotic father almost killed us both. And then I asked the bitch to fuckin’ marry me. I need my head checked. We both do.
“Well, the way I see it, if she ain’t coming back to you then you got two options brother. One, you kidnap the bitch.” He just looks at me. And yeah, maybe suggesting that he kidnap a rape victim … again—because he held her once against her will—isn’t the best idea, but the only other choice is … “Or two, you fucking forget about her.”
“Don’t you think I damn well tried?”
“You’re wearing her tooth like it’s a goddamn talisman to ward away evil, you ain’t tryin’ hard enough.”
“Don’t fuckin’ start on me, Tank. Not today. You wanna talk about the junkie bitch you got playin’ house upstairs?”
“That bitch, is gonna be my wife.” I blurt out. His expression goes blank, and for a beat I think my words didn’t register, but his lips finally twist into a grin. He shakes his head, and I find myself grinning like a fuckin’ fool. Admitting that out loud to my brother—to this brother—feels like a ten tonne weight has just been lifted from my shoulders.
“You sly fuckin’ dog.” He says, closing the distance between us he pulls me into a one‑armed embrace so he doesn’t squash the pup. He slaps me on the back. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me?”
“’Cause you were caught up in your own shit. I told Ma last night. I think she almost beat the shit outta me for not telling her sooner. I also got an arse whopping for not giving Ivy a ring.”
“You proposed without a ring?”
“Shut the fuck up, I had two broken hands at the time, and I was busted up to all shit. I couldn’t wipe my fucking arse by myself, much less shop for a ring. Even now I still can’t ride. I had to get that little arsehole Crazy to drive me into the city to buy one a couple weeks back.”
I fish a piece of black ribbon out of my leathers along with the ring box and open it. I’d pulled it out of the safe earlier, and I’ve been carrying it around since. I had plans to hang the ring from around the neck of our new dog—not puppy, but dog—and smack his hindquarters to send him upstairs to Ivy. I’m gonna need a new plan.
Kick whistles. “That’s no ordinary ring.”
“She ain’t an ordinary girl.”
He laughs. “No, she’s not.”
“Tank?” Ivy calls from the top of the stairs.
“Just a second, babe.” I snap. My tone is all off on account of me being startled. Not many people get the jump on me. I know she won’t be happy with the attitude I just gave her, so no doubt she’ll come stalking down the stairs to tell me all about it.
“Stall her,” I mouth to Kick, as I snatch the dog off him. I keep my back to the staircase and yank the ring from the box, threading it onto the red ribbon and attempting to tie it around the little fucker’s neck. Then I snap the box closed and shove it down the front of my leathers. She’s used to me bulging out around her like I can’t contain my‑fuckin’‑self so she won’t pay it too much attention. The pup, however, is determined to blow our cover, because he’s growling and twisting in my arms in an attempt to the chew at the ribbon around his neck. I ignore it and keep my back to the doorway.
Ivy runs down the stairs, she’s was obviously expecting to find me alone, because she fumbles over her words. “K … Kick. I didn’t know you were here.”
I can’t stand with my back to her all day, and I can’t resist turning in order to see her expression, because I can’t make out whether she’s happy to see him or not by her tone of voice.
Kick tilts his chin in her direction. “’Sup, darlin’?”
She gives him a tight smile, and turns her full attention to me. She screams when she notices the wiggling fur ball in my hands. “Holy shit, you bought me a puppy?”
She doesn’t even wait for an answer, just snatches the thing out of my hands. That’s when I notice that the ribbon has come loose.
I’m desperately scanning the floor, my leathers, my boots, the space between Ivy and me, when I realise that the little shit went and did it. That little fur ball fucker ate my goddamn ring.
“No, no, no!” I shout.
Ivy frowns, holding the dog away from her face so she can give me a disappointed glare. “No you didn’t get me a puppy?”
“Jesus fucking Christ.” I yell, and point to Kick. “This is your fault.”
“What the fuck are you bitching about now?” Kick says, blowing a cloud of smoke towards the ceiling.
“The puppy ate the fucking ring, dumbarse.” For a moment, Kick pales. The laughter starts softly, like something caught in his throat, and then he’s bent double slapping his knee as he chuckles at my expense. I glance at Ivy. Her gaze is sliding back and forth between Kick and me.
“You bought me a ring, and a puppy?”
“Happy Christmas, Princess.” I shrug. Ivy throws herself at me, squishing the little rodent between her perfect tits and my hard chest. I glare down at his arsehole puppy face and find myself scratching his ears before I can stop myself. Then I take him and set him down on the floor, because the little prick needs to know who’s boss. “Though you may have to wait a day or two for the ring to resurface.”
Kick laughs again and I turn my head and stare daggers at him. He just takes another drag on the cigarette and stares down at his boots.
“Jonah, Ivy.” Ma calls from the top of the stairs. “I could really use that gravy boat right now if I’m going to feed all of these men.”
I grit my teeth and take a deep breath through my nose. When I couldn’t go to her this year, I’d asked Kick to pick up Ma and bring her back here so the three of us could have Christmas together. The three of us being me and my two favourite girls. The three of us … not including Kick, and the whole fuckin’ club.
Ivy bites her lip. “Crap. I forgot your Ma needed some help with locating a gravy boat. I told her you probably didn’t have one, but she said you definitely did, because she gave it to you and she’d kick your arse if you’ve thrown it out.”
“Yeah, I got one. Tell her I’ll be up in a minute.”
“Okay. I’ll let her know.” Ivy says, reaching up on tiptoes to kiss me on the cheek.
“Hey, where’s my merry fucking Christmas?” Kick says, grinning at her. Ivy raises a brow at him. She glances in my direction, and timidly steps closer, pressing a kiss to his cheek. Kick pulls her into a firm embrace. She squirms and smacks him upside the head in an effort to make him release her.
“It’s good to see you, Darlin’.” Kick says and lets her go, and then just to fuck with me some more he slaps her arse as she turns and walks away.
“Arsehole.” She snaps.
“Touch my woman once more, motherfucker,” I say through my teeth. “Just once, and I’m gonna rip your goddamned head off.”
Ivy places her palm in the centre of my chest. She looks up at me with a naughty grin and those fuckin’ doe eyes that slay me every bloody time. My dick snaps to attention. “Try not to kill him. As irritating as he is, the Saints still need him. At least until Diesel patches in.”
I kiss her cheek, her nose, and finally her lips before I plead, “Come on babe, it’d just be a little killing?”
“Right, like that shithead Diesel could ever replace me.” Kick mutters.
“Lunch is ready.” Ma calls from the house. Ivy turns on her heel and heads upstairs. I scoop up the wriggling rat that tries to follow after her and shove my palm against Kick’s chest, forcing him to stumble back a step. He gives me the narrow-eyed universal glare for what the fuck? I smile as I thrust the puppy at him.
“Not so fast, fuck face. You’re on sieve duty.”
“You bought me a pup. I asked for a dog. The little shit ate my fiancé’s fifty thousand dollar ring, and in return for being a dickless, braindead fucking wonder, you get to sift through his shit to find it.”
“Whatever, I’ve sifted through worse than dog shit. Leave the little fucker down here and I’ll come down after lunch.”
“Nope.” I shake my head. I may be having just a little bit too much fun with this. “Can’t take the risk of him eating it again, so you’re gonna stay with him.”
“No fucking way.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll bring you a plate.” I say slapping his face gently in a brotherly gesture. “If there’s any left. The boys seem kinda hungry today.”
“You bastard.” Kick says, and all trace of humour is gone from his voice now. “You wouldn’t do that. Come on, man. It’s Ma’s lamb roast. Tank, brother, come on.” He says as I walk up the stairs. Kick follows me, but I turn and block the exit, hitting the lock on the key fob in my pocket for the garage door, ensuring he can’t get out that way. “Tank.”
“Merry fuckin’ Christmas, arsehole.” I say and shut the door, locking it behind me. It rattles on its hinges as he shoulders the wood.
“Tank. Let me out of here.” I walk away grinning.
“What’s up with the kid?” Prez asks, taking a hearty swig of his beer. He’s sitting at the table beside my mother, staring down at the spread of roast meat and vegies, gravy and all the other trimmings.
“He already ate.” I shrug and take a seat next to my woman, leaning in for a kiss.
She places her tiny hand on my thigh and squeezes. “I love my presents.”
“Knew you would.”
“When everyone leaves, you’ll get to unwrap your present.” Ivy whispers, nipping at my earlobe. “I did half the work for you, because I’m not wearing any panties.”
I groan as all the blood rushes to my cock in zero point five. The whole table is looking at us, and I spare an apologetic glance for my mother, who may not have heard our exchange, but like everyone else here she certainly got the fuckin’ gist. She grins at me, and nods her thanks to Prez, who just slapped several pieces of meat on her plate. Under the table, Ivy’s fingertips dance along my thigh, dangerously close to my straining cock.
“Merry Christmas, Tank,” she says. I wrap my arm around her shoulders and pull her into me.
Merry fuckin’ Christmas indeed.
Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA TODAY and international bestselling author of the Sugartown, Savage Saints, and Taint series.Her dark romance, KICK (Savage Saints MC #1), won Best Dark Romance Read in the Reader’s Choice Awards at RWDU 2015.
A tattoo enthusiast, hardcore MAC addict and zombie fangirl, Carmen lives on the sunny north coast of New South Wales, Australia, where she spends her time indoors wrangling her two wildling children, a dog named Pikelet, and her very own man-child.
A romantic at heart, Carmen strives to give her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?
Visit Carmen Jenner's Website: http://www.carmenjenner.com/
Welcome To Sugartown (Sugartown #1): http://amzn.to/1mftbhC
Enjoy Your Stay (Sugartown #2): http://amzn.to/1QHQTjD
Greetings From Sugartown (Sugartown #3): http://amzn.to/1mftglB
Now Leaving Sugartown (Sugartown #4): http://amzn.to/1QHQEoK
Sugartown Series Boxset: http://amzn.to/1mftfxW
Kick (Savage Saints #1): http://amzn.to/1mftbOJ
Tank (Savage Saints #2): http://amzn.to/1mftbya
Revelry (Taint #1): http://amzn.to/1mfteKt
1. If money was no object what would take out the number one spot on your Christmas list?
I’d take the whole family to Disneyland and then road trip up the west coast to Cananda-land, where we’d have a white Christmas. And of course we’d be snowed in with lots of chocolate, presents, books, hopefully naked nudie runs, and a roaring fire—because this is my fantasy and I’ll rock it however I want. ;) And then we’d hit NY in time to watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s, only we’d likely watch it from the rooftop somewhere because all those people? No thank you! ;)
2. What was the first book you read that made you think “wow this is what I want to do, I want to be an author”?
Wow, you’re not pulling any punches! Probably Alice in Wonderland. I don’t know if it was so much the book that made me want to write, more that I just loved getting lost in that world, and seeing myself as Alice. I think writing is what I’ve always done. As a teen I’d write emo poems and short erotic stories for my friends, in early adulthood I was in several bands, so it turned to song writing. I remember watching very early episodes of Sex and the City and being jealous of Carrie’s career, but it wasn’t until maybe fifteen years later that I realised I could have her career. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
3. What does Christmas mean for you?
Joy! There is no greater feeling than the look of wonder on your child’s face as they go to sleep each night in the lead up to Christmas. And as tired as you might be, there’s no greater sound than those shrieks of excitement at four am when they wake and discover Santa has been. I’m not religious, but I still love everything about Christmas, from the smells and lights to the carols, trees, food, Santa, and spending time with family.
4. What’s your guilty pleasure, the one thing you hate admitting out loud?
PORN! Wow! That went downhill quickly. From Jolly Old Nick to a different kind of HO HO HO! ;) Actually, I don’t even hate admitting that out loud. *stands on soapbox and sings out loud and proud* I’m a romance writer and porn is part of my everyday life … for research!
5. What’s next for you in terms of writing?
God, what’s not next for my writing? I have several books on the go at the moment.
Finding North will be my next release, it’s a look at a small, blue-collar Aussie town and what life is like through the eyes of a gay man and his, er … well, very complicated friendship. Finding North is an M/M contemporary romance, and I can’t wait for you guys to meet these boys.
After that Harley & Rose will be out sometime in early 2016, which is a friends to lovers contemporary standalone. I have the second book in the Taint series, HURT, coming out in 2016, so if you want more of these naughty rockers, keep an eye out for that one. There will be another Savage Saints MC book next year, and I have three standalone contemporaries that are all vying for my attention, plus a couple of novellas and possibly even a little trip back to Sugartown. Soooooooo … basically, I’ll be chained to my desk indefinitely. ;)