Book 3 in the Devil's Keepers Series
From the bestselling author of Devil’s Honor and Devil’s Mark, this seductive novel of the Louisiana bayou kicks into high gear as a dangerously sexy biker takes a no-nonsense teacher on the ultimate thrill ride.
Lara Ashburn hates bikers. She watched a motorcycle club destroy her hometown, bringing her brother down with it. That’s a life she put far in her rearview. So the last person she wants to see walking into her classroom is the top enforcer of the Devil’s Keepers. Big, mean, and gorgeous, all tattoos and leather, Chaser is everything Lara should avoid. Yet the insane chemistry sparking between them tempts her to break all the rules.
Ryan “Chaser” Frey has his hands full with a teen daughter in need of tough love, and he doesn’t have time for prissy teachers who want to tell him how to raise his kid. But Chaser never could resist a chick who gives as good as she gets. Lara is sexy as hell, and she’s not afraid of him. Plus, her links to a California club could provide the Devils with leverage against their enemies. But that would mean mixing business with pleasure—and risking the one woman Chaser can’t afford to lose.
Praise for Megan Crane’s Make You Burn:
“If you are looking for a hot and dirty read in the motorcycle club genre, then Megan Crane is a new voice to follow. Her characters are gritty, unapologetic, and led by their animal instincts, whether in war or love.” – Heroes & Heartbreakers
“Crane piles on the passion and danger… This tough and dirty world is fascinating and satisfying in its own way.” – Publishers Weekly
“Her style was so sultry and thick that I could almost feel the sweat of the bayou and the pulse of Bourbon Street as I read. I sunk deep into the story and enjoyed every minute of it.” – Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
The woman sitting at that desk, between stacks of books as she frowned down at a pile of papers, did not look like steely, grandmotherly Mrs. Patterson who’d had the unenviable task of drilling American History into Chaser’s hard head. This woman was much younger, first of all. Much, much younger. Not yet thirty, if he had to guess. She had a slight, slender build that would look good on a man’s bike, wrapped tight around his back. Her hair was a dark color that glinted red in the overhead lights, and there was something about the intensity of her focus on her work that made Chaser want to see what it would be like to have her pay that kind of attention to him. Or, more accurately, to his cock.
Predictably, that greedy little bastard perked right up at the thought. Chaser leaned against the doorframe, crossed his arms, and waited.
She had earphones in, whatever she was listening to loud enough that he could hear a tinny suggestion of a guitar lick. The music explained why she hadn’t heard him coming down the hall, his boots loud as fuck against all that industrial flooring.
It took a minute. Maybe a couple. But then she glanced up.
She threw herself back in her chair, so hard it skidded across the floor with a loud screech. She made a gasping sound, one hand slapping into her own chest as she scrambled to her feet and all but flattened herself against the chalkboard behind her. She yanked her earphones out in the next second, her gaze clapped to his down the length of the room.
Not an unheard of reaction to laying eyes on him, Chaser could admit, though a little surprising from a teacher who’d summoned him here. But then, he was a scary dude, by trade and inclination. This was part of the deal and he certainly couldn’t claim he hated it.
“The next time you call a man seven times in twenty-four hours, maybe rustle up a better welcome when he shows up,” he drawled without moving from the doorway. He tried to remember the name she’d left. Something girly and prissy at once. It clicked then. Ms. Lara Ashburn, she’d said, then repeated, like he might have screeched his bike to a halt by the side of I-49 and whipped out a fucking pencil to write it down. “As ordered.”
“I beg your pardon?” Her voice was still thin with what sounded like genuine panic. And he should feel bad about that. He really should.
The women Chaser spent time with tended to veer more toward the biker chick side of things, and were usually merrily, noticeably slutty to boot, which saved a lot of time. Tiny tank tops to show off big tits, real or augmented and he liked them both ways. Skintight jeans, a lot of studded leather, and big hair as a recognizable invitation. Ms. Lara Ashburn, on the other hand, was a tiny little thing. All fine bones and slender limbs, she looked like she might break in two with the kind of rough handling Chaser preferred to share with the women who routinely begged for his attention. But she was dressed in one of those skirts that made her look like an hourglass and some frilly, girlie, blouse thing up top, and the delicate sleekness of the whole package—astonishing, really, in a biker town like Lagrange, Louisiana that catered entirely to the club and its horny members—made him want to test that theory.
“You called me about my kid,” he told her, maybe a little more ferociously than necessary, to see if it got to her. It did. He saw a little tremor work over her whole tight little body. “Seven times.”
Then he watched, fascinated, as this little bitty thing pushed away from the chalkboard and stood up tall. Not that tall for her translated into any inches. He figured she’d come up to the middle of his chest. Which meant that if he picked her up he could fuck her standing like she weighed no more than a football.
He might have smirked a little at that. The fiercely strict Mrs. Patterson had certainly never inspired any fantasies. Unlike this new generation version of a history teacher. He wanted to taste Ms. Lara Ashburn, everywhere. Get his hands beneath that absurdly feminine skirt and see how wet she was. Get his hands in her hair to see if it was as silky as it looked. And he definitely wanted to make her come. Preferably all over him. Face, hands, cock—Chaser wasn’t too picky.
It helped that in addition to being so little, she was pretty. A perfect little nose in an oval of a face and sweet blue eyes that looked way too classy for a man like him. His favorite kind of dessert, in other words.
And now she was sizing him up in a cool way that made him wonder what had startled her in the first place. Because most people got more intimidated the longer they stared at a man rocking a DKMC cut, to say nothing of all his tattoos or his big, powerful frame. He wasn’t the kind of guy who wore off. But she looked like she thought she was tough, standing there in those prissy clothes of hers that should have been melting off her in the Louisiana late summer heat. Holding his gaze like she thought she could hold her own.
Obviously, that made him hard as hell. He was a simple man, really. Fuck it or fight it. That simple creed had pretty much guided him every step of the way so far.
“You’re Mr. Frey.” Her voice was cool and matter-of-fact and should really not have made his cock that hard. “Kaylee’s father.”
“Call me Chaser,” he corrected her.
Her brows rose and her dainty mouth firmed as if his name offended her, which did nothing but intrigue him. Most folks were a little more careful around a man of his size. Particularly a man wearing a biker cut. Why wasn’t she?
“Please come in,” she said in that fucking classic teacher voice, filled with quiet impatience and that obnoxious certainty that her time was what was important here—as if he’d been playing grab ass out in the hall and she’d had to wait for him instead of the other way around. “Are we expecting Mrs. Frey?”
Chaser noticed she didn’t call him by his name.
He ambled into the classroom, aware that an amble on him looked more than a little threatening to the casual observer. He looked like what he was and he knew it. A biker to his core and in his heart besides, loyal to his club and everything that entailed even in troubled times like now, with a past crammed full of the United States Marine Corps and an asshole of a father who’d taught him how to fight dirty when he was still in preschool. He was exactly who he was and he’d never wanted to be anything different. Sometimes he reined all his darkness in a little. He wasn’t like some of his brothers, all shit-eating grins and convenient charm like VP Roscoe or pretty boy Uptown, carefully calculated to disarm. But he could ball up and look a little less grim when he felt like it.
Today he didn’t bother.
“If you mean the junkie whore who gave birth to my daughter, kidnapped her, and then abandoned her in a fucking flophouse in Kansas,” he said conversationally as he moved through the classroom, “then no, she’s not coming, because she knows better than to let me see her face again. And she wasn’t Mrs. Frey, either. My dick might be dumb, but I’m not that stupid.”
He expected uptight Ms. Lara Ashburn to get flustered. To flush with outrage or insult at his crude language or whatever the fuck got up the asses of women like this and made them scowl at him like his very existence appalled them. He saw them clustered outside of church, grabbing their daughters close when he rode by like he was Satan on a Harley and might scoop up their little angels as he passed. They were totally blind to the reality that it was their own sweet little girls who snuck out of the house and made a beeline for the Devil’s Keepers clubhouse and all the rough and dirty biker cock they could handle. Regularly.
But Lara Ashburn did not flutter. She didn’t blush. She only watched him approach like it was no big thing, the DKMC’s foremost enforcer rolling up on her. Like she had no idea—or didn’t care—that for many people, he was a death sentence.
“I’ll make a note,” was all she said. She nodded toward one of those shitty combination desks. “Why don’t you take a seat?”
“Is Kaylee dead by the side of a road?” He knew perfectly well she was fine. His smart, cute, manipulative as fuck daughter had texted him back rather than answer his call when he’d arrived in town—but he’d deal with her later. Right now it was time to go a few rounds with her deeply concerned, surprisingly hot teacher.
Chaser ignored the student desks and circled the big one instead, propping himself on a corner and stretching his legs out in front of him, effectively hemming Lara in between him and the chalkboard. He expected her to leap away from him and make a break for the side he’d left open, but once again, she surprised him. Her gaze got cooler and she folded her arms beneath her tits, but that was all. She didn’t give an inch.
He kept going. “Is she in the hospital? Was she involved in an altercation and carted off to the police station?”
“Not to my knowledge, no. She seemed fine in fifth period, if a bit chastened today.”
“But you thought, what the hell, seven fucking phone calls? Are you insane, woman?”
“I prefer Ms. Ashburn, actually.”
“The last time someone called me seven times in a row, it was because shit was going down and lives were at risk.”
“That sounds suitably dramatic.” She nodded toward his cut. “No doubt that goes hand in hand with your, ah, costume. Maybe this provides a bit of an explanation as to why Kaylee thinks it’s appropriate to show up to school while intoxicated. To say nothing of where she found alcohol to consume in the first place, or why her default response to anything is one of deep disrespect.”
“This isn’t Halloween,” Chaser said, mildly enough, though he could feel his temper kicking in, dark and mean. Which didn’t bode well for anyone, especially not a fragile little creature like this woman. “I’m not wearing a costume, babe. And maybe, if you want my kid to respect you, you should try reining in the disrespect yourself. She’s not big on hypocrites.” He kept his expression grim and trained on the teacher, who should have looked a lot more concerned than she did. “Neither am I.”
Lara only held his gaze coolly. “And this wasn’t the first time she turned up drunk. Something you were informed of previously, yet did nothing to curb.”
Chaser shrugged. He vaguely remembered some bullshit message a while back that he’d ignored. The way he’d ignored the first six this woman had left him yesterday and today. It was apparently the seventh that had irritated him enough to show up. “She’s in high school. Kids do shit.”
“She’s sixteen years old.”
“When I was sixteen I was stealing cars from the high school parking lot and taking cheerleaders on joyrides.” Chaser kept his voice even. If forbidding. “The cars came back in one piece, the cheerleaders, not so much. From my perspective, Kaylee’s doing fine.”
“Here’s what will happen if I report this, the way I’m supposed to,” Lara said, her expression unreadable, which… poked at him. A lot. It was a little too much like a challenge. “Your daughter will get expelled, because drunkenness on school grounds will count as a third offense after an incident in gym class with a boy she didn’t like—”
“If you mean that punk bitch who put his hands on her, you’re lucky she handled it. Because if I had, he’d have lost a few fingers.”
“—and the first episode of drunkenness, which she claimed was migraine medication making her loopy, but I doubt anyone was taken in by this claim. Maybe you’re unaware that the principal has instituted a three strikes and you’re out policy here in Lagrange High.”
“The principal? You mean that little douche Thierry Maitland?”
“That a member of the community finds Mr. Maitland a douche is something I can certainly bring up at the next school board meeting if you wish,” Lara said, testily. As if—and it took Chaser a moment to place the unfamiliar expression on her face—she found him little more than annoying. Not scary. But irritating. Like a bug. “But that won’t help your daughter’s situation one way or the other. Which is why I called you in today.” She tilted her head slightly to one side with more of that same impatience. “What is Kaylee’s home life like? Does she have an adequate support system?” Another nod at his cut, which was starting to feel like an attack. A very, very unwise attack. “Is it possible that with all your activities, her cries for help might be going unheard?”
Chaser took a moment. It was that or put his hands on this woman who dared speak to him like this, which he knew was a terrible idea. He’d happily pistol whip any man who spoke to him this way, no question. A tiny little woman like this, with more mouth than common sense? Hell. He’d end up fucking her against a wall, his second favorite form of anger management. And he suspected this was the sort of pissy, impossible woman who would come screaming his name and then actually call the cops on him. Him. Right here in Lagrange, where the cops were either really good friends with the Devil’s Keepers or really, really committed to staying the hell out of the club’s way.
“Did I fuck you and forget your name, babe?” he asked, in as insulting a drawl as he could manage. “Did you drag me in here so I could tell you it was good for me? If I came, it was great. Better now?”