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Bowser – Dragon Riders MC
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So why can’t I get Hope out of my mind?
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He looked up from the bar. “What?”
I snickered. “You greet anyone else as harshly as you greet me?”
“Got a problem with it?”
I shrugged. “Not if you’ve got the books I need.”
He grumbled to himself as he dipped down behind the bar. The past few weeks had been a doozy on all of us, Knuckles included. Not only was he in charge of half the bars we owned as a crew, he was also responsible for balancing the books. Knuckles was our numbers guy. He didn’t like that we called him as such. Not as “tough” as he wanted to be known for. But his numbers were impeccable every single time.
Even though I went over them.
Every. Single. Time.
“Here,” he said.
Knuckles dropped a stack of books on the bar before he yanked a rag off his shoulder.
“Try not to hurt yourself with those numbers now,” he murmured.
I smiled. “Ah, and finally we have words other than ‘what,’ ‘uh huh,’ and ‘yeah.’”
He grumbled to himself, but I didn’t catch what he said. It never bothered me, anyway. Out of all the men in the Dragon Riders, Knuckles was one we could all count on. He was there when we needed him, he never said no to a decent-enough proposition that made him money, and he always kept his mouth shut. I mean, unless someone stepped on his toes.
I saw that happen once.
And it ended in bloodshed.
“Yeah, yeah,” he murmured.
With the beginning of the week came the beginning of my weekly responsibilities. Mondays were centered around traveling to the bars we owned in our area in order to check in on things. Then, I had to head back to our command center bar, the Iron Horse, and look at all of the security feeds. Every bar had one. And while I could watch them in the individual bars, I enjoyed watching those tapes as well as going over Knuckles’ numbers for the month.
Then, I set up everyone to get paid.
Every week, the same shit: numbers, books, bars, and beers. Inventory had to be ordered and overtime had to be paid on time. Direct deposit routing numbers had to be double-checked because one of our bars had an oddly-high turn-over rate with bartenders and waitresses alike. I still hadn’t figured out why that damn bar tore through employees so quickly.
Still, it brought us in a lot of money. So, I jotted that issue down for another time.
Another month, before I dealt with it.
I sighed. “Make it quick, Sly. What’s up?”
“Got another waitress that quit on me.”
“Did you hit on her?”
“Nah. Too thick for me.”
I chuckled. “Did you otherwise make a pass at her that could’ve been misconstrued as you wanting her pussy?”
“Uh, see my prior answer.”
I peered over my shoulder. “Did you stop scheduling her because you didn’t want to look at her?”
He paused. “I mean, she put in for two weeks of vacation. Might as well give it to her now.”
I sighed. “Sly, you can’t hire, fire, and decide not to book someone. The bars have procedures for a reason. Don’t make me regret putting you in charge of this damn bar. It’s already got the highest turnover rate with—”
“I know, I know. She’s a bitch, though, dude. She slapped me in the middle of my bar a few nights back.”
I blinked. “And you didn’t fire her, then?”
He grinned. “You know I like ‘em feisty.”
I had a feeling I found the issue with the bar. “You’ve got a month to show me you can retain the same staff week after week. And if you can’t? Knuckles takes over your bar, too.”
“He’s got enough shit on his plate.”
“And he’ll have more if you can’t get it together. Don’t make me regret this.”
He rolled his eyes. “Fine. Okay. I’ll go apologize.”
“Yes. Go apologize, then let her know that assaulting the owner of the bar won’t be tolerated. Then, fire her.”
“I can do that, too.”
“And for fuck’s sake, Sly. Don’t sleep with her!”
He walked out of my office. “See original comment!”
I barked with laughter as I slid my glasses off. I hated that I needed to use them to read. I mean, I wasn’t old. Why the fuck did my eyes treat me that way, then? I tossed them onto the books and pinched the bridge of my nose. I loved what I did. I loved my men, too. But sometimes? I wanted to go home, pack my shit up, ride up into the mountains, and hunker down with some books and the local newspaper.
What? I was an old soul at heart.
“Knock knock,” Link said.
“Come in,” I said mindlessly.
He inched my door open. “Do I want to know why Sly’s storming out of here?”
“Let’s just say I think I know what’s wrong with that bar.”
“Sly’s not doing that bar any good.”
“Well, to be fair to him, the bar wasn’t doing well before we put him in charge of it.”