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Down & Dirty: Crow (Down & Dirty: Dirty Angels MC #10)
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Welcome to Shadow Valley where the Dirty Angels MC rules. Get ready to get Down & Dirty because this is Crow’s story…
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Crow heard the front door buzzer sound over the whine of his tattoo machine. He glanced up and his heart skipped a beat. Quickly pulling his boot off the foot pedal, he put the gun down on the tray before the straight line he was drawing became a wavy mess.
She was the last person he ever expected to walk into his shop.
He almost didn’t recognize her. She’d changed.
This was not the girl he knew. The person who stood just inside In the Shadows Ink was not the same woman he knew all those years ago.
Recognizable, but not.
He pushed to his feet and, before he could stop himself, took long strides across the shop floor, ignoring the complaints from the customer abandoned in his tattoo chair.
Crow never slowed as he approached her, even as her green eyes darkened, slightly widened and quickly filled with a little bit of uncertainty.
He ignored that, too.
When he got to her, he gathered her in his arms, crushing her against him tightly. She stiffened, her spine becoming ram-rod straight, her arms hanging like metal poles at her side. But he wasn’t letting her go.
He needed to hold her, make sure she was real.
He needed proof that she still existed, since he’d wondered if she’d disappeared forever.
Finally, a whimper came from the woman whose face he had shoved into his chest, inside his cut. His arms and black leather vest surrounded her slight body like the wings of a bird protecting its young.
Though, she was no baby bird.
Hell no, she wasn’t.
She was a survivor.
Her rigid body suddenly went soft, melted against him and she began to tremble. Her thin arms snaked around his waist under his cut and she squeezed him just as tightly as he did her, her fingers fisting in his T-shirt at his back. He pressed his face into her hair and closed his eyes.
He didn’t know why she was here. He didn’t care. All he knew was, she was home.
“Jasmine,” he murmured. And, fuck him, if he didn’t feel the sting of something caught in his eye. He blinked it clear.
“Hey!” his customer yelled. “Have your fucking touching reunion another time. I’m paying you to get this thing done today.”
Jazz jerked within his arms at those irritated words.
“That’s okay, Kachina, I got this,” he murmured into her hair. Without letting her go, he twisted his head and pointed his gaze to the man sitting in his plastic-wrapped chair. “I’m closed. Get gone.”
“Didn’t fuckin’ stutter. Closed. Family emergency.”
“But—” the man sputtered.
“Wipe it down, keep it covered, keep it clean. A&D Ointment. Come back in two weeks, I’ll finish it on the house. Got me?”
“Ain’t no buts.” Crow jerked his chin toward the door. “Out.”
With a grumble and a scowl, the man climbed out of the chair and nabbed his nearby T-shirt. Crow tracked him as he passed by, keeping Jazz’s face tucked against his chest.
“Two weeks,” the man said before heading out of the front door.
Crow gave him a sharp nod. “Two weeks. No charge.”
“Right,” Crow echoed him.
Once the door closed, Crow took a long, deep inhale and slowly let it out. Then he released her and held her out in front of him by her shoulders, so he could take a better look. “Kachina,” he murmured. “Baby.” While on the surface she looked okay, it didn’t mean she was.
Her blonde hair was now dark. Actually pitch black, making her fair skin look even paler.
He hated it.
She wore thick black mascara, and too much caked-on shit covered the natural beauty of her face.
He hated that, too.
But it was her eyes. Something she couldn’t change, couldn’t hide, that twisted his insides. Those formerly vibrant green eyes seemed hollow. Empty. Dull.
Nothing like when she was twenty-two. The last time he saw her. When she was Hawk’s house mouse. When she was a college student. Carefree.
Living the good life. Not a care in the world. Her whole future ahead of her.
That future had been kicked right in the fucking nuts.
Wrong place. Wrong time.
She had been collateral damage in a war that she had no business being a part of.
Yeah, she was DAMC because her grandfather was one of the oldest members who wasn’t in prison, or underground. But she never asked for any of it.
Her mother wanted better for herself and her daughter, so Jazz’s parents had moved hours away after she was born. Different town. Different state. Different life. Until they couldn’t afford their daughter’s college tuition.
So at eighteen, Jazz returned to Shadow Valley. Back to the club. Back to her grandparents so the club could cover the cost of her education.
What was supposed to help her turned out to hurt her instead.
And afterward, she returned home to New York. To heal. To hide. To forget.
He never thought she’d be back. No one ever thought she’d return.