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Link – Dragon Riders MC
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She follows the law.
I break it.
Joanna is a damsel in distress.
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The smell of cigar smoke and greasy chips filled the room as I stared at the cards in my hand. I kept my eyebrow quirked and my face still as my eyes danced around the aces I held at the ready. Poker had always been a great pastime of mine. I played it with my father, before he succumbed to drugs. I taught my mother how to play it before Alzheimer’s robbed her of the rules. I even played with my best friend growing up, trading twigs and rocks and pretending it was millions of dollars up for grabs.
I still didn’t bet millions on one hand.
But thousands? Sure.
Sounded like a regular game in my book.
“I’ll raise ya, Link,” Ice said.
My eyes flickered to him. “Ballsy move.”
He tossed his chips into the pot. “And you know they hang low.”
I reached for a few more chips. “I prefer mine high and tight.”
Ice snickered. “Like your women.”
I tossed them into the center. “And their tits.”
He shook his head. “Too rich for my blood. I fold.”
He slapped his cards down and a smile spread across my cheeks. I laid out my aces. All four of them, with a king to raise. Even though I didn’t need the damn king in the first place. All of the guys rolled their eyes and groaned. Ice chuckled as he reached for another handful of chips. I reached out, scraping the chips toward me as I became ten thousand dollars richer. And as I stacked them neatly in front of me, Ice started picking up the cards.
“My deal, right?” he asked.
I nodded. “Yep. Your deal.”
I knew Ash was outside watching the doors. But I still kept my ears trained out there. Ever since my crew—the Dragon Riders—had gone to weekly instead of monthly poker games, I hired Ash for some part-time work. With him being the crew’s enforcer, I knew he wouldn’t hesitate. Especially after offering him a cut of any winnings that took place. Five percent off the top, plus ten percent of the fee to sit at the table in the first place.
Though, this particular game didn’t have a fee to sit.
The Iron Horse was our main bar. Had been for years now. It quickly became our post for meetings, our celebratory place for lifetime milestones, and a place to come and hang out without fear for our safety. The Iron Horse was also the place where we cleaned our money from transactions due to business. Every bar we owned across town hosted weekly gambling games. Backroom shows where women served us drinks, pleasure, and encouragement while we bet the bank and either walked away rich or poor. The games had grown in popularity so much that twenty percent of the crew’s revenue alone came from these damn games and their winnings.
But every first Saturday of the month, a special game was held in the back of the Iron Horse. One that required all presidents of the crews in town to appear. In exchange for a “no sit fee,” we freely exchanged information. Updates on police activity, news we’ve heard about investigations. Favors were made back and forth across this table to help one another and to research things to help our fellow man. It kept all of us in each other’s good graces. It kept all of us abreast of what was going on in the world. It kept us one step ahead of not only the competition, but the police. Which was an invaluable edge in the worlds we lived in.
Only one crew was unworthy of sitting at this table. A crew that terrorized all of us sometimes.
And of course, they were kicking back up again.
“You guys hear what happened with the Golden Jags?” Ice asked.
The guys around the table groaned as I picked up my cards.
“Something about a drug bust gone bad, right?” I asked.
Ice sighed. “Apparently, their enforcer got a little gun heavy. Took out two of their men before they could subdue them.”
I paused. “He killed two cops?”
“Not two cops, Link. Two DEA officers.”
The other presidents groaned again with strings of curses thundering beneath.
“That’s not good,” I said.
Ice shook his head. “Nope. It means every cop in the state’s going to be on high alert for anyone who remotely looks like them. Leather jackets. Boots. A bike.”
I snickered. “So, us. People who look like every single fucking one of us.”
I drew in a deep breath. “When did this happen?”
“Three days ago. The Golden Jags suffered a loss with their enforcer. But I’m sure that won’t stop them.”
I looked at the shitty slew of cards in my hand as I chewed on the inside of my cheek. All sorts of things ran through my head as I picked out the cards I wanted to lay back down. I had to check in with my men after tonight. I needed to send out an encrypted text to all of them, making sure they knew to keep their heads low and their bikes quiet for a while. The Golden Jags dealt with some serious drug business that none of us wanted a part in. My guys were just happy with the money we got from the bars and the electronics we ran underground. Doesn’t sound glamorous, pushing hardware in the darkness, but our components were the best. Ripped from the highest-quality manufacturers and discarded tech and placed into the hands of those who certainly didn’t need it but were willing to pay handsomely for it. It worked for us, and since we were the only crew in town who even remotely dealt in things like that, we never hurt for business.