By: River Savage


The rumble of a motorcycle wakes me from my sleep, stirring the once peaceful night. Reaching out to Zane, my hand finds the coolness of the empty sheets.

“Zane?” I whisper into the darkness. Looking toward the red light of his alarm clock illuminating the otherwise pitch-black room, the clock numbers blink incessantly.

A shiver of alarm runs through me as though ice just replaced my spine. My heart beats double time, the rhythm now matching the rapid blinking of the clock. Something doesn’t feel right.

Grabbing my robe from the end of the bed, I wrap it around myself and creep out of the bedroom in search of my fiancé.

“Zane,” I whisper again as I walk down the long darkened hall.

The burning stench hits me first, its strength potent enough to overpower my taste buds. A wave of heat blankets me as it takes a moment to register the dangerous flames dancing before my eyes. The front of my four-bedroom home burns rapidly, engulfing everything in sight.

I stand fixed, mesmerized by the bright orange cinder, as if the seductive blaze calls to me.

The house shudders; the explosion knocks me off balance, forcing me down to the shaky ground. Dazed, I drop to my hands and begin to crawl my way to the back door, the hallway now swallowed by the blackened smoke. The open flames lick out as I force myself to the only available exit.

Reaching the door, my fingers close around the brass handle. The metal singes my skin but doesn’t stop me in my escape. Panic stirs when the handle doesn’t turn. Frantically, I pull harder, wrestling with the lock.

Inky darkness fogs my view as I struggle to fill my lungs. My breathing labors, my fight slowing.

I don’t want to die.

Chapter One


Three years later.

Sitting at my desk, I hold in my frustration. This meeting is not how I wanted to end my workday. I look across at the angry brown eyes of one very upset father. Mr. Hill leans forward, just as irritated at the wait.

His son, Tommy, sits by his side, the black eye he earned in class today is almost swollen shut.

Zayden Knight sits on the opposite side of the room waiting quietly for his mother to arrive. His dark, overgrown hair hangs over his forehead, covering one eye. Zayden is the last person I’d expect to deliver the punch. If I hadn’t had seen him with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.

I requested both parents meet me at three; it’s now quarter past the hour. The classroom clock ticks over, another minute that she’s late. Mr. Hill clears his throat and I look up, about to apologize again for the delay, when the door pushes open.

My eyes do a quick sweep of the tall man as he walks forward, but the sound of his motorcycle boots squeaking on the vinyl floor draws my attention. The fact that a man just walked into my classroom unannounced doesn’t register to me; instead, the leather riding boots hold me captive, sending me back to the night that I don’t ever want to relive. I force my eyes up, the leather of his cut pushing me deeper into the memory, and for a split second, I think he’s someone else.

Anger slowly creeps its way up my spine. My eyes frantically sweep his chest; the patch sewn on the left side of his vest comes into view reading Knights Rebels MC. Exhaling a breath I didn’t know I was holding, I will my erratic heart to calm. It’s not them.

Everyone in Rushford knows who the Knights Rebels are. Years ago, our small town feared them; known to run on the wrong side of the law, people kept their distance. The Rebels ran this town the way they saw fit. Guns, drugs and women, they went above and beyond the law. I’m not sure what happened, but a few years back, they started cleaning their act up and they now hold the respect of most of the town. Charity runs keep them active in the community; their crazy parties keep them popular with the women, but most importantly, keeping the drugs out of town earns them that respect.

I keep my distance. Associating with them is something I’ve never done, even if they have cleaned up their act. After what happened with Zane, my asshole ex, I avoid people like them. I know all too well what they’re capable of, the reminder branded on my skin.

Pulling my thoughts from the past, I look up at the man who just barged into my classroom.

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