Buckle up for a wild ride with the men of Savage Souls MC.
Brooding, drop dead handsome, and fiercely protective of their lady loves.
If you’re ready to fall for these bad to the bone alphas, grab the complete Savage Souls MC series in one steamy 4-book box set.
Rough Ride Collection Includes:
Riding My Hero
Riding My Ex
Riding My Bad Boy
Riding My Boss
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I love a brooding, bad boy, alpha male and if he has a heart of gold I love him even more. I wanted to write a group of bikers that may seem tough as nails on the outside, but will do just about anything for the sassy ladies that steal their hearts. The boys of Savage Souls MC are all man, drenched in ink and will make you fall head over heels or for them in a matter of seconds.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Creating the men of Savage Souls MC was easy because they are the embodiment of every good girl's fantasy. The ultimate bad boys. Pure alpha male. Wrapped in tattoos, and clad in thick layer of ripping muscle. But they are also lovers, even a bit romantic at times. Each of these powerful alphas needed a leading lady equally as dynamic to make sparks fly right off the page and I had a blast dreaming up the women who managed to tame these four motorcycle hotties!
The sleek black town car picks me up from the Hartford airport and I am relieved that I don’t recognize the driver. Reginald, the chauffeur who’s worked for my family as long as I can remember, is probably the one tasked with driving my stepfather and my grandmother to the funeral. While I wouldn’t mind seeing a familiar, friendly face, at this moment it is a relief to be driven by a stranger. The thought of having to make small talk at a time like this has my stomach doing somersaults. I’m not ready to say it out loud – not ready to speak about the horrible reason that I am back in town. The reality of it is too bleak and sad and confusing for me to even fully comprehend.
This new chauffeur is middle-aged and stocky. His nose looks like it has been broken more than once and didn’t heal properly… more than once. He’s a bit rougher looking than the usual employees and is almost rude as he says a brisk hello and loads my small suitcase into the trunk of the car. Throughout the rest of the drive he is reserved… all business. He blessedly doesn’t ask me any questions as he drives me through the manicured streets of New Canaan, Connecticut toward my childhood home, if home is a word you can use to describe a cavernous and sterile mansion that was built with the objective of radiating power to eliciting envy in others. Warm and welcoming my childhood home is not. In fact, nothing in New Canaan fits that definition. I’m not sure anything in my life will ever feel that way.
As we drive, I kick off my black Christian Dior pumps and lean back in the comfy leather seat, closing my eyes for a momentary respite. I was living and working in Milan when I heard the news from my stepfather. I dropped everything and headed home as soon as I could. My mother bought me a new, high-end wardrobe for the job before I moved and while I am now dressed for it, I’m still not ready to face the crowd of New Canaan elite likely already gathering at the mansion. I can hear Bon Jovi playing quietly on the radio and the driver taps along on the steering wheel. Reginald was a classical music lover or at least pretended to be – everyone who ever worked for my mother and stepfather had to play the part, but this guy, like everything else right now, feels off. Nothing about this scene feels right. Or real.
As we pull up to the first security gate, the driver rolls down his window and gives a quick flick of the wrist to the security guard. Real or not, here we are.
We drive on another quarter mile past the gate and onto the family property. Ahead of us, the wide U-shaped driveway is already full of fancy cars, Bentleys and BMWs, all polished to a shiny gleam. My mother and stepfather didn’t have many close friends, so you would think the turnout would be small. But in New Canaan, money, not friendship, determines the success of your funeral. And my mother had money. Loads of it.
As the driver parks the car in the garage, I smooth the few wrinkles that have formed in my modest, knee-length, black cocktail dress.
My grandmother, a pearl-clutching ice queen, hates nothing more than too-low necklines and too-short hemlines. She will surely approve of this dress. I pull out a small mirror from my purse to look myself over. I’m exhausted after taking the redeye flight from Milan and I didn’t manage to sleep a wink on the plane. I’d felt sick, not grieving exactly, but a mix of dread, fear and regret, ever since my stepfather had called to tell me the news. My mother – a wild, extravagant, outrageous beauty, (and a deeply unhappy and wounded woman) – had died in her sleep three days earlier of a sleeping pill overdose. It appeared up for debate whether the overdose was accidental or if she had chosen to take her own life, though my stepfather strongly hinted at the latter.
I missed the burial by an hour, but I’d gotten the earliest flight I could and my stepfather had refused to wait. He said I would still make it in time for the reception and that he had a very important business meeting this evening that he didn’t want to delay. Though, more likely it was an important mistress he didn’t want to miss sleeping with.
He’d had more side pieces than I could stand to count, so I highly doubt that he is truly mourning the loss of my mother. It was his disdain and coldness – the coldness of his entire family – that had driven my mother to drink, self-medicate, and spend her money on every half-baked depression or detox guru under the sun. She had been desperately searching for some vestige of happiness, and still, she never divorced him. She liked the power his name brought her too much to let it go.
My mother was first a trophy wife and then, later, merely a useful bank account, she had never been worth much more to my stepfather. Not that Belinda Yates, for all her early beauty and wealth, had made it easy for anyone to love her. She didn’t even make it easy for me, her own daughter, to love her.
I walk into the large marble foyer of our house and take in the scene. The place is crawling with people dressed in demure black, mingling and drinking as caterers move about with trays of Hors d'oeuvres and flutes of champagne. Only their jewelry and watches and expensive shoes give away the amount of accumulated wealth in the room. Connecticut’s wealth is demure, not tacky like my beauty queen mother was.
The scene almost feels like a somber dinner party instead of a memorial service for a woman who could never shake her Texas accent (even after hiring a speech therapist so she could, in her own words, “sound more well-bred”).
The only evidence that this gathering is even about my mother at all is the giant glossy photo of her propped up on an easel and surrounded by a wreath of lilies and peonies. The photo is a glamour shot from when she was young, maybe nineteen, and still full of hope.
She’d moved from Texas to Los Angeles trying to make it as an actress, though she got pregnant with me before she even got a call-back for a single role. In the photo, she has the shiny blonde hair and blue eyes that mesmerized so many men and the body that won her all those beauty competitions – thin, but curvy with long lean legs. This was all before alcohol, depression and a child she didn’t want dulled her bright eyes. After that she’d let herself turn into a caricature of beauty, dyed blonde hair and fake tan… fake everything. She was from Texas after all, where things were meant to be larger than life.
She was never a fit for a place where the rich preferred to be understated, and that's clearer than ever right now as her glitzy photo stands out like a misplaced tag sale item against the somber elegance my grandmother likely orchestrated for today.
And God, my mother hated lilies.
She’d be happy to see me here though. I look just like her (apart from my brunette hair) – blue-eyes, and svelte build. My mother and grandmother, while they never agreed on much, both agreed I needed to learn how to fit in with the Connecticut crowd. Boarding schools and ballet classes, horseback riding lessons, and weekends at the country club became a regular and painful routine. While other girls earned merit badges in arts and crafts, I was taught poise and elocution. And the lessons paid off, even if they made me miserable. I radiate the coolness of this place, subtle, expensive make-up, expensive clothes, perfect posture. My mother longed to be considered classy, and even though she could never quite hit the mark, she made damn sure that I was right on target.
As I walk in and feel the approving looks from those around me, and even the second glances from the men in the room, I know my mother got what she wanted for me. The problem is, I just never wanted it myself.
Soon people start to recognize me and I am quickly surrounded by acquaintances I know a little from the various charity functions and school booster events my mother donated to. When she was snubbed for her brash ways, she loved to throw money at the groups that had blackballed her to force them to take her in. And here they all are, paying their pittance of a last respect. They balance plates of honey-mint lamb skewers and baked brie pinwheels in their hands as they offer me their sincere condolences, the sincerity never reaching their eyes. They didn’t like my mother, not a single one of them. Her Texas accent was too thick, her fake tan too obvious. She was new money and no matter how she tried, they made her life hell. Having a baby out of wedlock at nineteen hadn’t made it easier.
I grab a glass of wine from a passing caterer and continue to nod and frown and tell them how much their words mean, all while the familiar knots of guilt and pain twist in my stomach, but never show on my face.
When my stepfather, Jonathan Bradley III, sees me from across the room, he merely nods at me, barely breaking from his conversation. But his mother, my grandmother, who had been standing next to him, makes a great show of her affections as she spots me, clutching her hands to her heart.
I feel my stomach recoil.
My grandmother swiftly sets down her own glass of what is most likely celebratory champagne and hurries over, bundling me in her arms for all of New Canaan to see. The dutiful grandmother who loves me like her own. I feel bile rising from my stomach and try to wiggle out of her faux embrace. Her nails dig slightly into my back as I try to pull away, a warning not to embarrass her.
This woman, all ice and pretense, who made my mother’s life a living hell, kisses me on the cheek and then dabs a silk handkerchief to her eye, showing the entire audience how much she cared for such a useless woman and her bastard of a daughter.
She should have been the one to move to L.A. with dreams of becoming an actress, her faҫade of care is top-notch.
“Harper,” my grandmother looks me over. “I am so sorry. Such a tragedy. What…what are we going to do without her?”
My grandmother squeezes my hand in another show of shared grief, and I feel dizzy. If I don’t get out of here soon I may lose my mind the way my mother lost hers, surrounded by so much shining beauty hiding the vilest and vainest people.
A man I don’t recognize comes over and whispers something in my stepfather’s ear and he quickly excuses himself. My grandmother’s sharp eyes follow my stepfather as he exits the room, and I take that opportunity to excuse myself and head down the hallway. I know who I need to see. There are only two people in this house that I ever really considered family and they won’t be found out in the main hall.
I cut through the library and down another hallway and push open a door into a bustling, busy kitchen. This kitchen was one of the few places of true sanctuary for me in my youth, thanks to the love I received from Carmen Zelaya, the best cook on the East Coast, and the woman who raised me like her own daughter.
But the moment I step into the kitchen, I know something is wrong. Carmen had the kitchen decorated in bright colors, bachata music blasting from a little portable radio near the sink, and vases of flowers on the counters, the flowers cut from our garden where her husband Jorge grows award winning roses. But this kitchen is as sterile and silent as a hospital room. I am surprised that I don’t see Carmen anywhere, or Maude or even Greta, the cooking staff that worked for my mother nearly the entire time she was here. Instead, a man with a chef’s hat and a fierce frown stops slicing an onion to hold up a knife and scowl at me. Behind me, two caterers scurry out like frightened little mice.
“You’re in my kitchen,” he says, his annoyance blatantly obvious. “Get out.”
“Where’s Carmen?” I ask.
“Fired,” he says, resuming his meticulous onion slicing. “All of them.”
“Fired? Even Greta?” My mind flashes to the unfamiliar driver that picked me up from the airport. “Reginald, the chauffeur?”
“Fired and fired.” He holds up the knife.
“That makes no sense. When?” I ask, shocked. I want to think it is the onion pricking my eyes, but it is more than that. The tears that didn’t come for my mother are now rushing up, threatening to overpower me.
The chef shrugs. “Don’t know. But today’s my first day and it’s a goddamn fucking funeral.” He stops slicing and points the knife at me. “Now get out of my kitchen before I call security.”
I feel tears run down my cheeks as I hurry out through the French doors in the kitchen and into the back garden.
Everyone was fired?! Why didn’t Carmen or Jorge tell me? I’ve tried calling them a few times since I heard about my mom, but I assumed the time difference and the plane ride had been why I hadn’t heard back. But they aren’t even here. How could my mother let that happen? Was it the last act of a suicidal woman or the vindictive move of my grandmother, purging the house of everyone my mother and I loved?
Everything feels wrong.
I hold my arms against my body as I walk into the garden, suddenly chilled despite the warm June temperature and wishing I had a sweater. Or someone to hold me who truly loves me. I feel an ache deep inside that is all too familiar… loneliness.
I step further into the elaborate gardens, and if I needed any more proof that Jorge wasn’t working here anymore I’d find it in the uncovered rose bushes and leaf detritus that has been left to accumulate in the fountain.
The fountain serves as the centerpiece to the entrance of the backyard’s elaborate maze-like English garden. Jorge was my mom’s secret weapon. Even if the upper crust of New Canaan shunned my mother in every possible way, they still always wanted this garden on the garden tour. I walk further into the labyrinth of hedges, trying to get away from the reception and clear my head. As soon as I can, I’ve got to figure out how to get in touch with Jorge and Carmen. Maybe they can tell me what the hell is going on around here.
I walk deeper into the tall hedged pathway of the garden and duck under a small apple tree. There, in a little hidden spot, is a wooden bench. Nobody can see me here, not even from the house. Jorge made this spot just for me when I was just a little girl looking for a way to disappear from the constant fighting between my mother and stepfather, my grandmother’s endless orders to stand up straighter, and later my mother’s drinking and crying. It had always been a safe and secret spot for me to hide.
I fish my phone out of my purse and call Carmen and Jorge again, but it goes right to voicemail. I don’t understand how they wouldn’t be here, wouldn’t be trying to find me. They are my only family, more real than any blood shared between my mother and I. I stare down at the phone as my eyes fill with tears.
I want to say that I loved my mother, but that is too simple a statement for the complex, heartbreaking relationship we had. Yes, I loved her. But I loved her the way a child learns to love a fragile, easily broken thing – gently, and with more concern for the other than for the self, a difficult way for a child to live. Made even more difficult by her constant pressure to make me perfect in the ways she failed to be.
My mother, Belinda Yates, grew up poor in Colby, Texas, but that all changed after her dad struck oil on some property he owned for hunting. After that, she was rich as sin. And she was beautiful, strikingly so. She was crowned the youngest Miss Texas in the state’s history, earning her the title at the young age of only seventeen. When she turned eighteen, she’d gone on to California to try a stint at modeling and acting but only ended up pregnant by nineteen and tight-lipped about who the father was.
She came home unwed, to the embarrassment of nearly everyone in her very religious family. Her mother shipped her off to live with a second cousin in Connecticut with a very weak story about being a young widow. Luckily, she still had looks and money and quickly caught the eye of Jonathan Bradley III, whose family offered the semblance of blueblood respectability that my mother desperately longed for. She thought he married her for love, but later she understood that the Bradley’s had more blueblood than actual cash in the bank. Needless to say, their wedded bliss didn’t last long.
They had some things in common though. My stepfather and mother shared a similar enjoyment of spending money. My mother loved shopping, and my stepfather loved gambling. They also traveled extensively, and separately, leaving me behind in what would become a familiar pattern for most of my life.
You’d think that abandonment would be the true seed of my bitterness, but actually them being gone was a huge relief. I avoided the worst of their drinking and fighting, and Jorge and Carmen became like second parents to me. They couldn’t have children themselves, and I spent all my spare time helping Jorge and Carmen with their work. Honestly, it very likely saved me from the misery that my mother grew in her heart as easily as Jorge grew his prize-winning roses.
I text Carmen and tell her that I’m planning to come over to their house later tonight. I want to ask why they didn’t tell me about being fired, why they aren’t returning my calls, I just want to find out if they are alright. I wish I could leave right now, but I know I need to stay a little longer. My mother, the consummate beauty queen, cared a great deal about appearances, and her only daughter leaving her funeral reception early would just flame the gossip she so loathed.
I start to stand up and head back inside when I hear two muffled male voices approaching. They seem to be arguing as they approach me on the opposite side of the thick, tall hedgerow. Almost no one knows about my little hiding spot, so I sit as quietly as I can, too startled to make myself known to them, especially as I realize one of the voices belongs to my stepfather.
“This isn’t the time or place,” I hear my stepfather say. “My wife just died.”
“Don’t give me that mourning crap. I’ve seen you around, Johnny! And you’re pretty lucky she did go and die on you. Now you have the money you owe me. So I say, why put off for tomorrow what you can collect today,” a gruff, angry voice retorts.
I hear the sound of a lighter igniting and then smell cigarette smoke. The gruff man takes an inhale of the cigarette. When he speaks again, his voice isn’t overtly threatening… just icy cold. In my experience, the icy cruelty is far scarier. I wonder what the hell my stepfather has gotten himself into.
“Saves us the trouble of having to collect in another, more painful way. Because we both know you aren’t much for pain.” I feel goosebumps on my arms. Whoever this man is, my stepfather is no match for him.
“I already told you, just give me until tonight. The lawyer said there was some formality. But you’ll have your money. Everything I owe.”
The man takes another long drag from his cigarette. “Funny how you said the same thing to me last week. You seemed so sure. And that was before your rich wife even had her accident.” The man takes another drag of his cigarette. “I pegged you for a chickenshit, but maybe you’ve got balls after all.”
My stepfather’s voice is tremulous. “I don’t know what you are implying.”
“Never mind. I remember now how you’ve got a shit poker face. It’s what got you into this mess in the first place. Get my money to me ASAP or you’ll be joining your pretty bitch of a wife in the grave. I’ll help you the way you helped her, got it?”
I hear steps walking away and then my stepfather slump against the shrubbery. He’s still so close to where I am hiding and I can’t believe what I just heard.
But what did I just hear?
The man had implied that my stepfather had something to do with my mother’s death. I hear my stepfather stand up straight and take a step toward the party just as my phone beeps. It’s a text from my grandmother asking me where I ran off to.
I freeze, icy blood in my veins. My stepfather pauses, then, as I practically hold my breath in fear, he shuffles off back toward the party.
Did he know I was here? That I just heard some scary gangster imply that he murdered my mother to pay off some debt he owes?
And if he could do that to her, his own wife, what will he do to me if he realizes I know the truth?
I shiver, suddenly chilled to the bone.
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