Blood & Bones: Dodge
First mistake: He let his guard down...
If it wasn’t for his cellmate, Rook, during his last bid in prison, Dodge never would’ve landed in Manning Grove.
In that small town in upstate Pennsylvania, he found his tribe. His brotherhood. His family.
Especially after years of having nothing.
Being a part of the Blood Fury MC, life is good. Solid.
It gives him something he’s never had before. Stability and roots.
He’s successfully managing Crazy Pete’s bar.
He has his choice of women.
He has zero complaints.
Then she walks in.
He tries his best to ignore her, until it becomes impossible.
The moment she begins to sing on stage, it flips him inside out and upside down. Her sinful, sultry voice drags him under her spell and never lets him go.
The only problem is, no one knows who she is.
Not until it’s too late.
Note: Blood & Bones: Dodge is the tenth book in the Blood Fury MC series. This AGE GAP (OM/YW) romance has no cheating, no cliffhanger, and has an HEA. It’s best to read this series in order.
Release date: October 30, 2021
Publisher: Double-J Romance, Inc.
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Blood & Bones: Dodge
Jeanne St. James
Running on Empty
His lungs were on fire.
An invisible knife stabbed him in the ribs.
He lengthened his stride, pushing through the pain and pushing himself harder.
His destination was clear.
The further he got away from that house, the further he got away from them, the better his chances were.
His sneakers slapped the concrete as he sprinted down the sidewalk.
That fucking house. He knew he’d find her there.
He always found her there.
Stoned and passed out on the floor on a stained, filthy mattress. What used to be light colored fabric was now black and brown. And even dark red in some spots.
Tonight, her second-hand dress had been pulled up to her waist. Her legs and other places exposed. Places a son shouldn’t see on his mother.
Her eyes were closed, appearing asleep. Her mouth slack. A rubber tube still tied around her arm above her elbow.
“We’re only trying to help you!”
The cop who shouted that out was now wheezing.
Good. Maybe they’d give up soon.
“Hey, kid, stop running!”
Burnt aluminum foil.
Empty plastic bottles. Empty soda cans.
All fucking empty.
Junkies propped in the corners of the crumbling, dark rooms. Along the hallway. On the stairs. All of them high. Some of them semi-awake, most of them not. Some of them maybe even dead.
He didn’t give a shit. She was the only junkie in that house that mattered to him.
He was only there to find the woman who was supposed to be responsible for him.
It wasn’t supposed to be the other way around.
He tried to hear his pursuers over his own strained panting and racing heart. To gauge how close they were.
They hadn’t given up yet.
He needed to lose them.
He darted left and down a dark alley.
And stopped short.
Shit. He picked the wrong fucking one.
Headlights sliced across the narrow alley. He winced and shielded his eyes when a spotlight hit him directly in the face.
He swiveled his head back and forth, desperate to find an escape.
He wasn’t sure if his mom was dead. He never got a chance to check before the house was swarmed with men in uniform. But dead or not, the cops showing up at a crack house was never good.
Them chasing him was even worse.
A closed dumpster was pushed against one brick wall, but even if he climbed on top of it, he still couldn’t reach the roof of the two-story building.
He was trapped. With only one way out.
The way he came in.
He gritted his teeth and took off, right toward the cop car blocking the entrance and heading in his direction.
He screamed as loud as he could as he ran directly at it.
He sprinted as fast as he could but the vehicle was faster.
Worse, so much bigger.
Before he could dart out of its path, what felt like a brick wall knocked him off his feet. He fell backwards, his arms windmilling in a failed attempt to catch his balance.
All the air shot from his lungs as he struck the pavement hard. His brain rattled in his skull as it hit, too.
It was over.
He closed his eyes and surrendered.
His life just like the alley.
A dead end.
The fingers gripping his shoulder dug in deeper. A silent warning not to flee. But if he got the chance, he would.
He didn’t want to be here.
Not on that stoop.
Not with those people. Both the ones outside and inside.
One of the two cops flanking him jabbed his finger against the fancy doorbell again.
A few lock clicks were heard, then one side of the double doors opened, cool air from the air conditioning rushed out and a tall, thin blonde woman stood on the other side, looking down her nose at them.
The woman Dodge’s mother called Tricky Vickie for whatever reason. Dodge didn’t care why, he just knew the woman was his stepmother in name only.
With a pinched face, her gaze skimmed both cops, then dropped to Dodge, standing between them.
Her lips twisted and her eyes narrowed as she slowly raised her gaze from him back to one of the officers. “May I help you?”
“Good afternoon, ma’am. We’re looking for Kevin Collins,” the filthy pig to his right announced.
Apparently, the invisible lemon she was sucking on became more bitter. “What’s this about?” Her words might as well have icicles hanging off each one.
“We’re looking for his father, ma’am.”
Dodge rolled his eyes. They were at the wrong house, then. The man who lived there never once acted like his father. The asshole who lived on and off with his mother was more of a father to him than the one at this address.
And that didn’t say much.
Tricky Vickie wrinkled her nose. “Why?”
“Are you his wife?”
Of fucking course.
“His mother overdosed and is currently in the hospital. When she gets out, she’ll need to get clean to get custody of,” Cop One tipped his head toward Dodge, “him. Someone needs to take him until she does. Now, ma’am, is Kevin Collins at home?”
Her expression turned into what reminded Dodge of a hoodie after someone yanked the hood string tight.
Dodge jerked his shoulder again, trying to get the cop to ease up. He glanced around wondering if he just took off, whether the two fat pigs could catch him.
They were already sweating enough to soak their collars.
“He is, but… We don’t want him.”
Dodge’s attention sliced from the sweaty cops back to his sperm donor’s wife.
“Need to speak to Kevin Collins, ma’am,” Cop Two said more firmly. Patience must be running thin on the melting cops.
She stared at the cop for a few more seconds, then twisted her head and called back into the house. “Kevin!”
Once again giving his shoulder a little jerk, Dodge managed to turn enough to look at the big silver Mercedes parked in the driveway and wondered what other kinds of overpriced cars were parked inside the three-car garage.
Cars that probably cost a lot more than a year’s worth of rent on their apartment.
“Mom? Who’s at the door?” came a teenager’s voice from deeper in the house.
Dodge’s eyes narrowed. He wondered how old Kevin’s other son was. The wanted one.
“It’s nobody,” Kevin’s wife called out over her shoulder.
“Can I invite Chad and Preston over to swim?”
“Yes, Kevin, you can.”
Kevin. Probably Kevin Jr. Or Kevin the third. Or even Kevin the twenty-fucking-third. He didn’t know because he knew nothing about that side of his family tree.
What he did know was only normal kids from normal families got normal names.
Unlike his. When his mother squirted him out in the back of one, he was named Dodge.
He wasn’t a Kevin, Chad or Preston.
To the woman standing there and the man who fucked his mother, he was no one.
A completely invisible nobody.
A mistake his sperm donor made over fourteen years ago when he got drunk at a sports bar and fucked someone he shouldn’t have. Something Dodge was sure Kevin Collins regretted from the moment he sobered up.
“Kevin, tell your father to come out front,” Vickie called out over her shoulder.
“Why?” came a whine.
“Just do it,” she hissed. She stepped outside and closed the door behind her.
Probably so Dodge couldn’t get a glimpse of the life he was missing.
Dodge’s mother most likely targeted Kevin Collins because the man had money. Maybe she thought she’d get a fat monthly paycheck out of him for eighteen years.
Every month he sent the bare minimum. Only what he was forced to, even though he could pay a lot more. Unfortunately, the man could afford the best lawyers and his mother couldn’t. She bitched all the time that amount she got from him was a joke. And having Dodge hadn’t been worth it.
Joke or not, it was enough for her to pay for her next high. That was if his “adopted” dad or his uncle didn’t take it from her first.
Forget that the money was supposed to help support her son.
Forget food or utilities.
Forget new clothes or shoes.
Forget all of that.
The four of them stood in silence in front of the house bigger than his apartment building, his stepmother’s toned and tanned arms crossed over her huge fake tits.
When he heard the door opening again, Dodge’s heart leapt into his throat, making it hard to breathe.
The man he hadn’t seen in years took one look at him, quickly hid his surprise and replaced it with a scowl, stepped out onto the stone stoop and closed the door behind him.
“What is all of this?” His gaze slid from one cop to the other, avoiding Dodge completely. “Did he do something to get arrested? His mother—”
“Is incapable of taking care of him right now. You need to take your son until she’s able to do that again.”
His mouth dropped open. “What?”
The people in that house must like sucking on lemons.
The two uniformed pigs glanced at each other.
“Told you,” Dodge said. Not sounding like a little whiny bitch like Kevin Jr.
“It’s either that or he goes into the system,” Cop One warned, making a point to glance around. At the Mercedes. The large house. The perfectly landscaped yard. “He’s yours right?”
“So the court says,” his father muttered.
“Well, then…” Cop Two started, running a hand over his sweat-beaded forehead.
No surprise that Kevin Collins hadn’t even acknowledged him. No “Hi, son.” No “How are you? Do you need anything?”
“Try his grandmother. She’ll probably take him.”
Cop One shook his shaved head. “Kid says she’s dead.”
“How about the man she shacks up with? The biker?” He spit the last two words out like a piece of shit had flown into his mouth.
“Checked the residence and no one was around. And before you suggest him next, the uncle wasn’t around, either. Kid said they’d be back, but we can’t just leave him there unsupervised. Not without knowing when or if they’ll return. You’re the only one available.”
“Then…” Kevin scraped his fingers through his hair, changing it from neatly combed to standing on end. “I guess I need to call my attorney and see what our options are.”
Cop Two’s eyebrows rose. “Options? How about just letting him inside?”
“Our kids are inside.”
The two cops glanced at each other again, neither hiding their disbelief.
Cop One jerked his chin toward Dodge. “He’s your kid, too.”
“Only on paper.”
Not even that. Dodge had his mother’s last name not Kevin’s and he wasn’t sure if the man’s name was officially on his birth certificate.
“He’s not your blood?” Cop Two asked, his dark eyes narrowed because he already knew the answer.
“Not by choice.”
Cop One blew out a frustrated breath. “Well, sir, right now your son has no choice, either. If you’re not willing to take him, then we’ll have to take him back to the station until Child Welfare Services can come get him.”
The asshole who knocked up Dodge’s mother shrugged. “Okay.”
“Just to be clear, that’s what you want?” Cop One asked.
The two cops might be surprised but Dodge wasn’t. He never received one card or present from the man during the past fourteen years. Why would he want to act like a parent now?
Especially when Dodge needed a parent the most. Even a shitty one.
“Thank you, officers, for bringing this problem to our attention, but, I’m sorry, we will not be allowing him into our home,” the sperm sac said. “I have to do what’s best for my family.” He turned toward his wife. “Victoria.”
She gave her husband a nod and went inside.
Without another word, the man began to follow his wife. The cops stood there in stunned silence.
“Yo, Daddy!” Dodge shouted as the cop pulled on his shoulder, trying to turn him in order to leave.
Kevin Collins paused.
Dodge lifted his hand.
Not to say goodbye.
Instead, he pointed his middle finger straight up to the sky.
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