Leonidas “Blue” Delacroix might be the prodigal son of New Orleans aristocrats, but the Deacons of Bourbon Street are his real family. And with their patriarch murdered, Blue wants nothing more than to unleash hell on the motorcycle club’s enemies—even if it means taking up arms against the girl who used to be his best friend. She’s done quite a bit of growing up, and suddenly their chemistry is red-hot. But where’s the line between ruthless seduction and sweet temptation?
For Alice Day, loyalty is everything. When Blue skipped town, she had no choice but to adopt a new family: their rivals, the Graveyard Ministry. Seeing him again reawakens old feelings . . . and fiery fantasies. Alice could never forget the scent of leather on his skin—just as she could never forgive the sting of his betrayal. But while the Ministry has treated her like one of their own, Blue is part of her soul. And as their liaisons hit the boiling point, Alice trusts her heart with the deadliest choice of her life.
The Deacons of Bourbon Street Series
Book One by Megan Crane: Make You Burn
Book Two by Rachael Johns: Fire Me Up
Book Three by Jackie Ashenden: Hold Me Down
Book Four by Maisey Yates: Strip You Bare
Alice hadn’t heard that voice for ten years but still, she’d know it anywhere. Deep, rough. Dark. Like the special black beer in her glass, the one that had an alcoholic kick to it like a mule.
For a second that was all she could hear. Then shock coursed through her like a bucket of icy water dumped over her head and she whipped her head around.
There was a man standing next to her, tall enough that she had to tilt her head back really far to look at him. His muscular arms were crossed over the hard wall of his chest, the tanned skin etched with ink. Familiar tattoos. Familiar broad shoulders.
Oh God. It was him, wasn’t it?
She made herself look up further, to his face. And, yes, familiar face too.
It was fucking Leon.
Straight dark brows. High cheekbones. The same long mouth that she’d imagined kissing more than once back when she’d been sixteen and in the throes of her hopeless crush on him. Same nose, the one that looked like it had been broken several times and yet did nothing to detract from his beauty. Because however he might have scorned the description, Leon Delacroix had always been beautiful.
His eyes were dark brown and she’d used to find it fascinating how dark they were in comparison to his hair, a rich, heavy gold.
Now though, that hair had been cut ruthlessly short and those eyes were widening in shock as recognition hit him too.
“Alice?” he said in disbelief. “Fucking hell, is that you?”
She blinked, taking him in, struggling to get a hold on the sudden, wild burst of anger that had followed hard on the heels of the shock.
He’d left ten years ago without a goodbye, without even a backward glance. And she’d never heard from him since. Not an email, not a phone call, not a text. It was like he’d dropped off the face of the planet.
She’d been so angry at the time, so hurt. No, she wasn’t his girlfriend but she’d known him since she’d been fourteen years old and she’d thought that should have meant something to him. But then her father had died and things had gotten tough, and she’d had to put aside that anger and focus on what really mattered. The motorcycle shop that had once been her father’s. That was now hers.
Getting a grip, she swallowed back the anger and the rush of words that threatened to spill out. Trying for cool and tough, her usual modus operandi when it came to massive, tattooed guys who wanted something from her. “Yeah, it’s me,” she said and gave him a slow once-over, keeping a sneer on her face. “Hey Leon, haven’t seen you for a long time. Years even.”
He was still looking at her like he couldn’t believe his eyes. “It is you. Christ… What happened to you, kid? You look…” He stopped suddenly, his mouth hardening, dark brows arrowing down. “Should you be wearing jeans like that?”
Oh for God’s sake. Even ten years ago he’d been like a protective older brother. She was so over that shit now. “Hmmm. Interesting. Not, ‘hi Alice, how are you?’ Or ‘I’m sorry for leaving without telling you’. Even a ‘I meant to say goodbye’ would be nice. But no, all I get is a ‘should you be wearing jeans like that’?” She picked up her beer and took a healthy swallow. “Such a fucking gentleman. But then why expect anything different? It’s only been ten years after all.”
His expression darkened. And yet for all her anger she couldn’t stop looking at him. Staring at the changes in him, the lines around his eyes and mouth, the shadows that flickered through his gaze. He looked harder than he had. Meaner. As if time had tempered him like a blade, honing his edge.
An old fascination stirred. She gave it a mental kick. Hard. No, not again. She wasn’t falling down that slope again. She’d cried all the tears she’d had in the world over two men: her father and Leon fucking Delacroix. She was done crying.
“Didn’t Pete tell you why we left? I asked him to fill you in.”
“Yeah, he filled me in. He told me you had to go out of town and that you wouldn’t be back. Ever. Right after he told me he was dying of terminal cancer. Nice timing. I’m sure he appreciated it too.”
Leon’s gaze was darker than the night outside. A muscle jumped in the side of his jaw. “I heard he passed. I’m sorry.”
“Oh, you’re sorry? You’re sorry?” Her voice had risen. Jesus, she needed to get a handle on herself. Her father had died eight years ago and the pain had faded. At least, she thought the pain had faded.
And he must have noticed because he said, “Hey, Ally,” and put out a hand to touch her shoulder.
She avoided the hand. “I’m not Ally, Leon. Not to you. Not anymore. And spare me your ‘I’m sorry’. I don’t want to hear it.”
His frown deepened. “Okay, okay. I get it. But let me at least buy you a beer and we can talk about—”
“We are not going to be talking about anything. Because I am getting out of here.” She drained the rest of her beer then pushed herself away from the bar. Only to find six foot four of hard, muscular male between her and escape. “What the hell?”
There was darkness in his eyes. And intent. Same old Leon. He’d always hated being told no. “At least let me tell you why I had to go.”
“I don’t fucking think so. Maybe if you’d had the decency to tell me yourself ten years ago, it might have been a different story. But you didn’t. Now get out of my damn way, I have things to do.”
Leon didn’t move. He had his enforcer face on. The one that told you that you were in deep shit and there was no escape. He’d put the fear of God into many men, but never her. Because she’d known him since he was sixteen years old. And though he’d done violence to others, she knew he’d never hurt her.
Not until he took off out of your life without even a goodbye.
Yeah. Until that.
She crossed her arms, stared up at him. “What? You’re going to stop me from leaving, big man?”
“Sure. Why not?”
Alice stepped forward, getting right up into his space. And it wasn’t until she had that she realized what a damn stupid mistake it was. Because she remembered this, the hard warmth of his body and the scent of him, soap and leather and something else she could never identify. A warm, woody smell that was all Leon.
She’d used to day dream for hours about him. About his arms around her and his mouth on hers. First, chaste little kisses and then, as she’d gotten older and learned what it was that men and women did together in the privacy of their bedrooms, not so chaste.
It made her heart beat faster, desire turn over inside her. A desire she thought she’d crushed ten years earlier.
Jesus, what a joke. She owned a garage, spent her days fixing bikes and interacting with more musclebound guys than graced a Hollywood movie studio, and yet none of them had ever turned her on as instantly as Leon had.
His features were like granite as he stared down at her, immovable as a mountain.
“Get out of the way.”
“So that’s it? That’s all I get? You won’t even sit down and listen to what I have to say? What happened to loyalty?”
“Loyalty? To you?”
“To the Deacons.”
And for the first time she noticed he was wearing his cut over his T-shirt, the leather vest with the MC patch on the back. God, she remembered it. Her father had one just the same, with the skull on the back. That patch used to cast such a shadow over Bourbon Street….
But no, that shadow was gone. And so too was any feeling she had for the man standing in front of her. She had a new family now. And a new loyalty.
“The Deacons? Christ, the Deacons don’t own this quarter anymore, if you hadn’t noticed.”
His jaw was tight, anger glinting in the depths of his dark eyes. “I don’t think so. Why do you think I’m here? We’ve come to take back what’s ours.”
“Yeah, well, that doesn’t include me. So get the hell out of my way.”
Still he didn’t move. “You’re a Deacon too, Alice. Or have you forgotten?”
“That’s the thing. I’m not a Deacon anymore.” She jerked up the left sleeve of her T-shirt and exposed the tattoo she’d gotten five years ago on the anniversary of her father’s death. Claiming a new family. “I’m a Ministry girl now.”