“Who’s the new girl?” Godric asks the bartender the question while he orders a beer. The bar, Skulls and Bones, is the place where he and his band of brothers have been coming for years. It is their unofficial headquarters; they feel safe coming here since the owner, Terry, is one of their own.
All the guys are members of The Bloodsuckers, a nationwide motorcycle club. Their logo is well-known: a pair of fangs with drops of blood dripping off the right fang. Most people refer to them as The Vampires, don’t call them The Bloods. It’s the easiest way to land yourself in the hospital, more than likely the morgue. They find it offensive if you liken them to the gang that battles with The Crips. Not because the motorcycle club is offended by being thought of as criminals.
They are criminals; many of them have rap sheets miles long extending back to when they were juveniles. Every member of The Bloodsuckers has done a stretch in prison, and not in the white-collar country club prisons for the likes of Martha Stewart or Bernie Madoff. Leavenworth, San Quentin, or ADX Florence are some of the places where The Bloodsuckers have passed the time.
They don’t want to be compared to The Bloods because they think they are stronger and tougher.
The new girl that attracted Godric’s attention is currently serving a round of drinks to the rest of the club members he came in with. She’s a stunning woman and every guy in the place is hyper aware of her. She is every man’s fantasy; a body made for sin, but the face of an angel. The dim lights of the bar shine down on her long golden tresses, giving her a soft halo. Her face looks youthful, not like the hardened faces of some of the other women in the bar, women that have spent far too much time in a bottle or a pack of cigarettes. The new waitress has tan skin that makes her blue eyes and pink lips stand out. Those pink lips are spread in a polite smile, showing a set of straight white teeth. One of the guys must say something crude because a pink blush spreads across her full cheeks and down her neck to her chest. And what a chest it is…
Terry does not require a uniform but does expect the girls to dress enticingly. He doesn’t want to get shut down by the Health Department or ABC, so they must have all the pertinent parts covered. Still, it leaves a lot of leeway in what they can wear. Most of Terry’s waitresses dress slightly better than a prostitute, but his new waitress didn’t follow that line of thinking. She has on a black halter top. The ties of the halter top circle her neck like a choker and the black material of the top flows down her chest, leaving a wide golden strip of exposed skin that shows an impressive cleavage and high, firm breasts. There’s no way she can wear a bra with that top. Godric is willing to bet her breasts are easily a D cup and all natural since they bounce and sway with her more exuberant movements. The rest of the black top fits snuggly over her torso, ending an inch above the waist of her snug jeans that look painted on her body.
Although her top is black, it doesn’t hide that her nipples are standing at attention, probably due to the high blast of air conditioning in the bar. All the guys at the table are chuckling and staring at her like she is their dinner and they want to devour her. One of the guys at the table must have appreciated her jeans as much as Godric did since he raised his hand, smacking her on the ass hard. Godric pushes away from the bar, ready to intervene, feeling the need to protect her burning hotly inside him. Normally, Godric does not interfere when his brothers get rowdy, but he did not tolerate the mistreatment of women. Strange when you consider the club dabbles in prostitution and pornography, but everyone has a code to live by.
Most people would find Godric’s code of morals questionable, but he doesn’t live his life to please others. He lives life for himself and his brothers. When it’s his time to go, the only one that can judge him will be his maker. And Godric somehow thinks God won’t be too harsh with him. There’s been a good reason for all of his misdeeds and he’s never killed anyone that didn’t deserve it.
But Godric need not have moved away from the bar. The blonde waitress can handle unwanted advances. She turned around with narrowed eyes, staring at the man who had slapped her add. Godric holds his breath when the blonde grabbed Alcide’s thumb, bending it backwards and bringing the large man to his knees. Godric’s lips twist in an appreciative grin as he watches Alcide nod his head vigorously to whatever it is she says. The blonde releases the burly man’s thumb. She grabs her tray and asks sweetly if there will be anything else. The guys vigorously shake their heads no. The waitress nods her head once before moving off to another table.
Godric resumes leaning against the bar, turning his attention back to Terry, the bartender. “Who is she?”
Terry chuckles as he continues to wash glasses in the bar sink. “That’s Sookie. Hired her last week when Debbie ran off leaving me high and dry.”
Godric growls thinking of Debbie, Alcide’s old lady. They had a tumultuous relationship on the best of days. Godric didn’t understand Debbie’s hold on Alcide; it wasn’t like he was faithful to her and they didn’t have any kids. The two explosive people would fuck like rabbits or fight like to heavyweight champs. Debbie always left; screaming they were done for good only to come running back with her tail between her legs.
“You know Eric isn’t going to like you bringing in an outsider,” Godric warns Terry. “What do you know about her? The Feds are circling, looking for a way to bring us down.”
“Relax, Godric. I checked her out. I may be out of the day to day operations of the club, but I’d never do anything to jeopardize the brothers,” Terry says with a glare at the younger man. “I’ve been in this club longer than you’ve been alive, kid. Besides, Sookie’s Corbett Stackhouse’s daughter. She knows to keep her mouth shut and her head down.”
Godric whistles low as he contemplates Terry’s words. Corbett Stackhouse is a member of The Bloodsuckers or was until he’d died in Atlanta Penitentiary nearly two years ago. He’d been the president of his chapter, running the Shreveport club for nearly fifteen years. Rumor has it that Corbett Stackhouse had been set up by someone in his own chapter. How else would the ATF have known about the illegal weapons in the back of Stackhouse’s garage? There was no proof to substantiate that claim, but it looked awfully suspicious when his sergeant of arms, Bill Compton, ascended to the role of the chapter president and claimed Michelle Stackhouse, Corbett’s widow, as his old lady not a month after Corbett’s death at the hands of an unknown assailant in prison.
“What’s she doing down here?” Godric turns to watch Sookie weave through the tables. She moves with the grace of a dancer. Godric notes that many of the patrons are now wary of the blonde waitress. Godric chuckles as he watches a group of guys avert their eyes when Sookie leans down to collect the empty bottles and glasses from their table.
“I’ve known Sookie for years. She grew up with my cousin Andy’s daughter, Adilyn. She’s a sweet girl, was her daddy’s little princess. Sook took it real hard when Corbett went to jail, even harder when he died. She took off shortly after the funeral. Andy said Old Billy Boy settled for Michelle since the he really wanted wouldn’t give him the time of day. Sick fuck, since he’d known Sookie since she was a little girl,” Terry mutters disgustedly.
Before Godric can respond, Sookie is beside him. She hustles the dirty glasses across the bar as she rattles off the next round of drink orders she needs. Sensing she is being watched, Sookie turns her head to find Godric staring at her.
“I admired your style back there,” Godric gestures his head towards the table were his brothers sit. Sookie glances back towards the table and finds the one she injured scowling while his cohorts all laugh. He must be the butt of their jokes.
Sookie shrugs. “Not the first time I’ve put a handsy asshole in his place; I can guarantee it won’t be the last.”
Godric chuckles before taking a sip of his beer. “No, I don’t suppose it will be,” he says while letting his eyes roam appreciatively over her body.
Sookie doesn’t bristle under his watchful eye, she knows the difference between a leer and appreciation. She’s been able to tell the difference since she was eleven and she went from a tomboy to a C cup in the span of one summer. Guys have been looking at her differently ever since. While the stares of the guys at the table had made her skin crawl, she finds herself warming under the gaze of the quietly intense man beside her.
“Here ya are, Sook,” Terry says breaking their interlude by filling Sookie’s tray with her order. “Try not to kill any of my customers.”
“I make no guarantees,” she responds with a wink. Sookie turns her gaze back to the man beside her. “Well, I guess I’ll be seeing you around.”
“Looking forward to it,” Godric declares with a salute of his beer bottle. Sookie smiles shyly before hurrying off.
Godric grabs a fresh beer from Terry before moving to join his brothers. They aren’t biologically related, but their loyalty to each other runs deeper than any familial connection.
“The Ice Bitch didn’t freeze you out over there?” Alcide grouses while his heated gaze fixates on the one to embarrass him earlier.
“You know better than to put your hands on a woman who isn’t interested. Terry’s waitresses are here to serve you alcohol, not service your cock,” Godric responds coldly.
Seamus and Parker scoff at Godric’s words. “Apparently they didn’t get that memo. You know Dawn, Ginger, and Arlene are willing to do anything if they think it means they’ll get the chance to be someone’s old lady,” Parker reminds Godric.
“Yes, Dawn was quick to show how skilled she is at dick-tation that other night,” Victor responds, smirking at his play on words.
“Sookie is different, and you will leave her alone!” Godric’s voice is cold and his eyes frost over with his words. In his expression, it is easy to see why he is known as ‘Reaper’. Death awaits any that cross him.
The others at the table cease their machismo bantering about the attributes of Terry’s waitresses. “Godric, you know the only way to keep other’s away from her is to claim her as your own,” Seamus says cautiously.
Godric’s eyes settle on the blonde that leans against the bar taking a short break. She moves her head from side to side, trying to loosen the knotted muscles in her neck and shoulders. Her fabulous blue eyes meet Godric’s intense gaze. She blushes again before looking away.
“I am,” Godric declares resolutely. “Sookie is mine!”
Eric Northman, the leader of the New Orleans chapter of The Bloodsuckers, is an imposing figure of a man. He easily stands at close to six and a half feet thanks to his natural height and the motorcycle boots he insists on wearing daily. His clothes are always the same; well-fitted jeans covering his motorcycle boots, dark t-shirts that stretch across the firm muscles of his chest and arms. The only thing that changes is weather he is wearing the leather vest or jacket of the motorcycle club. His wheat colored hair is often pulled back in a low ponytail at the base of his skull or in a long, narrow braid. The ink of his tattoos is a stark contract against his tan skin. Eric Northman has a face that makes all the ladies swarm around him like bees in a rose garden. His sinful red lips can curve in the most devastating of smiles, or they can speak of pleasures a woman can only dream of, but he often turns those dreams into a reality. Chiseled cheekbones and a sculpted jaw make him extremely attractive; he could have been a model or an actor he looks that good. The only thing that detracts from his handsomeness are his eyes. They too are beautiful, a cross between blue and green depending on his mood. Usually though they look like ice; cold, hard, and impenetrable. Eric Northman is not known for being a compassionate human being; in fact, he is known as being a cold, ruthless, selfish bastard that cares for nothing outside of the motorcycle club.
When Godric walks in the office of Eric’s garage, he finds the president of the club on a cell phone speaking with someone in a language Godric does not fully understand. Eric raises his finger indicating Godric should wait, but then points to one of the chairs for him to sit in. Godric says nothing, merely lowers himself into one of the utilitarian office chairs. As Eric continues to speak on the phone, he paces the small confines of his office. Godric watches his eldest friend, knowing Eric will fill him in when he is ready.
Eric and Godric have known each other from the time they were barely out of diapers. Their friendship struck many as odd as they grew up: the tall lanky blond beanpole and the short, squat dark-haired ghost since Godric has always been so fair. The friendship between them only strengthened as they aged; they were closer than any other two people could be. Even when Godric went to prison shortly after graduating high school and Eric went to college, the bond between them remained. Eric did well in college, earning his bachelor and master’s degrees in rapid succession. He was pursued by some large corporations with an eye to fast track him to management. However, Eric turned his back on corporate America and joined Godric when he settled in New Orleans after his stretch up the river. By the time Eric finished college, Godric had already joined up with The Bloodsuckers. It took the club longer to accept Eric as one of their own, they thought he was a pretty boy playing at being a tough guy. Eric proved himself by being the meanest, toughest, son of a bitch out of all of them. He earned the respect of every member in the club. When the previous club president, Stan Davis, stepped down due to his wife’s terminal illness, Eric was unanimously voted club president. No one was surprised when Godric was appointed vice-president. Together, they ran a tight ship that had continually grown in profits over the years. The two of them had led the New Orleans chapter for seven years. They had been required to defend their turf early on, but soon everyone knew not to fuck with the Viking and the Reaper.
Eric’s call ends abruptly, and he drops the phone on his desk before easing his frame down to the black office chair. “Shipment will be arriving Tuesday. I want you there with Blade, Viper, and the psycho twins to pick it up.” Eric scribbles down an address on a pad of paper, ripping the top sheet off to pass to Godric. The dark-haired man takes the page and folds it inside the packet of his button-down shirt.
“You sure you want me to take Hannibal and Joker? They been a little antsy lately. I don’t want them to make the hand off any worse. We don’t need a bloodbath that we’ll have to cover up,” Godric warns. Hannibal and Joker, or Andre and Parker, have a sadistic streak to them and they try to one up each other with their antics. They each took their names from movie characters. Andre tended to dismember his victims like Hannibal Lecter, scattering the body parts around various swamps. When the club suggested the name Dexter, Andre had coldly responded that Dexter was a pussy. As for Parker, he tended to leave his victims looking like the Joker, slicing their faces so they were damn near unrecognizable.
“I’d rather you have them with you if things go south, not that I think they will. This shipment is coming via our friends in The Authority. Roman and I have worked out a nice deal to benefit all of us,” Eric says with a satisfied smirk.
Godric chuckles. “And one of the benefits is fucking his wife every chance you get. You’d better be careful my friend. You know women and business don’t mix.”
Eric waves off Godric’s concerns. “Who do you think is the one that arranged for me to fuck Nora? Roman likes to watch all the dirty things I do to his wife. He likes it when I make her submit to my will. She gets off on being a dirty slut and I just get off,” Eric ends with a satisfied grin.
His grin fades as he leans forward in his chair. “Speaking of women, you wanna tell me what the hell got into you the other night at the bar? Beast said you damn near challenged him over the new waitress.”
Godric growls internally but outwardly remains calm. “He needs a lesson on how to treat a woman. Just because he and Debbie get rough with each other doesn’t mean all women want to be manhandled. He put his hands on the girl. I merely reminded him that Terry’s waitresses aren’t hired to provide full-service. If he wants that, then he can head over to Red’s.”
Eric stares at Godric shrewdly, processing everything he’s been told. Godric knows that Eric’s mind moves at warp speed; the man’s a genius with damn near perfect recall. It’s what has made the club so successful. Eric is a brilliant strategist and excels in planning for all possible contingencies. His mind never shuts off.
“You’ve never defended the girls before. What makes this one different?” Eric cocks an eyebrow at Godric, waiting to hear his excuse.
Godric raises a shoulder in a negligible manner. “She’s…different. To be honest, she didn’t need any help putting Beast back in his cage.” Godric’s lips curl in a smile as he remembers how easily Sookie dropped Alcide. It’s not that Godric has anything against Alcide, but he always enjoys when that particular member gets knocked down a peg or two.
“You claimed her as yours, Godric,” Eric says in a hard voice. “What do you know about this broad? Not a goddamn thing! You’ve never been this reckless before.”
Godric sits forward, starring at Eric with a hardened expression that he rarely shows to those in his inner circle. It’s the stare that looks like death. His tone is distant when he begins speaking in a short, staccato bursts. “I do not tell you how to live your life. You don’t get to tell me how to live mine. Sookie Stackhouse is legit; Terry’s known her for years. You’re right, I do not know a damn thing about her, but I want to. She’s the first woman I’ve wanted since Izzy. Don’t think you can steal this one from me too,” Godric ends with a rueful chuckle.
Eric sits back chuckling as he remembers the little Hispanic senorita he and Godric had passed back and forth in high school. “I can’t help it if women take one look at me and think they can redeem me.” Eric’s smile fades as he watches his best friend. “What is it about this girl that’s got you hooked?”
Godric shrugs. “I don’t know, but I want to find out.”
“Alright, I’ll spread the word to the guys. Sookie Stackhouse is your old lady. I hope you don’t regret it,” Eric says darkly.
“When will you get over your distrust of women?” Godric rises from his chair and moves to stand in the doorway of the office. He looks back at Eric with genuine curiousity on his face. His friend hadn’t always been this cold towards the opposite sex; if anything, Godric has far more reason to distrust women than Eric.
“Nothing will ever make me trust a woman again. You may have moved on from what happened, but I haven’t. My mother is the reason you went to jail the first time. That’s not something I’ll ever forget or forgive.” Eric’s expression is thunderous as he remembers the fateful day that set the two best friends on the path they now walk.
“She was trying to protect you,” Godric offers though he knows it will do no good.
“Fuck her,” Eric spits out angrily. “See how well that turned out? I still ended up a criminal.”
“You chose this path, Northman. You were free and clear when I went to prison. No one, least of all me, would have faulted you for moving away from this type of life.”
“It’s bad enough you took the fall for me when we were nineteen. It should’ve been me in that cell, not you. You know I never turn my back on my brothers,” Eric declares vehemently.
Godric sighs. “I know, but sometimes I wish you had.”