Rob Crew had purpose in his life. He was a devoted husband, doting father, and committed Navy man…then his life changed forever. Cast adrift, he finds friendships in the Rebel Wayfarers Motorcycle Club and fulfillment as he transitions into the role of loyal and supportive club member. He becomes Bear, a man who fills an important position in this brotherhood of bikers.
A caregiver by nature, Eddie’s chosen career focuses on helping the most vulnerable – teaching special needs children and young adults. Surrounded by loving family and friends, she is content with what she considers her full and satisfying life…until she meets Bear, an enforcer for the local MC. Even through their initial encounter is brief, she can’t make herself forget the pain in his eyes as he turned away from her.
Their lives intersect at surprising intervals, with each contact underscoring the attraction and connection they share. Can Eddie convince Bear that it is okay to move past his pain and love again?
Rob smiled up at Ashley from his prone position on the sandy beach. “Sweetness, did you know you are the most important woman in my life? I love you, Ash,” he said thoughtfully. She nodded, brown eyes twinkling as she grinned down at him. “I love you so much,” he told her, reaching his arms up and gathering her to him as she fell into them.
“I love you too,” she whispered in his ear. Laughing, she kissed his cheek and then with a grin, she rubbed wet sand into his hair, pulling away and hopping up from the sand.
“Oh, I’m gonna get you for that,” he yelled at her as she stopped, barely out of reach, holding her stomach and laughing.
Rolling to his feet, tearing down the beach after her as she sprinted away, he called, “Last one to the blanket buys lunch.” She glanced over her shoulder at him and put her head down, arms pumping as she ran hard towards the section of beach they’d claimed as their own with a blanket and lounge chairs.
Rob slowed down with a smile, letting her pull ahead of him, watching as her long, blonde ponytail swung back and forth with her efforts, brilliant in the sunshine. She was so beautiful, and he was astonished every time he realized she was his.
Looking ahead, he saw they had a visitor and knew the moment she saw the person sitting in one of the lounge chairs, because she angled her trajectory towards the chair, leaping over it at the last moment and scattering sand all over her target.
“Aahhh, not on my dress,” came a yell from the chair, tempered with laughter. Ashley danced on the blanket, stomping her feet and waving her arms in the air with a wide grin on her face. “I won! I won! I beat you, Daddy!”
Jerking awake, Rob jackknifed up off the couch to his feet, walking stiffly across the room. It was no use; he could never go anywhere to get away, but he just had to move. Breathing hard, he leaned his back against the wall, looking down at his hands, curling them into fists over and over in an effort to control the shaking.
He saw drops of something on his chest and stomach, and lifting a hand to his face, he found it wet. He hadn’t even realized he was crying. Scrubbing the tears away with his palms, he held his hands out again, seeing the tremors were beginning to subside. He hated these fucking dreams; they destroyed him for days. He would much rather not dream at all, not think, not remember.
Twenty-five years ago, life was simple and easy. When he was thirteen, his parents had moved the family from Painted Post, New York to Bayonne, New Jersey for his dad’s job. He went to school, saw his friends, hung out, and went home…rinse and repeat.
Hell, even just eleven years ago, life had still been easy and good, predictable. Go home and love on his two angels, deploy and sink below the sea, visit ports of call so he could buy things for his family…rinse and repeat.
Now, his life consisted of a new name in a new city; he’d gotten as far away as he could from where he’d lived with his wife and daughter, from his family. He was Bear, badass enforcer for a Chicago MC, had hundreds of brothers, and lived a loveless life. Wake up, fuck somebody up, come home alone…rinse and repeat. Life was fucking easy.
Pulling in a deep breath, he counted to ten and then slowly released it, looking down at his hands. Steady and rock-solid now, it seemed the moment had passed. He grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator, intending to head over to the corner of the apartment that held his desk. He spent hours working on the computer. It was engrossing, and the required preciseness of his work soothed him.
Pausing, he stopped and turned, going to the couch and sitting down instead. He reached behind the table next to the couch, pulling out a battered acoustic guitar. Settling the PRS across his knee, he hunched over the instrument, aptly named Angelus, and set his fingers to the frets and strings. Bear closed his eyes, hearing the music in his head. Slowly, his hands began to move, and he softly played the intro to a classical piece.
Raised in the south, MariaLisa learned about the magic of books at an early age. Every summer, she would spend hours in the local library, devouring books of every genre. Self-described as a book-a-holic, she says “I’ve always loved to read, but then I discovered writing, and found I adored that, too. For reading … if nothing else is available, I’ve been known to read the back of the cereal box.”
A hockey fan, hiker, gamer, and single mom of a special needs son, she embraces her inner geek and has been working in the tech field for a publishing company for a couple decades.
Music is a driving passion, and she says, “I love music of nearly any genre — jazz, country, rock, alt rock, metal, classical, bluegrass, rap, hip hop … you name it, I listen to it. I can often be seen dancing through the house in the early mornings. But I really, REALLY love live music. My favorite thing with music is seeing bands in small, dive bars [read: small, intimate venues]. If said bar [venue] has a good selection of premium tequila, then that’s a plus!”