Excerpt From Wolves' Pawn by P.J. MacLayne
They were being followed. The four right turns they’d made proved it. One SUV, one pair of motorcyclists. She and Tasha needed to split up. Dot spotted a break in traffic, geared down, made a hard left and headed down an alley. Tasha followed her, but oncoming cars blocked their pursuers for the time being. At the end of the alley, a left-hand turn put them going the opposite way she wanted to go, but also gave them a chance to pull into the parking lot of a biker bar. She nosed her bike among the others and checked to see that Tasha did the same.
A couple of bikers stood outside smoking, and she pulled off her helmet as she walked up to them, fluffing up her hair with one hand, waiting until Tasha caught up with her. “Follow my lead,” Dot said quietly. Then, fluttering her eyes and leisurely unzipping her jacket, she went up to them. “How’s it going, boys?”
“Better now,” grinned one. “Care for a smoke?”
Dot accepted a cigarette and let the biker light it for her, while she watched the parking lot and the street beyond. “You ever have any trouble with anyone messing with your bikes here?”
“Used to, but since the bar owner added a new security system,” he poked another of the men in the ribs, “We haven’t had any problems.”
It must have been a long-standing joke, because both men roared with laughter. Dot grinned. “We were a little worried,” she said. “We stopped at a convenience store down the road and a couple of suspicious guys were eying our bikes. We hope to have time for a beer, but are afraid to leave them for very long.”
The SUV that had been following them slowly rolled down the street, and Dot felt Tasha jab her in the ribs. She barely nodded in acknowledgment. “If you ladies want a beer, we’ll keep an eye on things out here for you. We’re waiting for a friend anyway.”
“Thanks.” Dot dropped the cigarette on the ground and ground it into the dirt with the toe of her boot. “Maybe I can buy you one later.”
“Well, I would like that but the old lady wouldn’t and she’s inside, so I’m going to have to decline the offer.” He grinned. “Maybe another time.”
She pouted and sighed. “Just my luck.”
“What are you doing?” Tasha asked as they headed inside.
“Just playing the game,” Dot explained in a low voice. “And I’m not done yet.”
The bar wasn’t crowded and Dot picked a bar stool in the middle of an unoccupied stretch, and Tasha took a seat beside her, clearly uncomfortable. “Beer,” Dot told the bartender. When he moved out of earshot she explained, “My mental voice isn’t focused enough yet to use in a place like this. I can’t guarantee it won’t be overheard.”
The drinks arrived, and Dot paid for them, smiling broadly at the server. “You ladies from around here?” he asked.
“No, just in town for a few days, hoping to have some fun while we’re here.”
“You’ve come to the right place.”
Tasha scanned the bar nervously. They were too close to Choate territory. When the barman moved away Dot asked “Anyone in here kin?”
“Not that I can sense.”
“Good. Drink your beer now.”
It didn’t take long until a man slid into the barstool beside Dot. “You ladies want some company?”
“Depends on who’s asking,” she said, turning towards him with what she hoped was a dazzling smile.
“Care to join me and my friends?” With a jerk of his head, he indicated two men at one of the tables. They were typical bikers, big, burly men dressed in black leather jackets, jeans, with scarfs on their heads. Just what Dot was hoping for.
“Sure.” She picked up her beer and slid off her seat. “I’m Maria, this is my friend Trish.”
Tasha wanted to object, but Dot seemed to know what she was doing. They pulled up chairs and Tasha kept one eye on the front door while she watched Dot flirt with each man in turn. Her diligence was rewarded when two men walked in and she caught the distinct scent of wolf. She kicked Dot under the table. Dot half-turned to her and nodded.
“You want another beer?” one man asked as Dot drained her glass.
“I’d better not,” she said, sounding reluctant. “I don’t like to drink and drive.” She glanced around the bar and faked a look of dismay. “Oh, no.”
“What?” asked her new friend.
“See those two men at the bar?” Dot chewed on her lower lip. “I think those are guys who gave us a bad time earlier today.”
“No.” She leaned forward. “Tell you what. We’ll make a trip to the restroom, and you keep an eye on them. When we come back you can tell us what happens.” She stood and grabbed Tasha’s hand. “Come on.”
When they got to the restroom, Dot checked to make sure all the stalls were empty. “Here’s the plan, Tasha. We’ll have the guys run interference so we can get out of here. My guess is that the others are waiting outside. Hopefully our buddies are making sure no one messes with the bikes. You still have that revolver strapped to your leg?”
“How'd you know about that?” Tasha thought she’d kept it hidden.
“Never mind. Put it in your pocket. You may need to use it.”
“You want me to shoot them?”
“No. Their tires. If the SUV follows us, we’ll stick together. If they follow on motorcycles, we’ll have to split up. When we get back to the table, switch helmets. It might confuse them.”
“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
“You have a better idea?”
“I’m glad we filled up a few miles back. We should have enough gas to get back to the village. You know how to get there from here, right?”
“Yes.” Tasha grabbed Dot’s hand. “Don’t take any unnecessary chances.”
Dot grinned. “Depends upon your definition of unnecessary. Now my advice is to use the facilities while we’re here. Then put on your sexiest smile and we’ll play the rest of the game.”
When they left the restroom, they had to walk past the bar. The two men blocked their way. Dot instantly noticed the yellowish tint of their eyes.
“Going somewhere?” one asked with a sneer.
A large hand was placed on his shoulder. The other man found a large arm wrapped around his neck, and the bartender casually hefted a gun he’d pulled from under the bar. “You ladies ride safe,” the bartender said. Dot blew him a kiss, and she and Tasha grabbed their helmets and left.
“Nobody touched your bikes,” the man Dot had been talking to outside told them as they exited. “Although a couple of guys were sniffing around them.”
“Thanks.” Dot stood on her toes and kissed the man on the cheek. “Appreciate the help.”
Tasha sniffed the air as they approached the bike. “Kin.”
Dot nodded. “Stick to the plan, Tasha. I’ve done this before and you haven’t.”
“We should stick together.”
“They won’t hurt me, Tasha, they want me alive. You’re the one in danger. I’m betting we will be followed by the motorcycles, and splitting up is the best thing. If one follows you, shoot out the tires and then get back to the village as fast as your bike will go.”
Tasha put on Dot’s helmet and adjusted the chin strap. She hesitated before climbing on her bike. “Good luck, Dot.”
Dot grinned. “Good hunting, Tasha.”
Wolves' Pawn can be purchased at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HVDD1G4