Desolation Page 1

Author: Bella Jewel

Series: Jokers' Wrath MC #4

Genres: Romance

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PROLOGUE

THEN – Pippa

A warm hand strokes over my skin, awakening me from my sleep. My eyes flutter open and I expect to see my sister, Santana, leaning over me and smiling, letting me know that everything is okay and that we’re going to find a home where we can feel safe once more. Instead, I see Kennedy. He’s staring down at me, his eyes sad and his mouth in a hard line.

“Pippa,” he says softly, even though his voice is rough like sandpaper.

“Where’s Tana?” I squeak, rolling from my soft bed and sitting up.

“She’s . . . listen, Pippa, I have to take you somewhere. You need to trust me, okay?”

Fear swells in my chest, and I stare at the man who took my sister and I from the streets. He always liked Santana better than me, but I know it’s because she’s so beautiful. He probably just thinks I’m a little child. Maybe I am. I don’t mind being by myself when he’s giving her attention, because anything is better than being cold on the streets.

“I don’t want to go anywhere,” I tell Kennedy. “I just want to wait for Tana.”

“Santana is . . . busy right now. You need to trust and come with me.”

“Kennedy . . .” I shake my head. “I don’t want to.”

He looks away, his jaw tight. “I’m sorry for what I have to do right now, Pippa. Forgive me.”

The door busts open and three men come in. They’re big, so horribly big. I scramble backwards on my bed, clutching my sheets to cover my tiny body. Then one, a scary one, steps forward with a smile on his face. His eyes are terrifying, his hair is dark, and he’s tall and lean. He horrifies me. There’s an air about him that makes me want to curl up and hide.

“Hello there,” he says, stepping forward. “You must be Pippa.”

Who is he? Why is he here? Is he a bad man? Is he one of the ones who were horrible to Kennedy? My heart pounds with fear. Why is Kennedy letting these men into his home? Where is Santana? What did he do to her?

“Please,” I squeak. “Leave me alone.”

He smiles again. “I won’t hurt you, dear girl. If you’ll come with me, this’ll be so much easier.”

“I don’t want to go with you!” I cry. “I want Santana!”

“Sadly,” the man says, lifting his hand and flicking his finger, “you don’t get a choice. Kennedy owes me, and you, dear, are his payment.”

My eyes flick to Kennedy, and he hangs his head in shame, not looking at me. “Kennedy!” I cry. He doesn’t look up.

The other two men step forward and I scurry backwards until my back hits the wall. The two men lean forward on the bed, and my heart is pounding as I desperately try to find a way out. I don’t want them to take me—not without Tana. My hands tremble with fear as I put them up in front of me. “Please,” I whisper.

“It’ll be just fine, dear.”

Then the two men reach out for me, curling their fingers around my tiny, thin arms. I scream and twist, kicking out and trying to stop them but they’re too strong. I call out over and over for Kennedy, but he doesn’t help. One leans forward with something in his hand, and a piece of material is put over my face. A terrible smell fills my nose and my eyes roll back into my head as my world spins.

Then everything fades into darkness.

CHAPTER ONE

NOW – Pippa

I’m watching Tyke from my place at the bar. He’s laughing, his beautiful face lit up. I can’t seem to tear my eyes away from him. I’m at the compound, spending time with Santana and her daughter, Molly. I adore spending time with my beautiful niece, who was meant to be a nephew. You can imagine Santana and Maddox’s shock when she came out, well, a she. I don’t mind, though. I adore having more family around, no matter the sex.

In fact, I adore everyone here, at the Joker’s Wrath MC. When I first met the people Santana called family, I was terrified. They weren’t the kind of people I would have thought could make me feel safe, yet during my adjustment years, they did just that. They’ve been here for me, all of them. Especially Tyke.

He’s my very best friend. The handsome, slightly broken biker caught my eye the moment I arrived at the compound after Santana and Maddox rescued me from Artreau’s grips. Tyke has a warm edge about him; he isn’t as brass and angry as the other members of the club. We sparked up a friendship, and it’s only developed since.

It’s especially developed for me, because I’m in far deeper with Tyke than I’d like to admit. Our friendship is fresh, real and beautiful, but there’s something else in my heart for this man. Something intense that I can’t quite understand. The problem is, I’m the only one who feels it. Tyke has never indicated that he wants more, and I’m not going to risk losing the only friend I’ve ever had.

And loved.

He’s been here for me through thick and thin. Adjusting hasn’t been easy for me, and even now I find it hard to venture out into the world on my own. I work, which has helped me interact with people, but aside from that, the family at the Joker’s are the only people I trust, and even then I find it hard to find myself.

I’m lonely. I’m the one they struggle to understand. The one they love, but don’t know what to do with. I don’t blame them; I’m not easy to understand. I can’t exactly expect them to take to me when I don’t know myself enough to give them something to hold on to. They deal, they smile, they include me . . . but I have been, and always will be, the outsider.

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