The Heroes of the Dixie Wardens MC, Book 1
You’re The Lights…
Sebastian had one rule.
No women on the back of his bike. Period.
The one time he broke that rule, he killed the woman that was carrying his child.
Then comes Baylee Roberts. She makes Sebastian want to break every single rule he’d ever implemented. Hell, but she even makes him consider that dreaded H word. A helmet.
Baylee Roberts innocently walked into her bathroom never expecting that she’d find a man in there. It is her bathroom after all, and she lives alone.
From the instant he placed his hat on her head to protect her from the sun, Baylee’s mind becomes filled with thoughts of a certain biker.
She really shouldn’t go there. There’s no telling what kind of dangerous things he does for The Dixie Wardens MC.
Nothing is ever as easy as it should be. Their relationship’s one of them.
Baylee’s brother is a cop. Baylee’s father is a cop. Which inevitably means that Baylee’s going to have certain hang-ups about being with a man like himself.
Sebastian has a lot on his plate with his busy job as a firefighter, a single father, and the vice president of The Dixie Wardens MC.
Not enough, though, to keep him away from Baylee.
When a series of arsons rattle their hometown and puts Sebastian’s life on the line, Baylee finally realizes the only fire Sebastian can’t put out is the one inside her heart.
* * * * *
Narrated by Lidia Dornet and Tristan James
Listen to a sample:
A good man breaks your headboard, not your heart.
— Rules to live by
I watched out of the corner of my eye as the man, two yards down from my own, stepped up onto the diving board, faced me, and then laid his hands against the top of the fence. Then, unsurprisingly, he leaned his head down until his chin rested on top of the hands that rested on the fence. His eyes were on me as I screwed another screw into the board between my legs.
“If my stupid brother were here, I wouldn’t have had to worry about some creepy, old man watching me while I worked out in the yard.” I grumbled, as I tried not to notice the creepy old man.
I regretted taking off my shirt now, but it was so unbelievably hot out that it was either take the shirt off, or give up on the deck until fall. The weather in Texas was absolutely boiling. In the summer months, it reached upwards to 110 degrees. If I lived to be a hundred, I would never get use to this horrid Texas heat.
It was a far cry from the cooler summers in Casper, Wyoming. At least there we had defined seasons. In Texas, one day it could be sunny and stifling, and the very next it could be dreary and cold.
My brother was the one who’d recommended project ‘fiasco,’ saying it would help the resale value of my house to have a deck around the pool. He’d even planned the deck out, bought the wood, and built the framing. Then it sat for two months before I’d finally decided to just do it myself. Apparently, they’d been super busy at the station lately, and he hadn’t been able to utilize his free time like he’d previously done.
Sweat dripped down my chest and back, in slow moving rivulets, disappearing in the waistband of my shorts that said ‘cheer!’ across the ass. The bra I put on that morning was thoroughly soaked through with sweat, restricting my breasts like a serpent. The thick material was anything but forgiving, and I cursed my mother for passing down the big boob gene that required me to wear extra supportive bras, instead of thin cute ones like normal women.
On top of everything else, my knees were killing me. Two years after my accident at work, and I still felt the effects of that night.
The night my life changed forever. I’d been working my third 24-hour shift of the week. There’d been a call involving a fifty-year-old man complaining of chest pain, while out for dinner with his wife.
My former partner, Cory, and I were dispatched.
After loading the patient, Cory had taken lead, which left me driving to the nearest hospital.
We’d been ten minutes out when a car had run the stop sign, barreling into the ambulance before anyone had even noticed it was there.
When I’d come to, the patient that had been coding in the back was dead, and Cory was unconscious and fighting for his life. I hadn’t been as severe, but I wasn’t able to feel my legs from the knees down at the time, either.
The loud roar of a motorcycle pulling up outside signaled the arrival of my new partner. Winter had learned of my side project during last night’s shift and immediately offered her assistance once she caught up on her sleep.
Winter was a fellow female medic at station number three. She’d been there just shy of a year when I’d arrived. We’d gotten along instantly, and we’d been paired together ever since.
From then on, we spent quite a bit of time together, and over the past six months, I’d gotten to know the other women that lived in the same compound as Winter, as well. The ‘compound’ was really a large complex that housed Winter’s husband, who was former military, and his teammates. Then the team had grown, adding wives and children. Now they ran a custom motorcycle shop out of the front of the compound, and lived in the back in duplexes for each family.
There they’d established quite a reputable custom bike business, and had flourished since.
Winter said she’d be asking her husband to drop her off so she could drink if she felt like it afterwards. I told her she wouldn’t have the desire to do so after being outside so long, but what did I know?
The doorbell chimed a few moments after the sound of the bike shut off, and instead of getting up to answer it, I just yelled. Honestly, I was beyond tired. If I got up, it would be to lay down on the couch and crack open an ice cold Coke. “Come on in! I’m in the backyard!”
Winter’s answering yell confirmed that she’d heard me, and I went back to screwing.
I laughed at how idiotic that sounded. I had what you would call a very naughty sense of humor. Anything you had to say, even the most normal of statements, I could turn it into some sort of sexual innuendo.
With one hand, I lined the tip of my screw gun with the notched head of the screw. With the other, I pushed down while depressing the button. A movement out of the corner of my eye had me looking up in time to see the man a few yards down taking a picture of me.
Flustered, I turned back to my screwing, making a mental note to let my brother know sooner rather than later.
As usual, my coordination and lack of attention fucked me over, and instead of pushing down on the screw, the screw slipped. The head of the drill bit slammed down into my finger, shooting a burst of pain through my body.
Although I’d managed to pull back, the puncture still hit deep enough that blood started to pour from my finger. “Goddammit. Motherfucking bitch of a whore’s son.”
Painfully, I got up to my feet with my bleeding finger clutched to my chest, then ran to the backdoor, slamming inside without looking.
I ran straight to the bathroom, blood seeping through my clasped fingers.
I passed Winter on my way, but didn’t acknowledge her. Instead, I went for expediency, forgoing the niceties in exchange for prolonging the life of my brand new beige carpet.
Blood wasn’t the easiest to clean up. I should know. I’d been a paramedic for eight years now.
Without thinking, nor acknowledging the fact that the door was closed when I’d specifically remembered leaving it open, I barreled through the door, and ran to the sink.
I cursed as the cool water hit my finger and shot a blast of pain coursing through my veins. “Goddamn, this hurts.” I muttered.
“Looks like it.” A man said from behind me.
Whirling around, I stared in shock at the man who was now zipping up the fly of his jeans. “What are you doing in my house?” I half screamed.
The man grinned.
If he hadn’t been so unbelievably hot, I might’ve had the common sense to be more scared than I actually was. However, my common sense took a flying leap out of the window and my attitude came out to play.
“I was using the john. Then you burst in.” He said by way of explanation.
“Why would you be using it in my house when I didn’t let you in?” I asked with a raised brow.
“That would be my fault. I informed them that they needed to come help.” Winter said apologetically.
Well if that didn’t take the wind out of my sails, nothing would.
Reluctantly, I turned to the man I’d nearly seen with his pants down, literally, and smiled contritely. “I’m sorry. It was just surprising to have a strange man in my house.”
He nodded, and then gestured to my still bleeding hand. “Do you need some help?”
I looked down at my bleeding hand and groaned; I was a bleeder. I had von Willebrand’s disease, which pretty much meant that if I cut myself, I would bleed.
The disease guaranteed that any cut I received bled much more than it should.
That didn’t even begin to take into effect my horrid periods. Those puppies lasted for way longer than they ever should have, which was how I knew I had the disease in the first place.
I held out my hand and extended it to him, showing him the wound. “It’s not too bad. It’s actually just a scratch, but I have VWD, which makes me bleed more than normal. I end up pulling a Carrie way too often, if you ask me.” I teased.
It was around that time that I realized I was in my sports bra and short shorts that would be illegal in the state of Utah. “Uhh, if you don’t mind, I’ll go change. I’ll be right back.”
I didn’t wait for their agreement, I just ran to my bedroom. Then went to my stock of Band-Aids, double wrapped my finger, and then slipped out of my sweaty shorts, and bra.
Just as I was about to change into a more sedate pair of shorts, I realized that the hair on my legs could rival Chewbacca’s, and decided that a quick shave was in order.
Thirty minutes later, I was newly showered, shaved, and coiffed. Oh, and not to mention thoroughly embarrassed. I’d never meant to spend that long in the shower, but just thinking about the man I’d walked in on made my blood run hot.
When I finally emerged from the bedroom after putting on a fresh Band-Aid, the crew of five men Winter had brought with her, were hard at work. On my deck.
“Shit.” I cursed and rushed out the door.
“I’m so sorry. I couldn’t get the bleeding to stop.” I lied, holding up my finger and showing the group at large.
Sure enough, my finger was bleeding through the second bandage, but that was entirely normal for me. It’d stop eventually. It always did; it just looked bad until it did.
Winter knew of my condition, and didn’t look the least bit concerned. The big surprise was the man I’d walked in on earlier. He looked downright horrified.
Oh, and his shirt was off.
The man looked damn fine in his jeans. Shirtless, he could rival just about any man in the fire department I worked with. Which was saying something, because to be a firefighter, you had to be in shape. If you weren’t, lives could be at stake. People depended on a firefighter to save their lives; if their bodies weren’t honed into a perfect tool, then that could mean the death of someone.
This man had abs on top of abs, if that were even possible. He also had scars. One on his right lower abdomen that most likely indicated he’d had an appendectomy. Then there was a thin long one that ran down his side from armpit to hip.
Oh, and did I mention he had tattoos? They were delicious on his defined chest, and muscled arms. The entire length of the top of his arm was covered. A beautiful American Flag dominated his upper chest and bicep.
That would also make it hard to find a vein on the man if he ever needed emergency attention.
“You’ll have to forgive her. Baylee has an obsession with veins. She stares at everyone to judge how easy they’d be to get an IV on.” Winter teased.
My face flamed. I did do that. Not intentionally or anything, but when three days a week you spend the majority of your time thinking about those types of things, one tends to carry those weird habits into their daily lives.
“Sorry,” I muttered and then turned to the activity of the other men.
Those I knew. Not well, but enough that I’d say hello and ask how the kids were doing if I passed by them at the local diner or the grocery store.
Jack, Winter’s husband, sidled up to his wife, slinging an arm around her shoulders. “How’s it going, Baylee?”
I smiled at the man. He sure was handsome. Tall and built, much the same as the rest of the men; he was very pleasing to the eye. I was never one to poach, but I sure could look at the men of Free all day long and never get bored. They were all that hot.
“I was doing okay until the man two doors down distracted me, causing me to slip and stab myself with the screw gun.” I explained.
“Why did he distract you?” Jack asked, tensing slightly.
“He took a picture of me. He watches me all the freaking time, but it’s only recently that he’s begun staring so openly like that. Today, he went above and beyond.” I sighed heavily.
The man I’d walked in on earlier tensed. “Which house?” He asked.
I pointed. “Two yards over. The one with the pool.”
He looked where I was pointing, noticing the man that was now using the pole to clean his pool, and came to a decision. “Be right back.”
Then he was gone.
“Uhh,” I said, confused. “What the heck?”
“Uh, oh. Sebastian’s got a crush.” Jack laughed.
Winter slapped him across the chest, but didn’t discredit his thought. “Okay, girl. I brought the manpower; they got directions from Luke, who’s paying them in Pizza and beer. Let’s lay back here and watch the show.”
I snickered. “No, that’s okay. I’ll buy the pizza and beer. It is my house, after all. I’ll be helping, too. This is my workout for the week.”
My eyes narrowed as I saw the bob of Sebastian’s head over the fence line as he made his way to my neighbor’s house. He didn’t go around though, instead deciding to use the gate, and walking straight inside without consent.
“Well you just have to go and make me feel bad, don’t you.” Winter teased, turning to watch as well.
“Fifty bucks says he beats the shit out of him.” James said, flexing his hands and popping the knuckles.
James was another member of Free. He also worked at the station with my brother, so I knew him better than I knew the others. James’ wife, Shiloh, and James came to Luke’s place every month or so, attending the ‘team morale’ meeting that Luke’s forced to hold as required by the department. Apparently, they needed stress relief, and team building. Luke chose to implement it, only they drank beer and ate like shit instead of having campouts and singing Kumbaya.
On those rare occasions I was able to make it, I’d bonded with Shiloh.
Raised voices brought my attention from James to two yards down, and I watched in glee as Sebastian hauled back and punched the man so hard his feet left the ground. He flopped backwards into the pool.
Once Sebastian was satisfied that he’d swim and not sink, he left and came back to my yard.
I couldn’t keep the smile of satisfaction off my face. “You, sir, deserve a beer!”
He laughed at my smile. “No thanks needed, but I’ll take the beer. You should put some sunscreen on when you head in there. You’re looking a little burned.”
I nodded, took orders for beers, and went into the house to grab them. I was in luck when I found a brand new twenty-four pack of Heineken, and thanked Luke, silently, for bringing some over on his last visit.
When I returned outside, I passed out the drinks and went to work helping them where I was able. Mostly, I continued to screw the deck, although much slower since my finger was still throbbing since my last fuck up.
I’d been keenly aware of exactly where Sebastian was the entire time I’d been working. Not once had he moved that I’d not been aware of him on some primal level. I watched out of the corner of my eye as his muscles flexed and bunched when he moved boards into place.
Fingers trailed across my shoulders about an hour later. I looked up, startled to see Sebastian leaning over me.
Of course, I’d seen him coming, but I didn’t actually think he was going to come towards me, or touch me for that matter.
Swiping the hair out of my face, I looked up, gazing into Sebastian’s honey brown eyes. He looked so fucking edible. I wanted to run my tongue down the length of his torso.
“Yes?” I questioned.
“You’re really burning. Did you put any sun screen on?” He asked.
I grimaced. I could feel my shoulders burning, but I didn’t have any sun tan lotion, and I’d have to go to the store to get some. “No, I don’t have any.”
He scowled. “That’s going to feel like shit in the morning.”
I knew it would. I’d experienced burns before. This wouldn’t be the first time. Nor the last. “Yeah, I’ll go in shortly and order pizza. When I go pick it up, I’ll get some.”
“Won’t do you any good by then. You won’t have a need for it. Sun’s going down in an hour and a half.” He mused.
I shrugged. There was no way I was leaving people here to work on my deck while I did nothing. That was pure laziness in all its finest.
“Stubborn.” He growled, removing his hat and placing it firmly on my head. “At least wear my hat. Your face is going to burn to a fucking crisp.”
I froze when he fixed the fastenings at the back, making it tighter to fit my head. Then he turned without another word and went back to cutting boards to the length that was called out to him.
“Y’all are so going to fuck.” Winter whispered into my ear, making my head whip around.
“Shut up!” I hissed at her, ignoring the knowing grin on her face.
I wore the hat way past sun down, and even into the night. Sebastian left the hat with me, and whether it was on purpose or not, I vowed that I’d keep the hat forever.