The Biker Wore Red (Chapter 1, page 2 of 8)

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Chapter 1

"He sent me to get you."

"How do I know that? I haven't heard from him in years."


The lanky stranger with the piercings and facial makeup removed the saddlebag from his shoulder and slapped it down on the counter. The other man flipped it open, removed a well-worn bible, and opened the front cover.

Staring back at Niki was her own handwriting. To Eli: May you stay safe and return home soon. Niki. She had given the bible to Eli on the day he'd left for boot camp.

With tobacco-stained fingers, the stranger flipped to the middle of the book. A St. Christopher's medal on a gold chain marked the twenty-third Psalm.

Hands shaking, Niki turned the medal over to inspect the back. The inscription read "With love always, Mom." An identical medal hung around her neck.

"This doesn't prove anything. You could have stolen these or…or found them."

"But I didn't."

She might have accused him of not finishing his eggs.

"Where is he? Why didn't he make the trip, if he wanted to see me?" She still lived in the same house they had grown up in. All these years, he'd known where to find her, but he hadn't. Why now?

"He's about a day from here. His health wouldn't let him make the trip, so I made it for him. We need to leave soon." The biker shut the bible, slipped it back into the saddlebag, and handed the bag to Lenny. With a nod, Lenny took the bag and left.

Niki paced in the small space behind the counter as her mind tried to wrap around this new development. Eli was alive! Twenty years ago, her dad had received a letter from his commander announcing he had died in action, but it had taken more than that to convince Niki. It had taken twenty years of silence and nagging doubt eating at her subconscious.

"I don't even know your name, and you expect me to drop everything and leave? I don't have a day off until Tuesday. Come back then or, or leave me directions. I'll be there when I can." She knew she was babbling, trying to buy time to think. She knew the wise thing to do would be to call Sam and let him check it out.

"I can't do that."

"At least let me call my fiancé and my boss. I can't leave the store unattended. Besides, Sam is the sheriff. If Eli's in trouble, he may be able to help." She turned her back to Red and picked up the receiver.

Red walked around the counter and jerked the phone from her hand. "I can't let you do that."

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