Bikers and Bars: Dante's Way
Sexy biker Dante Braden owned one of the hottest bars in Los Angeles and had women tossing themselves at him night after night for free drinks or anything else they might be able to get. However, he gave up having any kind of personal life a long time ago...until Amara Langston suddenly came into his world.
Nothing had ever prepared him for the way she brought a breath of fresh air into his life. The moment she climbed on the back of his motorcycle, Dante knew nothing would ever be the same.
Amara wasn’t thinking about a man the night she caught handsome six foot four Dante Braden's attention. He knocked any rational thought from her mind as she gazed into his eyes.
Yet, she didn't have time to fall in love, especially with a guy like him, since her problems seemed miles away from his. So, it was for the best if she stopped things before they even started.
Will Dante be able to show Amara she can count on him or will he lose the woman who has stolen his heart?
The freezing rain poured down on the rooftop as the small figure huddled inside the doorway of the abandoned building. The wetness from the weather soaked through the torn black hoodie and once white t-shirt underneath. The person worked very hard to become completely invisible from anyone who might be lurking in the shadows searching for an easy mark tonight.
The unbelievable scent of hot food drifted from the bar across the street making the person take a cautious step from underneath the less than protective sanctuary into the alleyway. Easing further away from the archway, the figure slid along the side of the brick wall silently praying no one would make a sudden move out of nowhere and jump them.
Up till now; the gnawing hunger pains had been blocked out by filling up on water; however, tonight the spasms were just too mind-numbingly great. Absolutely nothing was more important than finding something to eat.
The longing late last night to finally consume a warm meal almost made the idea of going to Theresa for help a very easy decision, but that wouldn’t be a good choice on her part....not even for the basic comforts most individuals took for granted every day.
However, tonight was an entirely different story. Now, the driving necessity to get something to eat was pushing them to make certain choices that they normally wouldn’t think about ever doing.
This had to work or they didn’t know what they were going to do for food. Pausing at the curb, a pair of coffee-colored eyes glanced both ways before the person darted across, hiding behind a large green dumpster located only about ten feet from the bar’s back door.
Hopefully, it was time for someone to leave. Sneaking inside the building would then be a lot easier. Usually breaking and entering wasn’t the first thought that came to mind, but tonight caused for drastic measures.
Surely, there had to be some leftovers stored away inside somewhere; in addition, maybe they could sleep here instead of on the cold, wet ground.
Most of the time a few kind-hearted strangers were nice enough to either give a few dollars here and there or offer a free meal, unfortunately that sort of compassion hadn’t been given to them in over three weeks.
People didn’t understand that begging for food was very humiliating, but when it felt like hunger pains were ripping your stomach apart your pride took a flying leap to get a full belly.
The sudden sound of the bar’s door opening and then closing caught the person off guard. Taking a step closer, a nervous pair of eyes peeked around the edge of the dumpster.
Frightened brown eyes widened at the sight of a tall, handsome white man with a long black ponytail as he ran through the pouring rain over to a huge black and orange motorcycle.
Yet he didn’t hold their attention for long because the person’s gaze zoomed in on the small brown paper bag in his left hand. Just the thought of devouring what was hidden in it, made their mouth salivate. Drool slid down the corner of their lip.
Would he willingly share some of his food?
The sudden thought of a fulfilling feast after days of hunger drove the person to swallow down their normally gripping fear. Cautiously, they took a step closer toward the stranger. Just as they were almost there another male voice sounded, stopping them from taking another step.
“Hey Dante, could you help me move this last table back to the other side of the room before you take off for the night,” the second man asked from the opened doorway. “I thought I’d be able to move it by myself, but it’s too damn heavy.”
“Sure, Griffin, I’ll help move it,” Dante said, placing the bag of food inside the black leather saddlebag on his motorcycle. “I’m just glad you caught me before I rode off.”
Standing still as a statue so neither one of the men would glance over at the dumpster; the figure let the rain continue to soak through the already drenched clothing, anxiously waiting for the opportunity to steal the hot food off the motorcycle and hopefully have a clean getaway.
Minutes crawled by at a snail’s pace as Dante secured the straps on the bag before he jogged through the bucketing rain back inside the building, and slammed the door behind him.
Not wasting one second, the person hurried over to the motorcycle and started working on getting some food to eat.
Small fingers shook out of fear as they feverishly undid the tightly secured straps keeping the black leather bag closed. The need for nourishment tonight was too intense so not getting this food wasn’t an option.
Hands continued pulling and tugging at the three leather straps until they finally began to loosen and finally gave away. A burst of excitement flew from the person’s lips as the satchel opened and it hit the seat of the motorcycle. A tiny cold, wet hand reached inside and grabbed out the paper sack as the delicious aroma of nourishment drifted up towards their face.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Joy bubbled through the small figure’s body at lastly having real food ...not leftover food stolen off customers’ plates outside a restaurant or day old food taken out of the trashcan behind the grocery store a few blocks from here, but a recently prepared meal that no one else’s mouth had ever touched.
However, the person’s excitement was cut short as the unexpected noise of metal scraping echoed loudly over the beating rain through the empty alley. Spinning away from the motorcycle, the figure clutched the bag tightly against their chest and took off running towards the opposite end of the alley back towards the street.
“What in the hell are you doing?” an irate, deep masculine voice hollered. “Get your ass back here; I’m tired of getting stuff stolen off my bike.”
Not even bothering to turn around, the individual kept making tracks as their worn tennis shoes pounded across the wet pavement. However, the loud sound of the heavier feet gaining ground spurred them into running even faster in hopes of getting away. But the man was gaining ground fast with his longer legs.
“I told you to stop,” the man hollered right before wrapping his fingers around a thin arm. The unexpected movement caused the bag of food to slip from the person’s hands falling into a huge puddle of water.
“Stop, let go of me,” the figure screamed, trying to break the unrelenting hold. “I won’t steal from you again. I swear I won’t. Just let me go. Please don’t call the cops.”
“There is no way in hell I’m letting you go. This is the third time this week someone has stolen something off my bike. I’m fed up with it. I’m going to call the police and there isn’t a thing you can do to change my mind.”
Fear shot through the slender body at the mere thought of spending a night at the police station. The cops were beginning to crack down hard on the homeless people around the area so going there was out of the question.
“Can’t you let me go? Please, I swear to you. I won’t steal from you again. I only wanted something to eat,” the person begged, softly.
“Save it,” he snapped, angrily. “I’m usually a pretty decent guy, but I’ve gotten pushed too far lately and everyone has their breaking point. Unfortunately, you are the one who made me reach mine tonight.”
Knowing there was no talking to the man, the person silently admitted defeat as the guy spun them back around going back towards the bar. Once they got there, he didn’t waste a minute getting them inside.
“Dante, what in the hell is going on,” the guy from earlier asked as soon as they walked inside. “Who is this?”
Looking down quickly at the ground caused the hoodie to slide down further hiding the person’s face from the other man It wouldn’t do any good to make any kind of eye contact with either man since they probably wouldn’t listen to any sort of reason.
“Griffin, this is the little punk who’s been stealing things off my bike. I actually caught him in the act when I went back outside to leave. I’m going to call the cops and have his butt tossed in jail,” Dante replied, clearly pissed.
“Are you sure? This kid looks pretty harmless to me. Can’t you just give him a stern warning and let him go. Maybe all he needs is a little fear put into him not to come back to the bar.”
“No, I’m tired with looking the other way when it comes to my property. Someone needs to show him there are consequences for his actions and tonight is the time for it to happen.”
Panic took over the person’s body. God! I can’t go to jail. I won’t make it there. I need to find a way out of this, the person thought as Dante led them over to a metal chair across the room.
“Sit your butt down here and don’t you dare get up. You may not like what happens if you do,” Dante warned and then he stormed off.
Why didn’t I stay within the shelter of the alleyway?
Nodding, the person fell down into the seat pulling the sleeves of the wet hoodie over cold hands. Tonight was turning out worse than any other night had in the past two months. Anything was better than the situation going on right now.
“Dante, come on man. We both know from the looks of the kid, he’s been living on the street for a while now. How is locking him up going to solve anything?” Griffin asked him. “I seriously doubt this boy is the one who has been stealing parts off your bike. Did you catch him with any parts in his hands?”
“No, I didn’t catch him this time with any parts from my motorcycle,” Dante snapped, angrily. “He was running away with my bag of food, but it still doesn’t mean it can’t be him. Why can’t you see this my way? You know I usually let things slide, but when it comes to my most prized possession I can’t do it.”
I have to get out of here! Glancing back at the door, a pair of dark brown eyes widened noticing it was slightly ajar. Yes...yes...yes...They could make a run for it
However, Dante and Griffin were pretty close to it. Without a doubt, time was of the essence for them to get up out of this chair and through the backdoor before either one of them caught on. This might be the only chance that presented itself tonight before Dante went through with his warning.
The person eased their body to the very edge of the cold, metal chair and then took a deep breath before getting ready to make a run for it. Cautious eyes slowly darted from one man to the other one as they continued arguing over the motorcycle incident.
Okay it was now or never. Jumping up from the chair, it crashed loudly to the floor as the person raced for the cracked back door.
“Stop,” Dante’s angry voice shouted. “I wouldn't think about running out that door, if I were you.”
The person’s stained tennis shoes were inches from the threshold of freedom when a strong hand grabbed the back of the hoodie pulling it down and causing the individual’s thick black hair to tumble free. “What the fuck!” Dante cursed, surprised as he took a step back. “You’re a damn girl.”
Amara Langston’s startled eyes glanced back into a pair of stunned gray-green ones before she dashed out of the doorway and down the alley praying the tall, gorgeous pissed off man didn’t follow behind her for a second time that night. She was too exhausted and too famished to go another round with him.