Someone as innocent as her never should have gotten involved with a guy like him. At the time, neither fully believed in the notion of love, as lust was all they were accustom to. The sweetheart features of her soft face loosened the hinges of his tough exterior and the second he heard her voice, it burned a hole in his heart he was sure no other woman would be able to fill.
When he referred to her as being innocent, he wasn't speaking in terms of a virgin, but as someone whose life had never been touched by the kind of violence his had. Up until that point, she had never witnessed anyone bleed out in front of her, nor had a life been taken by her forgiving hands.
Instantly he knew she was a gentle soul; never jumping to judgment and truly accepting people for who they were. She lived in her comfort zone and was timid to step outside loving the protective safety net offered by routine. Even though her accepting heart was a quality he adored, what caused him to fall absolutely madly in love with her was the fact she dove head first, eyes wide open, into his rough, violent world all the while not allowing it to harden her heart with bitterness.
Unbeknownst to the couple, their fate was sealed on the Friday night that kicked off the homecoming weekend. He was a criminal who ran a bar as a legitimate business and she was a second-year law student who had just finished a summer internship in the State's Attorneys office. It was unusual for Hawk to be behind the bar but the Black Lion had pulled in its usual homecoming crowd and it was all hands on deck.
"What can I get 'ya?" Leaning his hands on the bar, Hawk spoke over the music, speaking to the woman who would change his life.
She looked up at him with the clearest blue eyes he had ever seen before. He had heard her drink order but it took several seconds for him to comprehend the words that passed through her full lips.
"Two vodka tonics and a Crown neat."
Hawk nodded, knowing full well a woman who ordered those types of drinks was well over the age of 21, but he still asked to see her ID. He had to know her name but didn't want to seem like a creep asking. Looking slightly annoyed, she dug into her back pocket, pulled out her Illinois driver's license and handed it over. Hawk's heart almost fell into his stomach when he noticed the out-of-state address. Being that his bar was smack dab in the middle of a college town he should have expected it, as it would be too good to be true for this beauty of a woman to be a local.
Her name fit her gorgeousness. She was 27 and held a Chicago address—eight years his junior and lived halfway across the country.
Pouring the whiskey first, he set it on the bar in front of the woman with long, slightly curled strawberry blonde hair. It fell just past her magnificently large breasts, which were cradled in a push-up bra under the Arizona State logo on her tank top. Hawk figured one of the vodka tonics he was pouring was for her and she instantly stole his heart the second he noticed her bring the Crown Royal to her lips. Without a twist in her face, she swallowed a sizeable gulp. She was his kind of gal.
"Anything else I can get you, Catherine?"
The corner of Hawk's lip pulled into a smirk as he watched the hard blush pierce through the creamy skin of her cheeks. He could feel the crotch of his jeans become instantly tighter as she bit her glossy bottom lip.
She shook her head, but did hand over an American Express card. "No, but I am starting a tab."
He wanted to refuse the credit card and blurt out that she could drink on the house all night. But with her taste in top shelf whiskey, he would have a hard time explaining to his brothers why sales that night had taken a hit.
Gathering the two vodka cocktails in her left hand and the Crown in her right, he melted as she flashed him a smile of straight and bleached teeth. If he couldn't let her drink for free the whole night, the least he could do was a round of shots. So, after he watched her stroll back to her table, he grabbed a shaker and three rocks glasses. Catherine looked like the type of girl who enjoyed those bullshit girly shots so he went right to work pouring and mixing enough booze and Red Bull for three Vegas Bombs. Setting them on a tray, Hawk tapped Cherry, the newest bartender on the shoulder.
"Bring these over to the table with the gorgeous redhead. Tell them it's on the house."
Cherry stuffed a ten-dollar bill into her bra and cocked a smile, doing just as she was told. She knew better than to bust his balls when attempting to woo over a member of the opposite sex.
At their table, Catherine set down the cocktails and her roommates immediately snatched them up. The three women were all around the same age—Catherine being the oldest—and had roomed together the previous year. They had formed a strong bond and quickly became friends as well as each other's confidants.
"I'm way too old to be hanging out at a college bar!" Catherine looked around at college juniors and seniors and wondered if she acted this sloppy and outrageous when she was an undergrad.
"You just need to get that stick out of your ass and loosen up a bit."
Aubrey wasn't wrong, Catherine decided. So that's why when the badly bleached blonde approached their table with a round of shots, she didn't object. She did question where they came from, nonetheless.
Cherry didn't mention they were from Hawk, but she did wink at Catherine, causing her to blush once more. "They're on the house."
"I think someone has a crush on you." Heather cooed, only causing Catherine to roll her eyes. Only she knew whom they came from.
The three girls clinked glasses, but before Catherine threw hers back she looked in Hawk's direction. Sure enough, he was staring right at her, popping caps off cheap bottles of beer. She raised her glass, nodded her head with gratitude and mouthed, "thank you."
Around eleven p.m., she needed a break from the blaring music and rowdy undergrads. 3 whiskeys and 3 Vegas Bombs deep, Catherine found herself leaning against the brick wall on the side of the bar with a cigarette dangling between her lips. Smoking for her wasn't an addiction—only a habit—as she only smoked when she was drinking or under stress. At least that's what she told herself. As she blew a cloud of Marlboro smoke into the air, Catherine was startled when the metal door beside her jerked open. She took a drag as she looked at the towering man who had made an exit—the damn bartender who had sent 3 rounds of shots to the table.
Catherine was finally able to get a decent examination of her admirer. It would be a straight up lie if she said she wasn't attracted to him either. A familiar palpitation began to plague the bundle of nerves between her legs.
She wasn't a petite woman. Standing five-feet and seven-inches tall, she bore a slim waist but carried not so slim hips, with muscular quads and calves, and a tight squat-sculpted ass. Yet, compared to the bartender standing beside her with one booted foot pressed up against the wall, she felt tiny. He had to be at least 6'1, definitely topped the scale at or over 200-pounds and probably had zero percent body fat. His jet-black hair was shaved into a Mohawk that was long enough for Catherine to run her fingers through and grip, with tattoos of a tribal design on either side. Catherine noticed his lips were almost as full as her own, but unlike her soft square jaw, his was angular giving way to a dominant chin that was free of facial hair.
And his eye, those fucking eyes that would be Catherine's downfall were sexy, smoldering steel gray. Catherine found herself envious of his naturally lush eyelashes.
They stood there in silence for several minutes, both smoking their cigarettes when Hawk caught a glimpse of the heart tattooed on the inside of her left ring finger.
"Is that the only ink you have?"
Catherine looked at the worst mistake she had ever made so far in her life. She hated that stupid tattoo and planned to have it removed the second she graduated next year. In a drunken stooper, she, along with Heather and Aubrey had gotten matching tattoos their very first week of law school. Catherine didn't think she would be taken seriously as a prosecutor with a stupid tattoo on her finger.
"Yeah," she laughed at the memory, "had one too many shots that night and woke up with this."
"It suits you," his voice was as sexy as he was, gravely, full of testosterone.
Crushing her spent cigarette butt under her slip-on Vans, she leaned against the wall on her shoulder and crossed her arms over her chest. Hawk wished she didn't hide her tits from him. She pointed at him in reference to both his arms, which were sleeved with tattoos. "I'll never to bold enough to get anymore than the one I have."
He laughed and discarded his own cigarette. He wanted to show her the ones that were hiding under his tight black t-shirt but for the first time in his life he felt apprehensive about a woman seeing the piece that covered his entire back. That would explain why when he extended his hand to her, he introduced himself with the name on his birth certificate first and not his road name.
"Rochlan, but everyone calls me Hawk."
She took his hand and returned the shake. The feeling on her soft skin against his rough hand left him aching at the wonder of what the rest of her felt like under the pads of his fingers. His blood stopped pumping to his brain and went directly below his waist the second she flashed him that smile again.
"Clever," she pointed to his head as they dropped hands. "I'm Catherine, as you already know, and everyone calls me Catherine."
A smart-mouth on a beautiful girl…he was in deep trouble.
Remembering the real reason why he had come outside, Hawk took several steps towards Catherine closing the gap between them. Normally she would feel uneasy with a man of his size invading her personal space but with the good buzz she had going she became turned on instead. She wanted him to wrap his fingers in her hair and close his mouth around hers in a burning kiss just as much as he wanted to do that and then some to her.
Hawk was a blunt no-nonsense person. He didn't have time for bullshit but in Catherine's presence he found himself tripping over the right words.
"How badly do you wanna let loose?"
The numerous drinks she had consumed tonight and her clear affiliation with the university told him she was a student looking for a good time. He had a knack for reading people. He could tell she was the kind of girl who never sought out danger and never broke the rules willingly, but with a little push and encouragement could let her inhibitions go. In his mind, this was a girl who, once she did let go, was the life of the party.
"What are you talkin—oh."
Catherine stretched out the word "oh" as she watched Hawk remove a joint from behind his ear and clasp it between his teeth. He lit up with his Zippo, took a drag and held the joint to Catherine as he held the smoke in his lungs.
"Fuck it," Catherine grabbed it from Hawk. "I haven't done this in at least a decade so, no laughing at me."
Blowing a stream of away from her, he did just the opposite of what she requested as her first attempt to inhale ended in a coughing fit. It took her a few tries, but in no time at all, she got the hang of it. The pair stood outside in the breezy Arizona night for what seemed like an hour, passing a joint and talking. At one point, Catherine had gotten slightly offended when Hawk admitted he had a slight suspicion she was a priss and feared she would storm off at his suggestion to smoke.
Inhaling like a pro, Catherine caught Hawk's bloodshot eyes boring into her. "You need a job this year?"
"Yeah, I could use the money. Why?"
"I try to do my part for the community, give students a chance to line their pockets. Plus tips are really good."
"That's so sweet," Catherine gushed and Hawk blushed. "With my class schedule though, I don't know how much use I would be…I bartended when I was an undergrad but I can't work late hours anymore. Can you really just offer me a job like that?"
Hawk shrugged his shoulders, "I own the place."
Well, he left out the part that it was really property of the Demons Motorcycle Club but he had taken over responsibility after he had been patched as Vice President.
Hawk had a feeling a girl like Catherine could only take so much danger in a man. He was afraid he would be too much for her. One look of him in his cut and on his Harley would send her running unlike the usual group of women who came swarming. Hawk was the type of guy who enjoyed a quick romp with the club girls or strippers who danced at the club the MC also owned. They didn't expect love or cuddles and he sure as shit wasn't in the business of doling those out. If he could offer her a job and keep her close he wasn't ruling out a chance he could warm her up to his lifestyle just enough to get her into bed. Even if he never got into those panties like he desperately wanted, he would be happy knowing he helped a struggling student pay her bills.
In all honesty, he no intentions of putting her behind the bar—he didn't want other males with their noses in her tits as she pulled beers. If he caught wind of one disrespectful comment thrown at her, Hawk wasn't sure he'd be able to control himself from handing over a beat down.
"I wouldn't put you behind the bar," he had something better in mind. "You're a smart girl, why don't you come in three, four days a week and take care of administrative shit for me?"
Catherine was seriously contemplating it. For her it was really a win-win because she could easily do a few hours, three days a week. Plus she wasn't going to say no to an opportunity to get close to her handsome new friend.
"What if I pay you cash, under the table? Say, three hundred a week? I know you could use the money."
Licking her lips, Catherine realized she really couldn't say no now. At $1,200 a month that would more than cover her bills and even allow her to put enough in savings so she could get an apartment and move out of student housing next year.
She extended her hand, told Hawk they had a deal. Taking his cellphone out, he asked her for her phone number. When she looked at him with cocked eyebrows he made sure to clarify that he was only asking so they could text and work out a schedule. Catherine rattled off the ten digits and she jumped when her ringtone went off in the ass pocket of her jeans.
"There, now you have my number too." Hawk lit a cigarette and he ended the call he made to Catherine's phone.
"I really appreciate you helping me out." Her words were sincere.
"Don't mention it."
The reality of the situation was Hawk should be the one thanking Catherine. His office was mess—none of the paperwork had been done in months. At this point it was almost a free-for-all and considering the Demon's used the Black Lion to launder club funds through, the books at the bar had to be airtight.
Hawk had caught a glisten in Catherine's eye as they shared a cigarette. Even in the low light of the ally way he was amazed at how blue they were. They were two hypnotizing pools that he didn't care if he drowned in them.
Then she did the one thing that finally set him off. Catherine took notice to the way Hawk was looking at her and out of instinct she bit her lower lip. In the span of half a second, Hawk flicked the Marlboro on the ground, threaded his fingers through her thick mane and pressed her against the brick wall. Before he even had the chance to press his lips to hers, they were interrupted.
"Catherine!" A pair of drunken female voices echoed in the ally, ruining the moment both she and Hawk had been waiting for.
He closed his eyes and expelled obscenities under his breath. She wanted so badly to apologize for her roommates' terrible timing but she couldn't find her voice.
Aubrey called out, "let's go! We gotta be up early for the study session tomorrow."
For the first time in her life, Catherine was willing to be the irresponsible one. Suddenly she couldn't care less about meeting with the study group from her Constitutional Criminal Procedure class. She wanted to enjoy her high and get lost the intense, lustful eyes of the man who had his fingers tangled in her hair. She wanted more than that; she wanted to feel his tongue twisted with hers, their naked bodies entwined.
Fighting tears of frustration, Catherine placed her hands on Hawk's and removed them from her hair. There officially was no denying the tension now. Part of Hawk wanted to tell the two drunken bitches to fuck off so he could fuck Catherine in peace. While this moment was gone, he promised himself there would be another.
"I'll text you my schedule tomorrow after I finish at the library."
She gazed up into Hawk's eyes, noticing they said the exact same thing hers were. Neither wanted the night to end.
He nodded, his voice coming out huskily. It only turned Catherine on even more. "Okay. Text me when you get home, so I know you got there safe."
Never before had Catherine heard that come from a man and she could feel her heart begin to jump. After promising Hawk she would let him know she made it home, she was gone. Once she was out of sight, Hawk kicked the dumpster out of several emotions. This woman was going to be the death of him.