Astaroth. Motorcycle club president’s daughter. Virgin. Occultist.
Hunter. Outlaw biker. Loves a challenge. Ex-Christian.
Hunter knew he was in deep shit when a patchover went sideways, ending up with his prez dead, and him and his cousin becoming live-in hostages at the Coffin Nails MC clubhouse. What he didn’t know though, was that the girl he fucked just a few days before was the Coffin Nails club president’s daughter, set on having nothing to do with him after a creepy one-night stand in an abandoned church. Tough luck, because Hunter is not a quitter, even if getting involved with the prez’s hot daughter could get him killed.
Astaroth is devastated after losing the two people closest to her. Unable to connect with her grieving father, she believes that a ritual described in her late mother’s notes might hold the key to bringing back the balance in her family. During the ceremony, she needs to get pregnant by the demon she summons, but why does he have to appear in the form of a handsome, long-haired, asshole of a biker, who just doesn’t know when to give up? She never intended to see him again, but there he is, a new member of her dad’s club. And worst of all, the other man who appeared that fateful night, Hunter’s cousin, is also up for seconds.
Astaroth was supposed to die in nine months, but instead, she is only beginning to feel truly alive for the first time. But no matter what she feels for the man who crashed into her life so unexpectedly, if she ever wants her family to be whole again, she needs to finish what she started.
Themes: Outlaw motorcycle club, criminal activity, forbidden love, overprotective father, secret baby, revenge, occult
Genre: erotic contemporary romance, suspense (NOT paranormal)
Length: ~90,000 words (STANDALONE novel)
WARNING: Adult content. Explicit sexual content, strong language, violence, and topics that might be considered taboo. Reader discretion advised.
Death was following Asty, as if he chose her for his bride and wouldn’t take no for an answer. First, her older brother, Bell, was shot during a routine job for the motorcycle club. Then, her mother succumbed to cancer less than a month ago, and now Asty watched her pet goat struggle to get up and greet her. She had no idea how old Beast really was, because he was a rescue animal, but he had been showing signs of rapid aging in the last few months, and it hurt Asty to see the discolored fur in his coat and the difficulty with which her pet was now moving.
She entered the enclosure and offered Beast a carrot, scooting down and petting him over the protruding ridge along his spine. Every time she watched him try to run or do other things that used to come so easy to him, she was reminded Beast was closer to death than she would have wished. Everything she loved was sooner or later taken away from her.
Her father used to forbid Asty from coming to the club parties, but after her mother passed away just a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, she was not only welcome, but also encouraged to participate in a patch over. Asty was dubious about accepting the allegiance of men who had been brutally pacified by her father’s club not that long ago, but she was never all that interested in motorcycle club politics. It was almost as if he didn’t want her around his boys’ club too much. Dad had always favored the company of Asty’s older brother, but after they lost him, the rift in Asty’s family grew, with her father spending even less time at home, as if he were scared of the silence. Yet another part of her family taken away. It was as if their blood was cursed.
“Hey! There you are,” her remaining brother, Lucky, said as he entered Beast’s enclosure. “I was worried you might have bailed. You wanna smell of goat when the new biker meat arrives?”
She didn’t even have to look over her shoulder to know he was wiggling his eyebrows. Of course, he would be trying to push her at some sexy leather-scented caveman. Lucky had been trying to set her up with someone for quite a while now, and she was getting increasingly agitated about it. She wasn’t looking for a man anymore. There were more important tasks in her life now, and none of them included getting involved in a relationship.
“You’re one to talk. Tooth better not hear you saying that,” she muttered, placing a kiss by Beast’s horn.
Lucky approached the goat from the other side and shrugged with a wide smile. “What my man doesn’t know doesn’t hurt him. Besides, it’s you we’re talking about. If you’d rather hook up with a good Christian boy, you better change your outfit.” He pushed back some of his long blond hair, and seeing it so shiny and straight reminded Asty of the time when they had been apprenticing in her mother’s salon.
Lucky was only two years older than her, still barely old enough to drink. He had arrived at the MC looking like a clueless teen after being on the run for several years, and now he was the one trying to give her advice, just because things fell into place for him? Having a steady boyfriend was a matter of the stars aligning well for you, and Lucky practically fell into the arms of his man, the current vice president of the Coffin Nails.
But she couldn’t be angry with him. With her father not coping well with Mom’s death, Lucky was like a ray of sunshine in the gloom of her life. They had known one another for less than three years, but she had quickly become so close to him that it felt as if he’d been a part of her family forever. And yet, his presence stirred ground that should have been left untouched. Dad had Lucky with another woman, and while Mom forgave him for the lapse of judgment before Asty had even been born, Lucky’s return reopened old wounds. Until the day she died, Mother refused to bury the hatchet with Lucky, no matter how nice he was and how little he could do about the circumstances under which he had been born.
Asty scowled and looked down at the black fishnet stockings covering her legs below the leather hot pants she wore with a thick studded belt and an oversized sweater. If the pentagram printed at the front of her top wasn’t enough to scare off a “good Christian boy,” the ones dangling around her neck surely would, as would the skeleton rings or the bird skull hairclip. But a guy could still imagine removing those. Usually her makeup and piercings truly scared most guys off. One person told her she looked like Satan’s bride, and Asty took that as a compliment. More often she’d hear “slut,” “devil worshipper,” or even just that she looked ”evil.” She didn’t mind. Scaring off idiots was part of the fun in dressing the way she did. And when someone was interested in her despite the piercings in her lips, nose, and cheeks, they would usually give up once she casually showed off her split tongue.
“I’m not interested in bikers,” she eventually moaned. “Some of our guys are ancient, some cheat on their girlfriends, and then there’s the gay one.” She rolled her eyes, watching Lucky’s eyes sparkle at the mention of his boyfriend, Tooth.
“The gay one’s taken.” Lucky grinned and patted Beast’s back before stretching, as if to show off the property patch on the back of his vest. “I mean the new ones. They’re not only getting patched over, but they will live at this clubhouse for a while. Isn’t that the perfect opportunity to get out there a bit more?”
Asty let Beast have the last of the carrot and brushed her fingers over his horns. “Come on, Lucky, they used to be called the Rabid Hogs. I can’t see how a guy wearing that kind of patch could be any good.”
“Maybe they’d be good enough to lose the V.” Lucky smirked, looking like a sneaky little imp.
“Not everyone’s into sleeping with someone just because they’re hot,” she groaned, but truth be told, she had already “lost the V.” Lucky just didn’t need to know about that.
Lucky waved his hand dismissively. “I’m a homemaker now.”
“You’ve been saved,” she said and got up.
Lucky raised his hands to the stars. “Praise the Lord!”
Asty pushed her long hair back, watching his smile, and it felt just as exotic as observing killer spiders at the zoo. She shouldn’t be expected to party so soon after her mother’s death. Her father had his obligations as the president of the club, but she wasn’t needed here nor did she want to be around all the booze, loud music, and public humping.
“Lord of Anal.”
Lucky slapped her ass as they were leaving the goat shed. “Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.” The amount of energy he was bursting with was just immoral.
She opened her mouth, unsure whether she wanted to share intimate experiences with her bubbly brother, but the roar of motorcycles on the other side of the building relieved her of the need to continue their conversation.
“There they are,” she muttered. If all went well, she could probably sneak out after an hour or two and go home. She still needed to prepare many things for the next steps of her mother’s ritual, and it almost felt as if time were sliding through her fingers like fine sand. Sure, she’d taken the first step, but she still needed to study Mother’s diary and notebooks to make sure she hadn’t missed any important details.
Lucky grinned and pulled her toward the clubhouse from the backyard. “Exciting!”
Asty didn’t object and let him swipe her inside, resigned to her fate. She didn’t want her father to feel bad or make a scene. If the club was fine with housing her pet goat, then she was ready to give back once in a while.
The music was off inside, and the air filled with laughs, friendly tones, and clapping noises she presumed accompanied the kind of awkward back-patting that men so frequently did. As soon as Asty and Lucky entered the lounge, the biggest space in the clubhouse that was often used for parties, she was confronted with a crowd of men in leather cuts.
Her dad, Priest, was talking to an elderly biker with very thick-lensed glasses, his sharply arched grey eyebrows twitching in understanding as the visitor spoke. Very few women were around, and Asty suspected they were all in the large kitchen nearby, unpacking food and keeping away from the necessary formalities, exchanges of vests during the patch over, and other things that were as natural to Asty as going to church on Sunday was for so many other people her age. That was a part of life when you grew up around a motorcycle club. She acknowledged familiar faces with curt nods. Don, the oldest member of the Detroit chapter, was the easiest to find. Big, gloomy, and with a cloud of smoke dancing through his thinning grey hair, he nodded back. Then there was Milk, slim, with a large nose and lively eyes that were always ready to ogle Asty’s legs whenever he thought nobody was looking—especially his wife.
Blitz, their newest full patch, was already getting friendly with their guests, while Prince, the prospect, rushed around carrying beer kegs and breathing so hard his moustache twitched. The only smile Asty had was for Tooth, Lucky’s big bad boyfriend and vice president of the chapter. She had always thought of him as an older brother, not only because of his size, but also for the way he’d eagerly helped her out whenever it was needed. Maybe Lucky was right. Maybe this place did need some fresh blood. She had all the Coffin Nails’ faces memorized so well she could draw them from memory.
When Tooth moved toward the bar where Lucky started making drinks for their guests, a tall man with long dark hair looked straight at Asty, and she froze on the spot, realizing she knew those dark green eyes. They belonged to a demon, not to a real man standing right in front of her. She didn’t know his name, and she had been sure she’d never need to, but she remembered the hellscape of tattoos on his body and the force with which he had pinned down her wrists. His spike-studded belt and black leather jacket made him seem even bigger and more intimidating than the last time she’d seen him.
Her cheeks went aflame when images of that night flooded her mind, and all of a sudden, a ritual transcending the edges of sanity was becoming all too real, carnal, and not spiritual at all.
When the demon’s lips curved up into a smile, it was as if the devil himself had carved out that handsome face.
Stephanie Book Capa, The Dirty Girls
Avon Gale, Goodreads