Striker’s Claim by Lila Fox
They were back. The town’s MC walked in, and the air was instantly charged with energy—some of it was curiosity, and some was from fear because they were known as a brutal, violent group of men.
Fortunately, they always sat in the other waitress, Tammy’s, part of the diner, so Kristina hadn’t had to deal with them. She didn’t know if she would be able to talk to them. They made her so nervous.
Kristina could feel his gaze follow her as she waited on her tables. It was the same one who stared at her every time. She got hot, hungry looks from all of them, but she could feel this one’s intense interest from the beginning.
He was gorgeous in a buff, tattooed kind of way. When she glanced at him, he watched her with a calm, remote, and burning hot expression that made her all tingly. Every time he showed up, it seemed to get worse.
They came in a few times a month, and she always looked forward to seeing him even when they hadn’t spoken to each other at all. He was the biggest and most dangerous-looking man she’d ever seen, and for some reason, she’d caught his attention, which terrified her on some level. At the same time, she felt a smidgen of excitement grow inside of her every time she saw him.
God, if her sister, Casey, knew, she’d probably hurt her. Her sister hated MC clubs with a passion, and Kristina had never found out why.
She sighed and rubbed her lower back. She and Casey had lived together their whole lives, and her sister had started taking care of her after their mom died. Casey had only been nineteen at the time, and Kristina sixteen and a half.
Now, she was twenty-three, and all she did was work. She had two jobs and worked close to sixty hours a week. That didn’t include the cleaning she had to do at their house or the meals she made for them. She wondered yet again what exactly Casey did all day. As far as Kristina knew, she didn’t have a job. The one time she’d asked her, she got slapped across the face.
Her thoughts often went to the future. Was this what she was destined for? Doing everything for her sister because of guilt?
Casey was an expert on making her feel obligated because she had to take care of her after their mom died. She often talked about the horrible things that would have happened to Kristina in foster care, and she’d saved her from a fate worse than death the way she acted.
While Kristina knew she was pathetic, she didn’t have the guts to try to leave. Casey made sure she stayed that way.
She glanced back at the booth to see one of his men talking to him, but his attention was still glued on her. It looked like he wasn’t listening until she saw him nod a few times.
She turned away and grabbed the order she’d been waiting for, thankful she didn’t have their side of the diner. It would have been next to impossible for her to serve them without dropping something.
They filled up three booths, and it made everyone else in the diner nervous about being so close to them. A few of the families had just up and left after the group came in.
The bell over the door rang, making her turn. Her heart took a dive when her sister came and sat down at the counter.
“Sis, I want a burger.”
Casey expected her to feed her, taking it out of the tips she’d made. It angered her, but not enough that she’d do anything about it. She felt better because she was secretly hiding the majority of it in the back of her closet at home.
Kristina sighed. “Let me take care of these customers, and I’ll put your order in.”
“Hurry up. I’ve got places to be.”
Kristina rolled her eyes when her back was turned. Why did Casey bother eating when she would turn around and vomit it all up? She was obsessed with being skinny. Kristina knew she spent a lot of money to have her hair the light-blonde color it was instead of brown and had things injected into her face to make it not move and for her lips to look fuller.
The more she’d done, the worse she looked, but Kristina wasn’t going to tell her that.
Kristina knew the instant her sister saw the MC group. A hiss burst from her, and her eyes narrowed. “Fucking assholes.”
Kristina gasped. “Casey, there are kids in here. Please watch your language.”
Kristina smiled apologetically at a few parents then moved away to take care of her customers. She stiffened when the group of men stood. Everyone froze because they were afraid to move and possibly irritate the MC. The menacing vibe that came off them was exciting and scary as hell.
As he walked toward her, the look on his face made her insides feel hot and needy. He tipped his head and walked out the door.
The door closed, and Kristina cried out when her sister grabbed her arm and viciously twisted it. “What the fuck are you doing? You stay away from them. Do you hear me?”
“Yes,” she cried out and pulled her arm away. “They scare me.”
“Good. Tell me when they come in again.”
Kristina studied her sister. “Why do you hate them so much?”
“Oh, it’s not hate as much as it’s resentment.”
“Resentment for what?” Kristina asked.
“None of your fucking business. Make my sandwich to go.”
Kristina wrapped the burger and stuck it in a sack. Her sister jerked it from her and walked out the door.
“Why the hell do you put up with her?”
Kristina looked over her shoulder at Tammy, the other waitress and the only friend she had.
“She took care of me after my mom died, so I didn’t have to go into foster care.”
“Yeah, for less than two years, and you did all the work. Now she’s making you work yourself to death so she can get close to one of the MC clubs.”
Kristina gasped and shook her head. “No, she hates them.”
Tammy snorted. “It’s more like she desperately wants to be a part of one, but no one will have her.”
“Are you serious?”
Tammy nodded. “That’s what I’ve heard.”
Kristina stared off into space as she thought about what she was just told. Casey’s desperation to look pretty made sense. The women she’d seen with any of the MC groups were pretty and thin. Casey had also gotten a few tattoos and piercings, which grossed her out.
She wore slutty clothes all the time and always had her face made up. Everything Casey was doing to look attractive made her look ugly and sometimes like a clown. Kristina wondered what her sister saw when she looked in the mirror at herself.
She didn’t care. As long as Casey stayed away from her, she was happy.