Book One: Devil’s Bastards MC duology
Imogene Saunders is passionate about making her library accessible to everyone. Whether her coworker likes it or not. Caught in an embarrassing and sticky book bin situation, she doesn’t anticipate her rescuer to be a sexy-as-sin biker.
As Imogene fights to turn her library renovation dream into reality, she grows closer to her leather-clad knight. She wasn’t planning on finding romance in this small town, but she’s never been one to back down from a challenge.
Oscar Magellan, Mags to his friends, just wants a little normal for his niece. He wasn’t expecting to fall for the beautiful new librarian. And he certainly wasn’t expecting her to literally fall into his arms. But he’s not complaining.
Fascinated by the sexy librarian, Mags is more than willing to help Imogene implement her new plan for the library. As things change, and Imogene creates order from chaos, Mags realizes the best way to store your books is to keep them stacked.
“It doesn’t matter how cute this skirt is,” Imogene groused as she dangled in the confined space of the steel bin, “I am never wearing this thing again.”
The bite of the disinfectant was making her eyes sting. She dropped the wet paper towel and it twapped to the bottom of the return-bin. Just barely out of reach, no matter how she strained. The tight pencil skirt made it almost impossible to do more than flail. Her right hand still held the spray bottle.
She knocked her elbow painfully against the side of the bin and bit her lip.
So much for her mascara, she thought as she sneezed so hard her legs kicked the stool out from beneath her.
Her toes kicked outside the bin, but her foothold was gone. She reached blindly behind her, trying to grab something, anything, but the odd shape of the thing made it next to impossible. The space was just large enough for her to rest her hips on it and bend over to clean up the positively vile mess, but there was no way she could save herself.
She bit her lip, wondering how long she could inhale disinfectant fumes before she passed out.
There was a sound of metal scraping and she craned her neck up, someone had opened the book return. Imogene was too embarrassed to call out, not wanting some unsuspecting patron to know she was trapped.
Instead, she twisted, trying in vain to hold her hand above her head to save herself, but no, a corner of a picture book popped her in the back of the neck.
She was suddenly grateful for the foam donut she used to put her hair in the bun this morning, but that didn’t mean the book didn’t smack her in the face before landing with a wet fwack on the soggy lump of paper towel.
It took everything in her not to scream a blue streak of words that rhyme with truck.
Of course the regular desk librarian was on lunch now. Mary’s lunch break was why Imogene said she’d handle this at all.
That, and, she reasoned, she was still trying to make friends. It had only been a month, she hadn’t had enough time to alienate the woman yet… had she?
She glared at the empty Starbucks cup at the bottom of the return-bin. If she wasn’t mistaken the Almond Joy milkshake that had soured inside this bin overnight, was the same Almond Joy milkshake that the surly desk librarian had treated herself to on her afternoon break yesterday.
Imogene kicked her legs half heartedly.
She wanted to be wrong.
She really, really wanted to be paranoid. But it was hard to believe that you were being paranoid when a woman who had worked in this library since before the birth of Moses suddenly lost the key to the book return on the same summer day that some poor soul had mistaken it for a trash can.
Damnation, she had to pee.
The ledge of the return was pressing painfully into her bladder now. She was actually glad she’d decided against wearing the waist cincher. That would be a little too much for this town, anyway.
She tried to wedge her hands against the side of the bin to sort of push herself up, so she could maybe slide out.
No such luck, her hands were sticky with sweat and sour milkshake and they slid against the stainless steel. Her chin smacked the bin loudly and she moaned, partly in pain, partly glad she’d missed biting her tongue.
She was going to miss story hour.
The only reason she was even here today.
She felt tears prick her eyes and she told herself it was just the smell of the noxious spray in an enclosed space. There was enough light creeping around her butt that she could see the cover of the book they’d tossed in.
Oh the Places You’ll Go.
She sniffed hard, she would not cry.
She flailed again, kicking the sides of the steel bin and hitting her knuckles besides. Her bun was feeling decidedly askew. She made a sound that was just this side of desperate, then before she could call a mournful request for help she heard the unmistakable sound of the desk’s door being unlatched.
Those hinges squeaked something fierce no matter how much WD-40 she sprayed on them. She said a silent prayer that it was a volunteer. Nevermind that she hadn’t actually met a volunteer yet.
She didn’t know that she had the energy to deal with Mary the Surly just now.
“Hello?” she said, a notch above her regular speaking voice.
“I’m putting the stool back for you. I’m going to put my hand on your ankle to help you find it, okay? Please don’t kick me in the face,” a masculine voice said and she cringed right down to her toes.
She jerked a little in answer and if she wasn’t mistaken she heard a sound that could only be a laugh. The touch was warm through her stocking and it sent a jolt of electricity straight through her.
Imogene made a sound that was definitely a “mmph.” She felt herself being steered into more even footing and didn’t resist. When she felt the little wooden stool beneath her toes she nearly sobbed.
Instead she craned her head, but it was useless, she couldn’t see past her own shoulder.
“I’m still stuck,” she said, feeling like a petulant child. “Would you be willing to–”
“I’m going to put my hands on your hips, is that okay?”
He waited for her to make a sound to the affirmative and she was a little surprised at how happy that made her. Not because it was only polite for a person to ask to put their hands on you, especially when you were not in a position to do anything to stop them, but because she wanted whoever was attached to that voice to put his hands on her hips.
Stop it, Imogene, she scolded herself, the cleaning fluid is screwing with your head. This is probably some kid’s dad-with-a-beer-gut.
His hands were firm, the fingers holding her hips steady as he leaned over the side of the bin to grab one of her arms. She didn’t fight him as he guided her slowly up and out, then down from the stool.
When she was on solid ground she was ashamed at how quickly she had to sag down to sit on the stool because all the blood rushed to her head and the overhead lights were too bright. She held up a hand to show she was okay.
“Thank you,” she said, leaning against the cursed book-bin and trying not to touch anything with her gross fingers.
“Why didn’t you just unlock the door?” The stranger’s voice was tinged with humor now and she opened one eye, remembering that she was still new here and it was entirely possible this person could be a volunteer she hadn’t met yet.
“Mary lost the key,” she said, feeling peevish. She opened both eyes, wriggling a little on the stool, hoping that would be enough to straighten the smart looking sweater she wore over the pencil skirt. It wasn’t, and it probably looked like she was just wiggling her tits at this guy.
She wrinkled her nose, that’s all she needed, some hunk of a guy to think she was shaking her boobs in his direction.
Because he was definitely a hunk of a guy.
“This key?” he said, reaching behind him on the counter to lift a shiny brass key attached to the most obnoxious fuzzy pink and blue dice she’d ever seen.
“Yeah. That key,” she said, suddenly understanding the phrase seeing red in a way that she never had before.
She wondered how long it had been sitting there.
Or, she straightened on the little stool, how long Mary hung around to enjoy her little emergency.
“Dissension in the ranks?” the man said, one thick eyebrow going up.
“Looks that way,” Imogene said, wondering how long she had until the story hour. She was seated too low to see the large institutional clock on the wall behind him. She made a show of craning her neck to see around him. “What time is it?”
His smirk deepened and he leaned pointedly to the right. “You got a name, librarian?”
“Everything has a name,” she said, reaching behind her to grab the side of the book-bin and hoist herself up. She could see the clock now. She had just enough time to make it to the bathroom, clean herself up, and fix her makeup. Imogene stared up at him, nearly falling right back down again into eyes so dark they defied physics.
She had to find her purse and make a run for the staff bathroom. If she stayed here much longer she would try to catalogue this man’s face, she’d embarrass herself more than she already had by trying make a library pun.
She shimmied just the tiniest bit, trying not to touch her clothes but shake them out enough to hang right. It still didn’t work and now it would look like she was shaking her ass at him. Lovely.
“Imogene?” Mary’s shrill voice cut through the tension. “Non-library personnel aren’t allowed behind the desk.”
The man jumped, like he’d been stung.
Imogene stared at the woman as she trundled behind the desk, Mary’s features disappearing into the lines of her face as she scowled. “Mary—”
“Those are the rules.” She didn’t sniff, but she may as well have. Her steel gray hair was cut into a sharp bob and she twisted a lock behind her ear.
The man’s amused smirk deepend into the beginnings of an actual grin and his eyes flit from Mary to Imogene and back again. “Hey Mrs. Lowell.”
“Mr. Magellan,” Mary said, distaste evident in her posture. “By this time, I would think you were well aware of the rules.”
“Mary, I appreciate your dedication.” Imogene said, then cleared her throat. He actually winked at her behind the woman’s back, blast him. She felt a laugh bubble up in her throat and she choked it down. “I have to get ready for story time. Since the key has been found, I’m sure you can finish cleaning up the book bin.”
Mary spluttered something about her arthritis but Imogene was past caring. She really needed a shower, but a quick wash in the staff sink was going to have to do. She reached out a hand to the man and made a show of ushering him out from behind the desk.
“Thank you again,” she said, trying to maintain professional distance. Though was there really a point when the guy knew exactly what your body felt like in his hands?
Oh god, she thought, this town really needs a Tinder presence.
Or she’d have to remember which of the boxes she hadn’t unpacked yet held her vibrator. She hoped that thought didn’t show on her face. Forget professional demeanor if the guy you were talking to knew you were imagining his naked ass in the shower on the morning after.
“Glad to help,” he said, then extended his hand. “Mags.”
“Oh.” She took his hand, wanting to apologize that hers were covered in God only knew what. “Imogene.”
“I heard,” he said, that sparkle in his eyes made her want to fall gracefully at his feet.
Those fucking dimples probably had to be cleaned with pipe cleaners, she thought. It was absolutely not fair for a man to be that attractive when he was in the process of a rescue.
He released her hand and stepped back, fingers hooking in his jeans pockets. “See you soon, Imogene.”
“Soon?” Her brain wasn’t functioning properly. It was the only excuse she could think of.
“Story time,” he said, nodding to the children’s section of the library, there were already about ten kids milling around, their parents listless in corners and on smartphones. “Starts in two minutes.”
this book contains frank discussions about domestic violence, childhood trauma, discussions of consent issues and misogyny