Spark of Hope by Kathleen Kelly
President of the Loyal Rebels MC
I’m awake with my eyes closed, lying in bed, thinking about the way things turned out. Sean got lucky in more ways than one. Sure, he fucked up when he killed Lamond, but that sent him to Beth Trent, and that’s where he got lucky. If he’d stayed here, chances are it would’ve been easier for the Senator to have taken him out. A truck, a car, a fucking oil spill while he was on his bike, and I wouldn’t have thought it was foul play. Things happen when you ride, and sometimes your number is up.
The alarm on my phones goes off, and I groan. It’s Sunday morning, and it’s my turn to take Annie Farrow to church. My granddad was sweet on her, and it’s something I’ve done since he died.
“I’ll go,” says Lola.
I crack open an eye, she’s dressed in black pants and a light pink shirt, hovering over me next to our bed.
“What are you doing up?”
“Couldn’t sleep.” Lola leans down and kisses me lightly. “Stay, sleep in. I’ll be back soon.”
“How’d I get so lucky?”
“Nah, I’m the lucky one. Love you.” Lola kisses my lips and heads for the door.
Smiling, I close my eyes and fall back asleep quickly.
Hours later, I finally crawl out of bed.
There are the usual suspects in the compound this morning. The club whores all smile at me, but they know Lola will beat them senseless if they so much as speak to me. I acknowledge them with a nod and keep walking. She’s one hell of a woman, Lola. It’s been four years of good times, and not a moment of hardship, save for her family.
That mother of hers? Yeah, she’s a piece of work.
Lola recently went home to care for her while she recovered from a mystery illness. Lola didn’t want me to know her mother’s a recovering drug addict, and she was helping her get clean. Again.
I had Diesel run a background check on Lola when she first turned up in the compound. Her family is a nightmare, one I’m surprised she survived. Lola doesn’t talk about them often, but if they call, she’s loyal and helps out in any way she’s able.
Stepping out into the bright sunshine, I walk over to the shed where we keep the basket cases. These are either parts of bikes or whole ones in pieces that need to be put back together. The boys and I have created a business for ourselves—rebuilding custom Harleys and cars and selling them for a profit. I’ve been working on a Frankenstein—it’s a mishmash of different models with huge ape hangers. It’s nearly finished, and I believe I know which buyer will want it. It only needs a little tweaking, a paint job, and then I will send him the photographs. If he doesn’t like it, I’m pretty sure it’ll sell quickly.
“Hey, Prez, need some help?”
“Is Rudy around?”
“Yeah, he’s working over there on the old forty-six Knucklehead,” replies Tango, one of the men in my MC.
“Keeps saying the old girl needs a soft hand or some shit.”
I chuckle. “Sounds like him.”
“You want him to do the paintwork?”
Tango glances at Rudy, then back to me. “I could prime it for him. Do you know what design you want on this?”
“Needs to be something striking. It’s a bit of a mishmash. So, it needs to take ownership of that, you feel me?”
Tango grins and nods. “Yeah, whoever buys this will stand out. Maybe not in a good way.”
“You don’t like what I’ve done?”
Tango holds up his hands. “I’m a purist.”
“Fuck you, and yeah, it’s ready to be painted. We only need to order a seat, and she’s done.”
“I thought Rudy had already ordered you a seat,” replies Tango.
“Yeah?” Tango nods. “Cool. Let’s get it over to the paint shed then. You can prime it while I think about design and colors.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Three hours later, the bike’s in pieces drying while Tango and I have sketched out a design and have color samples lined up.
“Yo, Prez!” yells Cutter from the clubhouse.
“Phone call for Lola. Have you seen her?”
I walk toward him and glance at my cell. It’s two o’clock. “She went to take Annie to church. She should be back by now. Who’s looking for her?”
And from the way his mouth is turned down, Lola’s mother is in one of her moods.
“Has she tried her cell?”
“Claims Lola’s ignoring her.”
With a shake of my head, I dial Lola. Her cell rings out, and I get her voice mail.
“Yo, babe, ring me back… and ring your mother.”
Taking the steps two at a time into the clubhouse, I walk toward the telephone and pick it up. “Mrs. Cartland, this is Kyle MacKenny, Lola’s boyfriend.”
“I know who you are. What have you done with my Lola?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I know what kind of man you are, and my Lola deserves better than you!”
The line goes dead, and I look at Cutter.
“She hung up on me.” I search through my cell until I find Annie’s phone number, then I hit dial.
“Hello?” answers Annie. She’s eighty-two, and although she’s getting on in years, she’s still as sharp as a tack.
“Hello, Annie, it’s Kyle MacKenny.”
“Oh, Kyle, I recognize your voice!”
I smile at the fondness in her tone. “Ah… is Lola there?”
“No, son. She drove me to and from the church. I assumed she’d gone home.”
“No. She hasn’t turned up yet.”
“If she’s anything like my Annette, I bet she’s gone shopping. Annette regularly forgets the time when she’s out.” Annette is Annie’s granddaughter and the apple of her eye.
“I’m sure you’re right. Thanks, Annie.” I end the call. Cutter’s moved to stand near me. “Something’s not right. Wanna go for a ride?”
“Anything you say, Prez.”
I grab my cut, and we both head for our bikes. As I mount mine, my cell phone begins to ring. The call is Annie Farrow.
“Hey, Annie, did you forget something?”
“Kyle, her car is still outside, and the passenger door is open. Kyle, do you think something happened to her?”
My stomach drops at the news, but to Annie, I say, “I’m sure she’s fine. I’m coming over. Be there in five.”
Putting my phone in my jacket, I lift my chin at Cutter. “We need two more men.”
“Lola’s car is at Annie’s, door’s left open. Someone’s got my girl.”
Cutter’s lips turn down. “Wheels and Rocky are home. I could call them?”
“You do that. Tell them to meet us at Annie’s.”
I start my bike and leave Cutter to make his calls. If this is a rival MC looking to make a move, me going by myself is a mistake. The fact her mother called makes me nervous. Lola doesn’t talk much about her family, but I know they made her life hard.
When I pull up at Annie’s, she’s waiting on the front porch. More energetic than a woman her age should be, Annie meets me on the sidewalk before I fully get off my bike. For an older woman, she shows no signs of slowing down.
“It’s over there,” says Annie as she points to Lola’s red Chevrolet Malibu parked a little up the street.
“Thanks, Annie, please wait here.”
“I’ll do no such thing, Kyle MacKenny!”
With a shake of my head, we both approach the car.
“I didn’t touch anything, save for pushing the door closed with my foot.”
Peering in the front window, Lola’s handbag is on the front seat, and the keys to the car are on the driver’s side floor.
“Did anything happen today?”
“No, Lola was on time. Unlike some of your men, she did come in and sit with me in the church as Annette couldn’t come today. Did you know my girl’s been spending time with Lochlan?”
With eyebrows raised, I shake my head. “No, he hasn’t mentioned it.”
Mainly because I warned the bastard off Annette. Lochlan is my youngest brother, a model who uses women like I change my underwear. I specifically told him not to pursue Annette. She’s Annie’s only granddaughter and precious to her. More than one member of my MC has made a move on Annette, and I’ve had to shut that shit down before it went any further.
I glance up and down Annie’s street searching for something, anything.
“Kyle, Mr. Beetson, who lives in this house…” she points, “… has a camera. Maybe he filmed something?”
“Worth an ask.”
I move to walk up to his porch, but Annie stops me with a soft touch of her hand.
“Let me. Arthur is a good neighbor, and he likes me, has for years. You get more with sugar than you do with vinegar.”
“Are you saying I’m not nice?” I ask teasingly.
“Oh, Kyle, I know you’re nice. But, well… you don’t look it.”
Annie goes up the path by herself. The sound of Harleys, signal that my men have arrived. Not only did Cutter get Wheels and Rocky, but my brother, Sean, is with them.
He’s the first to me. “What’s happened?”
“Purse is on the front seat, car keys on the floor, and Annie said the passenger door was open when she came out to check.”
“What are we doing?” asks Sean.
“Do we think it was another MC?” Cutter questions.
I hold up my hands and point to Annie, who’s talking to a man I assume is Arthur Beetson.
“Mr. Beetson up there has a camera, and Annie is asking if we can watch the footage.”
Annie gestures for me to approach her and the gentleman. I jog up the path toward them, and Mr. Beetson takes a step back.
Annie pats his arm. “Arthur, this is Kyle… Kyle MacKenny’s grandson. It’s him who takes me to church on Sundays. Now, could we please look at the footage? I got home around eleven.”
Annie ushers him into his own home with a smile. I hold up my hand to the others, and they wait outside. Arthur takes us into a small room, I assume is his study. There’s a desk with a laptop, a single chair that he offers to Annie, and two huge bookcases filled with books.
Arthur opens the laptop, pushes his glasses back up his nose, and types on the keyboard. Within moments, he has the footage on the screen and stares over his shoulder at me.
“This should be it. I can fast forward if you like?”
I nod as I move closer to peer at the small screen. “Stop! There’s someone near Lola’s car.”
Arthur hits play, and we watch as Lola comes into view. Whoever he is, Lola isn’t happy to see him. Hands on her hips and lots of gestures, she points further down the road. The guy turns and shakes his head. Lola throws her hands in the air and goes around to the driver’s side of the car. As she unlocks the doors, he opens the passenger side. Lola walks around to him, yanking the door out of his hands then throws her handbag on the passenger seat, and slams the door shut. There’s more conversation between the two, and eventually, Lola heads to the driver’s side of the car. He once again opens the passenger door, and Lola bangs on the roof of the vehicle. My woman knows this man, and she’s not happy. A dark van comes into view, it stops, and the driver talks to Lola, who appears to wave him off. She has her back to him when the side of the van opens, and someone with a hoodie hits her hard from behind. I watch as my woman crumples, then the guy who was driving gets out, picks her up and puts her into the van. The first guy comes around the car, picks up what I assume is Lola’s keys, re-opens the driver’s door, and tosses them into the car, then he too gets into the van and drives away.
“Oh my!” whispers Annie, clutching her chest.
“We need to call the police,” states Arthur.
I glance at Annie and give a shake of my head. “Mr. Beetson, we can’t.”
Annie stands and touches Arthur’s arm, shaking her head at him. “No, Arthur. Kyle here has a way of dealing with these situations. Our best bet on finding Lola is to give him the footage and let him and his men handle it.”
“No buts, Arthur. I need you to trust me, not him.”
Arthur looks from me to Annie and reluctantly nods his head. “I don’t know how to give him the footage. It’s all recorded on my laptop.”
“Mr. Beetson, could we please borrow your laptop? I promise, sir, we’ll return it tomorrow.”
Arthur glances at Annie, who’s nodding. He nods once and unplugs it, closing the lid.
As he hands it over, he says, “The password is death comes for all, one word with a capital D.”
I’m hoping the ominous password isn’t a sign of things to come. With a dip of my chin, I take the device from him.
“Thank you, Mr. Beetson.” I glance at Annie, who takes one of my hands.
“You go. I’m going to have a coffee with Arthur and catch up. But you let me know what you find out, you hear me?”
There’s a strength to her words, and if I don’t find out what’s happened to Lola, she and Arthur are going to go to the police.
“I’ll find her,” I state with confidence I don’t feel.
Annie smiles, then turns to Arthur. “Coffee?”
I turn and jog down the stairs to my men.
Sean is studying me, hands on his hips and eyebrows raised. “Well?”
“Lola’s been taken. Ring Angus, tell him we’re coming, and we…” I pause, searching for the right words, “… I need him.”