Clutched (Wild Riders #3)

By: Elizabeth Lee

Prologue – Chayse

It always started exactly the same way—a rush of heat spread across my chest, my insides a tight coil of nervous anticipation, my palms slick. Each and every time. By now I should have been used to it. It wasn’t my first time. Not by a long shot.

My pulse pounded. I could feel its cadence reverberating through my bones. I could feel it in every contraction of my muscles as I tried to steady my breathing and stay in control. The adrenaline coursing through my veins wouldn’t allow it. I felt wild and alive. I felt free and invincible.

Go with it. Giving myself permission to be reckless wasn’t hard. I lived for moments like this.

I leaned into every movement as I relished the power between my legs. Power that I was incapable of fighting. Power that dominated me. Power that I would happily succumb to each and every single time.

Hold on.

I fought for a breath. I fought for control, but it didn’t matter. I was completely incapacitated. Overcome with all of the sensations flooding my system. I couldn’t think straight, not when I was so close to the finish line.

The air left my lungs as fast as I was breathing it in as I reached the home stretch. I couldn’t hold back any longer. I didn’t want to. I wanted to finish as quickly as I’d started. I wanted to get there first, if I didn’t it wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying as I knew it could be. I rocked my body forward, needing the extra push. It worked. It worked big time.

I won.

My endorphins were in overdrive and my body suddenly relaxed as I slowed to a near stop. It had taken everything out of me, but I’d finished first.

“Good for you?”

“Sure was,” I grinned as he pulled me against his chest. “Almost as good as winning a race.”

Chapter 1 – Hoyt

“Ladies and gentlemen, your Captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. Please remain seated with your seatbelts securely fastened and your tray tables in the upright position. We are experiencing a bit of turbulence as we approach our destination. Thank you.”

The overhead announcement pulled my attention from checking the time on my phone for roughly the tenth time.

The turbulence on my flight from Illinois to Texas was nothing compared to the turbulence going on in my head. I hated flying. Not because I was scared of a fiery death, but because I wasn’t the one flying the plane. Handing over the fate of the aircraft to two guys I didn’t know had my heart racing the second I sat foot on the plane. The odds of a human error were much higher than that of a mechanical failure. Trusting someone else with my life was not something I liked to do. Not to mention what I knew was waiting for me on the ground when Tom and Dick landed this bird.

The short vacation back to my hometown with my brother, Reid, and our friend, Brett, had to be cut short when I received a call that I couldn’t ignore. I wasn’t a big fan of change even when I knew it was inevitable.

“You can’t pass up this opportunity,” Reid had said when I told him about the offer from Throttled Energy to coach a rookie motocross rider. I hated when he was right. I was so used to being the smart one that any time he outwitted me, it through me for a loop.

Being the younger brother of a famous racer wasn’t going to get me through life and I would not be depending on it to. Living in Reid’s shadow was always tough. I had to make a name for myself. I couldn’t just be his little brother anymore. I wanted people to know me. Hoyt Travers. As my own man.

I’d already proven to some that I was capable of making even the best better. I’d done it with Reid. After I graduated from high school, I spent the majority of my time trying to figure out what my brother could do to win more races. He was one of the most talented riders in the business, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t improve. When he’d actually started listening to me, and stopped seeing me as his pipsqueak little brother, I’d helped him perfect his form and execution. I’d helped him find his flaws and make them almost nonexistent. I was his extra set of eyes. I saw things that he didn’t and when he took the suggestions I had for him he became faster and stronger on the track. The trophies and checks that he took home were proof.

Hell, even Brett who was a freestyle rider and self-proclaimed know-it-all, had asked me for advice from time to time. The scientific side of me knew exactly what he needed to do to get more air and makes his tricks bigger and more explosive than they’d ever been before. Having an endorsement from two of the top motocross athletes surely hadn’t hurt my chances of landing the gig with Throttled. It was up to me now to live up to their expectations.

When I was younger, everyone thought that I’d follow in Reid’s tracks. Literally. I was just as talented as he was on a dirt bike. The problem was, I didn’t have his drive. I didn’t live to ride the way he did. Chalk it up to me being “too in my head.” Reid’s flaws were physical. They were things that could be adjusted—like the way he sat on the bike or how fast he went into a turn. My flaws were mental. Over analyzing every single aspect of riding is a sure fire way to wind up crossing the finish line dead last. I liked to be in control of everything and when I was on the track surrounded by other riders it was impossible. The odds of one of them crashing into me or doing something to throw my game off were too high. Being worried about what every other rider was going to do was too much for my head to handle.

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