Strip You Bare

By: Maisey Yates

“Which is why we’re avenging his death,” Micah said.

“What is Sarah Delacroix planning on doing with the property?” Ajax asked, moving on to business quickly. “That shithole has been boarded up for years. So what’s she doing now?”

“Oh, I get the impression she’s up to something pretty sinister,” Micah answered.

Travis shifted his weight. “Really? What? Some uptight House of the Rising Sun?”

“She’s planning on having a Christmas party,” Micah said, his tone dry.

“Why? Why there?”

“I don’t know,” Micah said. “Fish swim. Birds fly. Debutantes fill their time with stupid projects. Because they have nothing better to do with their manicured hands.” He could think of several things Sarah Delacroix could do with her manicured hands.

“Stick close to her. Tell her you’re offering her protection. She’s in Deacon’s territory, on our land, so to speak. And we don’t know who our enemies are,” Ajax said.

“I’m supposed to go in there and pretend to be some benevolent protector?”

“Better you than anyone else.”

Ajax had a point there.

“And while you’re busy protecting her from imaginary enemies,” Blue said, “you can keep your ears open for anything of use. We pounded the hell out of the backwater scum in the Quarter. Gator is meat either way, so he hasn’t been forthcoming. Or, he doesn’t know who paid him to end Priest. Which almost makes me feel bad for the beatdown he got. Almost. But we haven’t had access to people like her. And clearly we need it.”

“I agree,” Ajax said. “The Delacroix name is in this now. I want to know why. More than that, we need to know why.”

“We could make this quick. I could point a gun at her and demand answers.” It wasn’t his preferred method of communicating with people anymore. But if it got the job done, he was willing. When in New Orleans and all that shit.

“I’ll fucking kick your ass,” Blue said.

“I didn’t think Sarah was your family anymore, Blue,” Micah said. “I thought the Deacons were your family, and Ajax was your daddy.”

“My father, my grandfather, are and were a sack of useless pricks. But if you point a gun at my cousin, I will strip your skin off and make you feed it to the gators yourself.”

“I thought you were a businessman,” Ajax said. “You can’t just point a gun at her. What if she runs off to Granddaddy? If not the police. And that’s the last thing we want.”

“She already knows that we own the house. What makes you think she won’t run to her grandfather about that?”

“My guess would be Grandpa already knows. If she was genuinely surprised, that’s too bad for her. But it can’t be a surprise to everyone in the family. We’ve already made a few waves, that’s unavoidable. We are here, but I imagine if that information is relevant to the Delacroix, they already have it. So stick close. But don’t stick anything in her face. Your gun or your dick. Keep it civil.”

“My dick is perfectly civil,” Micah said.

Ajax’s smile turned feral. “Mine isn’t.”

“Another reason it’s for the best that I’m handling this.”

“His dick is also mine,” Sophie said, her tone verging on bloodthirsty. “So, even if he was the one handling Delacroix, it wouldn’t be part of the equation.”

“Excellent, let me know where I should send the monogrammed towels. Fine. Hands off. Benevolent presence.”

“Don’t let her know why you’re there. Tell her you’re protecting her from all the shady-ass demons in the Quarter,” Ajax said, the smile curving his lips, making it clear he was one of the most malevolent demons around.

“You want me to lie to her?”

“Did you get religion or some shit down in California, Prince?” Ajax asked.

“Just making sure I’ve got it straight,” he said. “Any other orders?”

“Don’t screw it up?”

“Helpful, thank you.”

Ajax leveled his gaze at Micah. “Make sure you haunt the place like a good French Quarter ghost. I want you there as often as possible.”

“I’m sure the place has an extra bedroom. I’ll work something out.”

Chapter 3

“Oh. You’re here.” Sarah did her best not to show her shock when she walked into the mansion the next morning and saw Micah sitting in the exact same place he’d been yesterday. “Did you sleep on the settee?”

“No. I made myself at home in a bedroom upstairs. You need to get a housekeeper in here,” he said.

“Are you applying for the job?” she asked, keeping her tone dry. “Because I would need to see some references.”

“I’m overqualified,” he said, his lips curving into a lopsided smile.

She had to admit he looked more qualified to work in an office. Honestly, he didn’t look anything like her stereotypical idea of a biker. This morning he was dressed in a dark jacket, a blue shirt underneath, and dark slacks. The only thing that betrayed he was anything more than a businessman—albeit a highly successful one based on the quality of the fabric—was the dark ink etched into his skin, just visible at the cuff line of his shirt.

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