Top 25 Bestseller at Amazon.com in Crime Action Fiction
Top 25 Bestseller at Amazon.com in Action & Adventure Romance
Top 25 Bestseller at Amazon.com in Romantic Action & Adventure
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Serelda -- Watching my sister find the love of her life has been bittersweet. As much as I’m happy for her, I’m heartsick because I can’t have the man I want. Brick is my rock. The wall between me and the rest of the world. He protects and comforts me. He’s everything I need. But he does it out of pity, feeling sorry for the poor, broken woman who sought refuge in his club. I have to find a way to prove to him I’m worth his time, and that I can be the woman worthy of the VP of Iron Tzars.
Brick -- The lovely woman whose name means warrior bewitched me from the first day I saw her. Serelda is scared and vulnerable. The timid sister. I know there is a thread of steel inside her, though. I see flashes of it when I’m least expecting it. So when she runs, though I’m disappointed, I’m not surprised. What catches me off guard is the moment she tases me. I might be a sick individual, but her show of aggression turns me on more than I ever thought possible. Now, I just have to figure out how to claim her without terrifying her. And how to keep her from being taken back to the very man who tormented her more than a decade ago.
WARNING: Graphic violence, adult situations, and references to human trafficking and domestic abuse that may be triggers for some readers. Happy ending and no cheating, as always.
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Praise for Brick (Iron Tzars MC 3)
"Be still my beating heart! Brick was more than I expected him to be and then some. His patience with Serelda and his kindness mixed with the gruffness made my heart pitter patter. Her insecurities were just that... hers! Brick proved that his love was unconditional. Serelda was perfect in his eyes and that is all that mattered. This a beautiful journey of growth, acceptance, moving forward and finding happiness amongst all the chaos. I absolutely adored Brick and Seralda. Phenomenal story! Cannot wait to see what comes next. Marteeka never ceases to amaze me."
-- 5 Stars from Andrea, Goodreads Review
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Brick (Iron Tzars MC 3)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Marteeka Karland
I’d never been so scared in my life, and I had no one but myself to blame. Getting a train or bus ticket back to Florida had proved more difficult than I’d thought. Orlando was the closest I could get to Lake Worth or Palm Beach, but once I got there, I knew I could call Rycks or Darcy to come get me. My stepsister had gotten closer to me and Winter over the last few years, but I’d still only call her if I couldn’t get hold of someone at Black Reign. I felt too awkward asking her for help.
My sister. Winter. I hadn’t been away from her for more than a few hours, and I already missed her like I’d miss my right arm. I couldn’t tell her I was leaving because she’d insist on coming with me, and she had a chance at a new life in Indiana with the Iron Tzars. Roman adored her. Anyone could see it. There was no way I was going to cost my sister a new life I knew she desperately needed.
I knew I needed it. I thought I might have found it, too. Should have known better. Why would a man like Brick want to be saddled with someone like me? I was broken. Inside and out. Didn’t take a genius to figure it out, either. My scars were the first clue. My face was covered in them. I tried to cover them like my sister did, but it always looked worse. Since I rarely went outside the clubhouse grounds at Black Reign, I didn’t worry about it. Now, though…
I cringed every time someone gave me a pitying look, so I kept my hoodie up and my face in as much shadow as I could. I also sat in the farthest corner of the bus and tried not to draw attention to myself as I let the miles roll by in silence.
“Where’s your pimp, girl?” A man sat next to me, moving into my personal space and mashing me against the window of the bus. We hadn’t made a stop yet, so this guy had boarded in the same place I had. He spoke quietly, but his voice was menacing. My instinct was to draw in on myself, to ignore him and hope he went away, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I’d always relied on Winter to handle people, but I was on my own now. And this situation wasn’t at all safe.
“I’m not a whore -- therefore I have no pimp.” I tried to keep my voice low, even, and filled with as much disdain as possible.
“Don’t fuck with me, bitch,” he bit out, leaning in close, his fingers biting into my upper arm as he grabbed me. He didn’t smell unpleasant… exactly. Rather, he smelled like he’d drowned himself in Axe body spray, which was its own problem, but at least he didn’t smell like body odor or sweaty feet. “I saw your face. Only one man I know of uses that scarring pattern.” He gripped my chin with his other hand and jerked my head toward him, looking intently at my scars like he was inspecting them for authenticity. “Yeah. Looks like he got interrupted. Didn’t finish with you.”
“I was in a car wreck.” It was a line I’d used a few times. Seemed like it might be a good time to use it now.
“Bullshit.” He moved his hand from my arm to trace a particularly prominent scar on my face. When I flinched back, he gripped my chin harder and held me still. He traced one long, raised mark over my cheek that ran the length of my face to my ear. “No. This mark and this one” -- he traced another mark, this one between my eyebrows -- ”are precise and distinct.” I knew the two he touched well. They weren’t as deep or scarred over as some of the others, but they were carved almost like a design. There were several others over my body. Several more on my face. All of them in-between and around the linear cuts made by the second man.
“Let go of me.” My heart pounded. Visions of those days and nights of hell flashed behind my eyes, making me flinch. My breath came in short pants and sweat beaded on my skin. I was headed toward a full-blown panic attack at the worst possible time. I was in danger. Any fool could recognize that. Though the bus was mostly full, no one seemed to notice my distress. On the plus side, as long as I was on the bus, this man couldn’t take me anywhere. Sure, he could kill me, but I’d rather die than repeat the events of thirteen years ago.
“Oh, I don’t think so, little girl. You’re marked by the Cannibal. He only marks those he intends to keep.”
“Well, he didn’t keep me. You can see that since I’m here and my scars are old.”
“Just means you got away. You’re his, little girl. Reckon there’ll be a nice reward for whoever returns you.”
The man narrowed his eyes, inspecting more of my face before shoving the sleeve of my shirt up my forearm. On the inside of my wrist was a Roman numeral two the man had carved into my skin. My sister had a matching Roman numeral one on the opposite wrist. I’d never understood why he’d done that. Until now.
“Yep.” He traced the mark on my wrist before going back to my face. “You’re one of the twins he was so infatuated with. He’s been lookin’ for the two of you for a long damned time. Said the devil himself was protecting you.” He looked around warily. “Where’s your sister? And who’s this protector even he wouldn’t cross?”
“If you don’t know about the Devil, perhaps you should rethink what you’re doing here. I never knew who my attacker was, and it’s been more than a decade. If he wanted me, and he hasn’t come for me himself in all that time, perhaps there was a reason.”
For the first time since he’d sat down next to me, the guy looked unsure of himself. Then he shook his head. “You may be right. But the money he’ll pay me will more than compensate for the danger.”
“You sure about that? Because thirteen years is a long time. I doubt he even remembers me.” I was leaving my sister out of this on purpose. I didn’t want this guy fixating on her and bringing danger to her home. “He might even be dead, for all you know.”
“Oh, no. The Cannibal is very much alive.”
“How do you know him? He’s one random guy in one random city. There’s no way another random guy in another random city knows the man who attacked me.”
“First off…” The guy sat back, putting his arm on the back of the seat behind me. Anyone looking at us would think we were together. “I know him because I’m one of many men he has working for him. And none of this is random. I’ve been keeping an eye on you for months. Yeah, he’s gone through several watchers, but he’s known where you were the whole time.” He grinned at me. “He’s a patient man. Willing to wait as long as it takes for what he wants.”
“Why now after all this time?” I was getting desperate. I knew the bus would stop soon. It was probably why this guy had approached me now instead of at the beginning of the ride. The very last thing I needed to do was get off this bus. But how to stop it?
“Because this is the first time since the day Black Reign took you and your sister away from your father that you’ve been on your own.”
My heart sank. He was right. I’d run away from heartache straight into the worst kind of trouble. Had El Diablo and Rycks known all along the man who’d disfigured me and Winter would be looking for us? It didn’t make much sense. There was no way anyone at Black Reign would have let that kind of threat live. Especially when he was most likely continuing to prey on others.
“So? We’re on a bus to Florida. And if you think I’m getting off with you at any stop, you’re even dumber than you look.”
Instantly, the guy’s face hardened. I felt a sharp poke in my side and knew he had a knife on me. The sensation made me want to vomit. Visions of a man standing over me, using what I remembered thinking looked like a surgeon’s scalpel, slicing intricate carvings into my belly, my breasts, my face, filled my mind. My breath started coming in short pants, and I grew lightheaded.
“You’ll do what I say, or I’ll stick you right here.”
“I’d rather die than go back to that hell, so do your worst, you son of a bitch.” I hissed the words at him even as I fumbled for the phone in my jacket pocket. I just had to hit the button on the side, and it would call 911. That might not help in the short term, but maybe someone would know where to look for me long term.
I meant it when I said I’d rather die. In a way, it would almost be a relief. Sure, I’d feel bad for my sister. It would break her heart, but she had Roman. She’d survive. But I was damaged goods. I wasn’t nearly as strong as Winter. I’d seen that over the years since. She was the one to try to protect me. She’d been the one to kill our father. She was the one to move us away from the protection of Black Reign to another MC. One as protective but who hadn’t seen us at our worst. I knew I’d never be able to adjust. Especially after seeing Brick with those club girls. The sight had shattered something inside me I knew would never heal.
The bus screeched to a halt, throwing me against the seat in front of me. The knife the guy had been holding against my side pressed harder, the sharp blade penetrating my clothing and scratching my skin. I had no idea how deep, but it made my panic worse, and I cried out in both fear and pain.
“What the fuck?” The guy turned his attention away from me. We weren’t at a rest stop or gas station. We were on the interstate. From the looks of things, we were still in the right lane of a three-lane road. Other passengers looked up from what they were doing, some of them raising their voices in surprise at the sudden stop.
The bus started moving again, but off to the shoulder of the road. I had no idea what was going on. Had we blown a tire? Was something wrong with the bus? Maybe I should try to get away here. Hide somewhere and call Winter.
No. I couldn’t call her. I’d call Rycks. He’d know what to do and could get me out of here. But how did I get away from this guy?
The door to the bus opened. The lights were out, and it was dark outside. A man growled something, and the overhead lights came on. More than one person complained loudly. I strained to see who was giving the orders. Because that growl sounded wonderfully, terribly familiar.
Heavy footfalls climbed the steps to the doorway inside the bus. There, larger than life, menacing in the extreme, was Brick. And he looked seriously pissed.
His gaze roamed over every single person on that bus, taking it all in. I knew he was memorizing each face he encountered and would remember everything he saw. Brick was brilliant like that. People often overlooked him -- even his own club -- because he was quiet and unassuming. Until it was time for him not to be. The club respected his brawn and unwavering loyalty. I knew there was much more to him than muscle.