Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Teaser: Bullet by Marteeka Karland @marteekakarland @RABTBookTours @changelingpress


(Grim Road MC)

Motorcycle Club Romance, Suspense, Age Gap

Date Published: April 12, 2024



Cecilia: The enigmatic biker is the one bright spot in my life. I see him three or four times a week at the cafe down the block. Talking to him about books we’re reading or our hopes and dreams helps me escape my reality, if only for a short time. Most of the time we don’t even sit at the same table. He’s everything I ever wanted but know I can never have. We simply cross paths. Him going… wherever he goes. Me… I know I’m going straight to hell. Nothing but a miracle can save me. The Devil owns my soul.

Bullet: There’s something about the small, dark-haired woman I see at the corner cafe. She’s everything I’m attracted to in a woman, but she’s so young it’s laughable. I didn’t set out to seduce her, but the next thing I know she’s in my bed and I spend the most incredible night with her. I wake up the next morning to a cool pillow. No note. No way to contact her. I chalk it up to a young woman not wanting drama in her life until I see her again a few days later. This time, she’s in my ICU, beaten to within an inch of her life. Someone’s going to pay. God have mercy on their soul. Because I won’t.


WARNING: Bullet includes scenes of graphic violence and adult situations that may be triggers for some readers. There’s also a protective hero, a determined heroine, and an eventual happy ending. No cheating, as always.



“Just another glorious day in the ICU, Attie.” The fresh-faced resident was trying way too hard to socialize. I’d noticed the pup did the same with all the attendings. I accepted he was trying to fit in and carve his place with people who would be his peers once he’d finished his residency, but no one -- fucking no one -- called me “Attie.”

“My name,” I said, not looking up from the laptop where I was finishing up a physical assessment for the patient I’d just seen, “is Atticus. Or Dr. Benedict. Call me Attie again, I’ll personally see to it you fail this rotation.” If the kid had been a prospect, I’d have beat the shit outta him. But I couldn’t do that. Not in this world. Which was a Goddamned shame because if an adult hadn’t learned how to treat people with respect by this guy’s age, he needed an ass whoopin’.

I was beginning to think it was past time I left practice in the civilian world and stayed at the Grim Road compound full time. Traveling back and forth was risky anyway. The last thing I wanted was someone following me to the compound. They wouldn’t be able to get in, but it would draw attention to us, which I did not want. Still. Here I was. Trying not to punch an intern.

Fuck. Me.

I didn’t give the kid time to respond. Instead, I shut the laptop, picked it up, and headed back down the hall to the lounge. I wanted to finish my day so I could get a bite to eat -- and maybe some stimulating conversation that didn’t involve body fluids or death. I’d had enough of that in the Air Force, yet here I was. I’d thought I’d fulfill some sense of purpose by continuing to work with critically ill patients in a different setting, but death was death.

“He’s just trying to fit in, Atticus.” One of my colleagues, Phil Davis, clapped me on the shoulder as he pulled up a chair. “Don’t be so hard on the kid.”

“I’ve told him repeatedly not to shorten my name. I’m tired of fuckin’ with him.”

“He’ll make a decent doctor if you help train him right.”

“I’m not a mentor, Phil. I told you that when you hired me. I’m supposed to be an intensivist. Not a teacher.” It was a sore spot. The hospital had promised me I wouldn’t have to supervise interns or residents. Yet here I was.

“You know how it is, man. There’s a shortage of healthcare staff. That includes doctors. Why keep these kinds of hours when you can do family medicine?” He shrugged. “The hospital owns the offices, so they all get paid a salary just like we do. Only difference is the hours. They get nights, weekends, and holidays off. We don’t.”

“Coulda had better pay and better benefits if I’d stayed in the fuckin’ Air Force,” I grumbled. “Kid’s got this last chance. He calls me Attie again, I’ll do more than fail his rotation. I’ll kick his fuckin’ ass.”

Phil chuckled, likely thinking I was joking. I wasn’t. “Just give me the report so you can get your cranky ass outta here. Someone needs a beer. And possibly to get laid.”

I scowled at him, but he was right. On both counts.

Report took an hour. We walked around to each of my ten patients’ rooms, and I gave him a rundown of what was happening as well as introduced him to each of those patients. Not every doctor in the hospital wanted to do hand-off rounds like this, but I thought it helped all of us to see the patients as people instead of simply numbers on a screen. As such, I insisted on it.

We only got caught up in one room and honestly, Mrs. Singleton loved to talk.

“I thought I was taking the right dose, Dr. Benedict. I mean, I might have missed my shot from time to time, but I usually manage better than this.” She smiled up at me from her bed. She was always pleasant. And always called me Dr. Benedict. “Maybe if you explain it to me again?” She looked like she was hoping we’d sit down and go over her medication with her again, but didn’t want to actually say so.

“Maybe we should get you an insulin pump,” Phil said, not looking up from his tablet as he pretended to review her chart. I knew he was just giving himself an excuse not to engage. Mrs. Singleton had been offered the same thing every single time she was admitted. She always refused. Something Phil knew all too well.

“Oh, I couldn’t. It might give me too much. What would I do then?”

“It won’t give you too much, Nanny.” Phil’s irritation showed on his face and in his voice, but he never looked up from his fucking tablet. “It’s programmed to give the exact amount we order. You need to agree to this so you don’t have to be admitted so much. You’re going to ruin your kidneys and your eyesight, among other things.”

“I’m ninety-two, Dr. Davis. If my kidneys and my eyesight were going to go, they’d have done so already. Besides, I know I’m not long for this world.” She sounded like she was going to cry. It made me want to beat the shit outta my colleague.

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to,” I said, sitting beside the bed and taking Mrs. Singleton’s hand. One thing I tried to always do was be respectful to my patients. Just because she was old didn’t mean she was stupid. “We’ve discussed this before. If you want to keep taking shots instead of using an insulin pump, you can. But, he’s right that you’re hurting your body. I’d like to have long conversations with you for years to come.” I gave her a gentle smile.

She patted my hand with her free one. “You’re a good man, Dr. Benedict.” Then she sighed, looking resigned. “If you think it’s best, I’ll agree to your pump. Do you promise it will be OK?”

“I do, ma’am. I’ll even come check on you after you’re released until you get used to it.”

Her eyes grew wide. “You’d do that? For me?”

I smiled. “You’re one of my favorite patients, Mrs. Singleton. Of course, I will.”

Mrs. Singleton was a diabetic who went into ketoacidosis once every couple of months because she didn’t take her insulin correctly and refused to modify her diet. At ninety-two years young, I figured if she wanted to eat cupcakes and moon pies, that was her prerogative. My job wasn’t to judge but to help her when she got sick. I’d often wondered if she didn’t do this to herself on purpose to get some attention because her daughter and grandson refused to put her in a nursing home but were never around to take care of her. She’d been a social butterfly in her younger years, by all accounts, and needed personal interaction. But, she abided by her family’s wishes and stayed at home even if her daughter and grandson were never there to help her.

After we left and started down the hall, Phil chuckled, as if he hadn’t insulted and treated the elderly woman horribly. “I swear, that woman gets chattier every time we have her.” He shook his head. “I don’t have time to spend thirty minutes in her room chatting about the weather or the good old days. Not to mention arguing with her about her treatment.” Yeah. It was past time I either opened my own practice or simply moved back to the clubhouse and disappeared from polite society.

I gave Phil a hard look. “You know, if you had half as much sympathy for Mrs. Singleton as you do that disrespectful punk of an intern, you might be a decent doctor.”

I left Phil alone with Intern Iggy and the rest of the zoo and headed out. I needed the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. Fuck this shit. I’d keep my promise to Mrs. Singleton no matter what, but my days here were numbered.

Coming back in to the doctor’s lounge, I went to the locker room and changed out of my scrubs and lab coat. I left very little at the hospital other than a couple changes of clothes for emergencies, so packing my stuff wouldn’t be an issue. Tomorrow I’d bring my truck and clean out my shit. Tonight, however, I was on my bike. I wasn’t prepared.

I strode out of the hospital, my boots thudding on the pavement as I made my way toward my sleek black Harley V-Rod. The bike that would carry me away from the sterile walls and white coats. I needed the freedom of the road and the comfort of my club. Grim Road MC had been good to me. After my last mission it had become my only real haven. Initially, working at the hospital had fulfilled my need to help people, but it had become more cumbersome than helpful now.

Flashes of the carnage I’d lived through shot through my brain and I gritted my teeth through the pain, needing to keep myself under control. It was those memories that haunted me at night and kept me coming back to the hospital to work. I hadn’t been able to help the people from that day so long ago, but I could help people in the here and now.

I started up my bike, put it in gear, and took off. I needed food and rest. Tomorrow everything would be better. I’d get Mrs. Singleton to stick to her promise to try the insulin pump. God knew Phil would just fuck things up. Besides, I wanted to help her get home so I’d know where to come to check on her and make sure she was using her pump correctly. I also needed to put the fear of God into her daughter and grandson. I was pretty sure they were trying to keep her out of a nursing home so they could keep her Social Security check and that simply wasn’t going to happen.

With a sigh, I pulled into the parking area of a little outside café I often frequented after work. Helped me to wind down and catch my breath. Occasionally I’d run into someone who knew me, but the hospital was in Palm Beach so it wasn’t often. It was also the place where I’d met the most interesting woman I’d ever encountered.

Her name was Cecilia, but she went by CeCe. I thought she was an escort, but the jury was still out. She was here nearly every evening. I found I simply liked talking to her. She was intelligent, with a quirky personality. She could carry on a conversation about almost anything with some degree of knowledge. But it was her eyes that intrigued me. She had the look of someone who’d seen far more than a person of her years should have. I doubt she was much out of her teens, but she seemed to take in everything around her. Several times I’d tested her. Dropping observations about things around us or small details about someone walking down the sidewalk. She always knew the answers. Like me, she always chose a table that let her have the best view of the area with her back against the building.

Walking to my usual table, I glanced around, looking for CeCe. Because of the long conversation with Mrs. Singleton, I was a little late so I could have missed her. I hoped not because I could really use her refreshing personality. The girl really was a rare treasure. I thought about prying into her life, finding out exactly what she did and who she worked for, seeing if my suspicions were correct, but we had a comfortable relationship. Basically, we spoke when we were at this café, and that was it. I didn’t see her anywhere else. We didn’t talk about anything personal. Sometimes we never even looked at each other. Just… talked. About everything and nothing. Nonsense. Whatever was on our minds. I was about to leave when I saw her.

CeCe was dressed in a tight, short red skirt with a white billowy top that cinched around her middle above her waist. A black bustier pushed her breasts up and together, giving her mouth-watering cleavage. Her hair was a straight, gleaming mass dark as a raven’s wing reaching below her waist. This was her usual attire and I’d learned a couple of months ago to live with the hard-on I got seeing her in these outfits.

She sat along the brick wall of the building beside the café, as usual, one table between us. We didn’t acknowledge each other or speak. She simply caught the attention of Teddy. He owned the place and was always there, even if he had someone else working.

“The usual, Teddy.”

“Chocolate pie and a coffee coming up, darlin’.”

“Thanks.” Everything inside me settled. I hid my smile and said nothing. Instead, I picked up a book I’d been reading the last several days while I drank a cup of coffee and ate a sandwich. This evening it was chicken salad.

“You still reading about the guy who kills that old lady and then spends the whole book freaking out about it? Raskolnikov, right?”

I grinned. “Crime and Punishment. Yeah, kid.” I didn’t look up from my book, but I never did. It was a game we played, where we pretended indifference. It was one we were both comfortable with. “I always found him to be an interesting character -- tormented by his own guilt. Unable to escape the consequences of his actions.”

She snorted. “It’s always something, I guess. Life torments us all in one way or another.”

I thought about that. “Can’t say you’re wrong there.”

“‘Course, I’m not wrong.” She sounded bitter. Not for the first time, I wondered if I was right and she was an escort. She was always very well put together. Even the revealing clothing she wore was done with taste. Her hair was always perfect, her makeup just so. Her body was well toned, fine muscle playing beneath her skin when she moved. I’d never seen such perfectly formed arms on a woman before. They were muscled but sleek. Feminine.

With one last bite of pie, she slapped a couple bills down on the table and stood. She started to leave, then stopped and turned her head to face me. “You think Raskolnikov would’ve done any better if he’d had someone? You know, someone who had his back?”

“Who knows?” I shrugged. A darkness crept into her gaze even though her face was carefully blank. This, I didn’t like. “But I do believe there are times when the ends do justify the means. Maybe not in Raskolnikov’s case, but…”

“Yeah.” She looked away, putting her shoulders back. “Sure.”

“See you tomorrow?” I’d never pushed her before. Never asked when I’d see her or if she’d be back. But my instinct was screaming at me that something was wrong.

She shrugged. “Don’t know. Maybe.”

“Take it easy, CeCe.” I forced myself to let it go even though I wanted to push even harder, to make her tell me what was going on and how I could help. Because if ever there was a woman who needed help, it was CeCe.

About the Author

Marteeka Karland is an international bestselling author who leads a double life as an erotic romance author by evening and a semi-domesticated housewife by day. Known for her down and dirty MC romances, Marteeka takes pleasure in spinning tales of tenacious, protective heroes and spirited, vulnerable heroines. She staunchly advocates that every character deserves a blissful ending, even, sometimes, the villains in her narratives. Her writings are speckled with intense, raw elements resulting in page-turning delight entwined with seductive escapades leading up to gratifying conclusions that elicit a sigh from her readers.

Away from the pen, Marteeka finds joy in baking and supporting her husband with their gardening activities. The late summer season is set aside for preserving the delightful harvest that springs from their combined efforts (which is mostly his efforts, but you can count it). To stay updated with Marteeka's latest adventures and forthcoming books, make sure to visit her website. Don't forget to register for her newsletter which will pepper you with a potpourri of Teeka's beloved recipes, book suggestions, autograph events, and a plethora of interesting tidbits.


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