Sinner’s Redemption by Rebecca Joyce

Chapter Four


My mother died peacefully in her sleep that night. I was with her at the end, holding her hand. As much as she didn’t want me to watch her die, I refused to be any other place.

The whole town came out to pay their respects. It’s just how it was. Nothing fancy, no front-page news, just good, honest folks wanting to be there and mourn one of their own. The Ladies Auxiliary came in force to help me set up my home for the viewing. The church brought so much food, Tia and Mr. Graves ended up giving most of it away. Pastor John sat with me for hours, holding me, praying with me, helping me in any way he could. But all I wanted was my momma. I wanted her arms around me. I wanted her to tell me everything would be okay. I half expected her to walk through the front door and smile at the company that was visiting.

The worst part was coming to grips with the fact that I would never hear her gentle voice again. Never feel her strong arms around me. I would never get another warm hug, where I took a deep breath as my mom’s perfume filled my lungs. I’d never see her beautiful face smile.

My mom was gone.

I was now an orphan.

It was the worst feeling in the world.

The viewing and funeral all took place on the same day. Unlike most places, my hometown was old school. The viewing took place in my living room and I had to admit the Ladies Auxiliary did a beautiful job making momma look pretty. Her casket wasn’t much. Then again, mom never wanted much. She would have hated those fancy coffins that cost the same as a new car.

Nope. My momma was born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia. The daughter of a coal miner. My mom lived a simple life and even in death, her funeral depicted the life she led.

After the viewing, I, along with Tia, walked behind the truck carrying my mom to the cemetery. It was a pretty day. The sun was shining brightly. A sweet, scented wind blew through the trees and when I closed my eyes, I almost smelled my mom floating around me. Pastor John gave a heartwarming service as he talked about forgiveness and love. All the things my mom preached to me growing up. The whole town showed up to pay their last respects and when the service was over, Tia gripped my hand and stood with me as they lowered my mom into the ground.


Turning, I saw Tia standing next to Mr. Graves, my next-door neighbor. I was back in the living room. I didn’t remember walking back from the cemetery. Looking at both of them, I tried to remember what day it was.

I thought it odd I didn’t know.

Everything just seemed to blur together. Nothing of importance mattered anymore. There was no joy, no love, nothing. Everything was dark, bleak, emotionless.

I was here, but not.

It was an off feeling.

“Tessa, Howard Keel stopped by.”


“Your mom’s attorney.”

“Mom had an attorney?”

“He wanted me to give you this,” Tia said, handing me a single white envelope with my name on it, written in her handwriting. Lifting the letter to my nose, I took a deep breath and sighed.

I smelled nothing.

“Tessa, there is something else,” Tia said carefully, before looking at Mr. Graves.


“The bank just came and slapped a foreclosure notice on the trailer and they repossessed the car. I tried to stop them, but some city fella bought the land and the car was a lease.”

“I know. He allowed me to stay until mom passed.”

“Come with me to New York, Tess. Please. You can’t stay here. You’ll wither away here. There’s nothing here for you anymore.”

I knew she was right.

There was nothing left for me here.

I simply nodded.

“Tia, this can’t be the place,” I said, standing in a large three-bedroom penthouse overlooking Central Park. The place was stunning. Absolutely beautiful. Completely furnished, the apartment had everything we could possibly need and more. Even more, it gave me a beautiful view of one of my favorite landmarks, Stone House. Custom designed by the late Albert Holmes. Stone House was a New York City landmark. Taking up the whole corner city block, Stone house was four stories high. The house, passed down over the generations, was currently owned by George Stone, owner and CEO of Stone Incorporated, one of the wealthiest men in the city.

George Stone was married to a former New York State attorney, Virginia Stone. Together, they had four sons, but only one of them mattered to me. Not because I cared about him, but because when he figured out that I was back in the city, he could make my life a living hell. I knew coming back here would be a gamble, but it was a risk I had to take. Not only for me, but for my son.

I thought it funny that no matter how hard Montana tried to keep his ‘other’ life from me, I already knew the truth. The fact was that Montana Stone wasn’t just the President of the Soulless Sinner M.C. He was also the first-born son of George and Virginia Stone and the heir to the Stone company. The man was worth billions, and yet with everything he did, I still knew the truth. Did he honestly think I didn’t see the papers, read the society magazines? I knew who he was the first moment I laid eyes on him and now I lived literally across the street from him. Though it helped that Central Park was between us, but I wasn’t going to take any chances.

I knew the rules. He laid them out clearly. I signed the NDA he placed in front of me. We had four wonderful years together before I left without a word. Only I didn’t know I was leaving with more than my bags. If he ever found out what I took with me, there would be hell to pay. I may not care about Montana Stone anymore, but even I knew if he ever found out that I gave him a son, my life would never be the same again.

“This place is freaking amazing!”

Smiling, I turned to my best friend and nodded, taking in the luxurious place. The apartment was spacious, with light cream-colored walls. Floor to ceiling windows as far as the eye could see, giving us a panoramic view of Central Park. The open floor plan gave the apartment a homey but spacious feel. There was a suitable chef’s kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances. The off-white furniture blended with the slate gray flooring and sheer white curtains. Several plants of varying species strategically placed with hints of color. Paintings I’ve never seen before hung, giving the place a warm lived in look.

“It’s perfect,” Tia squealed, as she spread her arms wide as she raced around the place, checking everything out. While I was happy, she was ecstatic about the place, I wondered what the rent was. Going to school here, I knew this place wasn’t cheap. With a view like the one I was looking at, I could only assume the rent was in the thousands.

“Oh. My. God! Come check out York’s room.”

Smiling at my sleeping son, resting comfortably in his little stroller, I wheeled him towards Tia. Her exuberance was off the charts and I needed her to tone it down for a moment or she would be rocking York back to sleep.

Entering the room, I stared in awe at the light gray walls with sailboats floating on clouds, painted on the walks. The ceiling was a starry night with the moon and thousands of sparkly stars. The floor, covered in a luxurious plush cream carpet, the color of sand was soft but what caught my attention was the driftwood crib. The very crib I craved to get my son before he was born but couldn’t afford. “Tia, that crib is five thousand dollars.”

“I know,” she smirked. “I knew you wanted it, so I bought it. Did you know that it also turns into a toddler bed and then a full-size bed?”


“Look Tess, I know you are worried, but don’t. I have enough money to cover everything until you start the fellowship. Let me help you like you helped me.”

“This is too much, Tia. I’ll never be able to pay you back.”

“I’m not asking you to. Soon, you will make your own money. I have all the faith in you.”

“I haven’t heard from the hospital, Tia. They could give the fellowship to someone else.”

“Not likely. You are the most qualified,” Tia said, carefully taking my sleeping son out of the stroller and placing him in his brand-new crib. Covering him up, she leaned against the rails and sighed. “Jesus, Tess, he’s going to be a looker. With all that black hair and bright blue eyes, York is going to break hearts everywhere.”

“Just like his dad,” I whispered, smiling at my sleeping son.

“You never talk about York’s dad. Who is he?”

“It doesn’t matter. Look, Tia, York and I will stay here with you because I don’t have a choice, but I need you to promise me something. If you take York out of this apartment, I need him completely covered and always protected. Okay?”

Tia quirked her head at me. “Okay? Why?”

“I can’t tell you, but being here in the city isn’t going to be easy for me. I had a life here before I left and let’s just say I didn’t leave on good terms. There are people in this city I need to avoid. I shouldn’t have any problem doing that, living where we are. I don’t see them coming to this part of the city.”

“Tess, are you in trouble?”

“No. It’s not like that. Just be careful when you have York outside, okay?”

“Alright,” Tia muttered.

“Now, I need to swing by the hospital and check on the fellowship. You think you can handle everything for a few hours?”

“Yeah. York and I will binge watch Vampire Diaries and gorge on junk food. York is totally mooning over Damon. He thinks he’s funny.”

Shaking my head, I walked away and left the penthouse.

Stepping outside, I wasted no time hailing a cab. Standing at the curb, a cab pulled to a stop in front of me. Hopping in, I heard. “Where to?”

“The Gentlemen’s Club on fifth and Market.”

“You sure, miss? That’s not a safe area.”

“I’m sure.”

As the cab pulled away from the curb, I laid my head back against the seat and sighed. I hated lying to Tia. I hated lying period, but the truth was, I already knew I didn’t get the fellowship. When I failed to respond in time, they gave it to someone else. That was why I was considering the fellowship in Charleston, West Virginia. Instead of thinking rationally, I allowed my grief and lack of residence to sway me to move with Tia. Now, I was stuck in a city with no job prospects. There were several hospitals in the city. I knew that. I just needed to knuckle down and apply. There had to be at least one hospital in the city that needed a general surgeon. Until then, I knew of one place that would give me a job on the spot.

My former boss Barney.

Looking at my watch, it was still early enough that the club would still be closed to patrons, giving me plenty of time to talk Barney into giving me back my old job. I wasn’t excited about it, but the money I could make would go a long way to support my son and allow me to help Tia out with the bills.

My only worry was that the Soulless Sinners provided protection for Barney and his club. I knew Barney paid handsomely for that protection, too. On the fifteenth of every month, one of the Soulless Sinners would walk into the club and Barney would give him a large envelope of money. Once in hand, the biker would leave.

Rinse and repeat.

Too easy. I would just make sure I was nowhere near the club on the fifteenth of every month. Shouldn’t be too hard and when I found a job at a hospital, I would never have to step foot in Barney’s again.

The cab pulled to a stop and after paying him his fare, I got out and hurried into the building.

“Bars closed. Get out!”

“Is that how I told you to greet customers, old man?”

“Tessie?” Barney’s head popped up from behind the bar with a huge smile on his face.

Smiling, I greeted. “Hey Barney.”


Greeting me with a big hug, I closed my eyes and allowed the familiar scent of peppermint and pipe tobacco to fill my lungs. Barney was one of the first people I met in the city when I came here for school. Over the years, he became one of my trusted friends and employers.

Holding my shoulders, Barney looked me over. “Damn girl, you get prettier every day. When did you get back?”

“Today. Thought I’d swing by and see my old friend and ask for a favor. I need a job, Barney.”

Barney’s smile faded as he grabbed my hand and pulled me over to the bar. “Tess, you shouldn’t be here. If he finds out, it could be trouble for the both of us.”

“I don’t have any other choice, Barney. I need a job. Until I can get one at a hospital, you are it.”

Barney reached over the bar and grabbed two shot glasses and a bottle of scotch. Pouring us both a shot, he downed his quick. “Heard rumors you were coming back. Mentioned them to him, thinking he might be interested.”

“He doesn’t recycle pussy, Barney. You know that.”

My former boss nodded. “I do, but you’re not anyone Tessa. It’s you. The one who got away. When I mentioned your name, he lost his shit. Like a full-on caged animal. He hasn’t been the same since you left. He’s meaner.”

“He was always mean Barney. You know that.”

“He’s worse. Goes through my girls like candy and treats them like trash. Word spread fast after the last party. None of my girls have signed up for the next meet and greet. Shit, Tess. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have mentioned that.”

I tried not to let what Barney said affect me, but I would be lying if it didn’t. I knew Montana wasn’t a saint by any means. I had no right to expect him to pine away and wait for me. That wasn’t his way. Never was. Instead of thinking about the women he’s been with, I got right to the point. “I need my old job back, Barney.”

“Tess,” he moaned. “Are you trying to get me killed because if I hire you, he will kill me.”

“Not if he doesn’t know I’m working here.”