Where we first met Dez…

Excerpts from A & A Book 1:

Gage nearly tore the entire folder in two. If they found one set of footprints then it was likely that Hall was carrying Tayler. If he was carrying her, she was unconscious.

The doorbell rang and everyone in the room, with the exception of Gage, turned toward the door. Joel pulled it open to find Julien standing in the doorway. To his left, leaning against the house with his arms folded as though he’d been standing there for hours, was a man he knew only as Dez. At the bottom of the stairs, he recognized Giorgio Pozza, although he suspected that neither were any of the man’s real names. In front of Giorgio was a woman who didn’t look as out of place as he would expect standing with the group of men.

The men had supposedly met through the business they conducted, but Joel suspected a deeper, and possibly deadlier, connection.

Gage’s fingers twitched near the metal strapped at his waist. Tayler could sense his urge to add two pounds to Eric’s weight by way of lead, but knowing Gage, she knew he believed that type of death would be too easy.

The unknown man began to move them toward the door, but Gage stopped him, walked over, and held her chin in his hands. He moved her head from side to side. His eyes scanned the bruises on her face and her lips, which were stained with blood. Her body still felt as though she was moving underwater and the room buzzed from Eric’s blow to her temple.

“I’m not okay,” she said. “You want to ask me if I’m okay and I’m supposed to say that I’m fine because that’s just how it goes. But, I’m not okay. I’m in pain. I’m hurting and I thought I was going to die. You made me a promise. Fuck him up, baby.”

The right side of his mouth hitched up.

Eric pulled himself from the storage unit. His brows narrowed to the middle of his forehead, and his lips curled back to bare his teeth. All forms of ordinary and innocent disappeared. This was the man who’d carried out those acts against those women. This was the evil that had been suppressed.

Gage stepped forward just as Eric charged. Eric reached toward Kendall who recoiled from his grasp, and Gage jabbed his elbow into Eric’s stomach, causing him to stagger backwards. The blow and Kendall’s reluctance only fueled Eric’s anger as he reared back, ready to charge again.

Gage’s fingers contracted as though gripping an invisible handle. Both hands were down near his waist while Eric’s were up, blocking his face like a professional boxer. Eric’s muscles were tense and large, but they paled in comparison to the size of Gage’s back as it swelled with anger.

Eric advanced again. All Tayler could make out between the two men were thrashing arms and body shots.

“Dez, take them outside,” Gage ordered.

A bling of metal appeared and Eric began jabbing in Gage’s direction. From the black handle and serrated edge, Tayler recognized that it was a combat knife. Despite Gage probably being loaded to the hilt with weapons, she didn’t know why he didn’t pull at least one of them out.

“I want to stay,” Tayler argued.

“Outside!” Gage barked, taking a quick glance over at her.

Dez hoisted her into the air and moved toward the exit. Tayler twisted at the last minute to see Eric bring the blade up and into Gage’s back.

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