Disclaimer: Although this is a series, all of the books can be read as a standalone. I don’t do cliffhangers and I’m not sure I will. I like for my characters to get theirs, so why not my readers? 😉
Something inside of him didn’t like that train of thought, but he gave it no attention. He had to leave. There was nothing for him here. Just because she’d given him a little bit of meaning for a few weeks didn’t mean that he all of a sudden believed that his life was worth salvaging.
“Gage?” He turned around and the foreman was standing in front of him, his eyes glued to his cell phone. “Since this is her house and all, I figured that you’d want to hear about this.”
Gage’s muscles compressed. It was about Tayler, and it wasn’t good news. He could sense it.
“My wife works at the hospital and they said that Tayler got bit by some kind of venomous—”
Gage was already out the door.
He hopped behind the wheel of the car and sped down to the hospital, making it there in under ten minutes. Leaving the car in the loading area in front of the emergency room, he stalked through the automatic doors. Everyone inside was in a frenzy, and their chatter, to his ears, came across like a low, irritating buzz.
The timbre of his voice cut through the chatter. The room fell silent and all eyes turned to him. There was no need for decorum. He didn’t care who he offended. He just needed to find her, see her, and make sure that she was okay. She’d been hurt on his watch, and a snake biting her in the middle of a medical facility was so left field, that if the sheriff didn’t think it had to do with the person who’d written the notes, he’d slice the extra fat off of the man’s stomach.
“You,” he pointed to a man wearing brown scrubs with a look of terror on his face. “Bloke with the hearing problem. Come here.”
The man moved forward with trepidation. “Yes sir?”
“Did you hear what I just said?”
“Do you need your hands, or could you get on just fine if I broke them both in three places?”
“I kinda need—”
“I don’t give two sh*ts about your hands, mate, but I will f*cking break them if you don’t tell me where Tayler is.”
The man’s eyes darted over to the reception area, and the woman behind the desk motioned out a room number with her fingers.
“R-right this way.”
Larke watched Joni first do so in defiance, and then adjust the movements so that her breasts would be propelled toward Dez. In her mind, she had thrown a full can of soda at Joni’s head.
Dez stepped closer to her. “And she answers to you? I overhead your entire conversation and just like I thought, you’re a fake-ass friend.”
Joni’s neck reared back. “You don’t know me to be talking to me like that.”
“I don’t have to.” He looked up. “Tapley, let’s go. You’re coming with me.”
“Wait.” Larke sighed. “Let’s back up—”
“She can’t go with you!”
Both Larke and Dez looked at Joni.
“Why can’t I?” Larke asked.
Joni didn’t respond. She simply thrust her chest forward even more, unable to help herself while she held Dez’s gaze.
“You can put those away,” Dez growled, not sparing a glance at her breasts. “You won’t get sh*t from me.”
Her face flushed with embarrassment.
She cleared her throat. “All I’m saying, Larke, is that isn’t it oddly coincidental that as soon as this man shows up, you start getting attacked?”
It was coincidental, Larke realized, but there was something about Dez she couldn’t put her finger on. Something that told her he would never hurt a hair on her head. He wasn’t there because he’d preplanned the events of the past twelve hours or so. He was there because those events were going to happen whether or not he was there, but fate wanted to make sure he was. It was what she felt compelled to believe.
Joni’s shoulders fell. Her tone softened. “Look, Larke is my friend,” she said. “She is a good person. I just don’t want you to hurt her.”
His reply was hard, immediate. “My purpose here is to protect Tapley with everything I have. Everything that is in me. If she gets hurt, it’s because I’m dead somewhere, and you can put that on my life.”
There is no release date as of yet, but I’m pushing to have it done for an April release.
I’d like to leave you with a little bit of how Ari and Julien met. At least, the first time.
He approached her from behind. Her companion’s eyes landed on him and went from amused to frowning. Julien sized up the man—habit—and realized he’d actually been jealous. But…the man didn’t pose a threat, not against his baby blues. Plus, he’d finally gotten a much-needed haircut, and the blond tresses were pushed up and away from his face. He’d been styled to look the part of a young, handsome mogul. The kind of man who made women climax simply by entering a room.
“Do you think that’s fair?” he asked.
She started to turn, but he was so close, she stopped mid-action and kept her back facing him, speaking over her shoulder. “Do I think what’s fair?”
“To be as beautiful as you are…”
“…in a dress like that…”
She turned her head, indicating she’d stopped listening.
“…when you know no other woman here could ever compare to you?”
She groaned. He could feel her rolling her eyes. Then she stepped forward, putting distance between their bodies, and spun around to face him. Air swept quickly into her lungs.
“Good evening,” he greeted.
Her eyes scanned him. She’d probably been expecting someone else. He was pretty sure she’d been hit on all night. Now, she was trying to figure him out, wondering if he was worth her time. However, the look on her face said she hadn’t been expecting the man hitting on her to be even a semblance of attractive.
“Good evening,” she returned in greeting, a subdued Australian accent woven between her words. “Your lines are terrible.”
He laughed. “Terrible but true.”
She looked away, hiding a smile. “And I should find you what, charming?”
“I don’t care what you find me.” He maneuvered his body to place himself back in her line of sight. “As long as you do, find me. Where are you sitting tonight?”
She pointed over his shoulder. “That table over there.”
“I’ll join you.”
Her brow lifted. “How do you know I’m not with a date?”
“It wouldn’t matter either way.” He extended his elbow. “Are
“You are now.”