Defiance (The Protectors #9) ~ Page 2

"He"s received some threatening emails and it sounds like there"s a chance the assailant has taken it to the next level. Brody, that"s Nathan"s twin, was mentioned in some of the emails, but we suspect that was more to rattle Nathan than anything else," Memphis explained.

The assailant sounded like a smart individual"psychological warfare made a man an easier target. The stress alone of knowing his twin might be at risk would have had a lasting impact on this Nathan guy. Wear a guy down enough mentally, and he"d be an easy target in the long run.

"We were hoping you could check it out"sit on him for a bit and see what you can find," Memphis continued.

Curiosity got the best of me and I said, "Why me" From what I"ve seen, your little operation here has plenty of qualified muscle."

Ronan and Memphis exchanged a brief glance. Ronan finally said, "We think your skill-set and contacts would give you unique access and insight."

If Ronan hadn"t said the words with a measure of hesitation, I would have thought he was sucking up to me. But the fact that he"d almost seemed reluctant to voice his reasoning had me straightening from where I"d been leaning back against the couch. "How so""

The men looked at each other again. It was almost comical"like they were afraid to say whatever it was that was on their minds.

"Nathan is running for Senate-"

"No," I said simply, and then I gently pushed the cat off my lap.

As I climbed to my feet, Ronan murmured, "He needs help, Vincent."

"Not my problem," I responded as I stepped past him. Irritation went through me as I thought about how hesitant both men had been.

Which meant they knew about my hatred of all things government.

Everett.

Fucking busybody. He"d known exactly what he was sending me into when he"d encouraged me to take the meeting. No, I hadn"t made the decision to meet Ronan based solely on him, but between him and my curiosity about what kind of group would go to such lengths to protect a complete stranger like Ethan Rhodes for no other reason than it was the right thing to do, I"d climbed onto the private jet Ronan had sent for me with the expectation that at the very least, I"d get Everett off my back about the whole damn thing.

"Vincent-"

"I don"t give a fuck what Everett told you about me," I snapped as I turned to look at both men. "You want to protect this guy, you go right ahead. But you sure as shit don"t want me doing it, because one less politician is a win in my book!"

"Memphis""

The sound of a man"s voice, along with a rhythmic knock on the front door, had me stopping my forward movement.

"In here," Memphis called.

"Sorry, I heard voices, but I figured maybe you didn"t hear me knocking," a man said as he rounded the corner from the front hallway. He was heavily built and in his early forties with a bald head. I stilled as I realized I knew him.

"No problem, Dom. We were just finishing up," Memphis said.

"Tristan forgot some sheet music at our apartment""

The man"s voice dropped off as his eyes fell on me.

"Major St. James""

"Dominic Barretti," I murmured.

I felt my heart constrict painfully in my chest as Dom saluted me. It was something he"d done the few times I"d seen him after my discharge from the army. And it was something he shouldn"t be doing based on the type of discharge I"d received. While I knew it was a sign of respect on his part, it still cut me to the core.

I couldn"t bring myself to salute him back, but luckily, he didn"t maintain the position long. He strode forward and held out his hand. As soon as I took it, he leaned in and clapped his hand on my back. I wasn"t one for hugs, but Dom wasn"t just some guy off the street.

Not even close.

There weren"t a lot of people who"d stood by me after the shit that had gone down with the army, but Dom had.

And he"d taken it a step further.

He"d offered me something that I hadn"t had after the army had shattered my entire world.

I just wished like hell I"d taken him up on it.

"What are you doing here"" he asked as a wide smile passed over his lips.

I had no idea how to answer him. I knew enough about Dom to know he ran his business legit, and I was anything but.

"We asked Vincent to help us out on the Wilder case," Ronan announced without hesitation.

Dom nodded and walked farther into the room, handing Memphis a folder, presumably the sheet music he"d mentioned.

"How do you guys know each other"" I asked, still completely caught off guard that Ronan"s group of vigilantes would have ties to Dom"s aboveboard security business.

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