What happens when a group of tough vigilantes meets up with a big-hearted family with boundary issues"
It’s supposed to be an easy job. You know, the kind you get after you’ve been gone a while and the boss is unsure of how capable you still are" But then there’s a mugging, an abduction, two thugs, and a blackmail scheme.
And smack-dab in the middle of it is a beautiful lost soul who needs me. The scared, young gamer-geek pushes all my protective buttons and awakens something inside me that’s ready to dive right in and inhale the man.
But how could I have anything to offer someone like Ben" I’m a mess. Injured, scarred, practically closeted, the recognizable son of a famous man… There’s no way I can ask him to give me a shot at forever. Right"
***Reading Order Note***
CAN BE READ AS A STAND-ALONE.
While the authors recommend reading both the Made Marian series by Lucy Lennox and the Protectors series by Sloane Kennedy, it isn’t required in order to understand the story. This novel, despite being a crossover, has been written in a way that it can be read on its own.Books by Author:Sloane Kennedy BooksLucy Lennox Books
The guy was going to get himself killed, no doubt about it.
I picked up the pace when I saw him lumber toward the crosswalk where the light had turned red, shining brightly through the cold night air. When he didn"t stop, I instinctively shouted out to him and felt my gut drop out when a horn sounded and brakes screeched a split-second later. Somehow, the man narrowly missed being struck by a cab but only because the driver swerved to avoid him and ended up hitting a parked car instead.
Chaos reigned as the angry driver got out of the vehicle at the same time the unfortunate owner of the parked car came out of the little convenience store on the corner. My mark seemed clueless at the trouble he"d caused as he stumbled to the other side of the street. His right arm was wrapped around his waist and the little bit of light from the overhead street lamp illuminated the back of the hospital gown that was hanging from beneath his button-up shirt.
"What the hell"" the car owner shouted as he rounded his damaged car and began laying into the cab driver. I ignored the argument that ensued and hurried across the street, dodging the slowing traffic as I went.
I wasn"t normally a guy who gave into my fear, but when I rounded the corner to continue tracking the man and didn"t see him anywhere, the adrenaline rush I"d had when he"d nearly been hit kicked up another notch. This was supposed to be an easy assignment, so losing the guy I"d been tasked to keep an eye on was not going to happen.
As I thought about the possibility of this job going as horribly wrong as my last one, I felt pain start to throb in my lower back like clockwork. I gritted my teeth and tried not to think about the effects of stress on healing injuries.
"Fuck," I muttered softly as I forced myself to take in a breath and then scanned my surroundings.
This job was my first one back, and keeping tabs on the young man known only as Ben was supposed to have been simple: follow him after his discharge from the hospital and make sure he wasn"t in any kind of danger. Dr. Ethan Rhodes had treated him in the ER after a severe beating and become concerned when the victim had refused to tell anyone who he was or what had happened. So Ethan had talked to his fianc", Cain, about it and Cain had contacted our boss, Ronan, to see if it was something that should be checked out. That"s where I came in. Just tail the guy after his discharge and see if there was more to the story.
Except, he clearly hadn"t informed anyone of his plans to slip out of there before he was discharged.
Fortunately, I"d decided to monitor the hospital as soon as I"d arrived in San Francisco, but that was mostly because I wasn"t very good at sitting still" not anymore, anyway.
Because sitting still meant thinking and thinking always led me back to places I didn"t want to go" to places I wasn"t ready to go. Too much shit had gone on in the past six months.
The skin along my arms tingled like it always did now, and not in a good way. But like the pain in my back, I ignored the sensation and focused on the here and now. I allowed my eyes to close and waited for the noise in my head to settle so I could concentrate on the one thing that made it possible for me to keep putting one foot in front of the other" both figuratively and literally.
The pain faded to the background, as did the din of traffic and the chatter of the few people who moved past me on the city sidewalk several blocks away from the hospital"s emergency room entrance.
Where would you go"
My mind conjured up the image of the man in the photograph I"d been given when I"d been assigned this job. The guy had been so bruised that I hadn"t been able to make out much about his features as he"d lain sleeping in his hospital bed, but for some reason, I"d still felt a strange stirring in my belly when I"d opened the picture. I"d gotten his basic stats after my group"s tech wizard had hacked Ben"s medical records, but all they"d provided were the man"s general description, height, weight, and outline of his injuries.
What I"d really needed to see were his eyes.
If my childhood hadn"t taught me the concept of how a person could say one thing but mean another, my stint in the military sure as shit would have. Sadly, it had taken me far too long as a kid to figure out all the people who"d clamored for my attention hadn"t had any actual interest in me but had only been seeking access to my powerful father.