I had her once. Or at least I thought I did. But that was a long time ago. Before prison. Before I became the Butcher. Seeing her now shouldn"t make me feel anything. It"s been too long. She forgot about me as soon as I was sent away. But all those truths can"t break the connection that links me to my Angel. No matter how hard I try, I"m still drawn to her, damned to want her even though she"s promised to another man. Being assigned to serve as her bodyguard is a torture so ingenious that I have to respect it. If I don"t deliver her to the altar, my life is forfeit to the Genoa family. But if I do, losing her again may kill me surer than a hitman’s bullet.
Author’s Note: This is the third novel in the Dark Protector world, David Raven’s story,
and a standaloneBooks in Series:Protector Series by Celia AaronBooks by Author:Celia Aaron Books
The assassin"s head came off with gratifying ease. His body fell at my feet, blood spurting from his neck where I"d just sawed through it.
"Just hand her over!" A yell from below pulled a low, rusty laugh from me, and I slung the severed head down the stairwell, listening as it thunked down the steps and elicited panicked shouts on the first floor.
"Come and get her." For extra fun, I kicked the body through the railing. It fell cleanly, landing with a hard thud at the very bottom of the five stories. More shouts, some of them indicating I"d crushed another one of Blanco"s goons.
"David!" Angel"s worried yell had me backing away toward the door. "I think they"re in the elevator shaft."
"Fuck." I followed her into the hallway, slammed the door, and rushed toward the apartment where we"d been holed up. Voices and metallic clangs told me she was right about the elevator shaft. I"d destroyed the wire that hauled the carriage with some well-placed shots, but Blanco had sent a swarm of men to this building, some of them suicidal enough to try Spider-manning their way up the metal walls.
"Get inside." I pointed toward the apartment. "Stay close to the door." I pulled a pistol from the back of my pants. "Hang onto this. You see anything, you shoot. Don"t hesitate. They won"t."
"Okay." She nodded hard, determination in her eyes. "I"m not going back. I won"t let them""
Grabbing a fistful of her shirt, I yanked her to me. "You aren"t going anywhere." I kissed her hard, the only way I ever knew how. She clung to me as I wrapped my other arm around her waist and bent her back. At my mercy, the way I liked her.
Her tongue tangled with mine as the sounds from the elevator shaft grew louder. The guys on the stairs wouldn"t be far behind. But I kissed her a little longer, reminding her who"d had her first, who would have her forever.
She bit my bottom lip, giving as good as she got. We warred for only a second more before I released her and shoved her toward the door.
"Wait for me, Angel." I dug my fingers into the crack of the elevator doors and pushed them open, then aimed my other pistol down into the darkness.
A single yell. "He"s going to""
Then I opened fire, only peeking over the edge once I knew they were pissing themselves from the rain of bullets. I picked off two of the remaining climbers with ease, but the third dropped into the elevator carriage. I aimed through the panel of the roof right at where I suspected he was. He fell when the thunder of my bullet rang out in the enclosed space. Head shot.
Feet pounded on the stairs.
Angel had the apartment door wedged open with a lamp base. "They"re coming."
I reloaded. "Wait for me."
Angel met my gaze before raising her gun and plastering herself to the wall just inside the entryway. "I"ll always wait for you."
"That"s my girl." I fired at the stairway door as it flew open and banged into the wall. Two bodies dropped, maybe three.
More men were coming, and I didn"t have enough bullets for all of them. But I"d shoot until I was out, then go hand-to-hand for as long as I could.
An unexpected shot from the apartment had me running for Angel. I burst in, but she wasn"t against the wall.
"Angel!" I hurtled through the chaos as more shots rang out behind me.
"Back up, motherfucker." Jorge held Angel in front of him, his gun to her temple. "Or I"ll waste her just for fun and tell Blanco you did it. Drop the guns."
Everything inside me went cold.
"Don"t!" Angel"s wide eyes implored me.
But I wouldn"t let her down again. Wouldn"t leave her. Would never fail to save her if I could.
"No!" Her scream fractured my heart as I let my guns fall to the floor.
Jorge turned his barrel on me, his finger on the trigger and a grin on his scarred face.
Five Years Ago
"I saw her again." I stripped off my bloodied t-shirt and threw it into the pile of dirty clothes at the foot of my cot.
Peter sat up, the sleep fading from his eyes in a snap. "Where""
I sank onto the cot, the dingy fabric groaning under my weight. Though I was only sixteen, I was bigger than most grown men I came across. A good thing"my size had its perks. I pulled a wad of cash from my pocket and tossed it to my brother.
He caught it and whistled low. "Nice." He leaned over, the space between our cots just big enough for him to put his feet on the ground. "But what"s the damage" And tell me more about her."
Greed roared through my veins, and I wished I hadn"t led with the news of my mystery girl. The glimpses I"d had of her over the past six months were like little jewels, ones I kept stumbling across, collecting, and treasuring whenever things grew quiet.