Authors: Teresa Gabelman
Copyright 2014 Teresa Gabelman
All rights reserved. The right of Teresa Gabelman to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This is a work of fiction and any resemblance between the characters and persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Gabelman, Teresa (2014-30-12). SLADE (THE PROTECTORS SERIES).
Hot Tree Editing
Cover Art: Ron Gabelman
As I’ve said many times, an author never writes a story alone.
I would like to thank all the readers for their loyalty, understanding and patience. I wish I could thank each one of you personally, but know that you are all in my heart.
There are so many I would like to thank, but I’m always afraid of leaving someone out. To everyone who has read, blogged, shared or just friended me in the book world, I thank you. I do have to thank two people who during this book helped me tremendously. Donna Bossert, your honesty and friendship means so much to me. Thank you for your endless hours of looking for the perfect alpha hottie to go on the cover of this book. I know it was much to ask from you and the work was tiresome looking through countless pictures of sexy men. I would also like to thank Becky Johnson, who I know screams, and not in a good way, when she begins her edits on my books. You were the first to actually believe in me, other than my friend, Kelly Perkins, and my family. Thank you for that, Becky. It will never be forgotten and I promise to ease up on my comma killing ways, and I really mean it this time.
Slade Buchanan shuffled through his small office doing his best not to trip over boxes scattered across the floor. Finally making it to his desk, he stood glaring at more boxes piled on top of it. It took every ounce of will power he had not to swipe his large hand across, knocking the clutter from his desk. Inside any one of these boxes could lay the key to halt the turning of humans into half-breeds; that in itself stopped him from knocking stuff out of his way in an attempt to find his damn desk.
Things were getting more complicated by the day and the heavy burden weighed on his shoulders. He knew everyone was looking to him for answers, answers he didn’t have and that pissed him off. He never failed; he refused to fail at anything.
Grabbing his keys that lay among the mess, he made one giant leap to the door instead of carefully maneuvering his way around the boxes. Once out of the room, he slammed the door, locking it behind him. He had to get the hell out of here. The death of the male half-breed who had attacked Jill had him stumped, as did everything else since he had come to Cincinnati.
Once outside, he headed toward his bike, but the sound of a female cursing caught his attention. Making his way past Adam’s car, he was not surprised to see Jill’s jean-clad legs sticking out of the driver’s side door as she lay half in and half out under Adam’s dashboard.
Slade stared for a few seconds then looked toward his bike. Rubbing his large hand down his face, he sighed, wondering if he really wanted to know what she was doing. Since meeting this fascinating woman, he knew the answer to that. He did want to know, and wasn’t that just a bitch. With one last longing glance at his bike, he shook his head.
“Dammit!” Jill’s voice, low and muffled, made it to his ears clear as if she was standing right in front of him.
He watched as she scooted further under the dashboard of Adam’s car, her shoes digging into the gravel to give her leverage as her shirt rose, showing more of her stomach than he wanted to see. Okay, that was a fucking lie. He’d give his left nut to see her before him completely naked. He’d seen that body once and once was definitely not enough.
“Come on, you piece of crap…start!” she cursed again, bringing him out of his hot fantasy of unsnapping those tight jeans and taking her right there, which sent urgent warnings to his brain to walk the fuck away.
“What the hell are you doing?” There it was. He couldn’t pull the words back into his mouth. His mouth and brain were on totally different levels.
Her whole body went still as a few seconds of silence passed. “Nothing,” she finally replied, her tone clearly indicating she knew she was busted.
Slade walked closer, putting his forearm on the roof of the car and leaning down slightly so their eyes could meet. “Looks to me like you’re trying to hot-wire Adam’s car, again.” When she sucked her bottom lip between her teeth, he knew she knew he had her. He watched as she wiggled her way from under the dashboard. He tried to keep his eyes on her face, but his eyes said ‘fuck you’ as they traveled the length of her slender, toned body, which was wrapped in a pair of old faded blue jeans and a black sleeveless tee that fit snugly against her.
“Okay, you caught me.” She stood, brushing her jeans off before slamming the car door. “Stupid piece of junk.”
A small grin tipped his lips. “He probably disabled the ignition coil boot to keep you from stealing his car.”
Jill glanced toward the hood of the car with a frown. “That asshole,” she mumbled before looking back at Slade. “And I wasn’t stealing it. I was borrowing it.”
“It’s easier to ask for the keys when borrowing someone’s car.” Slade didn’t know what it was, but goading her seemed to be something he couldn’t stop himself from doing and goading women wasn’t something he normally did.
Jill glared up at him with a frown. “Yeah, well, he wouldn’t give me his keys if I begged him.” Sticking her hands in her back pockets, she glanced down at the ground. “He doesn’t think I’m a good driver, which he’s totally wrong about. I’m a good driver, but he’s so anal about his
piece of junk.”
“Most guys are,” Slade replied, then grinned when she made a snorting noise. He turned to walk toward his bike. “Stop hot-wiring cars, Jill. Sid never should have shown you how to do that.”
Slade’s steps slowed at the defeated tone in her reply. “Just keep walking, Buchanan,” he mumbled to himself, but his legs stopped and his body turned toward her as his mind laughed…
He watched as she stood, staring at the car as if still trying to figure out how to get it to start. She wasn’t going to give up getting to where she needed to go.
“What’s an ignition coil boot?” She turned toward him, surprise shining from her eyes when she realized he had stopped and was staring at her.
Slade cursed at the question. If anything, she was damn persistent and he wouldn’t put it past her to steal it off someone else’s car to put on Adam’s just to spite Adam. “Where do you need to go?”
Before she could answer, Adam burst out the door heading toward his car. “Oh, hell no! Get away from my car!” He stopped in front of Jill, hands on his hips.
“I’m not touching your piece of junk,” Jill hissed, throwing her hands on her hips, mocking him, before she looked down at his hand. “Is that the ignition coil….thing?”
“Ah ha!” Adam shouted, pointing the ignition coil in her face. “I knew it. I told you to stay away from my car. You don’t have a license, which is a favor to mankind since you can’t drive worth a damn.”
“You don’t have a license?” Slade walked closer, watching the exchange, his eyes focusing intently on Jill.
“No, she doesn’t,” Adam answered for her. “And that is one of the big reasons she is to stay away from my car.”
Slade watched embarrassment color her cheeks and he knew exactly the reason why she didn’t have her driver’s license. She couldn’t pass the test because of her dyslexia. “Come on.” Their eyes met before he turned to walk away.
“Where we going?” Jill caught up to him, stopping when they reached his bike.
Swinging his leg over his bike, he sat staring straight ahead with a fierce scowl, wondering when the hell he became so fucking nice. “To get a study book for your driving test and then wherever you needed to go in a stolen car.”
“I’ve got one.” She looked away, shifting uncomfortably. “And I can do what I needed to do another day. It’s no big deal.”
Slade knew she was lying. She was determined to go somewhere. He was the biggest dumbass in the history of dumbasses to want to know where she was going. Jesus, he needed to fuck someone and soon because this little slip of a girl was going to drive him insane. For a split second his mind played out him fucking Jill, and he almost ripped the handlebars clean off his bike.
“Get on the damn bike.” His demand was sneered with clenched teeth, his eyes narrowed.
Looking as if she wanted to argue, Jill did the safe thing and climbed on the back of the bike. “Since you asked so nicely,” she responded sarcastically as she shifted herself behind him.
Her body wiggling against him caused a growl low in his throat. His eyes closed tightly in an attempt to control himself. “Where?” When she didn’t answer, Slade opened his eyes, tilting his head toward her. “Jill,” he warned, his voice indicating he was not in the mood.
“My dad had a heart attack. I need to see him.” She didn’t say anything more, but without looking at her, he knew the conflict she was feeling. He could actually feel it radiating off her.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He started the bike, waiting for her answer.
“I just found out,” she finally replied and he felt her shrug. “Even though I know I won’t be welcomed there, I need to make sure he’s okay. I haven’t seen him since…”
She didn’t finished. She didn’t have to. He knew. She hadn’t seen her family since she’d been turned and kicked out of her home. He was the one who sat in the hospital when she had been shot, filling out her paperwork because her family refused to have anything to do with her. And for her to want to see a father, who pretty much wrote her off, told him more than anything could about who Jillian Robin Nichols really was.
Instead of finishing her sentence, she directed him which way to drive from the compound. He tried not to respond as her hands grasped him tighter to keep herself steady behind him. Trying to block her out, he let loose and pushed his bike. With the added speed, he felt her excitement behind him as if it was his own. Jesus, he was in trouble. Pulling to a stop at a red light, he felt her shift behind him as a car pulled up beside them.
“Hey, good-looking,” a woman’s voice flirted over the rumble of his bike. Slade tilted his head slightly looking at the blonde through his dark sunglasses. She was pretty, but he knew her type and didn’t have time, plus blondes suddenly didn’t appeal to him as much. With a short nod, he turned to look straight ahead.
“Why don’t you let your little brother off at the next light so you and me can grab a drink.” She smiled innocently, her friend in the driver’s seat laughing loudly.
Slade didn’t have to turn to look at Jill to feel the anger and tension trembling through her body. He continued to ignore the woman and wondered if the damn light was stuck on red. Before he could do anything, he caught a glimpse of Jill’s hand raise in his side mirror. Just as the light turned green, the woman’s head smashed into the dashboard. Jill’s snort reached his ears.
The woman’s hand flew up to her forehead, then away checking for blood. Jill laughed louder. “Seatbelts save lives, Blondie.”
Slade had slipped his sunglasses up and was glaring at Jill in the side mirror, yet he couldn’t help the curve of his lips at how quick her triumphant face turned innocent. “Been practicing?” He cocked one eyebrow.
She shrugged, trying to hide her grin. “A little.” She glanced away, then back. “The light’s green.”
With one last long look at Jill, he slipped his sunglasses back into position and took off. As they passed the blonde woman, he glimpsed at her looking in the mirror at her forehead, an expression of horror and embarrassment coloring her face. His deep laugh was drowned out by the roar of his bike speeding onto the interstate.