Hot Velocity(4)

By: Elle James

He raised his free hand as if to strike her.

Sierra braced herself, but wouldn’t flinch. There had been a time she’d cowered when he’d raised his hand to her. But not anymore. She’d learned the hard way that she had rights, and she didn’t have to take abuse from any man.

The children clung to her, their eyes wide, scared. Eloisa sobbed loudly into the smooth linen of Sierra’s tan slacks. Once Eloisa started, the other children sensed her distress and joined the squall.

“Shut up!” Clay yelled.

For a moment, all the children stopped crying and then, as if the spigot had been opened full blast, they all screamed and cried like a dozen caterwauling cats in a back-alley fight.

Clay yanked her out of the center of the noise and dragged her toward his truck.

Sierra dug her feet into the dirt and resisted with all of her might. “Let go of me. I’m not going with you.”

“The hell you aren’t,” he said. “You belong to me.”

“I belong to no man.” She clawed at the meaty hand gripping her wrist like a vise. “I have a restraining order against you.”

“No one’s going to honor it. Everyone knows you’re my wife.”

“Ex-wife. What part of divorce don’t you understand?” She couldn’t let him get her into his truck. Sierra couldn’t go back to this man. He was a bully, a cheater and a monster. “Let go of me, or I’ll scream.”

“Scream. Only those brats will hear you.” He snorted. “You expect them to come to your rescue?”

“I don’t need anyone to rescue me.” She stopped leaning back against his hold on her and let him pull her close. When she was in range, she stomped hard on his instep and raised her knee hard against his crotch.

Clay bellowed and bent double, clutching the area she’d injured. But he didn’t release his grip on her wrist.

Sierra’s fingers were growing numb, and the kids behind her were hysterical. She had to do something to stop this madness. But what? Clay was bigger, stronger and meaner than she was. He’d demonstrated that over and over again. She had the scars to prove it.

“Please, Clay, you’re scaring the children. Let me get them into the building. When I’m done, I’ll go with you.”

“Yeah, right.” He grunted and straightened. “You expect me to believe you?”

“I will. Cross my heart.” She held up her hand as if she were swearing in front of a jury, something she’d had to do in order to convince a judge she’d been abused and needed out.

“No way.” He turned and dragged her closer to his truck.

“You can’t leave them standing outside. They might get lost in the woods. They’re just children.”

“Like the kids you wouldn’t give me? Why the hell should I care?”

“I wanted children. I tried,” she said. “You can’t blame our problems on these little ones.”

“They aren’t mine. I don’t give a crap what happens to them.”

When he set his mind on something, there was no stopping the man. He’d refused to listen to reason when they were married. What made Sierra think he would listen now?

Using another one of the techniques she’d learned in her recent self-defense class, she twisted her wrist, jerked her arm downward and broke free of Clay’s hold. Free at last, she spun and ran. She hadn’t gone two feet when a hand clamped on her hair and yanked her backward.

Sierra screamed and stumbled backward. The children screamed, as well. She could see them standing there, terrified and confused. It made her mad enough she could have spit nails, and all the more determined to free herself of the madman she’d once promised to love, honor and cherish.

“Well, it goes both ways. And you didn’t live up to your part of the bargain,” she muttered, twisted and turned, attempting to get away. But short of letting him rip chunks of her hair out of her head, she was caught.

Chapter Three

A persistent ringing grated on T-Rex’s nerves. He didn’t like to look away from the road when he was driving, so he waited until he pulled to a stop sign before glancing at his cell phone.


The name on the screen made his heart tighten. The man had gotten out of that Afghan village alive, barely. He hadn’t lost his life, but he’d lost so much more. “Hey, Gunny, how’s that baby?”

“Great. I got to hold him today. With a little help.”

T-Rex swallowed hard before saying, “That’s great, man.”

“Did I tell you that I’m getting some of the feeling back in my fingers?”

“No kidding?”

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