Hot Velocity(6)

By: Elle James

“Okay, now you’re talking boring. I practically fell asleep as you talked about it.” Gunny laughed. “Just kidding. Sounds like you’re having to do a little sleuthing. That could be interesting.”

T-Rex had to admit, after all they’d been through in the few weeks he’d been in Grizzly Pass, the need to resolve the open issues had crawled beneath his skin and stuck with him. “It’s all part of figuring out who’s behind the problems they’ve had lately in this little backwater town.”

“I thought you caught the guy.”

“We caught some of the guys we think were involved. But not the one who had enough money to purchase a couple crates full of AR-15 rifles for distribution. Nor have we found those missing rifles.”

“You think you have something bigger going on? Wow. You are in up to your eyeballs.”

“Maybe. Or maybe we’re marking time. If someone is truly out there planning a takeover of a government facility, they might be lying low until the Department of Homeland Security releases us military augmentees. Then they’ll do their damage.”

T-Rex turned onto the street that would lead him to the Grizzly Pass Community Center and the County Records office. As he pulled into the parking lot, he noted a truck, with a mashed front fender, parked at an odd angle, taking up more than its share of the available parking spaces. But that wasn’t all. A man was dragging a woman by the hair toward the truck. By the expression on her face, she wasn’t at all happy about it.

“Gunny, I gotta go.” Without waiting to hear his friend’s response, he dropped the cell phone into the cup holder, slammed the shift into Park and slid out of the truck, his hands balling into fists. Nothing made him madder than witnessing a man abusing a woman.

* * *

SIERRA STRAINED HER NECK, trying to get Clay to release his hold on her hair. “Let go of me. I have a job to do. I have children to take care of.”

“You have a husband to take care of, and you’re not doing it here.”

“We. Aren’t. Married,” she said through gritted teeth. The pain of having her hair pulled so hard brought tears to her eyes.

A loud crack sounded behind Sierra.

Clay grunted and dropped to the ground, taking her with him.

Sierra fell to her backside. Clay’s hand loosened its hold on her hair. She rolled to the side, bunched her legs and shot to her feet, putting several feet between her and Clay before she looked back and came to a complete stop.

Clay lay on the ground, his hand clamped over his cheek.

A big man with massive shoulders and an iron jaw loomed over Clay.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” Clay demanded.

The big guy growled. Literally growled. “Your worst nightmare if you lay another finger on that woman.”

Sierra watched in wonder. The children gathered around her legs, clinging to her, shaking in their fright.

“I’ll do whatever the hell I want,” Clay said. “That woman’s my wife.”

“Ex-wife,” Sierra reminded him.

“I don’t care if she’s your great-aunt Sue.” The man poked a finger at Clay. “If you ever lay another hand on her, you’ll have to reckon with me. Do. You. Understand?”

“I don’t have to take this.” Clay rolled to his feet and came up swinging.

The big guy ducked and, in one smooth uppercut, popped Clay in the chin, knocking him to the ground again. This time, Clay lay for a moment, blinking. “I’ll kill you for that.”

“Big talk for a man who can only seem to push women around.”

Clay rubbed his bruised chin. “You gonna let me get up?”

“You gonna apologize to the lady?” He tipped his head toward Sierra.

Her ex-husband’s lip curled into a snarl. “Ain’t got nothin’ to apologize for. She’s the one who walked out on me.”

The big guy shot a glance at Sierra. “Seems to me she had reason.”

“That’s a load of bull.” Clay started to rise.

Big Guy pushed his foot into Clay’s chest. “Not until you apologize.”

Clay’s cheeks burned a ruddy red and a muscle ticked in his jaw.

Sierra held her breath. She’d never seen Clay apologize for anything.

“I’m sorry,” Clay said, his voice tight and angry, not apologetic in the least.

“Say it like you mean it,” Big Guy warned, his fist clenching.

The color deepened in Clay’s cheeks and his lips formed a thin line. “Fine. I’m sorry,” he said, his tone measured, softer this time, but just as tight, the anger simmering between the surface.

Big Guy stepped back.

Clay rolled over, pushed to his hands and knees and staggered to an upright position, glaring at the man. “Who the hell are you anyway? And don’t give me that crap about being my worst nightmare. What makes you think you can get in between me and my wife?”

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