Hot Velocity(7)

By: Elle James

“Ex-wife,” Sierra repeated. “The divorce has been final for months. I have the signed copy to prove it.”

“Not in my mind.” Clay turned toward Sierra, his gaze boring into hers, his hands tightening into fists. “I never would have signed that paper if the judge hadn’t threatened to throw me in jail.”

Sierra planted her fists on her hips. “Yeah, well, it’s done, legal and final. I’m not going back to you. I have a life now. And it doesn’t include you.”

Clay shot a look at Big Guy. “But it includes him? What? Is he your new boyfriend?”

Sierra lifted her chin. “If he was, it’s none of your business.”

Clay’s eyes narrowed and he studied Big Guy. “So, you ditched me to hop in bed with him?”

“If she did, it has nothing to do with you.” Big Guy crossed his arms over his massive chest and stood with his feet braced slightly apart, like a conquering warrior. “What she does is her own business.”

Sierra’s heart fluttered. By all appearances, Big Guy was a man’s man. He didn’t need to push a woman around to make himself feel big. He was larger than life and, at that moment, a hero in her eyes.

“Yeah, well, you can’t be everywhere she is.” Clay faced her. “I’ll see you when your boyfriend isn’t around.”

Sierra’s cheeks heated at Clay’s reference to the stranger being her boyfriend. She figured now wasn’t the time to correct him. Perhaps if Clay thought the guy who’d kicked his butt was her boyfriend, he’d be less likely to target her. “Just leave me alone, Clay.”

“You belong to me,” her ex said. “No hulking ape takes what’s mine.”

“Okay, buddy.” Big Guy gripped Clay’s arm and marched him toward his truck. “I can take a man swinging at me and I can take some verbal abuse, but when you start calling me a hulking ape, I draw the line.” He opened the door and shoved Clay into the driver’s seat. “Leave my girlfriend alone, or you’ll be reckoning with me.” Then he slammed the door and stepped clear of the truck.

Sierra held her breath, fully expecting Clay to push the truck into gear and run Big Guy over.

Clay lowered his window and yelled, “It ain’t over.”

“Oh, yes, it is.” Brenda Larson stepped out of the building with a phone in her hands. “The sheriff is on his way.”

Clay slammed his truck into Reverse and backed up so fast, his tires spit up gravel. He swung around and left the parking lot and Sierra in stunned silence.

Brenda waved. “Gotta get back to my babies.”

“Go. I’ll get the kids inside.” Sierra waved toward her friend. Brenda ducked back inside, leaving Sierra with Big Guy and the thirteen crying children, clutching her legs.

“Are you all right?” her hero asked, turning his full attention to her. He had reddish-brown hair, cut high and tight like a military man, and his eyes could have been brown or green depending on the way he turned his head toward the sunshine.

Sierra gulped and tried to remember his question. “Uh, yes. I’m okay.” She rubbed her arm absently.

“Did he hurt you? You know, you can file a report.” The man closed the distance between them and took her hand, his face darkening. “He did hurt you.”

Sierra stared down at the bruises forming on her arm. She pulled against his grip. “I’m fine. Right now, I need to get these children calm and inside.”

Eloisa sobbed against her leg, clutching Sierra so tightly, she couldn’t move without knocking the little girl over.

Several of the children who couldn’t get close enough to Sierra turned to Big Guy and wrapped their arms around his legs, crying.

Sierra laughed and gulped back a ready sob. “I’m sorry. But it seems we are trapped by a handful of toddlers.” She held out her hand, forcing herself to sound normal and upbeat, putting a game face on for the children. “I’m Sierra Daniels. And you are?”

“Apparently, I’m your boyfriend.” His lips curled into a sexy smile that nearly bowled her over. “Rex Trainor. My friends call me T-Rex.”

Sierra raised her brows. “As in the dinosaur?”

He nodded. “That’s right.” He engulfed her hand with his big one.

Warmth flowed all the way up her arm and into her chest. “Thank you for coming to my rescue... T-Rex.” She glanced down at the toddlers. “Okay, gang, the show’s over and everybody’s okay. Let’s go play in the gym.”

“I want my mommy,” Eloisa wailed. Sierra lifted her small body and settled the redhead on her hip.

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