Promises Part 4
Series: The Bounty Hunters
Genre: M/M Romance/Action
Length: 392 pages
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Edited by: Sue Laybourn
Men found him attractive, interesting even. He was like a fascinating experiment gone wrong that men liked to investigate. He’d get a date - or two, if he was lucky - but it wasn’t long before Brian’s darkness showed, and the men were running from him.
Brian King was honorably discharged from the United States Navy five years ago. He’d left with the highest honors a man can receive in his country, but he’d paid the ultimate price to earn them. He was considered one of the best; an Intelligence Officer in a Joint Special Operations Delta team that’d been a twelve-man wrecking crew. They’d thought they were invincible… until they weren’t. Brian was the only member that survived the ambush. He survived ten months of pain, of torture, only to emerge on the other side a warrior. A POW survivor. He’d returned home with all his limbs, his right mind, and with his only brother Ford, at his side. But, one thing had been lost, maybe for good… his voice.
Now, being a bounty hunter is Brian’s only means to satisfy his need to calculate, track, and capture. His only outlet to the stress caused by his silence. He was good at what he did. But, all work and no play for a forty-four year old man was taking its toll. Brian wasn’t a faulty experiment. He missed companionship, he missed communicating. So, when he met Sway Hamilton – in the most unconventional means – he’d been surprised at his special way of understanding Brian’s every look… and touch.
Sway grew up in the rough part of ATL, trailing behind his twin brother Stanton and his best friend, Dana. He and his brother had a bond only twins could understand. So when Stanton’s life was taken during their sophomore year in college, Sway didn’t think he’d ever recover. He finally finished school, got his masters in nursing, worked hard, and focused on taking care of his mother. However, Sway knew there was more to life than heartache, and caring for others. There had to be. But he didn’t know what any of those things were until he met a dark hunter that blew his mind… and the intense man had never uttered a single word.
Brian and Sway can feel the powerful connection between them. It was there from the start—but both of them have battled with loss and anguish for so long, neither understand that love can ease all of it. Do they have the courage to battle through it together? Sway has to learn to trust in love, and Brian has to believe that Sway will always understand him even if he never speaks again.
Sway held him tight around his neck, “I don’t need you to talk, Brian. I can hear you just fine,” Sway whispered softly, kissing his throat.
This novel is a part of a series but can be read as a standalone. No cliffhangers.
Trigger Warning: This story contains acts of bond recovery agent violence. Mention of war zones and descriptions of war prisoners. This story DOES NOT contain overly-described acts of torture.
The air was brisk for a January night. Street lights barely worked in this neighborhood, which was optimal setup for hunters like him. Brian stealthily eased his tall frame back into the shadows on the side of the house while his team got into position. Duke’s Bail Bonds and Recoveries had the best fugitive recovery team on the east coast, hell could be the best in the country at this point. They’d outsourced to taking private contracts, hiring Duke and his squad of trackers to recover for other bond companies whose clients chose to skip court and jump bail.
Brian liked working for Duke. It satisfied his need to track, investigate… be useful. Like he’d been in the Special Forces. Duke was a solid guy. He ran a tough ship, but he was fair and they had each other’s backs, always.
Brian pressed his body against the crumbling, vinyl siding, his heavy boots sinking into the soft earth as he made himself invisible. His job was to listen, survey, observe, and he was damn good at it. He’d been watching the small single-family home on Wisteria Lane for almost two weeks straight. He didn’t mind all the extra hours, or the overtime pay. What else in his life was more important? Nothing. He was one of the only hunters left on their team who had no life. No significant other. Nothing home waiting for him except lots of lifeless rooms, an empty fridge and an even emptier bed. So, he didn’t mind pulling the grunt work. Besides his older brother, Ford, there wasn’t a better tracker and profiler than him.
“The rear is all clear.”
Brian heard his brother’s deep voice in his ear right before the Alpha team sounded off that they were ‘a go’ too. The next sound Brian registered was Duke’s right-hand man, Quick, kicking in the front door while his brother and his partner Dana stormed through the back. The explosion of the door frame, coupled with a stun grenade thrown into the open space just past the door, tried to yank him back to a real battle zone… the war zone. He blinked past the horrific images that flashed before him like the opening sequence of a Marvel movie. So many of them trying to bombard him. He wouldn’t let his mind take him there, he still had a small amount of control over it. Instead he gritted his teeth and listened through the coms for all background noise. There was a lot to cypher through. Men’s curses, women’s screams and his team’s angrily barked commands.
His intelligence was accurate, like always. Inside were two men, three women and their bail-jumper. No elderly, no children. Brian caught a visual and he hadn’t moved in four hours to confirm he had his guy before he called the team in. As he watched from the darkness, Dana and Ford emerged with the two guys their jumper had been using on the streets as his eyes and ears. They were hired yuppies that didn’t know the first thing about being a good lookout. If they did, then his team wouldn’t be about to make another successful bail recovery.
Brian watched his teammates closely, while keeping his ear to the ground, listening to Duke and Quick, who were still inside. Phony screams from the women could be heard up the block, begging the hunters dressed in all black and leather to leave, that no one else was inside.
“Clear… Clear… Clear…. Both bedrooms clear… Bathroom clear, too.”
“Brian, we got nothing in here.” Duke grumbled, sounding pissed as hell through the connection.
Brian frowned. Their bounty was definitely in that house.
“We got nothing but two, low-end thugs, and a group of howling females.” Quick fumed. “That will not shut the fuck up! Be quiet, please!”
It only made them yell louder.
Keep looking. Brian’s jaw tightened as he replayed the last forty-eight hours in his head. There were no side entrances, basements, or an attic, at least not in any of the county blueprints he’d researched. He could hear Duke still bitching and stomping through the rooms.
“We’ll leave as soon as Demarcus comes out.” Duke growled over the women’s protest.
The jumper’s girlfriend was good at lying. They’d questioned her too many times before on Demarcus’ whereabouts and she never knew anything; only for him to turn up at her house an hour later. Now, Duke had had Brian sitting on this one until he had concrete confirmation. He didn’t call until he did. Brian was not going to look like a fool.
“Where is he? Get him in here.” Duke barked. He must’ve been talking to Ford, but Brian didn’t need his big brother to come get him, he was already at the front door.
Brian’s dark eyes took in everything from the various footprints etched into the filthy wood flooring, to the cracks in the ceiling. He missed nothing. The crisp winter air broke through the stench of dirty dishes and stale food. His team was quiet when he walked in. No one spoke. The women’s eyes bugged at the first sight of him as he ducked to clear the hanging, damaged frame that was once the front door. Brian was in just as much black as the rest of them. Dark camo pants and a jet-black turtleneck beneath his long black leather coat. It stopped just below his knees to conceal the multiple weapons he carried for his protection.
Once inside, Brian immediately understood Quick’s frustration with the females and their screams. The yelling was annoying, distracting and quite unladylike. Brian cast his dark brows down and turned to glare at their jumper’s girl. Her hazel eyes were red from the tears and her hair was up in a messy bun on her head as if she hadn’t cared to do much with it lately. She looked tired… fed up. Brian could tell she knew exactly where her guy was hiding. He had no time for this bullshit.
“Don’t you hurt her! I swear it. I’ll kill you, bastard. She doesn’t know where Demarcus is, none of us do! She…we just wanna be left alone.”
Brian let her words register. The girlfriend’s bestie was boldly coming to her defense. Standing up to a man who looked like Brian, all to protect her….
That’s it. Damn, didn’t see that one right away.
The bestie’ was a lot more than just a friend, or at least she wanted to be. Brian halted his movements in front of the girlfriend and turned his eyes on the woman with bigger balls then he’d seen on soldiers. She held her ground, protecting who was important to her; at least she did up until Brian was in front of her. No one liked his focus on them.
Brian was a master at piecing clues together and he was reading this female as easily as he could a Dr. Seuss book. Just maybe this gutsy broad wanted Demarcus out of her way so she could step in and be the one to provide Demarcus’ girl with all the special company and comforting she’d need when his ass was back in jail, this time with no bond. Yeah. She was the angle he needed to work.
The third girl was radio silent. Smart. She stared straight ahead, almost afraid to blink. Although the door was still wide open, the third girl was sweating as if she was on her way to death row. If they were telling the truth, they had no reason to be afraid. Brian didn’t stop his advance until he was standing right on top of the woman, looking down on her smaller body, and wild black hair. He thought it was supposed to be an afro, but one side was flat as a pancake making her look like Gumby.
Brian hadn’t so much as uttered a sound. He just watched.
“You can’t keep us here like this. I want to see your goddamn warrant.” Guts snarled.
Brian began to slowly bring his hand up. Before he could even get it midway, all the screaming and screeching came to a halt. Guts’ teeth clicked shut with a hard snap. Even the silent one had turned away.
Brian brought his muscular arm up – the leather creaking under the stretch of the material— until his thick, pointer finger was over his lips. He made no sound, no air, no breaths. Just a gesture of an instruction. She’d be wise to follow it. And she did.
“Final warning. Where is he?” Ford growled, standing directly behind Brian. His brother stepping in with his powerful voice to say what he couldn’t. A voice that Brian wished he —
“Answer.” Duke barked, his patience waning.
This sound he knew. A lot of people didn’t understand the power of silence, but Brian did. He tilted his head, then inched in even tighter. Brian knew how to intimidate with his six-foot three-inch bulk when he needed to. He didn’t like to make women feel trapped or in trouble, but these women would be if they didn’t confess soon. Harboring a fugitive was a crime. His team did have a warrant and the papers for Demarcus’ revoked bond from the court, with a capias for his arrest. He hoped all three made the right decisions. Going to jail for some illegal gun-selling, dirt bag wasn’t worth it.
Most likely the girlfriend wouldn’t blab, and the third girl looked like she’d probably piss herself if Brian stood in front of her. Then he saw it. The unconscious, subtle shift in gutsy girl’s pupils to something on the floor. He’d caught the slip-up before she’d even realized she’d done it. That was his specialty. He was a master at piecing clues together. Brian whipped his head around and stared at the mess. Clothes, pizza boxes, beer bottles, shot glasses, and some joint butts were scattered around but nothing else. Then something out of place made Brian narrow his eyes. It was the newish-looking four by six area rug in the corner, just before the hallway that led to the empty bedrooms. It made no sense being there. The most decorative thing in that crappy house was a faded patchwork quilt that had been thrown over the tattered, heather gray loveseat. Brian was no decorator, but he could see that there was absolutely no need for an out-of-place, cheetah print, throw rug.
Brian turned and moved over to the corner, signaling for his team to get in position. Brian reached behind his back and pulled out his own chrome and black, forty-five. He held the felt grip in an easy hold, his finger hovering just over the trigger. He peeled back the rug with the tip of his boot, revealing a just-built hidden door.
Son of a bitch.
“Where does this lead?!” Duke yelled in the girlfriend’s face, his own black Glock pointed at the trap door.
“Nowhere. It wasn’t able to get finished.” Guts spoke up, ignoring the girlfriend’s betrayed look. “Get him and take him out of here. I’m finished with the hiding.”
Brian waited for his brother and Dana to clear the petty thugs and the females out of the room—just in case Demarcus came out swinging. One final stand. Brian counted down three fingers before he flipped the door open fast with a quick jerk, the thick wood slamming back against the floor. Quick was right there with his flash light nestled along his Sig, aiming it into the darkness. The hole was shallow and moist, their bounty’s five-foot-nine frame pressed as flat to the dirt wall as he could get. He looked like he wanted to meld into the soil. His face was dirty and caked with grime, his eyes blown wide with determination and fear.
“I’m not going back to jail.” Their bounty choked out.
“Give it a minute to sink in. Because you’re going back…now.” Duke answered, looking around the eerie hideaway. “This was smart, Demarcus, you almost fooled us. But not quite smart enough.”
Quick nodded. “Yep. It’s way too damp down there to build a tunnel, man. That thing might’ve collapsed on you.”
“You sound so concerned, Quick. Fuck you very much.” The bounty rumbled angrily, staring up at them through disappointed eyes.
“All you had to do was show up for court. I tried to let you turn yourself in. It’s been three months, Demarcus. Now it’s three hots and cot for you, man. At least for the next few years.” Duke stood tall, gesturing for Ford to secure their bounty’s hands behind his back while he cursed all of them to hell on his way out of the door.
Duke clamped Brian on his shoulder. “Good work, Brian. Demarcus was slippery. Way to stay on it, bro.”
Brian tucked his weapon away. Duke had been ready to tear him a new one just a few minutes ago, but now that he had his bounty, he was good. Duke didn’t tolerate mistakes or fuckups. Just like Brian’s ten years on his SEAL team, everything was planned and executed with expert precision. All of them had too much… someone, to live for. All except him.