Authors: D H Sidebottom
By D H Sidebottom
Copyright © 2013 D H Sidebottom
This novella is a work of fiction and any resemblance to
actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Kerrie lifted a brow as I walked through the door and
huffed loudly. “What the hell, Mason?”
“Nice to see you too, sis.”
I walked over to Courtney and placed a kiss on her head, ignoring
Kerrie’s heated glare on my back. “Hey.”
She smiled widely, her bright eyes dancing with delight
and peered behind me before her face dropped, “Where is she?”
I smiled and cupped her cheek, “Relax, she’s just
settling the kids then she’ll be in.” The grin that covered her face made my
heart smile and I gave her a wink.
“Don’t ignore me Mason,” Kerrie grumbled and I turned to
her. I was having trouble reining in my anger at the state of her and I
clenched my fists to try and steal the fury swirling inside me, its intensity
making my lungs tighten and my heart beat crazily as my eyes roamed over the
mess some fucking bastard was gonna pay for.
One of her blackened eyes was shut tight, the swelling
large and furious as the purple skin pulled taut against the inflammation. She
had numerous grazes and bruises on her face as her swollen split lip still
trickled a trail of blood down towards her chin even though it had been
stitched hours ago. But what I was having real trouble with was the knife score
straight across her throat and I rubbed my face with my hands as I blew out a
“I can handle this Mase; you shouldn’t have come all the
way home for this,” she said as she narrowed her eyes on me and I sank my teeth
into my lower lip to restrain the scolding I wanted to give her.
I scoffed and shook my head, “Kerrie it’s a few hours on
a plane. It takes longer to drive to bloody Scotland. You’re my sister and I do
not like what I’m seeing here.”
She sighed as she hoisted her beaten up body into a
sitting position and I reached out to help her but she hissed at me. “When you
handed over the business to me, Mason, tell me why.”
I shrugged at her, not understanding what she was
expecting from my answer, “I’m not sure what you mean. You’re my sister and it
was the right thing to do.”
She nodded and pursed her lips, “But you could have
handed it over to Sam or Greg, so why me?”
“Because you’re a tough bird who has her head screwed on
and isn’t gonna go into things all guns blazing without thinking it through.
You understand the ins and outs and you know how to deal with
She opened her palms, sweeping them across the bed and
nodded, “Thank you, so what the hell are you doing here?”
Running my tongue over my teeth, I leaned into her and
narrowed my own eyes, “I am here because no one fucks with my family. I don’t
care if you’re gonna be an arse with me Kerrie, but I’m here to sort this
“You are a fucking caveman. I can handle this, I didn’t
and don’t need your help. You left this shit for a reason and I not happy
knowing you’re gonna run back every time there’s a problem.”
She huffed and shook her head in frustration but conceded
the fight and leaned back onto the headboard. “So where’s my little people and
where are you staying?”
I stood back up, more relaxed now that Kerrie had
accepted how things were gonna be. “We’ve rented a house and they’re already
round at Layla and Lucas’s.”
I flinched at her hurt look but smiled as I took her
hand, “I didn’t know what to expect with you so I stopped them from coming
until I was sure you could handle them. George is going through some issues at
the moment and I didn’t wanna upset him more.”
She frowned at me as Courtney came to sit beside her,
both of them concerned with what I had said. “What issues?”
I exhaled noisily and shrugged. How did I put into words
what I couldn’t even explain to myself.
“I don’t really know but he seems to be drifting away
from me and clinging on to Ava too much,” I clicked my tongue as my stomach
clenched with George’s recent behaviour. “It’s like he…”
“Like he…?” Courtney pressed as I moved my gaze to the
“Like he… hates me.”
They both shook their heads and rolled their eyes at me,
as though I was exaggerating but they didn’t know, they hadn’t seen how he was
with me, so I just shrugged it off with them.
“Details” I ordered as I pulled up a chair and leant
forwards, resting my elbows on my knees as I braced myself.
“Mason, I’m tired. Greg has all the details, can’t you
just ask him?”
I sighed with a heavy anger as I watched her struggle
with the pain as she tried to settle down under the sheets.
“Come round tonight. I’ll dump the kids on Greg’s mom and
we can make a night of it.” Courtney told me and I didn’t miss the heat in her
eyes as she silently revealed what else we would be doing along with talking.
“Sure.” I smiled slyly at her as I pushed my chair back
and planted a gentle kiss on Kerrie’s forehead, avoiding her cuts, “Sleep, I’ll
bring the twins in tomorrow.”
She nodded and smiled tiredly before I walked from the
room. The difficulty at keeping my rage sustained was growing worse by the
second as my blood heated at the sight of her. There was nobody more gentle and
caring than Kerrie and this… this bullshit needing dealing with, fast.
“You are kidding me?” I laughed
as I swiped a pizza slice from the box and stared at Courtney.
“Uh-uh.” Her lips twisted gleefully as her eyes twinkled
with the fun. “He grinned at Lay, practically ate her up as she danced, then
Lucas turned, glared at him and lifted his wedding ring in warning.”
My jaw dropped and I stared at her, “Yeah but… Bulk! Room
103 Bulk, in the Panther! Damn, I miss all the excitement.”
“They were all in there, but it was Bulk that was eyeing
Mason growled beside me and I rolled my eyes and stared
at him, “I’m sure Lucas looked after her, Mason. In fact Little Willow doesn’t
need any protection; she’s a near match for me.”
Scoffs resounded in the room as I leant for my drink.
“Come on then, what’s the score?” Mason asked and we all looked at Greg.
He sighed and frowned as his face covered with a slight
anguish, “It’s sorta’ hard to explain but I’ll start from the beginning.”
“Well, yeah that would help.” Mason scoffed sarcastically
and I glared at him. He raised an eyebrow at me, goading me to argue but I
rolled my eyes and backed down. We didn’t need to argue when this was something
that needed sorting sooner rather than later.
“William has been called for jury duty.” Greg started and
I groaned, knowing where this was going before he’d got there. He turned to me
and nodded, “Yep, the Denarii case that’s been in all the press.”
“Fuck!” Mason spat as he leaned back in his chair to
digest the information.
Ric Denarii was the top man in a drug cartel that was
operating in the east of London. He’d been caught in the middle of a deal after
an undercover police squad had been watching the gang for around a year and had
finally got lucky. The evidence was beyond a doubt incriminating and he was indisputably
going down for a long time.
Mason had been introduced, not nicely, to the gang before
and I watched his face as his teeth clenched with the name. “Go on.”
“Well William’s been approached by Denarii’s
who offered William a deal.” Greg flinched as he looked away and I physically
saw Mason harden.
“Well, basically they told him they would let him live if
he threw the verdict.”
Mason nodded and sighed almost peacefully but I knew him
better, the calm that enveloped him was anything but calm and I turned to Greg
to divert from Mason’s anger. “So what’s this got to do with Kerrie?”
Greg rose from the sofa and went to grab the bottle of
whisky from the side, holding it up to everybody in a silent offering. I shook
my head and waited as he poured him and Mason a measure. “William asked Kerrie
Mason’s tongue clicked loudly as he fought hard to
restrain his fury. “This is too big for Kerrie,” he barked at Greg but he
“Maybe, but anyway Kerrie sent out the guys to return the
warning. She was jumped at home, Mason, whilst the fucking babies were asleep
upstairs. The bastards need to realise they don’t do that to this family!”
Greg was fuming and I noticed the familiar glint of anger
glaze his eyes, much the same way as Mason’s did when he was overcome by the
wrath that lived in all Mason’s team.
I lifted from the chair and climbed into Mason’s lap. He
needed my presence to soothe him and he gave me a soft smile before nuzzling
into my neck, his demeanour calming immediately as his body sighed with the
contact and he relaxed slightly.
“Has William been moved?” Mason asked without removing
his nose from my skin. His deep inhalations were making me aware of just how
angry he was and of his inner battle to control it.
Greg nodded and shot him a glance, “Yeah, and a crew has
been secured on Tristan and the twins, two currently with Kerrie as you will
have seen. It’s gonna be hard Mase, I’m not sure how we get round this with Ric
being in custody.”
The sinister grin that lifted Mason’s lips caused a
shiver to ripple through my body and he turned to me. “You had many dealings
with Yvette, Ric’s wife?”
I pursed my lips and wobbled my head, “A little. She
reminds me of Rebecca, rather full of herself and a bit of a whore. Ric’s head
over with her though, can’t see why.”
“Yeah, I know he’s a bit under the thumb where she’s
concerned. Fancy a bit of playtime, baby, I don’t like hitting women.”
I gave him a wide smile and nodded eagerly, “Can I
pretend she’s Rebecca?”
His head whipped back against the chair as he laughed
loudly, “You can play any way you like, my little warrior.”
“And Ric?” Greg asked as he lifted Courtney and planted
her on his lap, his own need for her solace made me smile. I was so happy they
had fought through their rough period and now seemed stronger than ever.
“Don’t worry about Ric, after we dangle Yvette in front
of him I have a feeling he won’t be a problem. But if he is,” his lips twisted
wryly and I felt my core clench at the sight of my glorious bastard’s criminal
authority, the maliciousness that shrouded him lighting my arousal and by the
look on Courtney’s face, hers too. “Then I have contacts that will deal with
it,” he finished with a smirk.
Ava laughed on my knee and I glanced at her. “You have
contacts everywhere Mason, I’m sure Ric will have taken this into account.”
“I’m positive he will have, he will have currently upped
his protection inside. I am counting on his knowledge that I don’t hit women.”
She frowned at me and I kissed the tip of her nose and
lifted her off my knee so I could refill my glass, “The thing with Ric is he
doesn’t take all scenarios into consideration, he never has. Plus he’s a selfish
bastard and I know he won’t have even thought about his wife other than knowing
I won’t drag her into it.”
“And…” she pressed with a slight mocking and I narrowed
my eyes on her. Was she baiting me? Her sarcastic tone rebounded off the
central part of my brain and pulled at my gut in slight anger.
“And, he doesn’t know you, does he?”
She scoffed and made her way to the stereo to select a
different playlist on the iPod. “Mason, whilst I agree in a way and I would
love a go at Yvette, wouldn’t it just be easier to call your contact on the
inside and just finish the bastard?”
I lifted an eyebrow at her reservation and lack of trust.
She lifted her own eyebrow back at me and quickly lowered it when a faint growl
rumbled through my chest. “Don’t doubt me, Ava; you should know that by now.”
She rolled her lips, as though trying to hold back her
laughter but I caught her swift glance at Courtney and it suddenly made sense
why she was goading me. I let it roll for now.
“I can’t take him out straight away, Ava it would cause
too much backlash. He needs to be persuaded to pull back from William first,
call off the dogs so to speak. The other jury members aren’t my concern.”
“Whatever” she mumbled as she nonchalantly changed the
music and started to wiggle her hips to the beat as if I wasn’t worthy of her
I knew she was doing it on purpose but fuck, it annoyed
the hell out of me, “Do you have a problem, Ava?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yep,” she answered too sharply and too indifferently as
she turned and gave me a sweet smile nevertheless, I caught the twinkle of
mischief in her eyes as she nourished my dark side with her insolent behaviour.
She wanted me wound up enough to bring out my dominant side; the element of me
Ava and Courtney loved to play with when we were all together. This should have
brought a sly smile but it irritated the fuck out of me, her audacity at
baiting me needed to be addressed.
“I think you do, baby. In fact I think you’re playing
with fire but are you sure you have the steel to not get burnt?”
One side of her lips lifted as her eyelids dropped when
my tone shuddered through her system and lit the part of her that craved
chastisement, chaos and punishment. My eyes lowered to the rapid deep rise of
her beautiful breasts as her arousal fired through her veins and her dark eyes
found the mirrored version in my gaze.
She cocked her head and damn if the movement didn’t see
me sinking my teeth into my bottom lip, the self-assurance relayed on her face
made my teeth vibrate.
How dare she! How fucking dare she!
My wife needed to be taught a lesson, a tutorial in how
to conduct herself and I returned her smug smile, arrogance rolling through my
blood stream when I saw the spark of anxiousness in her bright green eyes.
Now she was aware of exactly who she was dealing with as
she took a step backwards and when her arse hit the wall I lifted a self-satisfied
brow at her.
But still she played the game as she narrowed her eyes on
me and shrugged casually. I could feel the eyes of our friends flicking between
me and my wife as I stood regarding her and she stood provoking me into
something she would find she wouldn’t be able to control.
“Are you sure you have the fire to incinerate the burn,
She whispered sharply across the room to me as her lips pursed smugly.
I barked out a humourless laugh and tried to temper down
the rage that just fired through me. My chest heaved as much as hers as I shot
her a look of warning but she rolled her eyes, “Such a simmered reaction Mason;
see no fire, no guts to fuel the fire with. Where’s the boil, baby? Where’s
that inferno? I don’t think you have the
to burn me with.”
I watched her body tighten and her face flush as she
watched the heat take over my body, the passion light my eyes and the displeasure
pull my jaw in tight.
Her hands shot backwards and she palmed the wall to
support her when I took the two strides needed to reach her and damn, if I
wasn’t ready to make her pay for her audacity.