Read BULL: MC ROMANCE (Forsaken Riders MC Romance Book 6) Online
Authors: Samantha Leal
She stepped back and gripped the side of her car, not sure how much more of this she could endure. She held up her hands defensively as a pathetic shield trying to ward off this latest threat.
“It’s okay,” he said, the light falling on his face, “Calm down, I’m not with them. I’m here to help.”
“But, but..,” she said as she looked around. “There was a dog or something…something big…and what is going on, how did that guy end up here…and looking like that? Is that his blood on your hands?” All these words just came pouring out of her mouth, as she tried to make sense of what was happening.
“Relax, just relax miss, it’s ok…I’m not sure what you mean about a dog. At least I haven’t seen one…I was just coming along and came across that man over there,” he gestured toward heap number two, “as he was kind of hovering over you. With everything, well, like this, something just seemed really off, and I told him so. Well, let’s just say he didn’t like that and he came at me. It didn’t work out so well for him.”
Laurie’s heart almost stopped, but not from fear, but from shock. There was, first and foremost, the shock of hearing this crazy story and being in this crazy situation in the first place. She didn’t know what to make of this latest turn of events. But then there was the shock of seeing what she could only call “a fine specimen.” She had always thought that that was a pretty cheesy way to describe a guy, but now she knew what people meant when they said it. He was one of the most physically amazing men she had ever seen. His eyes looked luminous, icy blue and penetrating in the dark. He stepped closer, silhouetted by the car’s beams.
“Are you okay?” he asked again, moving around the side of the car to her. Laurie couldn’t get any words out. Her hands had begun to tremble and her head was spinning. She sat down on the curb and breathed deeply.
“Here,” the stranger said, holding her hair back, “Lower your head and take deep breaths.”
She had never had a panic attack before, but she imagined she must be having one now. Her vision was blurred and even though she was aware of him speaking she couldn’t hear what he was saying. There was a ringing in her ears that was getting louder and stars swam in front of her eyes. She lowered her head between her knees and sucked in some air, filling her lungs until they felt like they were going to burst. Only then did she exhale, feeling a little of her tension ease with the escaping breath.
“Are you alright? What happened? Did they hurt you?” he was asking her. Her head slowly started to stop spinning with each deep breath and she managed to lift her eyes to meet his.
Those eyes. They were incredible.
“I’m okay,” she whispered.
He smiled at her and brushed some hair off her face before realizing he still had blood on his hands.
“Sorry,” he said pulling them back and casually wiping them off with what appeared to be a silken handkerchief he pulled from a back pocket. “I’m pretty sure I broke that guy’s nose,” he looked back over his shoulder at the guy lying unconscious in the middle of the road and shrugged. He then shifted his attention to the guy who had been holding her down. He was clearly breathing, but was going to have one hell of a headache based on the size of the egg forming on his forehead. The blood had mostly dried. “And what happened to that other guy?”
There was something about the way that he asked it that seemed odd to her. Or maybe it was the look in his eyes. She couldn’t be sure. But she quickly lost whatever she thought she had detected as the emotion of the night started to finally coming to the surface.
“Thank you,” she said, “You saved me.”
As she said the words she felt the tears welling up in her eyes and knew that she wouldn’t be able to keep them from bursting forth. It had been a very emotional and traumatic day, to say the least. She covered her face with her hands and her body immediately succumbed to the tidal wave of emotion she had been holding back, not just tonight but for months. Unable to hold it back any longer, and triggered by this latest trauma, her body shook as she finally allowed all that had built up to burst forth. There was something about this guy that was somehow just different, but it was also undeniable that his presence just made it feel safe for her to let the tears fall.
“Hey,” the stranger said with sincere concern as her tears began to ebb. “It’s ok, you’re safe now.” He delicately put a hand on her shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“You don’t have to apologize,” he laughed, softly stroking her hair.
“Thank you so much,” she panted, looking up into his eyes again, “I can’t believe I was so stupid.” She tried to speak though renewed sobs.
“They could have killed me ... they were going to ...I had just stopped and was trying to … ,”she said, a fresh wave of tears washing over her face again, “I’ve never been so careless before, I can’t believe I put myself in that situation.”
She got to her feet and rushed to her car door, yanking the handle up as she turned back to the stranger.
“Hey, don’t be so hard on yourself. No sense beating yourself up about it. So just let that go right now,” he said gently, looking into her eyes earnestly.
“Thank you,” she said. “I’ve just been through a lot today. I can’t thank you enough, but I need to just go. I can’t deal with this right now.”
“Where are you going?” he shook his head, looking up and down the street. “Are you lost? You’re obviously not from around here, are you?”
Laurie bit her lip and looked down at the ground. She was confused and embarrassed and totally blown away by how gorgeous this heroic stranger was, she didn’t know whether she was coming or going. The whole evening, or morning rather, she thought, was taking on a surreal quality. First dealing with Brad, and then this … and then that weird animal or whatever it was. And let’s just throw the most incredible looking man in the world into the mix for good measure.
“I don’t have a clue,” she held her hands out, “I, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, ok?”
There was stirring behind her and she knew it was the man who had run coming round. The stranger walked past her to stand above him. Without hesitation he punched him square in the face, knocking him out cold. Well, at least he was still alive. Not that she was that concerned for his welfare. Still, she wondered exactly what had happened while she was out. She definitely felt the guy deserved it, but how did the stranger know that? He didn’t seem like the type to just throw punches around without good reason. She guessed it must have happened like he said. They had some kind of fight while she was out. She let it go. She was dealing with enough already.
“Let’s get out of here,” he said. “Don’t want the cops to find us with these two.”
“Well, shouldn’t we tell the police?” Laurie asked, uncertainly, even though she was ready to get out of there herself.
“No,” he said, wrapping his arm around her shoulder, “Don’t worry, I’ll deal with those guys later. Do you want me to drive?”
“I think that might be a good idea,” she responded gratefully. She didn’t have any energy left to argue, even if she had wanted to. He waited for her to climb into the car and then got in after her. She scooted over to the passenger side and let him take the wheel. He started the car and closed the door.
“Can you just help me find a hotel or something? Then I’ll be fine,” she said, exhaustion taking over.
“I’m taking you to the only hotel in town that’s going to let you check in at this time,” he said. “I know someone who’s running when I see them.” He turned to smile at her and his eyes glinted brightly through the dark. She struggled to find words to either protest or express gratitude, but ended up settling on just taking a much needed deep breath.
“You don’t have to say anything, you’ve had a rough night. Just let me take you somewhere safe and then I’ll walk back for my own car.”
“But the men?” Laurie turned around and looked out of the back window. The crumpled heaps of her two attackers were still there, spread right across the middle of the road, silhouetted by the beams of their still running truck.
“Oh, I’ll finish with them,” he said again. “Don’t you worry about that.”
He gripped the wheel and she marveled again at the size of him. His hands were big and rough looking and the bulk of him in the seat next to her made her feel tiny. His wide muscular arms were perfectly sculpted. As he turned the corners she let her own eyes trace lines over them. Despite being in a semi-state of shock, she had the overwhelming urge to reach out and touch him.
“Here it is,” he said, slowing down. He pulled over to the side of the road and parked in front of a modern looking building with double glass doors. There were lights on inside and a man in a suit sat behind the desk.
“Twenty-four hours,” he said, “I know because I’ve checked in pretty late here myself, on occasion. It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst either.”
“Okay,” Laurie stammered, still in shock and not really with it. She still felt like she was half in a dream.
“Try and get some sleep,” the stranger said as he stepped out of the car and leaned down to look in at her. He flashed her his amazing smile again, and his eyes glistened, as if on cue.
“Are you going to be ok?” he asked.
“Yeah, I just need some sleep. Thank you,” Laurie whispered. “I mean it, really, thank you.”
“Take care of yourself,” he said before he turned and disappeared into the night.
Laurie sat in the car without moving for a few moments and then she turned and looked through the glass doors to the hotel reception. She got out and locked her car, taking her purse and one of her clothes bags with her. She realized she had never even gotten her hero’s name.
As her head hit the pillow her mind was swarming with a mix of her attacker’s rotten teeth, the stranger’s piercing blue eyes, and the glimpse of whatever that animal was had appeared. She realized that if it had not been for whatever animal that was that had taken out the one guy and scared off the other, things could have turned out much differently tonight.
Thank you scary animal
, she thought with genuine gratitude. The sounds it had made still rang in her ears, now that she was ok, she could almost imagine that it had been there to save her. After all, it did leave her alone completely. She thought on that a moment more before moving on the mysterious stranger, as she had taken to calling him in her head. He seemed so powerful and in charge, like he had been in that situation a million times before. She rubbed her temples and closed her eyes. She was still jumpy and nervous but she had double locked the hotel door and had even sneaked in a baseball bat that she always kept in the trunk of her car. A girl could never be too careful. Not that it had done her any good that evening. Maybe she needed to start keeping it in the passenger seat she half joked to herself. At least she still had a sense of humor. As she drifted off to sleep the sun was coming up and pink light shone through the crack in the curtains. She could finally rest. Tomorrow she would wake up and get the hell out of Blakestone Ridge.
At eleven in the morning Laurie woke with a start and about two seconds of having absolutely no idea where she was. She sat up and looked around the hotel room and piece by piece fragments of the night before came rushing back to her. She put her head in her hands.
She had left Brad.
She had driven to a town she hadn’t visited in over ten years.
She had been attacked.
By a wild animal.
And the mysterious stranger with those beautiful blue eyes …
She got out of bed and tiptoed over to the bathroom where she ran a sink full of warm water and splashed her face. She looked at herself in the mirror and saw the same ghostly look that the girl who had turned up at the jewelry store had. Her skin and lips were pale and her normally shiny blonde hair was limp and dull. She turned on the shower and got in. She wanted to wash away all traces of the last twenty-four hours and forget. Except for the stranger. She didn’t want to forget or wash him away at all. But lusting after some mysterious man who had come to her aid in the middle of the night in a strange town was the last thing she needed. She still couldn’t believe it had all happened…the whole thing was so crazy. And the more she thought about it the more bizarre and crazily coincidental it seemed that the giant dog, or whatever it was, had appeared at just that moment. Maybe it had been a wolf she mused.
, she thought, as she moved on to wondering what her rescuer had done with the men he had found assaulting her.
After she showered, she got dressed and went down to the reception area of the hotel. She found that the water had helped wash away some of the less than positive aspects of the previous night’s events. She also felt mildly renewed by the rest as well as she surveyed the comings and goings in the lobby. Considering how dead the town had been at three AM, it was pretty busy down there now. A lot of people seemed to be there on vacation, just like she had been when she was younger. But Laurie and her family had never stayed in a hotel there. They had always rented a lovely little log cabin just outside of a camping park near one of the lakes. She wandered into the restaurant and was shown to a table by the hostess. As she sat down she wondered if the cabin would still be there. It was a shame she wasn’t going to stick around to find out. After last night she just wanted “out of Dodge”, as they say.
“What can I get you?” the waitress bounced over with a big cheery smile.
“Coffee please,” Laurie replied, “The biggest one you’ve got.”
She looked up at the TV they had on in the corner. The channel was turned to the news and some small town reporter appeared to be droning on about some equally small town story. She couldn’t hear what was being said because the sound was off, which she figured absently was just as well. She was just about to look away when the camera panned to a pre-recorded video featuring a familiar truck. It was the same black truck with mud sprayed all up the side from the night before. The one that belonged to the men that had attacked her. Laurie’s heart thumped in her chest. Her eyes were wide as she stood up and walked closer to the television. All along the bottom ran the tag line that went with the news story;
Local men found under suspicious circumstances
Laurie asked the waitress to turn up the volume so she could listen to the report, while at the same time photographs appeared on the screen of the two men. She winced and her blood ran cold as she instantly recognized them.
“ … in the early hours of this morning discovered unconscious in the middle of Main Street,” the reporter was saying as the sound came up, “Both men are refusing to cooperate with police questioning and are being held on bail. Police ask for anyone with any information to please come forward …”
The reporter turned to the side and a new camera angle, as he shifted gears to another story having to do with some local sports rivalry or other.
Laurie was stunned. Seeing it on the news brought the reality of the night before rushing back into her mind. She turned on her heel and went back to her table. When she sat down she put her head in her hands. She had to get out of there. Even though she felt safer knowing that those men were behind bars, the place felt forever tarnished for her. She felt dejected at the loss of the purity of one of her happiest childhood memories. Now whenever she thought of that summer it would be clouded with what had just happened the night before. The waitress came to the table and poured her a large mug of coffee.
As she drank it she looked out of the window and saw again for the first time in years what the town looked like when it was alive. It was exactly how she remembered it and she wished she could just erase everything from the night before. She knew she had to leave, but she also had a nagging at the back of her mind that she had to find the stranger and at least say thank you properly now that her mind was a little clearer. She was vaguely aware of a tiny silver lining in all this. At least all this had taken her mind off of Brad.
She went back to her room and packed her things. She had an hour before she had to check out and even though she didn’t want to be wandering around the streets of Blakestone Ridge, she felt as if she owed it to him, and to herself, to find out what had happened once he had left her. She needed to thank him for being so kind and for making sure she was alright. She probably wouldn’t find him, but at least she could try.
As she went out into the sun and walked down the street she passed a lovely little row of shops. Some of them sold bric-a-brac and some had local produce, but they were all unique and she loved the fact that there wasn’t a single chain store. They were all independently owned and everyone seemed to know one another. It was almost enough to help her forget the incident the night before. She had been thinking maybe she should go to the police, but she just wanted to get out of there at that point. Seeing a convenience store she forgot her musings and went inside. She had felt tempted all morning to buy a packet of cigarettes. After what she had been through, she really didn’t feel she needed an excuse. She stood a moment looking for her brand behind the cashier but instead of asking for any, turned and went to the drinks refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of water. As she was walking back to the desk to pay, something caught the corner of her eye. It was the smiling face of someone familiar. She turned to the magazine rack and her jaw almost hit the floor. She couldn’t believe it.
There on the front cover of one of the glossy magazines on the shelves was her mysterious stranger. He was the epitome of dark and handsome and his blue eyes pierced her all over again. He was standing straight and tall in an immaculate suit. Laurie crept forward and picked it up.
Surely it couldn’t be
It was a business magazine and it was most certainly him. She flicked quickly through to the article and scanned it furiously. Her eyes picking out specific words as she went.
Aiden Cooper… International businessman… Risk taker…
Laurie lowered the magazine and swallowed hard. If this wasn’t the man who had come to her rescue the previous night, then he had an identical twin running around. An identical billionaire twin. She shook her head and laughed. She looked at the cover again, not believing her eyes.
“Did they get my good side?” came a voice from right behind her.
She spun around, her heart jumping up into her throat. It was him. She was starting to feel like she had stepped through the looking glass like Alice. His beautiful eyes drilling holes into her soul. He looked down at the magazine with an uncomfortable and slightly amused gaze. Laurie sheepishly lowered it before replacing it on the shelf entirely. It felt somehow like she was snooping or spying on him, although that was obviously not the case at all. It had been right there in front of her. Anyone would have been more than intrigued.
“I don’t even know what to say…I was just…I mean I wanted to…” she began.
“How about we get a cup of coffee,“ he said simply. There was a warmth and caring about him that lit her up inside. It was starting to light her up in other ways too, she realized.