Finding Trust (Finding Series, Book 2)

BOOK: Finding Trust (Finding Series, Book 2)
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Finding Trust

Sloane Kennedy

Finding Trust is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

Copyright © 2015 by Sloane Kennedy

 

Published in the United States by Sloane Kennedy

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Cover Images: ©Rob Lang, ©
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Acknowledgements

 

A big thank you to Stephanie and Samantha for being such amazing Beta Readers!

Chapter 1

 

Dane Winters felt a large hand slam down on his back a split second after the sound of a gunshot shattered the hot air around them and then he felt himself being shoved down on top of the terrified woman he’d been treating. Panic seized him and he struggled against the heavy body covering his.
Emma.

“Stay down, Doc!” a loud voice shouted in his ear.

“Finn!” he heard someone scream and then the sound of an engine roared to life.

Dane used every ounce of strength he had to push the man off of him, then turned to watch a scene unfolding that could have only been from one of his many nightmares. Finn, the young man he’d been giving a ride back to the CB Bar Ranch lay crumpled in the dirt, a bright red bloom of blood soaking through the front of his shirt. And just beyond him where Dane’s SUV should have sat there was nothing but empty space.

“Emma!” he shouted as he climbed to his feet and located the car as it was being turned around so whoever had shot Finn and stolen it could get back on the dirt road leading away from the ranch. And they had his daughter.

“Emma!” he screamed again.

The car kicked up mounds of dust as the SUV turned sharply and raced past them. Callan Bale, the ranch foreman, tried to grab the driver’s side door handle as the vehicle flew by but he bounced off the SUV and hit the ground hard. Dane managed to take two steps before that same hand from before clamped down on his arm, the heavy fingers biting into his skin.

“Stay back!” the man said to him in a cold, calm voice as he grabbed one of the guns from the shoulder holster he was wearing and handed it to one of Callan’s lovers, Rhys Tellar. The man smoothly pulled the second gun out and raised it right at the SUV.

“Back tires,” he murmured to Rhys who had also taken aim.

“No!” Dane shouted, his fear for his child front and center. He grabbed for the man’s arm but was too late because two shots cracked the air and he watched in horror as the back tires of his truck blew out. His scream died in his throat as the truck swerved violently as the driver hit the brakes. The man next to him ripped free of the hold Dane didn’t even realize he still had on his arm and began running as the SUV coasted to a stop in the pasture next to the driveway.

Fear held him immobile as he watched the stranger aim into the driver’s side window and fire twice. His heart told him to move – to get to his daughter. But his mind was already trying to protect him from his loss and began shutting down. Without Emma there was nothing left. No need to eat or sleep or breathe anymore. He’d failed her, himself. It had all been for nothing.

“Clear!” someone shouted, followed by someone else yelling the same thing.

“Dane!”

Dane managed to turn his head to see Callan sprawled over Finn. Callan’s desperation registered, but Dane couldn’t move.

“She’s good!”

His head snapped back around to stare at the SUV and Dane felt like he’d left his body as he watched the man quickly open the back passenger side door – the man who’d just fired two fucking bullets into his truck while his six month old daughter was inside. “She’s safe!” the guy yelled.

The words slowly penetrated Dane’s mind and his breath came out in a rush. And then he heard it. His daughter was crying. Screaming actually. It was the best thing he’d ever heard in his life. And it was enough to get him moving. He needed nothing more in that moment than to get to his child but the young man bleeding out into the dirt needed him more so he ran across the driveway and dropped down next to Finn.

“Get his shirt open!” he ordered Callan as he began checking Finn’s vitals. He automatically called off his findings as he worked. “Finn, can you hear me?” he said as he began working Finn’s shirt off his shoulders in an attempt to find the source of the bleeding. By now Rhys had joined Callan as they leaned over their lover but Dane forced himself to ignore the pain and fear he heard in their voices. Relief went through him when he finally found the bullet hole just under Finn’s collarbone.

“Help me lift him,” he said as he reached for Finn’s shoulders. Two sets of hands joined his in easing Finn forward. Pushing the shirt down until he found the exit wound he was hoping for, he glanced up at Rhys and Callan. “Through and through, that’s good,” he said, hoping the news would reassure the men. There was too much blood though and he knew if he didn’t act fast, Finn would be in real trouble.

He glanced up and searched out the stranger and saw him pulling a still screaming Emma from her car seat, his big hands dwarfing her tiny, upset body. The joy he felt at seeing her was so overwhelming that it was hard to stay upright.

Callan’s aunt appeared behind them and had to yell to be heard over the roaring flames that were still consuming the barn on the other side of the driveway. He was glad to hear she’d called for help because Finn would need it.

“Cal?”

Dane felt Finn shift beneath his touch and then the younger man’s eyes fluttered open. They drew closed instantly and both his lovers began pleading with him to reopen them.

Dane’s eyes again searched out Emma and saw that she had quieted in the man’s arms. It registered that he seemed to be talking to her and gently bouncing her even as he kept his gun trained on the cowering man at his feet.

“Coming home…saw smoke,” he heard Finn say and then suddenly the injured man was trying to get to his feet and yelling Emma’s name.

“She’s safe,” Dane quickly said, hoping to calm the young man.

“I’m sorry Dane. I didn’t see them. I tried to get to her!” he explained frantically as Callan and Rhys both gently pinned him so he wouldn’t cause more injury to himself.

Dane put a hand on Finn’s shoulder to steady him and said, “It’s okay, Finn. She’s okay.” He grabbed some gauze from his black medical bag and pressed it on the bullet wound. “Hold that there,” he said to Callan as he pulled out the rest of the supplies he would need to stem the blood flowing from the injury.

As he worked, he tuned out the sound of the fire burning behind him and the lovers murmuring to each other and focused on the sound of the deep voice talking to his daughter. He could only catch a few words here and there, but every time he glanced up he could see that his daughter was mesmerized by the stranger and her chubby fingers kept reaching for his face.

Each quick look between bandaging Finn’s wound gave him a little bit more information about the man. An inch or two taller than Dane’s own 6 feet, thick black hair that looked like it needed a trim, a day’s worth of stubble covering his firm, wide jaw. If the guns didn’t confirm how out of place he was on a remote ranch in Dare, Montana, his black slacks, crisp white shirt and platinum watch did the job for sure. Dane tried not to notice how well the pants hugged his firm ass or the muscles that bunched under his shirt. The smattering of dark hair on the forearm clutching his baby absolutely did not turn Dane on.

The sound of sirens grew louder as the first fire truck rolled up, an ambulance right behind it. Dane finished securing the bandage as paramedics rushed to their side and he quickly rattled off Finn’s vitals and explained the nature of the injury. He stepped back and wiped his hands on his pants as he went to check on Wendy, the young woman he’d initially started treating when the shooting had happened. She was still dazed from the head injury, but seemed to be okay otherwise. Callan had managed to get her out of the burning barn before she’d gotten burned or inhaled too much smoke.

He left her with a second set of paramedics that rolled up, then went to the firetruck and found a small leak in one of the firehoses where it met the truck. He scrubbed his hands clean as best he could, then went in search of his daughter. The man was still holding her as State police arrived and arrested the man on the ground. Another officer was examining the dead man in the driver’s seat.

“Dane,” Callan called from behind him. Dane kept moving, his need to touch his daughter overriding everything else. “Thank you,” the other man said as he fell in step next to Dane as he reached the stranger.

“Look who’s here, darling,” the man drawled as he turned Emma so she could see Dane approach. Relief shot through every nerve ending as she smiled at him and reached out her arms. He hugged her against his chest, taking in a deep breath of her as his hand stroked over her back. His eyes drifted up to see the man’s smug smile and all the relief he felt was replaced with fury.

“Can you hold her a second?” he asked Callan as he handed Emma to the other man before he could even respond. The second his hands were free, Dane swung around and punched the other man hard, knocking him to the ground.

“What the hell are you so proud of, you fucking asshole?” he snarled as the man touched his jaw and his eyes darkened. “You shot a gun into a car with my daughter in it! If those bullets had ricocheted…”

Dane couldn’t even finish the thought because the image was too disturbing. The man climbed gracefully to his feet and got right in Dane’s face.

“I’m giving you that one, Doc, because you don’t know me,” he said calmly as his hand came up and he pushed his jaw as if testing the damage. “Do it again and I don’t care if your kid is watching, I’ll lay you out. A bullet doesn’t ricochet when you bury it deep enough inside a guy’s skull that it’ll take the ME a week to fish it out.”

“You fired twice.”

“ME’s gonna be fishing for a while,” he said coldly. His eye suddenly dropped down to Dane’s lips and Dane felt a rush of heat go through him.
What the fuck?

“Jaxon-” Callan began in warning.

“It’s Jax,” the man responded, his eyes still on Dane’s mouth. He finally raised his gaze and said, “Think what you want, Doc. But you and I both know those fuckers wouldn’t have thought twice about throwing your kid into a ditch somewhere if they’d gotten away…or worse.”

Dane took Emma back from Callan as Jax holstered the gun Dane hadn’t even realized he was still holding. The man gave him one last cold look, then turned and went to talk to the cops who were mulling around the crime scene that used to be his SUV.

 

***

Jaxon Reid ignored the ache in his jaw as he went to the trunk of his car and began reloading his guns. The doctor packed one hell of a punch though he supposed that any man faced with the prospect of losing his child wouldn’t react much different. He couldn’t even remember the last time someone had taken a swing at him and had actually gotten him on the ground. It was his own fault for being more focused on the guy’s full lips than the fury in his dark brown eyes. Not to mention the kid.

God, what a sweetheart. He’d never been much for babies but when that little girl had looked up at him with her watery blue eyes as he plucked her from her car seat, a little piece of him had melted. She’d been screaming bloody murder but had settled with a few soft words and then watched him in mute fascination as he explained what was going to happen to the scumbag who’d dared to steal her away from her father. Shit, Doc would have had a coronary if he’d heard just a fraction of the things he’d said to little Emma.

Heat burned his back as he marveled at how two hours ago he’d been standing in nearly this exact spot telling Rhys Tellar that he was a free man. And now a man was dead and he was stuck in this place until he gave his official statement to the local sheriff tomorrow. On top of it all, he was sporting a sore jaw and a burgeoning erection – all courtesy of the down home, country doctor with the stick up his ass.

“Mr. Reid?”

Jax swung around, ignoring the tightening in his gut at the sound of that husky, deep voice. The good doctor stood just behind him, his kid in her car seat in one hand, a diaper bag strung over his shoulder, and a strange looking piece of plastic in the other hand. And from the expression on his face, it was clear the man really didn’t want to be talking to him. Jax shoved the last bullet into the chamber of his gun and holstered the weapon before leaning back against his car.

“I was wondering if you could give us a ride home,” the man managed to get out as he cast a look over his shoulder at his SUV being towed down the driveway. “It’s not far, but it’s too hot for Emma…” the man trailed off. Jax had no doubt that if the guy was by himself, he wouldn’t have reduced himself to asking for a favor.

Jax crossed his arms and enjoyed the sight of the other man actually fidgeting. He guessed the guy to be in his late thirties. Broad shoulders, round ass – it was all working for him. He might not have been as cut as the men Jax usually favored, but his cock didn’t seem to mind and he actually needed to turn back to the car and pretend to rearrange things in his trunk while he got control of himself. His slacks weren’t cutting it when it came to hiding the desire that was suddenly coursing through him again.

“Callan is out looking for the rest of the horses and Rhys went with Finn to the hospital,” the doctor said lamely.

“Get in, Doc,” Jax said stiffly.

“It’s Dane,” came the quiet reply and he could hear the weariness in the other man’s voice. A shard of pity went through him, but he pushed it back and slammed the trunk shut.

Dane went around to the passenger side of the car and opened the back door and began fiddling with the seat. He realized the man was installing the base for Emma’s car seat. A snort went through him. Never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined his luxury car being turned into a glorified mommy mobile.

BOOK: Finding Trust (Finding Series, Book 2)
10Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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