Authors: Lani Lynn Vale
Other Titles by Lani Lynn Vale:
Highway Don’t Care
Another One Bites the Dust
Last Day of My Life
I Don’t Dance
The Heroes of The Dixie Wardens MC
Lights To My Siren
Halligan To My Axe
Kevlar To My Vest
Keys To My Cuffs
Life To My Flight
Charge To My Line
Code 11- KPD SWAT Series
Bang Switch (July 2015)
Execution Style (August 2015)
Charlie Foxtrot (September 2015)
Kill Shot (October 2015)
Coup De Grace (November 2015)
Text copyright ©2015 Lani Lynn Vale
All Rights Reserved
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This 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.
To my babies and the love of my life.
Y’all drive me up the f’in wall sometimes…butI love the hell out of y’all.
FuriousFotog, yet again you gave me a beautiful photo, and I cannot thank you enough for the way you’ve gone above and beyond for me.
To Veto Swain, the cover model of Double Tap, you really made the main character, Nico come to life, and I’d like to thank you for posing for this shot.
Asli F. Thank you so much for editing my baby. You deserve a gold metal. :)
Nico met the love of his life when he was seventeen.
Immediately, he realizes that the gap in their ages is too significant to make a move on her until she’s legal in the eyes of the law. So he joins the United States Navy, killing time until he can come home to her again.
But a tragedy strikes while Georgia is alone and vulnerable, and with no other recourse, Georgia leaves, disappearing without a trace.
After months of searching, he finds her, but quickly realizes that she needs the time to herself to work out her problems on her own.
So he leaves her be, knowing that if she ever felt anything for him, she’d come back home to him.
But it takes her years to return, and in those years, Nico changes, too.
He’s seen too much. Done too much. Lost too much.
He lives his life as a SWAT officer for KPD, goes through the motions of everyday life, but only as half a man. And not even the good half. The US military saw to that.
When the two finally come back together, one question remains. Will she love him as the man he is now, or leave him because he’s not the same man he used to be?
I want to have enough money to decide for myself if money solves everything.
Thirteen years old
“Hey,” a girl’s voice called from in front of me, causing me to look up.
The Hispanic girl smiled at me, walking forward.
She’d been at tryouts today with me. I thought her name was Nikki, but I wasn’t a hundred percent sure.
My brain was still a little foggy from having to run two miles in a time limit I’d never had to meet before.
“Nikki, right?” I asked for confirmation.
I’d meant it to come out a little cooler sounding, but nothing really sounded cool when you had to fight to breathe. I’d at least made it, though.
The poor girls that didn’t make it had to run an extra mile. I’d have collapsed.
She nodded, walking up to me with her soccer cleats in her hand. “Yep. You’re George, right?”
I snorted. “Actually, it’s Georgia. Although, I’ve gotten George before, too.”
She walked at my side through the gym door, laughing when we got an eye full of butt crack when we entered.
There was, apparently, a problem with the ice machine, according to the man’s shirt that said, ‘
We’ll always keep you cool, even when you’re hot.
’ Under that denoted him as working for Freeze Me.
, I thought.
“So, I know this may sound really weird, but do you wanna go watch a soccer game with me?” Nikki asked as we turned into the girl’s locker room and stopped at our prospective bags.
We didn’t have actual assigned lockers, which was why the room itself looked like thirty five girls exploded all over it.
“When?” I asked hesitantly.
I had to walk home. If I had to walk home after a soccer game, it’d be even later. Then my dad would probably be really,
She looked at her watch. “Oh, about fifteen minutes or so. It’s on the soccer field we just got off of.”
I thought about it for a moment.
My parents weren’t expecting me until later and, up until now, I’d never had free time to do anything.
Cattle liked to be fed on time.
But I’d gotten the day to myself because my father had hired an extra hand to help out when I started soccer. I’d begged and begged to start on a club team, and he’d finally relented.
Although it was only because my mom had begged him until he’d relented.
Mom had convinced him that it’d help with my college tuition.
I, on the other hand, was just doing it for fun. If a scholarship came out of it, cool. If not, no big deal. I was going to bust my ass and get out of this town no matter what it took.
“Sure,” I said softly. “I think I’d like that.”
She smiled. “So, where do you live? I can see if my brother will give you a ride home.”
We both grabbed our bags and were walking out to the parking lot before I replied.
“Off of 31, on County Road 3311,” I answered hesitantly.
We’d just moved in there and I wasn’t a hundred percent certain on the actual address yet.
I caught her gasp and turned to see her staring at me like I’d grown a second head. “You live at the old Pool place, don’t you?”
I nodded cautiously. “Yeah, we moved in last month.”
“That’s where I live! Well…not there, exactly, but down the road from you!” She grinned.
I turned to her. “You’re kidding me.”
I’d never gone further than our mailbox in all the time we’d been there. I literally never got any time to myself. All of it was spent doing chores of some sort. Although, I had noticed all the tractors moving around the land to the side of us, just yesterday, when I was riding the fence line.
She shook her head. “Nope.”
“That’s awesome,” I muttered as I walked to the back of the cars.
My eyes lingered on a really pretty truck. It was an old Ford with a lift on it. If I could have a truck right now, that’d be the one I’d choose.
“Yeah, this is my brother’s truck,” she said as she saw my eyes lingering on the beauty. She grabbed my hand and led me down the hill that would lead to the field, and I was surprised to see the stands on the opposite sides already filling up.
“Wow, they were cutting it kind of close with our tryouts, weren’t they?” I asked.
Nikki snorted. “Yep.”
“Who’s playing?” I asked as we walked through the gates.
Nikki scanned the rapidly filling stands for a seat and spoke. “Kilgore and Hallsville. My brother plays for Kilgore.”
The whistles started to blow and both teams spread out to their team’s side of the field.
“Hurry,” she said, dragging me forward.
I hurried or I would’ve fallen on my face.
Nikki was strong.
I was on the first row of bleachers and walking directly behind Nikki when I saw him.
Tall, dark, and handsome.
Long, strong legs. Big, broad hands. Narrow hips. Hard jaw.
His hair was clipped tightly to his scalp, and the jersey he was wearing fit him perfectly, unlike the other members of the team.
I watched as, with one swift move, he reared back with the ball over his head, and threw it to the referee that was in the middle of the field.
My jaw dropped with the sheer amount of force he was able to put in to the throw.
He’d flung it clear across the field.
I’d only be able to do a quarter of that. On a good day. With the wind blowing.
He further impressed me when he scored only seconds after the referee blew the whistle, signaling for the game to start.
His way of celebrating after scoring made me crack up. He was running in circles with his hands above his head, and I wanted to laugh out loud, but managed to control it.
He was walking back when it happened.
My world shifted on its axis.
Nikki yelled, “Yeah, Nico!”
This Nico, the one I’d been practically drooling over since I’d made it here, looked at the girl beside me and smiled.
Then his eyes turned to me, and he stopped, blinking rapidly, before one of his teammates jumped on his back and got him moving again.
He grunted and started walking, but his eyes.
Oh, my God, his eyes.
They stayed on me the entire way.
And I could do nothing less than stay connected with him.
“Who’s that?” I asked, my voice cracking slightly when I said it.
Nikki snorted. “That would be my brother.”
Honest to God, the last thing I needed to know, was that
boy lived less than four miles from me.
Sweet baby Jesus.
However, during halftime, when Nikki dragged me out into the field, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I had eyes on me.
Turning to chase a ball that’d been kicked off the side of the field, I stopped as it came to a stop at just this side of the home team’s benches.
What I hadn’t expected was for Nikki’s brother to pick the ball up just as I bent to do the same.
I didn’t expect him to hand the ball to me and not let go.
I didn’t expect to fall head over heels in love with him.
I didn’t believe in love at first sight.
But right then, in that moment it took for him to finally let go of the ball, I was a goner.
Five years later
“I don’t want to go, Nikki,” I groaned.
“Come on, please? I’ll love you forever,” Nikki begged.
I sighed and got up, slipping my feet into the slippers I’d brought with me from home.
“You totally owe me. Like big time,” I snapped as I walked out of her room and down the hall.
I found the stairs easily, having taken them quite a few times in my five years as Nikki’s best friend.
We stayed over at each other’s houses quite a bit. Today just happened to be Nikki’s day, so we stayed at hers. Her brother had come in for leave this weekend, and Nikki wanted to spend some time with him.
Not that I’d seen him do more than sleep in the past twenty four hours.
When I’d come over Friday night, he’d been asleep on the couch.
When I’d woken up this morning, he’d been sleeping on the floor beside the couch.
And when we’d eaten dinner, he’d moved to his room because we were being too loud.
Now, it was nearly midnight and I fully expected him to still be sleeping.
Not standing at the open door of the refrigerator in his boxers drinking directly from the milk carton.
“That’s gross,” I said as I walked into the room.