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Authors: April Zyon

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BOOK: Protected
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“Of course I am.” Puffing out
his chest, he flexed an arm and grinned at her. Laughing, he caught the hand
she smacked him with and kissed her fingers. “I also know I’m only as good as
those I have around me. Which would be you.” He moved her under the water. “Now
wash up so we can get some sleep. Preferably before you have the urge to jump
my exhausted, much-too-sexy body again.”

That had her snorting out

Kissing her, he handed her the
soap. “Wash, quickly, I’m ready to crawl into bed for a week.” Drawing back, he
grabbed the shampoo and squeezed a bit into his hand.

Soon they were out of the shower
and in bed. Vivian curled up against Jason with her eyes closed. She yawned
again as she rubbed her cheek to his chest. “Goodnight, Jason. I love you,

“I love you too, Vivian. Sweet
dreams.” He pulled her in closer and gave her a gentle squeeze before relaxing
in her arms. “Never letting you go,” he murmured as he slid into sleep.





Two days later, Jason was
to Mercury’s office. Vivian,
sweetheart that she was, decided to go visit with her sister instead. She
really was a smart little cookie.

Rounding the corner, he was a
bit surprised to see James coming from the other direction. “Hell, I’d have
thought the docs would have tied you down to the bed to keep you in medical

“They tried,” James said with a
sneer. “They just didn’t know who they were dealing with. I’ve gotten out of
stickier messes than that. Hell, I’ve broken out of jails back in my time more
secure than that place.”

“Yeah, don’t tell that to
Mercury, or he’ll up the security around it,” Jason warned.

“Good point. Speaking of the
head honcho, what’s going on with the summons?”

“I may have an idea about it,
but I’m hoping I’m wrong,” Jason said with a sigh. “Might as well head in and
find out.” Knocking on the door, he pushed it open at the gruff “Come” from

“Sit,” Mercury demanded,
pointing a finger at the chairs opposite him. The man did not look very happy.
Then again, it really was hard to tell with him. He rarely had any sort of
expression on his face. Today’s just happened to have slightly lower brows than

Grabbing a seat, Jason stretched
his legs out and slouched down. James was a little more careful as he settled
in, obviously still feeling the results of being run through with a sword.
Jason could sympathize, considering he’d had his fair share of such run-ins
over the years.

“Jason, how you feeling?”
Mercury asked.

“Uh, fine. It wasn’t much more
than a nick and a split lip,” he answered.

“Good. James, the docs say that
despite how you’ve not been behaving for them, you’re on your way to a full
recovery. You all good?”

“Yup, feeling better every day.
Still hurts like a dickens, but I’ll be back in top shape soon enough.”

“Good, good.” Mercury nodded.
Reaching out, he picked up a couple pieces of paper. “Glad to hear you two are
doing so well. Because you may not be by the time I’m done with you. What the
ever-loving hell did you two do to rack up a four thousand dollar hotel bill?”
he bellowed.

“Four thousand dollars?” James
asked in horror.

. Jason
hadn’t actually gotten around to telling James—or Mercury—about the state of
the room.

“The movies, I get. You’re a
reprobate, and I don’t even blink at that anymore. But the condition of the
suite! By the gods, what the fuck did you do—throw a party in there with every
loser on the planet and give them free rein?”

“What are you talking about?”
James asked. “The room was perfectly fine when I left and went with Jason and
Vivian to the island. Yeah, there was probably a pair of socks somewhere there
shouldn’t have been, but nowhere near four grand for repairs, boss.”

Staring up at the ceiling, Jason
felt both pairs of eyes land on him.

“Care to explain what the hell,
pardner?” James asked, his drawl getting heavier.

“Okay, I may have left a few
bits and pieces out of my report. But I was honestly distracted by the fact we
couldn’t reach you,” Jason admitted. “And the fact that you were on an island
with monsters, as far as we knew. Which was proven fact, as you recall.”

“Jason.” Mercury snarled his

“Look, Vivian and I got back to
the mainland and headed to the hotel. We stopped at my room, which was
perfectly fine, by the way, and we ended up distracted.”

“They were doing the horizontal
tango while I was stuck on an island with the flower child,” James muttered
with a glower his direction.

“We got sorted out, packed up,
and I checked the messages on my phone because we realized we hadn’t heard from
you. It’s about then we figured out there was a storm brewing and we wouldn’t
be getting back to the island. Anyway, one thing led to another, we went for
dinner and then came back to grab our stuff because Vivian saw someone working
at the restaurant we didn’t really want to deal with from her past.

“She spotted a camera in a vase
of flowers that hadn’t been there earlier. We did a little more poking around,
and she found a microdot microphone. Doing the smart thing, we got the hell out
of there and went to James’s suite to get his stuff. When we walked in, it was

“I didn’t do it,” James said.

“Whoever was in there was
obviously looking for something. I did a check of the room and then we grabbed
everything of yours, stuffed it into your duffel, and got out of there.
Thinking back, there was a distinctive smell in there, but I was more worried
about Vivian than anything else.”

“Oily residue was found in
several spots on the carpet that made it impossible to fix, and it had to all
be torn out and replaced. Fifteen hundred dollars,” Mercury put in.

“The monsters were in my room?”
James asked, sitting up straighter. “Why the fuck would they have been in
there? Why just tear up my room and not Jason’s?”

Jason shook his head. “They had
been in my rooms, too. I'm sure they’re the ones who planted cameras and
listening devices.”

“Which means they followed you
back from the island. Why search the rooms, though?” James asked.

“To figure out who you were. Our
traitors would have given them profiles on each of you. But they need to know
which ones you are to kill you,” Mercury answered. “You each have something on
you that you all carry with you no matter where you go that they would have
likely been told about. It’s something that I’ve tried to break each and every
single damn one of you of but you refuse. You all want that tie to your past.
Find that one item, and they know which guardian you are and know where to
strike to kill you from afar with a sniper rifle, otherwise they will have to
face you sword to sword and take your heads.”

James scowled. “We need to find
those damn traitors and kill them, Mercury.”

“I couldn’t agree more. Finding
them is the issue. If we can grab the one that tried to kill Emily, we’ll be
one step closer.”

“How’s that going?” Jason asked.

“Alex and Eric are on his trail.
Apparently, he’s on the move. As of three hours ago, they’d cleared the north
border of Florida and were heading up the coast. No clue where he’s going, but
they’re following in the hope that it leads them to a nest of these things, or
maybe even Billy.”

James flinched at that. Jason
sympathized with him there. James and Billy had known one another in their
first lives, been thick as thieves during Billy’s tenure with the guardians.
When Billy had been taken, James had searched high and low for him.

Then Billy had turned up on the
wrong side and tried to kill James. Only his reflexes and a quicker draw had
saved his life, but it had been close, millimeters close. No one wanted Billy
the Kid found more than James. And no one wanted both the traitors strung up
more than Gaius.

“I’ll keep you both updated, and
Gaius, and Hector, and every bloody one else in this fucking place,” Mercury
said. “Get out of here. I’m docking both your pays for this.”

“We get paid?” James asked, with
a grin on his face.

Jason grabbed his good arm and
tugged the other man out of the office when Mercury snarled at them. “Quit
poking at him,” he said with a smirk. It was amusing to see Mercury off
balance, but it also tended to get them all in hot water.

Walking with James, Jason
noticed the frown on the other man’s face. “What is it?” he finally asked.

James stopped at an intersection
of the corridors and looked around. “At the house on the island, Sophia kept
calling me Billy. Maybe she wasn’t referring to me as Wild Bill, Jason. Maybe
she was actually talking about William,” he said quietly. “Maybe she thinks
Billy is the one for her, but he’s already a part of the other side of this
mess. What happens to her when we kill him off?”

“Not a thing,” Jason said.
“She’s not bonded to him. She’s not bonded to anyone. If it is Billy the Kid
she’s been talking about, then she might feel a bit of loss for a time, but not
for long.” He moved closer to his friend and leaned in. “But here’s something
to think on, Wild Bill. What if she’s not talking about William?” Shooting him
a smile, Jason pivoted on a heel and walked away, leaving James standing there
staring after him.

Taking a quick look back, he saw
the other man exactly where he’d left him. Shaking his head, Jason rounded a
corner and picked up his pace. He needed to find his woman and warn her that he
may have just been a bad, bad boy. Maybe she’d even want to punish him for it,
if he was lucky.


The End




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9.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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