When He's Bad by Lisa Renee Jones

Chapter One


    ADRIAN

    Impossible.

    Deleon cannot be here at the cabin, at the hideaway I’ve told no one about but my team at Walker Security. And yet, here he is, big, tattooed, and smirking like the clown he is, but he’s not just a clown. He’s a killer, one who enjoys the sport of it.

    Before Pitt ever hits the ground, with Deleon’s knife buried in his back, Deleon charges at me. I reach for my gun, but before I can get off a shot, there’s a blast at the rear of the house. My first thought is Pri, please God, do not let Pri be dead in the middle of one of my booby traps. But thank fuck, she screams in reaction to the blast, right here in the cabin, but I’ve hesitated with my fear for her, and it’s a mistake.

    Hesitation is the kiss of death with Deleon.

    With a tackle, he takes me down, the hard floor punishing my back and jolting my bones and he doesn’t do it silently. He’s cursing me in Spanish, calling me a traitor and pig, but I don’t miss another beat. I punch him. He punches me. I’m about to elbow the fuck out of him and flip us over when I hear, “Get off him or I’ll shoot!”

    Pri.

    Holy fuck, Pri.

    Deleon smirks at me, his long dark hair in disarray, half in and half out of the tie at his nape. His gun shifts, lifts, points at Pri, but he’s still looking at me. “Make one little move,” he promises, “and I’ll shoot her before she shoots me.”

    “She’s gutsy and well trained,” I warn. “I wouldn’t gamble against her skills or willingness to kill you.”

    “Are you really going to gamble against me?” he demands, smirking again, as if he knows I won’t, but he doesn’t shoot me or Pri.

     Why, I wonder, did he bother to tackle me? Why not shoot me and be done with it when he had the chance? All I know are two things right now: I want his attention off Pri and I hope like hell she just shoots the fucker.

    “What do you want, Deleon?” I demand softly.

    His eyes burn with hatred. “Does your bitch know all the dirty shit you did, man? Does she know you’re like us?”

    “Isn’t that exactly what makes me such a damn good witness?” I taunt, but I don’t like where this is going.

    “Does she know you killed your brother? Does she know you enjoyed it?”

    That’s it. I’m done. Adrenaline and anger collide in a surge. I roll him over, smash him to his fucking back, knock away his gun, and my blade is already in my hand. I don’t even hesitate. I slam the damn thing into his chest, a non-lethal location just below his collarbone. But it hurts like hell and I know from experience that it bleeds like the bitch he is. He gasps, blood spurting from his mouth, and I’m already standing, rolling him to his stomach, my boot between his shoulder blades.

    My gaze rockets to Pri, who’s standing in the hallway, staring at me, her face pale, stricken. She’s looking at me like I’m a killer and she’s not wrong, but it still burns the fuck out of me.

    “He didn’t come alone,” I tell her. “Which means we have a few options here. We let his men come and kill us, I shoot him and kill him, or you grab me the rope under the kitchen sink so I can tie him up and you do it quickly.”

    Deleon quakes under my foot, trying to break free, and Pri darts for the kitchen. I stab Deleon again, just inside the shoulder blade, though I’d like to puncture his fucking lung. Then he’d be dead and that I’d enjoy, but it would also look like I did it to shut him up. I’d never come back from that with Pri. I’m not sure I can now anyway.

    By the time Deleon gasps and collapses on the ground, Pri’s handing me the rope. I glance at her pale features, but she’s not looking at me. I guess she can’t bear the sight of me, and it’s starting to piss me off. I grab the rope.

    “You stabbed him again?” she asks staring at the knife in Deleon’s back and then gaping at me. “You stabbed him again?” she asks again.

    Sure, I think, now she’s looking at me and with accusations aplenty.

    “He’s alive,” I say, unrolling the rope. “Check Pitt for a pulse. “

    She draws in a breath and gives a choppy nod, rushing away. I knot the hell out of Deleon’s wrists and make damn sure he’s not going anywhere.

    I rotate, grab my gun, and shove it in my pants. Pri’s presently using tape and one of my T-shirts from the overnight bag to stop Pitt’s bleeding, which tells me what I need to know. He’s alive. He’s also in the doorway. “I have to move him,” I say. “We need to shut the door.” I don’t wait for her reply. “Call Savage. Tell him Pitt’s condition. Now.”

    “I have to finish wrapping—”

    “Now, Pri, or someone is walking through the door and killing us.” I grab her arm and pull her to her feet, pressing the cell into her hand. “On speaker,” I add.