Cowboy Boots and Combat Boots

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Chapter Twenty Nine

We wake to the morning sun and my goddess is glowing as she stretches out on the bed next to me. Her smile makes it worth waking up from the dreams I have about her. It’s late but I’ve banned her from going back to the diner until I’m sure Evan has left. She didn’t fight it. I don’t think she’ll want to go back even if he wasn’t there.

“I saw a job for a part time masseuse at one of the hotel spas downtown.” She informs me.

“Are you going to apply?” I ask curiously. She shrugs then looks guilty.

“I kind of already did?” She tells me and I look at her proudly.

“And?”

“And I start next Monday.” She tells me with a playful smile. I scoop her into a tight hug.

“That’s great news baby.” I congratulate her. “You’ll still have time for your dancing?” I check with her. She smiles and nods.

“Yes, it’s only part-time hours but the pay is more than enough for me to live on. So I can just dance for fun without worrying when the next paying gig will be.” She confirms and I kiss her proudly.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.” I scold her playfully. She smiles.

“I wanted to make sure I got it first. Otherwise there was nothing to tell.” She challenges.

“Well on that note I should probably let you know something.” I tell her mysteriously. She looks at me curiously. “I signed up to take the fireman’s entrance exam next week.” I tell her and her face lights up as she jumps up and straddles my hips.

“Link that’s great.” She says proudly.

“You’re not mad that I want to spend my days risking my life putting out fires?” I ask coyly. She smiles at me.

“Baby you survived war, I’m hardly going to worry if you want to play with matches all day. Besides you’ll be helping people and I know that will make you happy.” She says with a proud smile as I pull her down to kiss her. Our kisses get more urgent until we end up spending the better part of the day making love until our bodies nearly collapse from exhaustion.

I’m vaguely aware that night has fallen as I carry on my worship of the goddess in my arms. My phone ringing on the bedside table destroys our blissful haze. I groan in annoyance after its third straight ring. I tear myself from her lips and roll over to grab the phone, I see the caller I.D. of course its Rowan.

“Hey Ro,” I answer. There is a string of abuse about taking so long to answer the phone, but I hardly notice as Lexi has crawled over and started kissing the side of my neck.

“Link!” Rowan exclaims hysterically down the line like he’s said my name a few times before I heard him.

“What?” I laugh.

“I said that Damien and I are going to the bar tonight and you and Lexi are ordered to attend. Do you understand me?” He hisses. I nod, but more in response to Lexi’s assault. “Link!”

“Yeah I got it.” I laugh at his hysterics. He hangs up on me and I laugh as I put the phone down. I roll over to come face to face with Lexi.

“That was Rowan. He and Damien are demanding our presence at the bar tonight.” I explain playfully. She groans.

“I don’t want to go.” She says with a playful seductiveness. I smile at her.

“Do you have other plans?” I challenge playfully and she bites her lip for a moment and nods.

“I planned to spend the entire evening making love.” She whispers seductively. I laugh as I roll onto my back to look at the ceiling.

“That’s a tall order for a man.” I say feigning exhaustion as I glance sideways at her. She smiles the most incredibly sexy smile I’ve ever seen on her. She shakes her head playfully.

“Not for the man I’m in love with.” She confesses with a pause. “He could do it.” She adds with a challenge. My eyes widen as I look at her. She just told me that she loves me. My heart is flying, I take a deep breath as I plan my response.

“What?” I demand playfully rolling back to face her. “Who is this guy? Tell me his name I’ll kill him.” I threaten playfully. She laughs as she caresses my face.

“Well then I can’t tell you, because I wouldn’t want you to hurt him.” She plays along challengingly. I let out a deep mournful sigh. I put on my best hurt look.

“Is there any hope for us?” I ask sadly. “Is there any way I can change your mind.” She smiles beamingly at me as she moves her face closer. She shakes her head tapping my nose with hers.

“I’m a lost cause.” She says playfully. “I’m so in love with him I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t.” She confesses seriously. I moan with pleasure as I smile at her. I take her lips in a possessive kiss as I wrap my arms around her preparing to bury myself deep inside of her.

As we bask in the afterglow of another love making session I lean over to lay a trail of kisses on her shoulder. She laughs as she looks at me. I sigh a deep frustrated sigh as a thought occurs to me. She looks curious.

“You know if we don’t go, they’re just going to come here and drag us out.” I inform her feigning annoyance. She huffs with her own fake annoyance.

“Well if they do, I’ll permit you to tear off both their heads.” She announces indifferently trying to hide her smile. I smile at her but let my eyes register shock.

“You would condone violence?” I ask with mock disappointment in my voice. She bites her lip and nods vigorously.

“That’s how serious I am about not being removed from your arms.” She states seriously as she brings my arms around her. She looks rueful for a moment. I look at her curiously.

“What is it?” I ask her concerned. She smiles at me.

“We really should go, I would hate for you to have to kill Damien, or your brother.” She says regretfully. I smile at her.

“Let’s go take a shower.” I say playfully and she squeals in delight. I pull her face close to mine as we stand beside the bed. “Just because we’re going out doesn’t mean I have to let you out of my arms. In fact I plan to hold on tight to you all night.” I promise seductively.

We reach the bar and Damien takes Lexi into a hug. I feel guilty about keeping his friend from him, especially when he must’ve been so worried about her. She hugs him and whispers in his ear. He seems reassured by her words and lets her go. I pull her into the booth beside me. We all talk and drink and dance for a while. It’s a perfectly relaxed foursome that we form, comfortable like family that we’ve been away from too long but would know anywhere.

The night rolls on and Lexi expresses a very deep need to leave the bar in a seductive whisper in my ear. I look across the booth and Rowan and Damien are plastered to each other.

“Hey guys we might head out.” I tell them. They break away from each other and nod as they stand as well.

“I’m taking Rowan back to my place tonight.” Damien announces by way of warning. I nod. “Then I’m taking you to mine.” I whisper in Lexi’s ear as she crushes herself into my side as we stand. We all walk to the door together and we say our goodbyes on the curb. I let my arm fall over Lexi’s shoulders as I watch Damien mirror the move with Rowan. They walk away together trying to walk and kiss and whisper in each other’s ears. They disappear around the corner before I turn Lexi and I around to start our walk home. I kiss her temple and her arm around my waist squeezes.

A whirl of images of things I plan to do to her back at the apartment fill my mind and I exhale, spoilt for choice. A sinful smile plays on my lips and she blushes when she sees it. I stop our progression to kiss her deeply. A strange noise coming from down the street snaps my attention away from her. I look down the street in the direction that Rowan and Damien left in.

I strain to hear any noise again, there it is. Recognizing my brother’s voice call out to me. I start to run before I remember Lexi. “Stay here.” I demand urgently and she nods as I let go and run in the direction of the sounds of a scuffle. I round the corner into a throughway to see six men squaring off against Damien and Rowan. Rowan takes a hit to the jaw and Damien throws a punch at the guy who hit Rowan. The group jump onto them in a mad rush, because in the real world the bad guys don’t line up one by one to have their faces kicked in.

I dive into the squall ripping two of the guys down to the ground and delivering swift punches to their faces taking them out as a boot connects with my jaw. I barely have time to register the action as another guy grabs me from behind. I flip him over my body and get up to stomp down on his ribs. I hear them crack and he bellows in pain. One of the two I knocked down is up and trying to come at me with a pocket knife.

He cuts my forearm as I bring it across my body. I kick the knife from his hand and grab his neck locking him in a headlock as I stand behind him and wait for him to lose consciousness. Something hard hits the back of my head as I drop the limp body from my arms. I turn smoothly delivering a roundhouse kick to the guy’s jaw knocking him out instantly. He drops. I whirl around in a frenzy and see Rowan on the ground bleeding as two guys kick him Damien is trying to fight off his attacker desperate to get to Rowan.

I take a wind up and kick the guy on top of Damien hard in the ribs sending him flying off him on my way to pull the two off Rowan. I grab one by the back off the head and bring my knee up to his face. I hear the crunch of bones in his face as he drops limply to the ground. Damien has pulled the other guy off and has pinned to the ground slamming his head against the ground until he’s knocked out.

The guy I booted off of Damien goes after him from behind but I intercept tackling him to the ground hard. I punch his chest with enough force, cracking his ribs and winding him at the same time. I deliver a decisive hit to his face and his head snaps to the side going limp. I get off him and quickly scan for any more attackers but they’re all down. Damien is bleeding from his nose and lip as he bends over Rowan.

I drop to my knees on the other side of Rowan. I feel for his pulse on his neck and breathe a sigh of relief when I find it. I look at Damien who looks just as relieved under his blood covered face. Ambulance and police sirens pierce the air. All I can smell is garbage from nearby bins and the strong stench of alcohol in the air coming from the fallen men. I can taste my own blood in my mouth and I push all pain to the back of my mind as I try to turn Rowan on his side to allow him to breathe better.

He splutters to consciousness spitting the blood from his mouth. I my heart starts beating again at the sound. Flashing lights fill the alleyway. Blue and red lights seem to highlight the carnage around us. Damien doesn’t even look around, his eyes are locked on Rowan’s face as he caresses him gently. Paramedics and police come running into the alley.

“My brother.” I call to the paramedics urgently. Two rush over and lift him onto a stretcher securing him so as not to cause further injury. Damien starts to walk away with him then stops as he finally seems to take in the carnage around us. He looks back at me with sheer gratitude as his eyes moisten. I nod at him in our silent exchange.

“This guy doesn’t have a pulse.” I hear one of the paramedics call to another. I’m suddenly aware of four police officers surrounding me as I stand there looking like the angel of death among the carnage. Damien’s eyes flick to the paramedic then back to me. The paramedics are trying to resuscitate the guy I now recognize as the one I pulled from kicking Rowan, I’d felt his face break against my knee.

My eyes dart furiously around at the other bodies as they’re loaded on to stretchers and wheeled away to the alley entrance and waiting ambulances. “Still nothing.” The paramedic leaning over the last guy on the ground says to the other. “Let’s get him to the hospital so they can call it.” I feel my world tip off its axis as the police place my hands in cuffs behind my back. I can hear them speaking to me but I can’t hear the words.

The only words I hear are the paramedic’s announcing that I had killed a man. A civilian. The police start to lead me out of the alley when Damien steps directly in front of me blocking their path. “Don’t say a word.” He instructs me darkly locking his eyes on my seriously before the paramedic drags him away towards the ambulance.

“Link.” Her sweet voice pierces the veil of darkness surrounding me. Her arms come around my waist and squeeze hard.

“Mam step back.” A policeman says pulling her off me with force.

“Get your hands off her.” I spit angrily at him. He lets her go and the others restrain me as I lean over to kiss her forehead. Her eyes are filled with tears.

“I’ll be alright darlin’.” I tell her softly. “Please go with Rowan, make sure he’s okay.” I plead and she nods. As the police lower my head pushing me into the back of the police car.

“I’ll make sure Rowan is okay, then I’m coming for you.” She promises and I smile sweetly at her as the door closes between us. Her tears are flowing as she pulls herself away towards the ambulances behind the police car. I exhale a deep breath as I lean my head back against the seat. The car pulls away from the curb as one of the officers in the front talks into the radio.

I can’t hear anything he says as darkness surrounds me again. I just keep hearing the paramedic again and again in my head.

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