Grayson The Sons Of Crosby Release Day & GiveAway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misty Quartermain met Sean Crosby in college. One night, before they’d met, he’d saved her from a vicious vampire attack and after that they become close friends. He’d shared his family secrets with her and took a little of her blood so that they’d always share a connection. Sean knew Misty wasn’t his mate, but he’d always felt protective of her. A few years later, when Misty and her family were in trouble and on the run, Sean enlisted his family to come to their aid.

Grayson Crosby had always been somewhat of a loner. He mostly kept to himself but was there for the family when they needed him. Sean said he needed help to keep his college friend safe so Grayson was there for him, maybe not enthusiastically, but there. He heard Sean making the family introductions and came out of the kitchen. His beast suddenly had the poor woman backed into the wall.

“You said that she knows all about us?” Sean said that she did and that he was terrifying her. “Yeah, I know, but my beast, he won’t let me go enough to help her.”

“Well, let me help you then. I’m sick of men running over me.” Misty doubled up her fist and hit Grayson square in the nose. Then, when he was going back, she swung her leg around and did a round house slap with her foot to his head. He went to the floor in a thud, breaking the end table behind him.

 

 

 

 

Amazon USA https://amzn.to/2zGRO0E

Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2OlsiGC

B&N  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/grayson-kathi-s-barton/1129603836?ean=2940161945148

SmashWords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/896982

KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/grayson-13

I TUNES  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/grayson/id1437031966?mt=11

PaperBack  https://amzn.to/2zElf3v

 

 

Spencer Graham had been trying to get a hold of Jason Crosby for weeks, but he didn’t seem to answer emails, mail or the telephone. She had an idea that would make them a great deal of money, but she needed him to invest in her project before it was too late. So, barging into his home at 4 a. m. was the only solution as far as she was concerned. She didn’t, however, expect him to answer the door naked and proposition her as soon as she walked in the door. Spencer did the only thing that came natural to her, she knocked him on his ass….

Jason Crosby was nearly two thousand years old, and in all his days as a vampire, he’d never seen anyone quite like her, not that he thought that was a good thing. He didn’t. She was his mate, and he was only going the tolerate her because he had to….

 

 

Chase Crosby didn’t know what he wanted right now. He was trying to get a grip on who his new mate was. He was told she was an ice dragon, but that wasn’t right either, she was a protector of the ice dragons. He had so many questions, and all he could do was sit there while she was locked away in his freezer to recover from her injuries.

Emerald was a warrior, and she had no idea what she was going to do with a mate. Even though the vampire appealed to her, she was worried the people chasing her would hurt him or his family to get to her, and she couldn’t allow that.

A Homeland Security Agent had gone rogue and he was after Emerald. He didn’t know exactly who or what she was, but he was going to prove she’d been around for centuries, and it didn’t matter who he had to go through to get to her.

 

 

Elliot knew the little boy, Cody, was in trouble. When he found the boy hiding out in his greenhouse, he could see that he was starving and battered. The boy’s little dog didn’t look like he was faring any better. When the boy’s father, Duncan, busted down the door of the greenhouse, Elliot had had enough.

Hannah didn’t have much use for her idiot brother, Duncan. And when she heard her brother had murdered his wife, and her nephew Cody was on the run from his father, she wasn’t surprised. She was surprised, however, and elated to find out her sister, Julia, was alive. Julia’s slimy ex-husband, Nathan, had Hannah believing Julia was dead.

Elliot was sent to bring Hannah back. Nathan had learned that Julia had left town and taking Hannah would be his leverage to make Julia do as he wanted. Elliot knew Nathan was on his way, and they had to hurry to keep Nathan from finding her. What he wasn’t expecting to find was his mate.

Hannah had had enough of men telling her what to do and finding out Elliot was a vampire didn’t make the situation any easier. He would take it slow and tread softly, or she would stake him, simple as that.

Finding out Nathan and Duncan had banned together spelled trouble for everyone. Even though Hannah was now immortal, Elliot still worried about her because she could still be hurt, and no one touched his mate if they wanted to live.

 

The Sons of Crosby Series
1.Jason http://amzn.to/2rBDG5A
2.Chase  http://amzn.to/2BcTznZ
3.Elliot https://amzn.to/2y7mPMm

 

 

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Misty had been sitting in a cramped car for five days. It really wasn’t restrictive— her dad had always liked the bigger cars. And when he found one that suited him, he would drive it until there was nothing but rust, spit, and tape holding it together. This particular rust bucket was newer—well, at least it wasn’t too bad…yet. As soon as he pulled into the hotel parking lot, she nearly leaped from the car to stretch.

“You sure do creak a lot.” She turned and looked at her dad, ready to blast him for saying such a thing. That was when she realized that he was talking to the car and not her. “But you got us here all right, so I guess that’s fine too.” She would never, for as long as she lived, understand men and their relationships with cars. Or for that matter, sports. Misty loved football. It was like the only thing she could watch that would relax her.

And that was only because she could scream and throw things at the television and no one got hurt. She took her football seriously. And her team was Ohio State. Misty went into the office of the hotel and signed her and her dad into a room by using a false identity. Going to different hotels for the past few days, using fake names, was the only way she knew to be assured of their safety. And that of her brother too. She’d also been using cash since they’d left their home, as well as random names. Dad had had a bit of money at the house, and she had gone by her own on the way here and taken out all the cash she had in the bank, as well as any she had stashed around the house. That was one of the many things that she’d learned from Sean.

“Always have a backup. Not just a backup plan, but things that will make the backup work. I mean in everything you do. Money stashed where you can easily get to it. Get a couple of burner phones. A set of your car keys someplace other than your home, as well as water. You cannot be on the run without that.” She laughed and asked him if he thought she was going to be in trouble. “I’d like to say yes because you are trouble, but that’s not what I mean right now. I’m being serious. Someday you might be, you might have to run, and those things will get you closer to being safe.” Misty had done what he’d told her.

Not only did she have several thousand dollars that she could grab and go, but all the other things that he’d told her as well. Misty had also added jerky to her things. She knew that she couldn’t go far on an empty stomach, and she was forever forgetting to eat. “You want to get a pizza? Or go for a burger?” Her dad was enjoying this trip. Zigzagging across the state to keep ahead of the guys after Alex would be fun, she thought, if it wasn’t for the fact that it wasn’t for the fun of exploring, but a necessity. Dad was terrified, as was she, about her brother, but they were both trying to make the best of it. And knowing that he was safe helped a great deal. “I’m all for a burger, and not to eat it in the car.” “Yeah, me too. I want to check in with Sean. Let him know that we’re close and then we’ll go.” Dad smiled and said that he’d drive. “All right. And Dad, I love you.”

“I love you too, pumpkin. And I also wanted to tell you how proud I am of you.” She was tired, she told herself. That was why his words affected her so deeply. Instead of standing there like a fool sobbing about her daddy’s words, she picked up one of the burner phones and turned it on. You do know that you can speak to me like this, don’t you? Misty smiled. Why are you wasting your phone on calling someone that you only have to reach for? It sort of freaks my dad out. He understands what you are and that I trust you. But the mind talking thing, it makes him feel weird. But he’s in the car, waiting for me, so I can tell you that we’ve stopped at a hotel on Route Forty. It’s called Sweet Dreams. He asked her where she was in the hotel. If you mean, where am I standing, just outside room six. We’ve not gone into our rooms as yet. Why? He was suddenly standing in front of her. Backing up a bit, he was so close, two more people appeared near him, and none of them looked all that happy. Or maybe it was their natural state. The woman started barking orders almost as soon as she appeared. It was then that she noticed there were several more people coming out of the small group of trees behind the place. “You’re in trouble.” She nodded to him.

“We’re here to get rid of anything that can place you here. Someone wants your ass but bad. It’s a nice one, by the way, but just not my type.” “Are you trying to tell me something and you’re buttering me up for the bad news?” He nodded. “Is Alex all right?” “Yes. But you’re not. Nor is your dad. We’re here to erase you from here.” She asked him what was going on. “I honestly don’t know yet, and neither do my sisters-inlaw. The men that are following the two of you, they only have one thing in their head—get you or one of your other family members and take them back to the boss. We don’t know who that is either. And Alex, I’m sorry to say, is going to be their target. He’s the easiest to capture. And they’re sure that you’d do anything to keep him safe.” “I would.” He nodded and looked over her shoulder. Turning, she saw her dad there. Also, there was a lot of work being done, some of it she only just now understood. There were wolves pissing on cars as well as the hotel room they’d not been in yet. She looked at her dad, who looked confused and concerned. “Dad, this is my friend, Sean Crosby.

I’ve told you about him. They’re marking our things with their scent so that we cannot be detected as being here.” “Thank you, daughter. I was a might clueless. And you, young man, I want to tell you that I’m indebted to you. You surely saved my son, and I will be forever working on repaying you for that.” It never occurred to her dad to think that calling Sean a young man was well off the mark. But like her, he was stressed too. “What do we—? That guy is taking our wheels. I do hope that he isn’t stealing it. Is he?” “No, sir. He’s taking it to my brother’s house. He has a large barn that we’re going to store it in. And there are pack on the land that are going to mark that place up as well.” She looked up at Sean. “You’re going to travel with me. And your dad is going to go with my brother, Jason. All right?”
“Yes. You’re better at this cloak and dagger shit than I am. By the way, I had to ditch my real phone. Do you have a landline that I can use to get some work done? Someone I work with has been trying to get in touch with me since we left.” He said that he did. “Good.

I would love for you to meet him. He’s more persnickety. Nothing ever changes with him. It’s fucking annoying.” “He sounds like a real winner. Are you ready?” She nodded and closed her eyes. Misty knew what to expect, and when she got to wherever he was taking her, she’d be sick for a little bit. In no time, they were standing in a very lovely living room. “Steady now. Let me get you to a seat, then you can sit for a moment.” It didn’t take long, his way of travel, but it was hard on a girl. As soon as she had her bearings, her brother came to give her a hug. Standing up so that she could make sure that he wasn’t hurt, she let the tears fall freely from her eyes. Alex was all right—that was all she could focus on right now. Her little brother was all right. Dad hugged him too when he arrived. He had taken to the way vampires travelled better than she had. Misty hugged them both. They were safe. She knew that if anyone or anything came their way, they were in a position to be as safe as they could be. There were several other people in the room with them. Misty had never met Sean’s family, but she could almost guess who they were. Sean had told her all about his family over the years, his brothers anyway, and she was glad to finally meet them. She only wished that it wasn’t an emergency that had brought them all together. “Everyone, this is Able and Misty Quartermain. Able, Misty, this is my family. From left to right, you have Jason and his wife, Jewel, Chase and Emerald next to them. Elliot and Hannah, and that’s Ryan, the youngest.” Misty looked for the fifth brother. Just then he walked into the room eating a thick sandwich of what smelled like roast beef. “And that hog there is my brother Grayson.” The sandwich was still poised halfway to his mouth as he stared at her. The plate in his other hand held another one. He kept watching her like he’d rather be having her for a meal. The amount of hunger in his eyes scared her enough to stand behind Sean.

The low growl coming from Grayson brought her not only out from behind Sean, but right up in Grayson’s face. “You growl at me again, you jackass, and I’ll tear your face off. I’ve had it up to my fucking ass with men that think they can growl at me and I’ll jump.” She poked him in the chest then. “I don’t jump for any man, woman, or child. Do you understand me? I’m not going to keep my desk cleaned off when I’m working, and I most certainly will not go on vacation when you do just so things can be the same as usual. I’m my own person, not a puppet with strings that you’re going to use.” She realized what she’d done before they started clapping. Misty had mixed in her trouble at work with this man, and she was sorry for it. However, Grayson didn’t seem to think it was worth applauding at. He just kept staring at her—no longer with hunger, but with anger. It was so hot coming off him that she took several steps back. Grayson countered her, coming toward her even as she backed up more. Handing his plate and
sandwich to the man next to him, he kept coming. Putting up her hand, she told him to stop. “Who?” She asked him what he meant.

“Who did those things to you? I’m assuming that he’s still alive. Otherwise you’d not be here.” “It doesn’t matter. Why are you crowding me? Stop where you are.” He did, but now she was backed against the wall and her body was drenched in not just fear, but excitement as well. “Can you back up?” He didn’t, of course, and she was tempted to hit him. But he only turned his head just enough to speak to Sean, not taking his eyes off her. Misty didn’t know exactly what was going on—she hoped not, anyway. But she was afraid that she did actually understand, and she was in more trouble than ever. “You said that she knows all about us?” Sean said that she did and that he was terrifying her. “Yeah, I know, but my beast, he won’t let me go enough to help her.” “Well, let me help you then. I’m sick of men running over me.” Misty doubled up her fist and hit Grayson square in the nose. Then, when he was going back, she swung her leg around and did a roundhouse slap with her foot to his head. He went to the floor in a thud, breaking the end table that was behind him. The room erupted in laughter. Misty was not only afraid but embarrassed as well. Leaving the room, dragging Sean behind her, he told her that she had to let him go or he’d be dead. Stopping, she looked at her friend. “Please tell me that I’m wrong about his.” Sean backed away a few feet, then shook his head. “I don’t have time for his shit, Sean. I don’t even want to involve you guys at all, but I didn’t know what else to do.” “I know, honey, and I’m sorry. But Grayson is your mate. You can’t touch any of the males in the house until he touches you first.” She cocked her head at him, put her hands on her hips, and glared. “All you need to do now is tap your foot and you’d look just like you did in college.

” The women came out of the room and stood beside Sean. She hadn’t any idea what she was to do now, so she asked if there was a hotel that she could stay in. They shook their heads, and said it was much too late for that. “Fuck.” Jewel, she thought her name was, told her that was about right. “What the fuck am I supposed to do now? I don’t need this on top of all the shit that I have going on in my life. And I have to protect my brother. My dad too, since he has been drawn into this.” “He’s not the target. You are.” She looked at the woman she thought was Hannah. “I’ve been going over some of your cases—you’re good, by the way—and I found that you have opened up a can of shit that is supposed to have you dead. However, I can’t connect any of the dots to anyone you sent away. Not even parents of any of the deadbeats you won against.” “Why?” Grayson came out of the living room and she only glared at him. He leaned against the wall and didn’t come any closer. “You can’t get into my cases. They’re a part of the firm where I work.”

“I have ways.” She didn’t even bother asking her when Grayson came to stand by her and said that he was sorry. Misty ignored him for now. “Grayson is a good guy, if you can discount that he’s a Neanderthal. All of them are, as a matter of fact. But this thing with you, we’ll sit down after dinner and talk. There is a lot going on with you and your firm.” Misty moved to the front door and stopped when Grayson followed her, but she did notice that he kept his distance. Opening the front door, going out onto the front porch to just rock for a few minutes, Grayson came out too, and leaned against the railing in front of her. ~*~ She was furious. And beautiful. Grayson didn’t try to crowd her again but stood there watching her take angry strides to the chair. He might have pointed out that the rocker was old and rickety, but again, he thought he’d get further if he kept his mouth shut. “I’m your mate.” He nodded. “I know enough about your kind, as well as your family, to know that this is a done deal, no matter what I say or try to do. Isn’t it?” “Yes. If it helps you any, I’m as surprised by this as you are.

” She rocked harder, and the chair was inching its way to him. “May I ask you a favor? And I know you will have no trouble whatsoever telling me no, but I’d like for you to hear me out.” “All right. But I also reserve the right to tell you to fuck off again.” He told her it was a deal and asked if he could sit next to her. “Sure, but no touching yet. I’m still working a few things out in my head, and I do much better when I can think without distractions.” “I do that as well. I’m a loner, most of the time. Anyway, I’d like for you to move into my house with me.” She just stared at him, and Grayson could have gladly laid at her feet and let her abuse him. “Your family is welcome there as well. The house is an old one, and I’ve only just had it brought up to code. The kitchen is a mess, but it’s coming along. As I was saying, it’s a large house, with plenty of rooms so you’d never have to see me if you didn’t want. But I’d feel safer, until we can get this figured out, if you stay there.” “What’s so different that you think your house is better? I know that a hotel is out— too many people coming and going all the time. The hotel we were going to stay at, it looked like a stiff wind could have blown open the doors. Why your place and not, say, one of your brothers’ homes?” “I’d have to kill one of my family members, and I’d rather not.” She just stared off into the drive, and he wondered what she was thinking. He could have looked, but he didn’t want her not to trust him. “You and Sean, you’ve known each other for a while, I guess.” “Yes. He saved my life. Quite literally. I was nearly raped and left for dead one night after leaving work. Sean just happened to be in the right place to kill some men that were hell bent on having fun with me. I didn’t know until a few days later they weren’t human, but vampires like him.” Misty looked at him. “Like you all, I guess.”
“Yes, the men in the family are. We’re lucky enough to have a bit more too, as I’m sure he told you.

But the women, they’re not just human either. We have a faerie prince and princess, a dragon king and queen, as well as ice dragons that we can call to us for help. As well as the pack that roams all of our land.” Her rocking had slowed, and he paced his rocker with hers. “I was a fool earlier with you. I had my feet knocked out from under me, even before you did it.” “I’m sorry about that. Lately men have been giving me shit, and I’ve about had it.” She looked at him and he let her. There was something so profoundly heartwarming to have someone look at him like she was. “I’m an attorney. I’ve worked really hard at it too. The firm that I work for—worked for, I guess—they don’t think that women have any place in that business other than— Well, other than fucking their way to the top of them. I don’t play around.” “No, I know that.” She stared at him, then looked out over the drive. There was pack there, several of them as a matter of fact. “I don’t live far from here. After dinner, would you and your family like to come out and see the house? Like I said, it’s being worked on, extensively as a matter of fact. But the security system is state of the art, and the furniture is some that I’ve collected over the years.” Grayson decided not to bring up her job again, or the men she was working for. He wasn’t sure what she meant by the change in her job status, but he’d have Jewel—or better yet, Emerald—look into it for him. The company was going to pay if they didn’t play ball with whatever she wanted from them. “There are things about me that I’d like to tell you.

” She looked at him and he nodded. “I’m aware that you can tell that I’ve never had sex, but the reason why might make you laugh at me. Especially considering how I was treated at my job. I’m not going back there—I don’t think, anyway. I’ve only just decided that I think I could do better on my own.” “More than likely. Ryan, the one just younger than me, he practices law for us— well, practice is a comical term when you realize that he’s been practicing for centuries.” She nodded and leaned back in the chair, no longer rocking. “You said that you might make me laugh when I hear why you’re still a virgin. And you’re correct, I can smell that about you.” “I was saving myself for one man—you, I guess now. But I wanted it to be perfect when I married. I guess that is shot all to hell.” Grayson asked her why. “You have to survive with me only, correct? I mean, Sean told me a great deal about mates, and the way they go at sex like rabbits in heat.

” Grayson burst out laughing. For such a serious conversation, she was delightfully honest. When she smiled at him, it was as if she’d given him a rare glimpse of her. He’d bet anything that her life over the last several months was taking its toll on her. And now this. “We do like our sex. And yes, when you’re ready, we’ll have lots of it.” She just cocked a brow at him. “I don’t mean to be indelicate, but I’ve fed recently. I can go a bit longer before I want to sink my teeth into you and have a hell of an orgasm.”
Misty’s face brightened in embarrassment. They both turned when the front door to Jason’s home opened. Alex stepped out onto the porch and began signing to his sister. Misty was telling him what they were talking about, he supposed, so that he’d not feel left out. “He said that we’re to come in for dinner, but only if I can refrain from hitting you again.” She looked at him, then back at her brother as she answered him. “That remains to be seen. We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it. Also, your father is on his way, and Jason wants to know if he can tell them that we’re a couple.” “If you don’t mind.” She said that she didn’t care either way, but she wasn’t easy. This too she signed to her brother, and his face heated up. “Does your brother read lips?”

“Ask him. And yes, he does, but I have been really hard on my brother. I bullied him into never being handicapped.” Alex laughed, then nodded. “He can read lips, but only if you’re looking at him. And mustaches muddle the words for him. Which is no problem here—none of you are sporting any.” Grayson could talk to Alex and did so, welcoming him to the family. Alex glanced at his sister as she made her way into the house, and then asked to speak to him. Grayson told him that he could, at any time. He sat down next to him. After telling Grayson everything that happened at the police station, Alex asked him why he’d not been arrested, or for that matter, why it hadn’t been put into the paper that he was missing. Grayson had an answer for him, but he wasn’t sure if he could be honest with him as he would with his sister. “Please do. Misty, she made sure that I was never handicapped, as she said, but she’s also made it so that I could become a part of the world. Most in my place have given up, only hang out with others like them—deaf and/or mute people. I have a few friends like me, but most of my friends are speaking and hearing people.” Grayson told him he was extremely lucky to have a sister like Misty. “I am. I don’t know what would have happened to me had she not been who she is. Also, even though I’m just human, if you hurt her in any way, I will grind you to dust. Understand?”

“Yes.” Grayson liked this young man and decided that he’d like for him to stay with them until he met his own mate. He thought he could learn a great deal from the younger man. “The reason that you’ve never been pursued or attached to what happened there is because you were never to have been arrested for that crime. I don’t know all the details yet—my sisters, the other women, they’ll have a better handle on this than me. But, like I told your sister, you were just the person that they were going to use to get to her. And you would have been killed had my family, mostly Sean, not stepped in and helped.” Alex sat there, not saying anything, and Grayson waited. Alex, like his sister, was a thinker. He thought that they might have gotten that from their mom. Their dad, Able, he tossed out ideas and threw them away like he was testing the grounds. They were a good family. And Grayson found himself thinking that he was going to enjoy getting to know all three of them, provided Misty didn’t kill him first.

Laughing, he went into the house with Alex. “I hope you’re hungry.” Alex nodded and rubbed his belly. “Well, don’t sit next to Elliot. He’s a pig and will take food from your plate if you’re not watching him.” Alex told him that he’d figured that out but thanked him. Yes, Grayson thought, he was really enjoying having a mate so far.

 

Elliot The Sons Of Crosby Release Day Giveaway

 

 

Elliot knew the little boy, Cody, was in trouble. When he found the boy hiding out in his greenhouse, he could see that he was starving and battered. The boy’s little dog didn’t look like he was faring any better. When the boy’s father, Duncan, busted down the door of the greenhouse, Elliot had had enough.

Hannah didn’t have much use for her idiot brother, Duncan. And when she heard her brother had murdered his wife, and her nephew Cody was on the run from his father, she wasn’t surprised. She was surprised, however, and elated to find out her sister, Julia, was alive. Julia’s slimy ex-husband, Nathan, had Hannah believing Julia was dead.

Elliot was sent to bring Hannah back. Nathan had learned that Julia had left town and taking Hannah would be his leverage to make Julia do as he wanted. Elliot knew Nathan was on his way, and they had to hurry to keep Nathan from finding her. What he wasn’t expecting to find was his mate.

Hannah had had enough of men telling her what to do and finding out Elliot was a vampire didn’t make the situation any easier. He would take it slow and tread softly, or she would stake him, simple as that.

Finding out Nathan and Duncan had banned together spelled trouble for everyone. Even though Hannah was now immortal, Elliot still worried about her because she could still be hurt, and no one touched his mate if they wanted to live.

 

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Spencer Graham had been trying to get a hold of Jason Crosby for weeks, but he didn’t seem to answer emails, mail or the telephone. She had an idea that would make them a great deal of money, but she needed him to invest in her project before it was too late. So, barging into his home at 4 a. m. was the only solution as far as she was concerned. She didn’t, however, expect him to answer the door naked and proposition her as soon as she walked in the door. Spencer did the only thing that came natural to her, she knocked him on his ass….

Jason Crosby was nearly two thousand years old, and in all his days as a vampire, he’d never seen anyone quite like her, not that he thought that was a good thing. He didn’t. She was his mate, and he was only going the tolerate her because he had to….

 

 

 

 

Chase Crosby didn’t know what he wanted right now. He was trying to get a grip on who his new mate was. He was told she was an ice dragon, but that wasn’t right either, she was a protector of the ice dragons. He had so many questions, and all he could do was sit there while she was locked away in his freezer to recover from her injuries.

Emerald was a warrior, and she had no idea what she was going to do with a mate. Even though the vampire appealed to her, she was worried the people chasing her would hurt him or his family to get to her, and she couldn’t allow that.

A Homeland Security Agent had gone rogue and he was after Emerald. He didn’t know exactly who or what she was, but he was going to prove she’d been around for centuries, and it didn’t matter who he had to go through to get to her.

 

1.Jason http://amzn.to/2rBDG5A
2.Chase  http://amzn.to/2BcTznZ

 

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Cody watched his meal go around and around in the microwave. He didn’t remember the last time he’d had a hot meal before coming here to stay, much less enough to fill his belly. Looking at the little table that Elliot had brought for him to use, he thought of all the times he’d sat at his own table, his mom sneaking bits of meat to him so that he’d have some too. Watching his dad have a full meal while he was made to watch him had made Cody all the hungrier. His mom was dead, and he knew not only who had done it, but also how. Cody tried really hard not to think about that day and the things he’d had to do afterwards. But there were times, like today, that they would come to his head and he’d not be able to think of anything else. The sound of a great crash had him turning off the microwave and grabbing the little phone that had been left for him to use. He had no idea what had caused the sound, but he’d rather be hidden than not. No telling when his dad might think to look in here for him. The greenhouse, he knew, wasn’t all that secure. “Boy, where the fuck are you?” His best friend and dog Buster came to hide with him when he heard his dad’s voice. Buster had been hurt by him too. “I’m talking to you, shit for brains, and you’d better answer me.” Cody opened the phone and looked at the numbers there. He was crying now, and he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to press the right buttons. For some reason, he knew that he’d only have a single chance at calling for help, and he pressed one of the buttons. “What the fuck do you want? Its five in the morning, moron.” He didn’t know the woman’s voice that answered, but he didn’t care. “Did you hear me, fucktard?” “I’m at the greenhouse. He’s here.” The woman changed her voice after that, and he could hear her talking to someone else. Cody was afraid that he had a wrong number and tried again to tell her how scared he was. “He’s here, and I don’t wanna die.” “You’re not. Just stay hidden, Chase and I are coming.” He didn’t know who that was but figured that if the number was in the phone, it was someone that would really help him. So long as it wasn’t put in it wrong, he guessed. “We’ll be there before you know it.” He surely hoped so. As it was right now, his dad was screaming for him to come in and he could hear him breaking stuff. Mr. Elliot was sure going to be mad when he got here. Cody would have to tell him that he could help him clean it up. If he got to live that long. “You’re trespassing, you fucking idiot. Didn’t anyone ever tell you that when you have to break a fucking door to get in, you’re probably not going to be all that welcome?” Cody knew it was the woman on the phone. She sure did cuss a lot. “The police have been called, mother fucker, and you’re going down.” “My kid is in here and somebody is going to pay. I saw that mutt of his yesterday, then he disappeared. I’m guessing that somebody in here is going to jail and not me.”

The woman laughed, and then he heard the strong voice of a man. Cody wasn’t sure what he was saying, but he wasn’t any happier with his dad than the woman was. “I don’t give two shits about this being private property. My fucking shit for brains kid is in here, and I want his fucking ass home. Now get him before I have to hurt you two while I’m at it.” This time he heard the man. “Yes, you go ahead and try that, then we’ll see who gets hurt. Besides, aside from the fact that you’re an idiot, what the hell do you think gives you the right to assume that you can break in here to have a look around? As you’ve been told, several times, this is private property.” If his dad spoke, Cody didn’t hear him. Just then, Elliot appeared and put his hand over Cody’s mouth. “We have a plan.” Cody nodded and stood up when Elliot asked him to. “I promise you with all that I am, he will never harm you. But I want you to go out there and show yourself. My brother and sister-in-law will be out there to help you.” “He’ll kill me.” Elliot reminded him that his dad was only human, and they were all vampires. “Okay, I can see that. But if you guys kill him, and I would if I was one, then I got nobody at all. I mean, he’s a terrible man and the worse father of all, but he’s all I got now. Maybe I should just—” “Don’t say that, all right? You’ll have me. And my family. Do you have any other relatives?” He told him about an aunt that lived in New York. “Good. We’ll contact her when your dad is in jail. Then when he’s there, we can help your mom out of being wrapped up under your porch.” Cody thought he’d rather stay under the bed for the rest of his life than go out there where his father was. His dad was a mean person, and Cody hadn’t had to do much wrong to have his dad wallop him but good. But he did trust this man. The week that he’d been here, with Elliot’s knowledge, he’d got to meet a nice woman, had food all the time, and he was clean. Brandy had seen to that for him too. She took him to her house for the afternoon so that he could get a shower and something that didn’t come from a zapper, as she called the microwave. Also, she did his laundry and gave him cookies and fruit so that he could eat that instead of the things that were bad for him. And she gave him the best hugs a little boy like him could have ever needed. Getting up, he took a long breath in and let it out slowly. He had very little reason to trust anyone. There were people, he knew, that were nice, but in his small experience, they were all mean and hit hard. But not Elliot. He was the nicest man he knew. Cody also knew that his dad would call him a pussy, or some other bad name, just because he could. And he also knew that Elliot or any of Elliot’s family could kill his dad without much effort. “He will never touch you. I promise you, Cody. Never.” He believed that Elliot would try to make that happen, but he also knew his dad. Nodding once to the man who meant the world to him, Cody made his way out into the greenhouse and looked at the damage that his dad had done to get to him.

Why? What reason did he have to break up so many things that didn’t belong to him? He knew why—because he could. That’s what he told Cody all the time. He said that if people didn’t want their shit broken, they should take better care about putting it out where he could break it. Like it was their fault or something. “There you are, you shit for brains. You’re going to get your ass blistered for this.” It wasn’t just a threat either. His dad had burned him before on his butt by sitting him on a hot pan he’d heated up on the stove. “You got chores that I expect you to do, too. I don’t care how bad you’re going to be hurting. Your mom, she ran off, and you’re going to take up her slack when I—” Cody wasn’t sure what made him feel so brave. It could have been the two people that were in front of him with his dad, or the man behind him that put his hand on his shoulder when his dad started to speak. But he knew, for now, this might be his only chance to get his mom some peace. “She ain’t run off and you know it.” His dad turned a dark red, like he was planning to explode or something. “You tied us to the chair and you put tape over my mouth. Then you put a big plastic bag over her head and made it real tight. I could see her face, I could hear her screams. Then you made me wrap her up in a tarp and put her under the front porch when you killed her. You said she’d be there until you could have me dig a hole to put her in when the dirt was unfrozen. Why would you do that to my mom? What right do you have to just kill someone like that? Huh?” The woman, she told him her name was Emerald, knelt down in front of him. He didn’t want her to turn her back on his dad and told her that. She only smiled at him, and Cody had a feeling that he should warn his dad not to mess with her. She was scary even with her pretty smile. “Is your mom truly under your porch?” Wiping at the tears that he shed when he thought of how much he missed her, Cody nodded. “And you know for a fact that your dad is the one that killed her? And that he made you witness it?” “He tied us both up and told us that he was going to teach us a lesson.” His dad growled, like he did right before he came after Cody for something. But Emerald told him to just look at her. “Dad killed her, and he was gonna kill me too, but I run off with Buster. After I had to wrap her up. It hurt me so hard to have to of done that to my own mom. You know?” Cody watched as the woman stood up in front of him. He’d never in all his life felt like he wasn’t going to be hurt by anyone until then. Mr. Elliot was behind him, the woman stood in front. And for some reason, he thought that he’d be more afraid of her than the men if he was his dad. But he was beyond stupid, Cody only just realized, and he’d get himself killed if he didn’t smarten up. Cody also knew that his dad thought he was smart already, and that would be the end of him. The sirens started blaring about the time his dad was backing away from Chase. He was a big man too, and Cody was sure that he worked out all the time. Not like his dad said he did, working out by beating him and his mom, but in a real job. Chase seemed to grow bigger when his dad told him to get out of his way.

“I wouldn’t leave here if I were you.” His dad asked Chase why not, he’d done nothing wrong. “You see, that’s where you’re wrong. We’ve had someone watching your home since young Cody showed up cold and hungry here. If not for the quick thinking of my brother, I’m sure that you would have had him joining his mom under the porch, too. Wouldn’t you have?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about. And if you want him, he’s yours. Got no use for him anyway. All he does is whine about shit and don’t carry his weight around the house.” Chase just looked at his dad and laughed. “You got no reason to be acting like you’re better than I am. I just came here for my boy. Whatever he’s told you, it’s a lie. He’s a liar and a thief too. I changed my mind. I’ll take him now and we’ll forget the whole thing. That way I don’t have to hurt you too.” Two police officers came into the greenhouse and asked Elliot if they still needed them. Cody wasn’t sure what that meant, but Elliot told them that he was going to let them take care of this. He thought that Cody had had enough death in one lifetime. The officers nodded and walked up to his dad. “Mr. Wayne, you’re under arrest for attempted murder as well as child endangerment. Those are all we can hold you on for now, at least until we can get out to your house and have a look around.” Cody’s dad said he’d not tried to murder anyone, yet. The officer nodded and pulled out his handcuffs. “You’ll come along easily, Mr. Wayne, or I swear to you I’m going to leave you here for the Crosbys to deal with. And trust me when I tell you, I’d not screw around with any of them. They’re the sort that takes care of their own, and protects them in ways a human can’t. They deal with threats quickly and without any kind of fanfare.” Cody looked up at Elliot when the hand on his shoulder tightened. His eyes were all bloody looking, and he could see his teeth—fangs, Cody guessed they were called— showing on his lower lip. Then when he shook himself, like Buster did when he came in out of the cold, he looked down at him with a wink and a smile. “My stepmom, Brandy, is here. You know her, she’s come to get you sometimes.” He nodded. “I want you to go with her to her and my dad’s house. You can trust them as much as you do me; you know that, don’t you?” “Yes, she’s a nice lady. I like her. But you’re not going to be hurt, are you, Mr. Elliot? You’re a nice man, but my dad, he’s not so nice, and he is mean when he doesn’t get his way.” Elliot knelt down to his level, and Cody had the overwhelming urge to hug the man. And when he did, wrapping his arms around his neck, Cody cried. “Don’t get hurt. Please? You’re my only friend in the whole wide world but for Buster. And he don’t count much—he’s a dog.” Cody was carried to the door and handed to Ms. Brandy. She bundled him up in a blanket and took him right to the car. Mr. Franklin was in there too, and he asked him if he’d gotten any breakfast with this boloney going on. “No, sir. I was heating me up one of them breakfast logs that Elliot calls them when I heard my dad.” He nodded and said they’d gotten none either, but they was up for it. “I don’t have any money to go out with you. I’m sorry. Mr. Elliot said he’d pay me today, and I guess he forgot.”

“He’ll get around to it, you can bet on that. But you don’t have to worry none about paying, son. We got you covered. Any man that can stand up to a bully like you did your dad, then he deserves a big man breakfast too. Took guts to do what you did, and now they’re going to be able to find your poor momma and help her too.” He didn’t think they’d be able to save his mom, but he nodded at him. Ms. Brandy told him that they’d get her to a place she could be buried. Cody understood that. He surely wouldn’t want to have these people mad at him, he realized. They were good as a family, as best as he’d ever seen, but they sure could be mean when they thought someone was hurting someone. And Cody was sure that they would fight for him too. For the first time in his young life, he felt loved and safe. His mom had loved him, but she was gone now. ~~~ Elliot was barely holding onto his beast right now. The woman, Rose Wayne, was just where Cody had said she’d be—wrapped up in a tarp that wasn’t even in that good of shape, and still with the plastic bag over her head. He wondered what sort of monster could do that to his wife. Not to mention, make his son watch. Elliot sat on the back of his truck and waited for the police to finish up. It was that or go to the jail and kill the man responsible for this. “You going inside with me?” He nodded at Joey Williams, the chief of police. “All right. But you keep your hands to yourself until I say you can touch. I know what you’re going in there for, and I have to tell you, Elliot, I’d not do it again if I didn’t have to. The place is a mess.” “He might want some pictures of his mom. Wherever Cody goes after this, he’ll still remember her.” Joey told him again not to touch anything. He looked at his friend, and thought it was odd that he was being so firm about this no touching thing. “Is there something that you’re trying hard not to tell me?” “The boy, how long has he been hiding out in the greenhouse?” Elliot didn’t answer him. That would be considered kidnapping if his dad had a good attorney, and it was common knowledge that he’d known he was there. “The reason I ask is, there is another body under the porch. It’s pretty far back under there, and we might not have seen it had it not been for the tarp being shiny. I don’t think we want Cody’s dad to know we found him for now. He’s not related to this family, but a little fella all the same. He looks like he might have been killed in the last couple of weeks.” “If he was put there in the last week or so, Cody might not have seen him. He has been with me, as you know. And the only reason that he came out of hiding even then was he was starving. I’m betting that he’s been gone for some time, at least a couple of weeks or more.” Joey nodded and sat beside him on the truck. “Who is it?” “One of mine. Pack. He’s been missing for a couple of weeks too. I’m not sure what happened to have him ending up under the porch, but I’m thinking that Duncan might have thought he was killing his son. And it was too late when he figured it out once he’d already started on the— Just don’t touch anything, all right?” He asked him why he’d think that about the death of the boy. “Emerald did some looking around in Duncan’s head for me. He’s got some nasty shit up there, she told me, and he might not

make it to the cell I have all planned out for him. She wasn’t all that nice about her search either.” “She is rarely nice, so you know. I love her to pieces, but she scares the living shit out of me most of the time.” Joey laughed when he did. “He has to stand trial for this, Joey. You know that as well as I do. If he comes up missing and people find out that I’d been harboring his son, it might not go over well for either of us.” “I told her that. She’s got them little dragons of hers watching him. I’m to understand from your dad that they’re not all cute and cuddly at all either.” He said that they weren’t. “I don’t suppose, while I’m thinking about it, your family had anything to do with the baby vamps out on Sixty, did they? If you won’t answer me I understand, but thanks if you did.” Elliot nodded. He still had trouble thinking about how the young vampires had been dealt with. The little dragons weren’t all that cute and cuddly, not by long shot. They were big and dangerous. Deadly too. When Joey asked him if he was ready, he nodded and made his way to the little house. As soon as he was on the porch, where the bodies had been found, he could smell it. He looked at Joey when they both stopped before entering the house. “I’m going to ask you again not to touch anything.” Elliot nodded. “I have to preserve the crime scene with this one. By the books. If your fingerprints show up here, I’m going to have to have you arrested as well, just so we don’t fuck this one up. We’re even recording everything from the time we got here. I sure hope to Christ that we got it all. And as much as you scare me, being a vamp and all, I don’t want to have to explain to Emerald that your arrest is only temporary, until we get it sorted out.” “What am I walking in on, Joey?” Joey looked out beyond the house to the tree line. Elliot did the same. “The family?” “Yes. They’ve been here since I called them to let them know that we’d found Tim, their son. The child did not go easy, so you know, and it happened in the house.” Elliot nodded. “Is there anyone else that this kid has to go to? I mean, he’s going into the system if there isn’t anyone to take care of him.” “He mentioned an aunt in New York.” Elliot looked back at the house before continuing. “Joey, are you all right? I promise I won’t touch anything if you’d rather not go in again.” “I have to. That’s the only reason I am. And with you there—well, I feel like I need someone else to witness this. Just to say that it’s as bad as I thought it was the first time. And Elliot, it’s as bad as it gets in there.” Elliot nodded. “I’m truly sorry about this.” The scent of blood hit him. It wasn’t fresh either. As soon as his eyes adjusted to the darkness of the house, he looked around. For the first time in his entire life, something sickened him to the point that he thought he was going to throw up. Christ, the kid had fought hard, he realized. He had no idea how the young pup had died, but he surely did try his best to come out the winner in his fight for life. The furniture around the first room was broken and shattered against the wall. Blood was splattered all over the walls and curtains, as well as anything around the room that was out in the open. Elliot looked at the place where

he was sure that the boy had been murdered, and stood there for several seconds just looking at the wide dark brown stain. He looked at Joey when he said his name. “You all right?” He nodded, then shook his head. “Yeah, just the way I felt the first time, and now too. What sort of sick fuck is this man? To do this not just to a kid that turned out to not be his, but to his wife too. I cannot wait to see him go down for this.” The rest of the house was the same. Blood marred every surface in each of the four rooms. The bathroom, where they both thought that Duncan had cleaned himself up after the deed, had been left to look like a massacre had taken place. The shower stall was stained in blood. The soap that lay on the small shelf looked like a block of red blood. Two towels were lying on the floor. They looked as if he’d not used much water to clean himself up, but just used dry towels instead of using water first. He could see him doing that—thinking that he’d just wipe it off, then seeing that it hadn’t worked, cursing as he got into the shower. Duncan’s torn and bloodied clothing lay in a heap on the floor next to the tub. Even it, Elliot thought, looked as if someone had bled all over the surface of the tiles on the floor and walls. “He realized about halfway through that it wasn’t his son, I would guess by the looks of things. He was violent at first, as you can see, but he got more so as it went on. I don’t know how he got Tim in here—drugs, I’m thinking. Or he hit him on the head and wrapped him up to bring him in the house. But once he realized that he had the wrong boy, he tried to cover his tracks by killing him. The kid didn’t give up either. At least that’s what I’m seeing. How about you?” Elliot said he could see that. “I didn’t know why he didn’t call out to his parents in this. They would have gladly come for him. But when I talked to them about finding Tim, they told me that he’d only been seven years old, and he wasn’t old enough to call on his wolf yet. It’s a real shame I can’t let them take care of this for us all.” They wandered through the house. It was sitting on a slab, so there wasn’t a basement that would have held more blood and secrets. Secrets that Elliot had decided he wasn’t keen on seeing, if there were any. As it was, Elliot wasn’t sure that he’d sleep well tonight. Not after this. There were no pictures of Cody’s mom. Nor were there any of the young boy. No things hanging on the refrigerator that Cody might have made. There wasn’t a single thing in the house that made him think that a kid lived there except for the blankets in the corner of a room and a small pile of dirty clothes. Elliot felt his beast stir under his skin at the monstrous acts of some people. Emerald contacted him just as he was coming out of the house. There are two things that you should know, one of which is going to piss you off more than you are now. The second—well, let’s just say that I’m not sure I’ll want any kids I have to go to the local school after this. He asked her if the school had known about the abuse. Not only did they know about it, but also that he’d not been eating well. Something about not being able to talk to the parents. I don’t know what their policy is on such things, but you can bet they know mine right now.

Honey, I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but everyone knows what you’re thinking because you have no trouble putting it out there. She thanked him. You’re welcome. And what is the second bit of news? So far, so you know, I don’t know if this was the really bad or the really-really bad news. The first one is the bad. I thought I’d start with that. The second one is, I’ve been able to locate the aunt. She’s one of two of Duncan’s sisters, by the way. I did some looking into soon-tobe-dead Duncan’s head, and found out enough information about them to know that he hated them both, so they must be nice. Elliot laughed. The one is not able to come here and see about the boy, nor to make arrangements for her sister-in-law’s funeral. She said that she thought her sister was dead. I think Duncan has been playing them both against each other. I’ve given her the information to contact her. Also, all arrangements have been made, including sending the plane for her and help with her children. Her name is Julia Harney, and she said that she won’t see her brother. She’ll arrive here in a couple of days. So, the bad news—or perhaps good, if you want to take him for your own son—is that she’s coming to see Cody, but she’s not taking him in. Told me right off that she had four kids of her own and didn’t need one more mouth to feed. Not mean like—she just sounded like she was overwhelmed with life and just can’t take any more. Single mom and all, she’s barely making it on her own. What happens to him if he’s not taken in by family? Emerald told him she was looking to see if there was a grandmother or such, but she didn’t hold out much hope of anyone taking him. So, he’s going to be a ward of the state. After all he’s been through, now he’ll have to be in the system. That fucking sucks. You could adopt him. He had actually thought about it, in an offhanded sort of way. I’m sure that you won’t have any trouble taking him in. And once he’s there, it’s just a matter of getting the right paperwork done and filed. And you know as well as I do, he’s better off with a vampire than he would be some of the bloodsucking fucks that are out there waiting on someone else to abuse. And I’m referring to some of the foster care homes that, you know as well as I do, only make it worse for a kid. Yes. Over the years I’ve come to realize that there are few that can be counted on to do what they’re supposed to do with a child. But I’ll look into having him come live with me. Even if it’s only temporary for now. She told him where he was, that he was being examined by the hospital. He’s not hurting as much as he was. And he’s had a few good meals in him, so that’s going to be good for him as well. It’s going to make a big difference to a lot of people, this kid being safe, and his fucktard of a dad put away. By the way, have you thought about your mate? He asked her what she meant. I don’t know, but it’s been my experience that a mate will come out of nowhere for you guys. What if this woman with her children is the one for you? She was still laughing when he closed the connection. Some days he thought about strangling her. But he knew, just as soon as he was close enough to do something like that, he’d not have to worry about his brother hurting him. Emerald would hurt him in ways that he’d never thought of. No, he’d not hurt her, but he could think about it. Smiling for the first time since coming to this house, he felt better knowing that Cody was going to be safe for a while.