Sloan (The Protectors Series Book #9)

By: Teresa Gabelman

For The Readers

This book is definitely for you! As most of you know I had planned on having Sloan as the last book in the series. The messages and emails I received asking me to write Sloan’s book, but not to let it be the last in the series was so appreciated. So yes, this book is for you and I hope I have done it justice.

I promise more Warriors are on their way!

Chapter 1

Sloan leaned his head back, letting the steaming water beat against his worn body. Anyone who said a vampire couldn’t feel was dead wrong. While he couldn’t get an illness and he didn’t need sleep, his mind, however, was past exhaustion. Dealing with the same shit day in and day out was enough to drive a saint insane—not that he was a saint. Far from it. Even in the shower, he could hear his phone incessantly ringing. He had tossed it on the bed in the room he more or less lived in. Despite having a high-end apartment overlooking the Ohio River, he was rarely there. No, he pretty much lived in the tiny room off his office at the compound.

With a grunt, he squeezed his eyes closed and tried to block the ringing of his phone as he shut off the water. Grabbing a towel, he stepped out of the shower without drying off as his cell went silent. Relieved with the brief reprieve, he walked into the small room that consisted of an unused bed, some of his clothes, a table he threw his shit on, and that pretty much summed it up. His phone rang again. Tensing, he let it go to voice mail, something he was doing more of.

Sitting on the bed, he rested his elbows on his knees and stared at the ground, trying to muster whatever in the hell he could to walk out his door into the madness he was sure waited for him on the other side. Once again, he found himself wondering if he had made a mistake so many years ago. Should he have died rather than making a deal with the devil, as that was what it seemed like? His life consisted of protecting others. Though deep inside, he knew his team were slowly losing that battle.

No one knew his feelings. None of his Warriors would ever know his feelings. He lived them alone, keeping them hidden; he was very good at doing just that. Finally lifting his head, he stared at the door as his body dried in the cool air. Maybe today would be different; maybe today they would make a difference in the war he and the others had agreed to fight. Not only was he in charge of the Cincinnati Chapter of Warriors, but he was also the eldest council leader. That meant everything went through him. It was too much for one man to handle, but handle it he did. He expected nothing less from himself and neither did the rest of the council or the Warriors who served under his leadership.

He felt old. Hell—who was he kidding?—he was old. Being turned at thirty-eight, he’d thought at that time he’d been too young to die yet, and being in a thirty-eight-year-old body did not help his aging mind. Sloan chuckled at his thoughts; he was slowly going insane.

Hearing voices, he grabbed his jeans. With a curse, he stood and tugged them on, dried off his short dark hair, and then wrapped the damp towel around his neck. Snatching up one of his many black T-shirts, he opened the door, once again hoping the day would be different than the last.

The sight before him pretty much summed up his reality—it was going to be the same shit, different day routine. Sid sat in a chair with his feet propped up on his desk as Damon stood against the wall with his arms crossed, looking pissed off as usual. Jared was texting wearing a goofy-ass grin, indicating it was probably Tessa he was messaging, while Duncan worked through a file, focused and serious. Sloan’s gaze moved to Adam, who looked bored but gave him a nod. His eyes finally landed on Jax, who sat with Caroline on his lap as they whispered to each other.

“It’s six thirty in the fucking morning.” Sloan’s voice broke the silence as he eyed each one of them. “What in the hell are you doing in my office?”

“Rise and shine, boss.” Sid grinned, his feet rocking back and forth on Sloan’s desk.

“Get your fucking feet off my desk,” Sloan said with a growl, his eyes narrowing.

“Never were a morning person, were you?” Sid smiled but dropped his feet to the ground.

Caroline stood with a bright smile. “I don’t know what they’re doing here.” Caroline frowned at the group. “But I’m here to make sure Becky feels comfortable.”