Nicole's Military Men (Elite Dragoons #2)(12)

By: Becca Van

Nicole quickly dressed into the jeans, T-shirt, light sweater, and boots she had been wearing the night she had met the Bayhard men. She grabbed her purse and took what little money she had out and stuffed it in her pocket as well as her license and bank cards. Giving the room one last glance, she bit her lip as she opened the bedroom window, glad that the house wasn’t a double story, and with care not to make too much noise, she pushed the screen out. She held her breath when the aluminum frame landed on a small shrub and was happy that it stayed where it had landed and not gone tumbling to the ground.

She flung a leg over the windowsill and clung to it as she pulled her other leg over and then she stepped down onto the ground. Glancing around to make sure none of the hands or the Bayhard brothers were around, she kept to the shadows and began to move.

When she got near the barn she heard voices. It sounded like a man and woman were arguing. She turned the corner and saw Abe Stone, one of the ranch hands, arguing with a strange woman. Neither of them had noticed her so she stayed still, standing in the shadows hoping they wouldn’t see her.

“I’m not leaving until you pay me what you owe me,” the woman said angrily.

“I’m not paying a two bit whore for something that wasn’t up to standard. I don’t give a fuck what you say. You’re not getting a dime out of me you slut.”

“You bastard! I gave you what you wanted. You owe me for my time.”

The muscles in Abe’s body tensed and it looked like he was going to hit the poor woman. Nicole wasn’t about to let that happen. Not if she could help it. Her mom earned her living the same way this woman did and if she ever got into trouble she hoped that someone would step in to help save her.

She stepped away from the side of the stables, moving closer and asked, “What’s going on?”

“Mind your own fucking business. What the fuck are you doing out here at this time of night?” Abe glared at her and took a step toward her.

“You know what, asshole?” The woman snarled. “You’re not worth the trouble. You wouldn’t be able to please a woman if you were the last man on earth. No female wants a pin-sized dick.”

Oh shit! Nicole took a step back and then another when Abe pinned her with a ‘keep your mouth shut’ stare. And it wasn’t until she turned around and began to hurry on that she realized the other woman was already getting into her car. Nicole hurried to catch up hoping she could get a ride with her but she was too late. She was already driving away when she got to the spot where the car had been. Giving a nervous glance back toward the stable she felt a frisson of fear run the length of her spine when she couldn’t see Abe. He’d obviously stepped back into the shadows against the stables but she could still feel his eyes on her. She turned to face the long drive and began walking at a fast clip. She wasn’t going to be able to relax until she was far away.

Nicole had no idea where she was going, but she knew she couldn’t stay here a moment longer.

Chapter Four

Brom spun around when Rand and Ty followed him into the kitchen and when his anger became too much, he slammed his fist down on the table. “Fuck, Ty. Could you have said anything more stupid? What the hell were you thinking?”

Brom was usually the one to step in and calm his brothers down, since he was the one who was normally the more cool headed of the three of them in most situations, but right at this moment he was seething with anger and needed an outlet. He’d never been so angry in his life. Rand gripped his shoulder, trying to calm him down, but Brom didn’t want to calm down. Right at this moment he wanted to slam his fist into Ty’s face. “She didn’t let me finish,” Ty said in an ice-cold voice. “I was going to tell her that of course it was our job to care for her, because she means everything to us. It wasn’t until she slammed the bathroom door, closed and locked it that I felt her pain. Son of a fucking bitch! Why the fuck do I have to screw everything up?”

“It wasn’t your fault, Ty.”

Brom glared at Rand and then looked toward his oldest brother. The look of defeat on Ty’s face had his anger dissipating and he sighed when he realized that Rand was right. Brom hardly ever got so angry that he snapped but if he did the ire never lasted long. He always tried to see all aspects of an argument and looked at it logically without letting emotion cloud his judgment, but where Nicole was concerned emotion was everything. But Rand was right. Nicole hadn’t given Ty a chance to finish talking and had instead hurled herself into the bathroom. She must have tried to hide her pain from them, because he hadn’t felt it until she’d locked the bathroom door either. That was the first time he’d not felt some sort of emotion coming from her and he wondered if she knew about their enhanced skills already and was trying to build a wall to keep them out.