Hard Justice(10)

By: Lori Foster

The drone of rain dripping from every surface lent a light music to the night.

Though they no longer shared an umbrella, Fallon stayed very close to him, so he felt it when she shivered.

He was so warm, particularly because of her nearness, that he hadn’t even thought about her getting chilled. He glanced down at her and realized she’d gotten dewy with all her dancing in the heated bar. In comparison, the temps outside were cool.

He paused to slip off his flannel shirt then carefully draped it around her shoulders. “Better?”

Surprise had her blinking before she gave him a beautiful smile. “Yes, thank you.” Then with concern, she asked, “You’re not cold?”

Not even close. Hell, seeing the pleasure on her face sent his temp up a few more notches. “I’m fine.”

She looked up at him, maybe gauging his sincerity, then put her palm against his left biceps. “You’re actually warm,” she whispered with awe.

Yeah, much more of that and he’d combust.

To get her moving and distract his misplaced lust, Justice put his arm around her and steered her forward.

They’d almost reached the car when three bodies slipped out of the shadows. Big, muscular—definitely not slouches. Well, hell.

“Got a cigarette?” the one in front asked.

“Don’t smoke.” Justice took a step in front of Fallon, planning to protect her as they proceeded, but the other two blocked him. With his patience strained, he loosened his stance. “You don’t want to do this.”

Ignoring that warning, the lead man said, “I’ll take her purse.”

“No,” Justice replied evenly, “you won’t. And if you try, you’re gonna get hurt...bad.”

The man to his right drew a knife. Justice heard Fallon’s gasp, and it infuriated him. She stayed behind him, not even peeking around. Odds were stuff like this never happened in her world—because she didn’t go to bars, didn’t drink...didn’t dance, visit friends or apparently have fun.

Pissed that her night out might end in violence, he growled, “Put that away before I stick it in your fucking ear.”

Cowering behind him, Fallon’s trembling increased.

The most brazen one laughed. “You’re scaring her, dude. Just hand it over and we can all get on our way.”

Fuck it. “You’re right.” He pivoted to the side, as if to face Fallon, but as she started to give him her purse, he kicked out fast, catching the bastard in the face with his heel. The crunch of cartilage satisfied Justice. Even in his sneakers, his kick had likely done more than break the guy’s nose, given the way he dropped.

The knife wielder slashed out. With far faster reflexes, Justice ducked back and at the same time grabbed his wrist. With little effort, he broke it, then took the knife from his limp hand.

Remembering Justice’s threat, the second attacker turned and, with his damaged arm held close, ran away as fast as he could.

The third man, now more than a little incredulous, eyed his buddy on the ground, then his fleeing friend.

“What do you think?” Justice said. “Make up your mind before I take the decision away from you.”

Lifting his hands in submission, the man slowly stepped away until he disappeared back into the shadows.

“Oh, my God,” Fallon whispered.

What he’d like to do, Justice realized, was walk away from the mess. But he was on official business with Body Armor, so he had to call it in.

Rule of the agency: don’t dick with the law unless given prior permission. For sure Sahara would want him to follow the rules tonight, with a client like Fallon.

When he turned to her, he saw Fallon’s eyes were enormous and her lips parted.

“You okay?” he asked.

She closed her mouth and gulped. “You pulverized them.”

She sounded so surprised, a smile tried to steal away Justice’s black mood. “Not even close, but it’s hard to do when the pricks run off.”

“You terrified them.” She looked at where the first guy still sprawled on the ground, out for the count. “I’ve never seen anyone move that fast.”

“Because you haven’t watched professional MMA.” In comparison to the best fighters, he was fucking slow.

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