Justice (Creed Brothers #1)(2)

By: K.C. Lynn


My feet are quick as I run at him from the side, kicking him in the face. His head snaps back, another howl of pain tearing from his chest. Warm blood coats my bare foot but I don’t hold back and deliver another kick, a dark rage slipping over me from all the pain he’s inflicted on others.

My foot cranks back relentlessly, showing no mercy. That’s until he manages to grab my ankle and pull my foot out from under me. I hit the ground hard, the breath shoving from my lungs.

“You’re going to fucking pay for this,” he seethes, struggling to his feet.

Knox brings the shovel down on the back of his head, knocking him out cold. Blood seeps out from beneath his face, the crimson color spreading into a large pool.

Oh shit.

Knox and I make eye contact, our thoughts reflecting the other’s. Brax’s groan breaks the connection and puts us in motion.

Knox removes the noose from around his neck while I kneel in front of him, reaching for his pajama pants that he was stripped of.

“Brax, man, we’re here. Everything’s gonna be okay,” I assure him.

He lifts his head, revealing a black and blue face. His cheeks are stained with tears and dirt while one of his eyes is swollen shut. “He got me in my sleep, Justice,” he chokes out. “I never even heard him comin’.”

I swallow past the burn in my throat and gently put my hand on his shoulder. “It’s all right. We’re getting out of here.”

Knox works on untying his wrists and I get him dressed. When the last restraint is removed, Brax falls to his knees, crying out in pain.

Knox drops down next to him, helping me hold him up. “What is it? What hurts?” he asks.

“It’s my whole body, man.” The words are delivered through a choked sob. “Everything hurts.”

Before either of us can say more, an alarm pierces the air.

Panic thrashes through my veins. “Shit. They know we’re gone. We gotta move, now!”

Knox throws one of Brax’s arms around his shoulder while I throw the other one over mine. We move quickly, dragging Braxten with us as we run from the barn.

Eventually we make it far enough away from the property, sinking into the tall grass to remain hidden out of sight. We lower Braxten to the ground, mindful of his beaten and bruised body. Knox stays with him while I run back a little ways to make sure no one followed.

When there’s no sign of anyone, I head back to the others. Braxten hugs his knees to his chest, his face buried to hide his tears.

Knox sits quietly next to him with his arm around his shoulders, his face grim. “Anyone?” he asks.

I shake my head. “No, but it’s only going to be a matter of time. We have to keep moving.”

“And go where?” Brax asks, lifting his face.

I shrug. “Anywhere is better than here.”

“Come on, Justice. We have no money. We don’t even have clothes,” Brax sniffles. “What the hell are we going to do?”

“We do whatever necessary to survive,” I say, looking into his weary eyes. “We can’t go back. Look what almost happened to you. Hobbs is most likely dead and they aren’t going to believe a couple of troubled kids. Who knows what we’ll face next. The system has fucked us long enough. Living on the streets is better than where we’ve all been.”

They both remain silent but I see the look in their eyes, the same knowledge I have burning in my mind and heart.

“I say we make a pact right here, right now. We do this on our own. No more beatings, no more pain. We watch out for one another, take care of each other.”

“Like family,” Knox says.

I nod. “Like family.” My eyes search theirs in the quiet dark. “Are you with me?” I ask, extending my hand in the middle.

Knox doesn’t hesitate. “I’m in.”

Both of our eyes shift to Braxten who still looks scared.

“We got you, Brax,” I promise. “We’d never let anything happen to you.”

He places his beat-up hand on ours. “Family. Forever.”

That day we became more than friends.

We became brothers.

For the next year we lied, stole, and did whatever necessary to survive. Until our travels brought us to the Mississippi Delta. There we hid out on a farmer’s land, seeking shelter on a rainy night. The owner was a lone man named Thatcher Creed, the first adult to ever show us any kindness. Instead of calling the police when he found us, he took us in and raised us as his own.

Thatcher Creed gave us something we’d never had but always longed for.

A real family.





CHAPTER ONE

Ryanne


From the moment he walked in I became riveted, my attention anchored to his every move. The place is packed, everyone’s body heat crowds me but we may as well be the only two people in the bar. At least where my heart is concerned.

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