Bonus Scene: Restraint, a bonus PoV for Vicious Rebel
As promised, here is your bonus scene for hitting 100 reviews on Vicious Rebel. For those who have not read Vicious Rebel, this scene may contain spoilers from the first chapter.
“Mickey—short for Michael—James.” Almost no one called me Michael. No one. In the military, I’d been James. Or medic. Mickey had been a rebellious teenager all too often getting in to scrapes because I could. Doc—Doc was who I wanted to be. The guy who helped, who fixed, who could take care of others. “Doc works, though.”
“Thank you, Mickey,” Emersyn said, the fact she exhaled my name like it was a physical touch barreled through any professional veneer I’d been trying to maintain where my fragile patient was considered. Images of healed fractures and the damage done to her bones and worse flashed through my mind. But I didn’t see a victim. I saw the survivor. The strong, fierce little bit of courage and determination who stood up for herself and held herself above the hell she’d been immersed in.
As she leaned in to press a kiss to my cheek I turned and her lips touched the corner of my mouth. The attraction I’d bullied down and stuffed into a steel container to be welded shut, burst out from the restraints. Her lips were softer than petals. Instead of pulling back, she nuzzled the kiss to my mouth and my soul ripped squarely in two. The taste of her was something I longed for and I damn well knew better. She was a kid.
Wasn’t that what I told the punks when they brought her to me? A kid with barely any tits and a lifetime’s worth of damage. She needed care, not lust. She needed affection, not passion. The flicker of disappointment in those deep, cinnamon brown eyes jerked free the last bolt as she leaned away. I clasped the nape of her neck.
A hunger I had no business feeling flooded me as she parted her lips and I dipped my tongue in for a taste. One taste. First and last. Then let her go. She deserved to go back to whatever life they’d ripped her from, especially now that the abusive fuck was dead. Need surged through me and the sample did little to ease my desire, if anything, it left me starving and I forced myself to let her go.
“Thank you,” she whispered. “And goodbye.”
The final two syllables slid like a blade right through my ribs. I stared after her as she hurried out of the truck and started across the street. I told myself a dozen times to move, to pull away. I should never have kissed her or let her kiss me, but with the taste of her still tingling on my lips, I put the truck in gear and headed away.
No matter how much my brain said keep moving, my instincts had me looking back. Then I turned the corner and headed back toward her. Just to make sure she got inside. That was what I told myself. Make sure she was safe. The kid needed protecting. Only instead of going into the hotel, she hurried away from it.
She’d chosen the hotel so why leave it? It wasn’t like she had much on her at all and it was too cold for the thin layer of clothing she wore. I jerked the wheel and turned down a side street and put the truck in park. I would probably get a ticket, but I gave less of a fuck about that than leaving Emersyn wandering around Braxton Harbor without a dime to her name.
I’d barely rounded the corner when I found some jackass lifting her off the ground, I could barely see her around him. But she was fighting even if the only sounds escaping her were muffled. Holy shit did she fight. She struck with her legs, her head, and a heated curse exploded from her assailant.
Even as I registered who the voice belonged to, I didn’t slow down. She was fighting so damn hard to get away. A split second before I reached them, she stumbled forward and Liam fucking O’Connell pivoted to face me. He was a big fucker and I’d seen him fight.
Problem for him. I’d also helped train him to fight at one point and I hit him full force going for his midsection. We hit the ground, him first and I made sure to drive an elbow in under his ribs to knock the air out of him. Liam wheezed, but it gave me all the time I needed to roll him onto his side and pin him with my legs as I locked his arm back in a brutal hold. I could break it if I had to, but Liam stopped struggling.
“You okay, Little Bit?” Her pupils were huge and her chest rose and fell rapidly with the shallow breaths she took. She’d gone ashen and if she didn’t answer me soon, I might do more than break Liam’s arm for scaring the hell out of her. She looked from me and then down at Liam. Recognition flickered across her expression and she swayed, then staggered way from both of us.
Since Liam wasn’t fighting anymore, I let him go. She clung to the side of a dumpster before she threw up. Even before I reached her, the shaking trembling her whole body was visible. “Easy Little Bit,” I warned her in a soothing voice that I was near. With care, I gave her a minute to process before I settled a hand on her back. The frantic beat of her heart was a wild tattoo of pure terror. “Easy, I’ve got you.”
“What he fuck, Doc?” Liam demanded. “You tried to break my goddamn arm.”
“Why the hell were you dragging her off the street?” I shot him a look and he had the grace to look a little sheepish. But only a little, his temper was up and he was rotating his shoulder with care. That arm lock hurt like a bitch.
“’Cause she took off on Rome’s watch. You think Jasper’s gonna get over that shit? No. So I came to see what the fuck she was doing, and don’t think I didn’t see her hook up with you.”
“You didn’t see shit,” I snarled back. The last thing I needed was him spreading that shit around. Jasper was enough of a loose cannon without Raptor around to temper him. Fuck knew, Kestrel tried but Jasper’s need to protect overwhelmed his reason and there was a very thin line between defender and monster. I dragged one of the napkins out of my pocket as Emersyn began to straighten and handed it to her. She stared up at me, not totally registering yet and the fact she was letting me hold her up said a lot more. Not that she weighed anything. “You with us, Little Bit?”
“What the fuck is wrong with the little hellspawn?”
Before I could punch his rude ass little mouth, Emersyn laughed and it sounded more like a choked sob.
“Ignore the prick, Emersyn.” I advised, then touched her cheek lightly. There was an imprint from Liam’s hand on her face, reddened skin. I didn’t think it would bruise, but for fuck’s sake. “How fucking hard did you grip her?”
“She was fighting,” Liam answered, all cocky defiance. “Why don’t you ask if she’s had her shots since she bit me.”
That got her attention. “You followed me. Why?”
I wanted an answer to that myself. I should have paid closer attention, but I hadn’t noticed him following either. That wouldn’t happen again.
“Why?” Liam parroted. “How about we get the hell back to the clubhouse with her before the guys realize she left?”
There was no ‘we’ in this argument. “She wanted out,” I informed him and curled an arm around her. I didn’t know if her shivering was from the shock or the cold, either way, I had no problems giving her support.
“I don’t care.” The disdain in Liam’s voice covered for a lot of deeper worries. “Jasper will put another hole in Rome if he thinks he let her go.”
“He can’t do anything about her escaping,” I told patiently. And as hot-headed as Jasper was, Rome was a brother to him even if Jasper’s tolerance for Liam had been sorely tested. He might get ticked, but he wouldn’t hurt him. “The obligation of the prisoner is to escape.”
“Let me repeat,” Liam said, arms falling to his side as he took a step toward us like he was a threat. “I. Don’t. Care. They want her there, Rome was left to look after her, she’s going back… She already got him stabbed once. I’m not letting it happen a second time.”
“Wait.” Emersyn’s tone warbled a little as she pushed away and stood straight. No matter how much I wanted to drag her back against met, I kept that impulse in check. “What do you mean I got him stabbed?”
Liam cut a look at her.
“He was hurt.”
Transforming from trembling, fragile and lost waif to fierce warrior, Emersyn sprang forward and she popped Liam right in the face before I’d even registered her motion. Blood sprayed from the hit and I almost wanted to applaud. Someone, somewhere, had taught her how to make a hit.
“You cunt,” Liam snapped as he put a hand up to his nose. Hell, it was hardly the first time he’d taken a blow but I tugged Emersyn back to me anyway.
“Watch your mouth,” I scolded. It was an old habit, I didn’t think it would go away no matter how old the boys got. They were still the boys to me. Probably always would be.
“I don’t care if he calls me cunt,” Emersyn snapped. “I told you, don’t call me princess. You do it again, and it’ll be your balls I smash.”
“Noted, Hellspawn.” He spit out blood, then touched his nose carefully before glaring at her. “Hellspawn fits better anyway.” But the heat in his eyes had nothing to do with anger. No, there was interest there.
I wasn’t going to play this game. “Look,” I told her. “Let’s get you out of here and back to the hotel.” It was the original plan after all.
“No,” she said almost too swiftly. “Not the hotel.”
The ashen color of her cheeks went even whiter and she sank to the ground. The swollen pupils of hers were blown and this time I knew it was shock. Crouching with her, I rubbed the back of her neck gently as she put her head down to her knees.
“She’s crazy,” Liam murmured with more worry than malice.
“She’s traumatized, you overbearing little shit. Stop freaking out about your brother for thirty seconds and look at this girl. She hasn’t done a damn thing to any of you, and yet you’re treating her like she’s a damn possession.” What the fuck was wrong with these boys? They’d come close to that razor edge of the line between criminals and criminal behavior before, but taking this kid? Putting her through all this?
She lifted her head and instead of Liam, she focused on me. “You’re hurt.”
It was barely a cut and I didn’t give a damn. Except her touch was so gentle as she tried to dab the blood on my cheek.
“I’m fine, Little Bit. Trust me, a cut like that isn’t going to hurt me.” But no way in hell was I leaving her here in this condition. Shock did strange things to a body. I rose and pulled her to her feet. “Can you focus on me a second?”
She stared up at me and I wasn’t sure how much of what we were saying registered. Not really. The ferocious fighter had vanished back into the fragile shell.
“You’re in shock.” It might be news to her, but this was a profound change from when she’d slipped out of my truck. “What happened to you?”
“Nothing,” she answered in a slow, almost rote voice. As if she’d practiced the answer a hundred times. “I just—”
After the profound hesitation, I nodded. “You won’t go to the hotel?” That was obvious.
She shook her head.
“I’m guessing you don’t want to go with Liam.” It wasn’t a question. Rome’s twin glared at her, but it wasn’t hate in his eyes.There was want in there, too. Want and worry. Boy he was fucked, but I didn’t have time to worry about him right now.
“I—I don’t know,” Emersyn said slowly. “I need to think.”
She rubbed a hand over her face and winced. There was a bit of blood at the corner of her mouth. I’d bet she bit the inside of her cheek.
“Will Jasper really hurt Rome?”
“Fuck, I don’t know,” Liam said, shocking me. “If he could pin it on me and shoot me, he’d probably leave Rome alone. But they’re turning the city upside down looking for fucking Freddie, and all he wanted was for Rome to make sure you were safe.”
Where the hell was Freddie, now?
“They haven’t found him yet?” Worry filtered into the emptiness and loss in her voice.
Liam stared at her, eyebrows up. “I have no clue. I’ve been following you for the last couple of hours. Then your boyfriend.” The barest hint of a smirk was there to irk me, not her.
“Shut the fuck up,” I ground out. “Don’t even joke about that.”
“Hey, Doc, just calling it like I see it. I saw her kissing you before she got out of the truck, and you sure pulled up conveniently when she was out there walking.”
“Wait,” Emersyn cut in. “You followed me? I didn’t see you.” It wasn’t the first time she commented on that. I wasn’t sure how much of this she was processing.
“You weren’t supposed to.” Liam smirked.
“I walked for a long time and you just let me go? I thought you were worried about your brother.”
“Yeah,” I murmured. “If you were that interested in protecting Rome, why let her get that far at all?” I had my suspicions.
“I just wanted to see where you were going,” Liam lied.
He leaned over and spat blood onto the pavement. “And I debated just letting you go. Fine? Is that what you want to hear, Pr—Hellspawn?”
“Why did you change your mind?” Good question, one I wanted the answer to as well.
“Fuck if I know.” Liam glared at her, then at me. “You know what? This shit is not worth it. My nose fucking hurts—nice hit, by the way. You ever want to work on that southpaw, you let me know. You take her back, and I’m getting out of here. This side of town gives me hives.”
“Hey, Mockingbird,” I called before Liam even made it halfway down the alley. “You’re trying too hard.”
The other man flipped me off, and then he was gone. I shook my head. He could lie to himself all he wanted, I just hoped he didn’t pull that shit with his brother. If I could see through it, Rome damn well could.
“Where do you want to go, Emersyn?” Because no way in hell was I leaving her in this alley or anywhere, alone.
So much for restraint. I was as bad as those boys, but I would let her go when the time came. No matter how much it cut me. That was what you did when the broken birds healed. You set them free.
© 2021 Heather Long