Vicious Rebel (82 Street Vandals #2) - Heather Long
Nightmares came to life with the press of a hand over my mouth and nose. The scents of something like turpentine, oil, and soap threatened to suffocate me. The band of arms were so tight, I almost forgot how to breathe. Fear coiled around, its venom a paralytic in my system as I was all but rushed into a shadowy spot between two buildings. Off the street. Away from people. In the darkness… No. As the sunshine slipped from view and the shadows crowded in to blind me, I fought.
But I fought.
I wasn’t going to let him take me.
I hadn’t come this far…
I bit down into the meaty part of the hand over my mouth and kicked my feet back at the person holding me. I missed with the first swing, but the second slammed into a knee.
“Fuck.” The heated curse exploded against my ear. “Goddammit, princess.”
Bile burned in my throat, and I fought to get my teeth into his hand again. I didn’t want any part of him touching me, much less his flesh. The moment I found purchase, I gritted down and he yanked his hand away. Cold air slapped my face, and I curled my hands up to dig my nails into his forearm. I didn’t remember him being this strong, but I didn’t care.
“Fuck me. Stop, princess.”
I slammed my head back into his face, and spots flickered in front of my eyes. There were windows above us. And I thought I could see flour dust rising somewhere. Maybe a bakery. The trash in the alley smelled too. All of it raced at me, like sensory overload. The arms crushing me released abruptly.
The pounding of feet against concrete, even as I stumbled forward, had me twisting. My assailant turned away to look back the way we’d come, and a blur of motion caught him right in the chest and threw him to the ground.
Like a reel played in slow motion, the pair of men grappled as they rolled, and then as suddenly as the fight started, it ended with one man pinning the other with his legs while he held his arm in a lock. That man—Doc—stared up at me. “You okay, Little Bit?”
Fear ballooned in my gut, and I blew out a ragged breath before my gaze fell to the blond in the brutal hold.
It wasn’t my uncle.
It was Liam.
Relief swam through me, and I staggered away, barely catching myself on the side of a dumpster before what little food I’d eaten that day came up. The sour taste burned my throat, and my eyes sparked tears. I couldn’t suck in a breath for the retching hurling out of me.
The shakes hit next and I didn’t have time for this, but it was like every part of the panic unfurled in my system and left me a trembling, sniveling mess.
“Easy, Little Bit.” The warmth of Doc’s voice penetrated the shell around me a moment before a heavy hand settled on my back. “Easy, I’ve got you.”
“What the fuck, Doc?” Liam demanded. Their conversation came from a million miles away. “You tried to break my goddamn arm.”
“Why the hell were you dragging her off the street?” The growl in Doc’s words reverberated over me, but I couldn’t make myself focus on it, not when I was trying to remember how to breathe.
My uncle’s face flooded my mind’s eye, and I squeezed my eyes shut to try and blot out the image. Music. Dance. The Vandals.
Anything but my uncle.
“’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,” Doc snarled back, and I closed my eyes as the heaving finally eased and wiped at my mouth with the back of my hand. But before I could even connect, Doc pressed a napkin into my hand as he helped me ease upright. I stared at him, then over at Liam, then back again. “You with us, Little Bit?”
“What the fuck is wrong with the little hellspawn?”
It wasn’t a very friendly sound. If anything, it sounded a lot like crying.
“Ignore the prick, Emersyn.” Doc touched my cheek lightly. “How fucking hard did you grip her?”
“She was fighting,” Liam said with a scowl and crossed his arms. “Why don’t you ask if she’s had her shots since she bit me.”
I cut a look over at him. “You followed