Sebring (Unfinished Heroes #5)

Written By: Kristen Ashley

Sebring (Unfinished Heroes #5)

Kristen Ashley




Author’s Note


With Sebring, I complete my Unfinished Heroes Series.

Though, as you’ll find, nothing is ever complete in the worlds that live in my head. I can’t say good-bye, so I don’t ask my readers to.

What I will ask of you is to find the song “Stay Alive” by José Gonzalez. If you’re not already familiar with this extraordinary song, I make the request that you wait until you’ve hit Chapter Twenty-Five before you cue it up in order to experience its beauty along with the scene I wish for it to accompany.

I often offer soundtracks to play with my books because, as I type them to give to you, they play like movies in my head. And everyone knows, the soundtrack is essential to the experience.

But “Stay Alive,” along with every song I’ve ever heard by the masterful Gonzalez, is essential to life.

I took chances with this series, starting with Knight and onward through the tortuous beauty that followed with Creed, Raid and Deacon. As ever and always, I thank my readers, my fabulous Rock Chicks, those who had a direct cheerleading hand in the birth of this series (and you know who you are) to those who championed it simply by buying the books.

I love it that you love my worlds.

As much as I may try to explain how much, no words can express it.

I’m blessed by legions of champions.

How do you express gratitude for that?

The only way I know how is to give you the best story I can.

To that end, I hope with all my heart you fall in love with Sebring.

You’re here forever and you’re by my side.





Prologue


For Her

Nick



“Nick.”

He was sweating. His wrists torn raw. His muscles strained well beyond pain. The gag in his mouth filthy, and not just with his blood and saliva.

His eyes were locked to hers.

“Nick.”

As the asshole made his approach, his gun aimed to her head, he didn’t speak. Didn’t touch her. Didn’t take off her gag and let her say a thing.

She was speaking, though.

To Nick.

Her eyes were filled.

With love, as usual.

And fear.

“Nick!”

He jolted awake.

Instantly gripping the wrist at his shoulder, his body knifed up and twisted off the couch. Yanking the wrist up a man’s back, Nick forced him forward with the intent of shoving him against the wall.

“Nick,” the voice was soft now. “Brother.”

That voice hit him, the fact the man wasn’t struggling hit him, he let him go and stepped back.

His brother, Knight, turned to face him.

Bending slightly, Knight switched on a light by the couch. Through the now-illuminated room, he caught Nick’s eyes.

“You’re not sleeping well,” Knight told him quietly. “Heard you all the way down the hall.”

This wasn’t good. He was sleeping on his brother’s and his woman, Anya’s couch. They had two little girls. Little girls needed their sleep. What they never needed was their uncle losing it down the hall and waking them.

Nick tore his hand through his hair and turned his head away, muttering, “Sorry.”

He felt something and twisted his neck, looking to the doorway where Anya was standing, wearing a long, gray cashmere robe, her beautiful face troubled but her eyes were warm on him.

Knight saw her too.

“Go back to bed, baby,” he called gently.

She didn’t look from Nick. “You need anything, Nick?”

“I’m good, Anya,” he lied. “Sorry I woke you.”

“It’s okay,” she whispered, her face no less troubled, her eyes still warm but also concerned and moving to her man.

“I got him,” Knight told her.

She studied his brother, nodded, threw a small smile Nick’s way and disappeared out of the doorframe.

Nick walked to the big windows that were two sides of the corner room of Knight’s and Anya’s high-rise condo. Windows that now showed the lights of a nighttime Denver.

He glanced at his brother before looking at the city. “You can go to bed too, Knight. I’m okay. It’ll be good. And tomorrow, I’ll find somewhere else to crash.”

“I think right now you need to be with family.”

At Knight’s words, Nick’s mouth got tight.

He didn’t deserve that. He knew it.

But Knight was giving it to him. So was Anya. Both of them having reason to spit right in his face.

He felt Knight draw nearer and stop.

“We haven’t been close,” Knight told him something he knew. “But what you were doin’. Why you were doin’ it. What you lost—”

Oh no.

As much as he owed his brother in a lot of ways, they were not going there.

Nick cut his gaze to Knight and bit out the question, “Can we not do this now?”

Knight looked into Nick’s eyes a beat before he answered, “Yeah. We can not do this now.” He moved closer and dropped his voice low. “But, Nick, we gotta do it. You gotta talk that shit outta you, brother. What they did to your wo—”

“Can we…not…talk about this now?” Nick repeated through clenched teeth.