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Guts & Glory – Ryder (In the Shadows Security #2)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Jeanne St. James

Book Information:

Is saving another’s soul worth risking your own?

Former special forces operator, Ryder, has never backed down from an assignment, and he’ll be damned if he lets a blonde-haired, smart-mouthed, pain in the a** destroy that record. She’s going to get her life together even if he has to drag her kicking and screaming to do so, and he’s not opposed to using a firm hand to yank her from the darkness back into the light.

MC born and bred, Kelsea is on a one-way path to rock bottom. Determined to forget the horrible truths revealed about the man who fathered her, she’s drowning in a sea of booze, drugs and meaningless hookups. She has no desire to be “saved,” especially not by a bossy former Army Ranger with deep green eyes and a sexy southern twang.

Being locked away at his cabin, cut off from the outside world, deeply buried secrets are rising to the surface and lines between them are starting to blur.

The road to redemption is paved with heartache, though, and while Ryder wants to save her from the demons that haunt her, he’s not sure it’s worth the risk of losing himself or his heart in the process. But, in the end, will Kelsea finally learn to save herself?

Note: Ryder is the second book of the Guts & Glory series, a six-book spin-off from my Dirty Angels MC series. While it’s recommended to read both series in order, each book can be read as a stand-alone. As with all my books, this has an HEA, no cliffhanger or cheating.

Books in Series:

In the Shadows Security Series by Jeanne St. James

Books by Author:

Jeanne St. James Books

Songs mentioned in this book

Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks

Sunrise – Rascal Flatts

Warrior – Demi Lovato

All of Me – John Legend

Huntin’, Fishin’ And Lovin’ Every Day – Luke Bryan

Chapter One

Out of all the places his ass could be, this county was not a place he wanted it to be. While he was sure some parts of West Virginia were just fucking lovely, this area was known for hillbillies, white supremacists and rednecks who thought bullets were more important than teeth.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it was infested with members of the motherfucking outlaw MC, the Deadly Demons.

How he got pulled into this detail, he’ll never know. No, fuck him, he knew. He drew the short straw this time. Just like he drew the short straw last time. And every other time when it came to this particular “job.”

Ryder jerked the wheel of his ’78 International Scout into a dark, rutted dirt driveway surrounded by high weeds. After a few seconds, his headlights bounced off an old farmhouse that was lit up from the inside.

At least the shit hole had electricity.

He pulled his Scout up to a line of Harleys parked across the uncut grass and sat staring at the run-down hovel for a few seconds as he braced himself for what was to come. Letting a searing curse rip, he shut off his beloved vehicle, yanked the keys from the ignition, and shoved open the driver’s side door. After climbing his tense body out, he jammed his keys deep into his jeans’ pocket, locked the door, and slammed it shut.

The weight of his Glock .45 in its holster hidden under his jacket, along with his tactical knife hanging on his hip, at least gave him a little reassurance since he was walking alone into this den of vipers. Worse, he wasn’t even sneaking in, he was strolling right through the fucking front door.

He stalked to the rickety porch steps, then carefully picked his way up the rotting boards. Ignoring the handful of drunk Demons hanging out on the slanted front porch drinking beer and smoking dope, he pushed his way past them through the wide-open door of the house amid shouts of:

“Who the fuck are you?”

“Who’s that motherfucker?”

“What the fuck?”

If he cared, he’d be asking them the same questions. But, yeah, he didn’t give a fuck who those wasted, washed-out, beer-bellied bikers were.

Once he stepped inside, he paused to inventory his surroundings and get his bearings.

To say this house was bad was an understatement. It wasn’t only a complete fucking shit hole, it smelled like one, too.

A tweaked-out, half-naked chick sat on the filthy floor of the hallway, the wall barely holding her ass upright. He nudged her with his boot to get her attention, since she was totally spaced. She might have been pretty once, but her bloodshot eyes, long stringy, unwashed hair and hollowed out cheekbones did nothing for her now.

“Lookin’ for a woman,” he grumbled.

She managed to straighten herself up some more, raking her glazed eyes down his body and running her fingers through her hair, as if that would improve the rat’s nest on her head. “Found her.”

Yeah, no. He’d prefer eternal celibacy than to stick his dick in anything like her. He lifted his hand to about mid-chest. “’Bout yay-high, long dark blonde hair, pretty blue eyes. Ain’t all bones like you, though. Got some meat on her.” Did she ever, the bitch had it all in the right places, too. “A bit of a stupid fuck.” Because that was the goddamn truth.

She had been making way too many stupid decisions lately, and tonight was another one in a long list of them.

“Slash’s slit?”


His jaw got tight. That wasn’t the first time he heard that name. But it was sure as shit going to be the last.

“Where’s he at?”

She lifted a finger that had one spot of black nail polish left in the center—the rest looked like it had been picked or chewed off—and pointed to the ceiling. “Probably up in his room. Said I couldn’t join ‘em when they walked past.”

Thank fuck for that.

Ryder lifted his chin in thanks and pushed past her, even though she reached out to grab his leg and gave a disappointed, “Hey, I could be your woman tonight.”

“Next time,” he threw over his shoulder, as his balls shriveled up into his body to hide.

At the end of the hall full of peeling wallpaper and water stains, he bounded up the stairs. Hitting the top landing, he tilted his head and listened carefully. It was difficult to hear shit, since what sounded like a stereo blasted somewhere outside, as well as another stereo blasted inside but with a different song. Even so, he held his breath, stilled every muscle, and listened anyway.

Above the din, a female giggle came from two doors down. One that was closed with light spilling out from underneath it.