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Revelation (The Protectors #7)
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“I trusted once. I won’t make that mistake again…”
But nothing he’s ever experienced has prepared the cold-hearted and very straight Cain for who he finds on that mountain…or the intense need to suddenly offer more than just protection.
“I’ve finally managed to break free, but I’ve never felt more trapped in my entire life…”
A violent episode that has Ethan narrowly escaping death leads to a quiet cabin in the mountains where his battered body will have time to heal before he and the young girl relying on him need to run again. But everything changes with the arrival of a mysterious stranger who threatens to give Ethan something he’d finally accepted was gone forever…hope.
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noun rev·e·la·tion \ˌre-və-ˈlā-shən\
A pleasant, often enlightening surprise.
“Thanks for coming,” Ronan said as he nodded at me. I was glad he didn’t extend his hand to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t respect the man – I did…a whole hell of a lot. But touching wasn’t my thing and never had been. Luckily, Ronan Grisham and his second-in-command, Memphis Wheland, the two men I dealt with on a regular basis as part of my job, had picked up early on that physical contact was something I liked to steer clear of and they’d respected the boundary.
I nodded and followed Ronan up the stairs of a small, remote house that was located on several acres about thirty miles east of Seattle. The house itself was a run-down piece of shit, but the property was appealing since you could see anyone coming from a ways off and there weren’t any immediate neighbors.
The early February air was chilly and damp around us as we each examined our surroundings. There were no vehicles except ours and all the curtains on the front of the house were drawn. I didn’t ask what we were doing there because Ronan would tell me when he was good and ready.
Ronan’s knock on the front door went unanswered. Since I doubted he’d brought me all the way out here just to visit with whoever lived in the dump, I was about to go back to my truck to get my tools to pick the lock when Ronan reached down and turned the knob. I stiffened when it turned and automatically reached for my gun at the same time Ronan reached for his. He gave me a slight nod and then pushed the door open.
To say the place was a mess was an understatement. I let my eyes adjust to the darkness as I carefully stepped over an overturned side table near the door. Ronan motioned to me and I quickly followed his silent order to clear the house. Debris littered the floor of each room so it took longer than I would have liked to sweep the two rooms near the back of the house while Ronan checked the main living spaces. By the time I met him back in the living room, he was drawing a curtain back to let in some light since the power didn’t appear to be working.
Even if the place hadn’t been trashed, calling it a dump would have been kind. The furniture was decades old, the thick carpet beneath my feet actually turned out to be a shag carpet that was a disgusting shade of yellow, and the paneled wood walls made the already dreary space darker and even more uninviting, which I wouldn’t have thought was even possible. Junk was all over the floor, but it didn’t look like actual garbage. More like a mix of clothes, papers and the remnants of some of the cheap wood furniture that had probably once served as a coffee table or set of end tables. The couch was shredded, as was the single armchair in the room. The small eating area outside the kitchen had an overturned table and three broken chairs strewn all over the floor. It looked a lot like someone had broken the chairs over the table. I also saw dents in the wall and guessed that whoever had been smashing the chairs on the table also had taken their aggression out on the walls. There were a few cheap motel style pictures on the floor, their glass overlays shattered.
Ronan and I moved to the kitchen to examine the damage there. Unlike the living room, the stained linoleum floor was covered in garbage and food that had been removed from the open refrigerator. The freezer was open and its contents empty, but I could see a layer of ice still encasing the small space.
Whoever had trashed the place had done it recently – within the last 24 hours at the most, more likely twelve.
“Ronan,” I said as I motioned to the edge of one of the countertops.
The light in the kitchen was poor so we each pulled our phones out and used the flashlights to take a closer look. There was more blood splattered on the backsplash above the sink and several droplets in the sink itself.
I followed Ronan to the two bedrooms. One actually looked untouched, but there was nothing interesting about the room itself. A twin bed with a basic blanket and single pillow and a three-drawer dresser that looked like it was at least thirty years old. Nothing more. No pictures on the walls, no clothes in the closet. The second bedroom was the exact opposite. Whoever had destroyed it had been in a rage. The mattress from the full bed was overturned and shredded on both sides. An endless assortment of clothes covered much of the floor, ripped to pieces along with what looked like the remnants of a torn duffle bag.