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Not a Hero (Sons of the Survivalist #1)
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In the Alaska wilderness, four streetwise boys became men—and brothers
Gabe is done with being a hero.
Audrey needs a place to hide
Can the shy introvert and the deadly police chief find a life together?
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Don’t wait for someone to hand over a red cape and call you a hero. Jump the fuck in. ~ First Sergeant Michael “Mako” Tyne
* * *
Heading out to play baseball with Kana and Miguel, two other foster children, ten-year-old Gabriel MacNair heard whimpering. The sound came from the master bedroom.
Pausing, he reached for the knob and stopped. No, dummy. Although he’d only been in this foster home for two weeks, after a year in the system, he knew better than to go into a foster parent’s room…and that went double for this man.
Phillip had big hands and a mean temper.
Inside the room, Phillip cursed, then growled at someone, “Shut your trap, you ugly little shit.”
“Don’t touch me! Get off!”
That was Derek’s voice.
Gabe sucked in a breath. All three foster boys in this house were almost Gabe’s age and as streetwise as he was. He liked them. Derek didn’t talk much at all, and he had a mean-looking scar on his face, but when Gabe’d first arrived, the boy had scooted over and shared his bench. He was okay.
But…if Gabe opened the door, Phillip would probably hit him. Hard.
There was a slapping sound and something ripped. Derek screamed in fury.
Fear thick in his throat, Gabe tried to turn the knob. Locked. He swallowed. Okay, okay, he could do this. He’d always helped Gramps in the locksmith shop. Gramps said Gabe could pick a lock before he could walk.
Grief slid over him. Why’d you have to go and die, Gramps?
Taking the jackknife from his sock, he silently slid the blade past the lock’s strike plate, edging the spring latch from the jamb. When it gave, he tucked his knife away and shoved the door open.
“Hey, Phillip, can I—” The weak excuse died on his lips as he stared in shock.
Phillip had Derek shoved face-first on the bed. The man’s fat dick bobbed out of his unzipped jeans. Seeing Gabe, he turned red with rage. “Get the fuck out of here!”
Terrified, Gabe took a step back.
Shirt half-ripped off, Derek was kicking, struggling.
Can’t leave. Heart pounding so hard it hurt, Gabe yelled, lowered his head, and charged. His skull hit Phillip right in the gut and knocked him against the wall. “Run, Derek!”
Wheezing, Phillip shoved off the wall and backhanded Gabe to the floor. “Pissant brat.”
Gabe slammed into the floor and tumbled against the dresser. Head spinning, he tried to stand. And fell.
Derek scrambled up onto the bed and launched himself at the man.
Ear-splitting shrieks came from the doorway as the other two boys tore in from outside—and attacked.
Kana, a big kid with long black hair dove at Phillip, hitting him at the same time as Derek. Phillip tossed them back.
Miguel, the short Mexican, swung his bat. The wood hit Phillip’s dick—and the scream was terrifying.
Phillip dropped to his knees, holding his junk.
Panting, Gabe made it to his feet. Man, they were all so screwed.
Miguel looked like he’d puke, and Kana backed away.
When Derek staggered, Gabe slung an arm around him to hold him up.
“Jesus, what kind of clusterfuck is this?” A huge man stood in the doorway, filling the frame completely. All muscle. Short, dark brown hair going gray. Eyes sharper than Gabe’s knife narrowed on Phillip who was holding his naked dick. The stranger’s jaw tightened as he looked at the bed, then Gabe and the others. “Who was the pervert after?”
Derek edged closer to Gabe, but bravely raised his chin. “Me.”
“Goddamn city isn’t safe even for rugrats.” He studied them. “Which one of you attacked the asshole?”
Holding his aching jaw, Gabe forced out the answer. “Me.”
“Me.” “Me.” “Yo.” Four kids; four answers.
Gabe braced himself to be hauled away. The others were doing the same.
Instead, the guy’s mouth curved into an approving smile. “You boys got guts. And already made yourselves into a team.”
Phillip leaned toward the bedstand, fumbling for the phone. “You hit me with a god-damned bat. They’ll lock you little bastards up forever.”
Lock us up? Fear chilled Gabe’s skin. His knees wobbled.
The stranger’s gaze went icy. He took two steps, slammed his huge fist into Phillip’s jaw, and knocked the jerk out cold.
Turning, the big man put his hands on his hips and looked them over.
Shakily, Gabe braced his legs and stared up. Why’d he do that? What did he want?
With relief, Gabe felt Kana’s shoulder rub his on the left. Miguel moved to stand on Derek’s other side.
The man nodded, like he was pleased or something. “Name’s Mako. I’ve been next door, visiting an old buddy. He said this here is a foster home?”
That was a safe enough question. Gabe nodded.
Mako glanced at Phillip. “Is the pervert your father or uncle?”
Mako frowned. “How about the rest of you? He a relative?”
The three shook their heads.
“Guess that’s good. Do any of you got family around here?”
“No,” Miguel muttered while Derek and Gabe shook their heads.