Authors: Teresa Gabelman
With this being a series I want each book to be different, yet I want to stay true to character without it being repetitive. I hope I have done that and continue to do that for as long as the Protectors Series continues. How long is that you ask? As long as you, the reader, desires.
The acknowledgement page, for me, is almost harder to write than the book. The reason being is that I never write alone. I may be the one writing the words, but so many others are right beside me. This is a joint venture that many contribute to.
So instead of naming I am going to say ‘thank you’ to every single person who has believed in me and my writing. At times when I want to pack up my computer as I did with this book…haha…you are there to pick me back up. I say you, because if you are reading this then you are beside me with everything I write. You are the reason I do what I do. I write for you because you believe in me.
There is a little surprise at the end of this book….please do not go to the end to see what it is because it will spoil it, it really will. DON’T DO IT! You will see the respect I have for each and every single one of you. I do listen to my readers and I think you will see the proof of that at the end of Jax.
A #2 Pencil & A Dream Can Take You Anywhere
Thank you for taking this journey beside me!
Table of Contents
The Protectors Series
Copyright 2016 Teresa Gabelman
All rights reserved. The right of Teresa Gabelman to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This is a work of fiction and any resemblance between the characters and persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Gabelman, Teresa (2016-1-26). JAX (THE PROTECTORS SERIES)
Hot Tree Editing
Cover Art: IndieDigitalPublishing.com
Caroline didn't understand what she was doing there and had no clue where
was. She walked down a corridor, following a man in dark slacks with a white lab coat. The clicking of his hard-soled shoes on the tile floor echoed all around her. He kept looking at her over his shoulder without saying a word, as if making sure she still followed. She wanted to speak, but couldn't form any words. It was odd. Caroline always had words. Finally, he turned, heading into a room. She followed, but stopped in the doorway.
Her eyes roamed the all-tile room and stopped on the stainless-steel table positioned in the center of the room. A scale hung from the ceiling at the head of the table, which her eyes went back to. A body, covered with a stiff white sheet, lay motionless on the cold steel. The man just stood, arms hanging by his sides, as he watched her in an eerie silence.
"Who is that?" Caroline's voice finally forced its way out of her tight throat. When the man didn't answer, her gaze swung to his, narrowing angrily. "Who, dammit?"
His answer was a slow, smug half grin as he made a
sound in the back of his throat.
Taking a step toward the table, Caroline felt like she was walking in sludge. Her legs were heavy and it took great effort just raising them to move. Finally reaching the table, she grabbed the pristine crisp sheet in her fist, but didn't jerk it away. She was terrified, more terrified than she'd ever been in her life, to see who lay beneath. What was happening?
was driving her insane. He wouldn't stop, but she refused to look at him; instead, she stared at the body hidden under the sheet, willing herself to pull it away. She knew something wasn't right; it was all wrong. Feeling something touch her free hand, she looked down to see the little dead boy from her house, his pale face looking up at her with wide eyes. Slowly, he shook his head. Looking away from the boy, she spared a thought to his presence, but then he left her mind completely as she looked back at the body beneath the sheet. With a swift, strong pull, she yanked the sheet away, a scream freezing in her throat.
Lana, her twin, lay naked and pale on the cold steel table. Wide-open eyes, fixed in a horrified expression of pain and fear, stared back at her, her mouth slashed on each side making an exaggerated frown. Dried blood caked her neck, lower stomach, and the insides of her legs, indicating to Caroline that her sister had been violated violently.
"No!" Caroline's voice thawed in her throat, echoing in the sterile room. Her focus shot to the man who had finally stopped making the
noise, but before her gaze landed on him, she noticed more bodies covered with sheets filled the room, tables that weren't there before.
She shook uncontrollably as all feeling left her body and mind, leaving her numb. A rush of wind filled the room, pulling the sheets off, and exposing the bodies of the Warriors and their mates. Their expressions mirrored Lana's, but when her stare fell on Jax, his eyes were closed as if he were sleeping.
A sinister laugh burst free from the man who had led her to this nightmare, but her eyes never left Jax as she urged him to wake up. "Please." Her voice sounded so faraway, as if spoken from somewhere else. "Please, Jax." Caroline actually reached her hand out, but didn't take a step.
Suddenly, his eyelids popped open as his head snapped toward her. "Run!" Jax's voice filled her mind because his lips never moved, but his focused stare ordered her in a way only Jax's eyes could, and yet she stayed glued to the spot. She shook her head back and forth, refusing to leave him, leave any of them. "Run!" This time his mouth opened as the angry order filled the room.
Caroline jumped, her focus automatically going to the threat. The man watched her closely, his head tilted to the side with a crooked grin, and before she could react, he shifted into Jax's brother, Mika.
"Ah, sweet Caroline." Mika's voice was low, but sounded like he was singing under his breath. His head lowered as he looked up at her with a stare full of an evil she had never experienced before.
Transfixed by his stare, she wondered if he was seriously singing "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond to her, a song she'd despised with a passion growing up.
"You're crazy!" she whispered, glancing down to see a long gleaming blade in his hand tapping against his leg.
Lifting his head slightly, Mika ignored her whispered words, but continued the craziness. His singing stopped cold, the room becoming deathly silent as a grin spread across his face. He raised the knife to his own cheek, the blade edge tapping hard enough to break his skin. Blood trickled from the thin cuts. A steady stream of blood flowed the harder he tapped, ending at the corner of his cruel mouth. Slowly, he snaked out his tongue to swipe at the blood. "I've been wondering how you will taste, sweet Caroline."
Urgent, demanding shouts of "Run" filled the room. Each Warrior, their mates, and her sister had turned their heads to stare at her, urging her to flee. Caroline's feet finally moved as she backpedaled toward the door, her eyes scanning the horror before her as well as the smirking bastard who stalked her. Her back hit the cold doorframe and, with one last look at Jax, whose eyes never left her, she turned, propelling herself off the door to run down the hall. At first her footsteps were the only ones she heard echoing as her feet pounded the tile floor, but all too soon, another set of footsteps followed.
Rounding a corner, she saw a door with a red Exit sign at the end of the hallway. The faster she ran, the faster the footsteps following her pounded. Fear kept her from turning around. Her focus was on the door. Something told her if she made it to the door, she would be safe. The faster she ran, the further away the door seemed to be. Tears blurred her vision but didn't slow her. At last, the door was within reach and, without slowing down, she slammed into it with her whole body as darkness engulfed her and she fell into the pitch-black of nothing.
Caroline sat straight up in her makeshift bed on the floor, her legs and arms flaying as a scream echoed in her empty house. Gulping for breath, she pulled herself to her knees searching for her phone. Swiping her hair, wet from sweat, from her face, she spotted her phone charging on the windowsill. Not even bothering to stand, because she wasn't sure her legs would hold her up, she crawled, grabbed it, and yanked the charger out of the wall.
"Please. Please." She whispered the plea as she juggled the phone in her shaking hands. Hitting Lana's number, she had to use both hands to hold it to her ear. Taking deep slow breaths to calm her heart rate, she listened to the ringing. With each ring, the knot in her stomach tightened. "Come on! Answer!"
When voice mail answered, she hung up and dialed again, praying with every breath she took. A movement caught her eye and she turned. The little boy stood in the shadows watching her. "How did you…?" She started to speak to the little boy, but Lana's phone clicked with Sid's greeting.
"Sid, where's Lana?" she cut him off.
"Are you okay, Caroline?" Sid's voice went from a friendly "Hello" to a concerned demand.
"I have to talk to Lana, now!" Caroline bit her lip, trying to keep control. Rationally, she knew that by talking to Sid it proved she'd had a terrible nightmare and that her sister was okay, but it wasn't good enough. She had to talk to her twin.
"Caroline, calm down," Sid commanded. She could tell he was instantly in Warrior mode.
"Do not tell me to calm down, Sid Sinclair," Caroline hissed, hating the anxiety in the pit of her stomach. "Is she there?"
"Yes, she's in the shower."
"Are you sure?" Caroline knew she was being irrational, but the dream had been so damn real, and being twins, she and Lana had a certain connection. Caroline knew her anxiety wouldn't leave her until she heard her sister's voice. "Put her on the damn phone, Sid."
"Lana." Sid’s voice was distant, evidence he had pulled the phone away from his mouth. "It's Caroline, and she's upset wanting to talk to you."
"What's wrong, Caroline?" Urgency filled Lana's question. "Is it Mom or Dad, Jamie?"
"Oh, no, it's not…" Caroline sank back on her makeshift bed on the floor in relief. "It's just… I had a dream and needed to make sure you were okay. No big deal," she lied. "Listen, I'll talk to you later, and tell Sid sorry I was being an asshole."
Caroline hung up before Lana could respond and tossed her phone away from her. She then covered her eyes. Man, she had to get a grip. It was only a dream, yet it seemed so different. She quickly turned her head to look in the corner where the little boy had appeared earlier, but he was gone. Her phone ringing pulled her focus away. Sitting up, she saw Lana's picture flash on her phone. She grabbed her cell and hit Ignore. Knowing Lana would continue to call, she sent her a text saying she was okay and not to worry.
Looking down, she wasn't surprised to see her hands shaking and knew that if she sat there much longer thinking, she was going to lose it. "It was just a dream," she hissed to herself as she stood.
Walking to the kitchen, she went to start some coffee, but stopped. She needed to release her pent-up energy, which was weird since she'd just woken up. She was not a morning person and it took no less than one pot of strong ‘knock you on your ass’ coffee to get her going, but this morning was different.
Heading to her room, she grabbed a pair of sweats, a hoodie, and tied her hair in a sloppy ponytail. Searching around, Caroline found her tennis shoes and quickly put them on. Once finished, she headed for the door, but paused and looked at the coffee pot, knowing once she finished with a run she would want a cup. With a sigh, she hurried and started a pot before taking off out the door.
Jax followed Sid and Lana down Caroline's dirt driveway. Blaze and Steve were behind him. They had set this time to come out and work on the roof, but after talking to Sid, the roof was the furthest thing from his mind. His patience was wearing thin. Dodging the ruts and puddles from the heavy rain they'd had the previous night, he maneuvered his motorcycle and passed Sid down the driveway.
He searched and missed nothing as he pulled his bike to a stop and hopped off. In five strides, he was on the front porch knocking on the door. When he heard nothing inside and Caroline didn't come to the door, he cursed, grabbed the knob, and opened the door.
"Caroline!" Jax called out, his gaze not missing the buckets and pots scattered throughout the house catching what rainwater the tarp they had placed on the roof didn't. It was pretty bad for a two-story house. He wondered how many damn buckets she had scattered upstairs. "Dammit," he hissed. He had wanted to stop by last night or at least call to make sure she was okay and the roof hadn't caved the rest of the way in, but Sloan had kept them so busy he hadn't had a minute.
"She here?" Lana ran inside with Sid close behind. "Where is she?"
Jax didn't answer, but walked to the coffeepot and felt it. "She's here somewhere." He cocked his head to listen, but couldn't pick up anything. It didn't look like a struggle had taken place, but it was hard to tell, with the house being in the chaos period of remodeling. "What did she say when she talked to you?" He turned toward Lana, his eyes darkening.
"She just said she had a dream. She seemed flustered, but that has happened before with our dreams." Lana frowned, but didn't add any more. "Caroline!" she called out.
Steve and Blaze had made their way inside. "What's going on?" Steve checked out the house, then walked over to peek down into the bucket before glancing up at the ceiling. "This place is definitely a stinker."
Everyone stopped to look at Steve. "What the fuck is a stinker?" Sid glared over at Steve.
"You know"—Steve spread his arms out, looking around the place—"a dump… a stinker."
"Where in the fuck do you come up with this shit?" Sid shook his head, still eyeing Steve as if he were some funky alien, but Steve just shrugged before walking around.
"Don't let Caroline hear you say that," Lana warned. "She won't invite you to dinner."
A piece of ceiling broke away, crashing in front of Steve. "And that would be a bad thing?" He stepped over the plaster. "You know, Blaze, you could do your 'hot to trot' thing and save Caroline and us a lot of misery by burning this baby to the ground."
"You have our permission to 'hot to trot' his ass," Sid told Blaze, nodding toward Steve.
"I don't 'hot to trot' anything. I set shit on fire." Blaze glared at Steve.
Steve snorted like Blaze was joking, but the swirling eyes glaring at him had Steve hurrying away from Blaze. Steve stopped next to Jax and touched the coffeepot that sat full on the coffeemaker. "She couldn't be far. Pot's hot."
"No shit." Jax growled, not in the mood for the usual Warrior comedy hour. Something wasn't right. The ringtone he knew was Caroline's started ringing. He stepped toward the bed she had made on the floor—it still pissed him off that she was sleeping on the floor—and found it resting there as if it had been tossed. He picked it up. "Who's Rachel?"
"One of the teachers at her school," Lana said, her voice worried. "She always takes her phone, Jax."
Jax headed for the door, putting Caroline's phone in his back pocket without answering it, and walked outside. His eyes searched for any clue, his head cocked to the side, trying his best to hear anything that would tell him where she was.