Page 2

 Kristen Ashley

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“Fuck,” Rhash muttered, humor gone. He knew what this meant. “What’s the bad news?”
“Serena got worked over and she called me.”
“Fuck,” Rhash clipped.
“Yeah,” I agreed.
“How bad? She need Baldy? What?” he asked.
“She says not bad. Just beat up. Cher is coming to look after her. I need an address on her client tonight.”
I waited for him to find it, he gave it to me and I programmed it into my GPS then he asked, “There a reason she didn’t call me or Knight?”
“Worried you’d lose your minds, get in trouble.”
“Stupid,” he muttered, sounding more than a little annoyed. “What’s she think we get that ten percent for?”
This was a good question and one I didn’t have an answer to. In my experience, ladies of the evening didn’t protect their protectors. If they were lucky, it was the other way around. They usually avoided them, if they could, or sought them out for not so good reasons, such as getting their fix.
Knight’s girls weren’t like that. I knew why, hell, I definitely knew why.
It still was stupid.
“Got an ass to kick, Rhash,” I reminded him.
“Need back up?” he asked.
“Feeling like kicking ass?”
“How bad was she?”
“Fat lip. Swollen eye,” I told him.
“Then… fuck yeah.”
I grinned.
That was why Knight inspired loyalty in his girls. Because he employed people like Rhashan and me who gave a shit.
“I’m starting at the hotel,” I shared. “Meet me there.”
“It’ll take me about ten, fifteen. Wait for me. I don’t want to miss anything.”
I grinned again. Rhashan and all the guys thought it was hilarious to watch me work. This was because I was five foot two and cheated the gods by drinking a lot and eating whatever I wanted and still, I was thin. I had tits and nicely rounded ass. Neither in overabundance so, no doubt about it, I was slender. I wasn’t girlie but I wore my honey blonde hair long and wild and I also had a not to be messed with, once a week schedule of getting a manicure and pedicure.
Still, I could take down a man over a foot taller than me, with over a hundred pounds on me and have him whining like a baby.
The guys thought this was hysterical, watching a man go down at the hands of a petite woman wearing nail polish. Sometimes, when I’d get the callout, two or three of them would show just to watch.
I never disappointed.
“See you there,” I said to Rhash.
“Yeah, later,” he replied.
I flipped my phone shut, started up my girl, she purred for me while I waited the thirty seconds before I saw Cher pull up and park. Then I gave her a chin lift through the windshield and waited while she walked to Serena’s house. After that, I waited until the door closed behind Cher.
Then my girl and I took off.
* * * * *
I had my back to the wall at the side of the door when I heard the elevator beep. I turned my head and watched Rhash walk out.
Rhashan was a huge, midnight skinned black man. Handsome. Fuck, they made few of them as good as Rhashan from head to toe. Smooth with a kick, like a good bourbon. You sucked it back then sucked in a breath to ease the warmth on its way down.
He’d recently married a woman I liked unreservedly, which was rare. It was known he liked to dominate which was why I didn’t dip my toe in midnight before he made the ultimate hook up with his new wife, Vivica.
No one controlled me. Not anymore.
That didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the view immensely as he walked his muscled bulk my way.
When he got close, I lifted up a keycard between two fingers.
“Boss owes me a hundred, fifty,” I noted.
Rhash’s full lips quirked. “You get a receipt?”
I shot him a grin and jerked up my chin.
His eyes went to the door. “He in there?”
“According to my boy downstairs who’s one hundred and fifty dollars richer for handing me a keycard, he’s not checked out,” I told him.
He looked me up and down before he remarked, “This hotel, I don’t get away without shelling out at least two fifty.”
“You don’t have tits,” I pointed out the obvious and his lips again quirked.
Then his face got serious. “You lead?”
“Uh… am I Sylvia Bissenette?” I asked.
“Last time I checked,” he answered.
That got him another grin.
He positioned and so did I, both of us unholstering our guns.
I slid in the keycard, got the green light, slid it out, carefully turned the handle and cautiously moved into the dark room with Rhash at my back.
Within a minute, we’d ascertained the space was clear.
Rhash turned on a light and we both scanned the wrecked room with our eyes.
When I was done with my scan, my gaze went to Rhash and I noted his strong, square jaw was hard.
“She put up a fight,” I remarked.
His eyes cut to me.
I was a loose part of the Knight Sebring team, not an official member. I was freelance. I had other jobs. But I was always on-call for Knight.
Being freelance didn’t mean much to Knight’s boys. For them, I took assignments, I took call, I was a member of the team. This meant we knew where each other lived. We drank together. We watched the Broncos together, usually at a bar. I was invited to Rhash’s wedding. If I needed help on another one of my jobs, all I had to do was make a call and they had my back.
The fact that, outside work, our time spent together usually included alcohol meant we’d all shared.
So I knew Rhashan Banks had grown up rough. His Mom had him when she was sixteen. He had two sisters and a brother by the time his Mom was twenty-one. Each Banks kid had a different father and none of the dads stuck around.
Rhash was in a gang by twelve, his best friend got whacked during a turf war and died in his arms when Rhash was fifteen. Still, it took three more years and getting his girl pregnant before Rhash started to pull his shit together. She put the baby up for adoption, wanting nothing to do with it or a Daddy who was destined for dead or incarcerated. She dumped his ass, had the baby, got rid of the baby then promptly went back on her grand schemes and got involved with another gang member, this one about seven huge steps down from Rhash. Her new guy didn’t mind sharing. In fact, he passed her around to all his buds.
To deal with a life that turned total shit, she eventually got hooked on meth. Now she worked Colfax and her life expectancy wasn’t very high considering her pimp was an ass**le, her strip was dangerous and her mind was always on her next fix.