Protecting His Forever

By: LeAnn Ashers

“Please!” my sob is broken and breathless.

I feel his warm breath against the shell of my ear as his grip tightens around me. “Sydney!”

Suddenly my feet are placed against the ground. When my eyes meet his, all the air seizes from my chest. His eyes are hard and devious, but not at me. I know this man. He’s my brother’s friend. He gently grabs my waist and thrusts me behind his body then charges at my attacker, forcing him to the ground. The attacker’s head smashes against the pavement as his foot comes back and kicks against his skull.

The man makes a garbled sound as his body stills, but Kane’s kicks continue. I know if Kane doesn’t stop, he’ll kill him.

“Stop!” I scream.

Much to my surprise, he stops. Sucking in a much needed breath, I crumble to the ground as shock consumes me. My whole entire body shakes uncontrollably, harsh sobs wracking through my chest. Clasping my hands together and wringing them tightly in an effort to control them. Did that really just happen? To me? Resting my elbows on my legs, I hold my head between my hands and try to comprehend what the hell just happened to me. Did I really just almost get kidnapped? Raped? Worse? Shaking my head in disbelief, I look over at my attacker lying on the ground.

“Are you okay?” a deep voice asks.

Looking up, I see Kane kneeling beside me. I nod yes then hug my arms to my chest to hide my trembling hands. I’m not okay, not at all.

His hands tug at my chin until I’m looking up at him. His eyes are full of concern and I know he doesn’t believe me. He takes off his shirt and presses it to the cut on my head and brushes the hair out of my face. His gentle care and concern snaps all the control I have left. A sob escapes and the dam breaks.

A second later I’m hit with his warmth. His arms wrap around me, and my face is pressed hard against his chest. He lifts me onto his lap with both arms wrapped around me tightly.

“Shhh, it's going to be okay. I’ve got you,” his deep voice sooths. Relief washes over me knowing I’ve been saved, still the tears continue to fall.

The moment is interrupted by the sound of sirens blasting in the wind and tires screeching to a halt.

“Sydney!” My head shoots up at the sound of Ethan’s voice. Climbing from Kane’s lap, I run straight toward my brother and slam into his chest. He lifts me off the ground and holds me tight. I whimper in pain, and he places me back on the ground.

“You took a couple years off my life, Sydney! Don’t ever fucking do that again, you hear me?” His stern voice makes me choke out a strangled laugh. Delirious, obviously.

He studies my face as he takes in my injuries, and suddenly his demeanor shifts and his eyes grow dark.

“What did that fucker do? He. Is. Dead,” he grounds out between his teeth.

I look over at the man lying on the ground being handcuffed by an officer, and Ethan charges toward him.

“Stop, man!” Kane rushes over and pulls Ethan back.

“Kane?” my brother asks in shock as he shoves Kane’s hand off his shoulder.

“Ethan, stop! He saved me!” I shout.

Kane confirms my words with a quick nod toward Ethan. He looks down at the attacker then back to me then to Kane, and he suddenly connects the dots. He pulls Kane into a one armed hug.

“Thank you, brother.”

A hand clasps over my shoulder, and I shout as I jump back.

“Woah, Sydney! It’s Chase.” Chase thrusts his hands up, palm out. “It’s just me! Calm down. You’re safe now.”

“I’m sorry, I’m just a little jumpy,” I tell Chase guiltily.

“It’s okay, baby girl.” He gives me a sympathetic smile. “We need to get you checked out by the EMT.” He motions over his shoulder to the two paramedics pulling a gurney from the back of their ambulance.

I nod my head slowly, then look up at Kane who is watching me intently. My adrenaline washes away like the sands on the shore. Suddenly the ground shifts and everything blurs. Gripping my head that feels like a two-ton weight, I fall to the ground not able to support my weight. “Sydney!” Ethan’s voice sounds distant as it echoes through my mind. Heavy footfalls and shouting surround me, then hands wrap around my arms and legs, lifting me up off the ground. The pitch black solace of my mind pulls me deeper and deeper as the darkness cloaks me.

Chapter Two

I wake with a groan, tugging the blanket higher under my neck as a shiver racks through my body. Hospitals are always so freaking cold. Before opening my eyes, I know where I am. The monitors beep in melody throughout the halls and the IV in my arm is another sure sign, as well as the smell of antiseptic that burns my nose. A door slams nearby. Startled, my eyes shoot open.

“You’re awake,” a deep, rough voice asks.

Looking over to the side of the bed, my eyes widen as they land on Kane.

“Kane…” I trail off, confused.

“That’s me.” He smirks and leans back in his chair with his hands folded behind his head. Rolling my eyes at him, I tug at the blanket covering me.

“How are you feeling?”

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