SONS OF THE SURVIVALIST, BOOK 4
Kit survived her abusive husband. Survived imprisonment and beatings from the Patriot Zealots. Now free and healing, she can make a new life for herself and her son…except he has attached himself to a terrifying, scarred, tattooed ex-mercenary.
Women take one look at him and flee.
An ugly childhood and combat left Hawk with scars, a rasping voice, and an aversion to talking. So, why in hell does the four-year-old stick to him like glue?
The kid’s pretty mother is smarter. There’s fear in her eyes when she looks at Hawk. That hurts. The sweet woman is everything he’s ever wanted—loving, affectionate, and patient. But after what she’s been through, she sure won’t want to be around men—especially the one who killed her husband.
He’d saved her.
Kit agrees with her son. Being near Hawk is the safest place on earth. Beneath the menacing appearance, he’s protective…and kind. The better she gets to know him, the more she sees him as a man—a very sexy man. But, considering what had happened to her, she knows—
No man would want her now.
PRAISE FOR THIS SERIES
It is pure joy to read this author. ~ Mary Menages Reviews
Romantic, suspenseful, and richly atmospheric, this book swept me off my feet, and I can’t recommend this whole series highly enough.
~ Natasha is a Book Junkie Reviews
Exceptional characters, a great plot line, hot sex scenes, lots of action, family drama and humor combine to make this one of Sinclair’s best efforts. We also get to visit with old friends-including Zachary Grayson-and catch up on the other brothers. As always, when I finish reading a Cherise Sinclair book, I’m not ready to return to the real world.
~ Guilty Pleasures Reviews
What do you get when you mix a New Yorker, fanatical militants and a Bull in the Alaskan wilderness? One heck of a story. ~ SnS Reviews
With the kid beside him, Hawk walked out the deck door and down the stairs. Summer solstice was a little over a week away, and the sun was hours from setting. The grass in the courtyard was a vivid green and getting tall. He’d have to mow it tomorrow. Maybe do some weeding in the garden since it was one of Aric’s happy places. The chickens would appreciate the greens.
As they crossed to Bull’s house, Hawk stopped. “Got news.”
The boy froze.
Hell, hadn’t meant to scare him. Hawk knelt. “Your mom’s at Bull’s.”
Aric’s eyes went wide.
“Mama.” The word came out loud enough to be heard, then Aric raced onto Bull’s deck and through the door.
A clear cry of happiness came from Kit.
Pretty obvious the kid had no doubt of her love.
Must be nice.
Hawk leaned a hip against the deck railing. They didn’t need him in there, and fuck knew, the woman would be more comfortable without him around. Most females found him terrifying—and he’d killed Kit’s husband. Yeah, most people wouldn’t consider the death of an abusive asshole to be a great loss, but she’d married the guy. Must’ve loved him at some point, right? He’d seen women return to the men who’d pounded on them.
So, after speaking to her once in the hospital to reassure her that he’d watch her son, he’d kept his distance. He would drop Aric off at the door of her hospital or rehab room and wait down the hall.
Now she was here—and he’d simply avoid her. She’d be comfortable with his brothers who weren’t scarred and tatted and who managed to conceal their deadly natures far better than Hawk could.
People liked Gabe—and being a cop probably helped.
Even huge as Bull was, the guy liked people, and they flocked around him.
Caz, with his penchant for knives, did his killing up close and personal and was a unique kind of deadly. Hawk far preferred to shoot from a distance, either in a helicopter or as a sniper. Yet, despite the knives that Caz still carried, the doc could charm just about anyone. He cared about people, and it showed.
Hawk, though, didn’t trust anyone except his brothers, and people could tell. Even if he’d wanted to talk—and he didn’t—speaking didn’t come easy. Mako had thought Hawk’s raspy voice was probably from screaming. Hawk had never told him it’d been fucked-up since his father hit him in the throat with a skillet for making too much noise.
It’d been a long time before he’d managed to talk at all after that.
Hawk shook his head. He had tats and scars. Ugly voice. Bad attitude. Hell, the only women who liked him were the ones who obsessed over violent men and rough sex.
Best he stay far away from the fragile woman who was Aric’s mother.
He was halfway to his house when Bull’s voice boomed across the courtyard. “Hawk, get your ass back here.”
Keep going? Wouldn’t work. Bull would just come after him—and talk.
Why did people think they could fix things with talking?
With a grunt of exasperation, he walked back, his gut tightening. At least, Kit had seen him before. Wouldn’t be shocked by scars and tats.
He climbed the steps and scowled at his brother. “Aric should be with his mother. Without me.”
“Nope.” Bull shook his head. “Grayson said Aric might still need you for security, even with her here.”
Hawk eyed the door. Aric might need him. Kit didn’t, and he sure wasn’t into scaring her. “He’ll be fine.”
Bull laughed and slapped his back. “C’mon, let’s go in.”
Hawk shot him a glare that should’ve fried his ass.
If anything, Bull’s smirk widened. “If nothing else, the beer’s great.” The owner of Bull’s Moose Brewery would say so, of course.
There was no winning this battle.
With a pissed-off growl, Hawk stepped inside and assessed the room. Good lines of retreat to the windows and doors. Three people in the living area—Frankie, Kit, Aric.
Dark-haired, curvy Frankie who was Bull’s woman sat at one end of the sectional.
With her splinted right arm in a sling, Kit sat in the middle with the kid standing and leaning against her legs. Still slender, but she’d gained some weight and was no longer hollow-cheeked. An inch or so shorter than Frankie, she might be five-five. The brown hair with sun-lightened streaks was like the coloring of a golden eagle. So fucking pretty.
In the compound the night of the rescue, she’d been bruised, battered, and beaten, but not broken. No, she’d roused enough to help get the other women to leave, had told them, “Go with Frankie, you idiots.” She’d fought off unconsciousness and ordered Hawk to care for her son. The woman had a solid core of strength.
But she wasn’t all steel. When she smiled at her son and her brown eyes turned soft, the warmth was enough to melt an Alaska glacier.
Hawk didn’t get a smile.
Then he did. A hesitant one as if she wasn’t sure how he’d react. “Hawk, thank you for taking care of Aric. I didn’t realize that you’d be doing…well, everything.”
“Everyone helped.” And he would be doing nothing now the kid’s mother was here. A prickly ache started up under his ribcage.
“We have goodies, everyone.” Frankie set a tray of cookies on the coffee table, and Hawk almost laughed when Aric’s gaze snagged on the sweets.
The kid didn’t speak, dammit. It would be a fine day when the boy felt comfortable enough to ask for something he wanted.
Hawk glanced at Kit to see if she’d noticed her son’s desire.
She had. Her busted ribs were obviously painful as she leaned forward, snagged a cookie, and handed it to Aric. Her lips were pressed tight as she leaned back.
Hawk stared at her. Rather than asking for help, she’d hurt herself to give her son a treat. Felt like something he’d do, but it didn’t feel right when she behaved the same way.
“Yo, bro. Try this.” Bull handed over a bottle of beer.
Hawk checked the label. Bull’s Moose Brewery. “Break-up Ale?”
“Yeah, the new one.” Bull took a seat beside Frankie. “You’ll like the hops.”
Hawk stayed standing. He wouldn’t be here for longer than it took to satisfy his brother. If the women thought him rude, too fucking bad.
“Break-up. You named a beer after something sad?” Kit asked.
“Break-up in Alaska is when the ice on the rivers melts and breaks into chunks.” Bull smiled at her. “Around here, it basically means spring.”
“Oh. I heard the lieutenants talking about it and didn’t understand.” Kit shook her head. “Most of us from the Texas compound didn’t know anything about Alaska.”
“It’s a long way from Texas. Why’d the PZs from there come up here?” Bull asked.
Hawk leaned a hip against the couch and sampled the beer. Not bad. Nice and hoppy. Light on the tongue. It was odd that neither Kit nor Aric sounded Texan.
“The Reverend said Alaska had less rules and fewer people to interfere with what he wanted to do.” The corners of Kit’s mouth twitched up. “He complained a lot about the police chief here. Your brother?”
“That would be Gabe. He enjoyed ruining Parrish’s plans.” Bull grinned.
Beside Kit, Aric had finished his cookie and was nodding off. Face soft, she brushed a hand over his hair. “I better get him to bed.”
But any fool could see she’d never manage to move herself and the kid off the couch without a hell of a lot of pain.
Hawk stepped forward and lifted the boy, draping him over a shoulder with a hand under his ass. In the last three weeks, he’d learned Aric didn’t wake up once he was asleep. At least not if he felt safe.
He glanced at Frankie. “He got a bed?”
“Beside Kit’s in the downstairs guest room.”
“I’m going to make an early night of it too.” Kit struggled to slide forward on the oversized sectional. It was like watching a fawn struggle out of a snow drift.
Hawk held out his free hand. “Grab on. Go at your own pace.”
Hell, what had he been thinking? She wouldn’t accept help from someone who looked like him. Sure wouldn’t touch him.
Even as he started to pull his arm back, she took his hand. Her hand was cold and tiny, but as he closed his fingers around hers, he could feel her callused skin. Even three weeks of being laid-up hadn’t eradicated the evidence of hard work.
Her wary gaze met his, and then, using him as an anchor, she slid forward on the couch. After rising to her feet, she released his hand. “That helped. Thank you.”
Damn. Unexpected pleasure swept through him. She’d let him assist.
Frankie shook her head. “I have trouble extracting myself from this sectional, too, and I don’t have broken ribs. We’ll find a smaller chair for you to use.”
“No, it’s fine,” Kit protested. “I—”
“There’s an extra armchair in Mako’s quarters.” Hawk turned toward the guest bedroom with Aric and ignored Bull’s surprise at his words.
So, yeah, maybe he didn’t like change and didn’t want strangers touching the sarge’s things. Maybe he’d been pissed-off when his brothers let Gabe’s officer, JJ, stay there. But Kit needed a chair she could sit in. He was just being practical.
In the guest bedroom, Aric’s cot was next to the bigger bed. Same setup as the kid had used in Hawk’s bedroom.
Stepping around Hawk, Kit flipped the covers back.
After laying Aric down, Hawk slid the kid’s shoes and socks off. “He just had a bath,” he muttered.
“Thank you.” She tucked the covers around her son. “I can see he’s gained weight. Has a suntan. And he isn’t terrified all the time.” When she looked up at Hawk, tears filled her eyes. “You’ve taken good care of him.”
Hawk backed away. Crying, fuck no. There should be a law or something—no crying around him. “No problem.”
Words exhausted, he walked out.
In the living room, Bull and Frankie watched him.
When Bull smiled, Hawk considered planting a fist in his brother’s face. “Let’s get that fucking chair.”
As Kit closed the door of her bedroom, she heard the men talking in the living room. Bull had an incredibly deep voice. Hawk’s was almost as deep, but with a gravelly harsh timbre.
Such different men. Bull was open, friendly, and completely straightforward. He reminded her of a wide, slow-moving river that was so clear one could see the sparkling stones in the depths.
Hawk was more like a mountain glacier. Slow-moving and unstoppable. Hiding everything submerged within the ice, yet with unexpected sparkling waterfalls.
And so very, very deep.
When he’d seen she couldn’t rise without help, he’d offered his hand. And scared her.
Obadiah had considered her fear as a prize. Not Hawk. There had been pain in his blue-gray eyes when she’d cringed. She’d hurt him.
And so, she’d found her courage.
She couldn’t blame herself for being frightened, of any man, really. But Hawk…talk about intimidating.
He had dark blond hair, cut short, and a trim beard that outlined his lean, hard jawline. He moved like…like he was ready for a fight at any moment, and he’d obviously been in a few. The reddish tan of his fair skin contrasted with a long white scar across his forehead and one on his neck. Another scar ran down his cheek into his mustache and was deep enough it pulled his top lip up into a slight sneer.
Rolled-up shirt sleeves had exposed his tattooed forearms, and was it bad that she’d kind of wanted to look at the tats that were different shades of brown? To see what he’d chosen. There’d been a plane on one forearm and…
Snoopy much, Kit?