Hey everyone! It’s time for Tuesday Tales. Ok, I fibbed last time. This is our last week with Sloan and Abbey in Family Ties. They are still on the hunt to find their daughter Ame and her friend Dakota who were abducted by men working for the Butcher.
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The whiskey burned as it slid down Sloan’s throat. The sensation brought comfort. He slammed the shot glass down on the oak stained bar then motioned to the bartender for another.
Words swirled around his head. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t make them go away. He could hear both Liam and Gordon forbid him from having a family. It was dangerous. They would be used for collateral. He could hear Abbey accuse him of this whole mess.
She didn’t need to. The moment he realized Ame was gone he blamed himself. He had every second since. “You were right, lads,” he mumbled to himself. “Getting married, falling in love. Huge mistake.”
“How many have you had?” a deep voice from behind chastised. Robert slumped onto the barstool beside him.
“Five,” Sloan said just before slamming another shot of whiskey. He set the glass in his hand on the bar beside the others. That’s six.”
“How is getting drunk going to rescue the kids?”
“Everything else we tried failed. Why not try this?” Sloan waved to the bartender for another.
Robert stood and stopped the man. “Ginger ale.”
“What the bloody hell are you doing?” Sloan demanded.
“Stopping you from making a huge mistake,” Robert answered simply. “What happened?”
Sloan exhaled slowly. “Abbey blamed me for Ame’s abduction. Gordon and Liam warned me about a family. I should have listened.”
“So you’re saying you wished you never met Abbey?”
Sloan sat in silence. “No. There is no life without her. Hearing her accuse me with such hate…” His words trailed off as he shook his head.
“We’ll find Ame, Sloan.” Robert looked at him, puzzled. “Where’s that photo you found in Prague?”
Sloan dug in his pocket and slapped it on the table. Robert picked it up to study it. After a few seconds he started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Sloan questioned.
“I know why your wife came unglued.”
Sloan took a sip of the ginger ale. “Enlighten me.”
Robert flipped the picture around towards him. “It’s you and Heidi.”
“I know. I have no idea how the Butcher got that picture. I’m pretty sure that’s the only time we were within a hundred feet of each other in public. It was certainly the only time we were affectionate.”
“Right. You were affectionate. She saw a couple in love. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Abbey insecure and jealous. Did you see it tonight?”
A smirk graced Sloan’s lips. “Aye. I’m surprised I didn’t recognize that little demon when it struck.”
“Like I said, it’s been awhile. She’s upset over the abduction. But the idea of you happily in another woman’s arms? That’s really your issue.”
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Hey everyone! It’s time for Tuesday Tales. We are back with Sloan and Abbey in Family Ties, book six of the Black Irish series.
Time slipped away quickly as Ame studied for her chemistry test. She had a crazy knack for the subject and loved it. If she aced this test tomorrow she had a great chance to end the year with an “A”. The only break she took was to have a supper of spaghetti, meatballs and garlic knots with everyone. She giggled as she watched the men she knew as her uncles perch on armchairs in the living room while they shoveled the pasta into their mouths just so their wives and children had a place to sit. The whole scene made her wonder. Would life ever go back to the way it was? Once she finished eating she tossed her plate into the sink of dishes her grandmother was already washing and scampered back to her room.
It was nearly nine o’clock when her cell rang. After writing a couple notes on her paper, Ame checked the screen. “Dakota,” she murmured. Her heart pounded in her chest as she silenced it. She couldn’t help the crush she had on him. But after seeing him with Chelsea she didn’t want to talk to him.
A few seconds later it rang again. With an irritated huff she silenced it again.
When it rang again she answered it. “What do you want, Dakota?”
Ame nearly dropped the phone as every part inside her clenched in fear. This wasn’t Dakota. She knew his warm, sweet voice. The person who spoke was cold, devious, adult. She gasped as she recognized him. It’s the guy with the knife from school! Mom and Dad said his name is Oliver. “How did you get Dakota’s phone?” she demanded.
“Your little friend and I have been having a little talk. I think you should come join us.”
“No way. I don’t even know if he’s really there.”
“Really?” She heard the phone go distant. Then she heard Oliver talk. “I think your little girlfriend wants to talk to you.”
There was silence for nearly a minute then a pain-filled gasp. “Ame, hang up please,” Dakota cried out.
Ame fought back a whimper. “Where are you?”
“On the other end of the lake behind your house,” Oliver responded.
“Fine. Let me sneak out. I’ll be right there.”
“Hurry, sweetheart. I wouldn’t want to hurt him again.”
“Don’t,” she pleaded just before the line went dead. She scrambled off her bed and slipped her shoes back on. She slowly opened her bedroom door. Even though her parents and six siblings had bedrooms on this floor, not one of them was upstairs. Silently she jogged down the back staircase and out the door to the garage.
Her heart stampeded in her chest as she ran alongside the lake. Her head filled with doubt. Did Oliver really have Dakota? How did he know who Dakota was? She tried to remember the television reports over the thud of her footsteps and the thundering of her heartbeat. She gasped as she remembered. Yes, one report showed Dakota with her and her grandparents, right before she ran to her father’s arms.
He’s in danger because of me!
Stepping outside of the school. Ame was stunned to find her father’s Hummer outside waiting for her. Sloan sat behind the steering wheel, his eyes focused on the tablet in his hand, a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates sitting on the dash. Both teenage girls and mothers alike stopped to stare at him. Ame pushed past the slowly growing crowd. “Dad, what are you doing here?”
Sloan frowned, confused, at the females gathered behind her. A slow grin curved his lips. Obviously he doesn’t mind the attention. “Your mom was taking a nap. I thought I’d come instead. You know, since your little secret isn’t much of a secret anymore. Hurry up and get in. Your siblings are waiting.”
“Right.” Ame scuttled around the vehicle and jumped in the passenger side. Sloan slowly pulled from the curb and wound down the lane to the next building. “So, how was school?” he asked.
“Everyone knows I lied. So you can come to my events now.”
“It’s not your fault. I shouldn’t have lied. It’s just, if everyone knew I was your daughter, they would treat me like I was privileged because you’re rich.”
“Amelia, you need to be yourself. Money shouldn’t affect how you act. That’s what I’ve been trying to teach you.”
“I know. That’s what I sort of told the entire school.”
Sloan glanced at her from the corner of his eye. “Really?”
“Yeah. Someone filmed it and put it on YouTube. I think they thought I was going to throw a punch instead.” She pulled her cell from the pocket of her jacket and found the video. Then she handed the phone to him. Sloan parked the Hummer in front of the elementary school then pressed play. A proud smile filled his face. “That’s my lass.”
Dark shadows stretched across Ame’s bedroom as she startled awake. This was ridiculous. Maybe a glass of warm milk would help. She frowned to herself. Did she know how to make warm milk? One thing was for certain. Both the milk and the source of heat to warm it were downstairs in the kitchen. Ame scooted out of bed and tiptoed down the hall. She froze when she heard her parents’ voices in the living room.
“She hates me,” Sloan moaned as he slumped into the leather sofa and buried his face in his hands.
“She does not,” Abbey assured.
He picked up Ame’s sketch pad and pens and tossed them into her lap. “Really? Don’t try to convince me that the image she drew isn’t me. She thinks I’m Satan.”
Ame’s heart sunk deep into her chest as guilt washed over her. Her father continued. “I never wanted her to know. She’s my little angel. She always has been. Now in her eyes I’m evil.”
“She’s fourteen. She’s a smart cookie. I think it’s time to tell her the truth.”
Sloan glared at Abbey. “Really? Are you prepared to tell Ame that we’re mercenaries?”
Abbey wrapped her arms tight around his waist. “Just let me handle it. All right?”
“Has B found out anything more about those three men? Does any of this have to do with The Butcher?”
“All he found is that they have worked for him at one time. He doesn’t know if he was behind the attack or not. I have no idea why The Butcher would be after us. Yes, we were on the opposite sides of the war. But we never crossed paths.”
“We’ll figure this out, Sloan. We always do.”
“I won’t have you and our children in danger. You are my world. I will end the world to protect you.”
“And what about you? You are just as precious to me. I’m not about to let anything happen to you or our kids.”
Sloan turned to her and pressed his forehead against hers. Moments later his mouth dipped low to cover hers. Abbey melted into his kiss, pressing her body tight against him. Ame spun on her toe and raced back to her bed. Her mind was already a muddled mess over what happened at her school. She sure didn’t need to see her parents getting busy on the living room couch.
Oliver dabbed the blood dripping from his chin as he scrambled to his feet, his eyes locked on the approaching Sloan. “Let’s go, guys.” The three men scampered across the playground disappearing between the grade school and the junior high buildings.Sloan towered over his crouching family. “Is everyone all right?”
“We’re fine.” Abbey let the girls go then accepted his hand to help her to her feet. “The motorbike was a bit much, don’t you think? How’d you blow it up like that?”
“I had a chunk of explosives in the trunk of my car. I taped it to the fuel tank.”
“Should I ask why you’re keeping explosives in you car?”
Sloan motioned to the charred van. “For moments like this. And no, this wasn’t excessive. These basta…” His words were cut of by an icy glare from Abbey. “These bad men were trying to hurt my girls. Nothing is excessive then.”
“How are we going to explain the explosion and the burned out van to the Dean of Students? I’m sure Dean Williams isn’t going to be thrilled with us.”
Sloan cocked her an evil grin. “I called Agent Dunham and cashed in one of the many favors he owes us for Afghanistan.”
“CIA intervention? Nice touch.” Abbey slipped her gun back into the holster around her thigh.
Ame could hear a growl slip from her father’s throat as his eyes fixed on her mother’s leg. His voice was deep and rough as he spoke. “Are you taking the girls back to class, lass?”
“We both could. Then we could both go talk to Dean Williams. I didn’t blow up a vehicle on her campus.”
“Yes, luv. But you did bring not one but two guns onto school grounds which is against the rules too. Besides, Agatha Williams hates me but she adores you.” Sloan rubbed his chin as he studied the building. “Just tell her the money to replace the couple dozen windows that were broken has already been deposited into the school’s account plus an additional million for any trouble.” He pointed to the dark sedans that prowled along the lane. Each car’s windows were tinted black. “I’m going to go deal with the CIA.”
“Sloan Michael O’Riley, don’t leave me with this!” Abbey demanded.
He winked at her before planting a kiss on her cheek. “You can handle this, luv. I know you can. You’re brilliant.” Sloan backpedaled away from her with a grin before spinning on his toe. He jogged away towards the men in suits now mulling around the wreckage.
Abbey muttered under her breath as she stowed her other gun in the waistband of her skirt then took Aubrey’s hand in hers. The little girl’s resolve broke. She began wailing loudly. “Mommy, no. I don’t want to go back. I’m scared.”
Abbey glanced down at her then at Ame. Ame hugged herself tightly to try to stop herself from shaking. It didn’t work. She felt tears sting her eyes. She never had been so confused in her life. Dad just blew up a van. There could have been someone inside. I think my dad just killed someone…
Abbey smiled at her gently. “Do you want to go home, Ame?”
A tear slid down her cheek as she nodded. Abbey wrapped an arm around her as a gentle smile bloomed across her face. “All right. Let me go talk to Dean Williams then get you both excused. We’ll go home.”
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He wrapped his hand around Ame’s wrist and tugged her to him. She stiffened as she felt the point of a blade poke her beneath her chin.
Her captor looked up the slide to Aubrey. “Come on, sweetheart. You don’t want me to hurt your big sister, do you?”
The only reply he got was a squeak. Aubrey straightened herself then slid down the slide, clasping her little arms around Ame’s waist in terror. She looked up with tear filled eyes. “I’m scared,” she whimpered.
“Me too,” Ame breathed.
“Ok, girls,” Oliver began. “See that white van over there.” He pointed at the nose of a beaten up white van peeking from the tree lined lane. “We’re going for a ride.”
“Like hell you are.”
Ame gasped as she noticed Oliver’s spine straighten. She knew that voice but there was no way it could be… She carefully glanced around her captor to the source.
Abbey suddenly had appeared, dressed in her business suit for the office. And she had a very dangerous looking pistol pressed against Oliver’s temple. “I don’t know who the hell you are, but please take the knife away from my daughter’s throat. Because if I see you so much as flinch I’ll put a bullet in your brain.”
Oliver laughed, a wicked twinkle glimmering in his chocolate brown eyes. “Abigail O’Riley, I was hoping you would be the one they would send. I’ve been dying to meet you. If you haven’t noticed, Tiger, you’re outnumbered.”
One of the other men reached for his gun. Before he could pull it free, Abbey slipped her hand beneath her skirt, whipping the pistol in the holster wrapped around her thigh free. She pointed it at him. “And if you know me that well, you know I’m not alone. There are sniper rifles pointed at each of you right now. Now I have a question for you. Do you have anyone in that van of yours?”
“Why would I tell you?” Oliver questioned.
“Because if there are, you’ll want to get them out. Now. Call it my Good Samaritan moment of the day.”
Ame heard the faint buzz of a motorbike approaching. It was barely audible over her stampeding heart. She was trying to stay brave for her little sister but she knew the little girl could feel her shake. Snipers? Where did Mom come up with snipers? And why is she holding those guns? Has she done this before? Does Daddy know about this?
“Amelia, Aubrey, get down,” Abbey gently instructed.
Both girls stood stone still. The sound of the motorbike grew louder. Abbey sighed as she glanced out of the corner of her eye at her daughters. “Girls, I said get down. Now.”
Everyone’s attention suddenly was torn away to a large figure dressed in black racing up the drive lined for a direct collision with the van. In a fluid motion, he laid the bike on its side. Sparks erupted from the scraping metal as the man kicked the bike away and tumbled onto the lawn. Abbey used the second of distraction to land a roundhouse kick into the belly of one of the captors. Ame gaped as she watched her mother incapacitate the three, leaving a particularly wicked elbow for Oliver’s chin, strong enough to cut him open. She flew to the ground and tugged the girls to her to shield them.
The explosion was hard to miss. The van erupted in flames sending a fireball into the sky past the line of trees. The roar was quickly followed by the tinkling sound of shattering glass as several of the school windows blew apart. Aubrey screamed and clung to her mother. Ame pulled her head free enough to look.
The motorbike rider slowly rose from the ground like a demon from the flames. He brushed the dirt from his suit then strode across the lawn towards them. Ame quaked inside. She could only squeak one word. “Dad?”
Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This week is a picture prompt. The excerpt is from the sixth and final book of the Black Irish Series, Family Ties. Let’s catch up with Sloan and Abbey…
“I don’t know.”
“Ame, you can’t go with them.”
“Would they have stopped at the other schools?”
Fear seized Ame’s heart. “Ethan. Colin. Aubrey and Liam…”
“Give your books to me and go.”
Ame piled her books into Ava’s arms, breathing a silent thanks to her friend. She raced out the fire door, leaving the blaring siren behind her as she sprinted across the grass to the drive that led to the other schools.
Hoping the lofty branches over the tree lined drive would hide her, Ame hurried down the hill to the elementary school. Someone from the high school must have sent a warning throughout the campus. Teachers shepherded children between them back into the building long before recess was over. She ran across the lawn to the group. “Missus Smith!”
“Amelia, what are you doing down here?” the teacher questioned.
“Where is Aubrey and Liam?”
“Liam is already in the building. We can’t find Aubrey.”
Ame’s heart slammed in her chest as she raced back to the playground. She called out her little sister’s name as she searched frantically. A whimper stopped her dead in her tracks. She looked up the slide. Beneath the mouth of the tunnel, Aubrey huddled with her tiny arms wrapped around her legs. She stared at her older sister with big, blue eyes.
“Aubrey, come down,” Ame demanded as she pointed to the ground. “Please. Now.”
The little girl shook her head, her black curls bobbing around her face.
“Come on, Aubrey. We have to go inside. I think we’re in danger. Please…”
Chills ran up Ame’s spine as a voice approached from behind her. She turned slowly to find the three men that asked for her standing there, the one named Oliver wearing an evil grin. “Look what we’ve found, boys,” he purred.
Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This week’s word prompt is “flexible”. The excerpt is the beginning of the sixth and final book of the Black Irish Series, Family Ties. Let’s catch up with Sloan and Abbey…
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The ear piercing tone of the alarm clock filled the large sunlit bedroom. A hand slipped from under the downy daisy yellow comforter to slap it silent. It quickly retreated under the covers. I don’t want to get up. Just five more minutes.
The creak of the door hinges and the sound of footprints reported someone else was in the room. “Ame, sweetheart. It’s time to get up. You don’t want to be late for school.”
Ame’s only response was a groan. She buried herself deeper into her bed. He could hear her mother sigh. “Amelia, you need to get up. You know what comes next.”
“I’m getting up, Mom,” Ame assured.
“All right.” By the sound of Abbey’s sigh, it was evident she had no faith in her daughter. She closed the door behind her. Ame snuggled deeper into her pillow. She could close her eyes for just a moment more.
“Amelia O’Riley, get up!”
Ame shot up in her bed, her heart beating out of her chest. She didn’t have to look up to see who was standing beside her bed. The deep Irish brogue told her exactly who it was not to mention his very large shadow now darkened the wood floor of her bedroom. “I’m awake, Dad,” she whined.
“Now you are,” Sloan scoffed. “Hurry and get dressed. Your mother almost has breakfast finished.”
Ame watched as her father slipped from her room, smooth and cool as a shadow. She tossed the comforter off her and scooted off the bed. Trudging to her ensuite, she started the water for her shower. She stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her long, nearly ebony hair was a rumpled. Her blue eyes with flecks of hazel were sleepy. And there was a zit right in the middle of her chin. She sighed. Sometimes being fourteen sucked.
After a quick shower, Ame shuffled to her closet to get her school uniform. Another sigh escaped her lips. She hated her school. The elite of the Twin Cities sent their children there. Being the children of billionaires, that included Ame and her siblings. She turned her head at the sound of squealing and screaming. Yeah, siblings. Six of them. Did anyone ever talk to her parents about birth control?
She tugged on her skirt and blouse, slowly fastening the buttons so not to miss one. She sat on her bed to pull on the regulation knee socks. As she picked up the navy blue blazer with the gold emblem on the chest she heard voices call out in unison. “Ame!”
Ame shrugged the jacket on with a huff. Grabbing her backpack she made her way down the hall to the staircase that led to the main floor. She froze as her foot hit the bottom step.
Her father was pressing her mother against the counter with his body, his lips roaming the curve of her neck. Ame could barely make out the tips of his fingers caressing her breasts. Her mother had her head thrown back against his shoulder in surrender. A soft moan escaped her lips.
“Seriously?” Ame screeched.
Sloan lifted his head confused for a moment. When he caught sight of his daughter he chuckled. “Lass, if I hadn’t done this to your mother, you and your siblings wouldn’t be here.”
“But at the breakfast table?”
“The breakfast table is over there in the other room.” Sloan pointed in the direction of the dining room where the rest of the children were enjoying breakfast. “What we do in the kitchen shouldn’t be of concern to you.”
“There are seven of us, Dad.”
“Are you adequately fed? Clothed? Do you have everything you need? Is there someone home for you at night?”
Ame sighed again. “Yes.”
Abbey cupped Sloan’s chin in her palm and kissed his cheek. “We can pick up on this later.”
“Sounds like a plan. I’m flexible.”
Sloan laughed again, kissing her lips then smacking her rump playfully. Abbey squeaked, winking at him before he strode to his office. She turned towards the dining room. “Come on, guys! Wrap it up. I need to get to work.”
Sloan chuckled. “Trust me, Luv. I had one in my office right after. Although you handed the whole thing brilliantly.”
“Yeah. I gave a bunch of geriatrics and their idiot lawyer their walking papers. Even thoughts felt so good to kick Nathan Paulson to the curb after everything he’s done to us.”
“You made an excellent point. We built our company. We and our family, not them. They have been reaping the benefits without any effort on their part. You were incredible, Luv. I am proud of you.”
Abbey felt her cheeks grow hot at his compliment. Then she noticed his ice blue eyes narrow hungrily.”Lass, you’re blushing. You know what that does to me.”
“Me breathing does that to you, Sloan.”
A chuckle rumbled from his throat again as he took her glass of wine from her and set it with his on the hearth of the fireplace. Cupping her face in his hands he drew her to him, enveloping her lips in a deep kiss that turned her insides out. Instinctively she wrapped her arms around his shoulders pulling herself onto his lap. She could hear him moan through their kiss. His fingers tugged on the buttons of her blouse, exposing her soft breasts cradled in her lace bra.
Abbey pulled away from his mouth. “The kids,” she protested.
“We have the baby monitor. It’ll pick up any sound from the hall,” Sloan assured as he drew her back into another passionate kiss. Abbey surrendered hopelessly. Who was she to argue with his logic?
Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This week were veering away from The Heartbreaker. This week’s excerpt is from the sixth and final book of the Black Irish Series, Family Ties. Let’s catch up with Sloan and Abbey…
Abbey stretched out on the sofa, a folder full of papers on her lap. Slipping the earbuds in her ears, she turned up the Linkin Park song already playing. She scanned the document on her iPad. Putting seven kids to bed each night was always an adventure. It left very little time to catch up on overdue work.
As she electronically signed the document, she opened another. She nearly jumped off the couch when a hand clamped on her ankle. “Abigail.”
Her eyes shot up to the source of the voice as she tore the earbuds from her ears. Sloan stood in front of the roaring fireplace holding a bottle of wine with one hand and two glasses in another. His dress shirt was unbuttoned showing a tantalizing amount of sculpted chest. His grin was oh-so-sexy. “You’re going to wake the kids and then you can put them back to bed,” she chided.
“Put the tablet down,” Sloan demanded.
“We break ground in Rio tomorrow,” Abbey reminded.
“I don’t care. We’ve been working too hard lately. Between the kids and the company we haven’t had enough time for each other. This morning was a distinct reminder of that. I’ve spent all day thinking of the parts of you I want to taste first. So put the tablet away and come enjoy a glass of wine with me.”
Abbey sighed as she closed her document and tossed the iPad on the end table. She found a spot on the plush rug to settle. As she reached up to accept her glass of wine, her eyes met Sloan’s ice blue ones. Instinctively, she wiggled herself until her skirt rode up to highest part of her thigh. Sloan lowered himself beside her and laid a hand on her bare leg, moaning deep in approval.