Page 20 of First Everything

If I fail, if I fuck up even one bit, my head will be cracked open and she’ll be surrounded by predators.

“Then come on,” I say as I move my head from side to side, cracking my neck.

Steve waves the two younger guys at me first. They rush in like overconfident rookies and I step in and deliver two punishing blows. I crack the first guy in the temple with a straight right. As he falls to his knees, I spin and land a hard elbow to the second guy’s mouth. A tooth pops out and he grunts as blood sprays everywhere. A couple more quick punches and they’re both lying on the ground unconscious.

Now they’ve learned their lesson. The next wave won’t be that easy.

The two remaining guys beside Steve glance at him with uneasy looks. “You guys are welcome to leave,” I say as I stare the wannabe Scorpion down. “Except you.”

The biggest guy by the door comes stomping over, slamming his fist into his open palm. He’s not intimidated. He must be dumber than he looks.

This guy is all muscle under a layer of fat. Body shots won’t do a damn thing. I need to aim for the chin to knock him out.

I quickly glance at Mackenzie before he arrives and the sight of her frightened beautiful face fills me with a protective instinct that sends adrenaline surging through me. These guys are nothing. They’re fighting for revenge, I’m fighting for her.

Nothing is going to stop me. Not six of them, not sixty of them.

I step over the two unconscious bodies at my feet and meet the huge goon beside the pool. He throws a slow sloppy roundhouse and I easily duck under it and land two shots on his round stomach. As I suspected, they do nothing. His thick layer of fat absorbs the punches easily.

I pop back up as he overextends with his roundhouse and hit him with a devastating uppercut. I hear a crunch, but then land a vicious combination on him that has him staggering and stumbling backward. I kick the inside of his thigh and then spin and crack him with the back of my fist. It’s enough to knock him down and he falls to the side and lands in the pool.

The splash sends water flying all over me as I walk toward Steve.

“I’m out!” one of the guys behind him says as he runs for his bike. The second guy flees too and they both take off back down the driveway toward the main road.

Steve is all on his own. He pulls out a six-inch knife and starts waving it around as his eyes widen in panic. He doesn’t stand a chance and he knows it.

“Get back!” he shouts as he swings it wildly.

Mackenzie’s mother screams and I realize that I have to end this now. My girl and her parents are scared. It’s time to put this guy out of our lives for good.

I watch his eyes, trying to time the swing of his blade. When he swings it back, I step in and grab his wrist. He tries to free his hand, but I slam my elbow into his nose, knocking his head back. It opens a cut on the top of his nose and blood begins to leak down.

He hits me twice in the jaw with two quick punches and then we’re wrestling around, each trying to control the knife.

I can hear Mackenzie screaming in panic, but the sound just drives me on. It gives me the strength I need to overpower him. I pin him to the ground and pry the knife out of his hand. He grunts then whimpers as I hold the blade to his throat.

“I should kill you,” I hiss only loud enough for him to hear.

“No!” he gasps as his eyes fly open.

“You were going to do what to my girl after you split my head open?”

“Nothing!” he says in a panic. “It was the adrenaline talking! I wasn’t going to do anything.”

“Mackenzie!” I shout to her. “Go inside with your parents.”

I don’t want them to see this part.

The three of them dart into the house as I squeeze the blade, wondering what to do. I can’t leave this man alive after he threatened my girl. Even if there was a one percent chance that he was telling the truth—that he was willing to hurt her—I can’t take that chance. I have to end him. Even if it’s cold-blooded murder.

“I won’t touch her,” he pleads. “I swear!”

I’m about to end him when big strong wet hands grab me from behind. Oh, fuck! I was so excited to get Steve that I forgot about the huge guy in the pool. He picks me up and slams me into the cement ground.

“Ompf,” I grunt as my bones crunch. He kicks me in the ribs and then grabs a fistful of my hair and lifts me up.

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