*** Houston ***
~ Book #1 ~ The Five Brothers Series
Houston and his brothers are looking for a fresh start, can they make a go of it with 'Five Brothers Security' in Queensland, Australia. Houston an ex-federal agent meets Cameron a police detective that has just transferred back into the area. The two join forces to work a difficult case. Is it possible there could be more than meets the eye, Houston is tall, dark, handsome and cursed.
Cameron is a strong independent woman, she's had to fight hard to get her detectives shield in a male dominated world. should she trust Houston to help her with the case that could make or break her career.
Available from Smashwords, Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble – Nook, Kobo and all good e-retailers.
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/435557
~ Excerpt ~
The party was in full swing outside in the backyard, she'd been cornered by Ralph the Birthday Boy for the last hour. He seemed to think that she cared about his infatuation with her best friend and housemate, Leanne. He was also working under the misguided assumption that she would help him in solidifying his hopes and dreams of hooking up with her.
Her housemate Lea was a piece of work she played the helpless damsel to any man with a protective nature. She liked to have them running in circles around her, but once she had them where she wanted them, she would kick them to the curb and set off for a new challenge.
Cameron looked at her watch as she walked through the sliding glass door. It was now going on one thirty in the morning. She needed to round up her boyfriend Ian and her Lea so she could get home and grab some shut eye before starting work at seven.
As she made her way through the large group of drunken party goers she rounded the far corner of the house and froze. There on the swing chair was Ian and Lea with their tongues down each other's throats and clothes in all manner of disarray, Ian's hands were on Lea's ass as she rode him. Spinning on the heel of her doc Martin, she stomped back through the crowded dance floor and out the side gate, slamming it shut behind her.
She was so pissed off right now she just needed to get out of there. It wasn't like she was in love with Ian. They had only been dating for six weeks. It was the principle of it. You just don't mess with your best friends’ man, the unwritten hands off rule applied. She didn't know who to be angrier at Lea or Ian.
Cameron started her car, she struggled to resist the urge to walk back in and punch them both in the face for their betrayal. That would not go well on her work record though. She knew she shouldn't have left home tonight, next time she'd listen to her gut. The thought of home made her wonder if the pair had been fooling around together prior to the party. As she left the residential area she realized she wasn't ready to go home, she didn't want to think about the possibility they'd been fucking in her apartment, or worse her bed. "Just drive," she said to herself.
She'd grown up in the area after her parents bought a property in the bayside suburbs when she was five. Surprisingly, considering all the development over the last twenty five years, some of the back roads were still surrounded by bushland. With very little in the way of lighting and houses, as most large properties were set back away from the roads. Mount Cotton Road had claimed many lives over the years, they dropped the speed limit from a hundred kilometers an hour back to eighty around ten years ago, in hopes that it would cull the stream of fatalities. Sadly it had barely halved the numbers. There were too many harsh curves in the road, and too many young ones who thought they were race car drivers, at least until the trees jumped out in front of them.
It started to drizzle, so she drove to a place she had always loved as a teen. Whenever she felt sad, she would go there to hear the soothing melody of the water hitting the rocks, and swishing around the base of the mangrove trees.
She pulled the car over to the side of the road, and smiled as her headlights hit the old park bench still cemented in its place.
She looked across the road wondering if her old primary school teacher Mrs. Davis still lived there.
Cameron sat down, looking out over the bay. The moon was almost full, its silver glow glistened on the water’s surface with a majestic allure. For the first time in ages, Cam felt like she could breathe.
She'd always liked coming here when the drama at home got to drunk. Her father returned home from service overseas, but he hadn't come home alone. He brought his demons with him. His fractured mind swiftly turned him into a bitter and twisted soul. She never knew if he drank to remember or drank to forget, an alcoholic always had a cause. He was the one reason that she chose not to drink.
It was hard to believe that most of the farmers had now sold out to housing developers, but who could really blame them. Some of the guys she had grown up with had retired rich men in their twenties and thirties there was no need for them to keep the properties working.
She couldn't afford to stay any longer with the smell of the fresh air and the lateness of the hour, she felt tired, she needed to get home. Yawning she stood and stretched making her way back to her car.
She probably shouldn't be driving when she was so tired, but she wasn't willing to sleep in her car. Besides she needed a hot shower and a change of clothes before heading into work.
As she started her car she pumped up the volume. She hoped Leanne and Ian would have the common sense to go to his place. She carried a Glock and didn't want to be tempted to use it. She turned back onto Mount Cotton Road, and headed home.
Her thoughts strayed to the case she was working on. A twenty eight year old woman had disappeared from outside her home. A taxi drivers records showed he had picked her up from a local bar, around 2:30am. She was the soul passenger, according to the taxis inboard camera. His log showed he dropped her off at 2:43am, at her home address.
The cab company had installed cameras and GPS trackers after too many of their drivers had been assaulted and or robbed.
The taxi driver then called in to say he was taking his break and was logged as being parked at an all-night-cafe, several blocks away, eliminating him as a key suspect.
As she crested the curve in the road a wallaby jumped out from the scrub, right in front of her car. She swerved to miss it, but the moisture from the rain on the roads surface had her tires aquaplaning. The car spun out three hundred and sixty degrees, crashing down the side of the roads embankment and wedging around the base of a tree. Her head hit the window shattering it and everything went black.
Houston was the leader it was his responsibility to ensure the safety of his pack. He'd thought long and hard about his decision to relocate them all to Australia. He was raised in Louisiana after the death of his mother, and had been quite settled there before the change happened. To move him and his 'pack' across the other side of the world was an enormous task.
But he and his brothers were safe now. They had managed to mesh with the people and the culture. His younger brother was still in university, but had settled in well and even found it easy to make friends. He on the other hand, liked to keep to himself, the only people he associated with other than his brothers were the clientele of Five Brothers Security, but that was business.
He'd originally flown into the country to work with the Australian Federal Police on a joint project. He'd tracked a guy they had nicknamed 'The Key', onto a flight from LA to Brisbane. He'd been instrumental in putting the evidence together to nail the bastard, who was now awaiting trial in the States. He knew he would eventually have to go back unless
they could set something up internationally. He wasn't keen to show his face back there. He had too many people out for his blood. It was bad enough that he had to worry about the two brothers he'd left behind. They were older than him and alphas in their own right, so he couldn't force them to come with them, but it didn't stop him from worrying.
He was now settled into a nice life surrounded by his five brothers, content with a job that was a lot less stressful than the life he'd left behind. He'd done his time with all the blood and guts shit, so as the head of 'Five Brothers Security', the rest of his life he'd mapped out should be a piece of cake by comparison.
They carried out security details for the rich and famous all over the country, upgrades on security systems, and installations of surveillance equipment. On rare occasions he was even asked to consult with police departments when they needed a new set of eyes or perspective.
He'd stayed up late to check in with his brothers Caleb and Channon, back in the states, when he heard the sound of a horn blaring in the distance.
A couple of his brothers, Felan and Blaez, had gone to check out a new bar that had opened up a couple of weeks earlier. He knew they were a little on edge with the full moon due the following night, so he'd let them go to blow off a little sexual tension. He probably should have gone with them, but it really wasn't his scene. It sounded like just another meat market.
The sound of the incessant horn was like an assault on his sensitive hearing and was starting to give him a headache. He sighed and sent a quick message to his brothers to let them know he'd be back shortly and left to see what the fuck was going on?
He drove down the dirt driveway in his SUV, the sound getting louder as he approached. A single head light shone through the trees, and he knew the roads reputation. When he neared the vehicle, he pulled up and took his phone out of his pocket. He punched in his brothers’ number It only rang twice before he heard Brody answer with nothing more than a growl.
"Brody, get your kit and head for the road, there's been a car accident." He hung up, and jumped out of his truck to go the rest of the distance on foot. It was down the embankment and he wouldn't get through the trees with his truck.
On foot he rushed through the trees at lightning speed, to find a woman slumped unconscious over the wheel. Through the shattered window, he carefully checked her wrist for a pulse. It wasn't safe to move her he noted the blood to the side of her head. There was also risk of a neck injury. He pulled his phone from his pocket again and called triple zero for an ambulance. His brother Brody arrived as he spoke to the operator. Brody went to work on getting into the car from the passenger side. He climbed in and threw his brother the handbag off the seat. "Check this for any identification." The space was very cramped for his size, but he managed to squeeze in. He placed his medical bag between them and took out his stethoscope. He could hear his brother as he spoke with the emergency operator.
Houston riffled through the woman's bag. His concern grew as he removed a Glock nine millimetre from the woman’s bag, freeing it from its holster. He established it was loaded, with the safety engaged. He found the woman's wallet, and opened it looking for any identification. He found her driver’s license, Cameron Dwyer age thirty-three. He made a mental note of her address.
He looked at Brody as they both registered the sound in the distance of the ambulance it would be here in less than three minutes.
After further investigation of Cameron's handbag, he pulled out a flat black leather flip case. His stomach was immediately in his throat and his heart started to race. He opened it to run his thumb over the detectives’ badge… Fuck!
Brody called out, "Her vitals are stable, we just have wait for a neck brace before we can move her. Can you go up to the road and direct the ambo's down here? I've got her covered."
Houston growled, a sudden sense of protectiveness surged to life inside him unexpectantly. Brody looked at his brother, "Are you okay?" He asked with concern in his voice. It wasn't like Houston to growl, but with that one sound Brody knew his brother had established ownership over the woman.
Brody replied quickly, "Got it." Houston needed to get up to the road and there was no time to squabble right now. He just hoped his brother knew what the fuck he was doing it seemed way out of character.
Satisfied, Houston took off for the road, waving at the ambulance as it crested the hill.
He switched the mute off on his phone, and spoke briefly to the operator informing her that the paramedics had arrived. He guided them down to the wreckage.
Brody rattled off his observations, BP 120 over 60, heart rate normal. No obstruction of breath, and a laceration to the right temporal lobe. She's stable, and we haven't tried to move her. She's unconscious and non-responsive.
One of paramedics slapped Brody on the back and said, "Thanks we got it from here, we'll let you know when we are ready to transport her, we might need a hand to get her out."
The other ambo rechecked her vitals while his partner readied the neck brace. They teamed up together to safely secure and stabilize the woman's neck. Still supporting her, they reclined the seat back and slid in a back board. Carefully they lowered her, it was precision in motion, and Brody was impressed with their skill.
They slowly started back up the embankment towards the ambulance with Houston keeping pace. The older guy asked, "Do you know her name?"
Houston replied without thinking, "Yes, her names Cameron she's my girlfriend. A police car had just arrived to make out the accident report.
He called out, "It’s down there guys, my brother Brody is there too, he can answer any questions you might have. You can get my number from him if you need any further information, I'll be at the hospital."
He didn't know why he had spun so many lies, but he knew with Brody's sensitive hearing, he would have his back, and confirm anything he'd said.
He climbed into the back of the emergency vehicle, buckled his belt and leaned over to stroke the short spiky blonde hair, of his 'supposed' girlfriend. He looked at her for the first time, the picture on her driver’s license definitely didn't do her justice. Not that they ever really did, just like the crappy passport photos, it's as if they find every flaw a person has on a bad day, and enhance them for repeated shits and giggles.
He studied her face there was something about this woman that drew his attention. She had him throwing all logical thought processes out the window. Her eyes fluttered open, and he lost what little sense he had left. Her eyes were the color of the water he'd seen in pictures of tropical islands, a mix of blue and green. Unique and beautiful, he could drown in them. "Hey, don't move baby. You've been in an accident we're on the way to the hospital. You’re going to be fine." He explained as her eyes surveyed her surroundings. "My head hurts," she said in a dry fuzzy voice. She lifted her hand towards her head before it could reach he intercepted it, encasing her hand in his. He couldn't fathom how much he liked the feel of her soft and delicate skin against his. She didn't struggle she physically relaxed as though the simple gesture soothed her. She licked her lips, as her eyes closed again. To his relief, his heightened sense of smell told him the accident wasn't alcohol related.
The driver placed the bags he'd collected from the crash, into the back and closed the doors. He knocked twice then entered the driver’s seat. He started the ambulance and with the sirens on, he headed to the nearest hospital. Bayside Memorial.
Fifteen minutes later, as the ambulance parked in the emergency bay, his phone beeped with a text message.
Quickly he opened a message from Brody.
"Don't know what it's about, but found a file under front seat, missing people’s case. I’ve bagged it for you."
He sent thanks, in response and poked his phone back in his pocket to follow his females’ gurney. He stopped abruptly mid stride, shook his head to clear that thought, what the hell?
A resident came into the cubicle, looked at the paramedic notes from in transit, and ordered a CT scan straight up. Dr. Zaniga turned to Houston, "Any chance your girlfriend could be pregnant."
Houston bit the inside of his mouth and shook his head no, "Not that I know of." His ability to smell more than the normal human nose, told him she wasn't pregnant. On closer mental inspection, he forced down a growl. He didn't want any man to touch her, except him. Shocked at the discovery of his territorial nature towards Cameron, he settled himself by acknowledging she did not carry another man’s scent.
He paced the cubicle while Cameron was in X-ray. He must be crazy. Maybe he just needed to get laid. It had been a while since he'd released any sexual frustration and the full moon tomorrow night had him wired.
Fuck! If his father wasn't already dead, he would hunt him down personally like the dog he was and kill him himself. His brothers were family but their father had been nothing more than a sperm donor. He hoped the bastard was rotting in his grave. Houston and all his brothers made certain they carried condoms. They did not want to be anything like the beast that sired them.
The phone in his pocket started to buzz. He retrieved it and checked the callers’ ID, as he walked toward the exit. He'd forgotten that he had Cameron's phone, he answered it as he strode through the exit.
"Cameron's phone," he probably should have let it go to voice mail.
"This is Senior Detective Barrows. I need to speak to Cameron." He said with urgency.
"I'm sorry sir, this is Houston Monterae. Cam can't come to the phone right now can I get her to call you back?" He knew this guy, and with the couple of times he'd had to deal with him, he'd established he didn't like him.
"Tell her I need her to meet me on scene as soon as possible. There's been another one. I'll txt through the address." The guy hung up on him, before he could respond. “Arrogant prick.”
He pulled his phone out and called Brody, "I need transport, are you done there? We need to go straight from here to a crime scene so can you round up Lupe and get him to bring me my truck?"
Brody replied from the other end, "Sure, Lupe's here with me now, the noise woke him up and he came down just after you guys left. We should be there in about fifteen. I'll buzz you when we're outside." He said, “Be looking at you soon," and hung up.
Houston walked back inside to find Cameron sitting up in bed. "Hey, welcome back. How do you feel?"
Cameron frowned, did she know this guy? He acted as though they were on a familiar basis. Obviously the knock to her head had caused some black spots in her memory. Maybe if her head stopped pounding like a bitch in heat, she might be able to think clearer.
Houston asked, "Do you remember what happened?"
She closed her eyes to see what she could remember. "I'd been at a party and was driving home when something jumped in front of the car, a wallaby I think. I tried to avoid it and lost control on the wet road. After that, I got nothing." She didn't have a car until the insurance crap was sorted. She would have to ring them later today and organize to have it towed and find out about a rental. She threw her head back against the pillow in frustration. "Ow!" Her eyes watered from the pain.
Houston raced to her side, usually he was cold, calculating, and insensitive, but he couldn't stand the thought of Cameron in pain. He held her hand and raised it to his chest as leaned down, unconsciously kissing her brow. "Shhhh, I've got you, every-thing’s going to be fine." He offered her the comfort he'd never given anyone else before. "We'll get you stitched up, and then we can get you out of here."
"You missed a call from your boss while you were in X-ray. He said he was sending through an address, there's been another woman reported missing. I have my brothers bringing my truck we'll swing by on the way home."
She still had no recollection of who he was, but he was making indications to the doctor that they were together in a togetherly way.
Cameron's head had required only a few stitches after they cleaned it of any foreign objects. She signed the release papers, noting that she had been put in the hands of Houston Monterae. The name sounded familiar but she was still pulling up blanks on the man. She was sure she would remember something he was what you'd call good looking in a rough round the edges kind of way.
He pushed the mandatory wheelchair out through the exit and met with someone he knew, they did a bro hug with the pat on the back thing and he was handed a set of keys.
He passed Cameron her handbag and opened the door of his SUV. He pulled her phone from his pocket, and asked for directions.
Cameron gave him a sideways look, as she climbed into the SUV. Houston placed his hands on her hips to help lift her in. "Hey? Hands off Texas!" She said even though she had to admit, the guys swagger was seriously sexy.
As she spun her legs into the vehicle, he moved in closer, and with a smirk, pointed out, "The names Houston, not Texas, sweet thing." He fastened her seatbelt once he was sure she was sitting properly in the passenger side. The back of his hand rested against her chest on the backside of the belt. He turned his head towards her as the buckle clicked into place. She found herself staring at his lips barely a few inches away from her. Damn he was hot. Her heart rate sped up in anticipation of his kiss. Fuck! She thought, I actually find this one attractive, she bit the inside of her cheek to stop herself from leaning closer.
He heard the second her heart rate increased, she was holding her breathe. He wrestled with good intentions, not to suck on those perfect crimson lips. He could smell her warming to him, heating his desire. He smiled, and moved away before he did something stupid, like kiss her. He rounded the front of the truck climbed in and started the engine, "Where to?"
Cameron looked at the text message she'd received, "27 North Street, Lakeside." He programmed the GPS accordingly.
They arrived on the scene within twenty minutes, after parking the car they both opened their doors simultaneously. Cameron stopped and looked over at Houston, "Where are you going? This is a police investigation, you can't just go waltzing in there." Houston's momentum didn't falter, he defiantly kept on walking like a bull at a gate. She jumped from the car, jarring her already hurting body as she landed on her feet. She slammed the trucks door, this guy was starting to get under her skin. Who did he think he was? She watched him
walk straight up to S.D. Barrows, his hand extended. Who the fuck is this guy? Her head still pounded, the hospital had only given her ibuprofen, and they sure as shit weren't working very well for her.
She approached Barrows, the prick was smiling like a Cheshire Cat. Now that's wrong on about eight levels, the bastard never smiled. Not even when he was pushing the boundaries of sexual harassment. 'What a cocksucker!' She thought to herself.
"Detective, where have you been? We've been through the crime scene, but feel free to have a look at it yourself." He said looking at Houston. "I see you brought some creditable reinforcements with you." His tone full of sarcasm as he eyeballed Houston.
"So, what's your connection to Mr. Monterae?" He demanded, his face taking on a redder hue.
Cameron looked at Houston as he stepped closer to her. Great Barrows had been trying to use his senior position to get into her nickers since she transferred into the squad. He quickly glanced back and forth between Houston and Cameron. This was about to become a pissing contest.
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