Chapter 6

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I slammed my fist into the punching bag in the basement of the clubhouse. No one else was down here so late at night. Which was about the only time I visited the little gym. When I couldn't sleep, when things I've seen wouldn't stop haunting me. When I couldn't stop thinking about Hawk.

I kept punching the heavy bag even as sweat dripped into my eyes, adding in a few kicks between some of the punches. The bag stopped its slight swing, and I brought my arm up to wipe the sweat away from my eyes.

Hawk stood on the other side of the bag. He wore a pair of sweats hanging low on his waist. Nothing covered his chest. Which left his tattoo- a large depiction of the eagle, globe, and anchor – standing out. I wanted to reach out and touch him, so I clenched my fists inside the boxing gloves. Sweat beaded on his face, but his skin looked cold. Like he'd just come inside.

Knowing him, he'd probably been out running, despite the dropping temperatures. That never bothered him.

"What are you doing?" he asked, his breath puffing out.

"I could ask you the same thing."

"Could feel a storm rolling in. Cut my run short, and figured I'd finish it out in here. Your turn."

I shifted away. "Just couldn't sleep."

"Again? You've barely slept this whole last week, Damon. What's going on?"

Yeah. Ever since we put Brad in that stupid apartment. I don't know why that triggered the insomnia. I hadn't suffered from it much in the last few months. Someone would probably say I had PTSD from my time being deployed. The insomnia went back farther than that. It cropped up whenever Dad was being particularly harsh with me. Most people when they get depressed tend to sleep more.

Apparently, I'm the opposite.

Not, that I would admit that to Hawk. It would only make him worry more. That was the last thing I wanted. "It's nothing," I insisted. "It's not like...before." He'd know what I meant without having to say it. "I just can't sleep."

I wouldn't look back up at him as I started past, so I didn't know if he believed me or not. He grabbed my shoulder before I got by him. I stopped but kept my gaze between our feet. "Damon," he said, his voice low and husky. "Please look at me."

I knew why. It wasn't the same reason as in the old barn. He wanted to see, make sure for himself I told the truth. The problem was, I wasn't. Not completely at least. It wasn't the same as before. I wasn't staying up mulling over ways I could end my life. That stopped sometime after I got out of my father's house. I couldn't say none of that depression had come back.

"Damon."

I couldn't take what I heard in his voice. Not anymore. His eyes searched mine for what had to be at least a full minute. Finally, he relaxed slightly. "You'll tell me if it gets too bad?" I shook my head, but before I said it wouldn't, he held up a hand. "Or Bull, or Icarus, or I don't fucking care. Just talk to somebody. Don't let yourself fall back there again. Please. I don't want to get that phone call again. I don't even know how Mr. Bentley was able to get ahold of me. The thought of you-"

"I wouldn't have done it. I was just thinking. It's not something that will happen again."

His amber eyes stayed right on mine for another minute. As if he couldn't hold himself back any longer, he lunged forward, an arm going around my waist, and his lips pressing to mine.

I didn't back away from the kiss. I wasn't sure I could make myself, no matter what. I'd been avoiding him ever since that moment in the barn, and again standing outside Brad's new apartment. If I didn't have to be around him, I tried my best to stay away. I figured it was best. Now, I didn't know if I could.

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