Hard Run

Hard Run

by Sheryl Nantus

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Overview

Hard Run by Sheryl Nantus

When Skye Harris shows up on the Devil's Playground's doorstep asking the Brotherhood for help with a gang taking over her hometown, it's time for Finn Storm to step up. The bikers might be tough but he's tougher - and armed with Brotherhood tech and a warrior's heart he's going to get the job done, no matter what or who stands in his way.


The one weak spot in his plan is in his heart--Skye gets under his skin like no other woman has and she's not going to let him take all the danger on his shoulders alone. But when she's caught in the crossfire Finn has to decide whether to follow his heart or his carefully crafted plan to not only clean up the town but heal his soul.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781974557332
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 08/15/2017
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.63(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Skye Harris turned off her car's engine and sat, listening to the thumping beat emanating from the nearby nightclub.

The Devil's Playground.

Her stomach churned with nervous energy as she stared at the line of people waiting to get in, streaming down around the block.

She didn't want to be here.

She should be at the hospital, holding Robby's hand.

But something had to be done, and she'd be damned if she'd wait a minute longer.

Skye checked her reflection in the rearview mirror. The dark circles under her eyes made her wince. The last week had leeched most of the color out of her face, and she ached all over, as if she'd been running a marathon non-stop.

The only real answer to her problem was inside this building.

She took a deep breath and got out of the car. It was another hot night, the dry air sucking the moisture from her throat as she took her place in line. Around her people laughed and joked, taking selfies and chatting about the band, the nightclub, the wonderful time they were about to have. The men wore dark shirts and slacks. The women toyed with their barely- there dresses and whispered to each other as they sized up the men.

Skye pressed her lips together tightly, holding back her comments. She wasn't here for any of this, and if there were another option, she would have taken it.

But there wasn't. And as the line moved forward, she bit the inside of her cheek and kept quiet.

All she could think about was a frail, thin body lying in a hospital bed, battered almost beyond recognition.

For you, Robby.

I'm going to kill a man for you.

*
Finn Storm leaned on the railing and looked down on the dance floor. The nightclub was jumping tonight with a live band on the stage jamming some great tunes for the capacity crowd. He tapped his foot to the beat, enjoying the energy swirling around him.

"Finn." The comm link in his ear crackled to life; his boss Dylan's voice came through loud and clear. "Stop grinning like a hyena and get your ass over to the bar. Faith just called in. Someone's there with a card."

Finn made his way to the long bar that ran the length of the ground floor. The crowd parted before him, instinctively picking up on the black T-shirt and jeans that marked him as a club employee.

He edged up to the bar next to a pair of eager young women, barely legal drinking age.

One looked him over and licked her lips before glancing at the dance floor.

He shook his head, gently turning her down.

Faith, the bartender, eyed him as he leaned on the varnished wood. "Boss send you over?"

Finn nudged his thumb up toward the office. "You know it. What do you have?"

"A headache, and I'm a waiter down. Mark called in and quit, the latest casualty of my bad luck at keeping staff," she replied. "But that's my problem. Yours is the woman at the far end of the bar sipping on her club soda. She flashed a card, so I called it in. Good luck." Faith gave him a nod and moved away.

Finn scanned the bar and spotted the subject in question.

He let out a curse under his breath. If he hadn't been busy daydreaming, he would have spotted her before Dylan.

The woman was out of place, almost painfully so. A bobbed cut kept her black hair up off the collar of her white silk blouse. In another time and place, he'd have offered to buy her a drink and find out what she was all about.

She glanced toward the stage then away, wincing as another round of hard bass notes shook the air around them. Her eyes were dark and sad, her lips pressed into a tight line as she gripped her drink like she was drowning and the glass her life preserver.

Her discomfort was evident. She didn't want to be there. It was enough to keep the space around her clear of suitors, the men giving her a quick glance before heading away, seeking more fertile ground.

The embossed business card lay face down on the bar, soaking up some of the condensation from her drink. To others it might seem like a leftover from a prospective lover, but to Finn it was a beacon screaming for help.

Help only the Brotherhood could give.

*
The club soda tickled Skye's nose, the bubbles almost making her sneeze.

It wasn't that she didn't drink — on the right day she could drink with the best of them. But it didn't seem wise to order anything alcoholic given the situation.

Skye studied her watch and frowned.

This isn't going to work.

Five more minutes and she'd leave, write the evening off as a crazy idea. If she hustled, she might be able to get back to the hospital before Pat went off shift.

"Hi."

A hand fell on her forearm, and Skye froze, the soft touch holding her in place. She closed her eyes for a second before turning to face the man, readying herself.

"I'm Finn." The words washed over her like a cool wave, wiping away her exhaustion and nervousness.

Her mind went blank.

It was hard to corral her thoughts as she took in Finn's handsome features. A black T-shirt stretched tight over his broad chest, and on his left, a crescent-shaped scar at his jawline marred his almost-perfect smile. His short black hair was almost too short, the military-style haircut keeping it neat and tidy.

"I hear you've got something to show me." He smiled — a friendly, calming smile in contrast to the hungry grins she'd seen on the other men around her. "A card."

"I ..." She fumbled for the words she needed.

Now or never.

She wanted to flee, to run out of the nightclub and never look back.

Robby.

Skye turned over the card and showed it to Finn. There were no words, just an image of two hands clasped in a handshake.

"Can you help me?" she asked. "I need to know right away — I don't have the time to waste. Can you help or not?"

His expression changed in a flash. Gone was the helpful, generic grin she'd seen for the first few seconds. Now his jaw tightened, the muscles on his arms tensing as if ready for a fight.

He looked at her and nodded as he pocketed the card. "Yes. I'm very sure that we can. Please come with me."

*
Finn maneuvered the woman through the crowd, bringing her to the back of the club, where the private elevators were. A nod to one of the security men and they were inside, going up the two levels to Dylan's office. Somewhere along the line, she'd tucked her arm into his, using him as a shield against the human traffic. He didn't mind.

Finn studied her as the elevator moved.

She was beautiful without the need for a lot of makeup. He liked that. It was a welcome change from most of the women at the club.

He noticed there was no wedding band on the hand that gripped him more tightly with each second.

"Hey," Finn whispered. "It's going to be okay."

She gave him a small smile. "I'm just nervous. I've never done anything like this before."

"It's everyone's first time when they come here. Don't worry." The elevator slowed and settled on the top floor. A few seconds later, the doors opened, and he led her down the hall. "You're safe here. Dylan'll take care of you."

They stopped in front of the office door, and her fingers dug into his skin. Finn knocked with his free hand.

"Come in."

He opened the door and walked through, her vice-like grip on his arm showing no signs of letting up.

It was obvious he wasn't going anywhere.

*
Skye wasn't sure what she thought would happen. Maybe she'd be hustled into a car with tinted windows and a hood over her head as they whisked her to a secret location. Or perhaps they'd spirit her off to a sketchy warehouse on the outskirts of town, filled with men in black practicing martial arts.

She didn't expect to be in an office overlooking one of the hottest dance floors in Las Vegas.

A man stood behind a large wooden desk, smiling as they approached. He wore the same unofficial uniform as Finn, the dark shirt tight on his broad shoulders and arms. His brown hair was cut short, too, adding to the military look he shared with Finn.

He leaned forward, pressing his fingertips on the slick desktop.

"I'm Dylan McCourt." He nodded to the woman by his side. "Jessie Lyon." He motioned at the chair. "Please, sit down."

Skye released Finn's arm and sat, drawing a deep breath to steady herself.

She had a mission, and she was bound and determined to see it through to the end.

Finn pulled the business card out of his pocket and placed it on the desk before moving away to lean against the wall, his arms crossed. She'd left small crimson indents on his skin with her nails. But he hadn't flinched, hadn't pulled away from her.

Dylan glanced at Finn, arching one eyebrow in a silent question.

Skye frowned, wondering what she was missing.

"Are you thirsty?" Jessie asked, drawing Skye's attention away from the interaction between the two men. "A bottle of cold water, maybe?"

"No, thank you. I had plenty of club soda downstairs." She divided her attention between Finn and Dylan, finally settling her focus on Dylan. "I'm sorry, I don't have time to chat. I need to know if you can help me, and I need to know as soon as possible."

Dylan seated himself. Jessie did as well, taking the chair in the corner.

Finn remained standing to her right side, just at the edge of her vision.

"Okay, then." Dylan picked up the card. "What's your problem?"

The carefully prepared speech she'd been rehearsing for hours on the drive in escaped her.

She glanced at Jessie.

The blonde gave her a friendly, kind smile. "It's okay. Take your time. Let's start at the beginning. Tell us who you are and how you got here." She gestured at the card, still in Dylan's strong hand. "Tell us how you got that."

Skye pushed her thoughts back together in a jumbled mess, forcing herself to speak before she lost the nerve.

"My name is Skye Harris."

That was the easy part.

"I work at ... Well, I work. I've got a lot of jobs. I clean offices, I wait tables, I work the cash register and stock shelves. Whatever pays the rent. I live in Whistling Willows, about an hour's drive from here."

Her voice grew stronger as she continued. "We're in a sweet spot just off I-15, almost halfway between Vegas and Los Angeles. Lots of commuter traffic. Lots of drugs as of late. A motorcycle gang came in about a year ago and started causing trouble." She curled her hands into fists, feeling anger begin to rush up. "Heroin."

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Finn shifting positions. His smile settled into a tight line, lips pressed together.

Dylan didn't react. He held up the waterlogged card.

"Where did you get this from?" he asked.

"I got the card from one of the nurses working on the hospital ward. Pat. She helped me settle in with Robby, listened to me tell her what I wanted to do. She told me to take this card, come here and tell you my story. Pat said you'd help me."

She watched the glances between Dylan and Finn, acknowledging her mysterious benefactor.

Dylan nodded. "What do you think we can do for you?"

"I want your help to push the gang out of town, get them to stop selling heroin. I want your help to get Mick Smith alone, without his thugs standing around protecting him." She drew in a deep breath, channeling her rage into words. "They call him the Wolf, and they say he can't be killed. That what the Wolf wants, the Wolf gets. I want to prove they're wrong. I don't want him to get another day of life." A snarl broke free, her anger spilling out along with the last of her energy. "I want to see him die."

Silence hung in the air for a minute, the only sound coming from the live band beneath them.

Dylan leaned back in his chair, frowning. "I'm not sure what you were told, but we don't condone or assist in cold-blooded murder," he said. "We won't help you kill a man. Even if he's drug-dealing scum like Mick Smith."

Blood roared in her ears, and her eyes were suddenly too heavy to keep open. "Then I'm going to ..." She swallowed hard, the words clogging her throat. "I just ..." She closed her eyes.

"Damn." She heard Jessie's voice coming down a long, dark tunnel. Skye reached out, flailing for support. Her hand grabbed something as the dizziness overwhelmed her, pulling her into the black.

CHAPTER 2

"Well, that was interesting," Dylan said to Finn as they studied Skye, her petite form now stretched out on the sofa. "Good catch. Sure didn't see that coming."

"Woman knows what she wants, that's for sure." Finn shook his head. "There's a hell of a backstory there."

"We'll get it when she wakes up." Dylan glanced at Jessie, now seated beside the recovering woman, dabbing at her forehead with a damp cloth. "Got to be a reason behind this. She doesn't look like the sort to suddenly up and decide to kill a man without cause."

"Who's Pat?" Jessie asked.

"We helped her parents a few years ago. She had our card, and she gave it to Skye. She wouldn't do that if she didn't believe we could help in some way." He looked upward. "Trey, give me a biography of Skye Harris and whatever you have on the drug issues in Whispering Willows. I need it in an hour."

Finn didn't bother looking at the tiny surveillance camera set in the upper corner of the room. Trey Pierce, their local tech genius, was on the job. The man had mad skills when it came to computers, and he'd get the data through his sources, legal and otherwise.

Finn's attention flashed back to the woman stretched out on the sofa. Her eyes fluttered open, and she slowly lifted her right hand to the wet cloth covering her forehead.

"Take it easy," Jessie said. "You gave us a bit of a scare."

Skye blinked rapidly for a few seconds as her eyes focused on the two men hovering nearby. She turned her head and stared at Jessie.

"What happened?" she asked.

"You fainted." Jessie patted her arm. "We brought you over to the couch here. You were swaying and couldn't walk. When was the last time you ate?"

Skye's forehead furrowed with thought. "I went to the hospital this morning and ..."

"I thought so." Jessie looked at Dylan. "Get the kitchen to send up a burger and fries. Make it a double order. I could use some food myself."

Dylan grunted in response and picked up the phone.

"I'm sorry." Skye sighed. "I have to go, I have to get back ..." Her voice trailed off again as she closed her eyes.

"You're not going anywhere until you eat." Jessie wiped her forehead again with the damp cloth. "You're no good to anyone in this condition." Her tone left no room for discussion.

Finn hovered over her. "If you don't mind me asking, why are you so fixed on killing this man?" He shook his head. "I can understand you're upset about them dealing drugs in your hometown, but there's a hell of a difference between sending them to jail and killing the gang leader."

She opened her eyes and forced herself up into a sitting position, aided by Jessie. "Because my brother decided to be stupid and work for those monsters. He's in a hospital room right now, fighting for his life, trying to flush the drugs out of his system. I want the Wolf dead for that."

Finn's mouth went dry. This wasn't a general call to save her town. This was vengeance aimed at one man.

He understood that urge, that desperate hole inside a person's soul crying out to be filled with blood.

Someone else's blood.

"Your brother?" He managed to force the words out.

"Yes." Skye swallowed hard. "He's all I have. He graduated Las Vegas University last year. He's been sending his resume out and working odd jobs on the side, waiting for an offer." She scrubbed her face with both palms. "Once he found a good job, we would have been out of the red and we'd have been fine. Maybe I'd even have enough breathing room to go back to college, finish my business degree."

Dylan glanced at the camera, most likely adding the news onto Trey's plate.

"Then out of the blue, he tells me he's picked up a temp job driving a car from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, so he's going to be out of town for a few days. All I can do is tell him to be careful, and he gives me that smile before he leaves." She made a choking sound, tearing at Finn's heart.

"I wasn't worried when I didn't hear from him for a day, then two. Figured he's busy trying to hustle a ride back, maybe looking for some local work. Then a week ago, I got a phone call from the hospital. Someone found Robby behind a dumpster at the edge of town, beaten up, with a damned needle in his arm. Thank God he still had his wallet on him — I'm listed as his emergency contact. By the time I got to the hospital, they'd diagnosed a heroin overdose and started treatment. The cop who took the report looked me straight in the face and told me he must have gotten into a fight with another junkie and shot up right after."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Hard Run"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Sheryl Nantus.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Hard Run 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
Hard Run is the second story in Sheryl Nantus's Delta Force Brotherhood romantic suspense series. The men in the brotherhood share the common mission of going in to help others where regular law enforcement stays away. They run a nightclub in Las Vegas, The Devil's Playground, as cover for their real missions. The first story in the standalone series, Hard Play, saw an ex-cop tangle with a crime boss and the brotherhood's leader, Dylan, helping in her rescue (and falling for her along the way). In this story, the drug trade is front and center in a small town with a woman determined to get rid of the motorcycle gang responsible, one way or another. Skye Harris's brother Robbie has made some mistakes in his life, but an unwitting stint as a drug mule ended with him hospitalized and in a coma. She wants revenge, and through a friend she hears about the brotherhood and approaches them to help her kill the man responsible for her brother's injuries. The brotherhood isn't in the assassination game, and refuse her request, but offer her something better – the chance to get rid of the gang ruining her town. And Finn Storm is just the man to do it. Finn's ready to go undercover on this latest mission, armed with the latest technology to gather the evidence needed to disrupt the gang's activities. He's got personal reasons for wanting to see a key drug point man behind bars. His mother died of a drug overdose from a prescription drug addiction that went too far, and he wants nothing more then to see men responsible for these kind of crimes pay their dues. But he also knows that the desire for revenge can eat someone from the inside out, and doesn't want Skye to live with that feeling. His admiration for Skye does nothing to temper the growing sexual attraction between them. In close proximity and after the same goal, it's not long before they succumb to their feelings in some sexy love scenes. But with the danger around them increasing, will they live long enough to pursue a real relationship? I really enjoyed this story! The pacing is well done and kept me interested from start to finish – in fact, I had trouble putting it down! Skye's dedication to her brother is clear from the very start. They lost their parents when they were younger and she's been taking care of him since. She'd never finished her own college degree to ensure her brother could finish his, and works a few different jobs to keep them afloat. She's a strong, independent woman and not used to being able to lean on anyone, so Finn's presence is something she appreciates but is wary of becoming used to. For Finn, who is not used to letting someone in, sharing time and conversation and intimate moments with Skye leads to deeper feelings. But at the same time he's doesn't feel he has anything to offer her long term. They both fight a losing battle when it comes to keeping their hearts intact. The plot heats up as Finn's undercover work leads to some suspense filled scenes. Things work out in the end (whew!) and Finn and Skye get their happy ending, but not without some last minute challenges. Hard Run is an intense, sexy, and action packed read!
MarikaTX More than 1 year ago
OMG! This book. Finn. Skye. Suspense. Romance. The unknown. A brotherhood of ex-military heroes that fight the good fight. Yes, this book has it all for me. I will admit that I didn’t read Dylan and Jessie’s book but trust me, everything is explained in the beginning. However, I’m intrigued by their story so I bought the other book. The biggest impression that the book left me was how strong Skye was. Typically in romantic suspense, the heroine needs to be saved some how but not our Skye. I felt her anger and frustration when it came to the gang and especially its leader. I loved how one of the gang member’s, Jake played in the story. In the end, though, I didn’t feel sorry for him. Robby, Skye’s brother, is a major character (in some ways) and I liked how he progressed in the story. The ending with kinda broke my heart but I understood why he did it. The romance between Finn and Skye is believable. It could have been instalove, which I hate, but in the end, it was sweet. Neither one of them was looking for it and it just kinda snuck up on them. In my opinion, Finn had the most to achieve in that department. He wasn’t cut off from relationships but he felt like his job would get in the way. Skye, on the other hand, loved him with her whole heart and near the end of the book, I wondered how she was going to just leave her heart with Finn and move on. For a suspense book, there isn’t that much action until the very end. Ms. Nantus does an awesome job with the scenes in the diner. Plus, we get the final showdown with the gang leader. Ouch! Skye proved her mantle with me and I will say that she is one of the strongest heroines in romantic suspense that I’ve read in a long time. Do yourself a favor and read this book. It’s emotional, at times gritty with a great romance between two realistic characters that you will love in the end. I feel that Trey’s book is next but I could be wrong. Loved him.
Judy_Miracle More than 1 year ago
I'm loving the Brotherhood Series by Sheryl Nantus. This is my first series by her and I know I will continue to read them, action, adventure, romance, and suspense all rolled into one. Hard Run not only has you sucked in from the first few pages, it will keep you engrossed page after page. Sherly gives us a kick ass heroine Skye. She's hard working, independent, has put her dreams aside to raise her younger brother. But in doing so they have racked up debt and her brother decides for once he's going to do something to try and help his sister out for all that she has sacrificed. But one wrong job lands him in the hospital and Skye at the doorstep of The Brotherhood. Finn is no stranger to drugs, gangs and the likes of them. But when he sees Skye, there is an immediate attraction that goes deeper than just helping her. He wants to protect her. Right now she's a job and he must keep that in mind as the days and weeks go by. Can he keep his heart out of it when all is said and done or will Skye be taking his heart with her? Hard Run will have you on the edge of your seat, it's action packed, emotional, romantic, and gives enough shocking moments to have you gasping and holding your breath right along with the characters in the story. Can't wait to see where Sheryl takes the rest of these characters... I need Trey's story!! Romantic Suspense at its best with the Brotherhood Series!!
Lorizen More than 1 year ago
Holy nuts Finn!!! The brotherhood is quickly heating up and Finn reeled me in hook, line and sinker. Her brother in a coma, beaten and body full of uncut heroin, she needs help. She's given a card to the brotherhood. She comes to them as a last resort. She wants blood from the leader of the MC that's taken over her tiny town and is to blame for her brothers current state. Logan who is the head of the brotherhood gives this job to Finn. Finn's got his own demons to wrestle with this, add to that he's taken with Skye. They men are worried Skye is a loose cannon and make clear to her that she cannot kill the leader of the MC. Delta Force doesn't kill for sport. They served together in the military and they've been there. Killing is last resort for them. This story is tightly woven, the plot twists and turns and I loved Skye and Finn. This story for me lost steam at one point but then cranked right back up again and went full throttle. You'll meet characters from book one in here as well as new characters. Looking forward to book three. **arc from NetGalley and Entangled in exchange for a fair review**
ytcruz More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book not knowing anything about the author or the series. While others will give you the synopsis, I will give you my thoughts on the book/ I found it to be entertaining , interesting, and with a good plot. The stories of Skye , her brother Robby, Finn, and the Brotherhood kept the story moving along. As much I enjoyed reading the book, I did find that at times it moved very slowly and could have been 50 pages shorter without any effect on the plot. Also, some of the dialogue of the characters at times seemed a adolescent and not words spoken by an adult. Due to that it is a 3 rating. But, it kept my interest and it’s obvious that Ms Nantus is a very talented author. I was gifted this copy by Netgalley. the opinions expressed are solely my own.