Combative Trilogy by Jay McLean

Chapter 1





I flex my fingers, watching the dried blood shift around my knuckles. I should be at home icing the shit out of them, but I’m not. Instead, I’m in a tiny room with nothing but a table and two chairs. I don’t know how the fuck I got into this mess. Actually, I do, but the asshole was talking shit and I had no choice.

That’s a lie.

There was a choice.

I made mine and I ended up here.



* * *



The door swings open, and a suit walks in—his back to me—talking heatedly with someone on the other side of the door. “I’ll handle it, Pulver,” he states before slamming the door and then… nothing. He simply stands there staring at the closed door, his head shaking. After a moment, he faces me.

The corners of my lips lift the second recognition hits but drop just as fast when he jerks his head. The action’s so slight; if I weren’t focused on him, I would’ve missed it. His gaze shifts to the camera in the corner of the room—a split-second movement—but one I understand. Rolling up the sleeves on his crisp, white shirt, the man takes the only seat available on the other side of the table. With his forearms on the table, he leans forward. “Parker.”

I smirk. “Officer.”

“Detective,” he corrects, a justified cockiness to his tone.

I don’t take the bait. Instead, I mumble, “Who’d have thought.”

His features falter but only a second before his mask is back in place. Looking down at the folder in front of him, his eyes scan the page from side to side before his gaze lifts. “Kyler Parker?” he asks, but he already knows who I am.

I nod once, giving nothing away.

His eyes fix on the cuffs digging into my wrists. After letting out a slow exhale, he leans to one side and shoves his hand in his pocket, revealing a set of keys. The second he removes the cuffs, there’s a banging on the door. His eye-roll makes me chuckle.

Another suit, a fatter one, stands at the door with his eyes narrowed. “Davis,” is all he says.

Davis stands, walks to the door and without a word, proceeds to forcefully shut it in fat-suit’s face. Once he’s settled back in his seat, he resumes his position from earlier. “You’re in a bit of a mess,” he states, pulling a picture from the folder and pushing it under my nose. “You recognize him?” My gaze drops to the picture but quickly shifts, the image making my gut twist. My nod is all Davis needs to continue. “You broke his jaw, his nose, busted a rib, and punctured his lung. You also did some heavy damage to his right eye. They don’t know if it will have full functionality again.” He raises an eyebrow. “Was it worth it?”

I clear my throat and lean forward, matching his position. I don’t say a word.

Amusement fills his eyes. “Are you mute?”

I bite my lip to stop from smiling, and the taste of my blood hits my tongue. He smirks, jerking his head toward my lips. “Does it taste like victory?”

I drop my chin to my chest and do my best to keep it together. The scraping of his chair grabs my attention. He’s on his feet now, working his way over and stopping next to me, where he takes a seat on the edge of the table. “Ky,” he starts, then pauses for what I assume is dramatic effect. “I can call you Ky, right?” He doesn’t give me a chance to answer before adding, “Here’s the thing. Witnesses say that you had to be pulled off of him, and even then you kept throwing blow after blow. The damage you did, there’s too much of it. Obviously he’s pressing charges, as is the owner of the bar you just trashed because you couldn’t control your temper.”

“Fuck you,” I murmur. It’s the first thing I’ve said since he’s walked in.

He raises his eyebrows before clearing his throat and crossing his arms. “I could just leave you here. You could go to court—do the whole trial thing. I bet you think your chances of getting let off are high: ex-combat vet suffering PTSD… all that shit. But the truth? The truth is it might’ve worked if we were talking assault, but we’re not. We’re talking attempted murder, Parker.”

I lean back in my chair and look up at him.

“I’m here to make a deal—one that you should take.” With a sigh, he drops his head before pushing off the table. Reaching into his back pocket, he pulls out a pair of handcuffs; the same ones I was wearing when he walked in. He circles them around my wrists—looser than they were before. “You have one night.” He places his business card in my hand. “An officer will tail you. I suggest you get a drink and think about taking the deal.”