The Rogue by J. R. Ward
Spike Moriarty raced down Park Avenue, legs pumping, arms swinging, black leather jacket flapping behind him in the night air. Big, in great shape and properly motivated, he was like an SUV tooling down the sidewalk. Oncoming pedestrians got out of the way.
Damn, he was late.
And this was no fifteen minute, margin-of-error kind of thing. This was a two-hour black hole of social impropriety.
Usually the rules and regulations of polite behavior werenâ€™t high on his priority list. He never went out of his way to offend people, but he wasnâ€™t in bed with Emily Post, either. But tonight was different. Two of his favorite people were getting married and this was their engagement party. He was supposed to be helping the host and giving a little speech.
Sean Oâ€™Banyon, master of ceremonies, was going to kill him. Good thing they were buddies. It might buy him a quick and easy end.
Although it wasnâ€™t as if heâ€™d been dogging it on his couch. The drive from upstate New York to Manhattan had taken twice as long as it should have on account of a fiesta of automotive trouble.
The kickoff had been an eighteen wheeler jackknifing on the Northway right in front of him. Fortunately, no one had been injured, but the semi fell over onto its side and shut down the southbound lanes entirely. Like everyone else, heâ€™d been diverted to Route 9 and had become tangled in rural traffic.
Tangled, that was, until he got nailed by an eighty-five-year-old man driving an ancient Pontiac. Then heâ€™d been stopped dead in the road. Thank God only the Honda had been hurt, but then the real fun and games had begun.
Local cops showed up. The pair of them took one look at Spikeâ€™s hair and his tattoos and ran everything but his jockey shorts through every criminal check they could find. They probably even called Interpol overseas. The two had seemed bitterly disappointed when theyâ€™d found no outstanding warrants or parole violations. And to work off the frustration at not getting to use the cuffs, theyâ€™d detained him at the side of the road for about two hours.
By the time Spike finally made it back onto a highway, he knew he could kiss off any hope of making it to the party before the speeches started. Hell, heâ€™d be lucky if he made it before folks left. After dropping a voice mail message at Seanâ€™s, heâ€™d had to resist the urge to red line the Hondaâ€™s speedometer. What stopped him was knowing that the last thing he needed was another run in with some badges.
Once heâ€™d made it to the city, heâ€™d dumped the car in a lot and started hightailing it. For the middle of May, the night was blessedly cool and clear so at least he wasnâ€™t going to look like a total mess when he arrived.
Spike glanced at a street sign. Thank God. Only a couple more blocks to go. If he made good time, he figured heâ€™d get to Seanâ€™s before Alex and Cassâ€”
The taxi came out of nowhere. One minute Spike was shooting across 71st Street, the next he was looking the grill of a yellow Chevrolet right in the teeth. Years of physical conditioning gave him the reflexes and strength to yank his six-foot-four body out of the way. But he did bounce off the car before ending up on his ass in the street………………………
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