When an Irresistible Force, a loner paramedic, meets an Immovable Object, a feisty bar owner, sparks will fly.
Just re-opened a few weeks ago, and these idiots had to go and start a damn brawl. Standing at the door leading up to her apartment, Laz took stock of the damage being done to her bar.
A full year of working with interior designers to bring a medieval castle room to life in a modern city, and pieces of all that time and hard work invested in looking for just the right décor was being destroyed.
Of the, what had to be two hundred customers in the main bar, at least a dozen were tossing around bodies, tables and the weapons that used to be hanging on her walls.
Laz turned on her TC4 headset, “Glenn!” The bouncer at the door looked around. “You and Danny clear the fight by the stage.” The big redhead nodded, grabbed his partner and started toward the stage.
“Rick, David, go help Glenn and Danny.” The pair of bouncers nodded and waded into the melee. “I have no idea why you guys had to wait for me to break this up.”
“Boss, it just—“
“Rick, I don’t want to hear it. I want this fight stopped, and I want it stopped now.”
“Damn it… now I’ll have to close up for repairs. Again.”
“Glenn, not right now; you can brief me when we get control of this chaos.” She looked over at the other end of the bar. “Luke, call the police and an ambulance. We already have wounded on the ground.”
Her headset activated, “Done as soon as I saw blood hit the floor. Paramedics should be here in about five.”
Laz waded through the customers to the pair fighting by the bar. She kicked the big blonde’s knee out from under him and punched him in the jaw as he was falling. He was not getting up for a while. Her next target started backing away. “Take one more step and I’ll put you down faster than your dance partner, Reece.”
The tall biker stopped dead in his tracks. Laz picked up a chair off the floor and stood it up in front of the bar. “Sit, and don’t move until I give you leave to.”
“Yes, ma’am.” She raised her eyebrow at his sudden complacency and headed toward the big fight in front of the stage, squeezing past the gawkers.
At the edge of the fight, Drake Malhoune, started to get up off the floor, but she stepped down on his unwounded shoulder with her spike-heeled boot. “Move again, Drake, and I’ll knock you out. I don’t want you bleeding out on my new hard wood floor; the paperwork would be a bitch.”
“It’s just a flesh wound.”
“Dude, you have one of my display swords sticking though your shoulder. You want me to pull it out, pour gunpowder into the wound and light it to seal it shut, ya know, just to make sure?” She gave him what she figured was a hopeful look.
“Aww, come on Drake, ever since I saw that on a western, I’ve wanted to try it, but never had the opportunity…‘til now.”
“And you still don’t!”
“Don’t be such a chicken shit.”
Laz watched her bouncers systematically restrain the customers involved in the fight, “No one’s ever proven that.” she said absently. She looked over her shoulder and spoke into her headset, “Hey Luke,” The huge man looked over at her with a questioning look. “Where’s that black powder I use to load my navy revolver?”
“Store room… I think. You want me to go get it?”
“Please? Drake’s going to let me experiment.”
Luke just laughed.
Drake grabbed her ankle and started to lift her foot off of his shoulder. She looked down at him, “You’re moving.”
Drake froze. “You are not going to touch me with gunpowder and fire!”
“Only if you keep moving, and you don’t have to be conscious when I do it.” She focused on his eyes intently.
“What are you doing?”
Laz looked up. Tall, really tall, hot blonde…in a paramedic’s uniform.
Drake started trying to wiggle out from under her foot, so she pressed down harder. “Stay.”
Drake looked up at the newcomer, “Hey man, get this crazy woman off of me!”
She looked down at the panicking man, “If you don’t stop calling me names, I’m going to get angry.” Then she growled, “You don’t want me angry when you’re down and helpless. “
“You are not recreating some stupid scene in a western on me!”
Tall, blonde and studly interrupted her response. “That would never work; the powder gets wet with blood and won’t ignite.”
“Really? Well, since I don’t know you, I can’t simply take your word for it. I’d like to see for myself.”
“Let’s take care of one part of your concerns,” He held out his hand, “Iain Hawthorne.”
She took it, “Laz. Nik Lazarev.”
“You know, you really can’t experiment on one of your customers.”
She let go of his hand, “Why not?”
“Without his consent, experimenting on him is illegal.”
She looked down at Drake questioningly, “No fucking way!”
She sighed and looked back up at Iain, “You sure I can’t try the gunpowder thing? You can look the other way and I can knock him out; he’d never know a thing…‘til later.” Drake tried to get away again. “You’re moving,” she said as she dug in her heel a little more.
“So, are you going to let me take a look at your prisoner?”
Laz studied Drake like a bug under a microscope for a minute, “You just had to go and ruin my fun.” She stepped back and let the paramedic do his job.
“Nikolaos!” came from across the room. She quietly growled and slowly turned toward her next victim.
His patient looked at him incredulously. “Wow? What’s wow?”
Kneeling beside the impaled man, Iain started looking at the wound.
“She’s something else.”
He’d been in The Keep a few times before with the guys. The bar owner had caught everyone’s eye in his group and there was a running bet on who, if anyone, would be able to land the small, attractive blonde. So far, no joy. Laz had a talent for maneuvering a conversation to where no one got a chance to even hint at asking her out.
“She’s fucking nuts!”
“She said that’s never been proven.” Iain smiled, and stabilized the sword sticking out of his patient’s shoulder.
“So Drake, in trouble again I see.”
His patient looked up. “Luke, you have to do something about her, she’s unstable.”
The whip-thin, scarred man just laughed. “She’s not unstable, just a bit rough around the edges.”
“Rough around the edges?” Drake snorted. “She’s fucking crazy.”
“For everything that woman’s been through, including the crap with you and your crew, she’s fine.”
Drake snorted, “Yeah, right.”
Iain watched Laz’s retreating figure close in on the officer across the room. “Is she seeing anyone?”
“What!” Drake screeched.
“What? She’s hot.”
“She may be hot, but she’s scary.”
Iain looked down at the prone man. “Commanding and confident, I’d say.”
“Boy, you couldn’t handle Laz.”
Iain looked up at Luke and smiled, “Oh, I think I could. She’s just a little thing.”
Luke and Drake laughed, hard. Maybe this wouldn’t be as easy as he first thought…
“How old are you, son?” Luke arched his eyebrow in question.
“Laz dates younger, occasionally, when she actually bothers to date, but not as young as you are.”
“She’s, what, Thirty, thirty-one?”
“Try adding ten years to that.”
“Hmm, she looks younger.”
“Yeah,” Luke smirked, “she keeps on saying it’s due to clean living and kicking the shit out of—or killing—what bothers her.”
He thought for a moment, “So, is she seeing anyone right now?”
Luke just shook his head, “No, she’s not seeing anyone.” Luke cocked his head to the side and activated his mic, “Yeah, Laz, be right there.”
“Need to go,” Luke turned and started walking away but stopped and turned back to face him. “Look, you seem like a nice, decent guy, but too stubborn for your own good… Laz doesn’t do relationships. She really doesn’t date either. She may pick up what interests her at the time if she, quote: has an itch, then chews them up and spits them out. This process takes maybe seeing them once or twice, tops, and those poor boys always keep wanting more. When she says she’s done with the guy she’s done; walks away without another thought and they never get another chance with her. She’s a loner, and likes it that way. Men trying to get her into bed are an irritation, an inconvenience to be ignored or beaten into the ground if they bother her enough.” He paused, “Just a friendly warning.” Luke turned back toward his boss and started walking.
“How many times do I have to tell you to stop calling me by my full name? It pisses me off.”
Detective Martin Gregory just looked at her and smiled. “I know.”
She growled, “And yet I allow you to continue breathing.”
Martin snickered, “Like you have a choice. Candice would make your life a living hell if you tried anything.”
“Yeah, those pesky best friends that say I can’t torture and kill their lovers when they annoy me are a pain.”
“Aw, come on, you know you’d never do it, even if you could get away with it. You love me.”
“And you’re damned lucky I do,” she sighed, “but it’s such a nice fantasy.”
Martin laughed then pulled out his notebook. “What happened?”
“Damned if I know. I came downstairs to work for a bit and opened the door to all Hell breaking loose. You’ll have to ask Luke how this mess started, and I want to be there when you do.”
“Anyone going to be suing you for assault and battery?”
“Nah, not this time.” She knew the smile that appeared on her face had an evil cast to it.
Martin just raised an eyebrow.
“Really, all I did was stop one fight…well, if Dillon remembers me taking him out, he may make some noise, but he knows I’ll ban him from here. He won’t say a word if he wants to continue hanging out here. And Drake… I just stopped him from moving around since he had a sword sticking out of him.” Another evil little smile stole across her face, “I was just playing with him.” She couldn’t help but laugh.
Martin sent her a questioning look.
“You should have seen his eyes bug out when I tried to talk him into letting me put gunpowder in his wound and lighting it up. The look on his face was priceless.”
“You keep saying things like that and people are going to believe you’re serious…”
“If he’d have let me do it, I would have.” She frowned, “Apparently without consent, I’m not allowed to try it.” Laz watched the look of disbelief appear on the face of a cop who’d become a good friend over the years. “Oh come on Mar, you would have been at least tempted too.”
Nik glared at him.
“Fine, yeah, I’d have thought about doing it.” Martin cleared his throat. “I need to start the interviews, see if we can’t get to the bottom of what happened here tonight.”