Hard to Fight Page 1

Author: Bella Jewel

Series: Alpha's Heart #1

Genres: Romance , New Adult

Prologue

My boots crunch on the rocks as I slink down a deserted alleyway. It’s dark; it smells of stale urine and garbage, the sound of water dripping is the only sound that can be heard in the eerie silence. Even through that, I know he’s here. He heard me call. I listen to the loud, thumping sounds of his feet scurrying across the not-so-quiet gravel. He wants me to walk in here, into the darkest parts of the alley. I’m not that stupid.

I suck in a breath of air and use my loudest voice to call, “You come out, or I’ll make you come out. It’s your choice.”

Silence.

“I have a gun, or a Taser, if you'd prefer.”

The sounds of shifting feet.

“One.”

A footstep.

“Two.”

Another footstep.

“Three.”

“Please, missy,” he cries, leaping out of the darkness and throwing his wrinkled hands in the air. He’s not wearing any pants, just a pair of old, ragged underwear that have seen better days. I’ll never be able to scrub that image from my mind. His stark white legs tremble as his eyes dart about the empty space.

I take a moment to truly stare at him. Good lord. I actually feel sorry for this one. It’s quite clear he has very little mental capacity and isn’t really a threat to anyone, except for maybe himself. To say I’m wasting good time bringing him in would be an understatement. I take a step forward, the old man’s eyes narrow and he continues to wave his hands about, as if making it clear that he doesn’t want me to come closer.

He doesn’t get a choice.

“I have to take you in, Cole,” I say in a steady voice.

“My name isn’t Cole,” he tries, jerking his chin out.

My eyes drop to his shirt, where his name is clearly stitched on. “It’s on your shirt,” I say, fighting back a smile as I lift my gaze back to him.

“Found this, I did,” he nods, as if his story is going to be completely believable. “It’s not mine.”

“Cole,” I say, calmly. “I’ve read your profile and seen your picture. I know it’s you. Now, you can come with me quietly or I can use force, please don’t make me use force because I got my nails done yesterday and I really, really don’t want to ruin them.”

He crosses his arms defiantly, and his wispy white hair blows about in the breeze. He narrows his ice blue eyes and studies me. “You’re a girl.”

He says it as though he has only just figured out this little nugget of information.

“Well done for that observation,” I congratulate him sarcastically, crossing my arms.

“No girl is a Bounty Hunter.”

I snort, taking a finger and jabbing it to my chest. “This girl is.”

He stares at me again, and then a smile spreads across his face, revealing a mouth containing no teeth. It’s not a wonder the man whistles when he speaks. Yuck. I watch in fascination as his eyes flick to the thick trees over on our left, and then to the old brick building to our right and he yells, “You can come out now.”

I blink and stare around, wondering if this old man has lost his marbles because I have no idea who he is talking to.

“Cole,” I begin, but he cuts me off by jerking his hand up.

“This isn’t funny,” he calls. “You nearly got me, too.”

Great, the old man is a nut case.

“Cole,” I try again.

“Lady,” he hisses. “Don’t ruin this moment for me.”

Moment? What moment?

Crossing my arms, I warn, “I’m going to go ahead and give you thirty seconds before I take you down and cuff you.”

He waves a hand again. “Shh, you’re ruining my moment.”

“What moment?” I cry, throwing my arms up in frustration.

My boss does this on purpose. He gives me the freaking crazy ones because I swear no one else wants them.

“I need to be prepared for the television,” Cole says, licking his hand and running it over his nearly non-existent hair, pinning it to his head. Double yuck. “I don’t want to ruin this.”

Television? What is he going on about?

“Cole, are you using drugs?” I ask, mundanely.

His eyes flash to me. “You’re a good actor. Tell me what show are we on? Pranksters? I always wanted to be on that show.”

Jesus, he thinks this is a prank.

“Cole, I’m a Bounty Hunter, this isn’t a television show and I’m taking you in, let’s go.”

He crosses his arms. “Nice try.”

It’s clear Cole doesn’t believe me. I stare down at my nails wistfully, then sigh and take the plunge. My feet move quickly and I sweep one foot out, connecting with Cole’s legs and taking them out from beneath him. He goes down, almost in slow motion, his arms flailing as he tips backwards. He lands hard, making a loud oomphing sound. I pull out a pair of handcuffs, use my foot to roll him, and jerk his hands behind his back.

“Cole, I wish I didn’t have to do it like this.”

“You knocked my teeth out!” he wails. “You broke my teeth.”

I clasp the handcuffs tightly on his wrists, “Honey,” I murmur, pocketing the key. “You have no teeth.”

“Lies,” he bellows. “This is assault.”

“The car will be here to take you in, shortly.”

He’s silent for a moment, and I actually peer down to see if he’s passed out. Instead, his blue eyes are scanning the trees again. I roll my eyes and put my foot to his back, holding him there. After a long, silent moment he murmurs, “Missy?”

“Yes, Cole?”

“Come down here, a little closer.”

“No,” I say, keeping my foot firmly planted to his back.

“Please,” he begs.

I cross my arms. “If you need to say something, Cole, I’m listening.”

He sighs, mutters a curse and then says in a small voice, “I’d like to borrow your hairbrush.”

Not sure I heard him correctly, I say, “Excuse me?”

“Your hairbrush.”

“My … hairbrush?”

He nods.

“Why?”

He grunts. “For the cameras, get with the program!”

Jeeze Louise, this man is off his rocker.

“We’re not on a television program, Cole.”

“Is my shirt tucked in?”

God. Please give me strength. He’s not even wearing pants.

“Cole, it’s not a damn television program.”

“Such a sad, sad woman,” he murmurs, dropping his head.

I tilt my head to the sky and internally curse my boss.

He’ll pay for this.

Chapter One

“It’s not funny,” I say, throwing my bag down onto my desk.

My colleague and fellow Bounty Hunter, Vance, laughs. He crosses his large arms over his chest and tilts his head to the side, studying me with a smirk. I glare at him, flopping onto my seat and throwing my booted feet onto the desk. Then I proceed to cross my arms, making sure my body language clearly states how pissed off I am.

“Heard good ‘ol Cole was fun for you, Gracie.”

“He made me brush his hair,” I growl, spinning on my chair to face him. I lean forward, putting my elbows to my knees. “Brush. His. Hair. It was the only way I could keep him freaking calm long enough to get him into the car. Do you have any idea what that was like? He doesn’t even have enough hair to brush!”

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