Unbound Faith (Bulletproof #1), page 1
Bulletproof Series Book One
Copyright © 2015 J.L. Baldwin
All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
Prologue: 15 Years Ago
Chapter 1: Zac
Chapter 2: Jayde
Chapter 3: Zac
Chapter 4: Jayde
Chapter 5: Zac
Chapter 6: Jayde
Chapter 7: Zac
Chapter 8: Jayde
Chapter 9: Jayde
Chapter 10: Jayde
Chapter 11: Zac
Chapter 12: Jayde
Chapter 13: Jayde
Chapter 14: Jayde
Chapter 15: Jayde
Chapter 16: Zac
Chapter 17: Jayde
Chapter 18: Jayde
Chapter 19: Jayde
Chapter 20: Zac
Chapter 21: Jayde
Chapter 22: Zac
Chapter 23: Jayde
Chapter 24: Jayde
Chapter 25: Jayde
Chapter 26: Jayde
Chapter 27: Jayde
Chapter 28: Zac
Chapter 29: Jayde
Chapter 30: Jayde
Chapter 31: Finn
Chapter 32: Jayde
Chapter 33: Finn
Chapter 34: Zac
Chapter 35: Jayde
Chapter 36: Zac
Chapter 37: Jayde
Bound by Trust Prologue
(Bulletproof Series Book One)
© Copyright 2015 J.L. Baldwin Published by J.L. Baldwin
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, including electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it to the seller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.
J.L. Baldwin 2015: email@example.com
15 Years Ago
“Courage is not the absence of fear,
but rather the judgement that something
else is more important than fear.
The brave may not live forever,
but the cautious do not live at all.”
-Meg Cabot, The Princess Diaries
There’s something about fear. It has a way of making even the strongest of men feel weak. It captures and holds you so tightly where nothing can break that bond. Ever growing fear never goes away. That’s what I felt when I saw old man Max Cole walking through the woods carrying a shotgun on his shoulder. That’s when I knew my time on earth was going to be cut short. The thought of leaving my beautiful family behind floored me. The only two women in my life who meant the world to me were my baby girl and my beautiful wife. They were going to go on without me. Fuck.
Max was the owner of the biggest bank chain in the south. There wasn’t a thing he couldn’t do, that didn’t earn money. Everything he touched turned to gold. King Midas had nothing on him. Some say he had the makings of a notorious card shark, considering everything he did made thousands of dollars. Working for a man like that was the biggest mistake ever. I would have been better off working for the mob. And doing the unthinkable, I stole from him when my family was low on luck. It was a grave mistake, pun fully intended. I invested one small amount into a newspaper company and it blew up, and was making national headlines. The Palmetto Times was one of the biggest newspaper companies in the southeast, reporting on all the big time stories that came across our desks. Our reporters were the best of the best. There was not a thing that went by in the daily news that our reporters didn’t already know about.
My wife Talia runs the majority of it but I take care of the finances. After completing her education, Jayde was to take over one day and continue to branch out, growing her career from scratch. It was my dream for her. I swallow the lump in my throat as the distance between us starts to close. Max was furious with my betrayal and he had every right to be. He hated backstabbers and I became one of those very same people he hated.
Max was my best friend and was quick to help me when I was starting out and now, red hot anger lays heavy between us. No words are spoken as he meets me halfway between my house and the woods. Fury and hurt are written all over his elderly features. It breaks my heart knowing this is how it’s going to end. Ten years of friendship is gone in the blink of an eye. Looking up to the sky, Max seems to say something I don’t catch before pointing his gun directly to me but as he raises it to my face, something briefly flashes in his hazel eyes. What only could be described as pity was noticed before it got washed away in a pool of anger.
“Any last words, Burgess? You got two seconds before I blow your fucking head clean off your shoulders.” The loud click of the gun being cocked echoes in the air. With that sound, my heart beat picks up in rapid speed. This is what they mean by true fear.
With only minutes left to live, I shake my head praying Max will show some mercy and change his mind. “No, I don’t. There isn’t anything I need to say that hasn’t already been said. I already apologized a hundred times. I hope one day, you’ll know how sorry I am.” There was a lot that needed to be said. “Just please spare my family. I’m the one you want. I’m the one who betrayed you. Just do it already. Kill me.”
Max smiles maliciously and looks out from the target while he spreads his legs to get into his hunter stance. “Oh I fucking will. I’m going to kill you and make sure you’ll pay for what you’ve done, you filthy, greedy son of a bitch. You stole from me, and turned around and made a fortune on something that never should have been yours to begin with. You know I don’t tolerate thievery Burgess.”
Max is about to open fire when I hear a soft whimper coming from behind me. Max focuses on the familiar voice behind me when he lowers his gun slightly, looking around me to see where the voice was coming from.
“Daddy, what’s going on? Why are you and Mr. Cole fighting?” Oh, my sweet girl. My angel. Jayde stands there clutching her baby doll in her arms. I made the most horrible mistake ever and she is going to grow up without a father because of my slip-up.
“Go back inside sweetheart. Mr. Cole and I are talking about grown-up stuff. Go find mommy, okay?” She clutches her baby doll tighter to her, holding on for dear life not buying what I’m saying. She was always so smart, so intuitive. Something glistens in the sunlight on her cheek and that’s when I notice she’s crying. With every heart wrenching tear she sheds, my heart shatters into a million more pieces.
At my reassurance for Jayde, I can hear Max’s heavy boots as he steps closer to me and I can feel the pressure of the barrel of the gun at my head, cold and ready to fire. Slowly turning around, my hands fly into the air in surrender. No longer hiding my fear, I continue to stare at him, hoping he notices the fear in my eyes for my sweet girl.
“Not in front of my baby, Max. You’re a father
“Go back into the house honey. See, daddy is just having a talk. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Jayde doesn’t move. Poor thing is scared out of her mind. Glancing back over my shoulder to Max whose gun is still pointed to the back of my head, a shiver runs down my spine along with a cold sweat breaking out on my forehead. Beads of sweat begin to slowly drip down my face, coating the collar of my shirt. There’s only one last chance I have to save my baby girl. Jayde doesn’t need to witness her father’s bloody demise. Quickly reacting in a split second, I turn swiftly to chase Jayde back into the house so she doesn’t witness what’s about to happen. Before she is fully in the house, a loud shot rings out in my ears and the disgusting smell of burnt powder fills the air as Max shoots point blank into my skull and the last thing I hear is Jayde’s heart stopping cry before my whole world goes black…
You know those days where you wake up and you just know, a shit storm is going to blow up and you aren’t going to be able to escape it? That inevitable fucking feeling when nothing else matters but you know the day is going to be a fucking disaster? That’s exactly what it felt like when I woke up from a raging fucking hangover that would bring down King Kong himself. What a way to start the day. Taking 10 shots of Tequila plus those several beers was not the best idea in the world. Dammit, my head hurts. There is no way I’m drinking ever again! The Tequila tore me up. Sitting straight up and throwing my legs over the edge of the bed, the room starts to spin as nausea begins to take over my senses.
“Fuck.” I mumble as I rub my hands down my face in an attempt to wipe away the previous night’s drunken shenanigans. The bed shifts slightly with the weight of another patron in my bed. What the fuck? Who did I bring home last night? Hopefully somebody worth a second round. Looking to my right, I quickly scan over the covers until my eyes catch the soft globe of some floozy’s ass sticking up out of the covers and it hit me. What the fuck happened last night to not make me remember? Vegas certainly would have been proud. The stranger moans and stirs in her sleep as she turns over towards me, her bleach blonde hair fanning over my pillow. I notice a streak of purple on the side of her head along with other prominent features. Cheap smeared make-up, fake tits, yep typical corner slut. Shit, what was her name? Sophie? Brittany? The hell if I know. This has never happened before, waking up in the wee hours of the morning with some slut from the previous night. Well maybe once, but who the fuck doesn’t hook up with a random hot stranger at twenty-one?
The only thing I knew about her was she was getting married and I had to give her one last fling before she tied the knot. Oh, she was a thirsty one. Probably in her late twenties and fucking gorgeous. And I was a junior in college. That needle dick fiancé of hers probably didn’t know how to pleasure a woman. Oh the humanity of trying to convince her it was a one-time deal. No second helpings. The problem was, she got attached. I don’t do repeat flings. Yeah, if that makes me sound like an asshole, so be it. Can’t let the floozies get too attached. Feelings were something I never dealt with. Maybe some coffee would jog my memory.
This is just what everyone expected of me. The deadbeat private investigator who can’t even solve a fucking rubik’s cube and bangs any chick who spreads her legs. Yeah, a true piece of work I am.
Looking around my room, I inwardly cringe as the previous night’s adventures slowly creep back into my memory. Booze. Lots of fucking booze. And tits. Girl’s everywhere. Was I at a strip club? No it couldn’t be. I wouldn’t be caught dead at a place so unruly. I hate to even look at my goddamn phone to see how many whores I gave my phone number to. There’s nothing worse than some chick wanting another go. Sitting next to my phone is my wallet with a crisp fifty and a few singles poking out of the side. Good, maybe I didn’t blow my entire paycheck last night. But damn if it doesn’t feel like it. The floozy from the night before shifts in my bed again then purrs in a soft almost seductive voice while trailing her greedy fingers up my back.
“Good morning handsome. Mind if I help you wake up this morning?” Normally my cock would be twitching at such an idea but the suggestion coming from her is revolting. Maybe it’s the hangover making all these decisions. I turn around to catch her thirsty stare and shoot her a smug look. She isn’t even pretty. Just another surgery enhanced Barbie doll. They’re all the same. More fake body parts than real ones. I need a woman with curves, something to hold onto as I’m thrusting in and out, claiming her, teaching her how to submit completely. Now there’s something that woke my dick up and has it straining for some attention. Calm down big guy. We’ll take care of that later.
“Mmm, looks like you need help with your situation.” The hoe purrs again as her greedy little mouth leans down to my cock and I push her away with a grunt, as she falls back down onto the bed. “No fucking way. I’ll take care of this. You can go, Chloe.”
From the look on her face, she’s angrier than a cat being tossed into a bath tub. I can’t help but smirk a smug smile. “You asshole, it’s Courtney.” Ah, so that’s what it is. I shrug nonchalantly at her declaration. “Whatever. Collect your shit and get out. Don’t bother leaving your number either because I won’t be calling. No second go arounds.” She pouts but tries one more time to please me but when I refuse her once more, Courtney huffs and gets out of bed to gather her things and gets dressed. The stale stench of her perfume will linger in the air considering how strong it was, which will only add to my already shitty morning. I ignore her as I walk into the bathroom to piss and take a shower.
The front door to my apartment slams shut at Courtney’s exit and I smile to myself. It was an asshole thing to do, but I can’t have these whores getting attached. It wouldn’t bode well for my reputation. The loser private investigator rep would be soiled. Ladies love when they feel like they can fix everything. Maybe they think they can fix me? They’re going to have a hell of a time trying. I’m too broken to be fixed. Irreparable as they come. And an asshole to boot.
Stepping into the shower, I turn the temperature of the water all the way to burning hot. My head is still pounding like a jackhammer but the water feels relaxing as it washes away the hangover that still lingers. The nauseating aroma of Courtney’s perfume clings to my skin before the hot water washes it down the drain. Even the stench of her disgusting perfume makes me want to throw up. Thinking back to earlier, the thought of bringing home a real woman for once instead of these whores makes me excited and turned on once more. Wrapping my hand around the shaft of my cock, I pump a few times before groaning out in ecstasy from my powerful orgasm. It tides me over for now but doesn’t stop the insatiable hunger I feel from the soft succulent curves of a woman. The beast inside still wants her. Needs her. Craves to have her completely and without compromise. Fuck, I needed to get my shit under control before bringing home another whore. The shower does nothing to wash away the impending guilt I feel from kicking Courtney out, but oh well. Shit happens. Maybe work will be better.
Stopping on the way into the office at Starbucks, I grab my usual, tipping the beautiful barista my generous tip before heading to work. The drive to work is calm and peaceful. No traffic and no angry drivers. The calm before the storm, I think to myself as I get to the office without cussing out one single person. Maybe that shit storm is going to blow up soon. One can only hope not. Ascending the stairs two at a time, the chipping paint and crooked portraits lining the stairwell only add to the drab effect of the office building. Since the building was built in 1905, it needed to be updated. For a huge agency, there should be more than enough in the budget for renovations. My desk is on the very top floor so there are at least three flights of stairs to climb. Since the elev
“Marshall, I got somethin’ for ya.” He says with a mischievous smile. Maybe Chief doesn’t have something up his sleeve but that would be unlike him.
“What, no good morning Zac? Or how are you doing Zac? Surely you can be a little more kind Chief.” I say as I settle down into my seat, but instead of answering me, he hands me the file he was holding. Its heavy weight takes me by surprise. “Quit the bullshit Marshall. We’ve got bigger problems than your snarky arrogant attitude.” Chief spats out. This must be something huge for him to hand over a huge file like this. I’ve never seen him this serious about something before. “No.” I simply state while sipping on my coffee and not even opening the file to check out what lies inside.
“Fine, but it’s your ass Marshall. Your job, your ass.” Chief replies.
I groan without looking up to see his mask of emotions. “You have got to be fucking kidding me. Why is the job so damn important anyways?” My patience is wearing incredibly thin and this hellacious assignment was making it worse.
Chief looks at me as he rolls his eyes ignoring my outburst but answers the question. “Because Marshall, you need to do this. You’re the only agent we got to handle a case of this…magnitude. With your extensive knowledge in computers, it has to be you. There is no one else who is trained to handle somebody this dangerous.” Letting out a sigh, I lean back in my chair and grab the file off the desk. Opening up, I quickly scan the documents. Young girl, twenty-six, journalist. Seems like her pops got into some trouble a while back and it cost him his life. The next page describes a little more in depth of who she is and where she works, likes to hang out, blah, blah, blah. Her image falls out of the folder and lands on the floor. Quickly scooping it up, her beauty is captivating. She is drop dead gorgeous! Beautiful green eyes, long flowing brunette hair, and curves that go on for days. But her face doesn’t read happiness and confidence, instead it reads insecure and shy. Ha, I’ll fucking change that. I doubt she is even aware of how beautiful she is. This was the kind of woman I needed in my bed. Not Slut-bag Barbie I had in there earlier this morning. That bitch could have her own dream mansion and still be a plastic priss.