The Fire (Hurricane Book 4), page 1
Also By R.J. Prescott
A Note from the Author
About the Author
CITY UNDER SIEGE - Prologue
CITY UNDER SIEGE - Chapter One
Also By R.J. Prescott
The Hurricane Series
City Under Siege
By R.J. Prescott
Copyright © 2019 R.J. Prescott
All rights reserved.
First Published 2019 by R.J. Prescott
The right of R.J. Prescott to be identified as the Author of the work has been asserted to her in accordance with Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, establishments, organisations, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously to give a sense of authenticity. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Interior Formatting by Leigh Stone of Irish Ink Formatting and Graphics
Editing by C Reay
Cover Design by Mayhem Cover Creations
Déan damhsa amhail is nach bhfuil aon duine ag féachaint,
can amhrán amhail is nach bhfuil aon duine ag éisteacht
agus caith gach lá de do shaol amhail is gurb é do lá deireanach é
Dance as if no one's watching,
sing as if no one's listening,
and live every day as if it were your last.
“Jesus, you look like shit,” I said to Kieran.
“You don’t look so hot yourself sweet cheeks,” he replied.
“When was the last time you slept?” I asked.
“Fuck knows. It feels like a year at least. Even when I do get a chance to get my head down, I can’t sleep for worrying. Between Irish, the baby and your sorry arse, I’m scared to shut my eyes,” he admitted, running his hand down his face wearily.
“How’s she doing?” I said, knowing he was worried about the pregnancy affecting Marie’s heart.
“A lot better than I am. She figures that as long as she keeps looking on the bright side and stays positive, everything will be okay.”
“She’s right you know. No sense borrowing worry. Almost everything has a way of working itself out in the end. I’m still here ain’t I?” I replied.
“I thought we were looking on the bright side?” he joked, chuckling.
“Yeah, yeah. Fuck you,” I replied, grinning.
“So, how’s the leg?” he asked. I don’t think he even realised he was holding his breath as he waited for my answer. He had it in his head that if he’d picked Marie up from work instead of me, he’d be the one lying in a hospital bed. Every time I saw him, his face was a mask of guilt that wasn’t his to carry.
“It’s better,” I lied. “I have one more surgery, then they’re transferring me to a rehabilitation centre so I can start my physiotherapy.”
“That’s good,” he said, swallowing hard. Truth be told, I was in absolute fucking agony. My leg was in a bad way. Fuck only knew if I’d be able to walk again, let alone anything else. On top of that, my career in the Fire Service was likely in the toilet before it even really began, unless I could get back to full fitness. All in all, I was a fuckin’ mess, but Kieran didn’t need to hear any of that. The poor guy looked like he was barely keeping it together.
“You know, we’ll all be there to help with the physio, right? Seriously, whatever it takes to get you back on your feet,” he said. By the look on his face, I knew he was terrified I’d be stuck in that bed, or a wheelchair, forever. If that happened it would fuckin’ kill me, but none of that was on Kieran, and never would be.
“Look Kier. The hospital’s told me the rehab centre I’m going to is one of the best in the country. They’ll sort me out, and it’s not like Ma is gonna leave my bedside anytime soon. You need to be focusing on Marie and the baby, and getting Con through this next fight. That’s your job now. Take care of them and let me take care of myself. Speaking of which, shouldn’t you be getting back to your Mrs. You might’ve knocked her up, but until you get a ring on her finger, there’s still chance for some charming fucker like me to steal her away,” I said.
“Yeah, thanks for that,” he replied, flipping me his middle finger. “Makes me feel a lot better. And enough with trying to get rid of me. There’s no way we’re shipping you off to rehab and leaving you to fend for yourself. Title fights and babies are a walk in the park considering some of the shite we’ve been through. We’ll split our time between your treatment and training Con. Fuck it, there ain’t no reason why you can’t bark orders at him and train him yourself from a wheelchair. But whatever we do, we’ll figure it out together. Now give me a hug before we both start cryin’ and talkin’ about our feelings and shite.”
“Still not gay arsehole,” I replied, making him smile. “I appreciate all that crap you just said. I really do. But you really do need to fuck off back to your girl now. It ain’t that I don’t appreciate the company, but I need some sleep before Ma comes back whining about how thin I’m getting.”
“No worries my friend,” he replied, standing up. “That face needs all the beauty sleep it can get, so I’ll leave you to it.”
“Thanks Kier,” I said, and with a quick fist bump, he was gone.
The second the door shut behind him, I closed my eyes. It was a relief to have a moment where I didn’t have to put on a brave face and pretend that I had my shit together. To just wallow in self-pity. Giving in, even for a few minutes, felt fucking weak. But I’d hit an all-time low. I was in a deep, dark hole and I had no fucking clue how to claw my way out. My body needed time to rest and heal before I could begin my recovery. But days of lying in a hospital bed, either drugged up to the eyeballs, or racked with pain, were beginning to take their toll. And the blackest of all were the nights. I listened to those whispered words of doubt and fear inside my head, until I felt so fucking suffocated, I didn’t think I’d ever make it out of that bed again.
Sometime later a nurse came by, and I pretended to be asleep. Whether she bought it or not, she turned down the lights in my room, and left wi
I was at rock bottom.
And I’d never felt so alone.
When the door opened and closed again, I figured the nurse had returned to check on me. That was until the chair beside my bed scraped quietly against the floor as someone sat down. Perfume, sweet and subtle, tugged at my memory and I racked my brain to think where I’d smelt it before, when a small, female hand, skin as smooth as silk, covered mine.
Perhaps it would have been easier just to open my eyes. But I didn’t. I lay there. Oddly comforted by her presence. Curbing the urge to thread my fingers through those of my familiar stranger. For half an hour she stayed beside me, and with every minute that passed, the knot of tension in my chest eased. For reasons I couldn’t begin to explain, she offered me respite. A moment of peace that calmed the never ending stream of fucked up thoughts running through my head.
I didn’t want to break whatever spell she had over me, but all too soon, she squeezed my hand and released it, as she rose to leave.
“Bye, Tommy,” she said. It was a whisper in the dark. A voice so gentle and pure, it hurt to hear. My eyes flew open as she walked away. She was little more than a silhouette, until the door opened before she reached it.
And then I knew.
Pivotal moments are not always big. Sometimes they’re nothing more than a split second of clarity that changes your life forever. My world wasn’t turned on its head the minute I met her. It happened when I realised she was the answer to a prayer I’d never spoken aloud.
“You know girl, this is the last time I can sneak you in here. We’re all grateful for the volunteer work you do at the hospital, but if anyone finds out, it’s my job on the line,” the Nurse said.
“I’m sorry. I don’t want you getting into trouble over me,” Evelyn replied.
Even her name was beautiful.
“Why do you come in when he’s sleeping anyway? Why not just see him during visiting hours?” the Nurse asked.
“We’re not…friends,” Evelyn said. It did something funny to my chest hearing her say that. “I don’t want to intrude on his time with his family. I just…don’t want him to be alone.”
“You’re a good girl Evelyn. This world needs more people like you.”
The door closed gently on her words and I didn’t make a sound. There’d been no hole in my life. No longing for a relationship or envy when my friends found love. I had a strong family. A good life. Great friends. I had everything I’d ever wanted, except the one person I never knew I needed.
TWELVE MONTHS LATER
“You have the fattest baby I’ve ever seen,” I said.
“The fuck you say?” Con replied, looking like he was seconds away from knocking me out. To be fair, that’s pretty much how he always looked at me. Like it was my fault his wife and son both had a soft spot for me? I guessed jealousy was a bitch.
“Don’t get your knickers in a knot. It’s not like I said he was ugly or anything. He’s just fucking huge that’s all. He sort of looks like a baby rhino,” I said, holding the cute little fucker in the air, like the monkey does with the cub in Lion King.
“Put. My son. Down,” Con replied, slowly, breathing hard between each word.
“Why? He loves it when I do this,” I replied, pretending to throw him a little in the air without really letting go. Just to prove my point, Little D let out a happy squeal along with a small river of drool that narrowly missed me.
“If there’s any justice in this world, he’ll puke from all the throwing him about you’re doing, and it will land in your big mouth,” Kieran chipped in, chuckling at his own joke. Visualising the little rhino doing just that was enough to make me gag, and I thrust him quickly back at his grumpy dad.
“Jeez. You arseholes became miserable bastards when you started spawning. What’s wrong? Not getting any at home anymore?” I asked, taking the piss a little just to mess with them.
“Hold Dan for me mate,” Con said, passing the little rhino to Kieran, who had one arm full with his own little puke monster.
“No problem,” he replied, smirking at me. Knowing full well what that smirk meant, I legged it, seconds before Con chased after me. Twisting and turning around the gym, I evaded him long enough for him to throw in the towel. The fact that I was still capable of doing it, was nothing short of a fucking miracle. The last twelve months of surgery, rehabilitation and training had been hell. But despite my worst fears, I was fitter than I’d ever been.
“What’s going on?” Con’s wife Em asked. Strolling out of the office, she hugged Con around the waist as he threw his arm around her shoulders, tucking her protectively into his side. Those two were like magnets. No matter that she’d probably only been gone about fifteen minutes, whenever they were in the same room, they gravitated towards each other.
“Con’s picking on me,” I whined, knowing she’d stick up for me and that I’d piss off Con even more.
“He called our baby fat!” Con protested. The fucker smiled at me, knowing full well how to get Em back onside.
“Tommy!” she scolded, though I could tell she wasn’t really mad. Em was rarely cross with anyone, let alone me. Her favourite brother from another mother.
“I merely pointed out that he was he was a big fucker, which ain’t really surprisin’ given that his dad is King fuckin’ Kong. Mind you, apart from being fucking huge, he kind of looks like Jack don’t you think?” I replied. I had no idea why I’d never noticed before, but seeing both kids together in Kieran’s arms, you could easily mistake them for twins.
“Kier, are you absolutely sure Jack’s yours? I mean, it ain’t possible that Con accidently tripped in the dark one night and fell cock first into Marie is it? ’Cause the resemblance is fucking uncanny,” I commented. Everyone had been comparing the two babies, but an eerie silence settled over the gym as they all turned to look at me.
“What?” I asked, wondering what I’d done now. I was used to Con’s pissed off face, but Kier was looking at me like he was trying to figure out how to murder me using his own kid as a weapon.
“Just give me one good hit, that’s all I’m asking,” Con mumbled to Em.
“You keep the little fucker still, and I’ll do the rest,” Kier replied.
“Don’t you think maybe giving him one too many hits to the head as a kid is why our Tom is the way he is?” Liam added, chuckling.
“Hey!” I said, and wearing my best hurt expression, looked towards Em like she was our ma.
“Leave him alone,” she replied, and I grinned triumphantly now that she’d taken my side. As Em walked over to rescue little D from Kieran, Con gave me that look that told me I’d narrowly escaped a good beat down. I responded with maturity and stuck two fingers up at him behind Em’s back.
“And despite your attempts at genetic profiling Tommy, I’m very sure of Jack’s parentage. That boy is all Kieran. Anyway, you think all babies look the same,” Em said. She had a point. The wrinkly little buggers did all look pretty similar.
“Couldn’t you at least have given him his own name?” I asked, thinking this poor, giant fucking baby was always going to be known as Little D, even if he grew to be six foot five like his old man.
“I love his name. There’s no one better in the world to be named after. Is there gorgeous?” she said to Little D, cooing as she lifted him up to blow raspberries on his neck.
I cringed slightly as the drool that had missed me, went straight down her top. I considered making a joke about drool and Em’s tits, but honestly, I was pretty tired of being chased around, and there was no way Con would let that one go. His face softened as he watched his wife and son playing happily together. From that one look alone you could tell that they were his whole world. Of course, it didn’t mellow him up none. If anything, he boxed harder and meaner than he ever fought before. Like having Little D meant he
Daniel Thomas O’Connell was named firstly for Danny Driscoll, owner of Driscoll’s gym and the meanest fucker I’ve ever met. He was the only guy I knew who could make Cormac O’Connell look like a ray of absolute sunshine. The kid’s second name though was in honour of me. I’d been called Tommy for as long as I could remember, but Thomas was the name on my birth certificate. Ma explained it was so it would sound posh when the priest read it out in church on my wedding day. Of course, she didn’t expect to wait quite so long for that day to come. Con said they only gave Little D my name because I nearly died when Em was pregnant, and when I survived Em wouldn’t let Con change it. Personally, I thought it was because Little D liked me more than his dad, and I told Con that.
“Sorry I’m late guys,” Earnshaw said, as he jogged over to us. Leather briefcase in hand and dressed in a sharp, fitted suit, the kid looked like he’d be more comfortable on Wall Street than in a spit and sawdust gym in Canning Town, London.
“How’d the meeting go?” Con asked.
Earnshaw looked at him with a smug smile, that usually meant either big endorsements or a major title fight.
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