Rival Forces

Rival Forces by D. D. Ayres

Book: Rival Forces by D. D. Ayres Read Free Book Online
Authors: D. D. Ayres
Yardley’s assistance. The dog was now kenneled in a back room, to protect the enforcers of the law.
    The sheriff grunted. “Maybe Stokes is lucky you came along when you did.”
    Kye didn’t reply. His heart had just stopped slamming in his chest.
    At first, he hadn’t been able to accept what he was seeing in his brights as he came up the drive. Rain was sheeting down his windshield so fast the wipers were almost useless. But there, in the twin cones of his headlights, were two figures wrestling in the mud. A flash of lightning confirmed that the figure on the bottom was Yard.
    Despite what movie-choreographed brawls portrayed, being on the bottom in a fight was a position only the most highly skilled fighters ever reversed. She’d needed help. Or a weapon.
    His mind did a quick flashback to the hammer she’d raised just as he’d reached them. She might have made that first strike count. It didn’t bear thinking about what Stokes might have done to her if she’d missed, or only slightly injured him. And he hadn’t been there for backup.
    â€œYou haven’t said what brought you out here today.”
    Kye looked back, surprised that the sheriff was still talking to him. “I’m visiting. As a friend of the family,” he added as the man’s gaze turned speculative. “I trained with her father, Bronson Battise. Her brother Lauray Battise and I served together in Afghanistan. K-9 military police.” He pulled out his business card for the second time that day. “In case you need me to make a formal statement or anything.”
    Sheriff Wiley nodded. “We’re just about done here.”
    Yardley straightened from her slump when she noticed Sheriff Wiley and Kye coming toward her. Kye had hardly taken his eyes off her. He came toward her now like some vengeful totem, his face a mask of controlled anger as he stared down at her.
    She didn’t need his tight expression to tell her she looked like hell. Beneath the swaddling of an EMT Mylar blanket, she was soaked to the bone. There was a muddy puddle around her shoes of water that had dripped from her clothing and boots. She could feel bruises beginning to set in different parts of her body. Somewhere in the struggle she’d bitten her tongue.
    The sheriff spoke first. “We got your attacker locked up tight, Ms. Summers. You can rest easy on that. With the holiday weekend, he won’t be able to post bail until Monday morning.” He glanced at the EMT who nodded before saying, “We’re going to send you to the emergency room to be checked out. And then we’re done for tonight.”
    Yardley shook her head. “I don’t need medical attention.”
    â€œIt’s not really an option, Ms. Summers. We need a medical opinion, and photos, of your injuries for our report. Plus DNA evidence from your clothing and under your fingernails. You don’t want us to overlook any detail that might set him free.”
    Yardley set her mouth but nodded. She’d been debating whether or not to mention it. But the thought that Stokes might weasel out of the charges, because she had not actually been raped, made her decide.
    She pulled the red envelope out from under her blanket. “This came last night. Left on the doorstep. I didn’t think it was important. But now…”
    Sheriff Wiley slipped the picture out then looked back at Yardley, his expression carefully blank. “You should have called me right after you opened it.”
    â€œI thought it was just a prank.”
    â€œLet me see that.” Kye leaned in as the sheriff turned it his way. The look on his face said everything the lawman’s hadn’t. “Son of a bitch!”
    â€œEasy, son.” Sheriff Wiley continued to watch Yardley, his face still void of expression. “This kind of thing happen before, Ms. Summers?”
    â€œNo. Oh, I get angry letters, once a year or so. All

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