Be My Hero

By: Linda Kage

Dedication


This one is for all my wonderful readers.




For those of you craving more Mason: Here you go! He is smothered all over this story!



For those of you who love Reese: She is too, and she's the same quirky goofball as ever!



For those of you who need more funny business: I present to you Reese's homicidal version of the The Wizard of Oz!



For those of you ready to dive into Pick: he's ready to share his secrets.



For any young, new mother: Eva can totally relate.



For everyone patiently waiting for Ten's story: He's preparing for his time in his usual loud-mouthed, obnoxious way!



For all the Noel fans: Even he has some cameo scenes.



For anyone who might want more Forbidden Men: I think I can dig up at least one more.



And for that one reader who has claimed Quinn as her very own: Well, Linz, you might have some competition for him after this.



My greatest hope is that all of you go away with at least one thing you came to receive when you start this story, because this one's for you. Thank you for giving me yet another chance to entertain you for a little while!





Pick's Prologue


MEET PICK RYAN


As Harvey and I crouched behind the lilac bushes in front of the old decaying house, a stiff breeze burst upon us, stirring a batch of dead leaves around my knees and freezing the fuck out of my arms.

I had decided coats were overrated after last week. I'd asked Vern, my newest foster dad, if he'd buy me a jacket since the weather had turned cold and I'd outgrown last year's winter coat. He'd told me he'd consider it—if I sucked his dick.

So being a human icicle wasn't the worst thing that could happen to me.

"Jesus, Pick." Shivering beside me, Harvey wrapped my last year's coat tighter around him—since it actually fit him—and burrowed deeper into its warmth. "Did you feel that? She must know we're out here. She's already casting some kind of voodoo shit spell on us. Let's bounce already."

"It's called wind, you moron." I smacked him lightly on the back of the head. "I seriously doubt she can make the wind blow. And we're not leaving until it's done."

"Bet she can. She's a witch. She can do anything. Just look at what she did to Tristy."

My teeth clenched. What had happened to Tristy was exactly why I wasn't budging until my mission was accomplished. I wasn't leaving this place until the witch had paid for what she'd done.

Spurred on by the fresh wave of rage Harvey had instilled in me, I tightened my grip on the brick I was holding and darted out from behind the bushes. Spotty clumps of dead brown grass made the ground uneven, but even that didn't deter my step. Sprinting for all I was worth, I reached the huge bay window of Madam LeFrey's home and wound back my arm.

She'd get the message I'd tied around the brick. Leave Tristy Mahone alone. And she had better abide. Tristy had been through enough already.

Tristy and I hadn't lived in the same foster home for over a year, not since I'd called the social worker on my last foster family and told them what was happening to her. But we still kept in touch, and I looked out for her. So when Harvey had told me why she was in the hospital, I felt as if I'd failed her. I never should've let her visit Madam LeFrey, who never gave anyone a cheerful fortune reading. I should've prevented it somehow.

But what was done was done, and I had to placate myself with paybacks. The shatter of breaking glass told me my avengement was complete.

"Oh, shit." Harvey's voice carried from the bushes. "You did it. You really did it."

Shit, I really had. I'd never been the perfect choirboy type, but this was my first stint at vandalism. I thought I'd feel satisfied. Vindicated. But Tristy was still in the hospital with her wrists taped together. And I was still a low-life deadbeat who'd never amount to anything. Madam LeFrey would no doubt continue to freak kids out by giving them doomed fortune readings.

I stood there like a complete dumbass just staring at the cracks spider-webbing through the parts of the glass that were still intact. But now I was more pissed off than before because breaking a window had accomplished absolutely nothing.

Madam LeFrey's porch light sprang on, jolting me out of my rigor mortis. As the ancient paint-chipped front door creaked open, Harvey screamed for me. Anxiety spurted through my veins in a panicked mess; I needed to reach him. Protect him.

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