Better When He's Brave

By: Jay Crownover

DEDICATION

Dedicated to everyone’s inner bad girl. That bitch gets to have all the fun! And you better watch out if you dare to cross her.





INTRODUCTION

SOME OF THE THINGS that happen in the Point are outlandish and larger than life, and I love it that way! It’s one of the reasons this series is so much fun to write. So as you read, keep in mind that this is fiction. Any liberties I take with police procedure are for the sake of the story, and not because I haven’t done the research. So play along with me and allow yourself to get lost in the mayhem, romance, life, and chaos that run rampant in these stories.

When I’m talking about Titus’s police station and his office, you might notice it seems outdated. It definitely doesn’t have the bells and whistles that most modern cop shops come equipped with. The reason for this is that I am obsessed with Homicide Hunter on Investigation Discovery . . . OMG, it is the greatest thing in the world. The show takes place in the seventies and eighties here in Colorado Springs, and all I could see when I was writing was that police station and Joe Kenda’s office. So the vision is old and battered, which fits with the overall dreary and ugly feel to the Point. And if you watch the show, you will so be able to recognize the inspiration!

Again thanks to everyone who is giving this series a shot. We all need new blood, a creative outlet, an escape . . . and the Point is mine. I love that I get to write these men and woman with no rules and stretch the bounds of what we see in New Adult and even what we see from me. It’s incredibly fulfilling, so I appreciate everyone coming along for the ride . . . and what a ride it’s turning out to be! Every single time I think I’ve gone too far or reached the edge, I always find another corner to turn or another twist to tangle with. Half the time I’m as surprised as you guys are to see where it all ends up. There is nothing more exciting and thrilling for a writer than that. These books are full of dirty fun and I really am kind of like a kid in a candy store when I write them.

We all know a man is so much Better When He’s Brave, so I can’t wait for you to meet Titus!






Prologue



AT THE BEGINNING OF the end.

Drip, drip . . .

Splat, splat . . .

Rattle, rattle . . .

Clank, clank . . .

Whoosh, whoosh . . .

Thud, thud . . .

“FUCK . . .”

Groan . . .

I tried to lift my head up after the second time the metal pipe smashed into the back of it, but it was too much. My ears were ringing, and blood dripped down over every inch of my face and splattered on the cold cement floor across my booted feet. I didn’t want to think about how deep that puddle was or how wide it was spreading. That was a lot of blood. Too much blood. All of it mine. I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, so I couldn’t see the scattering of men around me as they took turns with fists and whatever else they could find to work me over where I was chained up to the exposed pipe above my head. I rattled the handcuffs—handcuffs that I used every day to try and keep this city in line—against the pipe, but knew I wasn’t getting free anytime soon.

The sound of a metal pipe dragging on the floor as one of my assailants moved closer to me had the last little bit of air that survived the last blow whooshing out of my lungs. The simple act of breathing made me feel like I was going to turn my insides out, so I squeezed my eyes shut as tightly as I could to keep these brutal bastards from seeing just how effectively they were breaking me with fists and metal. My body was slowly crumbling under the torturous onslaught, but my will, my drive to never let a guy like him win, would never break. I would die in this shithole at the hands of these murderers and miscreants, and no matter how much they threw at me, how much they tried to destroy the vessel it was housed in, my bravery, my calling to keep the world safe from people like this, would never be extinguished. I would never cave, never bow down, and never let a guy like Connor Roark win.

I spit out a mouthful of blood, the copper tang filling and coating every raw surface of the inside of my mouth. I managed to crank my neck up just enough to see impenetrable black eyes looking at me. There was no joy in that dark gaze, no victory that he had me exactly where he wanted me. There was no satisfaction. There was nothing but emptiness, a complete void in the place where any kind of humanity should live. I had seen that expression before. My little brother’s father had worn it every day for years while he turned this city into a rotting cesspool of lawlessness, debauchery, and mayhem. It was the worst city anyone could choose to try and serve and protect, yet that’s what I did with every single breath I took. It was a crumbling ghetto ruled by dangerous men and hard women, but it was my beat and its citizens were my dangerous men and hard women to protect. Many of them were my family and my heart. It wasn’t just my job—it was my calling. It was who I was. The Point had no room for heroes, but I was as close as this place was ever going to get to having one. Not that I felt very heroic currently chained up and beaten down, knowing this was the end for me.

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