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Be My Hero

By:Linda Kage

Be My Hero
Linda Kage


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


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.

I scrambled toward him, but to get there, I had to pass by the front  porch where the witch was rushing from the house, toting-holy fuck-a  shotgun that looked bigger than she was.

I skidded to a stop so fast the wet dead leaves under my shoes gave way,  and I slid down, landing hard on my ass. I caught myself with one hand;  my fingers dug into the muddy cold earth before I found enough purchase  to push myself back up.         



While I was busy wiping out, Madam LeFrey was equally busy wracking a  shell into the chamber. The distinct sound of a loading gun echoed  through my ears until that was all I heard. Springing upright, I  stumbled away before I'd regained my footing. If I could just make it to  the corner of her house, I was sure I could get out of her view long  enough to find a nice dark shadow to escape into and be able to evade  the mad old woman.

But I never made it to the corner.

I stepped on something solid that made a metallic click before it gave  way and sucked my foot down. Sharp, knife-like teeth bit into my ankle  and trapped me. I shouted out as I collapsed. The cold, wet earth  enveloped me, and I curled into a fetal ball, clutching my shin. Waves  of agony screamed up my leg while the ankle trap held me prisoner.


Panicked and scared, Harvey's voice shot another dose of fear into me.  I'd let him follow me here tonight. If anything happened to him, it'd be  on me. I glanced past the witch inching toward me, the barrel of her  gun aimed between my eyes, and saw him hesitating at the edges of the  bushes, wavering as if he didn't want to leave me behind but didn't want  to stick around either.

"Go," I choked out, waving him away.

The kid didn't hesitate. He spun around and took off.

With him out of harm's way, I finally looked up at my captor, ready to  face my fate. She had to be the ugliest woman I'd ever seen. Her  frizzled gray hair stood out in a crisp silhouette with the lights from  her porch shining in around her, making her look as if she'd stuck her  finger in an outlet and the electrical shock had split out every end in a  different direction.

The loose moo-moo she wore only emphasized how wide and stoop-shouldered  she was. And her moles looked like pieces of fruit wobbling around in a  JELL-O mold. I caught sight of them dotting her second chin as she  stepped close enough for me to make out her wrinkled, snarled-tooth  sneer.

Blood left a coppery tang in my mouth. I must've bitten my tongue or  lip. But my pain receptors fired too strongly in my ankle for me to feel  discomfort anywhere else.

Mud and withered leaves clung to me as I panted on the ground in front  of her, glaring up with all the defiant bravado I could muster.

Shuffling closer, she pressed the end of the barrel against the center  of my forehead firmly enough that it'd no doubt leave a ring-shaped  indention for days-if I survived that long.

Knowing this was probably it, I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth, my  nostrils flaring because I couldn't stop breathing so hard.

I was going to die. Right here. Right now.

But at least it'd be quick. I probably wouldn't feel a thing. I hoped I wouldn't feel a thing.

The sad part was a sense of relief flooded me. The pathetic excuse that  was my life was finally over. I didn't care that I'd die a virgin or  that Harvey, who was a year younger than I was at thirteen, had already  bagged a girl before I had. After being chained and forced to watch  Tristy get raped so often, I was kind of turned off to the whole subject  of sex, anyway. Using my hand and sneaking peaks at nudey pictures in  magazines suited me just fine.

There were other things I had wanted to try before dying, though.  Driving. Getting a tattoo. Growing old enough to finally move out on my  own. Or maybe finding a good family to adopt me.

Okay, damn. My life must really be flashing before my eyes, because I  hadn't thought up the whole maybe-someone-will-adopt-me-and-love-me  dream since I was nine. It was lame and useless to want such a thing.

"Did you throw a brick through my window?" Madam LeFrey asked, her voice  thick and guttural, and nearly impossible to understand. She nudged the  barrel harder against me as if she thought she didn't already have my  undivided attention.

"Yes," I gritted out from between my clenched teeth. "Did you tell  Tristy Mahone no one would ever love her, and she'd die a miserable  death, young and alone?"

The old bat's shoulders twitched in what I assumed was her version of a  shrug. "Like I know the name of some silly girl who came to me for her  fortune."

"So you give that reading to everyone who comes to you?" What a complete bitch.

"I say what I see. No more. No less. If your friend got a bad reading,  then your friend's a bad girl. She doesn't care for anyone."