Liberation (Slick Rock #16)

By: Becca Van


Delta Sykes smiled as she followed Mr. Curtis with her gaze. He came in each week and she looked forward to his visits. He was such a nice man and he took the time to speak to her about everyday life rather than just getting on with business like all the other customers did. She shifted her gaze to her next customer, the smile sliding from her lips when she met cold gray eyes, and then she began to shake. Her heart slammed against her sternum, her breath hitched in her throat and then she began to pant. Sweat broke out all over her body and her knees felt as if they were about to buckle, but she locked them in place.

Fear as she’d never known before coursed through her veins with the flight-or-fight hormones, but there was nowhere to run. The New City Bank in Chicago was full of customers and staff. Plus, she was stuck in her locked teller cubicle with no way out unless she used the key to unlock the door.

Delta stared down the barrel of the gun, but when her brain finally kicked in she noticed that the gun wasn’t what a normal firearm looked like. This one was white and looked as if it was made of plastic. She decided then and there that although this asshole was trying to rob the bank, she wasn’t about to hand over any cash to him. He couldn’t shoot anyone with a fake gun, so hopefully no one would get hurt.

She glanced quickly toward the security guard and cursed mentally when she saw he was talking and laughing with a gorgeous young woman who’d just entered the bank. No help would be coming from him. All Cory ever seemed to do was flirt with women when he should have been alert and watching all the customers so that nothing untoward would happen. It was a little too late for that.

Even though Delta couldn’t hear the man talking since she was completely deaf, she could read his lips. “Give me all your money.”

She frowned and shook her head as she surreptitiously lifted her hand toward the button which would set off the silent alarm.

“Don’t move, bitch, or I’ll shoot you.”

Delta’s heart was pounding so hard it almost hurt, but she wasn’t about to let this bastard intimidate her. She moved the inch and just before she hit the silent alarm button, he lifted the fake white gun up higher and he pulled the trigger.

Shock had her blinking when something slammed into her shoulder and as she looked down and saw blood was already soaking into her white blouse, agony ripped into her shoulder, up her neck and down her arm. Delta opened her mouth and screamed. She had no idea if she was screaming loudly or whether her voice was only a husky, rasping sound, since she couldn’t hear herself, but since her throat hurt she guessed she was screaming at the top of her lungs.

Everything from then on seemed to happen in slow motion. The robber turned away from her, and for a few seconds she thought he was going to start shooting all the innocent people. That was until she saw him falling onto the floor. Blood pooled rapidly underneath his body, and when she glanced toward the entrance, she was relieved to see that Cory had his weapon in his hand and there was smoke coming out of the end of the barrel.

Delta swayed on her feet when she got dizzy. When her knees gave out she grabbed for the edge of the counter, but missed. She cried out in agony when she hit the floor, her injured shoulder connecting first, and even though she tried to keep the encroaching darkness at bay, she couldn’t. With a sigh, she gave into the black abyss with relief.

Chapter One

Major sat back after eating his dinner with a replete sigh. He’d heard there was a new chef working at the diner, and after the wonderful reviews the food had gotten, he and his brothers had decided to find out for themselves.

He’d ordered steak and vegetables, and the meat had been so tender it almost melted in his mouth. “That was fucking delicious.”

“My chicken was the best damn roast chicken I’ve ever tasted.” Rocco, one of Major’s brothers licked his lips and patted his flat belly. “How was your lasagna, Ace?”

“If I wasn’t so stuffed I would have ordered another one,” Ace, Major’s youngest brother, answered with a smile.

“Has anyone seen this new wonder chef?” Rocco asked as he glanced toward the diner counter.

“Not that I’ve heard,” Rocco replied.

Major was too curious to let this go. He raised his finger to call one of the waitresses over.

“What can I get you?” the teenage girl asked with a blush.

Major glanced at her name badge before meeting her gaze again. “Cindy, could you get the chef out here please?”

“Is there a problem?” Cindy asked as she eyed the empty dinner plates.

“No, honey, we just wanted to give our compliments to the chef. That was the best damn steak I’ve ever tasted, and my brothers said their food was delicious, too.”

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