Home > Eton's Escape (Bullard's Battle #3)

Eton's Escape (Bullard's Battle #3)
Author: Dale Mayer

 

Chapter 1

 

 

As soon as he landed in Switzerland, Eton Duram picked up a rental car but was later told to turn around and to head deeper into the countryside, hours driving time from here. Which in some ways explained why he hadn’t caught a connecting flight, but also he trusted the men on his team. If they felt taking a little more convoluted route was a good idea, then it was the right thing to do. The rental vehicle was under a different name, and that was all good with him. He’d picked it up without any problem, and now, hours later, according to his phone’s GPS, he was only about fifty minutes from the latest address he had been given.

As he drove away from the city onto country roads, he noted a vehicle pulled off to the side, where a woman dealt with a flat tire. He knew he needed to drive on by. He was only a few minutes away from his destination, but damn it—not even his particular brand of work should take precedence over his personal sense of humanity. Immediately another thought struck him though. What if it was a trap? Apparently a lot of people were hunting him down. The idea that she might have something to do with that just didn’t sit right with him. He hit the brakes and slowly backed up. Hopping out, he walked back, every nerve on edge as he studied her.

Surprised, she turned to look at him and then shrugged. He was a stranger, probably a tourist. She tried English.

“I’m almost done,” she said. “I could have used your help about twenty minutes ago though.”

“How did you get the old tire off?” he asked, because the lug nuts were often very hard to loosen.

She nodded. “I had to jump on the lug wrench.”

“Whatever works,” he said. He took the big wrench from her hand, bent down, and gave the lug nuts on the spare a good hard turn, tightening them considerably.

“Now that I couldn’t have done,” she said.

Helping her pack up the lug wrench and the jack, he smiled and said, “Glad I could help.”

She held out her hand. “My name is Sammy,” she said. “Thank you for stopping.”

“It’s hard not to,” he said. “Some things are just ingrained.”

“Well, they didn’t seem to be ingrained in the two people who went by before you,” she said cheerfully. “I don’t really expect much less though.”

“Why is that?” he asked.

“Carjacking has become a problem here lately,” she said. “People are scared.”

“Are you a local?”

She nodded.

“So they would know that it’s you and that you weren’t likely to be carjacking them,” he said, standing tall, his hands on his hips, studying the area around him. “It’s a pretty rural area here, huh?”

“Not in comparison to other places,” she said. “It’s much more isolated out toward the ski resorts. Not that many people are in this area, but, when you get to the center of town, it really is building upon building, yet only lasts for about one-quarter mile, and then it’s gone again.”

He smiled at that. “Thanks for the heads-up.”

“Where are you headed?”

“Some friends rented a chalet somewhere around here,” he lied glibly.

“Nice,” she said. “Any particular reason for choosing this part of town?”

His senses always on the alert, he shrugged and said, “Don’t know. It was their choice. I just decided to come and spend a few days with them. Haven’t managed to do that since my buddy got hurt.”

“Ouch,” she said. “I hope he’s doing better.”

“Better enough to get here,” he said cheerfully. “I guess I’ll be on my way, if you don’t need any more help,” he said, turning to face her.

She smiled and said, “No, I’m good. Thank you. You didn’t give me your name though.”

He hesitated, then flashed her a bright smile and said, “Eton.”

“Eton,” she said, pronouncing it slowly.

“Yes, it’s a British name,” he said, with a smile and a goodbye wave. He raced ahead and hopped into his vehicle, then pretended to be on his phone while he looked up her license plate. Some things were just so ingrained that he couldn’t not do them if he tried. Next, he sent a text to Cain. This vehicle was stopped on the road with a flat. I stopped to help her but—He left that part hanging, and Cain replied right away.

I’m on it.

Eton started up the engine, just as she drove past him slowly. She leaned over and waved, so he smiled and waved back. Any other day he would have followed up on that lead, absolutely loving her yoga butt, slim waist, and lean body. She was only average height, but something about her slimness made her seem taller. She also had her long blond hair in a plait down her back, and it almost reached to her butt. He had to admit it though. He really liked long hair.

In his world, it was a danger though. It could always be used as a weapon against you, but, then again, not too many women were in the type of warfare he was involved in. And Ice? Well, Ice was the exception. She’d even learned a bunch of tricks on how to get out of a hold on her hair.

Ice and Kai had worked hard on developing some self-defense moves because neither had wanted to cut their hair. And now that Ice was married and had her baby, she was looking pretty rosy and fine, indeed. Eton was glad she hadn’t had to cut her hair. Something was just so very feminine about long hair. At least for him. It was always one of the first things he noticed about a woman. And, in this case, Sammy had beautiful hair. The fact that she’d been struggling with the lug nuts had also given her some bright pink cheeks and wispy hair. All in all, she was quite refreshing. Yet sadly, it was so not the right time for dating.

Shifting into Drive, he pulled back onto the country road. Following the GPS, he noted he was behind her for most of the way. As she headed into the small village that she’d described and then took a right, his turn was only two driveways past hers. Hers appeared to be more of a mainstream side road though, so he wasn’t sure how far up she went. He followed the main road until he got to his turn and took it, then drove another two miles and took a left up into the hills.

As he went farther into the trees, he approved of the location. Quiet, private, easy to track from overhead, with lots of cover, in case somebody was coming after them on foot. That was never a good thing, but it also gave them a lot of cover to go after somebody too. So it was a balance. As he rounded a corner, he saw a chalet built into the hillside. He pulled up beside the other vehicle and, grabbing his duffel bag, hopped out and headed inside.

He suspected someone would be here, and he hoped like hell it wouldn’t be Garret. It was one thing to have your good friend here, but another thing completely when your good friend just got out of the hospital, after being in a coma for far too long. Eton walked to the door and knocked hard, then knocked again. When it was unlocked from the inside, he pushed it open and stepped in. Sure enough, there was Garret, a huge grin on his face. Eton dropped his bag and started swearing at him.

But instead of swearing back or having anything to say, Garret walked over and gave Eton a big hug. “Love you too, man,” he said.

Eton hugged him hard, then stepped back. Looking at his buddy, he said, “Dammit, Garret. You should be back in that hospital.” He wouldn’t even give Garret a chance to respond. “Why the hell are you here? You should be resting.”

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