Justice Page 67

Anger tingled through Justice. ’’Do you know how much I hate the stink of it?’’

Tiger walked onto the largest mat, faced him and tore his shirt over his head. He tossed it far enough to hit the floor at the edge of the training area. ’’Tell us about it. We have to smell you for days.’’

Brass removed his shirt and stepped onto the mat. ’’He\s sure pretty though. Did you see the cover of that fitness magazine they put him on? I was impressed.’’ He chuckled. ’’That suit covers his muscles though, doesn\ it? It didn\ make him look in shape unless sitting behind a desk is a strong workout.’’

Anger burned brighter at their teasing as Justice dropped the tie, removed his jacket and his shirt. He added to the pile of clothing until he stood in his boxer briefs. ’’I didn\ model for that. They took a picture of me at the charity event and slapped it on there.’’

He took a menacing step toward them. ’’You really want to do this?’’ His fists clenched.

’’You should hang your suit over the barbells over there. It will wrinkle.’’ Brass snorted. ’’It would be on the evening news if you wore clothes with creases that weren\ put there by an iron. It would make us look bad.’’

A snarl tore from Justice and Tiger threw the first punch. His blow hit Justice in the shoulder and he reacted by kicking out, hitting his friend in the hip and sending him flying to land on his ass. Brass growled, crouched low and Justice lunged. Their bodies tangled, hit the floor and the fight was on. They exchanged some body blows from forearms, threw each other around and Justice finally tossed Brass away from him.

Brass rolled on the mat and Tiger dived at Justice. He rolled out of the way, shoved up to his feet and turned in time to punch Brass as he came at him too.

The three of them fought, returned blow for blow, avoiding each other\s faces, and mixed it up with some kick-boxing and wrestling. Brass dropped out first after Justice put him on his ass. Panting, he held up his arms, done. Tiger snarled and launched at Justice but he was ready for the move. He sidestepped, ducked and threw out an arm to nail the male who had missed him by inches. Tiger hit the mat on his back, groaned and stared up at him.

’’I give,’’ Tiger said and lifted his hands.

Sweat poured off Justice as he stood there, stared down at his friends and realized he\d carry some bruises for days. The pain was good, he felt alive and some of his anger was gone.

Tiger turned his head to glance at Brass. ’’See why I told you to come with,’’ he rasped. ’’I could never beat him.’’

Brass groaned, rubbed one of his shoulders and nodded. ’’He might look civilized but he\s got a vicious fighting ability.’’

Tiger met Justice\s stare. ’’Feel better?’’

He did. ’’Yeah.’’

’’Do we have to do this every day?’’

’’Shit,’’ Brass muttered, ’’I hope not.’’

Tiger chuckled. ’’Me too. It\s easy to forget he\s more than a pretty face.’’

Justice shook his head. ’’You\ e trying to anger me again.’’

’’No, I\m teasing. It\s what friends do.’’

’’I thought we were getting our asses handed to us so he gets out his aggression.’’

Brass got to his knees, lifted up and stood. ’’That\s what friends do.’’ He walked closer and gripped Justice\s arm. ’’Don\ hold that shit inside. We\ e here for you. We\ll do this daily if you need to beat on someone.’’

’’Speak for yourself. I was kidding.’’ Tiger rolled, got to his feet and stretched, grimacing a little. ’’I need a hot bath and a female to kiss my bruises.’’ He turned to Justice and his smile faded. ’’Whatever is getting to you, either talk it out with us or deal with it. You aren\ yourself lately, you\ve kept things in and we\ e a family. Are you ready to share what is going on?’’

Justice clamped his mouth closed. Jessie wasn\ up for discussion.

’’That\s what I thought.’’ Tiger stepped in front of him and held his gaze. ’’I guess we\ll do this again tomorrow if you are in a bad mood. And the next day. However long it takes. Go home and quit scaring everyone. Take the rest of the day off.’’

’’Thank you.’’ Justice meant it, glancing at them both. ’’I needed this.’’

’’We know.’’ Brass dropped his arm. ’’Take the Jeep. The keys are over there near my boots.’’

Justice showered quickly in the locker room, dressed and waved to his friends as he left. He grabbed the keys but knew returning to his office wasn\ going to happen. The fighting had helped but rage still burned in his soul. He was angry at life, angry that Jessie had thrown him out and that he\d lost her.

He took the private road to his house because he didn\ want to deal with questions from the officers at the entrance to the Species section of why he was home midday. As he parked the borrowed vehicle in his driveway a sound made him turn and he watched with narrowed eyes as Jessie drove up the street, parked next door and avoided even glancing his way.

She ignored him and it pissed him off. He hesitated and glanced around. No one was within sight. He turned back to watch her saunter toward her door. He moved fast, kept his pace light and she never saw him as he came up behind her. She unlocked her door, opened it and stepped inside. She turned then, saw him and her eyes widened.

He stepped inside before she could react, his hand shot out to close the door and he kept his body between her and the alarm that would alert the officers to rush to her home. She wouldn\ be rid of him that easily again.


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