- Author: Gail Dayton
Book online «Knight In Black Leather Gail Dayton (classic books for 12 year olds .TXT) 📖». Author Gail Dayton
KNIGHT IN BLACK LEATHER
A chance meeting on the dark winter streets of Pittsburgh brings widow Marilyn Ballard face to face with streetwise young biker Eli Court when he scares off a trio of wannabe gangsters. Later, she returns the favor, rescuing him from a beating, and their encounter becomes a chance to grow and heal from the pain scarring both their lives.
Marilyn's family disapproves of the relationship because of Eli's disreputable past, as well as their age difference. That past life--years spent in the deepest cesspools of the city--reaches out to pull Eli back into its depths, and he fears dragging Marilyn down with him. But she refuses to let him face his past enemies alone, even when his vow to protect a young boy exposes the still-open wounds of her heart, and puts them all in danger. Can they build a new life together, or will those long-denied secrets pull them under?
Knight in Black Leather
Copyright 2011 by Gail Shelton
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or publisher except for the use of brief quotations in critical articles or reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, businesses, characters and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events or locales is purely coincidental.
Table of Contents
About the Author. . . 196
To my family in Pittsburgh. Thanks for introducing us.
The woman didn't belong. She was as out of place in the dark winter streets of this part of Pittsburgh as a poodle in the jungle. More so, since there was a chance the poodle might have a dog instinct or two buried deep down in its psyche somewhere.
Eli Court deliberately looked away. She wasn't his problem. He had other business to take care of. Important business. The most important stuff was done, but he still had a loose end or two to tie up. He shrugged deeper into his coat wishing the leather had a little more insulation, and propped a foot against the aged brick behind him.
She walked down the street like it was broad daylight out in Squirrel Hill or wherever it was she lived. She didn't have a clue what was around her, digging in her purse for something as she walked. Probably her keys. The streetlight sent glittery sparks through her dark hair as she passed beneath it, white in the almost black. She wasn't as young as he'd first thought. And why in hell was he watching her again?
Eli dragged his attention back where it belonged. She'd first caught his eye because she didn't fit the gray crumbling desperation of the neighborhood, but he didn't know why she kept pulling him back. She was anything but hot. Her hair was undyed, her body unsculptured, her face bore a bare minimum of makeup, if she wore any at all.
Maybe that was it. She looked real. Like what you saw was what you would get if you knew her. She looked...soft. Kind. Gentle. All those words Eli barely remembered.
And Eli had as much chance of knowing her as that poodle had of surviving the jungle. One look at him and she'd be backing away, pulling that dark green trench coat tight so it wouldn't brush against him and get contaminated. Her eyes would narrow and her lips would curl like she smelled something bad. He'd seen that expression before. Too many times.
He leaned back against the wall and folded his arms, giving up the fight. He'd watch her until she got to her car and drove away, back to her safe suburban world. The guy he was waiting for wouldn't show up for a while yet.
When the junior-age street punks came out of the narrow gap between the old narrow houses, Eli was moving before they approached the woman. They were on her quickly, two of them, grabbing for the purse she instinctively clutched to her.
"Hey, Mama, whatchu got in there?" The tall one in gang colors moved into her space, backing her up.
"I'm not your Mama," she said, sounding amazingly calm, "and if I were, it still wouldn't be any of your business."
"That's right." Eli stepped up behind her. "I don't have a clue what's in your purse, do I, Mama?"
She whirled around, startled. Eli slung his arm over her shoulders, hoping to keep her quiet, hoping she'd follow his lead. She was almost as tall as he was.
"No, you do not." Her crisp voice made him grin.
He let the grin go feral as he looked at the others. "I know you guys don't want to go bothering my mama now, do you? Not when she's come down here just to visit me."
The gangbanger wanna-bes looked for a minute as if they wanted to argue, until Eli showed them the truth in his eyes. He would not allow them to harm this woman, whatever he had to do to prevent it. Whatever he had to do.
"Sure, dog." The tall one spread his hands as he eased away. "No problem. We didn't know she was your mama. We're cool."
When they were gone, the woman turned to look at Eli. Her gaze raked him head to toe and back again as she stepped away from his arm. Eli waited for the sneer.
She smiled, as if at a small, private joke. "I don't believe I'm your mama, either. I'd definitely have remembered spanking that backside."
Eli couldn't hold back the bark of laughter. "Come on, Mom. Let's find your car."
Now her eyes narrowed. "Why?"
"So you can get the hell out of here before those idiots come back with all their homies." Eli took her elbow and hustled her down the street in the direction she'd been going. "What are you doing here after dark anyway? Do you have a death wish?"
She sighed. "Sometimes I wonder.