Hi peeps! We have J.M. Dabney stopping by today with the blog tour for her latest release Joker, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Joker, what a misnomer, but Jackson Webb’s friends were idiots. He’d joined Executioners almost three years earlier after the lead singer King caught him playing his guitar behind his garage. It broke up the monotony of his life, but once he got bored, he’d move on to another distraction. He wasn’t nice. He sure as hell wasn’t friendly. He was what he was, his friends handled his attitude and standoffish nature just fine. At thirty-eight he was pretty sure he was too stuck in his ways to change shit now.
Demetri “Dem” Urban was settling into a new life in the middle of nowhere. Okay, he was hiding from everyone in a kitchen as far removed from his five-star kitchen back in New York as he could get. Gideon invited him to stay with him and his wife for a while just until he could get everything back on track. He didn’t see it happening, but he had to admit the scenery wasn’t bad even if the man had the personality of a rabid, man-eating bear. Dem did like a challenge and that fit Joker Webb perfectly.
Author’s Note: This story contains scenes of a violent nature, mentions of rape and torture (All off page from characters pasts) and severe abuse. If you, as a reader, find this objectionable or triggering in any way, you can skip this story without losing the transition to the next book.
Joker Could Make Lucifer Piss Himself
Sun shone bright, birds chirped, and Jackson Webb hated every second of it. He crossed his muscled arms across his chest. He watched Deputy Wren Gramble-Trenton with an arched, pierced brow. The man’s jaw clenched in frustration as Wren stared at him. As even tempered as Wren was, the man had one hell of a temper Wren hid pretty well.
Wren was a little above average height, had a stocky frame, but the man was downright beautiful. Model perfection from his perfect dark hair to the tip of his uniform shoes. He liked the guy. Wren was married to Hunter and Linus Trenton, how they made that threesome shit work, boggled his damn mind.
“Joker, come on, don’t fight me on this.”
“I didn’t do nothing.” If he were the smiling type, he’d have grinned at his own lie.
He didn’t regret what he did, and given the chance, he’d do it again. One warning seemed generous when it came to that fucker. No one put their hands on a woman, especially not in his presence. Ghost, Harper’s husband, would’ve done the same. No one fucked with his best friend, Harper, on his watch. She didn’t do anything to anybody. Just because she wasn’t born in the right body didn’t give someone the right to make her feel less than. He didn’t care if the stupid fucker was new in town or not.
“You sent a man to the hospital.”
“He didn’t listen to me.” Which was true enough.
“He barely put a fingertip on Harper.”
“I told him not to touch her, he didn’t listen, so I broke the finger.”
Okay, he’d broken more than one finger, but, fuck, they’d heal. It wasn’t like he’d broken the bastard’s neck like he’d wanted to do.
Wren’s lips twitched. It paid that one of his friends was married to a cop.
Maybe not, Wren reached for his cuffs.
“Harper and Ghost are on call to post bail.”
Fuck, he hated when his best friends had to come bail him out. It wasn’t like no one knew he was an asshole. He was broken, damaged goods. He always had this theory that he wasn’t meant to be born. Someone, as fucked up as him, should’ve barely been a footnote, and he shouldn’t have survived to make everyone around him miserable.
He clenched his back teeth. He was tired of everyone trying to fix him or thinking they knew what was best for him. Knowing what and who he was, were the first steps in accepting the shit he couldn’t change.
“I got a job waiting for me. And Killer needs to eat. Come get me in a few hours.”
“Joker, don’t make this harder than it has to be.”
He pointed at Wren. “I gave that fucker fair warning. I showed restraint.”
“How did you—”
“First, I told him not to look at her or I’d take his fucking eyes out, but I only broke his finger.”
“You know you—”
“Yeah, yeah, you going to arrest me or not, Wren?”
“Put out your hands, I know you ain’t gonna give me your back. We gotta play this by the rules, you know Pelter doesn’t play. He’s strict and doesn’t deviate from the book.”
He just held out his hands and let Wren cuff him. He looked around at the crowd that had started to gather. He tilted his head as one spectator, in particular, caught his attention. The guy was one of those men that drew attention just by being. People like that pissed him off. The man’s blue eyes shimmered with laughter, and one corner of his lush lips was pulled into a half-smile.
A rumble rolled up from deep in his chest.
“I wasn’t doing nothing.” He didn’t bother giving Wren his attention. He continued to glare at the stranger. The bastard didn’t pay him one bit of attention, just stood there with that fucking smile on his face. He hated being made fun of or belittled. He’d admit it to anyone, he was crazy, not stupid.
“Can we get this freak show over, I got to get back to work. Doesn’t my chariot await and all that bullshit?” He jerked his head around to Wren.
“Asshole.” Wren chuckled and shook his head.
“That’s nothing new.”
Wren opened the door for him, and he slid into the back seat. He turned his gaze back to the gorgeous brunet leaning against the front of Heidi’s Diner. He snarled as the man raised his hand and waved.
“Don’t even think about killing Dem.”
“Would I do that?”
“Your penchant for violence is legendary.”
“Who’s Dem?” He knew who Dem was, but decided to pretend to be clueless, Ghost and Harper talked about the man all the time. Dem this, Dem that, they made it out like the man was a saint. There wasn’t anyone in existence that was as perfect as they appeared.
He rarely paid attention to anyone or gave many people a second thought. The stories he’d heard about Dem fascinated him.
He understood there were happy people in the world and he’d briefly studied the picture Ghost had of Dem on his mantle. The man had rainbow streamers on a pair of arm crutches, a big red clown nose, and even from the picture, it was clear the man was laughing.
“Yeah, he’s staying with Ghost and Harper for a while, working as a cook for Heidi. I’m surprised the amount of time you spend out at Ghost and Harper’s place you haven’t met him yet.”
He didn’t like strangers, so he’d avoided going out to Ghost’s farm. He didn’t like the way the picture of Demetri made him feel and the more distance between them, the better. Also, his best friends were newly married, they needed their space. They didn’t need people hanging around while they got their shit together.
He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, he’d slept better since Harper gave him a puppy. At five months old, she was a badass beast at almost three pounds. He normally kept Killer in his hoodie pocket, but today he’d left her at home. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but he missed her.
She liked their motorcycle rides best from her spot in his backpack. The micro dog turned out to be the best and only present he had ever been given. He’d put up a bit of a fight when Harper gave Killer to him, but he snatched her as quickly as possible and hid her away in his hoodie pocket. Putting distance between Harper and Ghost in case they gave her to him and then tried to take her away. He hated that he thought that way about his friends, but he hadn’t wanted to take the chance.
The trip to the building that housed the Sheriff’s department took no more than ten minutes, and he opened his eyes as Wren stopped the cruiser. Wren came around the vehicle, opened the door, and thankfully the man didn’t touch him. He was getting tired of his skin crawling. The rage that always simmered right below the surface was ready to explode. He slipped from the back seat and headed for the front doors. They’d let him go—they always did.
Joker never meant to get angry, it just happened. It had been that way his entire life. He didn’t doubt he was broken since his mother got pregnant. Everyone around there knew what he was—a product of rape. His mother, Mary, from what he remembered, was a sweet and beautiful girl, soft spoken and selfless. His father had taken away her innocence at thirteen. Her obsessively devout parents forced her to marry her rapist.
His mother never told him, he hadn’t known until after she’d disappeared when he was eight, and four years later, he had found her journals. She’d loved him though, wrote it on the faded pages, mixed in with things she’d dreamed about, and knew she’d never have. The nightmares were there as well, every demeaning and horrendous act she’d endured at the hands of his father made clear in black ink on lined pages.
She was twenty-one when she’d left, they said she’d packed up and just took off in the middle of the night. He’d known different. She never would’ve left him with his evil bastard of a father. He knew his father had killed her. No one had listened to him after he learned of the Hell his mother went through, and he’d told or tried to tell Sheriff Thorpe at the time. No one stepped in when he couldn’t hide the bruises or whip marks, he lost count of broken bones and stitches before his fifteenth birthday.
And then he’d—
“What the hell is he doing here,” Sheriff Camden Pelter hollered through his open office door.
Sheriff Pelter was dark skinned and massive, his shoulders would easily fill a doorway. They’d learned he was Scary’s cousin, one of the owners of Brawlers Bar outside town. The two men didn’t look alike except for their size. Pelter was dark where Scary was lighter, and Pelter looked ten years younger than his mid-forties.
He liked Pelter. The man was fair and didn’t seem to overlook the small-minded bullshit in Powers, but being the first black Sheriff in town couldn’t be easy when some of the so-called upstanding citizens hated the man got the job.
Thorpe had let shit go without even a slap on the wrist too easily. The man’s nephew had tortured Harper for years, and everyone knew about it. Stopping it had ended in Bill taking his last breath. He didn’t and wouldn’t regret he’d protected Harper, no matter what anyone thought of him. The more people who thought he was dangerous, the fewer people he had to deal with.
“You told me to bring him in.”
“When have you ever listened to me?” Joker was amused, but he knew it didn’t show.
“You cuffed him? Why did you…screw it, take them off and bring him in here.”
He held out his hands for Wren to remove the cuffs.
“I know you’re laughing at me.”
“Would I do that, Wren?”
“You so fucking would. Go on.”
He nodded and ambled across the room and stepped into Pelter’s office, and closed the door behind him. Pelter leaned on the edge of the desk. He didn’t like when people stood over him, so he stayed standing with his back against the door.
“What the hell am I going to do with you, Joker,” Pelter asked as the larger man folded his arms over his massive chest.
“Let me go.”
“Listen, I’ve read your files and your—” He knew what Pelter was going to say, and he didn’t want to hear it. He’d left that shit behind sixteen years ago when he’d stepped out of prison.
“He’s not my anything.”
“Fine, I’ve read it all. You were charged as an adult in your—his death. Why it wasn’t ruled justifiable, I don’t know because if a case ever called for dismissal, it was yours. I just can’t have you running around town acting as a vigilante. Thorpe is dead, I’m the Sheriff now. I won’t let things go or overlook them. You don’t have to be a one-man army to take out every abusive significant other, or bigot in town. I need you to let me do my job.”
“You’re doing a shit one.”
“Joker.” Pelter groaned and scrubbed his hands over his face.
“Thorpe may be dead, but his rules are still applying. Every bastard who thinks they can put their hands on women and children are still feeling like they’re bulletproof. Every bigot still believes they can vandalize someone’s home, business or can jump them when they’re minding their own business.”
“Please just let me handle things, Joker. It’s hard enough trying to prove I’m different than Thorpe. It’s like a fucking nightmare.”
“I won’t make promises.”
“I didn’t think you would. Get out.”
He didn’t wait to be dismissed again, he surged away from the door, threw it open and headed for the nearest exit. He had a job waiting for him, and Killer would be ready for her dinner. She liked her routine just like him, it kept him focused on something other than his past and the nightmares. Because Garnet Webb may be dead, but he was alive and well in his head.
J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. She lives with a constant diverse cast of characters in her head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. she lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure she does them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and she makes sure her characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more she wants from telling her stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.