Home > Broken Wings (Broken Chains MC #3)

Broken Wings (Broken Chains MC #3)
Author: E.M. Lindsey

1

 

 

Kicks understood the concept of peace, but he hadn’t experienced it in so damn long, he wasn’t sure he remembered what it felt like anymore. His dreams had been plagued with adrenaline spikes—sending him bolting awake with his heart in his throat and his stomach heaving—for longer than he wanted to even think about.

Being with the Chains took some of the edge off it, of course. It gave him a purpose and a reason to keep going forward. It gave him an outlet for the pressure building inside him that convinced him one day, he would lose it. Entirely.

But he was damn well aware there was no cure. He would never be able to outrun his nightmares.

Kicks had grown up a military brat, nomadic for short bursts, then stuck in a strange town with a bunch of strange people he pretended to be friends with. He started different schools and rode bikes with kids who lived down the street and never told them that at any given moment, they’d be throwing their shit into a moving truck and heading to some new base. And he never did look back.

It was easier that way, especially when his dad was deployed. Those long stretches made him more antsy and a little meaner, while it made his brother more reckless and willing to do anything to keep their mom’s attention. He hated it. He hated the way he would wake up in the middle of the night and find his mom sitting in the living room with all the lights off, staring into space. He hated that she jumped every time the phone rang. He hated that his brother was such an asshole and never let her just breathe whenever months passed, and they didn’t hear from their dad.

He was smart enough to learn from an early age that it was the reason he never felt settled—why he put up with his brother’s bad temper and his mom’s apathy. It was why, when his dad finally came home for good, taking an office job in DC, Kicks just sort of accepted that the vicious man who replaced the one with laughter in his eyes was going to be his new normal.

The only thing steady in his life was that broken little family, and he would do anything in his power to keep them together.

And they weren’t bad people. At least, they never meant to be bad people. But it was hard to feel like they were good people when they spent hours screaming at each other. When Kicks smelled whiskey on his dad’s breath. When his brother dropped out of school and no one cared.

His dad was a lifer, he knew that much. He’d heard it on the lips of his parents and their friends. It was usually accompanied by laughter and a lot of room temperature beer and surreptitious looks his way because he was the only one of the two kids with any potential.

“You’re gonna be just like your old man, aren’t you?” someone had asked him once. He didn’t remember the guy’s name. He was some big-shouldered white dude with a shaved head and a smile that looked plastic.

“Emilio thinks he’s gonna be a scientist,” his dad joked—because it was something he’d talked about once when he’d won second place in the state for the science fair. And he’d been proud until his dad had spent the next six months subtly digging at him for being a ‘fuckin’ nerd’.

He joined the baseball team his sophomore year just to shut him up, and his dad let up a little bit, but it didn’t go anywhere. Three weeks before the championship, his dad got transferred to California, and Emilio had long-since stopped feeling anything when he watched the town fade behind them.

Still, that life was the last thing in the world he wanted. While his friends dreamed of making it big in Hollywood or becoming some asshole professional athlete—or hell, even ones that wanted to join NASA and work on the space station—Kicks dreamed of a house. Of owning a home with a little fence and maybe a dog. He dreamed of a life where he wasn’t living out of half-unpacked boxes and making sure all his clothes fit into two duffle bags. His idea of paradise was a little patch of land on the edge of a small town where everyone knew everyone, and people smiled when he walked by.

Not that he ever told anyone that, and of course, he never really believed he was destined to have that future. Not with the way his dad started pushing the ROTC. Not with the way his old man’s dark eyes fixed on his and the way his slurred voice told him, “You gotta keep the legacy, boy. God knows your brother ain’t gonna do it.”

The day he signed his papers for basic was the day he knew he’d sold his soul. His dad had retired to a desk job only because he’d blown out his knee on a bad landing during a jump, and there was no coming back from it. He’d looked at his son and muttered something about it being his turn now, and well…he’d never quite figured out how to tell that old man no.

He knew what was coming after that. The stress, the pain, the long stretches of absolutely nothing. The expectation to die for people who didn’t give a fuck about him—who would have thrown his ass to take fire while they saved their own. He was a nobody standing in a sea of nobodies knowing that if he made it out with his body in one piece, his mind probably wouldn’t be so lucky.

PTSD.

The four letters that made up the anger and fear and frustration and pain his father and all of the men and women he knew who had gotten out, was waiting for him. He looked at his old man like he was looking at his own future, and the very idea of it made him sick. He didn’t want any of that shit.

And he wanted to make sure he was unlike his old man in every way that counted. He fully embraced the mentality of don’t ask don’t tell—but he knew what it was like to want so much his mouth was dry every time someone ripped their shirt off. And he knew what it was like to lock the door to a pitch-black storage closet and feel a rough, calloused palm on his dick. He knew what it was like to muffle his grunts and be met with silence because the man he was kneeling in front of didn’t want to be reminded that Kicks’ body was a little bit too much like his.

None of it was fulfilling though. None of it was what he really wanted. There was a sort of aching need deep inside him that craved something else. He wanted to drop to his knees because the man he knelt for put him there. He wanted to feel rough hands in his hair with soft praises on their lips. He wanted to be held down and possessed because the person found him worthy of it.

And none of that was going to happen getting off next to a moldy mop and a bucket of stale water.

Especially not with all the shit outside waiting for him.

Of course, his life didn’t go the way his father’s did, and he wasn’t sure if that was a blessing or a curse. He was smart as fuck, so they tossed him at a base to work on their missile systems. He spent half his life going blurry-eyed staring at computer screens and learning code and how to hack into shit that would have gotten him straight-up murdered in the street if he didn’t have a name and rank that protected him.

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