Chapter 6 of Bullet Rain. The whole thing should be out very soon.
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Nova saw the punch coming. After all, he had been expecting it, had been baiting it, and would have been greatly disappointed had it not come.
The guy was right-handed and put everything he had into the punch.
Nova ducked it easily enough, the guy’s fist inches from his face, and immediately stepped in and kneed the guy in the balls. As the guy bent forward, Nova grabbed his hair and smashed his head against the bar top.
By then the guy’s two friends were already coming at Nova, and Nova turned to meet them, squaring his shoulders, deciding which one to take out first. One had a goatee and a nose which had clearly been broken many times, while the other had a shaved head and a tattoos on his arms.
Nova figured Tattoo was the weaker of the two, so as they hurried forward, he stepped toward Goatee.
Goatee feinted a left cross but ended with a right hook instead. It caught Nova off guard, despite the fact he had used a similar ploy countless times in the past. Goatee’s fist connected with Nova’s jaw, then immediately Goatee went for Nova’s solar plexus, hammering it hard.
Nova stepped back, blocked the next blow, leaned in and used his elbow against Goatee’s throat. As the man started to go down, Tattoo kicked Nova in the back of the knee. Nova started to stumble, managed to stay on his feet, but by the time he turned Tattoo was there with a quick one-two punch at Nova’s face.
Nova stumbled back into a table. Tattoo came at him again, and Nova deflected the next several punches before managing to get in a right hook. It sent Tattoo flying back into another table, tipping it over and sending several beer bottles crashing to the floor.
Other patrons in the bar had risen to their feet, but none looked ready to step in just yet, waiting to see how this played out. From the speakers a country singer sang about his dog and his pickup truck and some girl named Marlene.
Nova turned back to check on the first guy when another punch came directly at his head. He turned his face at the last instant, enough so that the fist didn’t shatter his nose, but still blood blossomed everywhere. Nova turned back, meaning to charge the guy, when suddenly he was grabbed from behind in a sleeper hold.
This had to be Goatee. Nova was faintly aware of the scars on the arms holding him in place. He didn’t even bother fighting the hold, knowing that would only waste his energy. The arm on his throat tightened, and Nova steeled himself, ready for what came next.
Which, as it turned out, was the first guy, his head bleeding, walking right up to him.
“Told you I’d rearrange your face, didn’t I?”
The guy never had a chance. As he raised his fist, Nova leaned back into Goatee and lifted his feet and kicked straight out. His shoes connected with the guy’s chest, toppling him over, just as gravity sent Nova and Goatee crashing into another table.
More beer sloshing the ground, more bottles shattering, a faint sense of glass pebbles biting into his arm. As Goatee struggled to his feet, Nova stayed where he was on the dirty floor, just waiting until Goatee stood up fully and turned to him, and then Nova kicked Goatee straight on his shin.
The desired effect was nearly nauseating—the bone snapping, Goatee crying out as he hit the floor—and Nova was back on his feet just as Tattoo charged at him. Nova gave it a second, waiting for the guy, and he used the guy’s momentum to grab him and throw him into another table.
He heard a shoe crunch something behind him and immediately ducked another blow, then reached out and grabbed the first guy’s throat and swept his legs out from under him, throwing him to the ground, the back of the guy’s head bouncing off the dirty floor.
“I told you,” Nova said, “nobody likes an asshole,” and he raised his fist to smash the guy’s face when suddenly a gunshot went off.
All at once everything went still. The country music kept going, but everyone else had stopped moving—had even stopped breathing—for the second or two it took to focus their attention on the door and the old man in a brown police uniform and his sidearm aimed at the ceiling.
“What the hell is going on in here?” he said.