I open my mouth to press for details, but Amy is already pleading Liam’s case again. “Liam’s one of the good guys. He helped me deal with Sheridan and that list of his allies you left for me. He hired a hit man and told Sheridan that if anything happened to me or anyone close to me, they would all be killed.”
Feeling the clock ticking, I grab her arms and pull her in front of me. “A hit man won’t stop Sheridan or anyone else on that list from using you against me when the time is right, and that time is now. You need to come with me. You can come back here when this is over.”
“When it’s over? Will it ever be over? I love you. I love you so much, but I’m not leaving Liam. If I’m wrong about him, I don’t care.”
Dread fills me, but my resolve is strong. “I don’t want to hurt you, little sis, but I can’t lose you either. Don’t make me take you by force.”
“You can’t do that. I won’t let you. He won’t let you. It’s my choice to stay, and I will suffer the consequences.”
“This is bigger than you and me and our personal wants and needs. If it wasn’t, I would have given them what they wanted a long damn time ago.” I set her aside, holding onto her arm, my gaze colliding with Liam’s. “We’re leaving.”
His jaw sets hard, his eyes glinting with steel. “Let me be crystal clear,” he replies crisply. “You’ll have to shoot me to get her away from me, in which case, Tellar will shoot you.”
“And risk putting Amy in the crossfire? Not a risk a man in love would take.”
“I’ve never met a trained sniper who couldn’t pick a target,” Tellar replies for him. “That includes me.”
I glance at him, a cynical twist to my lips. “Sniper?”
“That’s right,” he confirms. “And a very skilled one.”
“I’m a firm believer in karma, and that’s a heartless job that doesn’t scare me. It makes me want to shoot you.”
Amy grabs my arm. “Please. Stop. Let’s leave now. Together. In peace. Let Liam show you all of his research on Sheridan.”
The clock is ticking, and while I’d assumed Jared would return, he and Gia could as easily be sitting ducks in the truck as we are here in this hallway. “For Amy’s sake, I’ll review the information, but on my terms. We leave together, in my vehicle, and we go to a location of my choice where you can make your case. You can bring the research to that location.”
“We take two cars,” Liam counters, “and Amy stays with me.”
“Not a chance in hell,” I reply. “You could call Sheridan or someone else to intercept us.”
He hesitates a moment, then concedes, “We’ll take your vehicle but I want to know our destination.”
“An apartment I keep as a safe house near Rockefeller Center. You get nothing more.”
“Pick a public place.”
“Public is dangerous,” I argue.
“Private can be, too.”
“The Marriott Central Park,” I say, every second feeling like an hour. “There’s a bar with a view of the street and valet parking that can hold the vehicle by the door for the right cash.”
“Tellar drives. Amy’s in the back with us.”
“Agreed,” I state, “but we’re plus two: Jared, who you know, and Gia, the woman who tried to distract you from coming in the door.”
“And we should trust Gia why?” Tellar asks.
“Because I say so, Sniper,” I snap, getting to what matters. “I’m the black SUV in the delivery zone. The keys are still in the ignition. You take the front guard.” I raise my jacket, exposing my weapon. “I’ve got the rear.”
Tellar and Liam have some sort of silent exchange before Liam reaches for Amy, and I reluctantly release her, allowing him to move her in between him and Tellar. Tellar pushes open the door and inches part of the way outside, scanning to ensure a safe departure, before announcing, “We’re a go.”
Liam’s hands settle on Amy’s shoulders, urging her forward, but she glances around him at me and whispers, “Please don’t disappear.”
“I’m not going anywhere, little sis,” I promise a moment before Liam’s big body blocks her from view, and the three of them step outside. Staying tightly on Liam’s heels, I exit the building only seconds after him, scanning for danger, expecting to find Jared and Gia waiting in the SUV. By the time Tellar has safely escorted both Amy and Liam into the back seat of the vehicle, it’s clear Jared and Gia aren’t present, and a low burn is rising in my gut.
“Where’s your plus-two?” Tellar asks, as I join him at the back door.
“Good question,” I say, digging my phone from my front pocket. “Drive around the block until I figure out where to pick them up.”
I expect an argument. I get a nod and a quick “Understood,” that stirs suspicion, but then, what the hell doesn’t in my world.
Surveying the area once more, hoping for any sign of Jared and Gia and finding none, I enter the backseat and slam the door shut, already dialing Gia, certain Jared can fend for himself. I get her generic outgoing message. I try Jared and it goes straight to voice mail. I dial again and my phone beeps with a call I try to pick up, cursing when it seems to go dead too soon. “Fuck,” I curse, waiting for a message that isn’t registering. Leaning around Amy, I find Liam and ask, “Did you see where Gia went when she left you?”