Vanessa looked toward her son, her mouth opening and closing like a clam. “No. No one. Just a feeling.”
Lou put a plump finger to his lips. “Shh. The FBI is everywhere and so are their little spies.” He glared at Connor and Josie, hatred darkening his expression. “The big question right now is—what are we to do with these trespassers?”
Josie crossed her arms over her stomach and glared up at him. “I hear you’ve been out of the country. While your father took care of business.”
Lou advanced on her, the glint in his eyes raging like the earlier fire. “You’re trying so hard to rattle my chains, but I’m the one holding the gun, remember?”
“I can see that,” Josie replied, her gaze sweeping over the stout, dark-haired man. “But you see, you can’t do anything to help your father right now. If you tell us what you know, we can help you and your family. We’re guarding your father for that very reason.”
“Oh, you want me to turn, right?” Lou stomped in a frantic pacing. “You’re making up things, wanting me to think my father has agreed to protection from the FBI. That can’t happen. I’ve waited a long time to tell the FBI what it can do with its cameras and listening devices and its petty spies. Now’s my chance to do something. I came home to look after my father’s interests while he’s recovering.”
“Or you came home to finish the job,” Josie said in disgust. “I’m no fan of Louis Armond’s, but even I smell a rat in this room. You’ve been living off your daddy’s money for a long time now. But it’s kind of you to be so concerned that you came home to help out, especially since we couldn’t locate your mother or you when this happened.”
Lou grabbed her by the collar and brought her in front of him. “Hand me her gun,” he said to Beaux. With one weapon strapped over his shoulder, he waited for Beaux to hand him the other one.
The other man did as he asked, but Connor couldn’t take seeing Josie’s gun aimed at her head. He lunged, but Vanessa got in his way, her dainty, dirt-and-smut-covered shoe almost tripping him.
“My mother is very quick for her age, yes?” Lou said. He held Josie’s gun to her temple. “Sit down, Mr. Randall, or I will shoot her.”
Connor counted to ten and took a seat. He had to stay cool for Josie’s sake. “What do you want, Lou? You know you can’t escape. The first responders might not have noticed you, but the FBI and the locals will be here all night investigating the fire. They’ll move back to the house later, since the master bedroom is still a crime scene. This place will be full of lawmen in a few minutes.”
“I know that,” Lou replied. “That’s why I’m taking her with me.”
“No,” Beaux and Connor both shouted. But Connor knew it was too late. He could see it in Josie’s vivid, on-fire eyes. She wouldn’t go with this man because she knew she’d never return.
Josie waited until Lou had her almost out the door, then she looked back at Connor. That look was a call to action. She grunted with all her might, then elbowed Lou Armond, and in a split second, her booted foot rammed into his midsection.
Lou dropped her gun and went down in a scream of pain. Josie grabbed her weapon, then held it over Lou’s face before he could use his gun. “Let go of the rifle.”
He grunted and let the rifle drop beside him. Careful to keep her gun on him, Josie swooped down and kicked the rifle well away from his grasp.
Connor grabbed at Lou while Beaux went after Vanessa. Lou’s mother was shouting and kicking, but Beaux held on. “I got her,” he shouted. Then he growled in her ear, “Hush up, Mrs. A. I ain’t gonna hurt you.”
Lou let out a grunt, then started spouting profanity. “You’ll all regret this, I can promise you that. You have no reason to hold us, you got that? No reason, no proof, no search warrants, nothing. You’ve got nothing on us, you hear me? You’re breaking the law. My lawyer will see you in court.”
“I love visiting people in the courtroom,” Josie countered as she searched the room, her breath rasping. “I’ve got enough for now to at least take you both in for questioning. We found some interesting items in your daddy’s safe.”