Zane’s stomach lurched at the thought. Ty wasn’t the happy escape Becky had been for him. He might never offer Zane the warmth and light Becky once had, but Zane knew Ty would be there in the dark. In the last twenty-four hours, Zane had lost sight of that, blinded by the anger.
“Where would he go?” Liam asked as he led them through the hallways, looking for a back exit.
“You’re asking us to think like Ty?” Owen snorted. “I don’t think that’s possible; my brain isn’t powered by squirrels on treadmills.”
Nick shook his head, unbuttoning his bloody shirt as he walked. He shrugged out of it and dumped it into a hamper in the hallway. The others followed suit, discarding as much of their bloody clothes as they could in various nooks and crannies they passed on their way out.
“He’d go where they’d least expect,” Nick said.
“Somewhere public?” Digger asked.
“The hotel, maybe. The rooms are still under your name, they can’t be traced to Ty or Garrett,” Owen said to Nick.
“That’s how they found him to start with,” Nick growled. “He’s familiar with this city, there’s no telling what kind of places he knows.”
Zane inhaled sharply. “Ava.”
Nick looked over his shoulder at Zane, eyebrows raised. “Maybe so. If he didn’t go back there for help, maybe she’ll know where he would go.”
“He doesn’t know Ava’s the one who called her father.”
Nick stopped short, and Zane almost barreled into him. “Wait, she what?”
Zane huffed. “She’s the one who called her father. She hoped Ty would go up against him and take him out.”
“That chick’s all wrong, man,” Digger whispered.
The change that came over Nick O’Flaherty was almost frightening. His face hardened, his eyes going a deep, striking green when he lowered his head. He glanced at Owen and Digger, and both men nodded at some unspoken communication.
Nick headed off toward the exit, Owen and Digger on his heels.
“Oh dear,” Liam said with a sigh.
“What the hell just happened?” Zane asked.
“You flipped the wrong switch in that one. I think we’ve just landed the job of white knight,” Liam grumbled. He started after them at a jog. “Let’s go save the girl from the rabid Yank Marines.”
They double-timed it from the hospital, skirting the edges of the confusion and panic that was now the French Quarter, and headed for Marigny and Frenchmen Street. Nick kept looking down each street as they ran by, both hoping to see signs of Ty’s passing and praying he didn’t. The chaos meant the pursuit had been hard and fast, and it seemed to have encompassed two or three blocks.
Ty had made a worthy chase of it, at least.
Nick hoped the calm of the latter regions meant that Ty had gotten away and blended into the scenery, rather than getting caught.
“What’s the reach on these ear buds?” Zane asked. He refused to slow down, and for once Nick was glad for the man’s stubbornness.
“You got to be in a mile range of the hand unit,” Digger answered. “If Ty’s got his unit on him, we should be able to hear him and he should be able to hear us.”
“So we can’t hear him, that means he dropped his radio?” Owen asked.
“Or his ear bud. Or he went into the drink. Or he’s underground. Or he’s behind lots of concrete. Or somewhere the signal’s getting jacked.”
“What? They ain’t military grade. Damn.”
“Have any of you actually tried contacting him?” Liam asked.
They had to stop at Esplanade to wait for the heavy traffic. Nick put a finger to his ear and pulled the hand unit out, holding it up for the best reception he could give it. “Grady?”
They all waited, breathing shallowly to better hear.
All Nick received was the buzzing of radio silence in his ear.
“Maybe he’s hiding,” Zane said. “Maybe he can’t talk.”
“Yes, we’ll go with that,” Liam said, sarcasm dripping from his words.
Nick stared at him for a long moment, and when Liam met his eyes, Nick hit him. Liam tumbled to the sidewalk as everyone else watched impassively.
Digger patted Nick’s shoulder. “Me too, brother.”
Liam sat up and wiped a hand over his mouth. “Do you feel better?”
“A little,” Nick said. The signal changed and they hustled across the street after Zane helped Liam to his feet.
When they reached La Fée Verte, the bar was closed down. Zane banged on the door and shouted for Ava to open it, but they got no response.
“The f**king place has no ground floor windows,” Owen said as they all examined the façade of the building for any point of entry.
“It’s all right, lads, daddy’s here,” Liam drawled. He stepped up to the door, digging in the backpack he was carrying.
“What are you doing?” Nick asked.
“Blowing your mind, love.” Liam pulled out two small squares of off-white clay.
“Is that C4?” Zane asked.
“PE4, thank you very much.” Liam molded the plastic explosive against the hinges of the door.
“You don’t really understand going under the radar, do you?” Nick grumbled.
“You Recon boys sneak under the radar,” Liam said as he set the charges. “The Special Air Service gets shit done.”
Owen raised an eyebrow at Nick. “If you want to hit him again, I’ll hold him down.”
“Maybe later,” Nick said. They all moved away and threw themselves against the wall.
Liam lit the charges and then hustled down the wall, flattening himself at Zane’s side. The blast was small, and the sound was almost entirely covered by the racket of the Easter festivities and the live bands warming up nearby.
Zane was at the door before the smoke even cleared, kicking it off its destroyed hinges.
“You’re welcome!” Liam called after him. “Good lord, to watch him you’d think Ty gave reward blowjobs for being rescued.”
They streamed into the bar one after the other, clearing the room. Zane had already found Ava by the time Nick entered, grabbing her before she could barricade herself in the office. Zane held her around the waist as she struggled.
Nick stalked up to her and grabbed her chin, forcing her to look at him.
“Where are they?”
She was breathing hard, gritting her teeth. “I don’t know.”