He turned quickly, standing up and looming over her, the vehemence in his face catching her off guard. His hands fisted at his sides, white-knuckled, clenching and unclenching in a pulsing rhythm. She’d seen him irritated before, but never this angry. The change was disconcerting.
“Taylor, do you have any idea how dangerous that was tonight?” He stared at her, blue eyes blazing, and she was too shocked to answer him. “If any of those assholes had gotten their hands on you or had a weapon—”
His words broke off in a growl as he swiped the ball cap off his head and dragged rough fingers through his hair. His chest heaved and he gulped in ragged breaths in a clear effort to calm himself down and get some control. She let his breathing even out a little more before she reached for him through the bars. He left her hanging.
“Lucky, I’m fine, and you were there to protect me. I was never worried.”
“Well, you should have been.”
“I wasn’t.” Since he refused to touch her, she put her caress in her tone and hoped it calmed him down. “We had a plan and it was working out fine. Hell, even our preparation for what to do if trouble broke out went according to plan. Stop beating yourself up. I’m a grown woman.”
“Yeah? Well, then you should know better than to take such a crazy risk for nothing.”
“It wasn’t for nothing. I was trying to help you find Sarah.”
“How can you be so damn carefree about every single thing?”
“How can you be so cautious all the time?”
“Because I’ve learned that actions have consequences and someone always has to pay!”
She opened her mouth to respond but stopped when the sheriff, Teague and Beck entered the room.
Teague raked over her appearance, his deep frown causing a groove to form between his eyebrows. Suddenly, she was self-conscious standing there in garish stage makeup and dishwater gray, jail-issued clothing.
The sheriff stepped forward, pulling the keys from his belt and unlocking their cells, ushering them both out with brisk, impatient movements.
“You two can go.” Sheriff Burke didn’t look happy about letting them out, and he glared at Lucky over the rim of his reading glasses. “Your story checks out and I appreciate you giving me all the information you gathered.”
“Thank you, Sheriff,” they answered in unison. Taylor wasn’t sure if either of them could pull off a meek tone very well, but it seemed to pacify him for now.
“The bald guy, he matches the description of a guy who works for Eddie Wilkes,” Sheriff Burke said. “He’s a silent partner in lots of local businesses and we’re guessing he has an interest in the Gent.”
“Shit. That’s not good,” Lucky muttered as he rubbed his eyes.
“Who is Eddie Wilkes?” Teague asked.
“The closest thing Roanoke has to a mob boss. He’s a legitimate finance guy, owns banks and other things like that, but he also dabbles in drugs, theft, and the skin trade.” Lucky glanced at Taylor, the turn of his mouth becoming more rigid with every passing second. “Not a guy you want to notice you.”
The sweatshirt did nothing to stop the goose bumps from traveling over Taylor’s skin. She remembered the way the bald guy, Bruce, was looking at her up on stage and she knew what Lucky was thinking. She’d been noticed and tagged by one of Eddie’s goons.
The sheriff headed to the door, cutting a look between the chastened Lucky and the belligerent Teague. “If you boys are going to fight this out, get it out of my house or I’ll lock you up until the morning shift.”
With the adult supervision gone, Teague was quick to get to the point, as usual.
“What the hell was my sister doing at the Jolly Gent in the middle of a raid?”
Taylor opened her mouth to answer, but she realized the question wasn’t directed at her. It was like she wasn’t even there.
Teague was openly hostile now, edging into Lucky’s taller frame and deliberately invading his personal space. Beck stood by, watching them closely and placing his keys in his pocket as if he were preparing to keep his hands free—just in case.
“She was helping me with a case I’m working on for Jack.” Lucky crossed his arms, his expression mulish, his words clipped, and more than matching her brother in aggression.