But she didn’t want him.
“No. It won’t work between us. Taylor doesn’t trust me, and I don’t know how to change that.”
“Well, get your butt to Hawaii and prove her wrong.”
“It’s not that easy, Dad.”
The buzzing of his phone forestalled any further argument. He pulled it out of his pocket and checked the display. A text from an unknown number. He tapped the screen and it opened up, revealing a photograph.
Fuck. His hand shook with shock and rage, the image of Taylor held by Mr. Clean in grotesque HD swimming before his eyes. The message below the picture read: Bring what I want. Come alone. Tomorrow. 2 pm. @JG.
Anger rushed through him, casting a hazy red film over his vision and buzzing in his ears. He took a deep breath. Another. Focusing his mind, pushing aside the distraction of his own fear. Training. Training. His training would get him through this and Taylor on a plane to Hawaii and a safe life.
“Lucky.” Jack was at his side, peering down at the phone’s screen. He gasped, grabbing it out of his hand to get a better look. “What the hell is going on?”
“What’s going on is that Eddie Wilkes wasn’t joking. He wants his money and he’s crazy enough to pull Taylor into this mess.”
“So what are you going to do?” Jack asked.
Lucky stood, his mind already taking this puzzle apart, running the million different ways to play this.
The son of bitch had taken Taylor.
There was only one way this was going to end.
“I’m going to kill Eddie Wilkes.”
“Teague, I need your help.”
Lucky barged into the law offices of William Teague Elliott III, bypassing a squawking Jerline to bust through the inner office door. Teague looked up from the desk, an eyebrow quirked in interest over the frames of the glasses he wore. Not easily rattled, he placed his pen down and eased back in his chair before he responded. His voice was even but barely civil in tone, and Lucky knew this was going to be a hard conversation. He braced himself for impact.
“Most people make an appointment, Lucky, but feel free to just stroll on in and explain what the hell you’re talking about.”
“Eddie Wilkes has Taylor.”
Teague leaped to his feet, his chair hitting the back wall with a loud thump and the crunch of punctured drywall. “Why does Eddie Wilkes have my sister?”
“I was looking for a missing woman—Sarah Morgan. She worked for Wilkes and took off with a bunch of his money. He wanted me to find her and get his money back.”
“How much?” Teague came around the desk, his hands tightly fisted at his sides, his whole body vibrating with his anger. He’d always admired Teague’s ability to mask his emotions, and this break in his armor was unnerving.
“Two hundred thousand dollars.”
“If I don’t get the money to him”—his voice broke a little on his words and he didn’t bother to hide it—“if I don’t, he’ll hurt her. I’m sure of it.”
Lucky knew the punch was coming, but it still caught him off guard. Pain shot along his jaw, lighting up the darkness behind his closed lids like the Fourth of July. It wasn’t enough to bring him down, but it rang his bell and Teague was able to get in a couple more blows before he was able to raise his hands and shove him away. They stood facing each other, squared off like enemies. It was hard to believe they’d ever been friends. He couldn’t blame Teague for his reaction. Lucky had fucked this up. Big time.
Lucky swallowed, his anger at his own stupidity threatening to close his throat as he wiped the blood trickling from the cut in his lip. He should have ended this long ago, should have never allowed Taylor to take the job at the Jolly Gent. Should have never let this thing get to this point.
“Look, I know you’re pissed at me, but this isn’t about our friendship.”
Teague snorted, his derision etched into the lines around his mouth.
“This is about getting Taylor back safe and sound. Our shit needs to wait until later.”
“This is your fault.”
“If you’d kept your hands off her, this would have never happened.” Teague advanced on him again, his fierce expression faltering from anger a little as he continued. “You used my sister as a booty call, Lucky. Why couldn’t you just leave her alone?”