“I’m just asking if there are holes where someone could slip through.”
I run a hand through my hair. “Nite is covering it.”
He nods. “Then I guess we’re done here,” He stands and walks over to the door.
“Bones?” I ask, and he pauses, turning to face me. “Set me up a meeting with Titan later on today,” I order.
“I’ll have him call you.” Then he exits the room, leaving the door open.
Nite enters immediately, and I look up at him. He stands before my desk, dressed in black dress pants and a white button-down. His shoulder holster has a gun on each side. I don’t doubt his loyalty. He’s proven it to this family once before.
We enter the cabin, and a man lies on the floor in the living room. His right hand grips his bloody left arm. A snake had bit him. He’s also bleeding from his right thigh. And a snake is still wrapped around his left ankle.
I remove my gun from my holster and shoot the snake, the bullet going right through his ankle. He screams out, his body jerking.
I reach down, grab the snake, and toss it to the corner of the room.
He looks up at me through watery eyes. He takes in my clothes, and how they are covered in Bernard’s blood. “You’ll pay for this.”
“Funny, that’s exactly what Bernard said.”
“Fucking pay!” he shouts. “They’ll find her.”
My hand tightens on the gun.
“They will fucking send her back to you in pieces!” he screams. “When they’re done with her, you won’t even have a body to identify.” He sucks in a breath through his teeth.
My jaw clenches, and my muscles tighten. No! They will not! I won’t let them.
He smiles up at me. “That’s after they use her, of course.”
My body begins to shake with pure anger. My muscles tight, and my mind seeing a hundred different scenarios of her bloody and dead.
“Don’t worry, they’ll make sure to give her exactly what you deserve.”
I drop to my knees and wrap my hand around his throat. “They’ll never touch her,” I growl.
Nite makes his way up the old wooden stairs and tosses a rope over the banister before tying it off. I wrap it around the guy’s wrists and stand. Nite pulls the rope tight, hauling him up. He dangles in his restraints, fighting for leverage with his feet, but he can’t get it. They’re no longer touching the floor.
I remove my knife from my boot and flip open the blade.
“I’ve seen it before.” He smiles at me, enjoying the fact that he’s getting to me. “The way they use them. The way they torture them. She’ll be the perfect revenge on the Bianchi family.” He leans his head back to look up at Nite who still stands upstairs. “You should have just given her up.”
I look up at the man I consider my brother. We haven’t spoken about what exactly happened when they removed his tongue seven days ago. He was dumped on the doorstep with a note that said forever silent. We knew he had been taken. For the three days he was missing, I was skipping my classes to look for him. And honestly, we never expected to find his body. But instead of death, they wanted him to suffer by never talking again. To know what it’s like not to be able to speak for yourself and only take orders.
I thought he protected my father. Our family. But he protected one person, in particular. And at this very moment, I realize that I can never repay him. No matter how many guys I kill for him, it’ll never be enough.
No one talks about her. No one mentions her. We keep her hidden so she remains untouchable. “I’m going to gut you like a fish and leave you here to rot,” I say to him.
He laughs like I’m fucking funny. “Go ahead and do your worst, you sorry son of a bitch. Whatever you do to me, they will make sure to do to her.”
“Over my dead body,” I growl.
He throws his head back, this time his bloody body shaking with his laughter. “After you see what they do to her, you’ll wish they would have just killed you.”
That was four years ago.
Now the time has come, and we need to be ready. I look up at my best friend. “Pack a bag. We’re leaving.”
A look of dread washes over his face before he masks it and nods before exiting my office.
I stand, place my hands on my desk and close my eyes. I will not allow anyone to touch her. As long as I’m alive, I will protect her with my life. “Goddammit!” I shout.
I EXIT THE shower and hear him enter the bedroom. After wrapping the towel under my arms, I step into the bedroom.