“Where are they?” I shout as I grab her by the shoulders.

She’s not answering me, only a small blubber comes out of her mouth.

“Johnny?!?” Charlie shouts as he comes racing down the stairs. His little shoulders are heaving as he slams into me.

“They took Beth!” Charlie wails as he wraps his arms around my waist.

Pulling him up into my arms, I growl.

“It was her father,” Sophia finally manages to say to me. “Her father and his goons somehow followed me here.”

“What do you mean followed you here?” I turn to stare at her.

My rage must show through my eyes because she takes a step back away from me. “How the fuck did you end up here in the first place?”

“Beth… She called me and I came to see her…”

“Beth wasn’t supposed to be calling anyone. This was the only safe place she could be!”

Fuck!

My phone begins to vibrate and chirp again. Pulling it from my pocket, I really don’t feel like fucking around with anything Simon has to say. Fucking, hell.

Sliding the phone on, I say into it, “Beth’s father took her.”

“And now another damn complication I have to attend to. Can’t you keep your damn woman under control?” Simon sneers into the phone.

“Simon, why the fuck are you calling me right now?”

“Sasha is on the move. We have a team set for grabbing him. We need you to be there…”

“Not happening. I need to get Beth back from her father…”

“Your love life is not my fucking concern.”

“No, but it’s Lucifer’s… If we don’t have her, we don’t have the Senator.”

“Damn you,” he mutters quietly, and I can just see the machinations turning over in his mind. “You won’t be able to get her. They have security…”

Glaring at Sophia, I pull Charlie with me as I move into the kitchen, away from the damn ears of some stupid girl. “I need James. We’ll go in tonight to get her.”

“We need James as a backspot with his rifle.”

“Not as much as I need him for his cat burglar skills.”

“I swear you Neanderthals need to keep your dicks in your pants.”

“Let Lucifer know the score; I’ll get James ready to go.”

“You’ll get no backup. If you fuck this up, your ass is out to hang, not ours. We’ll probably keep James, but you? No.”

“Nice to know you care so much, Simon.” I disconnect the call and head out to the living room.

“You put Beth in mortal danger…” I say as I lift Charlie in my arms.

“I swear, I didn’t know… How… How could I?”

She’s getting up from the chair she’s been sitting in, and with one fucking look she sits right back down. “Don’t fucking move.”

Setting Charlie down, I say, “Buddy, go into the kitchen and get a coke. I need you to play with some Legos for a bit… I’m going to call a friend and I need to talk to this girl here.”

“O…Okay. Are you gonna get Beth back?” he asks and his little eyes are full of tears.

The tears spill over onto his cheeks and I feel all that fucking rage enter my body again.

“Yeah,” I say with some anger in my voice. “No one takes what’s mine.”

“Good… her daddy looked really mean.”

I give as much of a reassuring smile as I can. It’s not like I won’t be bringing her back, but I am way too fucking angry to be much of the nurturing type right now. He takes it though, and gives me a brief hug around my neck. “Thank you. I like her lots, she said I was her child.”

“You are, and you’re mine. Now go get you some of that off limits coke. Sophia gets to watch you while you’re all bounced up on caffeine.”

“Okay.” He’s still not sure of everything, but I know he believes what I tell him.

Watching him walk away, I feel an ache in my chest. I’m a man of my word, and I failed them both when I said I would keep them safe.

But I can fix this.

Pulling my phone from my pocket, I dial James.

“What do you want, asshole?”

I laugh at that, because even in this mess, I remember James is on a counting-down-till-doomsday clock.

I cursed his ass, he knows it, and I know he knows that I know it.

“We got a job tonight. You ever hit a senator’s house before?”

“No.”

“Ain’t you the fucking chatty one?”

“Fuck you, take it back.”

“Not a chance. Anyways, meet me here at eleven. We’ll head out and try to get some good intel ahead of time.”

“Fuck you,” he says before hanging up on me.

Dialing Simon back, he asks, “What is it, Johnathan?”

“I need all the intel we can get on the good Senator. Full work-up, if possible. Also, I need to know what’s the proper amount of leverage Lucifer wants to use on the asshole.”

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