“I heard the commotion from the back of the house and my spotter out front hasn’t radioed in. I know you’re there and if you don’t want this pretty lady’s brains splattered all over the couch you’ll throw your gun out so I can see it and then get your ass in here.”
I swore again, this time loud enough that he could hear me. I never liked to give up my weapon, but in this case I didn’t really have much of a choice. I threw the gun down and kicked it across the floor so that it went skidding well into the living room. I shook my head at how quickly things had gone south and lifted my hands up in front of me in the international gesture of surrender as I rounded the corner. I glanced down at Brite and was instantly relieved to see the man’s massive chest moving up and down in even breaths. His eyes were open and furious as he gazed at me with blood dripping down his face from a wicked-looking gash that ran the length of his forehead. I knew the badass biker wouldn’t go down without a fight.
The man with the gun shook his head back at me and gave me a grin that made my skin crawl. “I can’t believe you actually tossed the gun away. That’s an amateur move and I’m gonna make sure the girl pays for not following orders.”
I heard Brite growl from his position on the floor and Darcy started crying harder.
I dropped my hands so that they were hanging loosely at my hips and lifted my brows up at the cocky intruder. “No, an amateur move is bringing a single weapon into an unknown situation with an unknown number of hostiles.”
Before he could fire off the shot that I knew was coming as his finger twitched on the trigger, I pulled out the other pistol I had stashed behind my back and fired first. I hit the guy in the shoulder and the gun he was holding fell uselessly to the ground. I hurried across the room and tackled the man to the floor before he could regain his wits about him and reach for the weapon again. I punched him in the face hard enough that I heard my knuckles crack. He gurgled a trickle of blood out of the side of his mouth, and let out a pitiful little moan. Satisfied he wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon, I climbed to my feet and asked Darcy where I could find some rope to tie all the intruders up with.
She was a blubbery mess and couldn’t respond but Brite barked out that he had a whole stash of zip-ties in the garage. I made short work of the guy in the back hallway and bypassed the one that I was pretty sure had bled out. When I jerked the guy’s arm with the bullet hole in it he screamed in agony and called me a lot of really colorful names. By the time I had them all situated, Rome burst through the front door followed by a pretty redheaded woman dressed in police blues.
They both gave pause as they took in the bloody but handled situation as Rome visibly shook himself back into action as he made his way over to Brite to work on getting him free.
“I’m calling this in. Ask the guy that’s still conscious if he knows where the guys that grabbed Avett are going.”
The redheaded cop disappeared back out the front door while she was talking into the radio pinned to her shoulder.
Brite leaped to his feet and went to work untying his lady. His dark eyes shifted between us with an intensity only a person that had been to war or a parent that had a child in danger could manifest.
“I need to call Quaid. He might know where she would take them. I have to get her back.”
Rome put his hand on the other man’s shoulder and told him solemnly, “We will. There isn’t any other option.” Brite nodded and started frantically poking at the phone that he had clutched in his hand.
Rome turned to me with narrowed eyes and asked in a voice so low that only I could hear him, “You really fucking miss this?”
I looked around at the blood and smelled the acrid scent of spent gunpowder that lingered in the air. I flexed my bruised hands and shifted on my feet.
“I do.” And that was why I had to get the hell out of Dodge, before I did something stupid like fall in love with a girl that didn’t have any idea what I was really like.
Orsen was staring at me from across his desk with an expression on his face that I had never been on the receiving end of. He looked frustrated and disappointed, but more than that he looked resigned. He had his hands resting on the slight roundness of his belly and his mouth was drawn in a line so tight it made the rest of his face look like it was stretched too tautly across his bones.
“What do you have to say for yourself, Quaid?”
I lifted an eyebrow as he bit out the words and settled back in my chair. I felt a lot like a kid getting pulled into the principal’s office. Where I would normally be doing everything in my power to placate Orsen and fix the situation, now that I had a better understanding of what was really important to me and what I really wanted to fight for, it was all I could do not to roll my eyes at him and his exaggerated bluster.
“Nothing.” I leaned back in the chair and crossed my ankle over my knee. I wanted him to know I wasn’t intimidated by this little meeting and that I was done letting him yank on my chain. “I have nothing to say for myself, Orsen. I told you I wasn’t going to represent your friend, so even if I had been in my office when you brought him back by this afternoon, my answer would have been the same.”
Orsen’s bushy eyebrows rose until they almost disappeared into his snowy hairline. “Have you forgotten that you work for this firm? The firm you have been chomping at the bit to be made partner in, I might add.”
“I haven’t forgotten because it’s this firm that has dangled that partnership in front of me like a golden carrot for years, while I jump through every single hoop you’ve put in front of me. Answer me honestly, Orsen, are you and Duvall ever planning on offering me a full partnership?”
He huffed a little and I watched as red filled his puffy cheeks. It was no wonder Orsen had me handling all the trials for the big-name clients; he had no poker face and was as easy to read as an open book.
“You have to prove yourself in order to be made partner, Quaid.” His tone was firm but his hands were fidgety, telling me all I needed to know. They were going to work me like a dog, put my face and my talent out there in front of the entire legal world with their title behind it, but they were never going to let me be one of the shot callers. They were never going to consider me their equal.
“I’ve proved myself, Orsen. In fact, I’ve more than demonstrated what an asset I am to this firm and to the legal community in general. I’ve earned the right to pick and choose the cases and the people I want to represent, and if you don’t agree with that, then I think it’s time we go our separate ways.”