The revenger, p.18
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       The Revenger, p.18

           Debra Anastasia
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  He turned on the TV in his office and skimmed the channels, waiting for the other shoe to drop, when it did. Just not the shoe he’d been expecting. Breaking news footage flashed across the screen. There’d been a suicide at the bridge, and Toby Raine was apparently dead. Graphic video of Savannah’s brother speeding off the bridge, only to be pulled lifeless from the water by a passerby cycled through on repeat, interspersed with clips from his numerous recent television interviews, pleading with the public to help him find his sister.

  Silas sat hard in his chair, knocking Bugs from his crouch to his knees in the process. Bugs turned his attention to the television and said out loud what Silas was thinking. “Oh shit.”


  After an afternoon stroll—she wasn’t quite back to jogging level just yet—Savvy stepped inside the house as Boston held the door for her. She shed her sandy shoes and brushed off Trooper. The goodness clinging to his fur from the sheer joy of playing dissipated like sugar in hot water. The house was evil. And Savvy knew Sagan was here—in the building. She could feel the muffling of her senses his ring brought. She trotted up the stairs quickly, hoping to delay any interaction. Boston carried Trooper like the spoiled baby he was.

  “I’m going to catch a quick shower, okay?”

  She didn’t wait for his answer and went straight into her bathroom, closing the doors behind her. The hot water ran over her, and though she knew her skin was clean, she wondered if she’d ever feel that way again. She scrubbed her scalp, still feeling the blood that had been matted there, though it had to be gone. She’d been able to tell someone had tried to clean her up while she was unconscious, and she tried not to think about it.

  As she rinsed out the conditioner, the constriction in her chest suddenly grew. The band around her lungs tightened. Sagan was coming closer. She hurriedly put on the white fluffy robe as the latch disengaged on the bathroom door.

  Hazy, moist air surrounded him as he stepped inside. She tied her belt and held her chest. It felt like his ring had rejuvenated its strength. Or maybe she was still a bit weak.

  “Savannah.” Sagan reached out, almost as if he were afraid she wasn’t really in front of him.

  “Creeper. Did you ever learn not to walk in on a girl?” She concentrated on filling her lungs. Over Sagan’s left shoulder, she saw her bedroom door close after Boston made eye contact. He seemed to want to say something, do something, but instead he barricaded her in.

  She tried not to feel betrayed, but it seeped in anyway.

  “I need you to dress quickly. I’ve laid out an outfit for you. We’re leaving.”

  “We are? Care to tell me why?”

  “Things are escalating, and I need you in a safe place.”

  “So Maryland isn’t safe anymore?”

  “Not for you. Not for now.” He retracted his extended hand and stuffed it in the pocket of his suit jacket.

  She assessed him, drawing her eyes from the top of his head to his shoes and back again, trying to figure out the sudden change.

  “Who’s coming?” She pulled her wet hair to the front, laying it on the lapel of her robe.

  “Just us. No Boston. He’ll watch the dog.”

  “And my brother?” She narrowed her eyes.

  He darkened a bit, his full lips frowning briefly. “Nothing about that arrangement’s changed.”

  His aura screamed for a moment around the blockage of his ring—bright, vicious pain before falling silent. He was lying. Something was wrong.

  He looked at her feet. “Like I said, get dressed quickly. I expect to be in the chopper in under ten minutes.” He turned and strode through her room, flinging the door open as if his word was gospel.

  She followed in his wake, finding a skirt, satin tank, jacket, and high heels on her bed. Boston came in after the outer door to the suite slammed. They could say nothing to each other, so she asked him with her eyes: What’s going on?

  He looked desperate to tell her something. The veins in his temple stood out as his jaw clenched. “I’ll watch the dog.”

  She nodded. They were locked in to all they couldn’t say or do.

  “Great,” Savvy noted without enthusiasm. She gathered up the dictated outfit and added a few undergarments before closing the door after Trooper had padded in. She quickly changed and pulled her hair into a knot, leaving it wet. She sat on the floor and Trooper came right over, tail wagging.

  It killed her to leave him here. He felt like a direct connection to her family. There was a knock on her door, and Trooper gave a quick bark. She hushed him before it opened. Sagan was back.

  “We have to go.”

  It was a tense minute. She didn’t want to leave. She couldn’t leave the dog—especially knowing something was going down in Maryland. “I’m going to refuse.”

  He turned quickly and punched her door. Startled by his outburst, she had to hush Trooper again. He trotted past Sagan into Boston’s room.

  “Listen, I know and you know that right now I can force you into the helicopter. And I will. But I don’t want to. We honestly don’t have the time.” He looked close to breaking.

  “Fine. My brother stays safe; that’s your job. Boston comes, and Trooper comes. Agree to those terms, and we leave now. No contest.”

  He punched the door again, eyes widening at her demanding disrespect. He smoldered for a few seconds. She crossed her arms on front of her and lifted her brow.

  “Okay. Let’s go.” He held out his hand again, and this time she took it, not sure why he was offering her the contact. He pulled her to standing, and when the door opened, Boston, who had clearly been listening, had Trooper leashed and a bag of his food clasped in his hand.

  The silent trip up to the reinforced rooftop was Savvy’s very first. The helicopter waited. Boston had to pick up Trooper again as they got closer to the lightly swirling blades. The interior of the helicopter was a pristine white, and although Savvy had never been in one before, she bet this was top of the line.

  She sat opposite Sagan and took Trooper in her lap after she buckled. Boston sat next to her, leaving a seat between them. He looked calm, as if being stuffed in a helicopter with ten minutes’ notice was an everyday occurrence. The blades picked up speed.

  As they lifted off, Savvy looked down toward the now-familiar beach in time to see three housekeepers staggering in front of two of the most particularly awful henchmen living in the house. The men’s auras were burning, even through Sagan’s ring.

  “What’s happening?” she asked.

  “Don’t worry about it.” Sagan pointedly refused to look at the scene below.

  Savvy put her fingertips on the glass, feeling powerless. She hated that. The helicopter swung in the opposite direction, obscuring her view.

  She looked at Sagan, and he returned her gaze with a steely resolve. He then crossed his arms in front of his chest and raised his brow.

  Son of a bitch. He was going to do something evil to the women; she fucking knew it.

  Teaching this fucking bastard to love something instead of ripping his heart out of his chest continued to be a bitch. She began to wonder if it could actually be done.


  Going to the beach should have given Teresa a more hopeful feeling.

  Although the sand behind the house got occasional foot traffic, it was for the most part desolate. If she hadn’t known that Sagan always protected his perimeters when shit was going down, she could have hoped for a distraction that would allow her to defeat the two men behind her and escape with the other two terrified housekeepers. There were two dune buggies, each hooked up to a covered trailer, parked nearby. She had to try to stop the men from taking the other two women, and find out what was going on.

  Luckily, the two assholes behind her were fired up about something and chatting as they directed the women to keep moving.

  “The hell he’s going to do now?”

  “The brother was the leash he kept her on. Now he’s gone.”

; “I bet she’d be the fucking Devil in the sack. I wish he’d toss her our way for a bit.”

  Teresa knew then that Toby had faked his death. She tried to gather her thoughts. Over her shoulder she heard the helicopter fire up. She turned quickly and could see Savvy buckled in as a passenger. More proof. Shit. Shit.

  Sagan was running scared, and Toby’s “death” had sent her a signal. Mike knew she’d been made, or that Sagan was suspicious at the very least.

  “Wait.” She turned and held up her hands.

  The two men looked at her like she was speaking a foreign language.

  “It was me. These ones had no idea.” She pointed to the women on either side of her.

  The two bastards looked at each other before snickering. “You know what gets me hard? That chick’s fucking tits. He wasn’t specific, was he?”

  “The old ones can prolly still suck some dick too. I always say, a dead pussy that hasn’t been fucked is a wasted one. Get in the fucking box, bitches. Boss said all new hires. And that’s you.”

  They advanced on her. The other two housekeepers crawled into one of the covered trailers, and the man slid the lock into place.

  The first bastard pulled her against him after slinging his assault rifle around to his back. He was already hard. “His dick is tiny, so I’ll make sure he gives it to you up the ass first,” he told her. “You know, warm you up.”

  Teresa faked a gasp of horror as the second bastard pressed himself against her back, grabbing her breast with one hand and sliding the loaded gun against her leg. She knew these types, and her fear would inspire them. She just had to keep from getting in the trailer they had for her.

  She began squirming, doing her best to push at them, but not hard enough to knock them away. As she inhaled, the stench of their constant cigarettes filled her lungs.

  “Kiss me now, bitch.”

  She pressed her ass hard against the man dry humping her from behind. He took the bait and lifted the back of her skirt, shoving his hands down her panties. The one in front of her grabbed her face and pushed his tongue in her mouth. She moaned around it as the man behind her explored clumsily.

  “Shit. I got to get this now.”

  Teresa took the man in front of her by the cock. It barely filled her hand, and she suppressed a chuckle.

  As the man behind her inserted his fingers everywhere he could find, Teresa stole the pistol from his weakened grasp. She began to stroke off the one in front of her as she pulled the trigger, shooting back-humper right in the thigh. She anticipated his muscles clenching with the pain and forced the gun out of his hand as he fell to his knees, screaming. The women in the locked trailer added their screams as well.

  She held the remaining man’s cock more tightly, bringing the now-smoking gun around and shooting him in the chest before he could swing his assault rifle around from his back.

  She pushed him to his knees. A quick assessment showed no other obvious weapons, so Teresa turned and pumped another bullet into back-humper’s neck. Though they weren’t yet visible, she knew the men guarding the perimeters around her were going to come, were already coming.

  Back-humper passed first, gargling on his own blood. Chest wound was still moving, but sluggishly.

  She didn’t have time. Just didn’t. And she had two choices: the fast, empty dune buggy or the one with the other housekeepers in the trailer. Shaking her head, Teresa wrestled the assault rifle from chest wound, who punched her weakly in return.

  She slapped him across the face and slung the assault rifle over her shoulder like a purse. All the luck in the world was on her side as she saw the keys already in the buggy. She fired it up as the sand around her filled with the pops of gunfire. In between shifting gears, she fired back with the rifle.

  She heard a ping on the metal of the trailer, and one of the women inside renewed her screaming in a more painful way.

  She headed down the beach, the quickest and smoothest route.

  In her head, she knew running was futile. There were so many of them. Two made their way toward her in a dune buggy of their own, and two on foot dove for cover as she sprayed the sand with bullets.

  She passed two houses, taking the buggy as fast as it would go. Looking over her shoulder, she watched as two SUVs came screaming onto the beach. Shit. The best she could do now was get to cover, so she turned and pulled under the fancy decking of the closest house.

  She waited, knowing they would be on her in no time. She didn’t even have a key to let the ladies out and give them a chance to run. They were sitting ducks.

  Teresa said a prayer for the first time in a million years.

  The sound of footsteps above her on the deck drew her attention as the SUVs roared up and parked. Through the slats in the stairs, she could see all the boots on the ground.

  “Gentleman, can I help you?” called a voice from above.

  “We just need to get our buggy back,” one of Sagan’s men responded. “That’s all. Then we’ll be out of your hair.”

  The footsteps came down the stairs, and a man with long, dark hair took a peek at her. She waved using just her fingertips as her passengers cried from inside the trailer.

  “Teresa, any reason you’re under my porch?” he asked.

  “Ahhh…” She cut her eyes toward the jerks above. “Any reason you know my name?”

  “I make it my business to keep tabs on what’s happening around here.” He shrugged and turned his attention back to the men. “You can have the buggy, sure.” The boots advanced. “But…the woman stays with me.”

  Teresa did a quick recall of the area. She’d passed two houses; this was the third: home to Jack Devlin, who was occasionally seen on the Sagan compound grounds.

  The man with the dark hair looked at her again. She held up three fingers and pointed at the trailer.

  “All the people in it stay with me.” Jack’s bare feet rocked back and forth. He was almost blasé about standing nose to nose with Sagan’s army of assholes.

  “We can’t allow that. He needs them,” one of the assholes responded.

  “You know the rules. His rules. Go ahead and call him. Tell him I’m here in the flesh, looking to cash in a favor.” Jack ducked under the deck. “You hurt?” he asked her.

  Teresa realized she was underwear-less thanks to the back-humper, but she wasn’t hurt. She shook her head and pointed at the weeping trailer again.


  “Two.” This was definitely Jack Devlin. The handsome man had a sexy demeanor that didn’t come through in pictures. She could very well be going from the frying pan to the fire.

  “You’re safe now. They can’t touch you here with me. Can you get them out?”

  “They’re locked in.”

  “You’re a Sagan housekeeper?” Jack lifted a brow.

  Teresa looked at her maid’s outfit, disheveled and accessorized with guns. “Sometimes.”

  He almost smiled, but nodded instead. “I’ll be right back.”

  Jack addressed the assholes. “…And he said?” There was silence. “I need the key to the trailer, then I’ll get you your buggy.”

  The sound of keys hitting a palm gave Teresa relief.

  “Sagan said to keep the fucking buggy,” an asshole added.

  Jack ducked under the porch again while tossing his last request over his shoulder. “Then you better get the fuck off my property.”

  He didn’t ask Teresa to give up her guns as he crouched next to the trailer and began inserting keys. She came out from the driver’s seat and felt the adrenaline begin to drain.

  He unlocked the bolt and pulled it off, sliding the top off the trailer. The two women inside were wide-eyed and weeping. One held her leg, and blood seeped around her fingers.

  “We’ll get you treated.” Jack moved her hand out of the way and assessed her injury. “It’s not bad, despite the blood. Just a flesh wound.” He turned to Teresa. “You might have to stay with me for a while, just to make sure they aren’t
lying in wait or anything.” He smiled then, showing off his dimples and white teeth. “I love getting women out of Sagan’s grip.”

  Teresa had a wild, hopeful thought that he might be okay. This might actually be a safe place.


  Silas fought every impulse to look at Savannah. For the entire helicopter ride and following plane ride, he looked at the ceiling instead. This plane was smaller than his personal one, but he was doing his best to get lost with his asset, get away from anything that might reveal the end of the tenuous control he’d had over her via her brother.

  He tried to keep calling her that, keep thinking of her that way. Just an asset. He was taking her to the chemist, to where the compound’s essential ingredient had once been located, for strategic reasons, he told himself. He tried to pretend he didn’t damn near require her to look at him again like she had that night in his room.

  Silas had replayed it time and time again—not the circle of beautiful women begging for his touch, not the night he demanded he be sucked off all night long, even while he was asleep, even when he went flaccid. He had the most decadent, perverse things to ruminate on, but nothing touched that moment when she’d stood on his balcony and touched his face with that look in her eyes.

  He glanced at her face despite actively trying not to. She was already looking at him, as if she could hear his thoughts. Like she knew he was desperate for her. He forced himself to look at the floor. He had everything else to be worried about. Who wanted her? Who had been listening to his conversations? How could he keep her alive and extract the compound? Yet every part of him wanted to force her to look at him again in that way.

  He took out his phone and scrolled through his messages from Bugs. The man had been able to reverse the recording device, providing a transcript of his conversation with the chemist. Whoever had heard it now had the same information he did about Savannah’s condition and about creating more Compound E. And the volcano-meteorite connection was likely easy to track.

  He put his phone away as the plane began descending. They’d soon be at a place that had belonged to his grandfather—a man long since passed. It would be rustic, compared to the regular opulence. And he’d rented an apartment nearby for Boston and the fucking dog.

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