The revenger, p.20
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       The Revenger, p.20

           Debra Anastasia
 
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  “Fuck. Just fucking stop. Stop!” he demanded.

  They were both panting now, and she could feel his erection on her lower back. He loved the struggle. Maybe he needed it. She stopped.

  “Just stay for a second.” He slowly let go of one of her wrists, then the other. He remained sitting on her, painfully heavy. “I can’t show you your brother. We don’t have a video feed here. Just rustic, remember?”

  “You lie.” She rolled her wrists.

  “That’s the truth,” he told her. “And you should believe me. What other choice do you have?” He rolled her over and moved her hair away from her face.

  His features were hidden in the dark. The light from the bathroom gave his outline sharp edges.

  “Okay. Fine. This is it then. Just get it over with. I’m tired.” She used her most uninterested voice.

  He lifted himself off of her and eased down at her side. Now she could see his face clearly.

  “Why do you make everything so difficult?” He was angry. At her.

  “Why don’t you know how to be a human being?” she countered. “You are such a spoiled asshole. You won’t rest until you’ve poked between my legs? You have an army of whores. You only want what you haven’t had. If that isn’t the sorriest existence I’ve ever heard of. Holy shit. Someone should stuff all your money up your ass and light it on fire.” She pulled herself to sitting.

  He remained prone on the bed, rubbing his lips with his middle finger. “You’re so good at being holier than thou. You have it all figured out, huh?”

  “No. I don’t have it figured out or I’d be gone by now.” She looked at the door. How far she’d come since the accident, just in the wrong direction. There had been no healing. Only wounds.

  She looked at the man next to her: her new purpose. Maybe it was all for nothing. Maybe she’d gone insane right after the accident, and this was all happening in her head. Maybe she was dead and in Hell. She wrapped her arms around her knees.

  “Isn’t time supposed to heal all wounds?” He sat up next to her, his rough jeans resting against her knee.

  She looked at him for a moment, trying to determine if he was really that stupid. Finally she shook her head. “No. Time just moves. That’s the only job it has. Healing requires something I don’t have. That I never want. I deserve the pain. I deserve you.” She began rocking.

  “See me, I feel like I should get everything I ever wanted because I fought for it,” he said. “I endured for it. And it made me as tough as I need to be.”

  Savvy felt his eyes on her. She turned to look at him again. “Has anyone ever kissed you because they thought you were sweet? Or just because you needed it? Or has it always been a transaction?”

  He ran his tongue over his teeth, clucking at her audacity. “Yes, of course they have.”

  “I think you’re lying again.”

  Sagan was handsome. Stupidly so. If she wasn’t so in love with a dead man, she bet she would trip on her words if she met him in the real world. He belonged on magazine covers and the insides of girls’ lockers, answering questions about his favorite dream date.

  Instead he was a vicious asshole.

  She leaned over, closer, closer, as he watched her. She closed her eyes and thought of the first time, so many years ago, when she’d kissed Kal. She’d made the first move, bold in her belief that she deserved him and vice versa. She was young, ignorant, and had totally undervalued the purity of his gorgeous soul. She’d failed to realize that she was too much—too mouthy, too prone to tempers. He deserved slippers and perfectly roasted chicken instead of the sloppy nightmare she was.

  Kal had been talking, eyes sparkling—no intention of kissing her, just enjoying their banter—when the pull came from inside her. The delicious greed that this man should be hers, and she could make it so with her lips. He’d been shocked, had stopped speaking when she put her lips on his. She’d watched as the fire grew in his eyes, the realization that their friendship meant more to her.

  He must have seen her determination to be part of a future she didn’t deserve: his. Had it been tempting? Did he consider backing away?

  When she opened her eyes to Sagan, that’s how she looked at him: hungry for his whole destiny, selfish and gluttonous. As if he were a good man she knew she could corrupt, would corrupt starting with a single kiss.

  Fire grew in his eyes as well. He was far more desperate than Kal had been, but then Sagan was a gaping hole of need.

  She touched his cheek, forcing herself to keep the right man in her head. When she placed her lips on Sagan’s, he moaned. He snaked a hand up to her damp hair and put his fingers in it.

  She turned her body so she could climb into his lap—Kal. Kal. Always Kal ran through her head. Ignore the difference in his smell, the taste on his lips that was all wrong. You have no choice, she reminded herself silently. Though it threatened to destroy her from the inside out, teaching Sagan to love was the best way to dissipate his evil and stop him from destroying good people.

  She straddled him, still kissing. Sagan skimmed her lower back, the skin bare where her T-shirt had ridden up. He slipped a hand beneath her waistband to grab a handful of her ass.

  She rocked back, stopping the kiss, and simply looked at him again. She pretended he was her Kal. The man she’d taken. The man she’d had a baby with. The man who knew her entire soul and loved her for it anyway.

  *~*~*~*

  The look she poured over him… Silas held his breath. He was afraid to move; if he did, she might disappear.

  When she kissed him again, it was silk and heat. Then she leaned back and crawled off of him. He heard a tiny noise at the loss of it, which he was mortified to realize had come from his throat. He’d again had that fleeting feeling he was desperate for. His chest was on fire even more than last time.

  She ignored him now, plumping up the pillows on her side of the bed and lying down before finally making eye contact. The look was gone. Her eyes were knives.

  “That’s it?” he managed. He sounded like a weak junkie.

  She shrugged. “I need more.”

  “No, I need more.” He slid his body over hers, soft and fit beneath him.

  She flipped on her back. “Give me more of yourself, not just your body.”

  He kissed her, but her lips didn’t respond. He gripped her jaw. “Don’t do me any favors then.”

  “Sagan, don’t let me have wasted this on you. Accept what I gave you. Earn more. It’ll be so much better than if you try to take it.” She put her hand in the center of his chest and patted it like she was comforting him.

  He covered his face, torn, the struggle eating at him. He groaned and punched the mattress next to her. She didn’t flinch.

  He got off of her and walked straight out the bedroom door and down the stairs. The house alarm he’d programmed to keep her in the room sounded, the ear-piercing tone making it hard to think. He jogged back to the panel and hit the code to disable it. It took him three tries. When the noise was finally gone, he heard her laughing. At him.

  He turned on his heel, raging at her silently.

  “Sorry. It’s funny. Caught in your own trap. Sometimes it switches, you know? The kidnapper becomes the kidnapped.” She gave him a little wave. “Goodnight.”

  Silas shook his head before leaving the room again, this time without the bells and whistles. He went to the kitchen and poured himself a few more fingers of rum before calling Bugs.

  “Tell me.” He barked at the man.

  “Well, um… So far the, ugh…incident that caused you to leave is, as far as I can tell, real. Toby died in an apparent suicide. So you did the right thing, taking her. There’s no way we would have been able to prevent her from finding out about her brother here.”

  “As far as you can tell? We have people inside. I want a picture of the body.” Silas looked toward the staircase.

  “That’s the issue. Things are murky for our contacts.”

  “I don’t like it.”

/>   “Me neither. There’s one snippet of a clip where the time stamp has caught my attention, so I’m working on that while I press our people to get more information.”

  “Anything else?”

  “Well, everything else. The Cassos have been posturing for retribution. There were survivors from the meeting, and they’re talking about her a ton, making her more mythical than she really is, which is pretty hard to do. And the maids are still at Devlin’s house. Until they make a move to leave or you let us go in for them, our hands are tied.”

  “The chemist?”

  “Well, that’s the one bit of good news. The lava flow has slowed a bit in the last twelve hours. He thinks he might be able to get in and extract some more of the essential element for the compound. But this reserve they can reach might have just a small scraping, nothing like last time. Anyway, it’s something. He’s hopeful.”

  “ETA?” Silas ran the edge of his finger along the rim of the glass, all the while picturing the color of Savannah’s nipples.

  “Nothing on that.” Bugs was typing away on a keyboard while talking.

  “And the assassin?” He watched as Savannah stepped into the hallway, the light highlighting the disappointment on her face when she heard his words.

  “In place. The remaining targets are on twenty-four-seven surveillance as requested.”

  “Okay.” He walked toward her and pointed at the staircase.

  “Sir, things here aren’t going well. I just…the men are antsy. I think we have leaks because I’m seeing stories online about stuff that only happened here. We need your leadership back in Maryland. I can only do so much.”

  Silas ended the call without another word.

  His world was going to blow up—for good or for ill—all because of the woman standing in front of him.

  *~*~*~*

  When Savvy heard the word assassin, it had pulled her down the rest of the stairs where she’d been eavesdropping.

  Sagan disconnected the phone and looked at her. “Did you hear enough?”

  “No. I need to know if your assassin is trying to kill my brother.”

  “He’s not. I have to go. Boston will be here in a few minutes, and he’ll be bringing the dog. I should be back by dinner tomorrow. Be dressed for it.”

  Sagan walked past her quickly and ascended the stairs. A few minutes later he returned dressed, but carrying only a messenger bag. When he opened the front door, Boston and an overjoyed Trooper were on the other side.

  The dog ran through the doorway, headed right at her. She couldn’t help but kneel to accept the pup’s exuberant love. He whined and barked between licks to her cheeks. Savvy smiled and hugged him close. Then she looked toward the doorway and met Sagan’s gaze. He nodded once and left. A car must have been waiting for him in the driveway. After a minute Savvy knew the ring was leaving as the pressure in her chest increased and her hunger for red sharpened.

  Boston set down a small duffle bag. Savvy said nothing as she petted the dog and avoided the hit man’s glare. After the snapping sensation of the ring going out of range and the flooding return of her power, she stood. Boston damn near ran to her and picked her up in a hard hug. When she started to speak, he put his finger over her lips and shook his head.

  The place was wired.

  She patted his back, smoothing his shirt over his shoulders. “How’s the dog been?”

  “Anxious.”

  Savvy made her way to the sitting room couch, and the dog followed, hopping up next to her and putting a paw on her leg. His tongue lolled out of his smiling mouth as he looked at her with adoration.

  “Has he been eating?” She scratched Trooper under his chin, and he closed his eyes with the joy of it.

  “Yeah, he’s still able to choke down his food.” Boston sat on the chair opposite her. “Everything okay here?”

  She shrugged. What was there to say that could be overheard? “I’m worried about my brother. Evidently there’s no video of him available here. Everything seems rushed, and that has me nervous.”

  Boston looked at the ground and held his own fist. “Just a little internal discord. It’s normal. I know it hasn’t happened while you’ve been with us. Everything is under control. Your brother is fine.” He wouldn’t look at her.

  He wouldn’t look at her. His aura flared with red tinges.

  She had to get over her fear by responding like she had none. “Okay. That’s a relief.”

  Her eyes filled with tears when an obviously agitated Boston held up his hands and mouthed, “I don’t know anything for sure.”

  She nodded and went back to petting the dog. Boston’s aura was so marbled, it was hard to tell what the Hell was going on.

  She tried to center herself on the dog. If her brother was dead, all bets were off. There would be nothing keeping her down.

  As if Boston knew what she was thinking, he reminded her of another reason when she looked up at him. “My brother,” he mouthed.

  She nodded once.

  Savvy held Boston’s gaze for a long time before he left his chair and came to sit next to her. Practice had made perfect when it came to his complicated aura. Her control around him was second nature now, and anyway, the gold that glowed around him seemed to be multiplying every day, causing the red to fade. She leaned against his shoulder and closed her eyes, trying to get some goodness out of his gold.

  She failed, but trying nonetheless put her to sleep.

  Chapter 30

  Old Friends

  Jack was a charming, easy-going host, even though their unexpected visit had now stretched to more than 24 hours. Teresa watched as he went out of his way to make sure the three women were comfortable. He ordered a bunch of chick flicks on TV and made sure everyone’s dietary preferences were accommodated. Teresa’s bathroom even had feminine hygiene products. He seemed delighted to have the maids there, telling them they could leave any time—day or night—and he would arrange it. They had open access to the house phone, which the other two maids made liberal use of to tell their families their whereabouts.

  Teresa encouraged them to remain at Jack’s house. She knew when it was clear and safe the agency would send a package or pizzas or something. And because nothing had come, she had to assume staying put was their best chance. For some reason Sagan’s men hadn’t stormed Jack’s house and finished the job.

  She sat on the couch, looking at the sea, when he sat down next to her, handing her a cold water bottle.

  She thanked him. It was time to find out why Jack was immune. “He’s going to have us killed, isn’t he? If we step outside?” She uncapped the bottle and took a sip.

  “If I could predict what Silas was going to do, my life would be a hell of a lot easier.” He took a sip of his own water. “So, you’re not a maid by trade, are ya?” He toasted her bottle.

  “What makes you say that?”

  “I could see the altercation from my rooftop deck. And that was an impressive takedown. You could have taken the faster, closer dune buggy and instead you made sure you took the women with you. That’s a little extra considering…”

  “What, a girl can’t have a black belt and a day job?” She put her feet up on his table.

  “She can. Of course.” He sat back.

  The dude was seriously, mouth-wateringly sexy—the long hair, the scruff, the I’m-breaking-all-the-rules attitude. Yet he was alone. In this huge house so close to the Sagan family home.

  “So do you always keep an eye on Sagan’s stretch of the beach?”

  “Pretty Teresa, let’s cut the bullshit. You want to know stuff about me. I want to know stuff about you. How about we share? Tit for tat. So to speak.” He bit his bottom lip. “Ladies first.”

  “Okay. Ask a question.” She began mentally editing as his words formed.

  “Have you always been a maid?”

  “No.”

  “What have you—” He tried to ask another question.

  She shook her head. “I think it’s time for t
he tat now. Why were you watching the beach behind Sagan’s house?”

  “You’re more specific than I was. Almost like inquisitions come…professionally to you.” He lifted his eyebrow.

  “Your turn to talk.” She didn’t take the bait.

  “We were friends a long time ago. I feel like I have to save him from himself.” Jack shrugged.

  Teresa nodded. “Do you know if Savvy is still alive?”

  He lifted a brow. “No.” He looked crestfallen. “Last I saw Savvy, she was in Sagan’s helicopter.”

  “Do you know where Sagan would take Savvy?” Teresa took a long, slow sip of the water, hearing herself swallow as he considered the question.

  “He’s got places all over the world. I would think he went to one that was off grid, considering…” He stopped himself and pointed at her with his pinkie. “You’re good. Not just the questions you ask, but the way you listen. It’s inviting.”

  It was her turn to shrug.

  “Okay, enough questions because I’m fairly certain you’ll get too much out of me,” Jack said. “I’ll tell you this: Silas is in too deep with whatever he’s considering nowadays.” He stood and shoved one hand in his pocket.

  She liked his candor, so she offered more. “What he’s into is going to get a lot of people killed.”

  Jack met her eyes. “How many is a lot?”

  “Countries full of people.” Setting her water bottle on the coffee table in front of her, Teresa stood.

  With pursed lips, he nodded. “If I knew where he was, I could maybe talk him out of it.”

  She hugged her middle. “I don’t think there is an ‘out of it’ at this point. Just do or die.”

  “You know a lot for a maid.”

  “You care a lot for an old friend.”

  They were silent after that, and Teresa hoped her message would come soon. Jack’s allegiances were a tough thing to judge.

  *~*~*~*

  Silas rolled his head on his neck and cracked his knuckles in his airplane seat. Six hours on an airplane to return to Maryland was the last thing he wanted to do. Stupidly, even figuring out how to have the Compound E safely removed from Savvy’s body had dropped to the bottom of his mental to-do list.

 
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