Angel fire, p.110
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       Angel Fire, p.110

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 110


  Out of the corner of his vision, Alex saw that Seb was making a decent showing for himself as he and Sam scuffled, but the Texan outweighed him by at least fifty pounds. There was the sharp crack of fist against skin – and then the next second Sam had him down, as Seb let spew with a string of Spanish that it was lucky Sam didn’t understand.

  Alex kept his eyes on Kara’s, not letting his glance flicker to the weapons cabinet on the wall behind her. They’d packed most of the guns away into the truck, but a couple of small pistols were still in there – cheap . 25s that none of them liked using. If he played along with Kara for now, he might be able to get to one.

  Slowly, he reached for his gun and tossed it onto the floor.

  Kara didn’t stop watching him for a second. Her forearm still mercilessly tight around Willow’s neck, she transferred her gun to the other hand, shoving the muzzle up under Willow’s jaw. In a single motion, she bent and scooped up Alex’s gun, tucking it away into her waistband.

  “Good,” she said as she rose again; Willow was gasping for breath. “Now your VIP pass and the keys for the truck. ”

  Alex’s muscles were clenched, watching. The cabinet was about ten feet away. If Kara’s attention left him for even a heartbeat, he’d go for it. He dug into his pocket. His fingers hesitated as he touched what was in there; then keys and card followed with a clatter.

  “You’re making a mistake, Kara,” he said. “Raziel wants the Council dead – and if they’re killed, millions of people could die. ”

  “Is that what she told you?” Kara’s lip curled. “God, you’re still so in love with this little liar that you can’t even think straight. ” With no warning, she bundled Willow away through the basement door; he heard Willow cry out.

  Alex dove for the weapons cabinet. Locked. Oh Jesus, since when did they ever lock it? He raced for the basement, dimly aware of the intensified struggle behind him, Seb’s shouts. As he reached the open door, Kara burst out and shoved him hard at the stairway. He spun towards her, trying for her gun – but the next second Seb had slammed into him and they’d both gone tumbling down the stairs.

  ALEX SCRAMBLED TO HIS FEET, barrelling back up the stairs just as the door slammed shut; he heard the bolt glide home and threw himself against the unyielding wood anyway. “You’re making a mistake!” he yelled. He slammed the door with his fist. “Kara! Don’t go ahead with the attack, don’t!”

  “I’m sorry, Alex,” she called, her voice already fading. “But believe me, you’ll thank me for this someday. ” The sound of the front door closing filtered down to him. Alex gave a wordless bellow of fury and frustration and shouldered the door again; it shuddered but stayed firm.

  “Somehow, I don’t think we’re going to break the door down,” said a dry voice. Seb was there, his cheek already looking bruised and swollen. Reaching into his trouser pocket, he pulled out his switchblade.

  “What, you had a knife the whole time?” demanded Alex.

  Seb flicked the knife open and angled the blade through the gap between door and wall, probing at the bolt and trying to slide it back across. “You had a gun – and you weren’t even getting your face smashed,” he pointed out. “At least I managed to hold onto my blade. ”

  As the knife scratched and scraped, Alex glanced down the stairs at Willow. She stood at the bottom holding onto the railing, grimacing slightly as she rolled her ankle. Their eyes met. “Are you all right?” asked Alex after a pause.

  She nodded and put her foot to the ground, testing it. “Fine. She just – pushed me really hard. ”

  Even now, Alex’s impulse was to go to her and hold her. It wasn’t his place any more – it was Seb’s. He looked away.

  The minutes dragged by. Seb swore softly as the blade skittered across the bolt. Finally he shook his head and started on the hinges instead, twirling the knife’s tip deftly in each screw head. “Oh, man, that’s going to take for ever,” muttered Alex, shoving his hair back. The reception would be starting soon; their private audience was the first one scheduled. They had maybe an hour, tops.

  “I look forward to hearing your much better idea,” said Seb without looking at him. One of the screws came out; he tossed it aside with a tiny clatter. After what seemed a hundred agonizing lifetimes, all the screws had been removed. Alex helped Seb lift the door off and they burst out into the range.

  Alex raced to the weapons cabinet. A heavy wooden chair sat against the wall nearby; he picked it up and swung it at the cabinet in almost the same motion. There was a splintering crack as the door gave way. The . 25s were there, just as he’d remembered. Alex shoved one into his holster and glanced at Seb and Willow, who had joined him.

  Seb nodded at Willow. “Give it to her; I’ve got my blade. ”

  Alex handed it over wordlessly. “Thanks,” said Willow; her voice was a ghost of itself. She reached past and took a spare holster from the cupboard, turning away from both of them as she strapped it on under her trousers. Why bother? thought Alex bitterly. Both he and Seb had seen her undressed.

  As they passed by the TV room, Alex ducked into it. The paper file was still on the coffee table; quickly he found the sheet with the code for the top of the Torre Mayor’s stairwell. “Okay, come on,” he said, tearing the code off and shoving it in his pocket. Though none of them had discussed where they were going, they all knew. Alex thought how ironic it was – he was now allied with Willow and Seb against the team he’d been ready to give his life to keep safe.

  Willow swallowed. “How are we getting there? The Metro will take—”

  “The truck,” said Alex shortly. He led the way out the front door.

  She blinked. “But you gave Kara the keys. ”

  “No, I gave her the keys for the Shadow. ” Out on the drive, Alex saw that someone had thrown all his stuff out of the van before they’d taken off. Thanks, guys, he thought wryly. He grabbed up his things and dug into his pocket; his fingers briefly brushed Willow’s necklace as he pulled out the keys to the truck.

  Seb got into the back of the 4 x 4, tossing his knapsack on top of the sleeping bags; Willow sat up front with Alex, her face tense. They had less than half an hour now.

  Spinning the wheel, Alex screeched them out of the drive. Soon they were speeding through the centro. The streets were relatively clear; he still found himself driving like a maniac, swerving in and out of traffic, with horns blaring in his wake.

  What had Kara told the team? The last-minute mutiny must have stunned them. The thought made him inch the speedometer still higher. Their performance might be thrown now; if he didn’t get there in time to stop this, they could all die when they faced the Council.

  His hands tightened on the wheel. No. They would not die.

  “Tell me everything,” he ordered.

  Willow did so, gripping the dashboard with a white-knuckled hand. As Alex listened, he became more certain than ever that this was true. Christ, of course Raziel had been spying on them; it was how Charmeine had known the details about their previous attack against the angels.

  Though it wasn’t a massive surprise, his jaw tensed at the news that both Luis and Sophie were dead. One had been devout to the angels, the other dedicated to stopping them. It didn’t matter; they’d both gotten in the way and so they’d been discarded like used toys.


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