Hidden away, p.17
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       Hidden Away, p.17
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         Part #3 of KGI series by Maya Banks
Page 17

 

  “Thanks, I appreciate this. ”

  He turned and left before the woman could say anything further. He’d done as Sarah had asked and made sure the cat had a decent home. At least it wouldn’t starve to death now.

  His next stop was at the dock where there were three charter services. He asked benign questions like whether it was possible to hire a boat to take him to the neighboring island. The first two were more than happy to accommodate his request and could arrange it immediately. The third, however, the woman informed him that her husband was already on a trip to the next island and wouldn’t return for some time. When he pressed her, she clammed up and all but shoved him out the door.

  Oookay. So it seemed that Sarah had arranged for a charter to make her escape and that she’d likely done it well in advance of her actual departure. He needed to get there a hell of a lot faster than the couple hours it would take by boat.

  He hopped one of the two taxis on the island and got dropped off at the airfield on the east end. The guy at the counter eyed him with a speculative gleam when Garrett told him he wanted to charter a helicopter to the next island. Immediately. It was a look that told Garrett this was going to cost him a fuckload of money.

  “Sure, I can take you over. I had a client supposed to come in for an aerial tour of the island chain, but I can cancel if the price is right. ”

  Yeah like Garrett didn’t know that was coming. “You take plastic?”

  The guy grinned broadly at Garrett. “Of course. ”

  Garrett pulled out his wallet and ripped out his credit card. On KGI’s dime, of course. Sam would have a kitten, but oh well. He could always bill Resnick.

  “How soon can we leave?”

  The guy picked up Garrett’s credit card and smiled. “Just as soon as I run your card. ”

  CHAPTER 14

  PEOPLE just don’t goddamn disappear. Did they? Garrett was tired. He was hungry. And he was one pissed-off motherfucker. He’d been over every inch of this island and there was no sign of Sarah. No one in the harbor had seen her—or so they said. There wasn’t a flight with her on it—as near as he could tell.

  The woman had simply vanished into thin air.

  He wanted nothing more than to say fuck it all, go home and let Resnick deal with Sarah Daniels. It was what he should do. His sister-in-law was about to deliver. Sam’s hands were tied if they got another job because Garrett was off fucking around in paradise. And quite frankly, he’d have a hell of a lot better time blowing some shit up over playing junior detective. Hell, that was Donovan’s job.

  He should just go home and call it good.

  But he’d kissed her.

  It was a pansy-ass excuse. But if he hadn’t kissed her. If he hadn’t gotten close to her. Hadn’t seen her fear. Hadn’t felt her tremble beneath his fingers. If she hadn’t tasted so damn good. If he hadn’t kissed her, he could go home and forget she ever existed. He could leave her to Resnick and company.

  But he couldn’t. Somehow in the course of a few days she’d become his. His responsibility. His to protect.

  It was a fucked-up scenario no matter how he looked at it. He couldn’t make it go away no matter how hard he wanted it to. All he knew was that somehow, some way, he and Sarah Daniels were connected.

  No, he didn’t like it. But there it was. All laid out, sort of like he felt right now. Balls flapping in the wind.

  No man should ever get so damn tied up in a woman. Especially one he barely knew.

  Yeah, go home. It’s precisely what he should do.

  Then he could better prepare himself for the job of protecting her. While Donovan ran her to ground, he could haul out his arsenal and start planning for the eventualities. Hell, he never went anywhere without at least four rifles and a few handguns. And yet here he was with only a Glock and his winning personality to get himself out of a scrape on this shit hole of an island. And he’d have to leave the Glock behind.

  He stalked into the tiny-ass terminal that served as ticketing desk, luggage check and security all in one and tossed his bag onto the stuttering conveyor belt.

  “I want to get the hell out of here,” he announced to the startled agent. “What’s your next flight out?”

  “Miami,” she said nervously.

  “Done. When does it leave?”

  “Half hour, sir. They’ll be boarding in the next few minutes. ”

  Garrett scanned the waiting room to see four other people all watching him like he was the shoe bomber. He smiled through gritted teeth. “Bad breakup. Girlfriend dragged me down here for a vacation and dumped me for the first dude she saw in a Speedo. ”

  The two men grimaced in sympathy while the two women looked like they thought it was no wonder.

  He tossed his credit card onto the counter and hoped to hell Sam hadn’t already discovered the last charge and frozen the account. The agent hastily shoved a printed boarding pass over the counter and then went to secure the routing ticket onto Garrett’s bag.

  “You say I have thirty minutes? When is last boarding call?” he asked.

  The agent checked her watch. “You have twenty minutes before final boarding. The plane takes off in thirty. ”

  He nodded and walked back outside, where he pulled out the sat phone. This time Donovan actually answered the phone.

  “We have a problem,” Garrett began.

  “We?” Donovan echoed. “I don’t see a ‘we’ in this equation. ”

  “Fuck you,” Garrett growled. “I need your help. ”

  Donovan sighed. “What else is new? What, did you forget your bathing suit? Oh wait, no, the sunblock right? Give me a minute. I’m actually mustering real sympathy for you here. I might even manage to squeeze out a tear or two. ”

  “Are you done yet?” Garrett asked impatiently. “Sarah took off. ”

  There was dead silence.

  “She gave you the slip?”

  Garrett closed his eyes and braced for what was to come.

  Donovan laughed in his ear. “Let me get this straight. All you had to do was stay close to a beautiful woman. Watch over her. Even cozy up to her, if that’s what it took. And she gave you the slip?”

  Garrett could hear the fool wheezing through the phone. He pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger and closed his eyes. “I’m going to beat your ass when I get home. ”

  “Ah man, I wish I could be there to see this one,” Donovan said. “So what are you going to do now?”

  “It’s not what I’m going to do. It’s what you’re going to do. I’m hopping a flight home. I need you to find out where the hell Sarah has gone. She took a boat off the island but her trail was cold when I got here. I need to know if she flew, swam, took a boat or what. I’m counting on you to find out, Van. ”

  “Well hell,” Donovan grumbled. “I like how you take an assignment and I do all the work. ”

  “Oh and by the way. You can’t use Resnick or his resources. I don’t want him to know about any of this. ”

  Again there was a long silence. “You want to explain to me why you’re holding out on the man you took the assignment from?”

  Garrett checked his watch. “Look, I don’t have a lot of time. I’ll explain when I get there. In the meantime, if Resnick knocks, you play dumb. And find out where the hell Sarah is. ”

  He cut the connection and turned to go back into the terminal. What he needed was about twelve hours’ sleep. He wouldn’t sleep a wink on the plane. He hated commercial flights.

  GARRETT pulled into the driveway of his house and frowned when he didn’t see Sam’s or Donovan’s truck parked. Sophie’s SUV was under the carport and he pulled in behind it. Where the fuck was everyone? He was tired from the flights, pissed over the entire deal, and he’d called Donovan as soon as he’d landed in Nashville to tell him he was on his way home.

  He needed to get in, get whatever info Donovan had and get the hell back on the road. Hopefully
this time, one of the Kelly jets would be available, because damn, this going-through-security-hoops at airports was for the birds.

  He opened the front door and stepped inside. “Hello? Anyone home?” Where the hell was everyone?

  Frustration frayed his already worn patience. He didn’t have time for this.

  “Garrett?”

  He turned in the direction of the kitchen to see Sophie standing in the doorway, her face pale, her hand palming her enormous belly. He strode across the room, concerned by her pallor.

  “Hey, you okay, sweetheart?”

  She clutched at his shirt when he got close and swayed unsteadily on her feet. “No. I mean, yes. I’m in labor. I need you to take me to the hospital. ”

  Oh hell. “Where is Sam?”

  She frowned. “I don’t know. He’s not answering his cell. He went over to Ethan and Rachel’s but when I called over there no one answered. I was just about to call Marlene when I heard you come in. ”

  Seeing the anxiety etched in her expression, he put his arm around her and squeezed reassuringly. “It’s okay. I don’t want you to worry. Have you got your bag packed?”

  “By the door,” she said.

  Suddenly she went still and gripped his hand with enough force to cut off his circulation. Damn, but for a little woman she packed a mean grip. She closed her eyes and took in several light breaths through her nose. Shouldn’t she be taking deeper breaths or something?

  Panic hit him in the stomach like a baseball bat. Give him a fucking war, but a pregnant woman in labor? He was clammy just thinking about it.

  When the contraction passed, she started for the door and he hurried beside her. He bent down to retrieve her bag and reached for his cell phone at the same time. This was a hell of a time for Sam to go MIA. What the fuck was he thinking? Sophie could have been completely alone. She had been alone until Garrett showed up.

  He ushered Sophie to his truck and instead of helping her to climb up, he lifted her and eased her down onto the seat. Then he gave her an awkward pat on the leg and hurried around to the driver’s side.

  He called Sam first but when he got no answer, he called his mom next.

  “Mom, is Sam over there?” he demanded as soon as his mom answered.

  “Garrett? You’re home?”

  “Yeah, Ma, look I don’t mean to be rude, but I need Sam. Where the hell is he?”

  There was a pause. “He’s helping your father and brothers look for Rusty. She didn’t come home after school today. ”

  Fuck. Just what he needed was Rusty’s irresponsible ass to cause trouble when everything else was going to shit.

  “Sophie’s in labor. I’m on the way to the hospital with her. Sam isn’t answering his phone. He needs to get his ass to the hospital to be with his wife. ”

  Rusty could rot. He didn’t say it but his mom wasn’t an idiot. It was there in his voice to hear.

  “Oh my goodness,” Marlene breathed out. “I’ll get him. I’ll call your father. Tell Sophie I’m on my way over right now. Tell her not to worry. ”

  Yeah, he was going to tell a pregnant woman not to worry about pushing a bowling ball out of her uterus.

  “I gotta go, Ma. Find Sam for me. I’m going to take care of Sophie. ”

  He tossed down the phone and glanced over at Sophie, who had a tight grip on the door handle.

  “It’s going to be all right. ” He hoped he wasn’t lying. What the hell did he know about women in labor? “Ma is going to run down Sam. He’ll be there. No way would he miss this. ”

  To her credit, Sophie looked less worried than Garrett felt.

  “What’s going on?” she asked.

  “Goddamn Rusty,” he bit out. “She didn’t show up after school. Apparently they’re all out looking for her. ”

  Sophie frowned. “Oh, I hope she’s all right. ”

  Garrett shook his head. “She better damn well have a good reason for this and I’m thinking unless she’s in the hospital, there isn’t one. ”

  Sophie laid her hand on his arm. “I’m fine, Garrett. Really. I’m having contractions, but I’m pretty sure she isn’t coming anytime soon. ”

  “Shouldn’t I be the one comforting you?”

  She smiled. “Well, yeah, I wouldn’t turn down sympathy or a little petting. I am a little nervous about all of this. I think I’ve been in a state of denial over the actual labor process. This stuff hurts!”

  Garrett grimaced and then took her hand, squeezing to reassure her. “Sorry, sweetheart. I’m an insensitive jerk, but then I think you already knew that. Is there anything I can do to make it better?”

  “You could have the baby for me. ”

  “Oh hell no,” he muttered.

  She laughed. “What a baby. You took a bullet without whining. ”

  “Yeah, well that’s different. ”

  “How about just getting me there as quickly as possible. Maybe I’m far enough along to have an epidural right away. ”

 
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