Hidden away, p.43
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       Hidden Away, p.43
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         Part #3 of KGI series by Maya Banks
Page 43

 

  Marcus’s eyelids flickered and he trained his unfocused stare on her. “You’re safe. That’s all that matters. ”

  Tears slid soundlessly down her cheeks. She shut out the goings-on around them. There were men everywhere. Garrett directed most of the action while Marcus’s men were taken into custody. There were too many for it to just be Garrett’s team. Marcus was right. Garrett had used her to get to him.

  “Please be all right, Marcus. You’re all I have. I love you. This is all my fault. I shouldn’t have told you. I should have fought my own battles. ”

  Marcus raised a hand to wipe at her tears. “No, Sarah. You had to fight them for far too long. You should have had a home. Me. A father who loved you. Neither of us had that, I’m afraid. But I could have done more for you. I’m sorry. I love you, you know. You’re the only person I’ve ever loved and who loved me back. ”

  “We have the sniper who shot at Sarah in custody,” Garrett said.

  Marcus slid his gaze sideways to Garrett. “You tried to be the one who took the bullet. ”

  “Yeah,” Garrett acknowledged.

  “My sins are my own. Sarah shouldn’t be punished for them. ”

  “Yeah, I know that too. ”

  Marcus’s face spasmed in pain and he coughed, blood pouring from his mouth. “Take her away. She doesn’t need to see this. ”

  Sarah hunched over Marcus, pulling him into her arms. “No!” she said fiercely. “I won’t leave you. ” She whirled, her angry gaze going to Garrett. “Are you going to let him die?”

  “I’ve called in a helicopter,” Garrett said softly. “It’s hard because of the smoke. We’re going to have to meet them downriver. ”

  “You hear that, Marcus? You hold on. We’re going to get you help. ”

  Marcus shook his head. “It’s too late, Sarah. ”

  Hot tears poured over her cheeks. “No. No, I won’t let it be too late. ” She leaned down and pressed her lips to his cheek. “I love you, Marcus. I don’t care what you’ve done. I love you. Do you hear me?”

  He smiled faintly and his face whitened with the effort. “You’re the best thing my father ever did. Everything . . . else . . . wrong. Don’t . . . know . . . how . . . you . . . turned . . . out. The way you did. ”

  He raised a violently shaking hand to touch her cheek and then he closed his eyes, going still beneath her.

  “Marcus?”

  His name came out brokenly, a sound she didn’t even recognize.

  “Marcus? Oh God . . . ”

  “Sarah, honey. ”

  Garrett put his hands on her shoulders but she shrugged him away, unable to bear his touch. She buried her face in her hands and wept, rocking back and forth on her knees.

  When men she didn’t recognize came to cover Marcus with a blanket, she went crazy. “You don’t touch him! Get away from him. ”

  She yanked the blanket down and then arranged it herself, pulling it to his chin so that the blood was covered but he appeared at rest, his expression surprisingly peaceful.

  “Sarah,” Garrett said quietly. “Come away, honey. We need to get out of here. ”

  Where did she have to go? The thought was bleak. Her mind was numb, but one thought was clear. Garrett wasn’t who he said he was. He’d lied to her. She’d trusted him and he’d violated that trust.

  A moan throbbed in her throat and welled out painfully. He tried to help her up, but she wrenched away from his grasp. “Don’t touch me. Just stay away from me. ”

  Ignoring her protests, he picked her up and carried her to one of the trucks. “Stay here,” he said grimly and shut the door, leaving her alone, numb, so devastated that she couldn’t imagine anything ever being right again.

  CHAPTER 38

  GARRETT swore long and hard as he approached Adam Resnick. Resnick flicked his cigarette butt a short distance away and promptly lit another one, taking a deep drag as he surveyed the scene around him.

  “Goddamn it, Garrett. I wanted Lattimer alive. This is fucked up. His men can’t do shit for me. ”

  “I didn’t kill the bastard. ”

  Steele and his team stalked out of the dense line of trees all but dragging a dirty, bedraggled man with them. P. J. smirked as they drew closer, and she shoved the man forward.

  “Here’s your sniper, Garrett. Dumb asshole was easy to peg. He says Stanley Cross hired him to kill Sarah. He wanted proof of her death. ”

  “Christ,” Resnick swore as he tossed yet another cigarette. “My entire mission was ruined by a fucking amateur. ”

  “Shut the fuck up, Resnick. I’m not any happier about how all this went down,” Garrett snapped.

  “If you hadn’t ditched me, this might not have happened,” Resnick snapped back. “What the fuck was with your going rogue on me? This was a highly planned mission. You were supposed to follow my instructions to a T. ”

  Garrett held up his middle finger and walked away. He stopped a few feet from the truck where Sarah sat, her features pale and drawn, pain swamping her eyes until he couldn’t bear to look at her. What a clusterfuck. Her selfish bastard of a brother had finally found a conscience and took the bullet meant for Sarah. Unfuckingbelievable. Yet one more thing Garrett was going to have to be grateful to the son of a bitch for.

  Sarah turned then and found his gaze. Her eyes turned to ice and her lip curled before she looked away, refusing to stare at him any longer. Christ, she hated him. She had every reason.

  “Garrett, I’m going to have to take her in,” Resnick said behind him.

  Garrett whirled around. “What the fuck? You know damn well she has nothing to do with her brother’s business. ”

  “Yeah, I know. But I’m more interested in what she can tell me. I’ll need to access the emails they exchanged. I need to question her. Don’t make this harder for me than it needs to be. You know this is how it has to go down. ”

  “That’s just fucking great,” Garrett hissed. “She already hates me for betraying her. Now her brother’s dead and it’s my fault and you’re going to haul her away for questioning. ”

  “I’ll explain my role in this,” Resnick said quietly. “I doubt it’ll make a difference. And I swear to you I’ll keep you in the loop, every step of the way. Give her some space, Garrett. She’s pissed right now. She’s not going to listen to anything you have to say. I’ll keep her safe. I’ll go easy on her. And when it’s over, I’ll let you know. ”

  Garrett glanced again at Sarah and knew Resnick was right. If he pushed now, he’d only lose her. Forever. He’d give her a few days to cool off while he attended to other matters. Mainly one Stanley Cross.

  “You tell her I’m coming for her, Resnick. You tell her there’s no way in hell I’m letting her go. Don’t you dare let her think I deserted her. ”

  “Yeah, yeah,” Resnick grumbled. “I’ll tell her all that mushy shit. Jesus, man. You and your brothers are driving me insane with the women. ”

  Garrett wanted to tell Resnick to tell her he loved her, but he figured he’d save that one for the next time he saw her. Hopefully by then some of the shock of today would have worn off and she could view the events more objectively. If not, he was going to have a long, hard fight ahead of him. Giving her up wasn’t an option. She belonged with him, in his arms, in his bed. He wouldn’t settle for anything less.

  “We need to get the fuck out of here,” Resnick said. “You and your men should clear out too. The government here is only going to be so understanding. Lattimer and his men have already done millions of dollars’ worth of damage by setting the damn world on fire. It’ll take them days to get this under control. ”

  “I need to stay and help Rio. He could lose everything. ”

  Resnick nodded and started toward the truck where Sarah sat, two of his men on his heels. Garrett watched, his fists clenched tight at his sides while Resnick spoke in soft tones to Sarah. A moment later, he guided Sarah from the truck and down to one of the waiting bo
ats.

  Sarah walked stiffly, like an old woman without any fight left. Her gaze was fixed on the ground and never once did she look back at Garrett.

  More of Resnick’s men led the sniper away, hands cuffed behind his back. The rest of Resnick’s team quickly and efficiently cleaned up the scene, carried Marcus’s body away. Five minutes later, only Garrett and his men remained.

  Rio turned in toward the smoke and then back in the direction of his house.

  “Think it’ll take your house?” Garrett asked quietly.

  Rio shrugged. “If it does, it does. Not much I can do. I can always rebuild. ”

  “We need to move out,” Steele said crisply. “I don’t want to be here when the locals show up. ”

  “You go,” Rio said. “My men and I will stay and take any heat. I have contacts here. We’ll be fine. ” He looked up at Garrett. “You go with Steele and his team. Get the fuck out of the country. The boat will take you downriver to a waiting chopper. ”

  “You sure?”

  “Yeah, I’m sure,” Rio said.

  Garrett gestured for Steele and his team to follow him to the dock. They hurried down and got into the last remaining boat. Rio rattled off a terse stream of Kriole to the young man operating the boat and then waved to Garrett as the boat pushed away from the dock.

  “You just going to let her go like that?” P. J. demanded.

  Startled, Garrett turned on P. J. , his lips curled into a snarl. “What the fuck do you mean?”

  “I saw the way you looked at her, and yet you let that asshole Resnick walk away with her. ”

  “Back off, Rutherford. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. ”

  “Men are such dickheads,” she muttered. “She just watched her brother die. Of course she’s upset. But she needs you with her, not hundreds of miles away while Resnick drills on her. ”

  “I have a few things I need to do before I go after Sarah,” Garrett said tersely.

  P. J. snorted and turned her back. To Garrett’s surprise, Steele eyed him with a grimace as well.

  “Not you too,” Garrett muttered. “You’re supposed to be a fucking machine. The last thing I need is you nagging my ass too. ”

  A glimmer of amusement flickered across Steele’s face, but he remained silent and turned his attention to the shoreline as he watched for any threat.

  They traveled a mile upriver and veered off into one of the fingers that drifted farther inland. The water shallowed to a couple of feet as they slogged closer to a sharp bend in the offshoot. A helicopter came into view as they hung a sharp left and drifted into the cove.

  Garrett scrambled off the boat with Steele and his team and they piled into the helicopter. As it rose and hovered close to the ground, Garrett stared out the window and wondered how Sarah was doing. Resnick had sworn he’d take good care of her, and Garrett knew he would. He wasn’t quite the asshole he and his brothers liked to label him.

  He may have taken the coward’s way out but there was a lot he had to sort out before he could face Sarah again. He couldn’t afford to fuck things up with her. First he had to remove any and all threats to her. Only then could he go to her and plead his case.

  Maybe by then her grief wouldn’t be so raw, her pain not so sharp. Maybe by then she’d have a better perspective.

  One thing he knew for sure, and he’d known it the moment that Sarah had looked at him with such pain and betrayal in her eyes. He loved her and he’d settle for nothing less than having her in his life. Until the day he died. He simply wouldn’t consider any alternative. If it took him the rest of his life to convince her, then that’s what he’d do.

  CHAPTER 39

  RUSTY trudged from the school building toward the student parking lot. Today was just another shitty day in what was shaping up to be a shitty year. Her senior year. So much was made of a person’s senior year. Magical. Time-of-your-life sort of thing. She barely held back a snort. The only good thing was that so far, Matt Winfree hadn’t opened his mouth. Whatever Sean had said to him seemed to have worked. At least for now.

  Instead he and his group avoided her like the plague.

  At least she’d gotten her car back. Almost like new. She’d been afraid that Marlene and Frank wouldn’t let her have it back after what had happened. But they hadn’t said a word. Just handed her the keys and said that no one was allowed to drive it but her. Fine by her. She wouldn’t make such a stupid mistake again.

  She was so focused on her thoughts that she didn’t see the men standing at the front edge of the parking lot until she heard the murmur of voices around her. When she did look up, her mouth fell open and her first thought was oh shit. What had she done now?

  The Kelly brothers—well, almost all of them—stood in a formidable line. Even Garrett was there, and he was supposedly off on some supersecret mission after everyone had worried he was up shit creek.

 
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