“Fifty bucks says your baby mama could take you in a fair fight,” Horse taunted.
Miranda’s shrieking suddenly stopped and she froze, opening her eyes to look around in stunned confusion.
Finally, dumbass had noticed she wasn’t dead.
Sophie stilled and Ruger’s aching shin rejoiced.
“Feel like I’m repeatin’ myself here,” he muttered in her ear. “But if I move my hand, you better keep quiet. Got me?”
She nodded her head tightly.
Ruger let go and Sophie jerked away. Fast as a snake, her hand flashed out and slapped him across the face, which f**king hurt.
“You bastard,” she hissed. “You scared the crap out of me! What kind of sadist pulls shit like this?”
“The kind interested in making a lasting impression?” Ruger asked, cocking his head at her. “Jesus, did you want us to kill her?”
Sophie’s face twisted and her mouth opened, but before anything came out, the bitch on the floor started crying. Loud. Ruger had come to realize Miranda did everything loud. Horse leaned forward and caught Miranda’s arms, jerking her up and onto her knees. He caught her chin, forcing her to meet his gaze.
“We do this again, a bullet comes out and pulps your brain. Got me?”
She nodded frantically, her sobs even noisier than before. How was that even possible? Then Ruger caught the unmistakable smell of piss and sighed. Sure enough, she’d left a puddle.
“Every f**kin’ time,” he muttered. Horse snorted.
“I can’t believe you guys,” Sophie said, clenching and unclenching her hands, shaking with adrenaline. She was so angry she’d forgotten to be afraid. He actually liked that about her—Sophie had grit. But right now she was getting on his nerves. They had a lot to do and limited time before the Jacks showed up. “I thought you were killing her. She thought you were killing her. How can you do this?”
“We wanted to catch her attention,” Ruger replied, temper fraying. “Near-death experiences tend to stick with a person. Next time she’ll make better choices.”
Sophie opened her mouth, then snapped it shut and glared.
The sound of tape ripping cut the air as Horse covered Miranda’s mouth again. Thank f**k for that. Ruger was tired of her noise, he was exhausted from driving all night, and he was hungry.
“Go back next door, Sophie,” he said, rubbing a hand through his short hair. He caught a whiff of his own scent when he raised his arm. Nasty. He’d have to shower at her place before they left for Coeur d’Alene. “We won’t go crazy, I promise. But don’t forget, Noah spent more than an hour hiding on the fire escape last night. Four stories up, Sophie. Your babysitter’s man is a registered sex offender, by the way. Bitch knew it, too. She still invited him over while she had a kid at her place. Don’t feel sorry for either of them.”
Sophie’s eyes widened.
“How do you know all that?”
“They told us.”
“I wouldn’t think sex offenders go around sharing that kind of information,” she said, suddenly wary.
“We’re very persuasive people,” Ruger told her. “You just gotta ask the questions right. Go home, Soph. We need to finish up here and get you moved out. I’m tired, honey.”
“This is all wrong. I feel like an accomplice,” Sophie replied, shaking her head. “I don’t like it.”
For f**k’s sake … She hadn’t been too worried about being an “accomplice” when she pointed out Miranda’s place earlier. Little late to be complaining at this point in the game.
“Really? You don’t like it? Personally, I don’t like the idea of the next kid getting raped just because he isn’t smart enough to hide on the fire escape,” Ruger said, stepping slowly into her space and backing her toward the wall. “How ’bout this? You go ahead and feel guilty about being an accomplice, and I’ll go ahead and keep doing your dirty work so you don’t break a f**kin’ nail or something. Then tonight we’ll open a bottle of wine and talk about how today made us feel. Maybe eat some chocolate while we’re at it, then watch The Notebook together. That work for you?”
She hit the wall and he leaned forward, slapping his hands flat on either side of her head. Ruger dropped his face into hers, eyes blazing.
“Shit, Sophie—I think I’m showin’ extreme patience, all things considered. This is not a f**kin’ joke. Noah made it through last night because he stayed awake and alert on that fire escape, not because either of these f**ks lifted a finger to help him. They terrorized a little boy and laughed about it. Now it’s their turn. Don’t expect me to feel bad about that. Go. Home.”
Sophie swallowed, eyes wide. She stayed quiet as she slowly slid down and out from under the barrier of his arms, skirting the edge of the room until she reached the door. She slipped through, closing it behind her very softly.
Ruger glanced over at Horse, who raised a brow. Great. Now he’d catch shit from him, too.
“Your baby mama’s kinda hot when she’s pissed,” Horse said helpfully.
“Jesus, Horse. You got no sense of boundaries, you know that?”
“Yup,” he replied, and Ruger seriously considered taking the bat and smashing the bastard’s face in. Of course, then he’d have Horse’s old lady to deal with … Bitch was a damned good shot.
Miranda fell over with a thump, eyes wide. They looked down at her.
“What should we do with this one?” Horse asked. “I want her out of our faces, but I gotta say, don’t like the idea of leaving her here for the Jacks when they come to pick up their problem child.” He jerked his chin toward the still-unconscious man on the floor.
“Let her go right before we take off?” Ruger suggested. He walked over and nudged her with his foot. “Hey, Miranda. We cut that tape off in a couple hours, we need to worry about you sharing this little adventure with anyone? ’Cause that would put me in a real bad mood.”
She shook her head violently.
“You sure?” Horse asked. “If it’s a problem, we’ll figure out something else for you. Saw an empty lot not too far from here. Wonder how long it’ll take before some construction worker digs up your body.”
Miranda grunted, eyes wide.
“I’m gonna assume that means you’ll keep your mouth shut,” Ruger said, sighing and rubbing the back of his neck. Muscles were way too tight back there. “Oh, somethin’ else you should know. It’s not just us you’d be dealing with if you talk. There’s a hundred and thirty-four brothers in the club. Generally, I’m considered one of the nicer ones.”