Toke had lost the vote but he’d won the battle.
The Reapers and the Devil’s Jacks were going to war.
I don’t know how long we rode in the back of the van. It felt like forever. Then I heard the sound of a garage door opening. We pulled in and it shut behind us. Hunter and the driver stepped out of the van, coming around to open the back doors.
Hard hands—not Hunter’s—grabbed my ankles, pulling me out roughly. My cheek scraped, and if the kidnapping hadn’t fully sobered me, the pain finished the trick. He half carried, half dragged me into the house. Then he dropped me down on the couch and I struggled to sit up. Hunter set Em down next to me, far more gently. He stepped back and joined his friend. Guy number two was Skid—the other Devil’s Jack I’d met in Seattle. They stood over us, faces grim, and I knew we were well and truly f**ked.
My stomach twisted and I thought about Noah. Would I ever see him again?
“Here’s the situation,” Hunter said, his cold gray eyes flicking back and forth between us. Could he actually be Em’s Internet guy? She hadn’t been lying. He really was hot—even better-looking than I remembered.
Too bad he was a goddamned sociopath.
Or maybe he’d done something to Liam. For all I knew, Em’s online boyfriend was lying dead in the alley. Shit.
“You’re here as leverage. One of the Reapers down in Portland—Toke—made a real bad call tonight. He went to our house and started shooting, no warning, no provocation. He took a hostage when he left. One of our brothers is down and a second is probably getting tortured to death right now, so you’ll have to excuse us for being a little abrupt about this whole thing. Your daddy,” he nodded toward Em, “is gonna do what it takes to get our guy back for us. That happens, you go home.”
She glared at him, eyes full of betrayal. He leaned forward and pulled off her gag, whispering something in her ear. Em jerked away from him.
“You’re dead, Liam,” she said, her voice utterly serious. So that was one mystery solved … Poor Em. My heart hurt for her.
“My dad is going to kill you,” she continued. “Let us go now and I’ll try to talk him out of it. Otherwise it’ll be too late. I’m serious. He. Will. Kill. You.”
Hunter shook his head.
“Sorry, babe,” he replied. “I get that you’re scared and pissed, but I’m not going to let a brother die just because some Reaper had a tantrum.”
He glanced at Skid, who shrugged. Hunter sighed, rubbing a hand over his face, looking tired.
“Okay, let’s go upstairs,” he said. He glanced at me. “We’ll take your gag off, but either of you starts screaming we’ll just have to put them back on. We’re in the middle of nowhere, so it’s not like you’re gonna get anywhere if you do. You two control how ugly this gets. Got me?”
With that, he pulled out a Leatherman multi-tool and cut the rope on Em’s feet. Then he started on mine. I heard a clicking noise and looked up to find Skid pointing a small, square pistol at us.
“You cause trouble, I’ll shoot you,” he said. “Hunter’s nice. I’m not.”
Hunter pulled me to my feet and I rocked nervously, trying to get circulation back. It was hard to balance with my hands cuffed behind my back. He helped Em up and then they marched us up the flight of stairs off to one side of the living room.
The house’s second story was pretty typical, with a small landing at the top. Looked like there were three bedrooms, along with the bathroom, reminding me that I needed to pee in a big way. Hunter took Em’s arm and pulled her into a room on the right, kicking the door shut behind them.
“Over there,” Skid said, pointing to the door next to it. I walked in to find a queen-sized bed with a very plain wrought-iron frame, a battered dresser, and an old desk. There was a small window, which looked like it’d been painted shut. I wondered how hard it would be to get it open. If I did, could I manage a drop back down to the ground?
“Stand next to the bed, facing away from me,” Skid said.
Oh, shit … The bed took on a whole new meaning. I did what he said, my body bracing for the worst. Was Skid about to rape me? Would Hunter rape Em? He’d obviously been cultivating some sort of relationship with her. Was it all about the club, or was there something more?
Em was a very pretty girl. A girl who deserved better.
I trembled as Skid came up behind me, feeling the heat of his body and hoping to hell I wasn’t his type. I felt his hands touch mine, then he popped open one of the cuffs.
“Lie down,” he said, his voice unreadable. Should I fight him, or just close my eyes and take it? I wanted to live a lot more than I wanted to fight. I’d let him do it and just hope it ended fast.
I laid down on my back, focusing on the ceiling, blinking rapidly.
“Put your hands up over your head.”
I raised my arms as he leaned over me. He paused, looking me over, and I saw his eyes catch on the swell of my br**sts. I bit the side of my cheek, trying not to break down and start begging. I didn’t want to give him that power over me. He reached down, catching my hands, and I felt a tug on the cuffs as he threaded the chain through the wrought iron. Then he snapped the second cuff back on me.
Skid stood back up and walked over to the window, looking outside, crossing his arms. My breath caught. Was that it? Was I safe for now? He glanced back toward me, thoughtful.
“The guy Toke took is my brother,” he said. “Not just my club brother—my half brother. Only family I have. Believe me when I tell you I’ll do anything to get him back. Don’t think being a woman protects you. Nothing will protect you. Got me?”
“Good girl,” he said. “Keep it up and maybe you’ll live.”
He turned and walked out.
I lay there forever, needing to pee so bad it hurt. I supposed I should’ve asked Skid to take me to the bathroom before he locked me down. Sooner or later I’d wet the bed. I didn’t care. I’d rather piss myself than call for Skid to come back and help me. Then I heard a scream and the sound of something shattering against the wall my room shared with Em’s.
I forgot all about my bathroom situation.
“You cocksucking bastard!” Em shrieked. I held my breath as I heard another thump. Oh, God. Was she fighting with him? Was he raping her? Her voice was full of pain and I felt sick to my stomach, because whatever was going on over there wasn’t good. The noise died down. I lay in the dark, counting the seconds. How had something this crazy happened to someone as normal and boring as me?