Asher will agree with me. Brody, I’m not sure. Either way, even if it means Rafferty banishes me from the island, I’m not leaving Don breathing to keep on threatening Honor.
I’d rather her be safe and never see her again, than have her in my arms every night knowing that fucker could take her again.
My hands ball into fists so tight my short, square nails still manage to dig painfully into my skin. I want to smash that bastard’s face in.
“Chill out, Wilder. You’ll have a stroke before we get airborne.” Rafferty speaks to me via the headsets we are wearing.
The man isn’t even looking my way. How does he know I’m freaking out?
The other chopper left some time ago to pick up Brody and Asher. We’ve arranged to meet them twenty minutes out from the location they found for Don. We can’t get too close because the sound of the choppers would alert him, and we’re all fit enough to cover the terrain at a jog, even carrying weapons. And we have weapons. Lots of them.
Once we’re airborne, I’ll check them, load them, prepare them, and make sure we have what we need. That will calm me down some.
The blades start to whine at a higher pitch as they pick up speed. The moment of liftoff is always one I find mildly disconcerting. There are a few seconds of almost weightlessness as your body adjusts.
The chopper jerks and then lurches upward in that drunken manner helicopters have. No wonder some people find them terrifying to travel in.
We gain altitude, the ride smoothing out. We hover for a moment, and then bank as Rafferty heads the bird toward the mainland.
AN HOUR LATER, ANDthe four of us are crouched behind a row of bushes, eyes trained on the building in the distance. It’s about ten minutes away, at a slow jog.
The birds are two klicks away, awaiting further instructions.
Now the four of us are back together, I’m feeling more optimistic about getting our girl back. When we split up, I find it disorienting. We are so used to being together and working together.
The fact the rental is in the middle of nowhere presents both an opportunity and issues. Logistically, it’s made it harder for us to get to, but once we get inside, no one for miles around will hear the carnage I am about to reap.
“Do you have the flash-bangs ready?” I ask Asher.
“Affirmative,” he replies.
The flash-bang grenades will create blinding light and a loud noise, intended to stun and disorient whoever is inside. We need them because we have no idea how many people are in that house. Or who they might be.
“Okay, I’m all set.”
Brody glances at us. He’s wearing camo and smeared in mud, and he’s about to get as close as he can to find out what we’re up against. Thankfully, the building is surrounded by a lot of greenery—vineyards stretch for miles around—so he can hide out and get close enough to hopefully get us an understanding of what we’re facing.
He adjusts his headset, and then he’s off. He moves fast and low to the ground, with an agility that comes from training and years of using his body as a weapon. I’ve got strength and survival skills, but no way could I approach with such stealth and speed.
The wait for him to report back seems to stretch to an eternity. All I can think about is that Honor is in that house, having God knows what done to her.
Brody feels like shit about what happened. It’s written all over his face and in every action he carries out. He volunteered immediately to be the one to go in and get eyes on the place, close up. Dangerous or not, he didn’t hesitate. When we get her back, and wewillget her back, I think Brody will be the one out of the four of us who will be the most determined to make her ours.
He just doesn’t know that she alreadyisours. I know it, Asher knows it. Rafferty seems to be catching on, and now it is Brody’s turn.
The woman isn’t going anywhere. Ever.
The static buzz in my ear is the first warning Brody is about to talk to us.
“There are a group of men in the living room.” His voice is quiet, but he’s panting a little as if out of breath. “Seven in total, including Don. One in the kitchen, and I think there might be one in the bathroom, but I can’t see. I can hear water running, though.”
“Armed?” Rafferty asks.
How can he be so calm and analytical? Eight men, at least? What the fuck?