He shrugs. “It’s up to you, babe. In about an hour, he’s dead anyway. Painfully, and slowly.”
I could leave him to die slowly and in agony. It’s what he deserves, but I know something soul deep. I want my face, the face so like my beloved mother’s, to be the last thing he sees.
Straddling Don, I aim the gun at his face. A hand gently touches mine, and Asher moves the gun slightly. “Aim for the forehead, baby.”
Don’s eyes widen. “No, Honor. No. This isn’t you. You aren’t a murderer.”
“Unlike you,” I sneer. “Look at my face, Don. Do I remind you of her? Of the woman you brutally bludgeoned? I hope so. I hope so because my face is the last thing you will see.”
Before he can beg any more, I close my eyes and squeeze the trigger. The retort isn’t loud, but it’s powerful, and it knocks me back with force, so I sway and almost lose my footing.
My hands start to shake. Shit, I can’t open my eyes.
Someone gently touches my arm, and I flinch. “Baby, it’s okay, he’s dead. Let go of the gun.”
Asher pries the weapon from my fingers and gently leads me away. I’m shivering all over as though I’m freezing. I open my eyes, and I’m not looking at the man I just murdered, but at Asher. The one I thought was the kindest when I first met them is being the man I always thought I saw in him.
His arms come around me, and he holds me close as he strokes my hair. “It’s okay. He’s gone. He can’t ever hurt you again, and you didn’t kill him. He was already dead.”
“Frommyknife wound,” I say.
Asher shakes his head. “Your knife wound, he would have survived. My fingers in there, opening it up, and messing around with his guts, no. I made it a million times worse, and I messed him up inside enough he’d have bled out, or died slowly and horribly of an infection.”
I don’t know if what Asher is telling me is true, or simply to make me feel better.
“He deserved it, Honor. He was a truly depraved person. Fucked up. Like Pastor Wren.” Rafferty is standing by me now, too. “Those kinds of people can’t change or reform. They are what they are. You just made the world a better and safer place for many women and girls. Just imagine if he’d found another mother and daughter to terrorize down the line. You’d never have forgiven yourself.”
“Who was that man?” I ask.
Asher glances in the direction the older man and his security went. “We all knew him when we were just children. He calls himself a religious man—a pastor—and he took advantage of his position by abusing us all. We’ve been after him for years.”
The news that the four of them were abused as children sends me reeling. As I look around at the four of them, they somehow morph into the boys they were. I picture them young and helpless, abused by some sick pervert, and I want to cry. How could someone have done that to them? I thought I hated Don, but now I discover I have a new person to aim my hatred toward. It also makes me understand why they are the way they are—so desperate for control. They once had theirs stolen from them, and now they live their lives under their own rules.
“I’m so sorry,” I whisper.
“What for, Snow?” Wilder asks me from the corner.
“I lost you the chance to get the man you’ve been after.”
“We will get him,” Rafferty states firmly. “We have the information we need now, and he won’t be able to get away from us again.”
“You did that for me.” My voice is small.
“Christ, of course we did,” Rafferty says gruffly. “You mean everything to us, Honor. To all of us.”
Brody ducks his head, but then lifts it again to focus his gaze on me. “Yeah, I fucked up, but when we get you home, I’ll make it up to you.”
Hope lifts my heart. “Home?”
“Yes,” Rafferty says, his voice firm. “Home. Our home, and now your home.”
“The island,” Asher clarifies.
I blink. “I can stay? Beyond the end of the game?”
“Fuck, yes,” Wilder growls. “And we’re not playing anymore.”
“Do youwantto stay?” Brody asks, uncertain.