Twisted Roses

Page 33

Fabio and Omar are arguing when Stitches and I enter. Both look up with guilty faces, like children. Except a lot less charming and cute.
“Don’t tell me you two are still fighting over who gets the TV remote?” I ask with a vexed scowl.
“Psycho,” Omar says in surprise. “Uhh, not exactly.”
Fabio rubs his cueball head. “Actually, we were just on our way to the vault.”
“To make sure it’s safe,” Omar finishes.
I pin them with a paralyzing stare. “Tell me it was secured before you thought to leave.”
“Well…” Fabio glances at Omar and then at me. “We’re pretty sure it was. Omar was supposed to run another check, but he didn’t.”
“Me? That was you!”
“Pretty sure or absolutely certain, you shithead?” I growl, stepping toward Fabio. The six-foot-five, two-forty giant whose purpose in my crew is usually muscle-related, stumbles back a few steps from me, despite his major size advantage. I only stalk closer. “Tell me proper security procedures were followed.”
It tells me all I need to know.
“Then what the fuck are you imbeciles waiting for? Go secure it!” I shout.
They scramble out of the room, practically knocking each other over to fit through the door at the same time.
Stitches whistles from where he stands. “I know I’ve got my faults and all. I chew with my mouth open and snore when I sleep, but at least I’ve never fucked up on a security detail.”
I round on him next. “Except for the time you almost let a dirty cop kill Delphine.”
“Hey, whoa! That doesn’t count. It was city hall. I couldn’t follow her in. But I came through in the end, didn’t I? Blasted that POS right in the skull.”
“And enjoyed dunking him in acid after the fact.”
He shrugs. “I have a morbid sense of humor.”
“Enough trips down memory lane. I need you to cover here at the compound.”
“Running an important errand?”
“I’m going to check out the vault too. If Fabio and Omar fucked up securing it, there’s no telling what might’ve happened. Stefania calls all of a sudden while Lucius is out of town. It’s suspicious.”
“You think Stefania is setting you up?”
“Maybe. That, or she really is that drunk and stupid.”
I slide on my motorcycle jacket and go down to the underground garage, where row upon row of all types of vehicles sit parked and ready for use.
My sports bike is my chosen mode of travel.
I merge with traffic on the city streets and head toward the highway that’ll take me to the vault. On most weekday mornings, traffic can be a headache. Luckily, it’s Saturday, which means less people speeding off to work.
I squeeze the bike’s throttle and bypass much of the highway traffic. The surrounding cars and trucks fall into the background.
The Hummer comes out of nowhere. One second, I’m the only one racing down the highway. Everybody else trails behind. The next second, I’m sharing the road with a giant black Hummer that crashes onto the scene. I put space between us by switching lanes. Whoever this asshole is, he seems to think he has dominance over the road.
It’s not good enough.
The Hummer drifts over into the center lane, keeping pace with me, side by side. I’m caged into the far left lane, wedged between the Hummer and the guardrail.