Home > Rush (The Brotherhood #2)(2)

Rush (The Brotherhood #2)(2)
Author: Penelope Black

I’m sure he’s cataloguing every small fissure in my usually impeccably controlled front. The temporary lapse in judgment that had me dumping the contents of the table is all the evidence he needs.

But he’s not as infallible as he thinks. I remind myself that he’s only known about Alaina for days, not weeks like Wolf. And not a year like me.

Though that’s not quite true, is it?

He had Alaina, and he didn’t even tell us about her. I think about the way she tastes, and I don’t blame him for it. If I’d found her years ago—back before our pact—I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing. Something as sweet as her is precious in this life, and I’d have done anything to preserve it.

I still would.

I stand up and swipe a hand through my dark-brown hair, striving for order in the middle of chaos. I track Sully’s progress as he cuts through the backyard and hangs a right toward the back of the property and the carriage house.

Impatience has me contemplating a visit to Wolf or one of the other trusted guys we have in the rooms in the basement of the carriage house. I want to hear firsthand who the fuck planned this attack on my family.

It wasn’t a random attack, of that I’m sure. O’Malley’s has been protected under the Brotherhood since before I was born. The only real question is if they targeted my girl specifically or if they snatched the first girl at random?

Fuck.

Some distant part of me recognizes that at some point I’ll have to tell my brothers about my history with Alaina—at least part of it. I’m not sure that I need to detail how I’ve been watching her for the last year just yet. They might get the wrong . . . impression if I tell them now when tempers are high and logic is low.

The vibration of my phone instantly has my attention. I whip it out of my pocket and answer it before I even check who’s calling. “Talk.”

“Boss. I need something more to go on. It’s a needle in a haystack, and I’m wasting time aimlessly searching. I’ve checked all our feeds on the usual suspects, and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary,” Buzz, the Brotherhood’s other tech specialist, says, his voice threaded with exasperation.

“Not the Italian?” I still don’t trust Matteo. He’s hiding something. Could mean anything from a little bird stashed away to standard multi-tier paranoia. But trusting my gut has saved me countless times in the past, so I’ll continue to reserve judgment on him until he shows me otherwise.

This life is built on secrets and favors. Some men don’t know how to handle their secrets, and your only hope is that you don’t get sucked into their orbit when they implode. Because they almost always do. It’s never a happy ending like in those bullshit Hollywood mafia movies and shows—the bad guy doesn’t get a change of heart overnight and suddenly decide to turn his back on everything and everyone he knows.

No, what really happens is that some motherfucker who watched one too many episodes of Sopranos thinks he can run everything better. Too cocky and being surrounded by yes-men inflates his ego, and he thinks he can run everything better than those before him. But thoughts aren’t really what kills the cocky motherfucker. Nah, it’s the secrets. See, these little fucks get too confident and start chatting up everyone they meet. And that’s their mistake.

Everyone has a price, and loyalty is earned, not given.

“Didn’t you say Matteo was with you when Alaina was taken?”

“Aye. But Matteo looks like he’s trying to do some spring cleaning. And we all know how that move plays out. I’m not so sure that he can pull it off without starting a goddamn revolution. For all I know, they took my girl as a preemptive incentive so I’d make a deal.” I pause and feel the cruel twist of my lips as I recall how we dealt with the last person who tried to force my hand. “Do you remember what happened to Scottie?”

Buzz exhales, the noise loud in my ear. “Aye, who could forget the little prick who tried to stage a coup? No disrespect, boss, but we don’t exactly have time for a trip down memory lane.”

I clench the phone in my palm, my fingers protesting at the strain. When I don’t immediately reply, Buzz is quick to backtrack.

“Fuck. I didn’t mean anything by it. It’s just—I’ve got a lot of work to do. If you’d let me call some—”

“No,” I interrupt him. “No outsiders. You know that. And the next time you question my orders, you won’t like what happens.” The warning hits my intended target as Buzz mutters his apologies, but I’m only half paying attention.

I know he doesn’t mean any disrespect, and while I do trust him to an extent, I don’t trust anyone right now—except for my brothers. And the last thing I need is another fucking ambush.

I’m preoccupied as Buzz rattles off something about traffic cams around O’Malley’s. The conversation I had with Matteo minutes before Alaina was taken plays on a loop in my thoughts. Was it a setup? Was Matteo a decoy or a sacrifice? It’s possible that his uncles found out about the plays he’s trying to make, and they made their move first.

Just as quickly as that thought comes, I dismiss it. If the Italian mob wanted Matteo out of the picture, he’d already be gone. They wouldn’t do some roundabout way of getting to him through me—shit, we’re acquaintances, passing friendly at best.

And if Matteo was genuinely there to warn us, that begs the question: how did he know?

“Find Matteo Rossi,” I interrupt him. “I want eyes on him. And I want names of his sources.” I hang up before he replies.

Whoever took her will regret it for the rest of his life—however short it may be. And I will rain down a hell unlike anyone has ever seen on everyone who stands in my way.

If I make a move before I have all the information, it could cost us something I’m not willing to pay—Alaina. There are a lot of prices I’ve paid—like my soul—but she won’t be one of them. I refuse to let her be a casualty in this war.

So I’m static for the time being, and I’m practically vibrating with the need to move. And for someone who routinely gets all the information I need and more, this lack of information grates on my fucking nerves. We just need one tiny kernel to find her.

I can find a needle in a haystack, but the only problem with that plan is that it takes significantly longer. And time is not on our side.

“Fuck,” I yell into the empty kitchen.

Alaina was stolen from me right underneath my nose. These are either the cockiest sons of bitches out there or they’re the most stupid. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were both.

I have another play, but I hesitate to make the call. It’s a certifiable ace up my sleeve, but they bring their own set of chaos everywhere they go.

The Kings.

We’ve been friends since childhood, and while they’re not in the Brotherhood, the Kings are their own force. Every time I think about that no-women archaic rule the Brotherhood has, I want to punch someone. When I’m president of the Brotherhood council and not just the junior council, that’s one thing I’m going to implement.

Shit, the King sisters are better than some of my guys in more than one area.

Maeve, Fiona, Keira, Ava, and Roisin King were trained by the Hammer himself. Joseph King wanted sons and the universe gave him five daughters—all born a year apart. I still remember the first time they came to the family barbecue.

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