Home > Rush (The Brotherhood #2)(8)

Rush (The Brotherhood #2)(8)
Author: Penelope Black

I feel like some stripped-down version of humanity. The need to survive beats at me with every thump of my heart.

I keep my face carefully blank as I slowly nod. Sean pushes to his feet, but he doesn’t go far as he loosely aims the gun at me.

Using my grip on the stake, I push up off the floor, keeping my gaze down. “Oh ow!” The words are high-pitched and believable when I let my arm give out, so I slump back to the ground.

“See? Now you went and hurt yourself,” Sean says as he shuffles closer to me. He sets the gun on the floor beside my head and wraps one hand around my bicep and the other around my shoulder. “Alright, let me help you.”

Sean starts to lift me off the floor, and before I get too far, I snatch the gun with one hand, bring it close to my chest, and wrench my body around to face him. Sean drops me, and my back crashes into the unforgiving floor, but I don’t let that stop me.

I raise the gun up and fire.

Once.

Twice.

Three times.

It takes me a moment to realize that I’m screaming and shaking and crying. My ears are ringing again, and my hands won’t stop shaking. Sean staggers back a step, his movements in slow motion as he brings a hand to his bleeding abdomen, disbelief written all over his face.

“I’m sorry,” I cry. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Using my feet, I push myself backward as he takes more staggering steps toward me.

He reaches for me with blood dripping from his hands, betrayal I don’t understand etched in his face. Sean crashes to his knees, the sound whipping through the air like thunder. He falls forward, half landing on me and clutching my legs like the lifeline I am not.

I’m not his lifeline.

I’m his grim reaper.

After a moment, he stills, but the feeling of his lifeblood coating my legs is enough to make me dry heave. I push at him, but from this angle, it takes me more than a few tries to untangle his arms from around my legs and roll him off me. By the time I’m done, I’m sweating and shaking, but I’m not crying anymore.

I sniff and wipe my nose along my forearm, one of the few places that’s not bloody, bruised, or dirty.

And then I hear footsteps in the hall. With an ease I’m sure I’m going to need therapy for, I lock everything down and raise the gun at the door.

 

 

Chapter Six

 

 

Rush

 

With the taunting melody of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” playing on repeat in my head, I go through the motions of double-checking my weapons and kevlar vest for the third time.

The air is thick with anticipation, only the sounds of the woods as our companions. A half mile away, on the other side of these woods, lies ten small cabins. They’re owned by a woman named Nancy Lowell, but they were recently rented by a group of bloodied men carrying exactly one unconscious girl.

The woman who checked them in, gave them their keys and then called Diesel, VP of the Blue Knights. Turns out, Nancy’s Diesel’s aunt. A stroke of luck in our favor. I’ve never been more thankful for my social butterfly of a brother who’s been spending every Friday night at the Blue Knights’s clubhouse for the last year and subsequently befriending their VP.

Diesel granted us the favor and went to the scene of the van fire. I watched as he video called us to show us the wreckage. My gut still churns at the image of the shell of the van, the interior almost entirely burned-out. It’s imbedded in my brain, and I’m not sure I’ll ever get it out. I keep picturing Alaina there—her lifeless body barely recognizable as it lies on the ground.

We don’t know what happened exactly, but by Diesel’s best guess, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a pole alongside the road.

I shake the details from my mind and focus on the task at hand. Wolf and Sully move to stand on either side of me with the rest of our team scattered around the perimeter—all of us stationed a half mile out. There’s no way I’m letting those slimy fuckers escape my grasp because they hid out in the woods somewhere.

“One?” Wolf’s words are soft in the still of the night air. It’s been twenty-three hours and fourteen minutes since she was taken from O’Malley’s—taken from us.

We made the decision to wait until dusk at the earliest to move on the cabins. During the summer months, it doesn’t get dark until close to nine p.m., and we can’t risk getting spotted. If one of those pricks gets a look at us slinking through the woods strapped with enough guns and ammunition to take out a city, they might panic and do something I can’t fix.

So for the last three hours, that’s exactly what we did. We waited.

And slowly, methodically lost our minds. Wolf was first to go, then Sully, and finally, me. I felt like my skin was crawling and the only way to distract myself from spiraling into the what-ifs was to plan.

I planned out all the excruciating ways I’m going to torture whoever took my little bird, and I’m going to fucking enjoy it.

“Aye. Invite one home for the holidays.” Take one to the carriage house. “And have the boys take the rest for donuts tonight.” And have the boys clean up and dispose of the bodies.

What started out as a fun way to talk in code with my brothers when my da’s friends were around has turned into a valuable tool between the three of us. It sounds like nonsense to anyone within earshot, but both of them know I just gave the order to bring one back home for information and the rest of the team will clean up our mess.

And make no mistake, we will be making a very big mess tonight.

I plan to redecorate these cabins in shades of crimson.

“Ready for this? Thirty seconds until go-time.” Sully glances at his watch. We synchronized our watches hours ago on the drive here. In a situation like this, timing is everything. Ten seconds doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but it’s an eternity when you’re staging an ambush and rescue.

I inhale deeply and taste rage on the back of my tongue. It’s a violent combination from the three of us. “Aye. Let’s bring our girl home, brothers.”

“And kill everyone in our way,” Wolf says, a feral grin lighting his features.

“Every. single. one,” Sully says as he takes a step forward.

It’s showtime.

We make our way through the forest at a steady but cautious pace. Wolf jumps over a fallen tree truck and a flashback slams into my head so swiftly, I grunt with the impact.

Sweat rolls down my neck, and a mosquito buzzes around my ear. My brothers and I wade through the overgrown piece of land in Brooklyn’s industrial park.

Buzz, our resident tech guy, said the warehouse 100 feet in front of us has our shit. Considering I’ve been running circles around him in tech the last few months, I’m not too confident in Buzz’s skills.

“That motherfucker better be right about this,” I grumble.

“Face it, brother, Buzz found our shit before you did.” Wolf flashes me a condescending smirk.

I give Wolf the bird. “Fuck that—”

The first notes of some song pierce the air. Wolf spins and jumps over a rotted log to land right next to our brother, Sully.

“What the fuck, dude?! Turn that shit off before you get us killed!” Wolf hisses and glances from left to right.

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