Things have gone from bad to worse. Rimsky, a man in the gang Romy has infiltrated, has made a bold move against him, putting Saige and Julia in serious danger. Agent King realizes he’s seen Ben before — hanging out with Rimsky a couple of years ago. When they find Julia’s been abducted and Romy’s brothers beaten, they know that Ben’s involved too. A note taped to Chas’ chest makes it clear who took Julia.
“You know where to find me, Bitch. Bring your lover and come get me.”
“I fooking hate that guy,” Romy commented when they got back downstairs. “I knew I should have broken his bloody balls the first time I met him. Where’s this mysterious place?”
“Our first official date was at the old ice rink. It’s been closed over a year and the building was condemned. That’s where he’d take her. For him, it would hold significant irony.”
They drove in silence to the skating rink. Walking up to the building, Saige found the front door unlocked. There was a large hole to the left of the door. Glancing over her shoulder at her friends, Saige decided to crawl through the hole rather than risk the door. She was the only one who could make it. Motioning to Romy, she headed through. He and King checked the door for traps, opening it carefully. Harmony and Trevor went around back.
Once Saige was inside, she let her eyes adjust to the dusky interior. She sensed Romy and King nearby. She slipped over to them, signaling her intentions. She heard voices echoing down the hallway coming from the ice rink. It was probably the least defensible area of the entire building. It made it difficult for Ben to protect himself, hiding all kinds of spots for someone to ambush him.
Risking a couple of words, she spoke quietly over her headset, “Ice rink.”
The men flanked her, keeping her behind them. When they got to the main entrance, Saige tucked her gun in her belt behind her back. Hands out from her sides, she walked boldly through the doors. Any second, she expected to feel a white hot pain as Ben shot her. Nothing happened. Nothing continued to happen for a couple seconds more. Then she heard Ben’s voice raised in anger.
“I told you to bring your lover. Where is he? Cowering behind you?”
“This is between you and me, Ben. Why drag Julia into it?”
“She hates me,” he whined. “She’s always hated me. She never thought I was good enough for her little precious. God, she makes me sick! I knew if I took her you’d come.”
“Julia, are you all right?”
There was a short scuffle. “Shoot the fooker in the balls,” the old woman said calmly.
There was a sharp smack and Julia grunted. A dull thump and Ben cried out angrily.
“Hit her again and I guarantee you won’t walk out alive,” Romy said, leaving the shadows to Saige’s left, his gun trained on Ben.
“Why did you bring him? This is between me and Brodie.”
“Your note said to bring her lover,” Romy said calmly, cocking his head to one side. “So
here I am.”
“You? She’s with Brodie! I saw them together. I saw her car over there Sunday night!”
“Apparently you’ve not done your homework, you worthless sack of shit. I live in the same building, you limp dicked toad. She and I took up some time ago. Talks about you when she’s with me, don’t you love? Comparisons. Hard to live up to, mate. I’m a regular steam roller, me. Not a contest,” he whispered sharply.
“You’re lying!” Ben yelled. “She’s with Brodie!”
“Best thing you ever did for us, throwing her out. Course she was about to leave. I finally convinced her. Stupid of me not to suggest it sooner, but one gets used to a certain arrangement and finding a new one doesn’t seem necessary.”
As he talked, Romy moved closer to Ben, walking slightly to his left with each step. Ben was so busy watching him, he didn’t notice King following in the shadows, countering Romy’s movements. Nor did he see the others coming around behind him, sure and silent.
“You’re not gonna hurt my gran,” Romy said confidently. “You’re too smart for that. Rough up a couple young men, that’s one thing. But an old lady? Not your style. Not even if she kicked you in the balls, though I’m guessing they hurt like ruddy hell by now. Always takes a bit for that to really sink in.” He grimaced, closing one eye.
“I want to talk to Brodie.”
“What for? I’m your man. Well, her man. I’m with her, so your gripe is with me.”
“What about Brodie?”
“What about Brodie?” Saige threw back at him. “I’ve told you for months there was nothing between us. You’re an idiot, but it paid off. You focused so on Brodie, you didn’t see what was going on with Romy right under you nose. All those nights you were working, I wasn’t alone. I was with him. We made love in our bed and laughed about you the entire time.”
It was amazing how easy it was to lie to Ben. The words poured out of her mouth like truth, spinning a web of deception that worked Ben into a frenzy. Romy was within jumping distance. Saige could see him preparing to attack Ben. She had to keep her ex focused on her rather than Romy.
“Julia and I used to talk about you too, didn’t we?”
“All the time, love,” Julia played along beautifully. “She called you a silly wanker with a penis the size of a peanut.”
Julia giggled even as he pulled her head back and pressed the gun under her chin. His hand trembled, his eyes wild. In the middle of something he couldn’t control, one slip in panic and she
© 2012 Dellani Oakes