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“That fucking psycho,” Kayla hissed for the umpteenth time, as if that would make the ropes around her wrists become any less tight, or the day run its course any faster.
Ever since she’d met Spade, though perhaps ‘meeting’ was a strong word to use when she’d honestly just gotten kidnapped by the guy, her life had gone from bad to worse. That was some sort of a feat, considering everything she’d been going through lately, but there it was.
It was worse.
She wasn’t even particularly sure where she was, other than the fact that it had taken a really fucking long airplane ride and then a chopper ride to get there. Now, she’d been cooped up in some featureless room, tied to a damn chair for the better part of the last few hours.
“I’ll be back right away, my ass,” Kayla murmured, wiggling her wrists painfully in their binds.
She’d been carried in like a sack of potatoes by some men who looked far too big and serious to be taken by one of her little tricks, tied to the damnable chair she was currently perched on, and then left by her lonesome. The promise Spade had given to her before stepping out, of returning quickly enough, smelled of bullshit then and it still stank of it now.
I should have never gone to fucking Chicago, she thought grimly.
Not that she thought it would have changed anything. She wasn’t sure why Spade had picked her off the streets like some urchin fit for being murdered, but she did know that a man like that never did anything for no reason. There was certainly something that she was here for, she just couldn’t be sure what.
Maybe he’s with them… Maybe I finally found them?
The thought was unsettling and she didn’t finish it. Even less did she attempt to name ‘them.’ It was too painful to think about.
Concentrating, she went back to trying to fight her way out of the ties around her wrists. She’d gotten the feeling that one of the men who had been tying her up took some pity on her and made the knots slightly looser than he should have to avoid cutting off her circulation. They’d taken every weapon she had on her, of course, but maybe she could still work herself free with some good old-fashioned elbow grease?
It was worth a shot.
Kayla felt like she’d been messing with it for hours when she felt the burning sensation around her wrists become a bit stronger, signaling that she might be on the right path. Perking up, she tugged and wiggled harder, just in time to hear the distant sound of footsteps somewhere outside her door.
It was a magnificent word, encompassing within it all the pain and aggravation the world seemed hellbent on providing her as of late.
The steps came closer, several people by the sound of it, and Kayla gritted her teeth. She managed to get one thumb out of the binds and then her hands followed suit. Lunging forward, she quickly untied the knots around her feet and when she jumped up, triumphant, she could only attest to the fact that she’d done too little, too late.
The door swung open to her blank cell before she could try and hide, or take up a defensive position behind the door, but it didn’t matter. The sight before her would have rooted her to the spot regardless of her level of preparation for it.
How did you get ready to see two men who might as well have been dead?
“Rio, Ryker,” she muttered, dumbstruck as she stood perfectly still, a lamb fit for slaughter.
“Kayla,” Rio said, pushing past Ryker and crossing the distance between them with long, purposeful strides.
A second later, she found herself in the tight, comforting and completely safe embrace of Rio Tyren, one of the two men she’d ever loved. The tears brimmed in her eyes before she could think of another thought.
“I thought you were dead,” she whispered, answering Rio’s hug with one of her own, while her eyes couldn’t stop staring at Ryker.
He was rooted to the spot, looking pale in the face as if he’d just seen a ghost. She might as well have been one to them as well, Kayla suddenly realized.
Choking her tears back, she was released from Rio’s arms in time for more men to appear at the doorway, men she’d never seen before. They all looked battleworn and now she noticed that not only they, but Rio and Ryker as well were splattered with blood and mud and they stank of fire and gunpowder and something that she couldn’t quite place.
Her head spun.
“So who’s this?” one of the men she didn’t know questioned, cocking a curious brow and grinning at her like she was some sort of a prize for a job well done. “Is Spade finally taking into consideration my suggestion box entry and giving us hookers for a job well done?”
Ryker snapped so fast that no one could have seen it coming. It was only the lightning-fast reflexes of the loudmouthed guy, a man with particularly unnerving, pale green eyes, and everyone else around him that saved him from a broken jaw. Ryker’s fist wound up and he spun around, ready to strike. Another large, wide-shouldered man with an air of command about him caught the fist and the target of Ryker’s aggravation dodged back and away like he’d been bit by a snake.
They moved so fast that Kayla’s eyes could barely track them. She found herself leaning on Rio slightly, not even noticing the way she was already reveling in his warmth and presence like she used to all those years ago.
I should have never left.