“We’ve got eyes on her,” Titus’ voice booms through the car speaker.
“Send me the location. I’m on my way now.”
“She’s moving. The doctor and nurse are heading west on I-30.” There’s a pause and I can tell Titus is holding back.
“Spit it out, brother.”
“We think she’s in the trunk. There are no visuals of her in the car, which means she’s either in the trunk or…”
Fuck. I don’t even want to think of the alternative. It’s already bad enough she might be in the trunk. Shifting gears, I head west.
“It’s too damn hot for her to be back there. Do we have anyone who could stop them? Have you reached out to our connections with the local PD?”
“Right now, all we have is aerial confirmation, but Hudson is on the phone with the police to intercept. She’s nearing Cockerel Hill now.”
Thank god. She isn’t far. Pressing on the accelerator, I push this car to its limit. “I need to get to her before it’s too late. Did you send me their location?”
“Done, brother. Their coordinates should be on your nav now.”
“Thank you,” I choke out as I cut the line. Checking the upgraded system attached to the central control panel, I hit accept on the new coordinates. “Hang on, baby. I’m coming.”
I see it. The silver of the Mercedes sedan gleams in the hot midday sun, pulling me toward it like a beacon.
My mind races as I gain on the doctor’s car. Not giving a shit about safety, I swing my Venom in front of them, downshifting almost immediately.
Objective attained. They hit their brakes, slowing down their vehicle to a slow roll. Just as I’m about to park my sports car in the middle of a four-lane highway, a full police guard flanks either side of the Mercedes, with one getting directly between me and the doctor.
Good. They can deal with the shitbags while I go for Cass.
Exiting the vehicle, I start to round one of the squad cars when I hear my name being called.
“Ren.” The voice stops me in my tracks. “Hang back. We’ve got this.”
Quickly glancing to my right without lowering my gun, I see the young sergeant and recognize him instantly. WRATH Securities helped him break the case that landed him his current position with the police department.
“Marcus, with all due respect, these sick bastards have my girl in the trunk. You’ll have to pump me full of bullets before I let anyone get in the way of her rescue.”
He nods, reluctantly letting me take the lead as I move forward.
I hear him tell his men to stand down until further instruction, giving me the opening to head straight for the driver’s side of the sedan.
My gun’s out and ready to play if the asshole behind the wheel gets any ideas. Through the windshield, I see Dr. Wilson’s eyes widen in horror. That’s right buddy, I’m coming for you.
“Open the fucking door and I won’t shoot you.” Yet. Regardless of whatever this guy does from this point forward, his ass is mine.
Dr. Wilson’s hands slowly come up, palm facing toward me in a supplicating gesture. “Okay, okay. No need to shoot.”
Barbie squeaks from behind him. “We were just heading to Eagle Mountain Lake for some summer fun. Is there a crime against boating on a hot day?”
“Shut. Up,” Dr. Wilson spits out through gritted teeth, each word coming out in staccato.
My blood boils. They were going to dump her body. That’s it. There’s not a soul on this earth that could save them from my wrath.
I grab Dr. Wilson by the shirt and slam him into the ground. Watching as his face bounces off the hot asphalt, I pin him down with the underside of my boot while popping the trunk release with my right hand. “Can someone take this sick bastard?”
An officer quickly takes him off my hands, giving me the opening I needed to get Cass. I round the car and look into the trunk. What I see shatters my already jagged heart.
Cass laying in a pool of blood, her body limp and unconscious. Lifting her body, I bring her to my chest and carry her bridal style to the ground. “I’ve got you, baby. I’ve got you.”
I smooth away the matted and bloody hair from her face. God, how did I let this happen? “Please don’t leave me, little angel. I need you. You’re my light in this dark world.”
Afraid of what I’ll find, I finally press a finger to her pulse. Nothing. I get nothing.
“Fuuuuuuuck!” I roar into the wind, not giving a shit about my surroundings. Tears I haven’t shed in over a decade fall unbidden as I rock her against my chest, clinging to her body with every bit of strength I possess.
My fucking angel, my love. I let her down and now she’s gone. She’s left me.
“Ren,” a whisper of a voice brings my attention downward. Could it be?
Cass’s eyes are still closed but I swear I see her lips move. “Where the fuck is the EMT, we need a medical kit, now!” I bark out, unwilling to rip my eyes away from her for even a second.
Someone comes from behind me, a stretcher not far behind. Lifting her up, I place her body onto the raised surface as they take her vitals.
“We’ve got a heartbeat! It’s faint, but it’s there!” A scrawny guy in his early twenties beams and I swear I just about kiss him.
They start a drip and begin to wheel her into an ambulance, but before she’s hoisted into it, she calls out my name once more, “Ren.”
“Shhh. I’m right here, baby.” I’m glad she’s speaking but I want her to conserve as much energy as possible. I’m about to tell her to stop talking when her next words absolutely gut me. “Your mom. She’s beautiful, just like you.”
My eyes prickle with the promise of more tears, “My mom?”
“Yes, she brought me back to you.” Cassie’s gaze falls behind me. On instinct, I turn, but of course there’s nothing there. Her eyes shutter closed as she utters her next words. “Mhm. She loves her little sugar bug.”
My heart practically stops in my chest, goose bumps covering every square inch of my body. What in the actual fuck? There’s no way she could possibly know.
I was born with a visible vein across the bridge of my nose, which I eventually grew out of. But its non-technical term is a sugar bug, and it also happened to be my mother’s term of endearment for me.
The fact that she chose to use that term right now has me stuttering for air.
“Are you getting in or will you be following?” The young paramedic pulls me out of my thoughts as he lifts Cassie into the emergency vehicle.
“You bet your ass I’m coming. I don’t think anything could pull me away from this woman’s side.” Hopping into the ambulance, I pull my phone out and shoot the guys a group text.
REN: The Venom is on I-30. Need someone to take it home for me.
HUDSON: Dibs! I’m about five minutes out.
TITUS: What do you want to do with the kidnappers? Local PD are holding them back for us for further instruction. I told them you might want access before proper booking.
REN: Please intercept and take them to our friends in New York, the Renzetti’s.
God, I love my job. It’s allowed us to make connections I would’ve never thought possible. One of them being the Renzetti Famiglia who currently owe us a favor for facilitating a rescue on their behalf.
Thankfully, Titus picks up on what I’m saying without my having to put anything else in writing.
TITUS: Ten-Four, Brother. Keep us posted on Cassie’s status.
REN: Will do, and thank you for all of your help today. I appreciate it.
I’ll deal with Cassie’s kidnappers once she’s doing better. There’s no way in hell I’m leaving her side while she’s in this state. In the meantime, I’m fully confident the Renzetti’s can keep them occupied until it’s time to dole out their justice.
The incessant beeping of an alarm clock has me waking up from the strangest dream. I was floating on a cloud with the prettiest angel. Her long blond hair looked to be spun of gold, and the scent of baked goods and flowers followed her wherever she’d go.
“Can someone turn off that damn alarm?” I groan, needing that infernal racket to stop.
A chorus of gasps and chuckles has my eyes cracking open, but barely. I see that I’m in a hospital room, flooded with flowers and balloons. Damn, how long have I been here?
Ren is sitting to my left, looking completely a mess. Hair disheveled with the onset of a decent beard starting to appear. In front of me, my mom, sisters, and Bella approach the bed—grins splayed across their tired faces.
“Mija, you’re awake!” My mother wipes away at her tears while Ren squeezes my hand.
“I’ve gone ahead and buzzed the nurse,” His voice comes out choked as if trying to hold back emotion. Visions of him bent over me in an open highway flash before my eyes. They’re aerial views as if I were floating above him.
Slowly but surely, everything starts coming back to me.
“Oh my god. The doctor… Barbie…” My body tenses at the memory, the monitors clearly picking up on the increase of my heartbeat.
“Shhhhh, Cass. You’re safe now.” Ren gently strokes my arm as my heart resumes its regular rhythm. “It’s all been handled.” The certainty in his voice brings me comfort, letting me relax back into the bed. I’ll need more information on that later but for now, his word is all I need.
“Did someone push the call button?” An older gentleman in a white coat walks into the room trailed by a nurse in blue scrubs. “Oh, Miss Martinez. I see that you’re up! I was about to do rounds when one of the nurses informed me there was a notification coming from your room.”
“Yes…” the one word comes out slow and full of apprehension. Narrowing my eyes into thin slits, I judge the man’s words with the scrutiny of a Bible thumpin’ preacher. I mean, you can’t really blame me for being overly cautious after my last run-in with a doctor and his nurse.
“Great. When you arrived at the hospital, you’d suffered a pretty significant laceration to the back of your head, lost a lot of blood, and were severely dehydrated. Needless to say, you were in pretty rough shape.”
“How long ago was that?” My mind spins with all of this information.
“A little over twenty-four hours. It’s a good sign that you’re awake and coherent now, though. We’ll be running some tests and—barring any red flags—you should be cleared to go home as early as tonight.”
Ren squeezes my hand, a glance over to him letting me see his gorgeous smile and that sexy dimple of his. I’m so ready to be home with this man.
Looking back toward the doctor, I give him my biggest and brightest smile, “Okay, let’s get this party started. I’m ready to blow this popsicle stand.”
As soon as the doctor and his nurse exit the room, the questions start flying.
“Soooo, are either of you going to tell me what’s going on between the two of you?” Bella’s smirk lets me know there’s no sense in denying the obvious.
Ren’s been clinging to my hand as if his life depended on it. I think it’s pretty clear he has some sort of sentimental attachment to me.
Without warning, a dull throb begins at the base of my neck, sending my hands up to my head in a futile attempt to make the discomfort stop.
“Bella!” Ren barks. “Now is not the time for playing twenty questions.”
“It’s fine. I’m fine.” I try to smooth the tension between my best friend and her uncle.
“You’re not. As much as it pains me to admit this, Uncle Ren is right.” Bella gives me a sad smile. “I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this, but as soon as you’re back home, I’m coming over and we’re having one of our famous nights in.”
“Heads-up, we’re inviting ourselves,” Aria chimes in on behalf of herself and Carmen.
I softly chuckle, letting my head softly fall back on the pillow. Looking to my right, I see my mother’s eyes glistening with freshly shed tears. She’s been quiet this entire time, very unlike her.
“Ma, you okay?” My brows press together as I wait for an answer.
“Yes, baby. I’m just thankful you’re okay.” She comes closer, lowering her face to mine and pressing a kiss to my forehead. Looking toward Ren, she continues, “I’m also thankful for this man of yours, I don’t even want to think about what could’ve happened had he not acted so quickly.”
“Not an option, ma’am. As long as I have breath, Cassie will always be cared for.”
Well if Bella hadn’t clued in on the nature of our relationship before, that statement left no room for doubt.
There’s definitely something going on between the two of us.
Leave a Reply