Why a shudder? “I’ll call Solo and tell him to meet us at the airstrip.”
Thirty minutes later, the three of them boarded the jet and settled in the plush, dark leather seats. There was a dining table, a bedroom in back, and three four-by-four cages for carting criminals. Luxury and business at its finest.
Blue sat next to Evie. She grew pale and tense, and even squealed when the engines started up.
“You okay?” he asked her.
“I hate flying,” she grumbled. “It’s stupid. Planes are stupid. And we’re stupid for climbing inside this death trap!”
Distraction time. “Look away, Solo,” he said, leaning in to place a kiss at the base of Evie’s neck. “Things are about to get freaky.”
She pressed her lips together, but it was too late. A giggle escaped. And when he made growling noises against her skin, as if he were the big, bad wolf, she outright laughed. Better.
“Do you know how hilarious it is that the indomitable Evie Black is afraid of flying?” he asked.
She slapped at his arm. “You take that back, Corbin Blue! I’m afraid of nothing.”
“Except joining the Mile High Club. Right, baby?”
That earned him another slap. This one packed a little sting. “Maybe I’ll join—with myself.”
“Mmm, don’t tease me like that.” She hadn’t noticed that they’d hurtled down the runway and launched into the air, he thought with a smile. “Especially since this stupid plane comes with a bedroom.”
Looking at Solo, she hiked her thumb in Blue’s direction. “Has he always been like this?”
“Incorrigible? Always.” And then the warrior did something that astonished Blue. He winked at Evie.
A stamp of approval, right there.
His grin was wide.
“So you two are really together,” Solo said.
“Yes, but I’m considering breaking up with him,” Evie replied.
Blue shook his head with mock pity. “I’d just win you back. You know it’s true, so why even waste the time? You’re helpless against my immense charms.”
She rubbed her temples as if warding off a headache. “How did his other girlfriends put up with him?” she asked Solo.
“He was never like this with his other girlfriends” was the soft reply, and Evie faced Blue, her eyes wide.
He shrugged. It was true. He could be himself with her, no secrets in the way. No fears.
With a contented sigh, she nestled her head against his shoulder.
When the jet landed, he almost wished they’d had to go a greater distance. Holding her was a sweeter pleasure than having sex with another woman.
The cabin was twenty miles away, and once they reached it, Blue realized it was smaller than the blueprint made it seem, and decrepit-looking, hidden in a thick cluster of real trees.
A single light spilled from the only window Blue could see. A window leading into the living room. There were no guards outside patrolling the area, which meant there had to be trip wires on the ground.
Well, okay, then.
Evie anchored her night-vision goggles in place and attached a laser sensor over the lens. As she searched for any place the ground might have been disturbed, as well as any glowing red lines to indicate that an invisible security fence was activated, she quietly said, “The entire area is surrounded. There isn’t a clear spot anywhere.”
He took the goggles and looked for himself. Every red line was computerized with a signal meant to scan body heat and weight, as well as bone structure, and decide whether or not the invader was animal or man—no matter how quickly the creature moved. Once a determination was made, weapons—probably guns—would pop out of secret locations, all stripper from a cake deadly.
“I can get in without detection,” Blue whispered. “You two stay here and shoot anything that comes out without first shooting a flare.”
Solo nodded and took off for the other side of the house.
“Plug your ears, baby.” Blue pulled the pin on a scrambler grenade and tossed it through the wires. Then he closed his eyes and covered his own ears. He knew the exact moment the grenade detonated. A surge of electricity lifted the hair on his arms. A piercing ring made his brain want to jump out of his skull. Anyone within a mile radius would experience the same reaction.
Couldn’t be helped.
Knowing he had only five seconds before the scramble failed and the lasers kicked back on, he sprinted forward, moving as fast as his feet would carry him.
He reached the front porch and dropped to his stomach, removing his mask and palming two pyre-guns. Aimed.
A tall, muscled—and armed—male opened the door and peered out, frowning. He rubbed at his ears.
Blue didn’t have to squeeze the trigger, because a yellow blaze soared past him, slamming into the man’s chest. Thanks, baby. The guy dropped to the ground, already dead. The beam fried his heart to a crisp.
“Henry?” another man said.
The ringing stopped.
Blue popped to his feet and launched forward, through the door, barely missing the reengagement of the lasers. He scanned the home, taking everything in at once. The living room had three other guards in it. Two were watching television. One was striding toward the fallen Henry, his expression concerned.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
All three died as quickly as their friend, this time courtesy of Blue.
A search of the premises revealed no other guards. Just Tiffany in bed, her blue eyes wide as she pressed against the headboard, her hands trembling as she aimed a pyre-gun at him. She squeezed off a shot as Blue approached, but he dodged, and the blaze soared over his shoulder. He was on her the next instant, rolling her over and tying her hands behind her back.
She bucked, far stronger than she appeared, but still Blue managed to subdue her easily enough.
“Stop fighting,” he said. “You’re not going to win this.”
“No, Blue. No. Don’t do this.”
Begging won’t help, honey. “I’m taking you hostage.”
“You don’t understand.” Her struggles renewed, but they were just as ineffective as the others. “Please,” she said. “Don’t do this. You’ll regret it.”
“I’m not going to kill you.” Yet. Pressing her into the mattress with one hand, he withdrew a syringe from his pocket with the other. “Right now my plan is to use you as a bargaining chip. Your father has something I want, and you’re going to get it back for me.” Star claimed he would not trade, but they would soon put those words to the test.