“We both know you’re not going to kill me,” Star gritted, his grief for his daughter vanquished by self-preservation. “You won’t find your friend without me.”
Eyes sparking with electric energy, Blue shouted, “Where is he?”
“Not here,” Evie interjected. “I’ve checked every room in the house and every room downstairs.”
“You need me,” Star said, gloating.
Blue’s fury knew no bounds.
He had another choice to make, he realized. Take Star with him and lock him up, as originally planned, leaving the filthy piece of trash alive in the hopes that he could somehow force the man to tell him where John was being kept. Or he could kill him, let off a little steam, and pray he would find his friend on his own.
It wasn’t really a choice, was it?
Blue patted the man down, found three daggers, a vial of some kind of poison, and a bag of pills. He threw everything aside. Removed the man’s shoes, then his clothes, leaving him in his underwear.
Humiliation burned Star’s cheeks. “This isn’t going to get you the answer you seek.”
“It’s not meant to.”
He tied Star’s hands behind his back, then shoved him forward. Evie trailed behind him.
“I used one of the guard’s cell phones to call Solo,” she said. “I left it up there and turned on so he could track the signal. He should be here—”
The entire underground shook.
Overhead, footsteps pounded.
“—now,” she finished.
“We’re down here!” Blue shouted.
Solo descended the steps, his bones enlarged, his skin a deep crimson. He was breathing heavily, ready to kill everyone in his path . . . until he took one look at the stripped Star and ground to an abrupt halt.
“Won?” the warrior asked, clearly confused.
Blue nodded, a wave of pride washing through him. “We won this battle. Thanks to Evie.”
“Not just me,” she said. “Blue and I were a team.”
He kissed her temple.
Some of the red faded from Solo’s skin. “Your father is upstairs,” he said.
“Tyson’s up there, too. Someone needs to haul him away before I return and kill him. He’s still excellent leverage.” Evie raced past Blue and then Solo, and Blue wanted to call her back, because he didn’t want her far from his side, but she was well able to take care of herself, wasn’t she. He let her go.
As Star looked over the monstrous Solo, he trembled with fear.
“He thinks he can keep John’s location from us,” Blue said.
Solo cracked his knuckles, and despite the lessening of his monstrous visage, his claws were still so long they sliced into his palms, drawing blood. “I would love a chance to change his mind.”
Star raised his chin. “You might scare me, but you won’t break me. You have no idea the things I’ve had to endure over the years. Worse creatures than you have had a go at me and failed.”
Trying to gain pity?
Blue kicked him in the backs of his knees, sending him crashing into the concrete floor. Then Blue pushed him the rest of the way down, to his face, and pressed a bloody foot into his neck. “That’s enough out of you. For now, at least.”
Evie came back down the stairs, grinning from ear to ear. She stomped on Star to get to Blue. “Michael’s good,” she said, jumping up and down with happiness. “Badly bruised, but he’s got all his parts and they’re working, so I can’t complain.”
“What happened to him?”
“He made it into the forest outside the cabin, evaded the men hunting him, and called Solo.” She twisted to eye the warrior in question. “When I called you, you didn’t tell me you knew where we’d been taken and that you were on your way.”
Solo shrugged his wide shoulders. “For all I knew, you were under duress. I didn’t want anyone to know how close I was.”
“Forgiven. I guess.” She focused on Blue and her grin returned. “We did it. We really won.”
His chest constricted. Oh, how he adored this woman. “You okay? Was anything done to you?” From the looks of her, she hadn’t been hurt, but he needed to hear the words directly from her.
“No. I’m fine, I promise. You?”
“Better every second.” He increased the pressure on Star’s neck, and the man gasped for breath. “If Star had been smarter, he would have realized you were the greater threat.”
Beaming at him, she cupped his cheeks. “You keep saying stuff like that and it’s going to go to my head.” After kissing him, she said, “So what’s next?”
He nuzzled her nose. “Now we get to a secure location and have our chat-up with Star.”
* * *
Since Michael could officially come back from the dead, everyone was able to congregate at his house, in the basement. The dungeon, Evie liked to call it, where multiple cells awaited, as well as torture devices stained with the blood of past victims.
She watched as Blue and Solo took turns interrogating Star. She’d never seen two men more focused, driven, or—to be honest—cruel. But they had to be. It wasn’t until the end, six hours later, when there wasn’t much left of Star, that the male who’d caused so much death and destruction finally broke.
He’d proven to be immune to compulsion and truth serum but, ultimately, not to pain. Blue and Solo were merciless, cutting off Star’s fingers and toes one at a time, then removing hunks of his skin the way he’d done to John, and then . . . She shuddered. She didn’t want to think about what they did to Star after that, but it worked.
Star spilled his secrets, along with everything else.
Evie stayed with Michael, keeping Star alive while the boys rushed to the address they were given. A place Star reached through underground tunnels in his country estate. As soon as she got a call saying John was in custody, unconscious but alive, she pulled the plug on Star’s life support.
He died soon after.
Tyson had to watch it all from a cell. Now he sobbed quietly in the corner.
Finally, it was all over. The mission. The worry. The guilt. Over.
Evie and Michael hugged and, okay, both of them cried tears of joy.
“I’m sorry,” he said into her hair. “For everything.”
“I know. Me, too.”
“I love you, sunbeam.”
“I love you, Daddy.”
After that, Evie drove home. She didn’t know if she’d see Blue that night or not.