“Yeah?” Ruger said, his voice full of restrained tension. Hunter nodded at me.
“It’s Thophie,” I said quickly. “I’m here with Hunter and Em, they’re lithening.”
Hunter’s eyes narrowed and he snapped the phone shut.
“No f**king games,” he said. “You’re done.”
I nodded and stuck the ice back into my mouth. At least Ruger knew I was still alive … I’d decided I was done with him last night, but he’d gotten me into this mess, so he could damned well get me back out before I cut him off for good.
“Calling your dad now,” Hunter said to Em, dialing again. “Be a good girl, Emmy Lou—or did you need another lesson?”
Em flushed, looking away. My eyebrows rose. We heard the phone ringing through the speaker, and then it picked up.
“Picnic,” Em’s dad said, his voice cold.
“Hey, Daddy,” Em said. “We’re okay for now.”
“What the f**k’s wrong with Sophie?” Picnic asked. “Ruger says she wasn’t talking right.”
“She bit her tongue,” Em said quickly. “Don’t worry, she’s fine. But you need to get us out of here.”
“We know, baby,” he replied, and his voice softened ever so slightly. “We’re working on it.”
“That’s enough, girls,” Hunter said, pulling away the phone. He clicked off the speaker and put it to his ear as he walked out of the room.
Em scooted closer to me, lifting her free arm to wrap it around my neck. I leaned against her, taking comfort from the fact that at least we weren’t alone. The swelling in my tongue had gone down, too, which was a relief.
“We need to get ourselves out of this,” she told me. “Like I said—Toke’s AWOL. After he cut me, there’s nothing he could have done to make things right with dad. If they could find Toke, they would’ve by now.”
“How should we do it?” I muttered around the last of the ice.
“We should wait until there’s just one guy here,” she said. “Sooner or later, they’ll have to go get groceries or something. That’s when we’ll move. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I think attacking is too dangerous, unless you’ve got some sort of secret ninja skills I don’t know about. Great job with the whole spitting blood thing, by the way. I’m impressed.”
“We all have to do our part,” I said, feeling pleased with myself. “You’re not half bad as a pickpocket.”
“Had to pay for college somehow,” she replied piously. “I don’t believe in student loans.”
“You’re a nutjob.”
“Probably,” she said, mustering a grin. “But everything I have, I own free and clear.”
“Yeah, me, too,” I said. “Couldn’t get a credit card to save my life. Apparently unemployed single moms are a bad risk.”
“Speaking of, I have Hunter’s now,” she said, grinning. “I lifted his wallet while you were talking on the phone with Ruger. No idea if it’ll be useful, but it’s better than nothing.”
“Okay, first thing—you need to stop picking his pocket,” I told her. “He’s gonna figure it out. He almost did when you got the knife.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right about that one,” she said, sighing. “So here’s my thought. I want to split up. More chance that one of us will get away and bring help. We wait until one of the guys leaves, then I’ll go out the front of the house and you’ll go out the back. Whoever’s left can’t chase us both. Hell, maybe we’ll get lucky and he won’t even notice us leaving.”
“What if Hunter and Skid aren’t the only guys here?”
“Well, then I guess they’ll probably catch us again,” she said seriously. “It’s a risk, because they’ll punish us. This isn’t a game. But we can’t just sit here and hope this all works out—realistically, it’s not gonna be easy for the club to find us.”
“I thought you said Hunter wouldn’t hurt you?” I asked.
“I don’t think he will,” she said. “But Skid’s different. Dad will find us sooner or later, but I’d just as soon we’re alive when it happens. I don’t want to get dumped in a ditch somewhere just because Toke’s an idiot.”
My breath caught.
“I don’t want to get dumped in a ditch, either.”
“So we just won’t get caught,” she told me, offering a grin. “Should be easy, right?”
“Did I mention you’re a nutjob?”
“I get it from my dad.”
“I wish I had more to tell you,” Kimber said. She looked like a raccoon, her eyes completely surrounded by tear-streaked, black makeup. She sat at a table in the Armory, obviously exhausted from her long night. Ruger still couldn’t quite believe he’d actually f**ked this woman. On purpose.
Sure, she had a great body, but compared to Sophie she was nothing. Not even on his dick’s radar.
“You did the best you could,” Horse said. It’d taken them a while to find Kimber because she’d gone on a rampage looking for Sophie and Em. When they’d finally caught up to her, she’d been holding four men hostage in the corner of Mick’s bar with a canister of pepper spray in one hand and her phone in the other. She’d been filming them, demanding that they tell her everything they knew “for the record.”
Thank f**k she didn’t have a gun with her.
“I tried,” she said. “I never should’ve let her go in by herself. The whole thing was a terrible idea. You’ll never know how sorry I am. I hope you can believe that.”
Picnic grunted, obviously unimpressed, but he managed to keep his mouth shut.
“It’s good you weren’t with her,” Bam Bam said, his voice soothing. “If you were, we’d have three hostages instead of two. Not only that, you’re not one of us, so they might consider you dead weight. This is better.”
“You gonna be okay watching Noah until we get this fixed?” Ruger asked abruptly.
“Yes,” she said, looking up and meeting his gaze. “I’ll take care of him like he’s my own. You don’t need to worry about that.”
“Okay,” he told her. “I’ll come over and see him if I can. I’m not going to let myself get distracted from finding Sophie, though. You need a gun?”