“No,” he answered quietly, although I hadn’t caught the question. You need to pull yourself together, figure out what happens next.
“Anything else I should know about?” I managed to whisper, the drug fog muffling me. He gave a humorlous laugh.
“Well, apparently someone hit five drug warehouses and eight safe houses belonging to the cartel last night. No idea yet about a body count, but the cops are sayin’ almost all the leadership was taken out nearly simultaneously. They’re tryin’ to figure out who might be behind it.”
“Did all of our guys make it out okay?”
“We lost three,” he said, his voice lowering. “One Reaper and two Devil’s Jacks. Nobody you knew. And here’s bad luck for you—the cops picked up Puck and Painter last night for speeding. Found some guns in the car, so now they’re lookin’ at a trafficking charge.”
“Shit. By ‘lost,’ do you mean … ?”
“Who were they?” I asked, my voice a whisper.
“My brothers,” Reese said, his voice rough. “Even the Jacks—they earned it with their blood. Now isn’t the time for crying, though. Gotta get everyone home safe first. Then we’ll remember them.”
“What about Puck and Painter?”
“Lawyer’s on his way right now,” he replied. “But probably not lookin’ so good for either of them. Both have priors. You owe Puck, by the way. He’s the one who figured out where you were. Hadn’t been for him, we might not’ve found you in time.”
“Surprised he bothered. I don’t think he likes me very much.”
“Doesn’t matter how he feels about you,” Reese told me. “Protectin’ club property. That’s his job.”
I had no idea how to react to that statement, so I decided to pretend I hadn’t heard it.
“Overall it was a big win for us—it’ll take years for them to recover,” he continued. “The boss down in Mexico’s already been in touch, askin’ for a truce. They’ve agreed to stay south of San Francisco, at least for now, and leave the local clubs alone. In exchange, we gave ’em a little token of our appreciation.”
“What was that?”
“I thought you said if Jess made it through you were going to let him go.”
“No, we told him if she survived, he’d survive, and he was definitely alive when we handed him over to the Santiagos. But only an idiot thinks he can double-cross the cartel and keep breathing long term. He was dead already, just didn’t know it yet.”
Scary as hell, but I had to agree. Nate had made his own bed, and I didn’t feel particularly sorry for him at all. I yawned. Between the drugs and the drama, I was exhausted.
Reese probably was, too … But I had one more question for him. An important one.
“What about me?” I asked, my voice a whisper.
“Not sure I follow.”
“Has the club decided what they’re going to do about me?” I repeated, the words slurring. “Now that it’s all over. I’m really sorry. I know I keep saying that and it doesn’t change anything, but it’s true. What I did was wrong—you always tried to help me, and even after I stabbed you in the back, you still saved Jessica. I know you don’t trust me and you probably don’t believe me, but I’d do anything for you, Reese. For the club, too. I can’t ever thank you enough for rescuing my baby girl …”
“Babe, I think it’s safe to say you’re fine with the club,” he replied, and I heard a touch of humor in his voice. “You saved Em’s life, lied to the cops to protect us, and then killed Gerardo Medina—all in twenty-four hours. That’s impressive, honey. You know how many people have tried to take his ass out? Not only that, we all sorta got off on you kneecapping Deputy Dickhead. Don’t sweat it, okay? Fuck, Heather tried to kill me at least three times over the years. We’ll get through this.”
“I don’t think I understand bikers.”
“That’s okay, babe. You’ll figure it out.”
Jess cuddled up next to me like a baby the entire flight home, tucked into my side with a blanket around us both. I hadn’t quite believed Reese when he told me she was fine. She was, though. At least physically. Sure, she’d lost a finger, and I knew recovering from that wasn’t going to be fun. But her shunt really hadn’t budged, there were no signs of infection, and even the concussion she’d gotten from hitting the floor was healing up like it should.
We also had no idea why she’d had the seizure. Of course, we’d never really understood why she had them as a child, either—or why she’d stopped having them. One thing I’ve learned over the years spent with her in hospitals and doctors’ offices is that medicine is an art, not just a science.
They don’t know nearly as much as they want you to think.
Mentally, things were going to be a lot harder for her. She didn’t want to talk about the rape or what had happened to her mother, but she flinched every time a man came near her. That was answer enough for me. Maybe she’d be ready to open up as time went on—not like a cargo plane full of bruised and bloodied bikers was the best spot for a heart-to-heart anyway.
Wasn’t my place to push her.
We finally reached Em and Hunter’s house in Portland early in the morning, less than forty-eight hours after we’d left it. Crazy, right? Reese pointed us toward a guest bedroom before taking off, saying he needed to visit Em. They’d talked by phone, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted to see her for himself, make sure she really was going to be okay.
I felt the same way about Jessica. I tucked her in like a child and then lay down next to her, counting her breaths like I had when she was in the NICU. I should probably go downstairs, make sure everyone else was okay … But I was so tired. Instead I drifted off, wondering what our next step should be.
The pinging sound of a text woke me. This seemed odd, considering I hadn’t seen my phone (or purse) since before I tried to shoot Reese. I rolled over, blinking quickly, trying to figure out what was going on.
“Turn it off,” Jess mumbled, flopping over onto her side. “Too tired for school …”
Guess some things didn’t change.
I looked across the room to see the purse in question sitting on top of a plain wooden dresser, next to two neat stacks of folded clothing. Who could be texting me?