Target(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 3)(23) by Connie Suttle
Winkler, bleeding from a shoulder wound and backed up by Gene and Gabe, who'd also been hit in the right arm and left thigh, raised rifles. The remaining attackers were down in seconds after two shots rang out. Ashe dropped Trajan into a rattan chair as carefully as he could.
"You okay?" Ashe waited for Trajan to open his eyes. The wound was on Trajan's right side and blood flowed sluggishly from the injury.
Winkler was cursing and kicking one of their assailants. He also heard the name Nick. Several times.
"What happened?" Ashe grabbed a towel from a stack the housekeeper kept on the deck in a basket, in case anyone wanted to swim in the gulf. Pressing the towel to Trajan's wound, he knelt next to Winkler's Second.
"Betrayal, that's what," Winkler came to examine Trajan's gunshot wound. "Spencer's dead. Marco, see if you can get Shirley Walker on the phone. One of her wolves works as a nurse at the hospital in Corpus. We need him. Pronto."
"Did they just walk in the front door?" Ashe asked, pressing the towel harder against Trajan's side to curb the bleeding. Trajan grunted in pained response.
"Nick did. Spencer didn't know not to let him in," Winkler cursed again. "Two came in with him and killed Spence. These three came around the back and started shooting into the house. Trajan and I got the two in the house; one of us wounded Nick, too. If you hadn't gotten here when you did, Trajan would probably be gone as well. Thank goodness Gene got suspicious and followed Nick when he left Star Cove."
"Marco and Trace got those guys, I just picked up Trajan before they could shoot him again," Ashe was shaky but didn't want to show it.
"They're on the way," Gabe pocketed his cell phone. Ashe watched Gabe. He'd just lost his brother, in addition to being wounded.
"No more questions right now," Trajan opened his eyes and blinked at Ashe. Ashe nodded his understanding. Marco was on the phone, talking with his father when Trajan passed out again.
The werewolf nurse who worked at the hospital showed up half an hour later, but he couldn't get the bullet out of Trajan until Anthony Hancock rose for the evening.
"My surrogate sire is better at this than I am," Tony muttered, forming a long claw on a single finger. "Hold him down," he nodded at Trajan, who was breathing shallow breaths. The nurse had given him something for pain and washed out the wound, but hadn't attempted to remove the bullet. Ashe hadn't been told to stay away, so he watched in frightened awe as Tony Hancock dipped his claw into Trajan's flesh and flipped the bullet out in seconds. It bounced across the tiled floor of Winkler's media room, coming to rest against an expensive, hand-woven rug.
"Now we can fix this," the nurse sighed and went back to work on the wound. Winkler had been patched up, as had Gabe—those bullets had either grazed or gone through. Ashe knew that feeling, having been shot when he was twelve.
"You all right, Son?" Aedan walked in with Marcus.
"Yeah. Dad, I was never in any danger. We went for a run on the beach—Marco, Trace and I. Mr. Winkler got attacked while we were gone. We just came up at the end."
"Is this the end of it? Do you think there are more out there?" Aedan asked.
"No way to tell," Tony Hancock said. "But we'll certainly look into the matter. Would you like to place compulsion on Nick, so we can get answers?"
"Absolutely," Aedan nodded. Winkler, Tony, Marcus and Aedan all left the room.
"Damn," Trajan sighed.
"You're in no shape to go running after them right now," the nurse said, pushing Trajan back onto the sofa when he attempted to rise.
"Ashe," Trace jerked his head toward the back doors, which were still broken, with glass hanging in shards from the frames. Ashe followed Trace to the deck.
"Get me in there, Ashe," Trace whispered. Ashe blinked at Trace before going to mist and hauling the werewolf into Winkler's private office. Nick was cuffed with silver and tied to a chair when they arrived. Gabe stalked around the prisoner, growling even in human form. Ashe, holding Trace within his mist, hovered in a corner of the room.
"Now, you will tell me everything and you will be truthful about it, won't you?" Aedan leaned down, looking Nick in the eye.
"Yes," Nick said, nodding slightly.
"Who sent you?" Aedan asked.
"Dom Pruitt. He knows you have his boys, Winkler. He says you stole his family. He wants you dead. Paying a lot for it, actually. He said to kill you first and then grab the boys."
"No loyalty, Nick?" Winkler growled.
"Offered a lot," Nick winced.
"What do you think I might have paid to have the information brought to me?" Winkler asked angrily.
"What else did he offer you?" Aedan asked. "What did he promise?"
"Home in Mexico. On the water. Anything else I wanted, in exchange for your head." He stared at Winkler.
"Anything else?" Aedan asked.
"That's all I know."
"Gabe, he's yours," Winkler said. When Ashe saw Gabe pull the pistol from his waistband, he flew straight through the ceiling, dumping Trace on the roof before flying over the waters of the gulf.
"Your father wasn't happy that you took off," Winkler was waiting inside the media room when Ashe walked in just after daybreak the following morning. The patio doors had been boarded up and the blood washed from the deck and the floors inside the house.
"Yeah. I figured," Ashe said. "Trajan okay?"
"He's fine. Sleeping it off. He'll be healed up in a couple of days."
"Where's Nick?" Ashe watched Winkler. Would Winkler lie? His dark eyes never wavered from Ashe’s face.
"Sleeping. With the fishes," Winkler replied. "Shirley sent somebody who has a boat."
"Ashe, in this business, it's unavoidable. Vamps, weres and shifters don't have normal lives. We like to protect our kids, but the talented ones get thrown into it early."
"I've already been informed that I won't have a normal life," Ashe sat on the opposite end of the sofa Winkler occupied.
"Ashe, the trick is to keep as much as possible as normal as possible. Last night was definitely not normal. My wolves are extremely loyal as a rule. Every now and then, there's someone who thinks money might be more important. I handed Nick to Gabe because Nick killed Spencer. That's the worst kind of betrayal. It would have been more honorable to call Spencer out and offer to fight, instead of convincing him to trust Nick enough to allow him inside the house."
"Yeah," Ashe dropped his head in his hands. He hadn't slept. He'd been misting, flying as the bat or hopping—his newfound talent of jumping from one place to another—all night.
"Come on, you can call your mother and we'll both talk to her, and then you'll go to bed for a while. Trace and Marco are taking the early shift. They have to deal with getting glass replaced in the doors."
"How are you going to explain that?" Ashe studied the boarded up frames.
"Werewolf-owned glass company," Winkler said. "You'd be surprised at how many werewolf businesses are out there. We have our own phone directory. Shirley called him last night. He said he'd be out around nine."
"So, what's gonna happen to the one who hired Nick?"
"Ashe, we're working on that, all right? Most of my wolves don't know as much as you do right now. In the meantime, I have to get my Second back on his feet."
"Yeah. Trajan asleep right now?"
"Want to check? I'll let you take breakfast in if you want."
"I will." Ashe went to see Winkler's cook. Jimmy was preparing a meal in the kitchen as if nothing had happened. Ashe got two plates of food on a tray and went to Trajan's bedroom on the second floor.
"He said no coffee," Ashe set the tray down on Trajan's bedside table. Trajan had asked for coffee the moment Ashe walked through the door after knocking.
"Who?" Trajan was grumbling.
"The cook. You know—Jimmy."
"I'll have a talk with him later. Kid, I've got to find a way to stop getting rescued by you."
"I'd hope you'd do the same for me. Or Sali or Marco or Winkler."
"Yeah. Hand that plate over, I'm starved." Ashe handed a plate and a fork to Trajan, who'd slid his legs over the edge of the bed so he could eat.
"Your mother," Winkler handed his cell to Ashe after walking into Trajan's bedroom.
"Mom, I'm fine," Ashe said right away. "I was nowhere near the grassy knoll." Winkler threw back his head and laughed.
"Ashe, do I need to come over there?" Adele asked, worry in her voice.
"I think everything is under control. Everything all right there?"
"Yes, things seem to be fine. Another werewolf showed up to help Ace guard Marcie's boys, but that's it. One of Shirley Walker's, I think." Winkler was nodding—he knew about it already.
"Good. I guess Dad made it home okay?"
"Yes, but he was worried about you."
"I only went down the beach a little way. Nobody saw me, I promise."
"Are you sure you're all right?"
"Yeah. I'm fine. Really. And so are Mr. Winkler and Trajan."
"All right. But if anything like that happens again, you'll come straight home. Do you hear?"
"Mom, don't worry, okay? I'm fine."
"I'll be bringing in more guards, Mrs. Evans," Winkler promised. He knew she'd hear.
"Fine. Ashe, your father will call tonight when he rises."
"I love you, honey."
"Love you, too, Mom." Ashe flushed. Winkler and Trajan both grinned.
"Here's your mail, Adele." Denise handed over the stack of mail she'd gotten from the Evans' new post office box. Nobody in the community had mail delivered to their homes. It was safer that way. Mailboxes were lined up outside the housing addition, but those only received advertisements and flyers addressed to occupant.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online