Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(33) by Jennifer Estep
“What happened to her?” I whispered.
Jo-Jo shook her head, and a bit of annoyance spurted through me. I was getting tired of people not answering me.
I followed her back out into the front of the cabin, where Fletcher and Sophia were talking in low voices.
“Now what?” Jo-Jo asked.
“I’m going after him,” Fletcher said. “Right now. Before he finds her and kills her too.”
Too? Who had this mystery man already killed?
Jo-Jo nodded, knowing exactly what he was talking about. Well, that made one of us.
“Sophia’s going with me,” Fletcher said. “To deal with his guards while I go after Renaldo.”
Well, at least the mystery man had a name now.
Jo-Jo lifted her chin. “I’m coming too.”
“No,” Fletcher said. “It’s too dangerous.”
Her clear eyes glowed with determination, and her mouth flattened out into a harsh line. “Which is all the more reason for me to come. In case you and Sophia need healing.”
Fletcher stared at her, then sighed. “All right. I know there’s no changing your mind once it’s made up about something.”
Jo-Jo tipped her head. “Smart man.”
“Girls?” Sophia rasped, pointing at me.
“He can’t find them here, can he?” Jo-Jo asked, her face creasing with worry.
“He shouldn’t,” Fletcher said. “Especially if we leave now and hit him first. We get in, I kill Renaldo, then we get out. Are we all agreed?”
“Agreed,” the Deveraux sisters replied in unison.
The three of them moved around the cabin, Sophia grabbing her shotgun while Jo-Jo went into one of the back rooms and returned carrying a large pink satchel. From the way the contents clanked together, the satchel must be full of tins of her healing ointment. Fletcher checked and rechecked the weapons he’d brought along in his black duffel bag. Some of the items surprised me. Oh, there were the usual guns, knives, and boxes of ammo, but he also had several wooden stakes and a long sword that was made out of hard gray stone instead of metal.
“What’s that for?” I asked, pointing to the stone sword.
“In case I can’t take him by surprise,” Fletcher said, sliding the weapon back into the bag and zipping up the whole thing.
“Renaldo, right? That’s the guy you’re going after?”
He tried to skirt around me, but I crossed my arms over my chest and stepped in front of him. Fletcher stopped, knowing that I could be as stubborn as all get-out when I really wanted to. I was a teenager, after all. He grabbed my arm and drew me off to one side of the cabin, away from the couch were Jo-Jo and Sophia were sorting through their own supplies.
“The girl in the bathroom? She’s in some serious trouble,” he said. “Her mom contacted me a few days ago. Her husband, the girl’s father, is a man named Renaldo Pike. He was hitting them—both of them—and has been for a long time. The mom wanted to leave him, but she couldn’t get away by herself, so she got in touch with me through Jo-Jo.”
“So where’s the mom? Why isn’t she here?”
Fletcher’s lips pinched together, and his shoulders slumped.
My stomach twisted. “Oh. She didn’t make it.”
“Renaldo found out what she was planning, and he decided to teach them both a lesson. I didn’t get there in time. The woman . . . what he did to her . . .” Fletcher’s voice trailed off, and tears gleamed in his green eyes before he was able to blink them away. “I’ll be hearing her screams in my nightmares for a long time to come.”
I stared at him, my own eyes wide, my mouth hanging open, my heart aching for the woman—and for the girl who’d lost her mom in such a horrific way.
Fletcher cleared his throat. “Now I’m going to go make sure that Renaldo never hurts his daughter again.”
“What do you need me to do?”
He reached over, hugged me tight, and pressed a kiss to the top of my head. “That’s my Gin. Stay with the girl, okay? The two of you should be safe here, and we won’t be gone long, if everything goes according to plan.”
He flashed me a grin. “Always.”
Fletcher grabbed his bag. Sophia and Jo-Jo met him at the front door, and the three of them headed outside. I watched through the windows as Fletcher went over to a small shed, opened it, and rummaged through the items inside, gathering up a few more supplies.
Deeper in the cabin, a door clicked open, and I heard the squeaking of sneakers on the floor. The girl came up to stand beside me. Sophia had clearly lent her some clothes, since her black jeans and long-sleeved T-shirt were a couple of sizes too big and covered with white skulls. The sides of her wet hair were pinned back with those red rose pins I’d noticed earlier, while the rest of her black locks hung loose around her shoulders.
Panic sparked in the girl’s gaze as she realized that Fletcher, Jo-Jo, and Sophia were getting ready to leave. “Where are they going?”
“Don’t worry. They’ll be back soon. You’re safe here. I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise.”
She looked me up and down, disbelief clouding her pretty face.
We stood there, staring at each other, the silence between us growing and growing. I didn’t know what to say to her. What could you say to someone whose dad had killed her mom and almost beaten her to death? It wasn’t like I could suggest that we watch TV or something.
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