Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Riley Everett

I’ve decided that I hate these parties. Everyone here is French, like everyone. I’m supposed to be Polish so I’m not supposed to understand a thing these people say so I’m just standing around like a lemon, following some old man around as he runs his mouth.

I’ve already found out about the dire situation the French are in right now, I think I’ll only need to kill this guy and then destroy the shipment coming in soon. Apparently, it’s not only shipping C4 but also a large shipment of guns, drugs and clean cash. They’ve had it imported from one of their friends in Asia so I can assume there is gonna be heavy protection on this ship and I’ve gotta get on it and destroy everything before the fuckers even dock.

I figure there will be a large greeting party to move all of this product from the docks to their distribution channels and I don’t want to fight all of them and then everyone on the boat. Looks like I’m going to be stealing a boat of my own and sneaking onto the ship while it’s still fucking moving, sounds like fun to me.

As per the usual, the guy I am ‘dating’ for this evening - in this case Durand - gets so drunk on expensive whiskey that he passes out before trying to seduce me. I leave him dead on the comfort of his duck feather duvet and head out of the building because I really don’t fancy being a date to another stuffy old guy.

Besides, I need to talk to Johnson and Chief about what the plan is for this ship. I’m hoping Johnson can fuck with the boat system so they have to stop moving and I can get onto it. I’m also hoping he can use thermal satellites to tell me how many men I’m to expect aboard the ship.

“Hey Johnson.” I greet as I get into my car, it connects to the Bluetooth so I toss my phone into the passenger seat and start the car. “Durand is dead, no problems there. The boat is my last target, can you hack the boat’s mainframe and stop it from going so I can get on?”

“I don’t see why not. I looked through the manifest for it and it’s one of the newest model of ships. I thought it was strange that only three containers have been loaded on it in Asia but I assume that’s all they need. There will be a lot more on there, they’ll be filled with bullshit just to hide the stuff from customs.”

“You know which ones it’ll be, right?”

“Of course, I’ve got them written down here. The crew consists of 17 men, none of them seem to have any experience with water but they kidnapped the captain and a few of his men to pilot the ship so you’ll have to leave them alive.”

“Which means I’ll have to find a way to get rid of the C4 without blowing it to kingdom come, shame. I quite like fireworks.”

“Chief never would’ve signed off on it. This is definitely the ship we’re looking for but it’s not docking for another fortnight.”

“I thought it was due Wednesday.”

“Yeah, Wednesday two weeks from now. I guess take a holiday while you can because the minute you take down another Mafia, they’ll give you even harder jobs.”

“You’ll be doing it too, I’m not working with anyone else.”

“Drive safe, wanker.”

“Bye dickhead.” He hangs up and I grumble as I pull up outside my flat building. I hate this dress, like sure it’s pretty but it’s so freaking tight and it’s white. Makes me look like Virgin Mary, when I am in fact definitely not a virgin.

Damn Theo Green happened when I was thirteen. It was a terrible experience and I went off men for a good six years, women satisfied me more but then I discovered Rosen Frank and I suddenly liked dick again. Still, now that I have a vacation I can have some fun in this town. Men and women alike, maybe at the same time, depends what I’m in the mood for.

I unlock my front door and lob my purse into the unknown with both my phones in and stalk straight to the bathroom to get this makeup off because it’s starting to itch. This is why I normally get ready an hour before I have to leave, one, so the makeup isn’t on as long and two, because I’m really good at procrastinating and then being late.

I don’t even know how I got hired by MI6, I’m not gonna lie. I’m good at my job, don’t get me wrong, but I almost never do it on time and all I do is complain. Poor Chief. The guy had to train me when I joined and then had to deal with Johnson and I behaving like children 24/7 and still somehow made us into the best unit in the organisation.

I wasn’t myself when I first joined, after losing Rolo - my best friend, I know he felt more for me than that but I didn’t feel that way, we had slept together very early on in our relationship and his feelings developed into more while mine didn’t - I refused to let anyone in. I lost my idiot father, both of my siblings ditched me and the only man I had come to trust after my dad ruined me for it had died for me, I couldn’t do it again.

Yet somehow Chief became my father basically and Johnson became my baby brother and now I would rather die than ever see them harmed.

I finish removing my makeup and manage to undo the corset on my own with a lot of contortion and patience. I carefully hang it up even though I hate it and make sure it’s protected by the bag. It may not be to my taste but it was a gift so I have to treat it properly. I put on some pyjamas before dropping face first into my couch.

My muscles relax and I groan happily, it’s been a long day. I wasn’t lying when I said Lexie could qualify as a torturer, she’s fucking relentless.

My door shakes with a bang and within seconds I have my gun in my hand and pointed at the door. “Who is it?”

“It’s me!” I sigh in relief and put the safety back on before yanking the door open to glare at a certain red-head with a fucking death wish.

“Lexie, Jesus, what are you doing out alone?” I yank her into the apartment and check the corridor behind her, I lock my door and keep my gun in my hand. They’ve already made it clear that they’re going after her and she’s decided to leave without protection.

“I wanted to ask you to train me, like now.” I look down at my attire and raise my eyebrow. I’m wearing a hoody I stole from Johnson that swamps my entire frame with a pair of booty shorts and thigh high socks, yeah I’m ready to train someone. “Oh that doesn’t matter, please?”

“Fine, but we’re taking my car. You can leave whatever you used to get here.”

“I took an UBER.”

“You’re suicidal and your husband is going to be the one to kill you.” I finagle my phones out of my purse and put some knee high boots on before stalking out the door, my gun still in hand. I’m taking no chances with this nut job. We get back to the compound without any trouble but inside is like a powder keg.

Bear looks furious as does Gears and I sigh. I don’t want to be involved in this. “Thank you for bringing her back safely, Riley.” I give Bear a thumbs up before approaching the bar with tired steps.

“Hey kid, could I have a beer please?”

“Sure.” Leo hands me the bottle and I take slow sips of it as I watch the powder keg explode. They’re all rowing and screaming at each other even though they can’t hear a fucking thing anyone is saying. I stick two fingers in my mouth and whistle loud enough to startle the fuckers out of it.

“Look, I think everyone gets it. Lexie should not be going out alone and it was a very stupid idea on her behalf but I’m sure she’ll learn once I’ve put her through her first lesson which is gonna be harsher than I had planned. Happy?” I look at Bear who just rubs his face with stress. “I get it Bear, look I’ve got nothing to do for the next two weeks I’m happy to train and babysit the Queen so stop worrying so much. You’re thirty going on a hundred.”

He glares at me but concedes with a nod. They all follow me down to the training area, Lexie bouncing excitedly at the front of the pack. She ain’t gonna be happy for much longer. “You’re gonna have to learn to defend yourself first. Basic weapons, small knife that can basically fit anywhere, mace and a taser.” I pull all three weapons from my person and drop them in front of Lexie.

“I thought you were going to train me to fight.” Lexie pouts and I roll my eyes.

“Look, at the moment learning how to defend yourself is crucial. You need to be able to fight off your attacker long enough to get help or get away, understand?”

“The whole point of this is so I don’t need to do either of those things.”

“There will always be fights where it’s better that you get away. You are also untrained, unpractised and inexperienced. I teach you to fight now, it’ll be useless. You need to know the basics before you learn how to take on an army by yourself and win. For now, these will do the work for you until you’ve built enough muscle to use your body as a weapon too. Understand?”

“Yes.”

“Good. I assume you already know how to use these, correct?”

“Yeah, learned them when I was like eleven.”

“Great.” I lash out immediately and she isn’t fast enough to pick up any of them, I get her into a grip and she wiggles violently but is unable to escape. “Because you’re little and weak, you have to rely on speed. Always have a weapon on you and make it accessible. Learn how to buck basic handles and you’ll survive. Escape.” I demand, with my grip a lot weaker than usual.

“You’re holding on really tight.”

“Lexie I’ve seen the people you’re going against, it’ll be someone three times the size of me and they won’t care if you hurt yourself trying to escape.” I have her in a basic chokehold, my legs either side of her and my arm around her neck. “You have to work with weak places, aim for the knees and the nose if you can. Your hands are free but your body is wound tight, relax into the hold before lashing out.”

She does as she’s told without questioning me. “They’re going to think you’ve given in, you’re a woman and they always underestimate us. Use your strength to elbow them in the gut, slam your heel into their knee and crack your head against their nose. Three weak spots that should weaken them enough to allow you to grab a weapon.”

Lexie acts viciously and dives for the knife. I stop her before she stabs me in the throat and I wink at her, spinning her again and making her drop the knife. “Very good. Now what?”

“I don’t know, you’ve got me in a different hold without my knife!” She squeals, this time her right hand twisted up behind her in a hold.

“Lexie, you have three limbs free. Always think about what you have free, not what’s trapped.” I let her go and she shakes her body out.

“I want to watch you spar with Saviour and Runner.” Bear declares and I look over at him with an unimpressed look. Oh, fun.

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