Tommy (our FIRST chapter in Tommy’s POV! Remember: he thinks of Hycinth as Abby and Luca as Whiskey)
Abby’s screams continued...
Whiskey cringed, his shoulders rolling in together. With great effort, he pushed his chest out to straighten his big frame. Pupils blown, his eyes roved sporadically from point-to-point, looking as if his very soul was being jerked from his chest.
But I didn’t have time to comfort him because in the next second, they were running.
And shit, they were fast.
Even with the thick underbrush and hundreds of trees in front of us, they navigated like a sleek machine, barely missing an obstacle before swerving deftly in the opposite direction. Careening masterfully, there was a nimbleness to their movement. It reminded me of something...I wasn’t sure what.
It didn’t take more than a minute for me to fall to the back of the group, but I didn’t mind being the tailend. Still in sight, my position allowed me to study their movements. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but from the moment I first laid eyes on those bastards who kidnapped Abby, I’d known there was something different about them. And every second with them only confirmed my suspicions.
Not to mention the big motherfucker who was clearly in charge. He did something to them back at the house. Somehow, he caused them so much pain that every damn one of them hit to the ground. I’d never seen anything like it. The thought was crazy, but there was no other explanation. He was the only one left standing, so he had to be the one.
I’d even felt a strange pressure in my chest. Obviously nothing compared to what they had experienced, but there had been something. And I wasn’t into self-denial. I hadn’t survived this long as an outlaw biker by ignoring clues right in front of my face, even if none of them made sense.
Abruptly, my attention radically changed focus. Two people were coming from their right fast! From my exterior position, I could see the action clearly.
Where they our reinforcements or part of the jackasses? I’d gotten a look at the rest of Whiskey’s friends—if you could call them that—back at the house but couldn’t necessarily pick them out of the crowd now. My instincts kicked in. Both of the men’s expressions were curled into snarls. No matter who they were, I recognized that expression. They came to kill.
I withdrew my Glock in one smooth movement just as chaos exploded around me. The lil’ filly, leading the group, spun around to face the attackers, her blonde hair flying in a crazy mess. Whiskey, Samuel and the other three turned as well, I hadn’t learned their names yet, although I was pretty sure which one was Aiden. Collectively, growls and shouts rang out.
Veering hard to the left to keep from running smack dab into the middle of the fray, I fired off a shot without even slowing down. The shot rang true. One of the fuckers cursed loudly as he dropped to the ground, hands clutching his knee. Unfortunately, four more jackasses emerged from the trees and moved in behind them.
My peripheral vision zeroed in on a thick oak tree I could use for protection. Five more steps and I dove behind it just as bullets ricocheted around me, the thick trunk taking the brunt of the lethal impact.
I wasn’t stupid. I had no desire for hand-to-hand combat if I could avoid it. I’d seen the way they fought when they abducted Whiskey and Abby several months ago.
Dropping low to take advantage of the climbing foliage, I took a quick peek around the tree, looking for a target. I was shocked to see Sydney fight with the best of them. The lil’ filly dove and weaved to avoid their assault. At the same time, her smaller stature allowed her to maneuver faster. And she took full advantage of every inch they gave, throwing punch after punch. Fully engaged now, the mass of bodies in constant motion, it was too difficult to isolate who was who. I waited.
The noise of the fight increased. Guttural and raw. It wasn’t normal. Something about the feral sound caused the hair to raise on the back of my neck and arms.
Several bodies went down and didn’t come back up, three of theirs and two of ours.
Blood pumped through my body at a furious rate, my pulse resounding in my head as I watched for my opportunity.
And then there was a break. Samuel spun his body, planting a roundhouse kick directly in the chest of one of the jackasses, causing him to fly back several feet. It was all I needed. Ready, I eased the trigger. The bullet hit exactly where I wanted it, the side of his head. He fell to the side with a thud.
One of the two remaining jackasses snapped his head in my direction. I smirked. Guess the stupid fuckers forgot about me and my little gun.
He only took one step toward me before his body folded in on itself and he dropped to the ground. Whiskey stood behind him, a bloody eight inch blade in his hand. His eyes were razor-sharp focused but his hand trembled. I knew that feeling, more adrenaline than a body could take. But other than that, he looked to be in one piece.
Changing focus, I looked for the last target but found he was already down as well. Samuel lifted off of him, covered in blood. I didn’t know how much was his or the jackass. Blood dripping down his chin. Samuel spat more blood from his mouth.
Stepping out from behind the tree, my attention sharpened on Sydney. She knelt on one knee to support her weight. Her chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath. Whiskey extended his hand to her. She gripped it tightly as he pulled her to her feet.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she grunted.
She’d said yes, but she definitely hadn’t come out of it unscathed. Stumbling a step forward before catching herself, it looked like she was favoring her right leg.
I inhaled sharply when she turned around. Beyond the obvious hits she had taken, the back of her vest had four evenly spaced slices through the fabric. A knife couldn’t have achieved the evenness of the strokes. There was only one weapon I knew capable of inflicting that particular shape—claws!
As my attention drifted outward, taking in the remaining standing men, all of which had similar shaped wounds, both in their clothing and etched into their skin. Who the hell were these people?
I didn’t have time to dwell on it.
Still on high alert, Sydney turned around, taking in the gruesome scene of bodies in blood. I wondered what they planned on doing for cleanup. Somehow I highly doubted they would alert the police. At least we were undercover and not able to be seen, and so far, all of the weapons used on both sides had been equipped with silencers, making it impossible for distant nosy neighbors to hear.
Sydney visibly flinched when her eyes drifted over one of the men that had followed in the SUV behind us. He was lying face down in the dirt.
“Is he—“ she couldn’t continue.
Samuel grunted as he rolled him over. Even from where I stood ten feet away, I already knew the answer.
“He’s gone,” Samuel muttered.
Sydney whispered softly, “Aiden.” I wasn’t sure if she meant for any of us to hear it.
“And Noah?” she could barely get the words out, her voice raw with emotion.
The man standing over the other body of their fallen, I didn’t know his name, just shook his head.
“It’s quiet now,” Sydney said lowly in Whiskey’s direction.
She was right. Abby was no longer screaming.
“Yes,” Whiskey ground out, a muscle in his jaw flexing. His hands clenched into fists. “These are Diamante wo—“
“I know,” she interrupted him. Her glance flickered to me for just a second before returning to his face.
Her body language struck me as odd. What had Whiskey been about to say that she didn’t want me to hear? I didn’t dwell on it. It was just one more moment I didn’t understand.
“We need to keep moving,” Whiskey whispered urgently.
Before anyone could take a step, one of the dead fucker’s hand radios crackled to life and a male voice said, “Luca, so good to see you again. This doesn’t have to end badly for you. You’re a good fighter. Join us. It’s the side you belong on, the legacy your father created for you.”
Instantly, several men, including me, looked around, eyes searching for the only way they could have known who was in our group—cameras.
“Nine o’clock. Twenty feet up,” Samuel muttered. I turned in the direction he was facing and peered up into the tree. Everything looked the same to me. Just leaves and more leaves. But I trusted his assessment.
“Julian,” Whiskey answered with so much disgust, spit came from his mouth. “You’re full of shit. You know as well as I do, you lost the opportunity for any peace between us the moment you hurt my sister.”
“Sacrifices are necessary in war,” Julian chuckled, the sound dark and sinister. “Your father always said you didn’t have the stomach for it. Guess he was right.”
“Oh, I have the stomach for it.” Lucas lips curled into a snarl. “When I get my hands on you, I’m going to tear you apart piece by piece.”
The faceless voice outright laughed. Whoever it was, the fucker sounded completely unbothered that he’d tortured a pregnant woman.
And then there was silence.
“Keep him talking,” Sydney hissed. I could almost see the gears of her head working. Now that cameras were in play, sneaking up on them was no longer an option. While Abby was silent, it was obvious Sydney was trying to maximize this opportunity for Intel from whoever the fuck was on the radio, and buy time until reinforcements arrived.
Whiskey lifted the radio to his mouth again and sneered, “You talk about my father but where is your loyalty to him? Taking his only daughter is hardly in line with keeping his ‘legacy alive’.”
The man behind the radio snorted, the ridicule in his voice loud and clear. “My loyalty to Alpha Grant has never wavered. I am continuing his work just as he wanted and will win this war once and for all.”
Alpha Grant? What did he mean by that?
“And for what?” Whiskey mocked. “Why is it so damn necessary to spill more wo...,” he coughed before continuing, “blood?”
It was the second time he’d noticeably stopped on the same word.
“Is it really that hard to understand?” came the static-filled reply. “Territory. Alpha Cyril’s lineage took what belongs to us and I fully intend on taking it back.”
“Land? All of this death over land?” Whiskey hissed. “That’s a shit response.”
“Alpha Cyril’s line didn’t steal anything from the Diamante pack,” Sydney interrupted. “You know as well as I do the land boundaries were drawn centuries ago. Alpha Grant had to have seen the old manuscripts and maps.”
“Those were unfair, giving Adamant Moon favoritism, the largest portion with the most fertile ground," Julian retorted, his voice edged with anger.
Whiskey shook his head. “No. I don’t think you really care about one territory more than another. You’re power-hungry just like Grant was and it’s going to be your downfall just like it was his. He fucked with the wrong man and Leander took him out just like he’s going to do to you.”
The man on the radio’s voice hardened, “Alpha Grant already proved what happens when you take out a mate. He brought Alpha Cyril to his knees and now Leander gave Dagger the perfect opportunity to destroy him. Leander will be nothing by the time we are done with his little mate.”
Something cold and sinister slithered down my spine, leaving my stomach in knots. I didn’t like the way the conversation was going.
“I need to get in there,” Sydney hissed under her breath so low I wasn’t sure if I’d even heard her correctly. The tone of her voice changed, smooth and persuasive, “Alpha Julian, this doesn’t have to end in bloodshed. If it’s land you want, it’s land you will get. Let me in and we can discuss it.”
There was a long beat of silence on the other end.
Finally, the radio crackled again. “Okay. For some reason, Dagger seems to really like that idea so I'll let him have his fun. But...just you alone.”
Oh hell no, that wasn’t a good idea.
Sydney was clearly knowledgeable on fighting tactics, so I expected her to turn him down flat. But she didn’t. Sydney’s eyes flashed with fury, but she spoke calmly, “Let me bring Luca. Hycinth is his sister. Let him at least see her. And it’s only fair that I have one person with me since I’m obviously going to be at a disadvantage.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Even with Whiskey, she couldn’t seriously be considering walking in there without backup. It was quickly becoming apparent that the men we’d already encountered were just the tip of whatever cruel fuckers were to come.
Reaching out, I grabbed her forearm.
Surprise flickered in her eyes as she turned toward me. She released the radio com making it impossible for whoever was on the other end to hear us.
“Not a good idea,” I spoke quickly, hoping she would have the good sense to listen to me. “Any fucker that beats on a pregnant woman can’t be trusted. He has no intention of working things out.”
“This is my job!” Sydney hissed angrily, shaking off my hand. “That female is important. She won’t die on my watch, no matter what it takes.”
I wasn’t convinced and planted myself right in front of her. “That’s suicide, lil’ filly. I think it’s already pretty well-established we’re outnumbered in both manpower and weapons. There’s got to be another way.”
Abject fury crossed her expression of my interference. “You have no idea what is at stake here!“
And then the most unbelievable and impossible thing happened—her canines lengthened.
What the fuck?! My mouth hung open as I stared at her blazing crystal blue eyes and razor-sharp incisors.
Sydney’s voice was barely a venomous whisper, “I know what I’m walking into and what it might cost me. What you seem to fail to understand is if my interference or even my death keeps Hycinth alive and less harmed until Leander can get here, then the sacrifice is worth it. Now, get the fuck out of my way before I take you out too.”
Without another word, I stepped aside.
A different male voice came over the radio speaker, this one more gravelly, “If you two are finished with your little lover’s quarrel, could we get back to business? It’s a no-go on Luca, but if you want to bring your pet biker, that would be much more entertaining.”
Her pet biker?
That fucker had another thing coming.