I should have Pri on a plane, getting the hell out of Texas right now.
That’s what my gut is telling me. That’s what every part of me is telling me. Instead, I’m in a surveillance van with Blake and Lucifer outside Pri’s favorite Italian restaurant while she’s inside at a table, waiting for her parents to join her. They’re late now by ten minutes, and her father doesn’t strike me as a man to be late.
And so, the three of us just sit in this cracker jack box like sardines waiting for the top to explode. And that’s exactly what it feels like my world might do tonight: explode.
We should not fucking be here.
I remind myself that just as I want to protect Pri, I’m doing this for Pri, taking a risk with her, for her, and because I get why she needs this. She wants to convince her parents to go into hiding, despite knowing they are most likely being bought and paid for by the King Devil, Waters himself. The very man Pri is trying to convict for countless crimes, while I await my role as a star witness. Despite this, ironically, because of all of this, she’s afraid for her family. She loves her parents. The problem is that I know how love can flow in one direction.
I loved my brother. I would have died for my brother before he made me kill him. It came down to him or me. I knew he’d choose himself. I always knew. But we, as human beings, need to save those we love. We have to try. I can’t deny her the chance to save her parents now before we leave, because when she disappears—and she will tonight—they will become targets. At the very least, their safety will be leverage to lure her out of hiding.
But all of that doesn’t change one thing: we’re tempting the devil tonight, the King Devil, daring Waters to kill us both before we destroy him at trial—the beautiful, fearless ADA and the former FBI agent willing to testify against him standing in his face and daring him to kill us.
I’m leaning over Lucifer’s shoulder as he manages the audio feed from Pri’s bracelet and pairs it to the camera feed we’ve set-up both inside and outside the restaurant when Logan walks to the door of the restaurant. Logan is Pri’s ex, who works for her father, and by all indications, has been corrupted by Waters right along with her parents, most likely before her parents. He’s dirty as sin, a man who’d hurt Pri to save himself. I’m already reaching for the door, intending to go beat his ass and save my woman, when Blake grabs my arm. “Stay the fuck here.”
“I will not let him hurt her.”
“I know you love her, man,” he states. “You don’t even have to say it, but that means you need to stay alive to stay with her. Adam is inside with her. And so is our man Beckham. He flew in tonight to be here for you. You trust them both.”
“I barely know Beckham,” I say of the sudden new addition to this mission, if that’s what you want to call my life at present. “I’ve worked with him once before tonight. That’s not enough for me to say I trust him.”
“He tells me you saved his life overseas. He says he owes you. Let him pay you back tonight. And as for trust. You trust me. That’s not a question. I trust him. And you, asshole, you are not getting out of this van and ending up in a jail cell where Waters will have you murdered.”
I draw in a breath and lower my hand from the door. “If anything happens to her—”
“It won’t,” Blake states. “We won’t let her get hurt.”
I inhale and huddle behind Lucifer again, watching the feed on his screen as Logan walks through the restaurant and sits down across from Pri. I’m remotely aware of Blake squatting next to Lucifer, but I’m not focused on him. I’m focused on Pri. I’m not pleased with the view. I can’t make out her facial expressions. “Can you get closer?”
“No,” he says. “Camera placement is off.”
“That’s why we have a man at a table to her left and right,” Blake states.
Lucifer holds up a finger and listens a minute, before eyeing me and Blake. “She just told him to go fuck himself,” Lucifer says, lifting a hand in our direction and tapping his headphones. “Paraphrasing, of course,” he adds, “but that’s what she wanted to say. He sat down, told her he was there at her parents’ request and that they wanted her to drop the case. She said no.”
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