Rastor (Lawton Rastor Book 2) (28 page)

BOOK: Rastor (Lawton Rastor Book 2)
11.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Chapter 65

I stood in my kitchen, trying to figure out where she'd gone. I'd already checked every room in the house, along with the basement and back patio. I looked around. Her stuff was still upstairs, and as for Chucky, he was right here. That was a good sign. Right?

coming back. 

But for some reason, I was feeling on edge. I looked to Chucky, who was sitting on the kitchen floor, staring up at me with his head cocked to the side.

"Where'd she go?" I asked.

He didn't answer. No surprise there.

It was just after nine o'clock, early by my standards, and even earlier by Chloe's. She
work nights, after all. But the restaurant wasn't open today, and I hadn't seen a note or anything. That left only one possibility. She'd returned to her own place for some reason or other.

Earlier, we'd left her house in a hurry. Maybe she'd forgotten something. It shouldn't have been a big deal, but with every passing second, I was liking it less and less.

I considered everything else that had been going on with that house. We still hadn't talked much about it, but I remembered the douchebag who'd been hanging around far too often. I recalled the other stuff – details that Chloe had mentioned in passing, like financial problems with the owners and confusion as to who actually owned the place.

Standing there, I tried to convince myself to stay put. We'd been back together for only a few hours, and muscling my way over there wouldn't earn me any points. Besides, I told myself, she'd been staying at that house for weeks now without needing me as a babysitter.

But I didn't like it. I liked it even less when something else hit me. If she walked there alone, she'd be walking
alone, too.

No, I decided. She wouldn’t. Not if I could help it. If she got mad, well, it wouldn't be the first time. And if she got
mad? Eh, there were ways I could make her forget all that. Some of those ways were sounding pretty nice.

I was already dressed, so I pulled on a dark hoodie and some sneakers, and then headed out the back patio door, figuring I'd take the shortcut through the narrow gate that led to a neighboring sidewalk.

I was halfway across my back yard when I saw something that made me pick up the pace. Her house was dark, but in her bonus garage out back, there was a light glimmering from the attic window. That light
been on earlier. I was sure of it. And I knew for a fact that Chloe never used that garage.

So, who was up there?

I moved faster, sticking to the shadows. I glanced at the gate that I'd been planning to use. Not anymore. It was too visible, especially from that upper attic window, so I skipped the gate and headed toward the part of my back fence that was cast in the deepest shadows.

I hoisted myself over the thing and landed in Chloe's darkened backyard with hardly a sound. I'd taken only a couple of steps forward when something sent my heart straight into my stomach. It was the sound of something shattering, like dishes or who-knows-what.

I swallowed, hard. The sound had come from
the house.


Silently, I moved toward her back patio, trying like hell not to run. I
to run. I wanted to bust through that patio door and face whatever it was, head-on. But from the things I'd seen in my old neighborhood, I knew better. That approach was risky, not so much for me as for Chloe.

She was inside that house. She
to be. And if something happened to her…

No. I wasn't even going to think about it. I couldn't. And I wouldn't.

So I moved faster through the shadows, conscious of the fact that somebody might also be inside the bonus garage, just a few paces away. But if that was true, odds were pretty good that person
Chloe. So with quiet precision, I made for the back door and silently tried the knob.

By some miracle – or more likely, by the work of someone else – the door was already unlocked. Silently, I pushed it open, not liking what I saw.

Through the shadows, I spotted upended furniture, broken pottery, and a couple of paintings lying near the remnants of busted-up frames. With my back hugging the wall, I moved deeper into the house, listening for any sign of where Chloe might be.

And then, I heard a voice –
Chloe's. It was deep, masculine sound, coming from somewhere near the front of the house. "Where's our money?"

I froze in my tracks. And when I heard the response, raw panic clawed at my heart. It was Chloe, sounding scared as hell. "What money?"

I was on the move again, listening as I went, planning to take the guy by surprise.

The guy spoke again, louder now. "The money you owe us, bitch."

Bitch? He'd pay for that.

"I don't owe you any money," Chloe stammered.

And then I heard something else, a new sound that had me moving faster now, opting for speed over silence. Because the way it sounded, time was running out. And if something bad was going to happen, I'd rather have the guy's attention focused on me, not Chloe.

Never Chloe.

Because the sound I heard was the cocking of a gun.

Chapter 66

I rounded the nearest corner, heading into the kitchen, and slammed into someone I hadn't seen coming – a heavy-set guy, dressed all in black. Whatever he was carrying crashed to the floor and shattered on impact.

I lunged forward, wrapping an arm around his thick neck and squeezing it hard. Whatever else he'd been holding thudded to the floor as he struggled uselessly to claw my arm away from his windpipe. I reached up and clamped my free hand over his mouth, choking off whatever other sounds he was trying to make.

From the other room, the first guy called out, "Hey! You break anything good, and it's coming out of your ass!"

Under the cover of his yelling, I twisted the guy's neck and lowered him slowly onto the kitchen floor. Dead, not dead. I didn't know. I didn't care. And I sure as hell wasn't going to take the time to check.

In the other room, Chloe was pleading with the guy. "Whoever you are, you've got the wrong house."

Yes. He did.

Conscious now that I had no idea how many people were here, I silently crept forward, through the kitchen and into the short hallway that led the main living area. They were still talking.

"Well, Louise," he was saying, "that's where you're wrong."

Louise? Who the hell was Louise?

"Because," he continued, "we have
the right house. And you have
one minute to start talking, or we're gonna break more than some vase or whatever the fuck that was."

"But I'm not Louise," Chloe insisted. "She's not here."

"Sure." His tone grew sarcastic. "I believe you."

"It's true," she stammered. "I can give her a message if–"

"Shut the fuck up," the guy said.

"But I’m not Louise. I don't even–"

"I said shut up!"

Forcing myself to move slowly, I finally spotted him, a dark silhouette, facing the front windows. Sure enough, he was holding a gun.


Near the front door, I spotted Chloe, a few paces away from the guy. She was facing me.

Thank God.

Slivers of moonlight streamed in through the partially open blinds, giving me a distorted view of Chloe's face. She looked scared to death. Easy to see why.

I was scared, too. But not for me – for Chloe. Because the gun was pointed straight at her, which meant that if I fucked this up…  No. I wasn't going to. I was going to play it smart, even if it killed me, or better yet, the other guy. 

Slowly, the guy started prowling toward her, like the sick fuck was getting his jollies, toying with a girl half his size.

Big mistake.

I was moving too, looking to catching him quietly, before he could even think of pulling that trigger. I was just a couple paces behind him when Chloe's expression changed.

She'd spotted me. I could see it on her face, even if the guy couldn't. But she didn't give me away.

Smart girl.

As if sensing someone behind him, the guy hesitated. He started to look around.

But then, Chloe started talking. "Please…" Her voice sounded small and weak, and maybe a little breathless. "Don't hurt me."

At this, he laughed, low and deep, making me want to rip out his throat and strangle him with it. The way it sounded, the gun wasn't the only thing he was thinking of using.

I was almost on him now. Almost, but not quite.

Chloe spoke again. "I'll do anything you want. And I mean–" She choked on the last word. "Anything."

"Oh yeah?" Slowly, the guy lowered his gun. "You bet your ass you will."

That's when I barreled into him, slamming him sideways and going for the gun. But the gun wasn't there. Not anymore. His hands were empty. I knew, because his fists were flying, trying to fight me off, even as I slammed him into a marble-top table and knocked over a lamp.

I grabbed his fist and gave it a squeeze. And then I kept on squeezing. It was the same hand that had been holding the gun on Chloe. If I had
way, he wouldn’t be doing that to her – or anyone else – ever again. The guy was cursing now, and struggling like a madman to get away.

Yeah, good luck with that.

I slammed his face into the fallen table and twisted his hand until I heard a crunch. Other than that, he made no sound at all, which told me that one way or another, the fight was over.

A split-second later, the room was flooded with light. I turned to see Chloe standing near the light-switch, eyeing the scene with wide, anxious eyes.

The guy was lying in a fallen heap. His hand was twisted, and his face was covered in blood. Was he still alive? Probably.

For now.

I glanced around and spotted the gun, lying a few feet away. Chloe rushed forward to pick it up.

"Wait," I said. "Don't touch it."

She stopped and gave me a questioning look.

"Hang on," I told her, getting to my feet. I looked down at the guy still lying on the floor. That son-of-a-bitch. What the hell was he planning for Chloe? I didn't want to think about it. But whatever it was, it couldn’t have been good.

Unable to stop myself, I turned and gave his lifeless body a vicious kick. The guy didn't even budge. I didn't care. If he eventually woke up, a couple broken ribs would slow him down nicely.

I rushed toward Chloe, and she fell into my arms. I squeezed her tight. Too tight? Maybe. But it's not like she was complaining.

She looked up and whispered. "There's someone else here." She looked toward the back of the house and said, "Toward the kitchen."

I wasn't letting her go. Not yet. I gripped her tighter and said in a low, quiet voice, "There was, but not anymore."

My mind was still churning. Were there only the two guys? Probably. Because if anyone else were here, they'd have come running already.

But I didn't want to take any chances, and I still didn't know about the garage. I had to get Chloe out of here, like

I glanced toward the back of the house. As far as the other guy, I didn't know his condition, and I didn't want to be finding out while Chloe was around.

For all I knew, the guy was dead. If he was, she didn't need to see that. And if he wasn't? Well, then I'd have to see, wouldn’t I? Either way, the clock was ticking.

"Now c'mon," I told her, "we're leaving."

I pulled the sleeve of my hoodie over my hand and stooped down to pick up the gun. I thrust it into my front pocket and reached for Chloe's hand.

"Wait," she said. "My purse."

"Screw the purse," I said, hustling her toward the back of the house, making sure to take a different route than the one I'd taken just a few minutes earlier.

I led her out the back door and kept on going until we reached the tall iron fence that divided our properties. I made a foothold with my hands. "Over the fence," I said. "And don't stop 'til you're inside the house."

She looked down at my hands. "But how will you get over?"

"I'll jump it," I said. "But not right now."

Her voice grew panicked. "Why not?"

"Because I've got to take care of something."


The sad thing was, I didn't know. But I'd find out, and then I'd deal with it. But only
Chloe was safely back at my place.

to make her leave.

"Chloe," I said, trying to keep the edge out of my voice, "I don't want to boss you around, but if you don't get your ass over that fence right now, I'll have to toss you over. And you could get hurt. I don't want that. So just listen to me, alright?" I gave her a pleading look. "Please, baby. Just go. You need to do this, alright?"

She gave me a pleading look. "But I want you to come too."

"I'll be there in a few minutes, a half hour tops. You know how to close the gate, right?"

She nodded.

"Good. Get in the house. Lock the doors, and hit the control for the gate. I'll see you in a little bit."

"Wait," she said. "I should call the police, right?"


She blinked. "What?"

"Trust me." I flicked my head toward my hands, still waiting to give her a boost. "Now c'mon. You've gotta go, alright?"

After a small hesitation, she stepped cautiously into the foothold. Before she even
about backing out, I launched her safely over the fence, hating it when she landed ass-first, on the mulch-covered ground. She glanced back, and our eyes met.

She looked okay, and I breathed a sigh of relief. "Go," I told her.

With obvious reluctance, she stood and started walking toward my house. Halfway there, she turned around and saw me watching.

Yeah, I was still here. Because I wasn't going anywhere until I knew was she safe. As if realizing that fact, she finally turned and disappeared from sight.


Already, I was reaching for my phone. When Bishop answered, I said in a hushed tone. "You still in town?"

"Why?" he asked. "You planning a party?"

"Cut the crap," I said. "Are you still here or not? Because if you are, you need to get over here now."

Instantly, he was on alert. "Where?"

"Chloe's place. Meet me out back. Okay?"

"I'll be there in fifteen minutes." And then, he was gone.

As for me, I couldn’t afford to wait.

BOOK: Rastor (Lawton Rastor Book 2)
11.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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