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Bear Meets Girl (Pride #7)(65)

By:Shelly Laurenston

“What about it?”
“You going to talk her out of working for them now? So she can devote herself to all things hockey.”
Crush laughed. A lot. So much so that Smith finally asked, “What’s so funny?”
“That you think I can talk that woman out of anything she wants to do.” He patted her back. “You’re a funny little She-wolf.”
Smith grinned. “You’ll have to forgive me, son. I didn’t realize you were one of those evolved males.”
“I don’t need to evolve. I’m a bear.” He shrugged. “Bears are already perfect. It’s the rest of you that need to catch up.”
Cella turned and skated over to them. When she stopped, she looked past Crush and Smith.
“So I walked up to Crushek,” Dez said from behind him, “and started telling him how Baissier took out the taxidermist not too long ago.”
Wondering what she was talking about since MacDermot hadn’t told him anything like that since the last time he’d seen her, Crush turned around and immediately snarled at the sight of his brothers.
“When,” Dez continued, “another Crushek walked up to me and said to the first one, ‘Who’s the babe?’ to which the other one replied, ‘Don’t know, but nice tits.’ ”
“It was a compliment,” Gray stupidly stated, which got him the punch to the balls from Dez that he so richly deserved.
“Why are you here?” Crush demanded of Chazz since Gray was currently on his knees, hands between his legs.
“Word is you’re looking for that full-human ... Whitlan.”“What? Are you here to warn us off for Baissier?”
“No. We’re here to warn you that she’s almost got him.”
Crush glanced back at Cella. “That’s why she took out the taxidermist. She knows where Whitlan is.” Looking back at his brothers, he asked, “But why are you telling me?”
“Because of what she did,” Chazz replied, his face solemn.
“What she did to me?”
Now Chazz looked disgusted. “You? Who gives a shit about you? I’m talking about what she did to ... to ... Bare Knuckles.”
Crush’s eyes crossed and Smith quickly ducked her head, her shoulders shaking.
“That was her going too far?” Crush snarled. “That?”
“You don’t mess with the home team. You’re a complete idiot, but even you know that.”
Crush took a step toward his brother, but Dez got between them. “How does she know where Whitlan is?” she asked Chazz.
He shrugged. “I heard she got it out of some girl.”
Smith looked up. “What girl?”
“Don’t know? Some full-human.”
Crush shook his head at Dez. “That can’t be Sophie DiMarco.”
“It might be,” Smith said and when they all stared at her, she added, “I tracked her down in Atlantic City earlier today.”
Cella skated around and then walked over until she was in front of Smith. “You did what?”
“Why are you lookin’ at me like that for?”
“Because,” Cella snarled, “you goddamn hick! I promised the Callahans she wouldn’t get hurt!”
“I didn’t hurt her! I just wanted her to take me to where she found Callahan, and I’m thinking that’s where Whitlan is. And when we were done, I put her back on the train to Atlantic City.”
“Did you see her get on the train?” Crush asked.
“I did.”
“Did you see the train leave the station?”
When Smith didn’t answer, both Dez and Crush groaned.
Cella took off her helmet. “Oh, my God, Smith, what did you do?”
“I’m not likin’ your tone.”
“How would you like my fist?”
“Bring it, calico!”
“Stop it!” Dez snapped. “Both of you. We don’t have time for this.”
“She’s right,” Cella agreed. “Baissier’s going to kill her.”
“No,” Crush corrected her. “She won’t do that until she has Whitlan in her hands.” He looked at Chazz, while Gray finally got to his feet behind him. “Where’s Whitlan?” 
Chazz and Gray gave identical shrugs and said together, “The Hamptons.”
Crush looked at the three females, then said, “The Hamptons? Really?”
The black Range Rover door opened and Peg stepped out. Her team surrounded her. She’d chosen only the most loyal for this, but was still disappointed in the Crushek boys. They were still whining about what had been done to that idiot cat all because of some stupid hockey team.
Whatever. They were of no use to her at the moment anyway. That was the girl. The full-human girl the Group and KZS had been busy trying to protect turned out to be the key. It’s what Crushek and the others hadn’t know about the little thief—it had been Whitlan’s car she’d been stealing that day she’d rescued the cat. And what Peg had found out about Sophie DiMarco was how very good she was at her job. One of three thieving sisters, Sophie didn’t just steal cars, she studied her mark. Learned everything about them. Who they were, where they lived, what their hobbies were. In the end, the girl had known more about Whitlan than any of them—including where he’d been hiding for the past couple of weeks.
“Bring the girl,” she said, and walked into the country club. Another group of her men met her inside. “Well?”
One of the sows held up a full-human man by the neck. His face was battered, his arms nearly pulled from the sockets, some of his scalp missing. But he was still alive.
Peg stepped closer. “Where’s Whitlan?” she asked.
Shaking, his body slowly dying, the man stuttered out, “Base ... basement.”
“Good boy.” Peg stroked his face with her gloved hand and turned away. “Let’s go.”
She headed toward the stairs, but stopped, looked back at her people. “And keep your eyes open. The boy might show up and try something stupid.”
When she was confident that everyone understood, she walked on, heading to the basement.
Sophie heard the back door of the Range Rover open and she was yanked out. These ... whatever the hell they were ... they kept yanking her and dragging her everywhere. There wasn’t a subtle one in the bunch. Not like that woman with the weird eyes. She’d been tall with wide shoulders, and you could smell the predator on her. These guys were really tall and wide, but they were like the mobsters she sometimes dealt with. Not big on brains and they thought their size alone gave them the only edge they needed.
Although her wrists were left bound in front of her, the blindfold covering her eyes was removed and she took a second to look around. “Yeah,” she said to the guy holding her. “Really makes sense to make me wear that since I was the one who told you how to get here.”
He tightened his grip on her bicep and Sophie had to grit her teeth together to stop herself from screaming.
“I can hurt you now,” he whispered to her. “Or I can hurt you later. Your choice.”
“That’s not really much of one,” she shot back. “But nice try.”
He started to walk. When Sophie dragged her feet, he swung his arm forward, yanking her around. Using the momentum, Sophie bent her knees and swung her tied fists up and into the guy’s groin. He squealed, a sound that startled her, and then dropped to the ground, hands between his legs. Sophie took off running toward the other side of the road.
She made it to the line of trees and ran inside. But with her arms bound and the darkness of the night, the moonlight not helping much with all those trees, she kept stumbling. She could already hear at least one, probably more, of those guys coming after her. They’d be mad now, once they got her. But she couldn’t have just waited for them to kill her. And they would kill her. She knew that.A hand wrapped around her throat, choking off both screams and her ability to breathe. She was lifted off the ground, her feet dangling, and brought up to look the man in the eyes.
He stared at her, cold dark eyes studying her. She felt like a bug he’d found in his kitchen. A spider he was curious about. Or an ant.
His lips pulled back and she saw fangs. Not those stupid fangs she’d seen in even stupider vampire movies. But animal fangs. Just like the guy she’d picked up off the road. His had come out when she was driving him to that office and that’s what she saw now. Even in this barely lit place, she could see them.
Panicked, she fought back, swinging her feet out, desperately trying to kick him away. Anything to get him to let her loose. She didn’t care she couldn’t breathe. She didn’t care that he was really hurting her now. She just wanted to get away. Anything to get away.
Then there was a flash of silver.
Sophie blinked, blood slashing across her face and neck. The man holding her gurgled and dropped her. She hit the ground, but kept her eyes open. She crawled away, but watched that woman, the woman with the dog eyes, yank the biggest knife Sophie had seen out of the guy’s neck. She wiped blood off on her jeans and tucked the blade back into the holster tied to her thigh. Then she pulled out the gun she had holstered to the other thigh, quickly fitted a silencer to the end, and walked around the man, gun down. Sophie thought she was coming for her. To finish what the man had started. But as the woman walked, she pulled the trigger four times, each bullet going into the man. One in his head, his face, his neck, his inner thigh.