“He’s Helena’s cousin,” he muttered. “I hired him as a favor to her parents. Harper wanted to get rid of him, but I couldn’t just fire him. I’m the one who put him in the customer service department.”
A mixture of tears and fear blinded me as I turned on the man. “Are you saying that you think Sean has Mia?”
He grimaced. “It’s possible. The two are as close as brother and sister. If she’s really been doing this crap to Shane and Harper, it’s possible he was in on it. You said a while back that whoever it was would know Harper’s email and password. Sean was her personal assistant. He would have been one of the few people who knew.”
“Fuck!” Shane bellowed, running his hands through his hair. “She didn’t trust him, but she didn’t think he was a part of the stalker shit.”
Peterson was already punching something into his phone. “We did a background check on the PA. He came back clean. Didn’t have a record and there was no way of connecting him to you or anyone else, Shane.”
“That doesn’t make me feel any better,” Shane snapped.
“I need Gabriella’s phone number,” Peterson said, speaking to Liam now. “I can get a trace on her cell and track it, but it might take a little while.”
The more I told myself that this wasn’t real, the more I realized that it was. There was no denying it now.
What was going to happen to Mia? To any of them? I didn’t know, and I desperately needed the answers. Tracking Gabriella’s cell was good work, but who knew if that would even find her?
Or if she would even be alive if it did.
My hands started to shake even worse than they had been and I felt bile rise in the back of my throat. I swallowed it back. There wasn’t time to vomit right now. After I had Mia back, then I could let go and empty everything inside of me. For now, I needed help finding my daughter.
I walked away from the men standing there, still talking, still going over all the new things that we’d just found out. I pulled out my phone and swiped my finger over a name I never thought I’d have to call again, but was thankful all the same for having it tucked in my contacts.
It rang three times before a soft voice answered. “Emmie?”
“H-hi,” I whispered.
“Emmie, what’s wrong?” Felicity demanded immediately, sounding concerned.
Fresh tears filled my eyes and I was helpless to hold them back as I leaned back against the wall outside the room where I’d just left Nik and the others. “I need some help.”
There was a long pause on the other end. Finally, she blew out a hard sigh. “Can you send us a plane?”
“I can charter one from the closest airport to you,” I promised her. I would give her anything she needed, pay any price.
“How many will you need, Emmie?”
“As many as you can bring,” I whispered. “As many who will come.”
The flight was the quickest I’d ever taken. Emmie had gotten the fastest plane money could rent. Normally it was over a three-hour flight, but the private jet was fast and got us there in half the time. As soon as we’d touched down, there had been two big, black SUVs with drivers already behind the wheels waiting on us.
Jet still looked a little green, but now that we were on the ground he was quickly turning back into the alpha biker I loved more than life. To see him right then, no one would know that he was geared up to go to war.
None of the six men I’d brought with me had so much as blinked when I’d asked them to do me this favor. Bash, Hawk, Spider, Colt and Raider hadn’t hesitated when I’d said that I needed help but that I couldn’t tell them what was going on. Emmie hadn’t told me anything other than she needed help and I’d jumped to offer it to her.
That’s what family did, and Emmie was my family. Because Jet and his brothers—both by blood and MC—were my family too. If she needed me, then she needed them. That was all that mattered.
With those six men with me, I was sure we could deal with whatever Emmie needed taken care of. Hell, I was sure with just Jet I could get it done. The other five were kind of overkill, but I liked to be prepared.
I hadn’t needed Emmie to get the guys guns because they had carried their own since the plane was privately chartered. The pilot hadn’t questioned us when he’d seen the arsenal the guys had been carrying. I was pretty sure Emmie had paid him enough not to question anything, least of all the amount of guns we were packing.
It was raining and it made the trip slower going but we were soon stopping in front of a place I didn’t recognize. Frowning out at the building, I shot a quick glance at Jet who was riding in the back with me. “Ready?”
He gave one curt nod and glanced at the other two men who had ridden with us. “Hawk? Colt?”
“We’re ready, brother,” Colt assured him.
The driver stepped out, opening Jet’s door. Once he was out he reached in for me and I slowly exited the powerful SUV. I saw Emmie immediately. She was standing just inside the entrance of the building, her face pale, her eyes haunted. I didn’t pause to check with Jet, but ran toward her, desperate to hug her and find out what was going on.
What the hell had put that look on her face? I’d seen it one other time and the reasons behind it still gave me chills.
Mia had been taken.
The door to the building opened and Emmie stepped out, meeting me half way. For someone so little she was deceptively strong. She clutched me hard, her body shaking but I instinctively knew it had nothing to do with the rain. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she sobbed.
I held her for only a minute before pulling back, needing to know what was going on. “What happened?”
Her face tensed. “The stalker took Mia.”
I felt the color drain from my face. “You’re sure?” She nodded. “Do you know who it is?”
“It’s a long story. I’ll have to give you the short version.” She tightened her hold on my hands. “We think she has an accomplice, a cousin or something. She took Mia and Gabriella.” She swallowed with difficulty. “And Harper.”
“Damn.” Three innocents who could get hurt if we weren’t careful.
“Harper’s eight months pregnant,” Emmie rushed to explain.
Oh, shit. While I was happy for the girl, I realized that her condition had probably signed her death warrant if Emmie was right and the stalker thought herself in love with Harper’s husband.
I looked over my shoulder at the six men who had joined us, not caring that rain was pouring down on them. “Let’s get inside. We have to get a plan.” I turned back to Emmie. “Do you know where they are?”
She bit her lip, and for the first time since I’d met Emmie I realized she was uncertain. “It’s taken some time, but they were able to trace Gabriella’s phone. Only to within a fifteen-mile radius, though.”
Bash stepped forward, taking charge like the MC president he was. “That’s good enough for us. We’ll find them, ma’am.”
Emmie looked up at him. And up. And up. Bash was a beast of a man, but he wasn’t much bigger than Wroth Niall who I’d learned quickly was the ultimate rage monster. Emmie didn’t even blink at him. Any normal person would have been intimidated, but there wasn’t any aspect of Emmie that was normal. It was probably why we’d connected so easily when I’d first come to work for her. “Yeah, but will it be in time?”
Bash clenched his jaw, unable to give her the answer I knew she needed. Jet caught my hand and gave it a squeeze, but turned his olive-green gaze on Emmie. “We’re going to try our hardest to make sure that we bring your girl home to you, Emmie.”
Big, green eyes snapped to my fiancé—my old man. She knew who he was to me, just as she knew what he’d already done for her. I knew she respected him for what he’d chanced to make sure she was safe from one monster. I hoped she knew that he was there to take another one away now. “I know. That’s why I called Felicity.” Her chin started to tremble but right before my eyes she stilled herself, forcing
herself to remain calm during what was any mother’s worst nightmare.
“Let’s go,” Bash said as he headed toward the building.
“What is this place?” I asked Emmie as we entered the building. The place looked practically deserted but there had obviously been a party, from all the pink balloons and streamers still hanging.
“This was where Shane and Harper got married. We had Harper’s baby shower today. It’s where she was taken.” She stopped just inside what seemed to be a ballroom. “I sent everyone who wasn’t needed home. Peterson and Theo are still conferring with Seller’s other men, but they haven’t got anything new to tell me so they aren’t necessary right now. Seller wants to do this by the book. I just want my baby back.”
“Seller?” Spider’s deep voice spoke up. “Charles Seller?”
Emmie nodded. “That would be him.”
“He’s a stickler for ‘by the book’,” Spider agreed. “But he would do what needed doing if it came down to it.”
She shrugged. “Whether he would or wouldn’t doesn’t matter to me now. That’s why you’re here.”
The coldness of Emmie’s voice was something I’d never experienced with her before in all the time I’d known her. “We’ll do whatever you need us to, Emmie.”
“Good. Make sure that cunt doesn’t live to see another day. That’s what I need you to do.”
CHAPTER THIRTY TWO
I was pretty sure I was in labor.
Not exactly the perfect time to figure that out, that was for sure. Especially when I was miles away from a hospital—as far as I knew, anyway. Truthfully, I had no clue where I was. It had still been raining when Helena had stopped after driving for a good thirty minutes if not longer. I hadn’t been able to see anything through the downpour so couldn’t have picked out any landmarks even if I’d wanted to. She held the gun against my stomach again once I’d gotten out of the trunk—which had only brought on more painful contractions—and forced me into what had looked like an old barn.
I’d thought she was just going to shoot me then and there, but she’d pushed me into an old stall that had dried-up hay on the floor. The door to the stall was probably the only thing that wasn’t old in the barn. The steel bars on the locked door had looked pretty new to me as she’d slammed it closed.
That had been several hours ago, at least three if I’d guessed right. Now the place was almost completely dark. It was nearly night.
Another sharp contraction had my stomach clenching, my back aching. I gritted my teeth against the pain, but couldn’t completely keep quiet as the contraction lasted a little longer than the one I’d had only five minutes before.
“Who’s there?” a little voice called out to me in the dark.
I blinked against the pain, sure that I was hearing things now. I strained my ears, trying to listen again, but several minutes passed.
“Hello?” That little voice finally came again and this time I couldn’t mistake whose it was.
“Mia?” I called back, a new fear filling my heart. “Mia, is that you?”
“I’m here,” she said, quieter now. “Aunt…Harper?”
“Mia, are you okay? Are you hurt?” Please let her be okay. Please, God. Please.
“I have a headache,” she said, crying now. “I feel sick—” She broke off and I heard the distinct sounds of retching as she started to vomit.
Damn it. What was wrong with her? Had Helena hurt her or done something to make her sick? I pushed myself to my feet and blindly reached for the bars of my prison. “Mia? Baby, are you okay?”
“I don’t feel good,” she cried.
A new voice called out and I went still as I strained to listen. “Mia?” The voice was stronger now and slightly accented. “Mia, where are you?” Gabriella screamed.
“I’m…here.” I heard Mia vomiting again and I shook at the bars of the door, wanting out so I could go to her and help her.
“Gabriella?” I knew it was her, but I needed to be sure. The day had been surreal and I figured it was only going to get more so.
“Fuck!” Gabriella yelled. “Where the hell are we?”
“I don’t know,” I told her honestly. “What happened? How did you get here?”
“Some idiot named Sean,” Gabriella informed me, making my mind reel from it. Sean? Sean had brought them here? I was more shocked that he’d been able to do something so competent than I was at the fact that he was part of whatever the hell this was in the first place. “He used some kind of tranquillizer gun on me. I think he used it on Mia too.”
“I want my momma,” Mia sobbed. “My tummy and my head hurt, Aunt Gabs.”
“Honey, I know. Mine does too,” Gabriella told her. “Be strong, bella. We’ll get you back to your mom.”
My hands tightened around the bars as another contraction hit me hard. Damn. That was closer than the five-minute gap I’d had between the last two. I guessed it had only been about three minutes this time as I tried to breathe through the pain.
“Harper?” Gabriella was screaming my name and I realized she must have been calling out to me while I was having my contraction and hadn’t heard her. “What’s going on?”
“Oh, nothing too dramatic,” I called back, trying to keep my voice calm, but it shook a little. “I’m just in labor.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Stop cursing,” I yelled at her. “Emmie is going to kick your butt if you keep swearing like that in front of Mia.”
“Yeah, because that is what I really need to worry about right now,” the little Italian snapped back, and I actually found myself almost smiling.
“True.” I leaned my head against the coolness of the bars. I was freezing, still in my soaked clothes, but my body felt supernova-hot. I hoped it was just from the pain of the contractions and not because I was running a fever.
“The room is spinning,” Mia cried, her voice full of terror. “Make it stop spinning.”
“Fuck, that sonofabitch could have overdosed her,” Gabriella muttered, but I still heard her.
That word was scarier than any other that had filled my head all day. Mia, overdosed? That meant she could die. Nothing else mattered right then—not me or Gabriella, not the fact that I was in labor, or that Violet could be in trouble if I was running a fever—nothing mattered but getting to Mia and getting her to a doctor.
I shook the bars of the door but there was no budging them. “Mia, I’m coming,” I promised her as I moved around in the growing darkness, trying to find any way possible out of the stall.
It was old, I reminded myself, which meant the wood couldn’t be very strong. I started kicking at the boards along the wall. My entire body felt the jolt of the first kick but I was rewarded with the sound of the wood cracking, if only a little. I kicked it again, putting my full weight behind it this time. The wood gave a little more.
“What are you doing now?” Gabriella demanded.
“This place is old—really old. Can’t you smell the dry rot? Try kicking the walls. We have to get to Mia.”
I kicked the boards again and this time my foot went through. With a triumphant cry, I reached for the splintered wood and pulled it back, offering me a small hole to climb through. But it wasn’t big enough. With my big belly, I’d never fit through it. Biting back a curse, I started kicking again, only to have a contraction hit so hard that it brought me to my knees.
“What’s that smell?”
I was still trying to catch my breath from the contraction when I heard Gabriella. “What smell?” I sniffed the air. All I could smell was dry hay and decaying wood…
There was a new smell, this one full of smoke.
Was Helena burning the barn down?
No, no way. It was still raining. I could hear it hitting the roof. There was no way she could burn the barn down.
But even as I was thinking that, the smell of smoke grew stronger.
“Fuck this shit,” Gabriella yelled. “I’m done.” I heard a board snapping and hoped that it was her finding a way out of her own stall. I listened for another minute, but when I didn’t hear her again I forced myself to my feet and started kicking again.
“I’m gonna kill that bitch,” Gabriella’s voice was right outside my stall now and I turned around, seeing her faint outline on the other side of the bars. “You need some help there, pregos?”
“Please,” I breathed. I was pretty sure that all the kicking had made my water break. My pants were even wetter now than they had been and, with each breath I took, more liquid flooded down my legs.
“Stand back so I don’t kick you.” I moved back and she started kicking. It took several minutes, during which I had yet another contraction, before she stuck her head into my stall. “Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s find Mia and get the hell out of here.”
It took some work getting out of the hole Gabriella had made for me. I scratched my stomach on a sharp splinter, but I barely noticed the new pain since I was having to work through yet another contraction.
Damn. Less than two minutes apart now. They were coming faster and faster and each one was more intense than the last. The pain in my lower back was nearly unbearable.
“She’s over here,” Gabriella yelled out, having finally found Mia, and I could hear her already kicking her way in to get her, but I’d found the source of the smoke.
And it was blocking our exit.