Page 4 of Freed

She nodded. I tugged her into my arms, a bad feeling settling in the pit of my gut. And as I met Quinn’s eyes over her head, I knew he felt that same bad feeling.

Nothing good was going to come out of this, but if she wanted me to save those girls, then fuck—I would.

I just prayed I didn’t lose her, too.

4

Hayley

Though I’d stood my ground against Miles so I could do this, I was nervous as hell as I took my seat at the bar. Quinn had it from a trusted source that they were aiming for a bit of an older generation—twenties and early thirties—so I was hitting up this bar in the hopes I could get close to one of the men to find out where they were taking the women and girls they were kidnapping.

I just prayed Miles could keep me safe. It was times like these Ireallymissed Damien. Because if Damien were here, I wouldn’t even have to worry about getting kidnapped. Because those girls would have already been rescued before I even got word they were taken.

But Damien had wanted this life, and it was clear that Miles didn’t. I knew he was trying to do better for our family, and I respected that. But sometimes, I worried getting out would be a lot more dangerous than staying in the game.

I blew out a soft breath and swallowed down vomit before waving the bartender down for a water. He looked at me strangely, but I just gave him a small smile. “Can you add some lemon to it?”

“Sure thing, babe.”

He quickly worked on my water and slid it over to me. I squeezed the lemon into the water, sighing in relief when it settled my stomach. I wished I could see Miles, but I knew he was hiding. They couldn’t be in the building, unfortunately. All of them were too well known around here to slip in unnoticed. And they didn’t want to spook whoever was working the room tonight.

I sat there for a good hour, working on my second glass of water. But I began to feel sick and a bit loopy. Frowning, I stood from the bar, stumbling as I did so.

My heart thumped hard in my chest.

I’d been drugged.

I didn’t know when the fuck it had happened, but I wasdefinitelydrugged.

I worked on making my way out to the parking lot, praying that Miles had eyes on me so I could get some help. I’d been fucking targeted all right, and I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that if one of Miles’s men didn’t get their hands on me soon, I was going to be a hell of a lot more than just bait.

As soon as I stepped outside, I stumbled. I grasped the wall next to me, gagged, and retched. As soon as I was back upright, a hand wrapped around my throat from behind and a rag was stuffed under my nose. I screamed, but it was too late.

Between whatever drug I’d drank and the chloroform, I was out.

* * *

Miles

“No!”I roared, rushing forward, but by the time I got out of my truck and was running across the parking lot to her, she was already stuffed in a van with no plates and heading up the road.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” I shouted, rushing back to my truck. My heart was hammering in my chest, adrenaline pumping through my veins.

Not her. God, fuck, please, not her.

I jumped in, racing after them, calling Quinn on my phone. “Where are you?!” I barked when he answered.

“Behind the bar—”

“They took her!” I yelled, cutting him off. “They fucking took her, Quinn!”

“Fuck!” he shouted. “Iknewthis wasn’t a fucking good idea!”

Tears burned in my eyes. Somehow, I knew I wouldn’t be able to save her. Goddammit, Damien hadneverlet anything like this happen to her. The one time it had, he’d been there before they fucking ever harmed her, and he hadn’t even been anywhere near her when it happened.

I wasthere. I was supposed to fucking protect her. But fuck, I’d just thought she was throwing up. Nothing more. The bartender was supposed to let me know if she got into any kind of trouble.

When the van hit the interstate, I lost them. Traffic was crazy, and I couldn’t get over when they did.


Tags: T.O. Smith Romance
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