Better When He's Bad (Welcome to the Point 1) - Page 66

“What the f**k!” Novak sounded pissed, and Titus sounded like he was trying to take the entire bad-guy army on by himself.

“You want me so bad that no one is safe while I’m still around. Shooting you doesn’t make anything better for anyone, but this . . . this solves a lot of problems. Everyone is safe and eventually Titus will throw your ass in jail, old man. This means I win and you f**king lose.”

Novak narrowed his eyes and I kicked a groaning Benny once more for good measure.

“You won’t do it.”

I lifted an eyebrow and tried to ignore the way Dovie was screaming at me and struggling in Novak’s hold. She was bleeding everywhere and my brother’s voice cracked from the way he was yelling at me.

“For her, I will.”

Novak swore and looked at me and then down at Dovie. I don’t know what his next move was going to be, but the gun felt solid and real in my hand, and if that was what it was going to take to make sure she got the life she deserved, a good life, a chance to get away from this madness, then I would pull the trigger.

“Something is different about her, Novak.” Nassir was an ass**le and I was going to make him bleed for bringing her here, but he had Novak pausing. “He’s not bluffing. He’ll pull the trigger for her.”

“No, no, no, no . . . Shane, no, please stop!”

That’s why I thought I was sure I could love her, could die for her. Even when things were the worst they could get, she was worried about me and not what this nightmare ultimately looked like for her.

“Please . . . you can’t do this to me.” She sounded so sad, so scared, but I knew an apology wasn’t going to cut it this time.

I shifted my weight from one foot to the other and cast a quick look over at my brother. He was on his knees, bleeding from all over his head and one eye was swollen shut, but he was still struggling with the two huge guys holding on to each of his arms. His eyes were locked on mine and I’m pretty sure he had tears mixing with the blood on his face—just like Dovie did.

“This is a mistake you can’t unmake, Shane.” I could barely hear him. I think he broke his voice screaming at me.

“It’s the only way out, for all of us. He’ll never stop. He’ll hurt anyone and everyone he can if he thinks it’ll get me to come to heel.”

“We won’t let him. I won’t let him.”

“Too late, Titus. Look at her. You think he let Race live, or Gus? You think that even if I agree to be put on his leash from here until eternity that he’ll let you and Dovie go? He’ll kill everyone that matters to me and make me watch. That blood will be on my hands forever. No, this ends here and now. He wants to break my world apart . . . well, I’m about to shatter his legacy into a million bloody pieces. He can have my blood on his hands forever.” I understood it now. I was Novak’s end game. I was where everything started and ended for him. Yanking me around, playing games with me . . . it was the only thing that brought him any kind of pleasure, and with me gone, with my life over, the game would end. Dovie, Titus, Race, and even my mom . . . they would cease to have any kind of value to Novak if I was no longer part of the equation.

I saw Novak shove Dovie away. She careened sideways and landed in a heap on her side next to where Nassir was standing. I wanted to rip his arms out of the sockets when he reached down to help her to her feet, but Novak was prowling toward me, that knife covered in Dovie’s blood flashing in his hand.

I took a deep breath, remembered the way her eyes flashed at me, the way she felt so new and so wholly mine, and flexed my finger on the trigger. Novak reached for me, Dovie screamed my name so loud I was sure I heard the sound of windows breaking, and just as I prepared to do the only thing I could think of to fix this situation forever, I was plowed into from the side like I’d gotten hit with a freight train. The gun in my hand went spiraling out across the naked concrete floor as I groaned and rolled over to look into the wild eyes of my older brother. He was dripping blood all over my face and I couldn’t even complain when he drew back his fist and punched me square in the mouth. There wasn’t a lot of force behind it, and just as I was about to ask what the hell was going on and how in the hell he had freed himself from his captors, a single gunshot echoed throughout the cavernous warehouse.

The acrid scent of gunpowder burned my nose as I rolled over at the same time Titus did. Both of us watched with frozen eyes as a bloom of wet, sticky blood spread steadily across the center of Novak’s shirt. He lifted shaking fingers to the wound and gave me one last look before slumping to the ground in an undignified heap.

Before anyone could react, there was suddenly a bright light filling up the room and the sound of more breaking glass.

“Nobody move! FBI!” I jumped to my feet before Titus could say anything and tackled Dovie to the ground much in the same way that he had done to me. I was immediately covered in her blood and could feel her shaking violently against my chest. I had to use all my strength to pry the hot metal of the gun out of her fingers. As soon as I did, she curled them in the material of my shirt. I looked over her head at Nassir, who had dropped on his knees next to us, with his hands behind his head, at the order of the black-clad SWAT team that was suddenly swarming all over the building. I narrowed my eyes at him in warning and he just gave his head a shake.

“You and the girl, on your knees. Hands behind your head,” the fed barked in a no-nonsense tone.

“She’s hurt.”

“Bax . . .” Her voice quivered as I rolled off of her. I put the gun on the ground at the fed’s feet and looked at her. I kissed her hard and then laced my fingers behind my head and assumed the position I was all too familiar with.

“I shot him,” I said to the fed.

“You shot Novak?” he replied.

I grunted when Dovie opened her mouth to argue, but she was bleeding badly enough that the cop inclined his head to the paramedics that were rolling in a stretcher.

“Forget him. He’s DOA. She needs some attention. Why did you shoot Novak?”

I felt the corner of my lip curl up in a sneer as I saw Titus making his way over to where I was. He looked at the gun, then up at me, and then over to where they were strapping Dovie to the stretcher, and shook his head.

“It was a family disagreement.”

The fed opened his mouth to say something, but Titus interrupted. “That’s my brother.”

“The one with the record? He just admitted to shooting Novak.”