Better When He's Bad (Welcome to the Point 1) - Page 67

Titus shook his head again. He looked like he was about to pass out. “Come on, Kruger. It was like ten on one. Clearly it was self-defense. Novak was a piece of shit.”

“Look, King. You brought us the op and agreed to hand it over to us. We don’t have people in Novak’s pocket. We’ll do a full investigation and see where the chips fall.”

Titus ran a hard hand over his hair and looked down at me. I just shrugged. If I had to go back to prison to keep Dovie safe, so be it. She was worth it and that was a light consequence compared to the single other solution I had come up with. I didn’t care if I never saw the light of day again as long as she got to live the life she was supposed to.

“Novak was torturing Bax’s girlfriend, his goons were beating the shit out of me. They probably killed his best friend. Can you blame him for pulling the f**king trigger?”

“Look, King, this is a goddamn mess. We got a dead body, kidnapping, dirty cops, coercion, money laundering, assault, attempted murder, and every other crime that can be committed. We need time to weed through it all or else some other slimeball will be right back in Novak’s place tomorrow.”

I heard Nassir snort and I was tempted to reach for the gun. Another fed dressed in full SWAT gear got behind me and roughly pulled my hands behind my back. I felt the handcuffs, cold and so final, snap over the chains I already had inked there.

Titus swore. “I’m sorry, Bax.”

“It’s cool. A heads-up that you actually had a plan would have been nice to know, though.”

“The feds took forever to get back to me. I knew there was a dirty cop working the inside, I just didn’t know who it was. I don’t know how they found Dovie and Race. I figured they were going to grab me and bring me in. I swear I didn’t know he had your girl.”

I was roughly yanked to my feet and Titus reached out a hand to steady me as I wobbled a little.

“I’ll get you out as soon as I can.”

I lowered my eyebrows at him as cops and feds rounded up all of Novak’s thugs. I almost laughed when they put the cuffs on Benny, who was screaming about suing the government.

“I don’t care about me. Make sure Dovie keeps her mouth shut and keep an eye on her. If Race didn’t make it . . .” I trailed off as I was hauled away from my brother.


I interrupted him. “I mean it, Titus. You keep her as far away from me, as far from this, as possible.”

He didn’t get a chance to respond because I got pulled in the opposite direction. Once I was outside, the night was alive with people and commotion and red and blue lights swirling all around. I let the cop drag me to an unmarked car and waited while he yanked the back door open. I looked over the roof of the car just in time to see the paramedics open the back of the ambulance. Dovie was still on the stretcher, and some force that ultimately tied us together made those moss-colored eyes flash open and lock on mine.

There was no getting around the fact I was hooked up in cuffs and getting arrested. I saw the panic overtake her, saw her start to struggle, but she was already weak from loss of blood. I really wished I had been the one to pull the trigger. She said my name and I’m pretty sure she mouthed “I love you.” All I could do was watch as they loaded her into the ambulance and shut the doors. All those sharp, pointy pieces that were loose inside me finally formed one razor-sharp blade and dug right into the center of my heart. I would do it all over again. Offer my own life, give up my freedom for her. There was no other way to repay her for finally setting me free, free from everything, even if I spent the next twenty years behind bars.



I SAW THE COP behind Bax put a hand on top of his head and shove him into the back of the car. Even though I was bleeding and hysterical, I still saw Bax grin at me before the ambulance doors closed and I had a paramedic hanging over me. I was crying and trying to shake my head. I was mumbling a mix of “I love you” and “I’m the one who did it,” but it all sounded like gibberish. The next thing I knew there was a prick at the bend in my arm and an IV was inserted. Whatever was mixed in the clear bag dangling over my head made my already fuzzy mind weave in and out of consciousness. One thing that was still startlingly clear behind the haze and murky gray was that Bax had been willing to end his own life to try and set the rest of us free. And now he was back in handcuffs because of me. Be he good or bad, Bax couldn’t seem to keep his infuriating self out of trouble.

I couldn’t believe it had been twenty-four hours since he’d dropped me back off at the group home. After Bax left, I had spent an uneasy night with Reeve’s judgment and disapproval hanging over me. I got that she didn’t think Bax was a good choice, but if it was the last I got of him, then I wasn’t going to let anyone taint it. Sure enough, the next morning, I was summarily suspended from the group home by my supervisor for leaving my post the night before. I wasn’t sure whether suspended translated to fired or not, and I felt really bad about leaving the kids high and dry for a few stolen moments with a man who was like trying to hold on to smoke, but I refused to regret any of the decisions I had made where Bax was concerned.

Reeve had tried to explain why she had done it for my own good, but I didn’t want to hear it. I’d tried to call Race to come and get me, but he never answered. I’d been tempted to call Bax, but things with him were so intense, so precarious, I didn’t want to wind the spring up even tighter. In the end, I’d decided taking the bus would just have to suffice. Only I’d forgotten the world was out to teach me every hard lesson I hadn’t already learned.

I hadn’t even made it to the bus stop before a black SUV was screeching to a halt next to me on the sidewalk. My instinct was to run, to flee, but there was nowhere to go. If Novak wanted me, he was going to get me and I might as well make it as easy on myself as possible. I wasn’t stupid. He wanted me so he could get to Bax or Race. He wouldn’t do anything to me until he had either of them, or both of them, where he wanted them.

I looked at the two thugs, noticed one had cracked-open knuckles and a split lip. I twisted my hands together and forced myself to swallow the bile that rose up in my throat.

“Is that Bax’s blood?”

The thug looked at his hands and then looked back up at me with a smirk. “No. That bastard bleeds black. Think closer to home.”

Which had made me gag and had tears filling my eyes. I couldn’t think about Race hurt, maybe dying all alone.