In His Keeping

Page 29

"Ari," he said in a gentle tone, reaching up to run his hand soothingly down her arm. "Honey, you need to calm down. Slow your breathing. You're bleeding. You've taken out two of their vehicles. I can handle the rest. You need to get down and out of sight until my people get here."
Either she didn't hear or she chose to ignore him. The two men taking cover behind the doors of the vehicle quickly scrambled back inside, reversing at great speed before performing a screeching turn and roaring away, for now, retreating.
Beau sighed in relief and then carefully circled her slender arm with his fingers, drawing her back toward the relative safety of their overturned vehicle.
She blinked in obvious confusion and then she frowned when she stared at the carnage around her. Traffic had slowed considerably as it had to navigate through three wrecked vehicles. Though there was plenty of rubbernecking, no one actually stopped to offer help, something Beau was grateful for. The very last thing they needed was more attention. He willed Zack to get there quickly so they could move Ari somewhere safe and under constant guard.
The police would most certainly be involved, although the vehicle Brent had been driving wasn't traceable. He doubted the other vehicles would net the authorities any more information than his would. The authorities would likely assume gang-related activity or drug trafficking. It didn't matter to him as long as Ari didn't suffer even more exposure as a result of her unleashing her powers.

When no movement was forthcoming from the two wrecked vehicles that had pursued them, Beau instructed Ari to stay down and then he crawled back into the interior of the vehicle to determine the level of injury Brent had endured.
"I'm okay," Brent muttered. "Damn leg is just trapped by the dashboard. When Zack gets here, take Ari and leave me. The police and ambulance will be on scene shortly. They'll have to pull me out and the last thing Ari needs is more media attention. Better for you-and her-to be as far away from this as possible. It's obvious who was at fault here and I doubt those idiots are going to volunteer much information to the police. I have enough contacts with HPD that I won't have an issue."
"Damn it," Beau swore. "You know that's not the way we operate. We don't leave a man down."
Brent's piercing gaze sought Beau's. "And you know this is the way it has to go down. You and Ari can't be involved in this. You have to get her away from here before the cops show up as well as the media if it's suspected or discovered you have any link to her."
Brent made a solid point but that didn't mean Beau had to like it.
Before he could argue, though he knew his arguments would fall on deaf ears because Brent, as well as most of the DSS operatives, were headstrong, stubborn as hell and tended to do things their own way, he heard a vehicle roar up and brake hard behind the wreckage of their vehicle.

He sighed because those under him always managed to get the job done, and he had left them largely alone and had instructed Dane and Eliza to do the same.
Zack stalked up, anger smoldering in his deep green eyes.
"Sitrep," he demanded.
Beau quickly brought him up to speed even as they hustled Ari into Zack's waiting vehicle. They didn't have time to stand around while Beau gave Zack the rundown from start to finish.
Suddenly Ari shoved both men aside, catching them off guard so that they stumbled. Beau watched in horror as one of the men crawled from the wreckage Ari had caused and pointed a gun in their direction.
"No!" he roared, his shout immediately echoed by Zack as they both lunged for Ari, trying to cover her.
A shot rang out and the two men stared in bewilderment as the bullet slowed, enough that they could see it whizzing in Ari's direction.
Even as much as she was able to slow it, and direct it away from the men, it clipped her side and she sank to her knees, her hand going to the wound that was already seeping blood.
Beau was furious. He was pissed that Ari had taken a bullet meant for him or Zack. He was pissed that he was supposed to be protecting her and yet she'd stood in the way while he and Zack had been shoved out of the line of fire.
Ari was bent over, pale, blood streaming from her nose, mouth and ears and now her side where the bullet had grazed her.
He and Zack immediately formed a protective barrier around her and Beau scooped Ari up and all but threw her into Zack's armored car, where no more bullets could penetrate the vehicle and especially her. His mind was a haze of fury. He wanted to take those sons of bitches out right here and now.
But in the distance, the wail of sirens could be heard. As much as it ate at him to leave Brent, his driver was armed and capable of defending himself and the ones capable of fleeing had already left the scene. With police and rescue en route, he doubted the idiot who'd shot Ari would chance another shot, and if he did, Brent's aim was deadly, even if he was trapped in the wrecked vehicle.
Beau settled Ari in the backseat and slid in next to her. He fumbled underneath the seat and dug out a first aid kit. He needed to clean the blood from her face and ears. She looked as if someone had beaten the hell out of her, with the older bruises and the fresh blood. But his first priority was seeing how much damage the bullet had caused. He hoped to hell it was only the graze it appeared to be.
"What the hell happened back there?" Zack demanded as he glanced in his rearview mirror. "Do I need to take her straight to the hospital? She's bleeding from more than the gunshot."