GOING HOME ISN'T EASY Part 12
After hanging up on his father, Logan forced himself to relax the hold on his phone rather than crush it. He might need it again, and it wasn't the phone's fault that he really wished he was squeezing his father's throat instead. He'd given up all hope years ago of ever having a single conversation with his father that didn't result in them facing off with fangs out and shouting. What he had learned, though, was to make sure no one, especially his old man, knew how much that still hurt.
When he realized that Rylee's hand was still on his shoulder, he took a slow breath and then laid his hand over hers and gave it a quick squeeze. Considering her less than perfect relationship with her own father, no doubt she understood all too well what he was feeling right now.
Meanwhile, Ian cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. "We're almost to target. I'm going to do a quick flyover and then land on a field on the other side of the trees. Hold onto your hats, because this is going to be fast and dirty. There's no use in turning ourselves into a slow moving target for Rory and his crew."
Then he did a deep dive down over Maggy's house before abruptly banking to the right and back up over the trees. Logan's stomach lurched in protest at the sudden change in altitude, but he'd gotten enough of a look at the situation to know it wasn't good. Rory and company were pinned down behind the bevy of vehicles parked between Maggy's house and Ian's people. It would be nice if that meant they would realize that the odds were against them and surrender. Somehow he didn't think they would give up so easily, not if they wanted to get paid for their efforts.
He waited impatiently for the helicopter to land, already planning his next move. As soon as it settled on the ground, Ian reached over to touch Logan's arm. "Hold off until Declan's people land. They're right behind us."
That made sense, but any delay only made it that much harder on Maggy. He wanted to call her again as soon as possible to make sure she was all right and to let her know the cavalry had arrived.
As soon as the second chopper set down, everyone piled out and started to get organized. Logan moved a short distance away so that he could hear clearly as he dialed Maggy's number. She answered after only one ring. "I'm fine."
Leave it to her to be more worried about him than she was herself. "We just arrived. We'll get you out of there as soon as it's safe. Your house hasn't been damaged."
Honesty had him adding, "Not yet, anyway. We'll do our best to make sure it stays that way. I'm so sorry this happened." Maggy rarely lost her temper, which is what made her so popular with the regulars at the bar as well as with his other employees. Right now, though, her anger came through loud and clear. "Logan McCaig, don't you dare apologize for what your brother and his henchmen have done. This is not your fault. They're the criminals here, not you. Do you understand?"
"Yes, ma'am. I apologize for apologizing."
She snickered just a little. "Yes, well, that's good. Promise me that you've called in the Chancellors to deal with your brother. He stood outside the bar and smiled while it burned. I have copies of the security recordings that show him front and center. I trust our security firm, but we both know accidents happen when the guilty party has lots of money."
"Good thinking. Stay safe, Maggy. I'll come for you soon."
"I'm fine for now, Logan. Don't worry about me."
As he hung up, he sensed several people approaching. He knew without looking that it had to be Rylee, Ian, Declan, and Vivian. "Maggy deserves so much better. She has been there for me since the day I bought the bar. She showed up looking for employment. She'd never worked a day in a bar or even as a waitress, but there was something special about her absolute determination to do whatever it took. I've never regretted offering her that job. And where did it get her? Hiding down in a tunnel from my brother."
Vivian stepped closer, making him meet her gaze. "Logan, you didn't cause this. Your brother and your father did. Maggy isn't the only strong one. You built a life that anyone would be proud of, and you shared your success with the people who worked for you. You gave them the chance to make a life for themselves, too. Don't let your family take that away from you or your people. Thanks to you, I'm happy. I never thought that was a possibility until you gave me a safe space to catch my breath after living on the run for so long. You and Maggy taught me how to trust again. We're going to save our friend and then make those who scared her pay big time."
Declan spoke next. "When I showed up in your bar, you had every reason to go on the attack, but we both wanted what was best for Vivian. Instead of ending up enemies, we became allies and then friends. Without your help, I would still be doing odd jobs for Ian instead of having a mate and my own pack to care for. Your brother is trying to destroy you. That's not going to happen; not on my watch."
By that point, Ian was grinning. "I'll keep it simple—what they said. You're pack."
Rylee had sidled up next to him, taking his hand in hers. "Are you ready to go kick your brother's ass?"
Not caring who was watching, he swept her into his arms and kissed her like there was no tomorrow. When he released her, he grinned. "Now I am."
Turning back to Ian. "Maggy asked if I'd called in the Chancellors. I'm embarrassed to admit that it hadn't even occurred to me that I should let Ambrose O'Brien know what was going on here."
The gold sheen in Ian's eyes made it obvious that his wolf was looking forward to the fight. "Not a problem, Logan, because I did. He authorized me to act on his behalf if things get heated before he and his people can get here. As it turns out, he's been investigating Rylee's father and yours for some shady financial dealings. He said it also appears that Rory is in it up to his eyeballs."
No surprise there, but Logan was still disappointed. If Rory and his father were found guilty of financial crimes by the Coalition courts, they would pay a heavy price. White collar crime didn't always invoke the death sentence, but that didn't mean the punishment wasn't still brutal. Vampires lived for centuries, so the prison terms were adjusted accordingly. If he had to guess, they could each end up serving a century at least.
They might deserve it, but the damage to the clan's honor would be devastating. He didn't even want to think about the fact that he'd be the last McCaig vampire heir standing. That could very well put him in charge of rebuilding the McCaig Clan's fortunes. He could do it, so the question was if he'd even want to. Sadly, as much as he'd love to return to his simple life at the bar, he couldn't allow the rest of the clan to suffer.
Rylee could very well be facing the same dilemma. Her coloring had turned ashen leaving little doubt that her thoughts were running parallel to his. He wrapped her in his arms and held her close. "We'll figure it out. We're neither one alone in this."
She whispered, "I'm just so angry at all of them."
He smiled and kissed her temple. "That makes two of us, babe."
Rylee could have spent the whole day leaning into Logan's strength, but they couldn't be that selfish. His friend Maggy was still stuck down in that tunnel, and her house was at risk of being destroyed. Rory had already burned down Logan's bar, and she was surprised he hadn't done the same thing to Logan's house.
"Let's end this."
Logan held her hand as they put on their game faces and waited to see what Ian had in mind. She didn't doubt Logan's ability to take care of his brother, but the Coalition took a dim view on bloody fights between clan members. Ian had given them all cover by getting Ambrose O'Brien involved. She'd only met the Chancellor once, but it had been memorable. Some of the higher echelon purebred vampires like her father looked down on Chancellors because of their mix of human and vampire blood.
No matter what they said about Ambrose behind his back, none of them dare to cross him. No one could spend five seconds in his company and not sense the depth of his ferocious strength and intelligence. She thought the citizens of the Coalition should be eternally grateful that he also had a streak of honor that couldn't be bought, bent, or broken.
Ian finished talking to his second-in-command before turning his attention back to Logan and Declan. "My Chancellors, humans, and half of my wolves will go in armed and ready to fight. Declan's wolves will all shift and fight in that form."
When no one argued that decision, he continued. "Logan, I understand why you'd want to take your brother out of the picture permanently, but Ambrose would prefer that didn't happen. My people and Declan's are willing to put their lives on the line, but none of us want it to come to that. But know if the man refuses to back down or his mercenaries won't surrender, we'll do whatever it takes to put an end to this. If you want first crack at Rory, he's all yours."
Logan nodded. Then he rolled his shoulders as if he needed to work off some tension. "Just so you know, I'll do whatever I have to do to protect Maggy and her home. To put it in terms you'll understand, she's pack."
When the wolves, even those in human form, howled their understanding, it sent a shiver up Rylee's spine. It made her want to join in their powerful chorus, to sing out her support and love for Logan.
But before she could muster up the courage, the sound of gunfire erupted from the other side of the trees. Without hesitation, everyone around her charged toward the fight, shouting and howling in challenge. Her heart was pounding, her knees were weak, but she heeded the call to battle.