GOING HOME ISN'T EASY Part 13
The gunfire continued sporadically as Logan and the others tore off through the woods. He deliberately kept pace with Rylee and Vivian even though he rather be the one to be leading the charge. His predatory and protective nature drove him to shield them from danger even as he needed to save Maggy from the threat presented by Rory and his hired muscle.
The trees began to thin out, reducing the amount of cover they had. He held up a hand to slow Rylee and Vivian while Ian continued on with his crew and Declan's wolves. "Stay here for a minute until I can see what's going on."
They both glared at him but did as he asked. He slipped through the trees until he could get a clear view of the men surrounding Maggy's house. The mercenaries were exchanging fire with Ian's crew and Declan's wolves. Several were wounded, but no one seem ready to surrender. The only person who was conspicuously missing was Rory. No surprise there. He'd be only too happy to literally throw his men to the wolves if it meant he could escape in the chaos.
Logan dropped back to where he'd left Rylee and Vivian. "I don't see my brother. It looks like he somehow managed to slip past Ian's people."
Rylee stepped closer even as she scanned the surrounding trees. "Are you sure?"
"No, actually I'm not."
Another possibility occurred to him. "If he somehow found out about the tunnel under the house, he might be trying to use that."
It was time to call Maggy again. It took her longer to answer this time, her voice a harsh whisper. "Logan, they're trying to break through the door. What should I do?"
"Hang tight, Mags. I'm coming. If it sounds like they're going to be successful, take off for my end of the tunnel."
He wanted to apologize to her again, but his time would be better spent making good on the promise he'd just made her. He disconnected the call and broke the news to his two companions. "I've got to get to the tunnel under my house right now. It connects to Maggy's house."
Rylee stepped forward. "You're not going alone."
There was no use in arguing with her either. "My life is filled with stubborn women."
"Men like you and Declan need someone strong enough to be your partner. Stubborn is part of the package." Then Vivian laughed and gave him a shove. "You two go save Maggy. I'll tell Ian what's going on. His people and ours can keep Rory's men pinned down while you go the other direction. Declan and I will follow you and Rylee to provide backup and to make sure no one slips in behind you."
"Good plan. I'll leave the door unlocked. The tunnel access is in the basement. I'll leave it open for you, too."
He might hate having the women he cared about being in the line of fire, but Vivian was right. He respected strength. Rylee, Vivian, and Maggy had it in spades, and his life was better for it.
"Let's go, Rylee. This needs to end."
Rylee had expected Logan to put up more of a fight about her being his backup. Instead, he took off running toward his house in the distance. He held back a bit to let her set the pace. She smirked at him as she sprinted past him and kept going. Thanks to his longer legs, he caught up within seconds and fell into step with her.
Thanks to their vampiric speed, they covered the distance to his house in a handful of minutes. Logan signaled for her to halt a short distance away as he made the final approach. He edged up to the front window and peeked inside. Evidently he didn't see anything of concern, because he entered the code on the security pad and slowly opened the door. After looking around, he motioned for her to follow.
She looked forward to exploring Logan's home to see what it would reveal about him, but this wasn't the time for that. She followed him across the sprawling living room and down a long hallway, coming to a stop in front of a door about halfway to the end. He pressed his fingertips against another data pad on the wall. When it beeped, he keyed in a series of numbers. A second later, the door popped open.
Logan grabbed a couple of rechargeable flashlights off their charging station on the wall and handed her one. "In case the power cuts off."
She checked to make sure it was working while he did the same with his. Then he took the first step down. "Stay behind me. There's no sign that anyone has come through here ahead of us, but I'd rather be safe than sorry."
The room at the bottom of the stairs was obviously Logan's playroom. There was an expensive looking pool table, several old-fashioned arcade games, a bar, a huge flat screen television, and a bunch of comfortable furniture.
From where she stood, there was no other obvious entrance or exit from the basement other than the staircase they'd used. "Logan, how do we get to Maggy's from here?"
Grinning, he motioned for her to follow him toward a row of bookcases along the far wall. Once there, he reached up and pulled two books out of the shelf and set them aside. Then he pressed something she couldn't see, most likely a button or maybe even a lever. Either way, there was a loud click. He gave the shelf a tug, and the bookcase pivoted on one end as the other end swung out away from the wall.
She leaned around him to peer into the darkness. "So cool and sneaky!"
"When I first moved here and bought the bar, I lived in the house she occupies now while I built this one. Call me paranoid, but I liked the idea of having an escape route should I ever need one. I knew I'd never rent the other place to anyone other than a trusted friend, so I felt safe in connecting the two places."
"I always knew you were clever."
His smile faded. "And I always knew this day would come. Let's go get Maggy."
Logan led the way into the darkness ahead. The lights were motion activated and flickered on as they made their way farther into the tunnel. They remained on for a few seconds before turning off on again.
It was worrisome that there was no sign of Maggy. She should have been in sight by now. As they walked, he called her again. When she didn't answer, he picked up speed to the point the lights couldn't keep up. As a vampire, his night vision was superior to that of humans, but he still needed at least some ambient light. He turned on his flashlight, but kept it aimed down at the floor. Rylee remained right behind him, her footsteps nearly silent.
A short time later, Logan held up his hand to signal they should stop. There was a turn a short distance ahead. Beyond that, it would be a straight shot to where Maggy had been waiting. That translated that there would be no cover for him and Rylee once they turned the corner.
He leaned in closer to Rylee to whisper an explanation of the situation. "I'll go first. If it were up to me, I'd send you back to my house to wait, but I know better than to suggest it. Stay behind me, weapon ready."
She nodded and took advantage of the situation to press a kiss to his cheek. "Be careful."
That might not be possible, and they both knew it. He started forward again, not bothering to move slowly. The flickering of the lights as he and Rylee started moving would announce their approach to whoever waiting at the far end of the tunnel.
A loud crash echoed down the passageway right as they reached the corner. When he heard Maggy whimper, Logan gave up all pretense of trying to move quietly and tore off down the tunnel at full speed. What he saw ahead of him had him cursing a blue streak. His brother had managed to break through the security door somehow and was standing over Maggy with a knife in his hand. She sat slumped against the wall. From a distance, it was impossible to tell if Rory had hurt her or if she was cowering in fear. Either way, the man would bleed for it.
Logan snarled, "Rory, step away from Maggy. Your fight is with me, not her."
"So it is." His brother smiled, his fangs on full display. "But you see, you took my woman, little brother. It's only right that I take one of yours. Want to trade?"