GOING HOME ISN'T EASY Part 15
Cormac might have been many things, but a fool wasn't one of them. Logan knew the other vampire took the death threat seriously, because he raised his weapon and pulled the trigger in one smooth motion. The only problem with that plan was that Logan was no longer where Cormac had aimed. He leapt past Rylee and Maggie to grab Cormac's gun hand before the other vampire could line up another shot.
Logan wanted to end Cormac and the threat he presented to Rylee and Maggie right there in the tunnel, but also to the McCaig clan in the future. There was a time when he'd considered the man a close friend, someone Logan had actually missed when he'd left the family home. Now he wondered if he'd ever known Cormac at all.
Meanwhile, it was a major struggle to keep Cormac from taking aim again. Logan growled and flashed his fangs as he finally managed to take the other man to the ground.
"Rylee, get out of here. Take Maggie to safety."
The two women scrambled down the hall on their hands and knees until they reached Ian and Declan. Knowing they were finally well clear of the danger, Logan focused on his opponent. He slammed Cormac's hand against the concrete floor over and over again until the man finally dropped his gun. That didn't mean the danger had ended. He was as strong as Logan, and his fangs were on full display.
He managed to shove Logan aside long enough to scramble to retrieve his gun. Logan grabbed him by his feet and yanked him backward. Cormac twisted to roll over on his back and came up swinging. His fist connected with Logan's jaw. It was only by sheer determination that Logan managed to return the favor. He lunged to land on top of Cormac, straddling his hips. He punched the other vampire hard enough to break off one of his fangs. The other man howled in pain, his eyes burning with pure hatred.
Declan and Ian joined the party.
Ian aimed his weapon right between Cormac's eyes, his own gaze gleaming gold with his wolf running close to the surface. "Surrender and live. Well, at least until Ambrose O'Brien finishes with you. Last I heard, he and his team were on their final approach."
Cormac sneered. "Logan, don't think for a minute I won't sell your father out to save myself."
"My father made his own choices and will have to deal with the consequences. So will you."
The other vampire looked stunned. "You'd let the scandal destroy your clan to get a little payback against your father?"
Logan pushed himself back up to his feet and let Ian take charge of Cormac. "Again, he made his choices. What I'm going to do is deal with the fallout."
Rylee was back. She tangled her fingers in his and gave his hand a soft squeeze. "Come on, Logan. Maggie needs to see that you're all right. Let Ambrose deal with Cormac."
He studied the man he used to think of as a friend, shook his head, and then walked away. Like Logan's father, Cormac had chosen the path that had led to this day.
Maggie was waiting for them in Logan's basement. He released Rylee's hand to scoop Maggie up in his arms and held her close, letting her cry herself out.
"I'm so sorry you got caught up in this, Maggie. If you want to find a new job, a new place to live, whatever will make you happy, I'll make sure that happens."
She lifted her head and banged her fist against his chest. "I'm furious with your brother and that other guy, but none of this is your fault. I can't believe you'd even think I'd walk away because of them. You and me, we're family."
Rylee slipped her arm around his waist and rested her head on his shoulder. The three of them enjoyed the moment of peace, but it didn't last long. Declan joined the party a minute later. "Sorry to interrupt, but Ambrose is here and wants to talk to you."
"Tell him I'll be there in a minute."
"Maggie, rather than going back to your place alone, why don't you get some rest in one of the guest rooms upstairs? Tomorrow will be soon enough to start calling contractors to see about getting the bar rebuilt. You're going to have to do the brunt of the work on the project. I'm very much afraid that I'll be busy with other things."
She kissed his cheek. "Don't take any guff from your father. You're a better man than he ever was."
Then she gave him a sympathetic look. "And I'm sorry about what happened to your brother. You and he were never close, but I know you. You never give up on anyone, and you probably still hoped that someday, somehow the two of you would make peace."
She wasn't wrong. "Thanks, Maggie."
Now to deal with the other member of his family.
Rylee could feel Logan closing in on himself. He left her in his living room while he headed upstairs to get Maggie settled. He also wanted to grab a quick shower and change clothes before joining the crowd outside. She didn't blame him for not wanting to walk around in clothes that had his brother's blood splashed all over them.
The past few days had been nothing but hell for him. She had her own problems, but they paled by comparison with his. Yeah, she was going to have to face off with her father eventually. She had her own plans for her future, which didn't involve her being forced into a marriage she didn't want.
That discussion would have to wait for another day. The front door opened and Declan came back into the house. "Is he coming? Because it's never smart to keep Ambrose waiting."
"He should be back down in a couple of minutes." She grimaced. "He wanted to get out of those bloody clothes."
"Is he okay?"
"Not really, but he'll manage. It's going to take time to come to terms with everything that's happened."
Declan's eyes flashed wolf-gold. "He won't be on his own. We'll all be there for him."
Footsteps on the staircase drew their attention. Logan was back, his hair still damp from his shower. He looked tired, angry, and determined. Rylee pitied anyone who crossed him right now.
She started toward him. "Are you ready to talk to Ambrose?"
He shrugged. "Might as well get it over with."
Declan put his hand on Logan's shoulder. "You should know that your father is out there, too. He's not in custody…not exactly, anyway. I don't know whether or not if he's heard about Rory. Ambrose's people dragged Cormac out in cuffs, but they didn't let your father get near him. I just wanted you to know that you're probably walking into a firestorm out there."
Turning to her, he added, "Your father showed up right before I came inside. Ian kept him from charging in here after you. Not sure what he has in mind, but it's probably not good."
Truer words were never spoken. "No, it's probably not. That doesn't mean he's going to get his way."
She took Logan's hand. "Come on. Let's go explain to our respective fathers that life as they've known it is about to change."
It was nice to see Logan smile like he really meant it. "Good idea."
Logan spotted his father as soon as he walked outside. He stood apart from the crowd although a couple of Ambrose's people were nearby and keeping an eye on him. As usual, Harry thought himself immune from any consequences, protected by the McCaig name and status. He was in for a rude awakening if he thought he could face off against Ambrose O'Brien and win.
The instant Harry spotted Logan and Rylee, he planted his feet and gave them an impatient look, no doubt expecting Logan to come crawling. Fat chance. Instead, Declan and Rylee flanked Logan as he headed directly to where Ian stood talking to Ambrose. If the situation wasn't so dire, Harry's clear frustration at being ignored would have been entertaining.
Ambrose held out his hand. "Logan, good to see you again. I wish the circumstance were different, and I'm really sorry about your brother."
"Has anyone told my father?"
"No. We weren't sure what actually happened, so I wanted to talk to you first."
Logan gave him a brief summary of the situation, including everything Rory and then Declan had told him about the family's dirty laundry. His father wouldn't like that one bit, but Ambrose would find out eventually. It was far better to cooperate as much as possible.
The Chancellor looked past Logan to where Harry stood fuming. "I have enough to charge your father. I'm sorry to say, Ms. Byrne, that I've already arrested your father. Both men have committed tax fraud, embezzlement, and a whole litany of other things."
Logan felt obligated to share one thing his brother had told him. "Before he was killed, Rory said my father wasn't smart enough to do all of that. He made it sound like he was the one who had been syphoning off the money. Cormac claimed credit for a lot of it, too. He seems to think it was his job to do the dirty work to protect the family's interests. He also says he had made arrangements that it will all come out if the family doesn't protect him from prosecution. I'm not sure how much say I have on the situation, but I won't lift a finger to protect him from anything."
Ambrose's expression held a hint of sympathy. "Both the McCaigs and the Byrnes clans are in for a rough road for a while. As neither of you have been implicated in any criminal activity, the Coalition's stance is that you two have now become the ranking members of your clans. If my office can do anything to help with the transition of power, call me."
"Thank you, Chancellor O'Brien. Now I should go talk to my father."
The discussion didn't take long. By the time Logan explained about Rory, Cormac, and that his father's financial shenanigans had come to light, Harry looked like he'd aged a century. When Ambrose's men came to take him into custody, he surrendered meekly and let them lead him away without protest. No doubt he would regain his arrogance at some point, but the day's events had hit him hard.
Logan knew how he felt. At a loss as to what to do next, he stopped to say goodbye to his friends. The wolves reminded him that they would come running if he needed them. As they began loading up to head out, Logan started back to his house to check on Maggie.
Rylee came with him. There was a note stuck on the front door from Maggie. She'd decided to return to her house. Once she had talked to contractors, she'd be back in touch about rebuilding the bar. Logan smiled and shared the message with Rylee. "That's one thing off my to-do list. I'll let her make all the decisions on the project. It only seems fair, since she's going to be the one running the place when it reopens."
"She'll do a great job, but then she's learned from the best."
Rylee's praise pleased him. So did everything else about her. Even so, once they were inside and alone, he gave her one more chance to escape. He'd never wanted to get involved in clan politics again, but it was now unavoidable. He couldn't let his grandmother and everyone else in the clan suffer just so he could duck out on his responsibilities. Rylee should be free to make a new life for herself and her people. "Considering the beating my clan's reputation is going to take, I'll understand if you don't want your clan tied to mine."
She reached up to cup his face with her hand. "No, Logan, we do this together. Not because we can build a stronger clan by salvaging what's left of the McCaigs and the Byrnes. We do it because I want to build a life with you. I love you, I hope you feel that way about me."
As the truth of her words sank in, the heavy burden that had just landed on his shoulders felt so much lighter. "I don't think I've ever stopped loving you, Rylee. Never doubt that it's why I want to marry you. We do this one thing for us, not the clans. What do you say?"
"I say yes." She took his hand in hers and led him toward the staircase. "Tomorrow, we will have to start dealing with the fallout from all of this. But tonight, this will be for us."
Logan loved a take-charge kind of woman, but that didn't stop him from sweeping Rylee up in his arms and running up the steps. Her laughter echoed through the house and filled his heart.