THE LONE WOLF'S LADY Part 10
Rand cursed as the concussive power of the explosion rolled through the car. His ears hurt to the point he thought they might bleed. He clenched the steering wheel hard enough to hurt as if that would help him regain control even though their vehicle was no longer in contact with the road. There was also no guarantee that when they did land that they'd be right side up—or in one piece.
"Brace yourselves! This might get ugly."
Not that Ian or Tamara needed him to tell them that. After all, she'd already seen her own car blown to smithereens, and her boss had lost his life in the same kind of explosion. At least so far their armored vehicle had lived up to the promises made by the manufacturer.
All of that flashed through his brain as he waited for impact. The right front tire hit the ground first, followed almost immediately by the left one. Then the back end of the vehicle rose higher than the front, making him fear that they would go cartwheeling into the brick building that they were fast approaching.
The gods must be smiling on them, though, because the back wheels finally slammed back down hard enough to jar his teeth. All three of them might end up with bruises from their seatbelts, but at least they held them in place. After a few more terrifying seconds, the vehicle finally righted itself and started responding to the steering wheel again. He yanked it to the left, narrowly missing the building before clearing the sidewalk and bouncing down off the curb onto the road.
The crew of motorcyclists had stopped a block away in all directions, no doubt trying to stay out of the line of fire from flying shrapnel. Unfortunately for them, not only had the armored vehicle protected its passengers, but it was still fully operational. Rand gunned the engine and rampaged down the street, aiming straight for them. The cowards scattered like cockroaches as he roared right through them. Most got away; a few weren't so fortunate. His wolf wanted to circle back and take another swipe at them, but getting Tamara to safety was more important that a little revenge.
Their time would come. A wolf knew how to stalk his prey and attack when it was least expected.
"Ian, any idea what they're going to try next?"
His brother's voice was mostly growl, his wolf close to the surface. "No, but they'll have to start dividing their attention. Our guys are less than two blocks away and coming in hot. Greg has the drones circling the area, so the bastards can't go to ground without us seeing what holes they crawl into."
"Tamara, call Ambrose. Tell him we'll be entering the garage under his building in under three minutes. Apologize for the short warning."
Ian snarled and rolled his window down far enough to shoot. His aim was right on target as he took out three enemies with a single spray of shots. It was impossible to tell if the motorcycles crashed because he'd hit the bikes or the riders. Right now, it didn't matter as long as it helped clear the way.
Another ballsy rider pulled up even with the back passenger window to take aim at Tamara. Rand gave him a not-so-gentle nudge with the side of the car. It sent the jerk flying off his bike onto the pavement. After a couple of hard bounces, he didn't move again. Good. Rand looked around for another target.
Tamara's pulse hadn't yet gotten back to normal after the explosion, and Rand's erratic driving wasn't helping. Just seconds before, she'd looked out her window to see one of the bikers aiming his gun right at her face. He smiled as if shooting her would bring him nothing but pleasure. The pane of glass that separated them was supposed to withstand a direct shot. Her head knew that, but her survival instincts had her diving for cover.
The car suddenly jerked in the direction of the would-be shooter's bike. That was followed by a screech of metal as the two made contact. Rand's wicked laugh told her the threat was over. She sat up and looked around before making the call to Ambrose. Thanks to how badly her hands were shaking, it took her two tries to get it right. Time to get a grip on herself. This wasn't her first shootout, but in the past she'd been able to fight back. Right now, she was more of a package to be delivered than an actual participant in their defense.
Ambrose answered on the second ring. "Tamara, where are you? We heard an explosion and some gunshots in the distance. Tell me you're not in the middle of that."
"I don't lie to my friends, Ambrose. They were waiting for us with a rocket launcher, but we're fine. We should be at your door in less than two minutes now. We're coming in hot with company right behind us, so it would be nice if the door was open. Some of Ian's men are in the area to help clear the way. They're in armored cars like the one we're in, so pick your targets carefully if you decide to join in the fun. The people hunting us have all been on motorcycles, at least as far as I've seen."
"Got it. The door will go up in one minute. I'll slam it down as soon as you're inside and in the clear. Tell your driver to go down to parking level 3. I'll be waiting."
Hopefully they'd live that long, but there was another swarm of shooters pouring out of the building on the corner. If they were packing anything bigger than the rocket launcher, there was no telling if their vehicle would survive another attack. She needed to get off the phone and help Ian keep the enemy at bay. "See you soon, Ambrose."
Rand cursed when she lowered her window. "Tamara, get down and stay down."
"Sorry, Wolfman, I can't do that. You just drive and let me and your brother take care of business."
She punctuated that order with a long spray of shots. There was no pleasure to be had in killing, but there was satisfaction in retribution. While Ian kept the bad guys occupied on the right side of the vehicle, she took care of the ones on the left. She managed to hit the tires on four of the bikes, sending them careening off into the others.
Rand barked, "Tamara, our guys just got here. Let them take over, because we're on Ambrose's doorstep."
Tamara looked up just in time to realize Rand was heading straight for the entrance without backing off at all on their speed. From Tamara's vantage point, the door to the garage didn't look high enough for their car to clear, and she automatically braced herself for another collision with her hands on the back of the front seat and her feet jammed hard against the floor.
But as it turned out, Rand was a better judge of distances than she was. The car slid through the opening with a handful of inches to spare. As soon as the rear bumper was clear of the entrance, there was a loud bang as the door slammed back down just as promised.
"Ambrose is waiting for us down on level 3."
Rand immediately steered them in the direction of the ramp that led down to the underground parking. Level 1, the ground floor where they'd come in, was empty. So was Level 2. This building and its parking garage serviced the entire justice system. There were chancellors and others on duty around the clock, seven days a week.
Where was everybody? She got her answer as they made the last turn onto the third floor of the garage. Nearly half of the parking spots were filled, so this must be where Ambrose had rallied the troops.
Looking confused, Ian glanced back over his shoulder at her. "Why would he have everyone down here? Doesn't this mean we're all trapped here underground?"
Ambrose might not appreciate her revealing company secrets, but these two men had put their lives on the line for her. "There are exits in two directions from this level and the one below. They lead into tunnels that don't come back up to street level for several blocks."
Ian grinned. "Smart thinking."
Meanwhile, Rand parked the car and got out. "Wait here until I take a look around."
She was about to argue when she spotted Ambrose stepping through the sliding glass doors that led into the building. Ignoring Rand's protests, she was out of the backseat and running straight for the chancellor. Rand and Ian both caught up with her a few feet shy of her target, but they weren't what slowed her down.
No, that was the sight of the man who had just followed Ambrose out of the building. She blinked her eyes as she staggered forward another step before coming to an abrupt halt.
"Steve? Is that really you?"
Without giving him a chance to answer, she turned to Ambrose and clenched her fists, fighting the urge to go on the attack. "You lied to me. You said he was dead. I mourned him!"
Both men looked apologetic, but it was Ambrose who responded. "I hated to mislead you, Tamara, but we couldn't risk anyone finding out that the bomb failed. We have Steve's wife and kids under lock and key at a secret location, but we still don't know who is behind these attacks. I wanted to make damn sure no one knew he made it out alive."
The chancellor looked as if he hadn't slept in days, but that didn't mean she was quite ready to forgive him. She turned her attention back to her boss only to realize he looked as stunned as she felt. "He told you I died, too, didn't he?"
Steve nodded. "He only told me the truth right before we stepped through the door."
As he spoke, he held out his arms. She walked right into the hug and held on for a good long time before finally stepping back. This was no time for lengthy reunions. Even now she could hear the faint sound of gunshots.
Rand and Ian moved up to flank her. She looped her arm through Rand's, needing that physical reassurance that they'd run the gauntlet and survived. That might not be true for Ian's men.
"Any report on the situation outside?"
Ian already had his phone pressed against his ear. She could only presume he was getting an update from his headquarters. He listened for another few seconds before saying, "Keep me posted. If any of the bastards are still alive when our guys finish the cleanup, truss them up and toss them on the chancellor's doorstep. I'm sure Ambrose would love to have a personal chat with them."
At that comment, Ambrose flashed his fangs, his eyes gleaming with anticipation. Tamara understood just how he felt. That didn't stop her from hoping he never looked at her with that murderous look in his eyes. It was a harsh reminder that he was as much a the predator as the two men standing beside her, their eyes flashing wolf gold as their other half responded to the threat the chancellor presented.
Rand jerked free from her grasp to plant himself between her and Ambrose, a low growl rumbling in his chest. "Snap out of it, Chancellor. Update us on what's going on and where we go from here."
The other man slowly shook his head as if to clear it. "Sorry, everybody. My control isn't what it should be. Let's go inside. We've set up operations here in a conference room right down the hall. People I trust just completed a sweep of the entire floor to make sure nothing hasn't been compromised."
Tamara eased closer to Rand, brushing his hand with her fingertips. She might not have much experience being a wolf's mate, but her instincts told her the touch would calm both man and beast. He tangled his fingers with hers and gave her hand a squeeze.
When no one made a move, she took charge. "Okay, gentlemen, we've got bad guys to catch. Let's get to it."
When she tugged on Rand's hand, he let her lead their little parade back into the building.