I would never admit it to her, but I was fiercely proud of the stunt she’d just pulled. Like a badass, she walked in there without a hint of fear, found the correct wire, and saved my ass. Most people would have been too cowardly to do that, but not this woman. She was loyal to me, just as loyal as one of my own men.
But I was still pissed at her.
She sat beside me and reached up to touch the bruising on my face.
I pushed down her arm. “I’m fine.” I pulled out my phone and called Brutus.
“Balto?” he blurted into the phone, surprised to see my name on the screen. “Is that really you?”
“No time for small talk. Round up all the men. We’re hitting Lucian at his estate.”
Brutus stopped asking questions. “You got it, Balto. You’ll have to tell me how you escaped when this is all over.”
“Preferably over a bottle of scotch.” I hung up.
Heath looked at me in the rearview mirror. “I’ll head back to the compound.”
“No. Go to the Underground,” I ordered. “We need supplies.”
“What about Cassini and Case?” Heath asked. “What do we do with them?”
“We’ll leave them at the Underground. They’ll be safe there.”
Cassini turned on me, her eyes wide in offense. “I’m not staying behind.”
“You bet your ass, you are.” I faced forward, being cold to her when I should be thanking her. I wanted to show my gratitude and how much her loyalty meant to me, but I didn’t want to encourage that kind of behavior. She could have cut the wrong wire and killed us both. I’d sacrificed myself so she would live a long and happy life. “You’ve done enough for the day.”
“You’re kidding, right?” she asked. “I just saved your life, and you’re pissed at me?”
“Damn right, I am.” I couldn’t control my expression as I stared at her. I was so livid at her impulse decision. “You should have let me die. I took your place so you would be safe. If that had gone in another direction, it would have been a complete waste.”
“But it didn’t,” she snapped. “Now stop being an asshole.” She slapped her hand across my face.
I turned with the hit, adoring her even more for calling me out on my bullshit. I was being a dick, and I knew it. There were so many emotions inside my chest that I didn’t know how to process them. Just minutes ago, I’d made my peace with my imminent death. And now I was looking into the eyes of the woman who risked her life to save mine.
“I’m coming with you,” she said firmly.
“Like hell, you are,” I countered. “It’s going to be a massacre. I can’t slaughter those men and protect you at the same time.”
“Lucian is mine. I want to be the one to kill him. I’m not sitting back at the Underground and waiting for news. That man ruined my life, and I deserve to be the one to pull the trigger, to watch the light leave his eyes as I stand over him in victory. I know he’s wronged you, but he’s been a million times worse to me. Let me have this. You owe me.”
“I owe you?” I whispered.
“I saved your life. Now give me Lucian’s.”
I preferred to have this conversation in private, but we didn’t have a choice. We were too pressed for time.
Heath watched us in the rearview mirror. “Let her have it. Come on, she’s earned it.”
She turned to him. “Thank you—”
“Stay out of this.” I kept my eyes on her beautiful face, seeing a woman who was confident, not scared. She clung to me for protection because I was the only thing in the world that made her feel safe. But now the adrenaline was in her veins, making her braver than she’d ever been before. She’d outsmarted Lucian by cutting that wire, and now she wanted more. She wanted to finish the job—finish him.
“Please.” Her voice filled the car even as a whisper.
I deserved to kill Lucian as much as she did. He’d stolen something irreplaceable, started a war we could never finish. He was a pompous prick who had been my enemy for years. The fact that he hurt this woman so much made me feel even more entitled to his death. But I knew she’d suffered in ways I could never understand. She was forced to submit to a cruel man, to be a trophy wife that he showed off to the world. She’d been tricked into that position. This guy didn’t just keep her as a prisoner, but he’d manipulated her into being the prisoner he wanted. She deserved this closure. “Alright.”
Relief filled her gaze. “Thank you.”
“We’ll take out his men and clear the area. When we have our victory, I’ll bring you in so you can execute him.”