Black and Blue (Page 19)

Black and Blue (Otherworld Assassin #2)(19)
Author: Gena Showalter

“I’ll ignore the double negative and agree with you.” She released a heavy breath. “So say I am the target. What’s the motive? Why now?”

Why indeed. “Because the AIR agent came to visit you and you’re now a liability? Because Michael is missing and the bad guy wants to use you as bait? Should I go on?”

“No,” she grumbled. “Those two did the trick.”

Well, what do you know? He’d won another argument. And this time victory was oh, so sweet. “Are the occupants human?” he asked the computer. “Or otherworlder?”

“Unsure.”

Too bad. “Any New Chicago PD posted along the road?”

“Checking . . . Yes. The nearest patrol unit is ten miles north.”

He knew the area to avoid, then.

“How do I put the shields up?” he asked Evie. “Assuming you have shields.”

“Like I would ever own a vehicle without shields. And the method is kind of complicated, so pay close attention.” She cleared her throat, then said, “Engage shields. Now.”

Clear armor came out of hiding, wrapping around the car to protect it from enemy fire.

He shook his head in exasperation—and, okay, a little amusement. “Program the operating system to accept my voice commands.”

All she said was “Accept Blue. All access.”

“Engage manual steering panel. Now,” he said. The moment he had the wheel in hand, he switched lanes, careful to maintain the same speed—for the moment.

The sedan remained where it was, playing innocent.

With only a thought, Blue could force the cars around him to swerve into the vehicle’s path, but that would put innocents in danger, maybe even cause a few deaths. He had some scruples.

“Are you okay with me putting a few dings and scratches in your car?” he asked Evie.

“Strip her to the studs. I don’t care. Just nail those bloody bastards to the wall. I’d like a chat-up.”

Perfect answer, and sexy as hell, her excitement making her accent thicker.

He wanted to kiss her.

You can’t ever kiss her.

“You mean a conversation?” When dealing with Honey Badger, it was best to be clear.

“That’s what I said.”

Well, all right, then. “Here goes.” He yanked the car to the right and slammed his foot on the gas, shooting off the highway. The sedan gave up all pretense of innocence and followed. Tires squealed as the sensors on the cars around them engaged, automated systems performing deep swerves to avoid a collision.

Evie dug through her purse, withdrawing the modified pyre-gun she’d brandished earlier. “Get me the angle I need and I’ll disable the car,” she said, dialing the internal crystal to its highest setting.

I think I’m turned on—again.

“I want to get to a less populated area first.” An intersection loomed ahead, the light red. There were three lanes. Two were clogged with traffic. One was open, but for right turns only.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

“Shots fired,” the computer stated calmly.

“Blimey,” Evie cursed. “Obviously our shadow doesn’t care about hurting others.”

“They’ll get theirs.” Blue increased his speed, staying in the turn lane, even though he wasn’t going to turn. He flew through the intersection, jerking the wheel this way, then that way, stopping oncoming traffic and directing the cars out of harm’s way. “You have my word.”

Rather than keeping to the side roads, Blue zipped back onto the highway.

“They’re about to fire again,” Evie said.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

“Shields can only withstand two more rounds before failing,” the computer announced.

Great. Blue revved the turbo-booster and shot into warp speed, weaving through traffic, searching for the perfect place to—

There.

A bridge. Very little traffic in front, only the tail in back.

“Incoming,” Evie warned.

“Almost there.”

Pop! Pop! Pop!

“Get ready, moon tart,” he said, pressing a button to lower the passenger window. Violent wind blustered inside the car. “Don’t try to get the men, just try to blow their tires.”

“Duh. This isn’t my first rodeo, cowboy.”

He really hoped she was a good shot.

“You’ll have less than a second to—” the computer began.

“I know!” Evie growled. “Shut up.”

Pop! Pop! Pop!

The moment Blue crossed the bottom edge of the bridge, he threw the car into a spin. Suddenly, Evie was facing the other vehicle. She found her target and squeezed off a single shot. A bright yellow laser blasted out, slamming into the vehicle’s front left tire at the same time another bullet hit her door.

The shield had been damaged beyond repair, and the bullet shot through the metal to embed in the console directly in front of her.

So close to hitting her, Blue thought, trembling with sudden rage.

“Nailed it!” she said, happy.

He straightened out the car and slowed, watching in the rearview mirror as rubber melted and the sedan began a tailspin of its own before flipping over and rolling, the roof crashing into the road, then the tires slamming into the road, then the roof, then the tires, until finally stopping on its belly.

Smoke wafted through the air as he came to a halt. Clasping his gun, he jumped out and raced toward the crash site. He was halfway there when a brutal gush of molten wind shoved him backward, lifting him as if he weighed no more than a feather. A piercing boom scraped at his ears, making them ring. He landed with a hard thunk, a door handle dropping from the sky and clanking beside him.

Been here, done this shit already.

As he stood, he watched flames engulf what was left of the vehicle.

That had been an intentional blast. Most likely, whoever sent these men to nab—kill?—Evie hadn’t wanted anyone caught and questioned. Planting a self-destruct bomb would have been easy.

Blue’s rage exploded with the same viciousness, and he struggled to rein it in as he marched to Evie’s car.

She stood in the passenger doorway, her hand braced against the open window. Her hair had come loose from the ponytail and framed her soot-streaked face in tangled waves.

“Well, that sucks,” she said.

No smart remarks. No recrimination directed at him.

He stopped. Just stopped and tried to catch his breath. She was beautiful and here and alive, unharmed, the knowledge battering at the desire he tried so valiantly to deny. He wanted her. More than that, he needed her. Inside, his Arcadian power tugged at a flimsy leash. He’d been too worked up lately. Too agitated, too hungry, too angry, with zero release.