“I’ll come help,” Winter told her.
The two women exited the room, leaving them all staring after them.
“Does this mean that we’ll have to start doing chores again?” Ember broke the silence.
Raci ran out of the room, crying.
“Do you want me to stop her?”
Viper shook his head at Shade. “No. Tell Alec to watch her. I’ll add her to the payroll.”
Jackal took a drink of his water. His head began to feel like it was attached to his shoulders again.
“I have to go get showered and changed. Don’t let Penni leave before I can talk to her.”
“No, you’re going to stay away and let her leave. I need your head on straight until we can get the cartel taken care of. Then you can chase after Penni,” Ice ordered.
Jackal managed to stand up despite his swimming head. He glared at Hennessy. “I should have killed DJ myself. I knew he was a fuckup; you knew he was a fuckup—hell, DJ knew he was a fuckup. The only reason we’re all in this position is because I didn’t kill him when Ice told me to.”
Hennessy started to lunge toward Ice, but Jackal pushed him back down.
“I knew DJ was going to drag you down. I lost my brother”—Ice smacked a hand on his chest—“when you turned your back on the Predators.”
Hennessy relaxed back in his chair. “I couldn’t leave him.”
“And we couldn’t let him stay. You have your own club now. You’ve learned a hard lesson, one Viper and I already learned. A weak link will destroy your club. You can’t break the chain if it’s made of steel.”
“I can’t handle this deep shit. I’m gonna go change my jeans.” Jackal walked through the dining room.
“Lunch ready?” Max asked as he swerved out of Jackal’s way when they passed on the landing. “You smell and look like a vampire pissed on you.”
“Penni cooked lunch.”
Max gave him a pitying look. “She try to kill you again? Brother, when you gonna understand that bitch wants you dead?”
“When she marries me, you can be my best man,” Jackal said half-jokingly.
Max took out his wallet, taking out a card and handing it to him. “Call her.”
“Who is she?”
“My life insurance agent. Take out enough for me to bury you. If not, then fuck her. At least she won’t kill you.”
“I like to live dangerously.”
“How do you think being dead will feel?”
“She wouldn’t seriously try to hurt me.”
Max looked at him incredulously. “How’d you get that blood on your forehead?”
“Penni hit me with a plate.”
“You sure you don’t want me to ride her out in the mountains and leave her?”
“She’s a bad Penni; they always show up,” Jackal wisecracked.
Max slapped him on the back, knocking him into the wall. “Keep your sense of humor. You’re going to need it.”
“Which jackass is making all that fucking noise?” Mag bellowed from inside the room.
Max went pale, running down the steps like a bear was chasing after him.
“Lord, what have I done to deserve you sending me to live with this pack of heathens?” Mag lamented. “Heavenly Father, call me home.”
“Lord, either you answer her prayer, or I will.”
Jackal was jerked awake when the alarms blared throughout the hallways. He jumped out of bed, already dressed, reaching for his gun. He then ran from the room.
Jackal almost fell down the flight of steps when he saw Mag on the landing.
“Why in the hell aren’t you in your room?”
“You worry about your own sorry ass, and I’ll worry about mine!” the old bitch mouthed off to him.
He was ready to throw her over his shoulder and carry her back to her room when Cash came running up the steps, tossing Mag a rifle.
“First man who comes out the door I don’t recognize, I’m gonna blow their heads off! I ain’t afraid of no damn cartel. I was raised to shoot at revenuers when they came snooping around.”
Cash took his place on the landing next to her, telling Jackal, “Go on downstairs. I’ve got the upstairs covered.”
Jackal saw the three Porter brothers running up the steps. He expected them to line up beside Cash, but they didn’t.
Dustin stopped on the last step, the step down was Greer, and the next step down was Tate. Dustin and Greer braced their shotguns on their shoulders. All three were aiming at the door. Rider stood by the door with a pistol in his hands.
Jackal ran into the living room. He was going to take the spot behind the pool table, but Train and Razer were both there with AKs. Therefore, he hastily took a spot behind the bar where Drake, Hennessy, and Cruz were.
Viper came out of the swinging door from the kitchen. “As soon as we open the door, Knox and Stud’s men will block them in the parking lot so they can’t escape. Both basement doors are locked down. The Predators have the kitchen.” He took a quick glance around the room. “Rider, open the door and let the sons of bitches in.”