“Get out! Get out of the clubhouse!”
Jackal opened Stump’s door, seeing him in bed with Rave. They were already moving.
Jackal then ran down the hallway, slamming open doors and making sure the men and women were getting out. In the last room, Isla was trying to heave Buzzard out of bed.
“Get out! I’ll get him.” Jackal went to the bed, lifting Buzzard to his feet. “Brother, you picked the wrong time to get drunk off your ass.”
“It was the brownies. I ate most of the them.”
Ice ran to help them. They were going out the door when the explosion hit the club.
“Son of a bitch, run!” Ice roared.
The explosion sent a ball of fire chasing them, knocking them to the concrete. Jackal grabbed Buzzard’s arm, lifting him and half-dragging him across the pavement to the end of the parking lot.
Fade and Griffen were trying to pull the bikes back, but they gave up when another explosion shook the clubhouse. Consequently, the brothers simply stood back, watching their clubhouse disintegrate until the police and the two firetrucks’ sirens had them moving farther away.
Ice stonily stared at the fire that was destroying the clubhouse. “If Lucky hadn’t called, we would all be dead.”
Jackal hated himself at that moment. He had failed as an enforcer. If Lucky hadn’t given them the warning, each of them would be dead, burnt to the point that even their families wouldn’t have been able to identify them.
“Who did it?” Jackal already knew, but he wanted it confirmed before he set his wrath on the one deserving his vengeance.
“Raul, Fat’s Louise’s ex-brother-in-law. He escaped from the Mexican prison. They didn’t even know he was missing until this morning. Lucky was with the team that was extraditing Raul to the United States. He didn’t have time to warn Hennessy before the bomb he planted killed three of his men. If Lucky hadn’t called us, we would have been hit, too.”
Jackal wondered which of the hanger-on’s in the club last night had planted the bomb. Raul would be long gone, hiding out with someone who could protect him.
“I’m going to kill the bastard,” Jackal vowed.
Cars were lined up on the street to watch the fire. One car braked, and then Grace was running toward Ice, throwing herself into his arms.
“Oh, God! Are you okay?”
Ice pulled her close. “I’m fine. I told you I was okay when I called.”
Grace burst into tears. “I’ve never been so afraid in my whole life. I couldn’t bear to lose you and my mother—”
“I’m here, Grace. The bastard didn’t come close to taking us out,” Ice lied to keep Grace from knowing how close she had been to losing her husband.
Jackal recognized the car double-parking beside Grace’s. Penni’s terrified face had his stomach churning, but he braced himself for what he had to do.
When she threw herself into his arms, Jackal kept them to his sides, stepping back.
Her startled face stared back at him. “Are you okay? What happened? Why didn’t you call me? Grace called—”
“I’m not leaving … Are you hurt?”
“No, I don’t have a mark on me.” Jackal ignored the burning pain on his back where the fire had scorched his T-shirt. The injury he felt from when he had dragged Buzzard across the pavement was hidden where she couldn’t see.
“Thank God you aren’t hurt.”
“It wasn’t God who saved us; it was Lucky.”
“Lucky? How did he save you? Is he here?” Penni looked at the faces in the crowd.
“No, he called Ice, warning us to get out. If hadn’t, we would be dead. I failed the club.” Self-loathing filled him, hurting him more than the blisters on his back.
“You blame yourself for this?”
“Who else is here to blame but me? I should have known the cartel wasn’t going to allow their men to be killed without repercussions.”
“Go, Penni.” Jackal reached into his pocket, taking out his keychain and sliding off the key for Penni’s condo, trying to give it to her.
She shook her head, tears brimming her eyes. “I don’t understand—”
“You were right; I’m never going to walk away from the Predators. If I hadn’t had my mind on fucking you, this wouldn’t have happened.”
“You’re blaming me?” Penni whispered.
“Aren’t you listening to me!” Jackal yelled. “I’m blaming myself. I didn’t do my job, and because of me, these men almost died!”
Penni took a step back at the anger he didn’t try to hide.
“Get out of here! I don’t want to see your face again.” Jackal shoved her key in her hand. “Go.”
Jackal would never forget how she looked when she turned to flee from his harsh words.
Grace caught her, going with her while giving him dirty looks as she helped Penni into her car.
“Brother, this is not your fault. Go after her before it’s too late,” Ice said, breaking through the agonizing pain of having his soul ripped out of him.