I can hear the men screaming from down the street and the bullets firing as my blood heats. Three blocks at most.
A sick smirk begs to pull at my lips. I should have known Talvery would respond recklessly. Sending what’s left of his men to their funerals.
The voices ring clear from Eli’s earpiece:
Shots fired on Main Street.
Four men on Abbey Road.
Two cars coming up Dorset.
“Block off Fourth Street; make them come in on foot and don’t hold back fire.” I give Eli the command and he repeats what I said word for word.
The guns sound off like fireworks and Addison’s hard paces carry through the hall. She’s soon pounding on Aria’s door.
Taking the stairs two by two, I grip the railing and get to her as quickly as I can. My lungs heave as I get to her door. “Stay in there and lock the door. Don’t open it for anyone but Eli.” All the words stumble out in a single breath and she looks at me for a moment, breathless and hesitant before nodding.
My heart pounds so hard, harder than it has in a long time. It takes me a moment to realize it’s due to fear. The very real fear of losing Aria.
“I won’t let anything happen to either of you,” I say and stare into Addison’s eyes and wish they were Aria’s. She’s just behind the door and I’m drawn to her. My body aches knowing she’s so close, but I refuse to go in there.
If I do, I don’t know how I’ll leave her.
“Stay in her room.” I barely get the command out, but Addison hears me. For a moment, I wonder if Aria heard me from behind the door. My songbird. The spiked ball grows in my throat as Addison opens the door before retreating behind it. She didn’t say a word to me.
Not a single word.
Every muscle in my body is tight and at odds with what I need to do.
The muted sounds of a man screaming, and the continued gunfire is accompanied by Eli yelling out demands on the floor below us.
I try to calm myself and summon the ruthless side of me that will end this as quickly as it started.
The bullets ring out clearly. Automatic weapons that tear through the brick of houses and metal cars. Windows shatter and men yell out.
So, I move.
Quickly and with determination down the stairs.
My stomach clenches and it’s the first time I can remember where so much was at stake. Where my thoughts are torn between tactics and emotion.
Between fighting to steal the woman I love and running as fast as I can.
“Bring up all the cars and block off every street,” I command Eli while bringing out my phone to text Daniel and tell him where Addison is. The last I heard from him, he was trying to get in touch with Marcus and find out anything he can about the fucker he killed back in Iron Heart.
My heart pounds, and my muscles coil as I listen closely to every word that comes in from the earpiece as I switch to the surveillance screens and watch everything unfold.
I need to move. Standing here is fucking killing me but I have to remind myself that this is war and decoys are common. I won’t be fooled like Talvery was.
Three streets on two sides are under attack, two on top of each other to the east and one furthest to the west of this house.
“They hit three streets at once.”
“Do we have a count on how many men are firing?” I need numbers. Talvery can’t have more than fifty men left.
Eli’s earpiece buzzes and it takes everything in me not to rip it out and take it for myself. “It looks to be about thirty.”
“They may be distractions, hitting the two sides and leaving the south side untouched. Don’t move the men on the south side.”
“Yes, sir,” Eli answers, speaking into the device.
“Count of our men,” Eli barks out the order before relaying what I said. I have fifty men to his thirty. Fifty well-armed and guarded but spread out.
Two men down.
One man down.
I stare at my phone, waiting for Daniel to reply, but I get nothing. Where the fuck is he?
“Three total, Boss,” Eli’s voice is tight as I grip the phone tighter and scream internally for him to tell me where the fuck he is. The cords in his throat tense as he rips the Velcro of his holster, moving it to the side and checking his ammo.
Three men dead.
Three more men dead.
“Kill them all,” I grit out, feeling the rage turn incandescent. My head feels light as I take in a deep breath.
“You and Cason stay with the women,” I give the command while my phone pings and Jase tells me he’s close and coming up the south side and he already told the guards there.