Bold Tricks(9)

By: Karina Halle

He gave me a weary smile. “I have steady hands.” Then he disappeared inside the car.

I slipped back in as well, my heart racing a mile a minute as I found the security of the back seat. That was a rush greater than a thousand cons. I’m not sure why I expected Javier to say something encouraging, but he just glared at me in the mirror and said, “Took you long enough.”

“You should thank your ass that she’s a good shot,” Camden said quickly. I guess from his perspective, Javier couldn’t really tell whose gun took down the helicopter and Camden was making it look like it was all my doing. I felt simultaneously touched and ashamed. He was trying to make me look better than I really was.

Javier grunted and kept Jose swerving in and out of the cars on the road.

“Now what?” I asked.

“There will be more helicopters where that came from,” Javier answered. “We’re going to have to avoid the highways now.”

“Can we switch cars?” Camden asked.

“No time,” Javier said, not looking at him. I watched his grip on the steering wheel, the pronounced ridge of his knuckles. He was gripping it hard – he was rattled to the bone over what had just happened. I wasn’t sure if that should make me feel better or not. “We’re not stopping until we have to.”

It was about three in the morning when we finally had to stop. Jose ran out of gas right outside the city limits of Apizaco, not too far from Mexico City. Luckily we were able to pull up to a small albeit rundown motel to shelter us until the nearest gas station opened in the morning.

“Are you sure it’s even open?” I asked Javier as we climbed out of the car, legs stiff and tired from the voyage. Taking the back roads and staying off the major highways meant it took us much longer than it should have, though I was appreciating the fact that we arrived close to our destination and still in one piece.

He jerked his head at the motel. “They’ll take our money.”

It was a row of rooms all facing a dirt parking lot. It reminded me a lot of Shady Acres, the motel where Camden and I had met Uncle Jim, just before he set me up and Javier shot him in the head. I tried to control the wave of anger and sorrow that was rollicking through me. I couldn’t keep dwelling on the past, things that would drown me if I let it. I couldn’t succumb to it now, not in this situation, not with the murderer right beside me.

Crickets filled the night air as Javier went toward the small house behind the motel, probably to go wake up whoever was in charge of the place. There were no other cars in the parking lot and from the look of the dilapidated grounds, they probably didn’t have much business. I suppose the fact that it was the middle of the night and Camden and I were dressed as if we were attending the Oscars wouldn’t faze them either.

I looked at Camden as Javier disappeared around the corner. “How’s your shoulder? Ready for those pills?”

He grimaced. “We’ll see.”

I took a step toward him, feeling entranced by his presence so close to me. This was the first instance we’d been alone all night, and after the escape from Travis’s and the consequent car chase, he was looking larger than life. His tuxedo tie had come undone, his white shirt unbuttoned a bit, just enough to show off his tats, which looked dark in the dim light.

“Can I see?” I asked, reaching for his jacket. I wasn’t a nurse by any means, but I still wanted to help. He’d gotten fucking shot trying to reach me.

He shrank back slightly, something I pretended didn’t hurt like hell, but in the end relented and let me help him get his jacket off. His shoulder was completely soaked through with blood.

“Jesus, Camden,” I couldn’t help but exclaim. “We need to get your bandages changed.”

I carefully pulled the rest of the jacket through his arms.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said.

“What do you mean, ‘don’t worry about it?’”

He gave me a leveling gaze. “It’s not your problem. It’s mine. I can take care of myself.”

“I know you can but—”

“Ellie, I think you need to stay with Javier tonight.”

My lungs felt like they were suddenly dumped full of glass.

“What?” I managed to get out.

He rubbed his lips with the back of his hand and brought his gaze over to the motel. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust that fucking bastard for a second.”

“And I do?” I asked incredulously.

He smirked, only for a second. “Well, it’s hard to say.”

“Camden, the minute he discovered the tracking device on my necklace—”

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