Shattered (Broken Trilogy Book 2) (3 page)

BOOK: Shattered (Broken Trilogy Book 2)
12.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Mills slides between two rocks and into a small hole which offers a panoramic view of where Cole had been held captive. He removes a small box of rations, water, a blanket, and his duffel bag.

Eying up Mill's duffel, Cole looks at him. “How long have you been here, Mills?”

“A week, sir. We got word someone was being held down there, so Frank had us watching the house. Hahn and I thought it was you, but given the video, we figured it must be someone else. We didn’t say anything. We had to be sure it was you before we could report to Eagle Eye One.” Mills cocks his machine gun, getting ready to fire. “The day they took you outside without your shirt, we were able to confirm it was you.” Mills nods to Cole’s tattoo. “Your ink was a dead giveaway.” He hands Cole another gun, then motions to head back out into the open.

The chopper is just landing as they come to the clearing. Mills moves over the edge and signals the Cartels are close. Cole nods to the chopper when Mills is suddenly flung backward from the force of two bullets to the side of his torso. Cole leaps forward, grabbing Mills by his arms and pulling him back toward the chopper as it lands. Mark suddenly appears at his side.

“We have to go!” Mark shouts, clutching Mill's other arm and helping Cole pull him inside the chopper.

“We need to pick up the other scout!” Cole yells as they signal the chopper to leave.

“It’s too risky!”

“The other scout!” Cole commands, catching a glimpse of his father. They exchange a look.

“The other scout,” Daniel calls out to the pilot. He gives Cole a tight smile, then drops his gaze to Cole's bloody midsection. “You all right, son?”

“Yeah.” Cole reaches out and grabs his father’s shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. The pilot radios to Frank and gets Hahn’s coordinates. In minutes they are landing to pick up Hahn. He hops in and immediately leans over Mills, who is holding his hand over one of the wounds. He looks at Keith and gives him a slight nod, thanking him for looking after his partner till he got there.

“Hit it!” Cole’s voice rings through the chopper and makes everyone jump to positions. Immediately three small bombs hit the house where Cole had been held.

Cole leans back into the seat, finally letting the pain sink in. Mark crawls over and has a look at Cole's cut.

“This is a bad one, Cole.” He sees Mark glance at his father. He nods, knowing he’ll need staples and some seriously strong antibiotics. His eyelids feel heavy and he slowly drifts off.

Cole barely remembers being lifted out of the chopper. He has only a vague recall of the doctor telling him what needed to be done and of getting the staples across his torso. He was told he had a cracked skull and therefore a concussion. He welcomed sleep when it came, bringing with it dreams of holding Savannah.

I kept my promise, baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

Cole swings his feet so they dangle over the edge of the bed and attempts to get up. He's been in this private hospital room in North Dakota for two days, and it’s been long enough. His torso still burns like hell and his head feels like someone is in there enjoying themselves by smashing his skull relentlessly with a sledgehammer, but he knows he needs to get up and get moving.

“Whoa...!” The spunky little redheaded nurse holds up her hands, coming into the room. “Where do you think you’re going, big boy?” He’s known Molly for a few years now; this is where the guys come if they need medical attention when they’re injured. They have to get clearance to go back to the house. She may be a sweet woman, but she has a will of iron, so he knows he has to tread lightly.

“I need to go, Molly. I've been here long enough and I feel a lot better.” He reaches for his shirt, slipping it over his head with a grunt.

Her hands go to her hips. “I haven’t cleared you yet.”

“So clear me.”

“Cole, you know I can’t do that. We’re still worried about your head.”

“Head’s fine.”

“Cole,” she scolds him.

Frustrated, Cole argues. “Molly, you can either clear me or make my day shitty by having me fill out more paperwork than I already have, but either way I’m leaving.”

She sighs and studies him then smiles tightly. “Give me ten minutes.”

The door swings open and Cole’s father walks in holding two coffees.

“Maybe you can convince him to stay,” Molly grumbles as she leaves the room.

Cole shakes his head. “Don’t even start, Dad. I need to get home.”

Daniel hands Cole his coffee and sits in a chair watching him struggle to pull on his pants. “I agree we should get you home.”

Something in his voice causes Cole to stop his attempt to button his fly, and he looks at his father. “What happened? Is Savannah all right? Is she hurt?”

Daniel takes a deep breath and runs his finger along the rim of his cup before turning back with a tired look. “We thought she was asleep in her room, but she came down when we were looking at the tape.”

“Fuck.” Cole rubs his aching head as he slowly sits down, letting that piece of knowledge sink in along with the memory of the poor guy who was unlucky enough to be his double in the video.

“Yeah, it was, ahhhh…” Daniel clears his throat. “A lot has happened since you’ve been gone. If you’re feeling well enough, I think we should get you back. Damage control is going to take some time. She has been through a terrible shock.”

Cole sighs then winces from the pain. “Does she know I’m all right?”

“We thought it was best not to say anything until we physically got you home. We didn't want to add any more ups and downs to the emotional rollercoaster she’s already on.”

“I feel like you’re not telling me everything, Dad. You’ve never lied to me before, so please don’t start now.”

Daniel leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees. “No, son, I’m not lying. There are just some things that aren’t my place to discuss with you.”

Cole watches his father for a moment, seeing something like pain flash over his face. It doesn’t take much to figure out that something is up, and it isn't good. It has his stomach in a knot. “Just tell me, is she all right?”

“Yes, she’s all right,” his father says, standing up, “but there are so many questions that need answers, Cole. First we need to get you out of here. While we’re waiting for Molly to get your clearance, you need to call your mother.” He hands a cell phone to Cole.

“Yeah,” Cole takes the phone, “of course.”

“I’ll be right outside.”

Cole dials and tries to think about what to say.

“Daniel?” His mother’s worried voice rings through the phone.

Tears threaten Cole’s eyes as he takes in a deep breath and speaks. “Mom?” There is the longest pause, then a quiet sob on the other end.

“Oh, honey,” she manages to get out.

“I’m okay, Mom, truly. A few bangs and scrapes, but all things considered, I’m fine. Dad is here with me and we’re heading out shortly. We should be home by late tonight.”

“All right, son, I…” Her voice shakes.

“Mom, please don’t tell Savi that I’m coming. Dad’s right to keep it quiet…just until I make it back. Some things happened while I was gone and—”

“Of course, honey, I agree. She has been through so much…” She starts crying again. “Get Dad to call me later to give me a better idea of your arrival time. I love you, Cole, so very much.”

“I love you too, Mom. I’ll see you soon.” He wants to talk to Savannah, to tell her he’s alive and okay, but something tells him that he should have her in his arms first, just in case. He feels torn, but with the way his parents are acting, he knows things aren't right.

“Well, you look like shit.” Mark grins, bursting into the room in typical Mark style.
God, he missed him.
“You ready to go, or are you going to fake your injury some more? Molly’s a hot little number, hey?”

“Really?” Cole rolls his eyes while Mark tosses him a piece of gum. He doesn’t think before popping it in his mouth until his tongue is invaded with a nasty taste. “Oh shit!”

“What?” Mark shrugs, looking positively delighted that he got Cole to eat it. “It’s called Cool Cola.” Cole makes a face and spits it into the trash. “You now owe me two pieces of Hubba Bubba, dude.”

“Yech.” He reaches for his water, swirling it around his mouth trying to relieve his taste buds.

Mark laughs. “Come on, the chopper is waiting. It will take us to the mountains, then we'll drive the rest of the way. Changing it up, just in case.”

“Good plan.”

 

***

 

Savannah

 

I notice Sue’s mood has changed from this morning. She has actually eaten a whole meal, seems to be interacting with people, and her usual demeanor of looking like she’s off in space is replaced by someone more like she used to be.
Lucky her.
I, on the other hand, feel like an empty shell. I try hard to act somewhat normal just so people will stop hovering over me. I feel like I did when I first arrived at the house—completely out of place, full of pain and not sure where I belong. I pick up my untouched plate and place it on the counter. I can feel Abigail and June watching me. I turn toward the hallway and make my way to the front door, shrugging into my coat and boots and heading outside.

It’s lightly snowing and everything is silent. As expected, the front door opens and closes and I hear footsteps behind me.

Please, go away.

“I just need a minute, Derek,”

I’m so tired.

“First, don’t ever refer to me as
that
selfish ass,” Mike says, approaching me. “And second, I just wanted to go for some fresh air too.” I roll my eyes, but I find his company welcome. Mike has been busy the last two days hiding away in Cole's—his office. Oh god, even thinking his name makes me shake and want to curse at the sky. I really am losing it.

“He’s not that bad, you know,” I whisper as we make our way through the fluffy snow.

“Who, Derek?”

“Yes.” I nod. “Derek has been friendly and respectful.”

“Well, that’s good,” Mike says with mild sarcasm. I let it go, too tired to take it on.

“Let’s go this way.” He points toward my favorite spot up in the mountains.

“Sure.” I follow mindlessly, my boots crunching in the snow. It used to be one of my favorite sounds, but now, not so much.

“I know it’s late, and it’s the last thing you ever want to talk about, but I’m sorry about your baby, Savi.”

I feel like I've just taken a punch to my stomach, but I manage to hold it together. “Thanks, Mike,” I whisper, truly knowing he’s a good friend. I let my mind wander as we reach the top and look over the beautiful landscape. I let out a long, shaky breath. “Our baby was the only little bit I had left of Cole.” I swallow around the lump in my throat. “It’s all my fault it didn’t live.” Mike’s arm wraps around my shoulder. “It was the only thing I had left, Mike.” I start to cry quietly as he holds me. He removes his arm, checking the time on his watch.

“No, it’s not,” he whispers.

I wiggle his arm off me. “I don’t want to hear about having faith and God does things for a reason. God does mean, cruel things sometimes—” I feel my anger rise and am about to take my hurt out on my friend when I hear an engine and see a pair of headlights coming our way. The guys must be back from their latest mission.

“Sorry, Savannah, you won’t get a speech from me. I don’t believe in God.” Mike smiles. “I believe in karma and the big bang.”

“Good,” I respond, but his growing grin is making me uneasy. The SUV pulls up and Mike starts walking toward it.

“Come on, Savi, let's greet the guys. I’m sure they’ve had a tough trip.”

“Yeah, just give me a minute.” I wipe my cold face free of tears. God, I am sick of crying! I stick my icy hands in my jacket pockets and try to get my head clear. The last thing the guys need to see is ‘fragile Savannah’ right now. I turn on my heel take a step forward and stop dead in my tracks.

What?

Cole is standing a few feet from me wearing a black jacket, a hat, and army pants. I shake my head in disbelief, reminding myself to breathe. It can’t be…

“Savannah,” he whispers, giving me a half smile. I look over at the guys, who are all grinning like fools. Cole starts toward me. I notice he has a small limp, I see his face, his unsure smile—it feels surreal. I can’t move.

“But I watched you die,” I whisper as he reaches out and cups my face. His hands feel so warm. “I’m dreaming.” I start to sob. “This is a fucking dream, this is cruel.” I start to panic, as I’ve experienced moments over the last few days where I could almost believe none of it had happened, only to realize with dread that it had.

“No, baby,” he leans in, “this is fucking real.” He smashes his lips to mine, making me feel him. I reach around his neck and deepen the kiss, just wanting to feel something, even if only for a moment. His thumb brushes away my tears as he slowly pulls back, and I see tears in his eyes as well. “Hi, baby.” My hands move through his hair, over his face, down to his shoulders. I let out a giddy laugh, but it gets caught in my throat. I shake my head, not sure what to say as the shock begins taper slightly, so I go with the obvious.

“Hi,” I say back. “How?”

He shakes his head, staring deep into my eyes as if
I’m
not real.

“Let’s get inside and I’ll tell you everything, okay?” He winces when he lowers his arms.

“Are you all right?” I step back, inspecting him. He is obviously in pain, but he looks intact.

“I am now.” He takes my hand, threading his fingers through mine. He raises them to his mouth, kissing our joined hands. Tears stream down my face as I take in that he’s actually standing right here in front of me. My Cole, my love, my reason for living is back.

We walk in silence, and the guys follow behind us. His hand continues to squeeze mine. I have no idea what to say or what to think, but I can feel my heart thawing just a little.

Sue flies out the door. I let go of his hand as she wraps her arms around her son. She is crying happy tears. Abigail and June do the same, all taking their turn to ensure he’s alive and well. I step back a few steps, feeling so confused. I bump into Daniel, who smiles down at me as he gives me a side hug.

“It’s just shock, honey. You’ll come around soon. Give yourself a moment to let it sink in.”

I turn away from everyone as I gather myself for like the eighth time today. Lord, what I wouldn’t do to have a handle on my emotions. I feel his hand find mine again, and I turn and see him looking down at me with a questioning expression.

“Don’t let go again, okay?” He gives me a tug toward him, kissing my forehead as he leads me into the house.

We all gather together in the living room to celebrate his return, everyone laughing and talking. I can’t seem to pull myself out of the shock and sadness that still has a firm hold on me. What’s wrong with me? I should be ecstatic, but instead I’m swimming with a hundred different emotions. I try to interact with everyone. Mark hands me his special Marcus Martini. I take it and thank him, but I just stare at it.

“Okay, honey, let's hear the story,” Sue says after everyone has quieted down. “I need to know, as I’m sure everyone else does.”

Cole nods then takes a long sip of his beloved brandy and squeezes my hand. “Let’s see, the last thing I can remember is keeping watch as the guys left the house. We needed to get out of there. Mark and Paul needed a medic. I must have been hit on the back of the head. I woke to someone taking an electric—” He stops himself and looks at me. “They roughed me up a bit, wanting to get the location of the house. They kept me handcuffed to a pipe in a small room, fed me just enough to hold on. This went on for a while until The American showed up. We had some words, and finally he got tired of me not answering his questions. The days kind of mesh together, but mostly they just pumped me for information. One night The American left the house, and that’s when the video was made by a man named Raul.”

BOOK: Shattered (Broken Trilogy Book 2)
12.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Crossings by Jack Ketchum
The Paper Princess by Marion Chesney
2006 - A Piano in The Pyrenees by Tony Hawks, Prefers to remain anonymous
T*Witches: The Witch Hunters by Reisfeld, Randi, Gilmour, H.B.
Deadly Descent by Kaylea Cross
Fearless (Pier 70 #2) by Nicole Edwards
Lucien by Elijana Kindel
Emily's Story by McClain, D'Elen