“Oh, yeah, I have no problem telling her my name is Bash and I got the nickname because I’m prone to bashing people’s skulls in,” he snarled. “Or telling her I’m so pissed at her because she got one of my brothers hurt, almost killed, by handing our secrets over to our fuckin’ enemies.”
Ice kept her head on her knees, didn’t look up, but I could smell the distress coming off her. She was terrified, and alone, with two bad guys.
I sighed and stepped to her, wishing I could hold her, take her into my arms to reassure her, but knew, even if Bash wasn’t here, it wasn’t an option.
I stooped beside her, waited for her to look up, and when she finally did, told her, “You were right. I’m Brain. Duke is making arrangements for Christine’s fake snow-skiing accident, and you and I will need to sit down and look through the data from the plastic surgeon, decide what look you want him to give you. We’ll leave here either tomorrow or the next day, and Bash and I need to discuss the best way to transport you. You haven’t used the bathroom in hours, do you need to go?”
She stared at me, unwilling to admit she needed to go. I shook my head, pulled the blanket off her, and was surprised to see the rope hadn’t been messed with.
“I told you this is about trust. I expected you to have removed at least some of the rope by the time I got back. Why didn’t you?”
She shrugged, and I didn’t push it. “Okay, it’s been a long day and you’ve done a lot of talking. You can be quiet a little while.” I lifted her, walked her to the bathroom, and stood her in front of the toilet.
She just stood and looked at me, and after a few seconds I said, “I’ll hold you while you sit. Don’t want you to fall.”
“I’m not peeing in front of you.”
“And since you left the rope alone on your legs, I’ll stand at the door with my back turned. It’s all about trust — you do things to earn it, we’ll reward you by trusting you.”
The more time I spent around her, the less I wanted to be her jailer, but no way was I letting Bash do this. My wolf wanted this woman. The man knew it could never happen, though. Not after I’d taken her captive.
Brain kept his back to me, and I peed, wiped, and stood, bracing a hand on the wall for balance.
“I’m done,” I told him, my voice soft and meek, which pissed me off, but I couldn’t help it. I wasn’t used to being bested, but Brain had done it.
I was beat, and there was no way around it.
He stood me in front of the sink so I could wash my hands, and when I finished I rotated sideways to face him, my voice harsh and rude now, but anything was better than soft and meek.
“If you’re going for some kind of messed up Stockholm Syndrome thing, go fuck yourself. I’m not falling for it. You’re an asshole, and I may be your prisoner, and will work with you enough to finish our deal, but it’s just about survival, and I’ll never forgive you.”
“I know, and I won’t apologize. You screwed us in ways you can’t imagine by stealing our data. It benefits us to turn you into a friend instead of killing you, so you’re alive.”
“Don’t expect me to thank you for keeping me prisoner.”
His eyes looked sad, though he grinned as he said, “So brave. Do you want to go back to the living room, or would you prefer the front porch? We have a great view of the valley and the other mountains.”
“And we’re secluded enough, you don’t have to worry about me screaming for help.”
He picked me up, carried me to the porch, and settled me on a rocking chair.
“Bash and I will need to figure out the best way to transport you away from here. Duke will want to talk to you once we return, and I need you to be honest with him, no matter what he asks.” Brain shook his head, looked out at the view a few moments, and then back to me. “You have no reason to trust me, but I have your best interests in mind, and I’m telling you it’s in your best interest to be brutally honest with Duke, whether you think the answer will piss him off or not.”
I considered him a few minutes, thought back to the sequence of events since he’d come into my hotel room. If Bash were in charge, things would’ve gone completely different, and at times it almost felt as if Brain were protecting me from the other biker.
“Where does Bash land in the hierarchy? I know Duke’s president, and you’re VP, and it seems the two of you are close. You’re one of only a few people who can write checks and act with legal authority on behalf of the club. Where does he fall?”