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By´╝ÜCandace Blevins

“I’m not happy with her, either, but I trust your judgment and it seems to have worked. You sure she’ll be loyal, if we hire her in the future?”

I’d never lied to Duke, and wasn’t about to start now. “No, and I’m not sure you should blindly trust my judgment, either. My wolf wants her, Brother. I’ve tried to convince him she’s the enemy, but he doesn’t see it. I convinced her I’d hurt her if it came to it, and you know I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my brothers safe, but… damn, Duke. She’s as smart as me, she speaks my language, and she gave me a run for my money for nine damned days. Literally. She was in my sights, running on foot, and still got away from me, twice.”

Duke sighed over the phone, was quiet a minute, and said, “Well, fuck. First girl you’ve taken an interest in, and she’s the enemy? Do I need to send someone else to take over?”

“No, she’ll outsmart anyone else and get away. She’s damned smart. I have to stay on my toes to keep ahead of her, even with her tied the fuck up. I fully expect her to be loose and on the run when I get back to the cabin, because Bash has no idea she’s ten times smarter than him. I’m good with it, though, because we’re miles from civilization and she doesn’t know to hide her scent trail from us.”

It was time to ask permission to out them as the RTMC, which wasn’t really outing them, since she’d guessed. “She figured out I’m Brain, and with the RTMC. I’ve avoided confirming or denying, but it’s kind of silly at this point. I’d like to go ahead and tell her she’s got it right, and explain why Bash is pissed at her.”

“You just told me I can’t trust your judgment when it comes to her.”

“You can trust me to tell you what she knows, what she’s likely to do next, how she’s planning to escape, but not whether to trust her. My wolf wants to see the best in her, and I’m starting to, as well.”

“Her motivation was money?”

“Yeah. I’ve been through her laptop, her notes about them, her research — nothing points to her having a personal relationship with any of them. They’re a paycheck, and she was wary of them. They think she’s a boy, and the way she worded her correspondence with them seems to have been carefully planned to keep up the ruse.”

“Okay. Tell her who you are, but Bash gets to decide if she knows his name. I don’t want her at the compound. Are you okay keeping her at your house, or do you want to stay where you are? If you’re close, we can rotate Bash and Dawg — since our boy has to stay out of sight, he can make himself useful helping you.”

“I don’t want Dawg near her. Besides, she doesn’t need to know he’s okay, either. She needs to think he’s injured and needing round-the-clock private care since we couldn’t let him go to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds without getting LEO involved.”

Duke chuckled, but said, “Okay, good point, but we’ll need to rotate someone in. Bash’ll go crazy if he’s stuck with the two of you for six weeks.”

“Yeah, I can set my basement up, though I’ll need to move all my electronic equipment upstairs. I don’t want her to have access to the internet until we’re done with her.”

Duke’s exhalation sounded like he was relieved. “Thank goodness. You’re still thinking with your brain, not your cock. When do you plan to bring her?”

“Don’t know. Can you make sure the arrangements are in place for Christine’s snow-skiing accident and plastic surgery? I’m debating on whether to let Destiny’s eye be part of her new identity, and say it’s a result of the trauma from the accident, or keep it covered. I should probably get her input on it, before we decide for sure.”

“I’ll handle things on my end. Let me know when you plan to head back. I want to talk to her, get a feel for who she is.”

* * * *

Ice was curled in a ball on the sofa when I returned, and Bash was sitting across the room, staring at her as if he wanted to break her neck, tear her head off, and fuck the hole.

My wolf wanted to throw Bash out of the cabin, and Bash looked up in surprise when he felt my anger across the room.

“What the fuck?” Bash asked, his hands curling into a fist.

I shook my head, not ready to explain to Bash how hard I’d fallen for our prisoner, and how badly my wolf wanted to hurt anyone who threatened her. Instead, I told him, “Duke approved me telling her who I am, since she’s already guessed. Said you could decide whether to introduce yourself or not.”