Home > Last Mile (Vicious Cycle #3)(11)

Last Mile (Vicious Cycle #3)(11)
Katie Ashley

“Lucky me,” I muttered.

As I listened to Peterson discuss the reading material and video the bureau expected us to submerge ourselves in, I took a few moments to get my head together. There was little I feared in this world—years of law enforcement training had toughened and hardened me. But bikers were my equivalent of a childhood bogeyman and an adult Grim Reaper.

Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how much my life was about to change because of a biker named Bishop Malloy.

THREE

SAMANTHA

Just as I was adding an extra coat of eyeliner, the doorbell rang, causing me to jump and send a squiggly black line up my temple. “Fuck,” I muttered before grabbing a tissue and rubbing off the liner. To say that I was slightly on edge tonight about my first meeting with the Raiders would have been a mild understatement. It pissed me off that I was letting them have an effect on me. After all, I’d taken down criminals who on paper were a hell of a lot more intimidating than a bunch of small-town bikers. But tonight it all really boiled down to the merging of my past and present.

Leaning out of the bathroom, I called, “It’s open.”

The beep of the security system went off as Gavin opened the door and stepped inside. “I know you’ve moved up to the East Side and all with a house in this posh neighborhood, but you still need to lock your door, for fuck’s sake.”

I grunted and stepped back in the bathroom. “I knew you were coming, dickhead.”

He chuckled as he walked down the length of the hallway to meet me at the half bath. When I looked at his reflection in the mirror, he was doing a sweep of my attire—the practically painted-on black jeans, the skintight black top, and the knee-length leather boots. When he met my eye in the mirror, he winked at me. “Looking good, Vargas.”

“So you won’t be ashamed to call me your old lady?”

He waggled a finger at me. “Wrong terminology. Hang-arounds don’t have old ladies—only full-patched members.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I muttered.

Gavin tsked at me. “Do I need to tell Peterson you’re not doing your homework?”

“I’ve done my homework, asshole,” I snapped, brushing past him out into the hallway. Normally, his ribbing wouldn’t have gotten to me, but tonight was a different story altogether.

I didn’t get too far before Gavin pulled me to him. “You wanna talk about it?”

“About what?”

“Whatever it is about this case that has you spooked.”

A shiver went down my spine at his words, but I quickly recovered. “There is nothing about a bunch of beer-guzzling lowlifes that has me spooked.” I wiggled out of his arms and once again started down the hall.

Just as I reached to grab my purse, his next words froze me from head to toe. “So a man named Willie Bates means nothing to you.”

My eyes pinched shut as my chest heaved. There is no adequate way to describe the emotional shit storm that hits you when your past and present collide. I didn’t even hear Gavin walk down the hall, but then suddenly he was at my side. “What do you know?” I questioned in a whisper so low my voice was barely audible.

“Everything.” When I dared to look at him over my shoulder, he gave me a sad smile. “I’d never seen you react the way that you did when Peterson gave us this case, so I did a little digging.”

“Does Peterson know?”

“No. Only me. And it’s going to stay that way.”

Although my heart swelled with the surge of love I had for Gavin and his loyalty, I still exhaled in defeat as I leaned back against the front door. “From what you’ve discovered, you should request that I be taken off the case.” When Gavin started to shake his head, I held my hand up to silence whatever argument he had prepared. “I’m a deficit, and you can’t afford a deficit out in the field.”

He reached out to cup my face. “You could never be a deficit, Vargas. You’re the only one I would ever want to work with. I know that no matter what happened to you when you were eight years old, when it comes down to it, you’ll have your game face on and your shit together.”

Although I hated myself for them, tears stung my eyes. “You really mean that?”

“Yeah, I do.”

I swiped away some of my mascara-blackened tears. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.”

“I can understand why you didn’t. That was some horrible shit done to your father and in turn to you. It’s nobody’s business, really.”

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