“Make a move and you’re toast. You’re going to develop a bad case of nausea and I’m going to take you to the bathroom. Move it.”
Jason pretended to gag, putting his right hand over his mouth. As he lurched forward, he grabbed the gun in his side, yanking it toward him as he jerked it around, disarming the waiter. His right elbow struck sharply on the back of the man’s head, knocking him out. As the waiter slumped over the table, Orchid got to the end of the runway.
With a disarming smile, she pulled a gun from the folds of her gown and fired, not at Jason, but at Taylor. Having anticipated something like that, Jason flung himself in front of Taylor, taking the brunt of the bullet. His momentum and the impact, propelled them several feet before landing on the floor.
Taylor struggled under his weight. The room erupted in pandemonium. Greg and Eva jumped onto the catwalk, pursuing Orchid as she ran backstage. The security officers, led by Tim, raced to cut her off before she could get away.
Screaming hysterically, she ran first one way, then the other, managing to avoid capture. Wealthy patrons rushed wildly in every direction, making it hard to draw a bead on Orchid without hitting one of them.
Taylor extracted herself from Jason’s unconscious body, leaving that worry for another time. Cathleen and Linore checked him while June followed Taylor. Flanking Orchid, they joined the chase, shoving people out of their way as they pursued her, guns drawn, on her ever narrowing flight for freedom.
Finally cornered, Orchid stopped running. Taylor moved in cautiously to cuff her, first moving to disarm her. She was inches away when Orchid grabbed her, pulling her close as a hostage shield.
“Drop your weapons or I’ll shoot her.”
“Don’t do it,” Taylor ordered. “Take her out!”
The gun pressed into her side, then moved to her neck, pressing hard against the carotid artery. Taylor could feel her pulse thumping against the muzzle as Orchid pressed it harder.
“I said drop them!”
“Don’t listen to her!”
Jason’s voice rose clearly from his position on the floor. Orchid’s finger tightened on the trigger.
“Orchid, if you kill her, you’ve got nothing. You won’t make it out of here alive.”
“Then I guess I’d better take your girlfriend with me. Don’t think I can’t tell. You can’t take your eyes off her! What’s so special about her?”
“For one thing, she’s not a murderous psychopathic whore. You hurt her and I’ll shoot you myself.”
Orchid’s grip shifted on the butt of the gun. Jason was afraid to shoot. If her finger jerked even the slightest, Taylor was dead. He twirled his weapon on his finger, holding it away from his body. Tim, who was nearest, took it from him.
“Don’t do it, Jason,” he cautioned.
“Take me,” Jason demanded.
Orchid’s eyes flashed dangerously. Her upper lip twitched in a snarl. “Really. You’d give yourself up for this piece of white trash?”
Jason bit back any comments he might have. He could see Taylor stiffen and saw the defiance in her eyes. It was a risky play, but he wanted to get Orchid out of the building where there were no innocent people. He also couldn’t stand to see Taylor in her grasp. He knew the FBI agent was fully capable of taking the raging psychotic down, but he felt compelled to handle this himself.
Taylor sensed this was important to Jason. As much as she wanted to take the crazy woman out, he needed this opportunity. Inclining her chin to the team, she glanced at Jason.
Twitching his cuffs in place, Jason lightly brushed the place where they had implanted his chip. Nodding slightly at Taylor, he advanced on Orchid. Her weapon trained on him. Her hold on Taylor slackened slightly. Taylor’s fingers flickered at the team.
“You’re not serious.” It was Remington’s voice over their secure channel.
“If we get her outside, the sniper can pick her off,” Bitsy muttered.
“And if she gets away?”
“She won’t,” Greg assured him. “Jason’s chipped.”
“And if she kills him and takes off? Did anyone consider that?”
There was silence as a reply.
“I forbid this. Exchange yourself if you want, but make damn sure we can take her down outside.”
“Civilians?” Bitsy asked.
“I have men on crowd control. Take her out the back,” he ordered Jason.
Jason didn’t acknowledge Remington’s order. He continued moving toward Orchid with a show of confidence that he didn’t feel. Taylor slipped away, rushing to Tim’s side. He put her behind him with the hand not holding the gun. She slipped Jason’s weapon from his waistband.
“Well, honey, it looks like I win,” Orchid said with a smile. Her lips descended on Jason’s. “Welcome back, baby.” She kissed him, using his body to shield hers.
Jason couldn’t help himself. His arms circled her and his body reacted to her closeness. Her cologne wrapped him in a mesmerizing cloud. He had a moment of revelation. This was how she’d drugged him. He sensed the danger, but couldn’t control himself.
“Let’s go, baby,” she whispered.
© Dellani Oakes
To Purchase Dellani’s Books:
Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm