The lights come on and Maddie and Clayton discover that Ramon is there with his goon. They have Gabe prisoner. Ramon not only threatens to kill them, he threatens to rape Maddie while the boys are forced to watch. She goes nuts and yells that he’s probably really gay and having a fling with his henchman. To her surprise, it seems she’s right.
Ramon’s gun left Gabe’s head once more, trained on hers instead.
“Madison, now would be the time to shut up,” Clayton warned.
“Like hell! He fires that gun, we’re overrun by the cops. They’re still out there,” she jerked her thumb at the windows. “I saw them when I was fixing the breaker. Shoot me, you’re trapped here. One way out—the kitchen door. Which will be full of cops before the smoke clears.”
“There’s another way,” Ramon sneered. “That door—”
“You mean this one?” Officer White Star spoke from the door at the back of the room.
Ramon spun around, snapping off a shot that missed entirely. Chips of concrete flew in every direction. A splinter hit his goon-friend. He dropped his gun, clutching his cheek, howling. Clayton snatched up the weapon, chambered a round and held it on the goon. Blood gushed from a wound near his eye.
Maddie ran to Gabe, pulling the duct tape from his chest, arms and legs. He slumped forward. She supported him.
“Don’t move him yet,” White Star cautioned. “Let’s get some help down here.” Using his radio, White Star called the ambulance.
Moments later, uniformed attendants gathered around Gabe. They put him on a backboard and carried him upstairs with the help of Daniel and Clayton. White Star and his fellow officers cuffed Ramon and his buddy. Once they were contained in the back of the cruisers, White Star turned to Maddie.
“That was very brave and very foolish, baiting him like that.”
“I know. I had to believe Daniel would come get you. We made a lot of noise and I figured he heard Ramon yell, or me scream. I really did see you outside. Thanks for coming back.”
“He wasn’t at his head quarters, but his buddies were. We made a sweep, landed some sweet collars, but no Ramon. So I got thinking, If I were an egotistical psychopath, where would I hide?”
“In plain sight,” Clayton finished.
“Exactly, I need to get this cabrón to jail. I may even have earned a promotion.”
Maddie kissed his cheek. “Thank you. You deserve it.”
“If you ever want a job as a cop, we’d hire you in a heartbeat. You too, kid. You got cajones grandes.” Laughing, he got in his cruiser and drove off.
“Cajones grandes,” Maddie teased.
“You wanna see? I’ll show you.” He yanked at his belt and undid his zipper, laughing at her.
Instead of running. Maddie swaggered closer, calling his bluff. “As tasty a treat as that would be, I’d rather not be on a church retreat at a Sunday school my first time.” She brushed her lips across his, holding her body away. “Make me that same invitation somewhere else,” she whispered. “And you’ll get a better answer.”
“God, Maddie. You don’t play fair.”
“Nope.” With a swish and a giggle, she walked back to the kitchen.
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