Food Truck Hero ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes Part 17

“Let the girls go. They’re terrified. Dude, I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand a crying woman. Your men can walk them downstairs. You, the men, and me can stay here, wait for your guys to get back. What do you say?”

He looked at each woman. When his gaze moved do Rowena, she let out a shuddering sob and her lips trembled. It was bothering me, it looked like it was killing him, and the other two.

“Dude,” I said softly, giving him a come on gesture.

“Get the women, and take them down.”

“We don’t want them shot. Why don’t you let the pretty blonde call down, and tell Monroe you’re coming?”

Ray shrugged, indicating that Rowena could use the phone. She made the call and she and the others lined up to make the trek below. I could see the men in the room sigh with relief. They didn’t want to be here either, but they were all men over thirty. Married or single, the sight of a bunch of women in tears, was more than any of them wanted, either. It brought home how helpless they were to do anything. I hoped my buddies were out of sight.

The women, led by Rowena, straggled out with the other two criminals watching them. I could only hope they’d get downstairs, and outside safely. Now, we waited for my friends to make a move.

“Mind if I have a seat? I’ve been on my feet all day.” Not a lie. “We could all have a seat, wait for your friends to come back.”

I was glad he hadn’t made a move toward the windows. I had a feeling his friends were getting their dirtbag asses arrested. We sat. The minutes ticked past, and I could see Ray looking antsy. It shouldn’t have taken them this long to get down and back. He rose abruptly, heading toward the door.

“Hey!” I said sharply.

Suddenly, I was looking at the business end of his gun. Trembling hand, sweating palm, itchy finger.

“We can’t have a conversation if you’re at the door,” I said loudly, praying Jake would hear me.

On cue, as if we’d planned it, my friend popped through the door, followed by our improvised S.W.A.T. team. A bunch of real, bad ass, soldiers with weapons, is a hell of a thing to face. My hands went up, as did those of the other hostages. Jake moved in to disarm the criminal aspect, and I nearly wet myself.

“The girls?” I asked when I found my voice.

“Safe and sound downstairs,” the Marine said with a grin. “Keir, dude, f**king balls of steel, man! What made you do a dumb f**k thing like this?”

“Bastard hit Rowena,” I growled, wanting to put my fist in the other man’s face. In fact, not a bad idea. “Hitting girls,” I snarled. “Little Lucy, who’s just a kid. Smacking my woman! I don’t know what your problem is, buddy. I don’t care.” I socked the shit out of Ray. It hurt my hand, because my knuckles connected with his cheekbone, but damn if it didn’t feel great!

He staggered back, moaning about police brutality. We all laughed.

“He’s not a cop, asshole,” Jake told him, perp walking Ray to the elevator, which was working again.

Turned out that one of the Army guys was a computer technician, and he bypassed the lock that the criminals had put on it. We all rode down together.

“They do know we’re coming out?”

“Rowena will tell them,” Jake said. He handed the perp to me as we neared the doors. “You and the hostages take him out. If anyone asks, you three overpowered him, and took him down, once the women were gone.” He and the others disappeared out the back.

Grabbing the criminal by the arm, I yanked him toward the doors. The former hostages and I walked him out, meeting a brace of heavy weapons.

“Stand down,” Monroe called over a bullhorn. “That’s our hostages.”

The criminal was summarily disposed of, and taken to the nearest cruiser as his rights were read to him. Rowena burst from the crowd, running up to me, throwing her arms around my neck. She mauled me a while, in a most delicious fashion, before Captain Monroe stomped up.

“What the hell did you think you were doing?”

Your job, ma’am.”

Stunned, she stood with her mouth open. “You’re in a lot of trouble, mister.”

“He’s a hero,” Lucy said, coming up to the cop.

Monroe is a tall woman, Lucy hardly came up to her ample chest. Standing toe to toe with the police captain, Lucy gave her a piece of her mind. I’ll give it to the kid, she’s small, but plucky. And she has a vocabulary that could peel paint. When she got done, the other hostages came up to give their two cents. Monroe was skewered, stuck in the middle of an angry mob.

“Cut the captain some slack,” I said. “It’s not her fault she had to follow procedure, even if that procedure isn’t worth a crap.” Walking off with my arm around Rowena, I led my friends over to the food truck. “Who’s hungry?” I asked. “I’ve still got chili.”

Shocked by my audacity, Monroe watched us. I opened the truck and started heating up chili by the bowl in the double microwaves on the wall. I passed out chili, made a couple carafes of coffee and handed out other treats to the hostages and police. My military pals had mysteriously materialized, worming their way into the crowd. Jake, eyes shining, joined me in the truck. I wasn’t asking payment, but the tip jar was crammed with bills. I’ve never seen it so full.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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