Read an Excerpt
Outlaw: Part 3
By Katana Collins
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Katana Collins
All rights reserved.
Michelle was shot. Shot. Patrick could barely wrap his head around the fact, despite the fact that she sat in the passenger seat, gushing blood from her arm. He gripped the wheel, feeling paralyzed as he whispered Hail Mary over and over again.
"Are you fucking praying right now?" she screamed, her voice shrill and her breaths coming out in short bursts, despite her chattering teeth.
He snapped his eyes open, met with her watering brown depths. His belly burst with happiness and frustration and anger at whoever was fucking shooting at Michelle. Despite the situation and the blood running down her arm, he smiled. Only Michelle would yell at him for praying over her bleeding body.
"Yeah, I'm praying. I think I fucking love you and you just got shot in the goddamn arm, so excuse me for asking God to save your annoying ass."
"Fine," she said. Though her face was pale and her lips were trembling, one side of her mouth twitched into the tiniest smile. "Then could you pray while you drive and get us the hell out of here?"
"I can manage that," Patrick said, trying to stay low as he peeled out of the parking spot. The bullets had stopped as soon as they ducked down in the car, out of sight of the shooter, but Patrick didn't want to take any chances. He slammed the gas pedal, blowing through a yellow light.
As she slid upright in her seat, another bullet shot through the windshield, narrowly missing her head.
"Stay down," he growled. With his free hand, he covered Michelle's head as best he could and gently pulled her down into his lap, doing his best to drive and keep her out of range of any bullets.
Motherfucker, were they following? He looked in the mirror, not seeing any cars speeding behind. He didn't hear any gunshots, just the sound of bullets hitting the car. A sniper, maybe? He only took his eyes off the road a moment to scan the tops of the buildings. He'd never find the guy while trying to drive. Their best option was to get out of range, fast.
Patrick slid his hand to where the stick shift would be, remembering too late this wasn't a manual car. And therefore not nearly as fast. He needed to teach Michelle how to drive a stick shift.
She whimpered in his lap, her body shivering against him. "Hang in there, babe," he said, his throat tight. He scooped his hand into her hair, brushing it out of her face.
Thank God he'd thought to update her car last night. While lying in bed beside her, he couldn't sleep. Grabbing what little tools she had, he managed to tighten up her suspension, making the turns down Boston's windy roads a hell of a lot easier at top speeds. And he happened to have a better exhaust kit in his car, thanks to that little trip he took to visit Harry yesterday. Gave her sedan an extra boost as he kicked it up to 90 mph.
"Oh my God, this hurts," she cried.
"I know." And he did know, too. He'd been hit just below the ribs years ago, in the middle of the night. He'd driven right to his mom and dad's house where his father, "Dr. Dad" as he'd always called him, dug the bullet out. He wasn't sure which was more painful, the bullet or listening to his father's smug-ass lectures for the next four years. "Where were you hit?"
"The-the arm. Just the arm."
Good. Well, not good. There was a major artery in the arm. But if that had been hit, she wouldn't have been joking with him. And though there was a ton of blood, a major artery would mean she would have bled out in a couple of minutes.
He was going to find that fucking shooter and rip him apart limb from limb until the guy was begging for his life. And just as this asshole thought he was going to get away with his life intact, Patrick would shove the same gun that pierced Michelle's arm up his ass before pulling the trigger.
Patrick turned onto the highway.
"T-the hospital is downtown," Michelle said, still shivering. Her face was white. For a moment, he thought she might pass out on him.
"I know where the hospital is. But we're not going there," he grunted, speeding past a slow-ass car in the right lane. "Any gunshot wound that goes to the hospital has to be called in." He stole a quick glance at her, risking taking his eyes off the road for a second. The fact that she wasn't fighting him on going to the hospital was a bad sign. Grabbing his burner cell from the cup holder, he called his dad's number, only to be met with his voicemail.
"It's Paddy. Someone's been shot and we can't go to the hospital. I know we're not really talking right now, but she's ..." Patrick's voice broke as he pulled off the highway. "She's special to me, Dad. We're at HSC. Get here as soon as you can."
Five minutes later, the car's tires screeched as he turned into HSC's lot, not even bothering to find a legitimate spot. He shut the car off, coming around to her side and yanking her door open. Lifting her effortlessly in his arms, she nuzzled into his neck, her body shivering. Not little subtle shivers either. Body-quaking tremors that felt nearly like a seizure against his arms. She wasn't unconscious but she was more lethargic than he was comfortable with.
Sticky, coppery blood soaked through her blazer and into his own Tshirt. Her sallow skin had blanched of color and was only upstaged by her chattering teeth and shocked expression as she looked down at her palm, caked in blood.
"Don't look at it, babe. Look at me. Look in my eyes."
She followed his direction, tilting her head to him, brown eyes wide, glistening and searching his face. Let me stabilize you.
She lifted her good hand to his face, offering him a small smile. "You threw yourself on top of me to cover the bullets," she said quietly.
"Shh, babe, don't try to talk."
"You saved me," she said and nestled into his neck.
Not yet, I haven't. Patrick took a deep, stabilizing breath, bracing himself. He was no stranger to blood. But this was different. For the first time in his life, he felt fragile in the thick of violence and it had him terrified. He loved his brothers and, with any heist, there was concern for HSC. But not like this. This — she — was different. And he felt so fucking guilty she was hurt because of him.
Patrick kicked open the door. The garage only had about half of its members milling about. Rig was standing over the Porsche.
"What the fuck?" he shouted, running over when Patrick entered. "What happened to her?"
"Shooter outside the DA's office. I called my dad, but I don't know if he's coming or not."
Jimmy and Ryan came running over as Rig led the way to the back room. "Set her up in our meeting room."
Patrick didn't hesitate but laid her flat on the club's boardroom table at the back of the garage. Jimmy was on his cell and hung up, nodding at them. "Kelly's on her way."
Michelle sat up quickly, still clutching her blood soaked arm. "Shane's sister?"
"She's a dental hygienist, not a fucking doctor," Patrick said through clenched teeth.
"I'll call Megan," Ryan said solemnly.
"That's even worse!" Michelle screamed. "She's a bartender."
Ryan glared at Michelle before his gaze dropped to her bleeding arm, softening in understanding. He may not like the woman, but at the moment Patrick assumed he understood if she was feeling a little grumpy.
"Megan's sister is a nurse practitioner," Ryan answered Michelle calmly. "She can prescribe medicine."
"Call my brother," she said.
All the men in the room stiffened at her suggestion. "Not Remy," she clarified. "My brother Vince. He's a doctor —"
"We don't know your brother," Ryan said, his voice hard. "We don't invite unknown people into the club."
"Here." Jimmy handed her a bottle of whiskey. "Drink this."
"Oh, God," Michelle whimpered, taking the bottle. "I hate whiskey." She slowly brought the bottle to her lips.
"It's all we got," Jimmy said, his voice gentle, almost apologetic.
She clenched her eyes, taking a swig, and Patrick swore it looked like she nearly threw it right back up.
"Okay," Ryan said into his phone, grabbing some clean T-shirts they had in the back office. Stupid fucking coffee shop T-shirts they'd been selling in the cafe. "Get here as soon as you can. I'll keep applying pressure."
Tearing the T-shirt into strips, he nodded at Michelle. "Shirt off."
He glared at Patrick. "Get your old lady a fucking hearing aid, man."
He barely got the sentence out when Michelle's foot connected with his shin. Patrick couldn't help the smile. It was a good sign. She had the strength to not let his brothers get away with shit.
Ryan's face turned scarlet and he grunted, rubbing where she kicked him. Shooting Patrick another glare, he spoke through gritted teeth. "I need to look at your wound and I can't see shit through that preppy suit you got on. Would you kindly take off your shirt so that I can take care of the hole in your fucking arm, Your Highness."
Patrick brushed a piece of hair out of her face. "That's about as nice as he's gonna ask, babe."
Her nostrils flared. "I'll need help getting out of my jacket," she said reluctantly.
Ryan and Jimmy leaned in and she jerked away from them. "Not you." She turned to Patrick. "You. And get Charlie down here."
Patrick carefully slid the jacket down over her good arm first before peeling the saturated material away from her body. The first layer was the hardest and she only punched him twice. She also apologized both times, which was more than he could say for the kick she deposited on Ryan. Once they got her out of her button-down shirt, she was left sitting there in a tank top, admittedly shivering less. Maybe the shock was wearing off. Maybe the swig of whiskey helped clear her head. Maybe survival instinct had kicked in. Or maybe she felt safer in the club garage than she did in the car. If she were smart, that'd be true. She was safer here with Patrick and his brothers than out in the open. Or even in the hospital. Until they knew who was behind those bullets, this was the safest place for her, and Patrick wasn't fucking letting her leave without him or one of his brothers.
He knelt beside her and she clutched his hand, whimpering in pain.
The torn flesh on the underside of her biceps was gaping open. How deep had that bullet gone? She'd hit her head pretty hard when she fell against the console of the car, and there was an open gash at her temple already starting to bruise amid the blood caked in her hair.
A door slammed to his right and he looked up to see his father standing there, medical bag in hand. A brief moment, not even lasting a second, passed between them. His dad's gaze landed first on Patrick, then moved to where he held Michelle's hand.
"What's her name?" his dad asked.
"Michelle," she answered.
And damn if his father didn't crack a smile at that. "Is that Italian?" he asked, knocking Ryan out of the way as he leaned in to look at the wound. He glanced over her shoulder to Patrick, eyebrow raised as he grabbed a light out of his bag. "I like her," he said.
"Makes two of us." Patrick gave her hand a light squeeze. "Thanks for coming. I know —"
"No time for that now," his dad said, smile vanishing. "The bad news is it looks like the bullet is lodged deeply inside. It's going to hurt getting it out. Good news is, I don't think it hit the brachial artery. Or if it did, it only nicked it and I can stitch that up. I'll know more when I get the bullet out."
"Corkscrew," Rig said, jerking his head toward his private office. "Let's talk."
Adrenaline surged through Patrick's body. He gestured at Michelle. "Not really a good time, Rig."
"I wasn't fucking asking," Rig said, his voice thick. "My office, now."
"Jimmy," Patrick said. "Get Shane and Charlie on the phone for me. Tell two of the prospects to go to her home in Newton and bring my Pantera back here. It's parked on the street a couple of blocks from Michelle's home."
Jimmy nodded. "No problem."
"And Jimmy ... keep an eye on her for me while I'm in there."
Jimmy held his gaze an extra second before giving a sharp nod. He knew what that meant. For no reason should she leave his sight. Jimmy had his cell phone pressed between his ear and shoulder as he helped Ryan apply pressure to the wound.
Patrick followed Rig into his private office, shutting the door behind him. He opened the blinds so that Michelle was still in his line of sight. "Whatever this is about, can you make it quick? I don't want —"
"What are you doing, Paddy?"
Uh-oh. Rig using his real name, the nickname his mother gave him, was a bad sign.
Patrick cleared his throat. "I'm saving our asses. That's what I'm doing."
Rig shook his head dropping heavily into his office chair. "By fucking the ADA? That's not saving anyone's ass. It's putting a target on our backs. An even larger one."
"Not sure if you noticed, Rig, but we've pretty much had targets on us for a while now. Made larger by Easy getting his throat slit. We need her help."
Rig shook his head. "This shit is getting out of hand. We need to bow out. I can smooth over what's going on with Sauceda —"
"No, you can't, boss. Whatever this is, it's bigger than that. The bar Easy was killed at was swarming with undercovers. Someone wanted the cops to be there that night and the DA's office. Someone knew we would be having an exchange at Megan's that night and I think they set us up so that cops would be on the scene right when Easy died. Something smells rotten and it's coming from within the DA's office."
"Kid, I believe you. But fucking the ADA isn't going to get you any answers."
"I know. But ... she's more than that ..."
Rig's eyes fluttered closed and he hissed a curse, shaking his head. "You can't make an ADA your old lady, Corkscrew. Not while maintaining club status."
Patrick swallowed hard against the patchy dryness. He knew this would be the reaction. But it still hurt. He'd never once regretted giving up most of his life for the club. He didn't care that he never got his law degree and that his parents were barely talking to him. "Won't matter much if I end up in prison for life, will it? Or if Sauceda's crew puts a bullet in my chest."
"I won't let that happen," Rig said. He meant it. Patrick knew that. Rig would protect him with his life. Didn't mean he could stop it, though.
"What if she's no longer the ADA?"
That caught Rig's attention and his eyes snapped open. "She quit?" Patrick shook his head. "She's going to be fired. We saw the paperwork for her termination last night in my case file." He pulled out the burner phone from his pocket, opening up the gallery, and handed it Rig. "I found some stuff while digging around. The evidence files are screwy. Shit from my case is next to other club business and I don't think that's how things are supposed to be categorized. But it sure as shit makes it easy for officials to grab anything HSC related or that might have my fucking prints on them."
"That how they get that knife with your prints?"
Patrick shook his head. "No. I was fucking around with that knife in the pub. Whoever killed Easy must have grabbed it. There's another thing in those pictures. I was inside the DA's office this morning —"
Rig coughed against the cup of coffee he was sipping. Patrick couldn't help but smile. "How the fuck did you manage that?"
"Having an ADA is sounding better and better, isn't it?"
Rig only grunted in response and Patrick continued. "In Duncan's office, an HSC file was sitting out called Operation Green Light. I think they're building something big. There were files on the Sauceda Crew and Impyrenos, too. Probably others but I was interrupted before I could continue looking. Got as many pictures as I could."
"Motherfucker," Rig grunted holding the phone close to his eyes. "I'll print these images off to get a better look. Maybe taking this information to Sauceda will help repair Easy's death."
God, he hoped so. Somehow, Patrick didn't think it would be that simple.
Rig's desk phone rang and he held up a finger to Patrick before answering. Through the window, Patrick watched as Charlie and the other women came running into the garage. They got there fast; must have been in the neighborhood. Charlie rushed to where Michelle was lying flat on the table, unmoving except for the slight rise and fall of her stomach with each breath. His stomach cramped, crumpling like a balled-up piece of paper as Rig's hand fell to his shoulder in a reassuring squeeze.
* * *
Uncle Boots's hand fell to Patrick's shoulder, giving him a light squeeze through the oversized suit he wore. Kevin's suit. If that wasn't some ironic bullshit, Patrick didn't know what was. He sat between his parents, while people walked to the casket one by one, dropping to their knees for a quick prayer at Kevin's right side.
Excerpted from Outlaw: Part 3 by Katana Collins. Copyright © 2017 Katana Collins. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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