Hostage (Predators MC #3)(6)By: Jamie Begley
Penni stepped out of her car. She had barely managed to pull into the parking lot before her car had died. It wasn’t the only thing not working.
Penni gave a frustrated sigh when she tried to call Grace back. Blanking, she glared at the cell screen, hoping the bars would mysteriously reappear.
“What the hell?” She had just had phone service when she’d talked to Grace. Penni had decided to call Grace back to have her help find a road service.
A car was parked beside the dark bar, the dark windows showing no welcoming gleam from inside. The only thing that resembled a saloon was the crooked sign and the music she could hear escaping from inside.
Penni snagged her purse from inside the car, sliding the strap firmly over her shoulder. The assortment of self-defense weapons she had inside gave her flagging confidence a boost as she walked toward the front door. With her other hand, she kept trying to call Grace back.
Her fingers trembled as she opened the door. Penni’s instincts screamed, telling her to run, and Shade had always warned her to follow her instincts. However, before she could take her brother’s advice, she felt the door jerked from her grasp.
Panni gasped as a man barreled into her. Horror had her gasp becoming a scream when she realized the man’s chest was covered in blood. The lethal weapon poking out of his back seemed incongruous. Her first instinct was to try removing the weapon, but her survival instincts kicked in when she realized there were two occupants involved in the deadly duel.
Unable to stop herself, Penni reached forward to aid the man who seemed to need the most help with the vicious weapon sticking out from his back.
His brown face was filled with agony. He appeared to be Shade’s age, in his thirties. While Shade was lean and athletic though, this man had a slim frame, which wasn’t a match against the muscular guy intent on finishing the fight that had started before she had come in the door.
The two men directly in front of her were silent, temporarily stunned by her appearance, but the scream that filled the dingy saloon had each scrambling to find an advantage to break away from the deadly struggle.
The poor man with the knife sticking out of his back stared at her as if she could somehow help him.
Penni dropped her phone to the floor as she reached out to catch him. The one standing behind him didn’t give her the opportunity, though, pulling the knife out with a sickly squish, only to thrust downward again into his helpless victim.
Penni scrambled back a step, holding the man as he slumped into her.
The other man stood as if frozen to stone. He appeared to have just come out of the bathroom. He was young than the other men, his actions showing he didn’t know how to react to the life and death struggle. Penni didn’t think he was friends with the other guys; his clean clothes might have come off the rack, but they had high price labels. Penni had the feeling he had been as shocked by the stabbing as she was. He must have come out of the bathroom as she had entered the front, both of them getting a shock they didn’t know how to respond to.
Penni didn’t have much time to react before she felt the victim grasping her harder. The man’s weight buckled his thin frame as she frantically tried to catch him. She was sickened by the fear she saw staring back at her.
“Help us,” Penni appealed to the man across the room who was coming out of the bathroom.
He gripped the backpack slung over his shoulder. “What’s going on?”
The shaky voice didn’t belong to a man with a backbone. Penni considered herself a good judge of character. Shade had often bragged to his friends that she could guess which of them had swiped another beer out of the refrigerator or who had taken the last piece of chicken leftover from dinner. Penni would bet her last dollar the stranger gawking at her was going to run.
She felt her own legs give out under the weight of the man she wanted to save.
“Please …” Penni flinched at the womanish sound that emerged from the man at her plea.
The stranger across the room released a squawk before the coward ran across the room, sliding between her as the stranger hanging on to her released his final breath.
The man who had jerked his knife out of his victim’s back tried to stop his escape, slipping in the blood that showed the brutal evidence of his crime.