Her Perfect Mate(2)By: Paige Tyler
Ivy’s stomach twisted in the same gut-wrenching knot it always did when she attempted to ignore her body’s internal alarm system. The hell with standing around. Let Dave report her for insubordination when they got back to DC if he wanted to. She wasn’t going to be the one to let that jerk get killed. Pulling the 9mm from the holster on her hip, she ran toward the dilapidated warehouses.
The place was a pitch-black maze with twists and turns and dead ends left behind from when the building had collapsed at some point in the past. The darkness wasn’t a problem for Ivy. Her eyesight automatically adjusted to the lack of light. Within seconds, the dark corners and shadows disappeared as if someone had flicked on a lamp, except without all the distortion and depth-perception problems that came with night vision goggles. Maybe part of the reason Dave disliked her so much was because she never needed NVGs. He hated the damn things.
She didn’t use her heightened night vision to track Dave, though. She used his scent. It was strong on the air, too. Adrenaline mixed with fear did that.
“I’ll be at your location in less than thirty seconds. Don’t do anything stupid until I get there.”
“Do me a favor. Go. Fuck. Yourself,” he ground out. The radio clicked off.
“Dammit!” Ivy let out a growl and ran faster.
In front of her, she heard the pop, pop, pop of a small-caliber gun.
“Dave!” she shouted into her headset. “Dave, answer me!”
Buildings blurred as she ran past them. She should slow down, check corners and alleys. She could be running right into an ambush.
But she didn’t slow. She couldn’t.
The scent of blood hit her hard as she rounded the corner of a large stone building, and she immediately froze. Less than ten feet away, Dave and another man—probably the Russian—were lying on the ground, bleeding from gunshot wounds.
She started toward them but stopped when she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. Three men—she could tell they were men from their scent—were nonchalantly walking away from the bodies. One of them had a briefcase in his hand. Another held Dave’s NVGs. She darted after them, 9mm aimed and ready to fire, but all three of them spun around at the same time and raised their weapons.
There was nowhere to take cover, and Ivy was moving too fast to even try. Instead, she opted for surprise, leaping into the air as she swiftly closed the distance between her and the men. Their eyes widened as she went airborne. Their first salvo of rounds passed harmlessly underneath her, and while she was still in the air, she took out the most dangerous target first—the guy with the MP5 submachine gun. Two shots to the chest silenced his weapon and dropped him where he stood, leaving her free to turn her gun on a second target—the man with the .45. She put two rounds in him and he flew backward.
Taking out those men left her exposed to the last shooter—the one with the small-caliber pistol. He didn’t waste any time firing at her. She hit the ground and rolled, bullets zipping past her head.
The man redirected his aim to shoot her in the head. She knocked the pistol out of his grip with her free hand and leveled her gun at him. Before she could shoot, the bastard caught her weapon hand in both of his, trying to wrestle the pistol away from her.
Ivy set the animal inside free, letting out the growl that had been building low in her throat ever since she found her partner lying on the floor in a pool of blood. She didn’t know for sure if this was the bastard who had shot Dave, and right now, she didn’t care.
Releasing her hold on the gun, she let her fingernails extend until they became long, sharp, curved claws. The man stared at her, his eyes wide. With a hiss, she darted her right hand up and sliced open his throat.
He hit the floor, the gun falling from his useless hands.
Ivy rose from her crouch, her breathing ragged. All told, the fight had lasted less than fifteen seconds. If things had gone the way they were supposed to, she and Dave would have been in and out in that same amount of time.
Taking a deep breath, she retracted her claws, then turned and ran to Dave’s side.
She carefully rolled him onto his back. He’d been shot multiple times in the chest, then another in the head. He’d never even gotten his gun out of his holster. Whatever first aid she could have offered was too late.