Page 27

That little reassurance is all I have to go on right now.

The man that had entered the house with Susan Wagner had spent another ten minutes or so inside before coming back out. Best guess was that Susan had hired him to take care of Lilly while she snatched Cohen. Coop is monitoring the police scanners but so far, there haven’t been any sightings of them. There is an Amber Alert going out as we speak but we all fear it’s too late to stop her from crossing state lines.

Before they left, they let me know that, after looking into Susan’s background, their best guess is that she is heading west to the Vegas area, the last known location of her sister, Ann.

Lilly has been in surgery for the last eight hours and it isn’t looking good. When Izzy arrived a few hours ago, I set off to get some information on Lilly. I had hoped to offer Melissa some hope, but that thought quickly vanished when I learned how grave the situation was.

She suffered not only a blow to the head, but also multiple stab wounds and several vital organs had been affected. It wasn’t looking good, but I couldn’t give up hope, and I damn sure couldn’t show how much I was dying inside when I needed to be strong for my girl.

The only thing I can do now is make sure I got our boy home.

I walk back over to Melissa and kneel in front of her. Her eyes meet mine but she doesn’t focus until I call her name a few times.

“Beauty, I’m going to make a call right now. Izzy’s going to stay right here with you okay?”

She just looks into my eyes; all the light that is normally shining back at me is gone. Her eyes are flat and her expression locked tight in grief.

“Okay, baby. I’ll be right back.” I lean forward and kiss her forehead, holding my lips there for a few moments before standing. I squeeze Izzy’s shoulder and walk out into the hallway.

There is only one man that can possibly help me now. If Susan Wagner has taken Cohen, threatened my family, and possibly taken my woman’s mother from her life, I will stop at nothing to make sure that I not only get Cohen back, but that Susan fucking Wagner won’t ever be a threat to my family again.

It takes me a few seconds to control myself enough to dial a number I haven’t used in years.

“Breaker.” I hear snap through the line.

“It’s Cage. Break… Neck. Fucking breakneck.” I wait, choking down the ball of worry that threatens to escape. After I lost Grace and took off, I hooked up with Braxxon Breaker out west. His MC club had been on a charity ride and we just happened to cross paths at the right time. After a night of partying, I decided to stick with them for a few days and enjoy the benefits that come with a bunch of bikers. To this day, I know I have a brother for life in Braxxon Breaker, and just because it’s been years, that doesn’t mean he won’t come running with one word.

“Cage, brother. What’s up?” He doesn’t sound pissed that I cut into his time now. Curious maybe, but not angry.

“Cuts me fucking deep needing to make this call, Braxx. Got a situation and it isn’t a situation I can take care of.” There isn’t anything else that needs to be said. He knows what I’m saying without actually saying it.

“Name it, brother.” He says. I hear some shuffling in the background so I wait a second to respond.

“My girl, fuck… there isn’t enough time to explain the six degrees of fucked up I’ve found myself in. My girl’s nephew. The other grandparent took him, snatched him right out of bed, and did not leave anything pretty behind. Her mother is critical and questionable. Best I can find is she took him your way. Braxx, I won’t let anyone hurt what is mine. Never again. This ends.” By the time I get it all out, my control is slipping even more. I manage to sound a whole hell of a lot calmer than I actually am. I can’t lose it, not here, and not before I have Cohen locked tight in my arms.

“Cage, brother, I need you to say what you need from me?”

“I’ll be in Vegas in twelve hours, tops. Got to find my boy and bring him home. I wouldn’t be making this call if I didn’t need you. Turn that shit red, Braxx.” There will be no doubt left when this is done. Susan Wagner will not fuck with what’s mine and walk away clean.

It only takes a second before his deep rumble hits my ear. “It’s done, Breakneck. Headed that way. Dial me again when in Vegas.”

“As soon as I land. Owe you big, brother.” There will never be a way to repay this debt, but I will gladly hand over anything he wants in payment if it means my family is in my arms, whole and safe.

When I hear the line go dead, I make my way back inside and pull Melissa into my arms. We continue to sit there, staring at the door, and waiting for news on Lilly.

Chapter 26

It is almost impossible to pull myself away from Melissa. About an hour after I called Braxxon, we get the news that her mother didn’t make it. Holding her in my arms while she screams with pain and grief is heartbreaking. Knowing all too well how it feels like to lose your parent, the only one you have left, I know how her heart is suffering. I hold her tight and keep reminding her how much I love her and that I will find Cohen. With every tear and wail that comes from her body, my heart splits a little more.

When it finally becomes apparent that she isn’t going to be able to calm down on her own, we have the doctor admit and sedate her. She is resting peacefully when I bend over and press my lips to her lax ones.

I don’t want to leave her when I know she would need me the most, but what matters now is finding Cohen and getting him back safely in her arms. Neither of us would survive the hit that losing him would give us. With Izzy’s assurance to keep me updated, I make my way home to pack a bag and get to the airport.

By the time I land in Vegas, I have been awake for over twenty-four hours. No sleep is needed when you are running on pure fucking adrenaline and hope.

I walk out the doors into the desert sun and lock eyes with the man I’ve come to see.

Braxxon Breaker. In the flesh.

“Braxx,” I say, not even slightly ashamed when my voice catches. He looks the same as he did when we were both in our younger twenties and running through booze and women like there was no tomorrow. And those days, for me, there wasn't. Fuck, it would be nice to see him without this cloud of shit. "Thanks for coming, brother."

"Cage, don't give me that shit. You call Breakneck, my ass be here in a heartbeat. Brothers, man, brothers."

"Regardless, you're here when you don’t have to be. You know what I'm asking and you still came... so that deserves my thanks." Stubborn son of a bitch, now I remember what it was that connect us. "You remember Locke? Did what he does best, and got a general area that bitch took my boy. Not going to be easy, from what I can tell they're hiding out right off the strip." I watch his eyes to see if the information even fazes him. Not sure why I think it will, but I need to make sure he is down with what I need.

He shoves off the white van he’s leaning against and walks the few feet that separate us. He offers me a small smile, the rings in his lip flashing in the sunlight. “That general location, you know how many may be in there? I need numbers, brother. I work best with numbers.” His voice is flat, but laced with the heat I need, and the power that he will stand behind his promise. You call Breakneck and it is top priority. He needs his intel, but that doesn’t stop the confidence from coming through his tone loud and clear.

“Van,” I say and nod my head toward his ride. “Nice, Braxx, all we need is the bag of candy now.” He might have muttered asshole under his breath, but he walks around the back and slides into the seat.

“Van’s hot, no trace,” he offers when he settles in and waits for me to continue.

“Alright, Susan Wagner, age unknown and not important. Cohen Wagner, age three and my boy and target. Ann Matthews, sister to Susan and the only connection we have between Susan and Vegas. Male of unknown age is also with them. That bastard cut my woman’s mom up Braxx; that motherfucker suffers. I don’t think there is anyone else helping. This bitch is not stupid, but she isn’t smart either.”

"Alright, brother. Your kid, he might not take kindly to me. I hate to say this, shit I hate to say this, but you need to ride with. You feel me?" Like he even has to mention it. The only thing that is keeping me going right now is the thought that Cohen will be in my arms soon.

We head off towards an area near Naked City; from what Coop has told me, this area is high in crime, drugs, and prostitution, your typical urban setting, with small apartments, clustered shit-holes, and some 7-Elevens sprinkled in between. Kids that should be in school are selling drugs on the street, and bitches that look like they are on their death beds are begging for you to pull over. This is not an area you want to be in.

“Jesus Fucking Christ,” I mutter into the window. I don’t want to be here but I damn sure don’t want Cohen here. “We have to find him, Braxx.”

“Cage, you know me, man. I don’t fuck around. We’re gonna getcha boy back.” His voice is no longer questioning. His tone is not only dripping in confidence and fury, but I can feel the compassion coming off him in waves. Braxxon might be the one man I know not afraid to get his hands dirty, but his heart is pure fucking gold when it comes to someone he considers his family.

Braxx doesn’t offer anything else, but then again, neither do I. We crawl through the streets that make up Naked City and wait. Wait for the call in, but look for any sign that might lead us to my boy.

We have been driving around aimlessly for the last thirty or so minutes when the call finally comes in. ‘C.S. Control’ flashes across the screen, letting me know that one of the boys had found something.

“Cage,” I bark in the phone. My patience is slowly wearing off with each passing homeless person, prostitute, or thug we pass. I can’t stand the thought of Cohen’s innocence being fucked with by these people. The thought of my boy alone and scared is eating me alive. “Speak, Goddammit.”

“It’s Coop. Maddox found him. Well, Maddox found where he should be. Sister’s dead husband has some property just north of where you are now. I’ve got you pulled up on the GPS so just keep taking that road North and I’ll let you know when to turn.”

“Got it,” I respond to Coop. “Keep north until I get word,” I rattle off to Braxx. No fucking way I’m bringing his name up to Coop. Maddox is the only one who knows who I met up with, and that’s one person too many.

“Greg, who the fuck are you with?” Coop questions.

“None of your business. Just keep your eyes on the screen and tell me how to get to my boy.” Yeah. Patience is gone.

“Jesus Christ, you’re going to get locked up or worse, Greg. I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“I’ve got it taken care of. Are we close?” Shut this shit down; I have to shut it down. I take a few deep breaths and wait for the signal to turn. After a few more minutes, we find ourselves sitting in front of the nastiest piece of shit I have ever seen in my life. How this house is still standing is beyond me. Boxes of shit line the front, and more trash and used junk cars litter the yard, but what I don’t see is people. Not one single vehicle that looks like it’s running is in the yard. Just shit, Christmas lights and cats.


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