I waited for Nathan but he never showed.
The entire place had cleared out, except for me, the guy with a gun to my head, two other men, and Raider’s body.
I was on my knees, taking deep breaths, trying to piece everything together.
Truthfully? I had nothing.
“What is this?” I asked. “Are you with Nathan? Seth? Erik? What is it?”
“Shut up, prick,” the guy said and jammed the gun to the back of my head. He then said, “You two. Get the body out of here. Hide it somewhere. Then clean up the floor.” I felt the gun press at my neck. “Noah. Slowly stand up. Make one funny move and I’ll kill you.”
I stood up and the guy turned me around.
He was an older man, which surprised me. He had a full head of grey hair with white patches. He was in a nice suit and looked very uncomfortable to be there. The gun was shaking in his hand. His eyes were bloodshot as he blinked fast.
I could read him.
He had no idea what he was doing or what to do next.
I put my hands up on my own. “Now would be the time to tell me who you are and why you’re here.”
“Where’s my daughter?”
“Your daughter? Who?”
“Don’t fuck with me,” the man said. He put the gun right to my nose.
“Hey, man, I have no idea what’s happening. Okay? I was in the middle of a fight. Is Penny your daughter?”
“No. But her best friend is.”
Then it hit me. The person Penny called to bring her clothes when she first crashed at my apartment.
“Oh, shit,” I whispered.
“Dani. That’s her name. I’m her goddamn father.”
“Listen, man, I don’t know what’s…”
“Stop calling me man. My name is Warren.”
“Warren, okay,” I said. “I did not do a thing to your daughter. I swear on it.”
“Why the hell should I believe you?”
“Shoot me then,” I said. “If I had your daughter, what would killing me do? Huh? I understand you’re pissed and want revenge. But what you just did here… there’s going to be hell.”
“I’m hell!” Warren bellowed. He then stepped back and choked on his breath. “I’m rich. I have more money than you’ll ever know. I can have a security team here in ten minutes and kill you. Nobody would ever find you.”
“I won’t argue that,” I said. I put my hands down. “I get it. I’m just a scumbag fighter, right? But if you want to know the truth, put the gun down, Warren. Let’s talk. Let me help you find your daughter.”
Warren slowly lowered the gun.
I was able to take another deep breath.
I was sweating, bleeding, dirty.
And now I had another fucking person to save.
* * *
The only person that made sense in this was Erik. He was going to keep attacking and hurting people until he got to me or Penny. Or both of us.
The building was empty. That meant she must have gone with Nathan. That was good. That was her best chance at survival. If Erik tried anything with Nathan or his family around, he’d be killed instantly. Especially now that I had given Nathan the intel that Erik lost his badge months ago.
Warren sat on the edge of a chair with a cigarette between his fingers. He was still shaking. I wasn’t sure if it was the smartest move to make at that moment, but I knew by telling him what I knew about Erik would give me the best chance of getting out of the building in one piece. So I could then get to Penny and Nathan and get this all settled once and for all.
“So my daughter… has nothing to do with this?” Warren asked.
He looked at me, weary eyed.
“I’m really sorry. Erik is going after anyone and everyone who has a tie to me or Penny. I’m going to stop this, Warren. The man I work for is powerful.”
“I’m powerful,” Warren said.
“Listen to me. The man I work for is connected.”
Warren’s eyes went wide. He rose up from the chair and sucked on the cigarette. “You’re telling me this is mob related?” he asked, smoke pouring from his mouth.
“Just let me help you. If you step over the line, Warren, you’ll get hurt. I don’t want that.”
“Fuck you,” Warren spat.
He then looked over my shoulder for a split second, giving himself away.
I spun and threw a punch, hitting one of his men in the nose. The guy fell back as the second one rushed at me. I got him in the stomach, bent him over, and slammed a knee up into his mouth.
I was fucking livid by then.
The urge to finish a fight was still very real deep inside me. That’s something not a lot of people understood about me. I always finished a fight. So Raider’s murder left me feeling unfulfilled.
Now these two men were going to pay for it.
I grabbed them by the throats, one in each hand, and put them against the wall. I put my head down and growled as I pressed harder. They both swung at me, landing cheap punches to my ribs and shoulders, but I felt nothing.
All I could see was Seth.
Him and Emily.
Seth’s pale ass thrusting back and forth. The look on Emily’s face. The way her blue eyes somehow shined even in the dark.
She was a liar. A manipulator.
So was Seth.
I realized I hadn’t told Penny everything about Seth. That he had been the one to kill her father. There was so much to figure out, and we would do that together.
I squeezed my fingers tighter, feeling both men’s throats crunching against my grip.
“Stop it!” a voice yelled.
I ignored it.
I wanted to kill the men.
My need to win a fight became a need to kill.
I then felt a sharp pain right slam into the top of my spine. It was jolting enough that I released my grip on the men. When I turned, Warren stood there with the gun in his hand.
He’d hit me with it.
“You stop this,” he said. “Stop trying to kill my men. Find my fucking daughter. Right now.”
I moved at him and he moved back. “You better be careful. You’re scared. That’s your weakness.”
“Of all the things I’ve said and done, I always took care of Dani. I never wanted her to work for a newspaper or magazine. I wanted her to do something greater. She insisted on this scummy life and look where it got her.”
“I will find her,” I said.
I walked to the door and looked down at the two men as they held their throats, still gagging and trying to catch their breaths.
I looked back.
“I knew everything about you before I came here. That’s how powerful I am.”
“You pull the trigger on the man I was fighting?”
“No. But on you, I will. Hear me clearly, if you don’t find my daughter, I am going to kill you.”
“I hope you can back that up.”
Warren lifted the gun and shot one of his own men.
“Not bad,” I said.
He moved the gun and shot the other man.
Just like that, he’d killed his own guys.
“They were cheap hires anyway,” Warren said. “And they couldn’t stand their ground against you.”
I left the room and started to run for the door.
I had gone from a fighter to a wanted man. From guys wanting to knock me out for a paycheck, to guys wanting to kill me for their own pleasure and revenge.
When I got to my car, I hurried to call Nathan.
One of his bodyguards took the call and put me through to him.
“Where are you?” he yelled into the phone. “What the fuck was that?”
“I’m leaving the building right now,” I said. “Put Penny on the phone. I need to talk to her right now.”
There was silence.
My heart rose up into my throat.
“Noah… I don’t have Penny… I haven’t seen her since the fight.”