Transfer (The Retrieval Duet #2)

by Aly Martinez

“Okay, Luke,” Clare breathed.

Never had more beautiful words been spoken.

Her eyes shined bright with life, staring up at me as if she’d just witnessed a miracle.

I knew I had. I’d spent the last half hour with fire consuming my soul, fearing she was already gone.

I’d spent over three months being devoured by that possibility.

“Okay, Luke,” she repeated when I failed to form a single syllable in response.

It was the wrong name.

But she could call me whatever the fuck she wanted. Just the sound of her voice would have kick-started my heart to beat for another century.

“Luke?” Noir whispered, a flash of recognition hitting his face just before he exploded. “You motherfucker!” Ducking under my arm, he knocked the gun from my hand, sending it skittering across the concrete.

But I didn’t need a weapon for what I was going to do to him.

I had three years of watching that piece of shit from afar. Months of watching Clare drag herself to a fucking gym with bruises covering half of her body while tears poured from her hopeless, blue eyes. And weeks since one of his men had killed Atwood.

I’d dreamed about the moment when I could get my hands on him—and not while wearing a badge, when the best I could do was subdue him and then haul his ass to jail.

No. I wanted Walter Noir to suffer a thousand slow deaths before his toxic, black heart fell motionless.

And I wanted nothing more than to be the man responsible.

I’d seen too many tears fall from her eyes.

Too many times she’d flinched when I’d reached for her as though she didn’t understand that hands could be gentle.

The bite marks he’d left on her shoulders and the bruises on her swollen face had slashed through me in a way I knew I’d never heal.

I’d fought the overwhelming desire to tell her who I was on a daily basis. To force her and Tessa to come with me.

But, every day, as I helplessly stood at that gym door and watched her walk to her car, fearful she wouldn’t make it back, it had broken something inside me.

Fuck the investigation. That’s what I’d said the day I had taken it upon myself to involve Roman Leblanc. I couldn’t sit by and do nothing any longer.

I’d be damned if a bitch like Walter Noir was going to fight me over her now.

He would lose for no other reason than I refused to fail her.

Catching him around the waist, I lifted him high before slamming him down to the concrete face first.

His head cracked, but like a rabid dog, he got right back up.

At six four, two twenty, I had the clear advantage in size, but whatever he lacked in that department, he made up for with mental instability. That crazy bastard had no respect for his own life, much less those around him. He’d happily battle to the death before surrendering.

“Luke!” Clare cried, pushing herself to her knees and then crawling toward us.

“Get out of here,” I growled at her, landing a hard fist to the side of his head.

His knuckles found my face, splitting my lip wide. The pain didn’t even register amongst the chaos, and the sight of my blood dripping down lit me ablaze further.

That would have been Clare’s blood if we hadn’t arrived in time.

It would have been her face rather than mine taking the brunt of his anger. All while Tessa innocently stood by, watching him brutally murder her mother.

Just the thought multiplied my strength.

Smashing his head into the concrete, I dove over him, going for my gun, but he caught me around the waist.

“Son of a bitch,” I huffed when a heavy punch landed on my ribs.

However, with his hands down, I was able to hook an arm around his neck and squeeze impossibly tight while wrapping a leg around his torso for leverage.

My vision had long since tunneled, but as he bucked beneath me, it was images of Clare smiling that kept me holding on. The sound of her laugh drowning out the blood thundering in my ears. The memory of her shaking body as she clung to my neck and confessed the depth of Walter’s depravity was like a lit match to my adrenaline.

This was my fight—hers.

When his body sagged, it took self-restraint only years in the DEA could engrain into a person to release him while he still had a pulse.

Killing Noir was on the top of my list of priorities, but I knew, for the Administration, he was a small fish in a big pond. We needed him alive.

Finally satisfied that he was out cold, I let go and rolled off. My chest heaved from exertion, but I immediately searched for Clare, only she was no longer there.

Anxiety rooted in my stomach, but thankfully, less than a second later, I found her.

Or, more accurately, her foot found Walter Noir’s face as he lay unconscious on the driveway.

“I hate you!” she screamed, landing another kick before I could get to her.

Wrapping her in a bear hug from behind, I lifted her off her feet and dragged her back.

“I fucking hate you!” she yelled at him, fighting like a hellcat to get back at him.

A large part of me wanted to give that to her. She’d more than earned it. The other part of me needed to get her out of there before any of his men showed up.

“Chill,” I growled, but if she was even aware I was holding her, I couldn’t be sure.

The tighter I held her, the harder she fought. And I began to fear I was going to hurt her if she didn’t stop. Her face was already swollen, and God knows what the rest of her frail body looked like.

She needed to get to a hospital, not go another round with Noir’s limp body.

I placed her on her feet only long enough to wrap her back up, this time chest to chest, her arms pinned between us.

She twisted her head around to keep him in her sight. “I hate you!”

“Clare,” I barked.

Finally, her attention snapped to mine. Her body stilled, and she closed her mouth while she scanned my face in awestruck disbelief.

“I can’t believe you’re alive,” she said, her chin quivering.

Fuck. Me.

She was alive.

“Chill,” I ordered, holding her gaze, her left eye barely visible beneath the swelling. “We only have a minute before he wakes up. I need you to listen to me.”

She blinked but didn’t reply.

“You listening?” I asked just as I felt the tremble begin to work its way up from her legs.

“How are you here?” she whispered on a shaky breath.

Patrice Harri... | Capitaine Morten Et La Reine Des Araignées | Prix les moins chers