Home > Lure of Oblivion (The Mercury Pack #3)(2)

Lure of Oblivion (The Mercury Pack #3)(2)
Author: Suzanne Wright


Brandt licked his teeth. “Little, huh? Maybe I should show you just how big I really am.” He grinned. There wasn’t just heat in his gaze, there was something else—something ugly and twisted. “Yeah, you’d like that, wouldn’t you, babe?” He advanced on her, mouth curled. “Why don’t you spread those legs for me? I think you’d enjoy it.”

“No, I wouldn’t.” She yanked the bat out of his grip and slammed it into his bruised jaw so hard she was surprised she didn’t hear his teeth rattle. At the same time, she switched on the stun gun and hit him in the solar plexus just long enough to send him dropping to his knees, dazed and shaking.

Rowan and Mack stared down at him, eyes wide. She braced herself for them to come at her, but shock seemed to have immobilized them.

Snapping out of his daze, Brandt stumbled to his feet. “You fucking bitch.” He idiotically took an aggressive step toward her, but then froze at the cock of a shotgun that came from somewhere behind her.

Mack and Rowan swallowed nervously—probably because they had a good idea who was holding that shotgun. The person in question wouldn’t hesitate to shoot a trespasser. Hell, he wouldn’t hesitate to shoot anyone.

“Brandt, we should go,” said Mack, a tremor in his voice. “I’ll back you all the way on this, but I ain’t getting shot or Tased for you.”

Licking his lips, Brandt took a step back.

“That was smart of you, freezing like that,” Gwen told him. “Because I gotta say, the idea of Donnie blowing your brains out fills me with a morbid kind of joy. I don’t like to deny myself joy. Life’s too short for that.” She flicked a look at his crotch. “But I guess you’re used to things being short.”

Brandt’s eyes blazed with indignation. “My father will—”

“I don’t care. You wield his name like it’s a sword, thinking it will protect you. No matter what you do, I’m standing by my original statement. In light of that, I suggest you stop wasting both of our time, run along home, and never come back. Ah, I can see your bruised ego’s struggling with that, but coming back here would be a serious error on your part.

“Now, personally, I think it’s far past time that you boys left. I advise you to back up slowly. If you run, you’ll trigger Donnie’s hunting instincts, and he’ll start firing like he’s facing an invading army. That would suck. Not so much for me, but definitely for you.”

Mack and Rowan did as she advised, but Brandt stood firm as he glowered at her, fists clenched, clearly at war with himself.

“You need to fight that ego, Brandt. If you want to live, that is. I’d be thoroughly glad to hear that you don’t want to live.”

He took a deep breath and finally backed away. Casting looks at her over their shoulders, the three boys jogged away and disappeared into the trees.

She knew that wasn’t the end of it. The Moores never backed down. But then, neither did Gwen.

Balancing the bat on her shoulder, she turned to the large three-story house and climbed up the stone steps and onto the wraparound porch. The wooden boards creaked as a tall figure stepped out of the shadows, dressed in camo gear and holding a shotgun, looking like he’d just walked right out of a war zone.

“You handled that well,” said Donnie, her foster uncle. He was ex-military and the ultimate conspiracy theorist. He was also a little unstable and often disappeared in the woods for days at a time, “on patrol.” Donnie felt more at ease outside, surrounded by nature.

The locals thought of him as an eccentric, and he let them believe that because it meant they underestimated him. The truth was that Donnie was extremely intelligent and a strategic mastermind.

“You didn’t think to shoot at their feet to scare them off?”

He rolled his eyes. “I had my gun trained on them the whole time; you were never in any real danger. You don’t need my help anyway.”

That was because he’d trained her to defend herself. He’d also trained her to use many of the weapons he’d stashed—some of which she was pretty sure Uncle Sam would want back, especially the rocket launchers. When she’d asked why he had all the weapons, he’d simply said, “Just in case.”

Pulling a leaf out of his fuzzy salt-and-pepper hair, Donnie looked in the direction in which the boys had disappeared. “The Moores are scared. They thought you’d back down by now, and they’re starting to panic because they have no idea what it will take to make you do it.”

Nothing would make her back down.

“What I want to know is how they’re managing to electronically mess with you. Draining your back account, maxing out your credit cards, and canceling your cell phone contract—that takes skill.” He shook his head, lips thinning, and began to pace . . . and she sensed one of his rants coming.

“You know, this kind of thing happens too easily because we have the Internet,” he insisted, words coming fast and sharp. “Now it’s so simple to invade people’s privacy using spam, viruses, and Trojan horses. I’m telling you, the Net is evil. It has no ethical guidelines. Think of all the child pornography, cyberbullying, and websites that actually promote suicide—”

“Donnie.”

“—and encourage depressed teens to make suicide pacts. Not that the CIA, FBI, or any other organization cares. Oh, no. They’re too busy spying on us using—”

“Donnie.”

His expression cleared, becoming one of total calm. “Hmm?”

She sighed. “You coming inside?”

He lifted his gun. “I want to check the little pricks have left first.”

“All right. Be careful.” Pulling open the front door, she winced at the squeak of the hinges. She would have oiled them, but most of the guests came to experience what it was like to stay in an allegedly haunted house. They seemed to like hearing creaks, thuds, squeaks, and other weird noises.

Was the place haunted? Well, plenty of people believed so. Gwen wasn’t gonna lie, there was something in the house. A few somethings, actually. It was rumored that they were the spirits of a man and his two teenage daughters who’d died in a fire long ago. She’d never gotten the feeling that there was anything malevolent about them. They just seemed nosy and bored.

She was also betting they enjoyed spooking the guests, because many claimed to have “felt a presence,” heard someone pacing on the third floor, or seen shadows moving around. Some guests had been so freaked out, they’d actually packed up and left earlier than planned.

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