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Falling In Love With The Devil

Episode 6

“The Kurtis specialize in trafficking by water,” Sonny said. “Alex could be in a shipping container on a carrier, halfway across the country by now. So far, no large vessels have left the ports in Connecticut, New York, or New Jersey. No unusual traffic reports from the Coast Guard. I think Alex is still on land.”

I turned to look over my shoulder at Drake, our tech genius. “What do you think, Battle?”

Drake looked up from his iPad. “The Mercedes van went into the Lincoln Tunnel and never come out. We lost Alex’s tracker a few seconds later. I’m still looking for them.”

Drake’s company, Battle Industries, created most of the weapons and high-end tech used by the United States military. He was on the verge of launching an artificial intelligence software that had attracted the attention of the Albanians. Our allies and enemies were dying to get their hands on Drake’s AI. That was their real motive for meeting with me, though they had disguised the meet as a loan for weapons.

“Is it possible they switched cars before the Tunnel?” I asked Drake.

He shook his head. “No, I checked for loops in the feed and ran the CCTV footage through my AI to look for redundancies and inconsistencies. I don’t get it.” Drake sighed. “I didn’t see them switch cars. So how did they disappear from the Tunnel? It’s not possible.”

Marcello tapped Drake on the shoulder. “Did you see any other Mercedes vans?”

He pressed his lips together, lost in thought. “Not that I recall.”

“Check again,” Marcello said.

Bastian and Damian strolled across the blacktop toward us. Damian raked a hand through his hair and yawned.

“Go do a line if you’re that fucking tired,” I told him.

He waved me off. “I’m good. Just haven’t been sleeping.”

“Kali keeps us busy,” Bastian finished for him.

I didn’t care enough to ask what was going on with Kali Marx. Since our senior year of high school, the two assholes had been sharing the senator’s daughter like a toy. Alex was my obsession, and they had theirs.

“I hope you told Kali to stay home,” Marcello said to Bastian.

“Yeah. Kali won’t get in the way. She knows better.”

Like Alex, Kali was good at running away. Whenever shit got tough, she bailed on my brothers. No matter how much she fought them, they wanted her more.

I understood that shit on a whole other level because of Alex. She could do the worst thing imaginable—like run away and almost get herself killed by international criminals—and I would still want her.

I had every plan to spank her ass for putting herself in danger. She would feel my wrath for defying me. But first, I had to find her.

“We’re chasing the wrong lead,” I said to Drake. “Pull up the feeds again.”

Drake gripped the iPad and flipped through the screens of security footage. I shifted my weight to calm my nerves, doing my best not to let anyone see how much Alex’s kidnapping affected me.

I considered myself a patient man. I’d waited years for Alex. To get her back, I had to exercise the same patience. One wrong move and I would never see her again.

“Cello,” Sonny yelled from the lawn.

Sonny had a thing with nicknames. He knew better than to give me one.

Marcello turned his head. “Got anything new?”

“I almost missed it.” Sonny groaned as he approached us. “I was looking for unusual travel patterns. They planned this. I double-checked with the harbormaster in Beacon Bay. He said a small vessel left the port at its regularly scheduled time. We were looking for irregularities, not already scheduled trips.”

Sonny’s family owned the largest shipping company in the world. No one knew more about traveling by water than Sonny.

“Spit it out,” I growled.

He narrowed his eyes at me, looking as tired as the rest of us. His short blond hair was messy and falling into his eyes. “They’re traveling by sea.”

“Not possible,” Drake spit back. “I followed the Mercedes van to the Lincoln Tunnel.”

“Do the math, Drake.” Sonny shook his head. “There’s no way they could have gotten from Devil’s Creek to the Lincoln Tunnel in that amount of time. The van must have been a decoy to throw us off. Somehow they moved Alex by boat and without raising suspicions.”

I tipped my head. “Do you have a lead?”

Sonny nodded. “They stopped at Mystic Harbor.”

“Drake, find them,” I ordered.

His fingers glided across the iPad. “I’m on it.”

A few seconds later, Drake shoved the screen in my face. Two men wearing dark shirts and pants carried a drugged Alex off a boat. Another two men followed. They dumped her on the dock, bound and gagged. She looked conscious, her eyes slightly open as she struggled against her restraints.

One man answered a phone call. The group exchanged words before a tall man with long, black hair lifted Alex. They walked to the parking lot, backs facing the camera, and dumped Alex into the trunk of a black sedan.

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