Blind Fury (Men of Steele Book 1)(5)

By: Gwen Hernandez

Irreversibly, irrevocably gone.

In the biggest picture on the mantle, her family of five was laughing on the beach during a Christmas trip to Hilton Head thirteen years ago. She’d been twelve, Jimmy ten, and Rob seventeen. Now she was the only one left. A reckless driver had seen to that. Her parents had died instantly, but Jimmy had hung on in a coma for six months before finally letting go. Rob had been fresh out of the Air Force with plans to go to school, but Jimmy’s medical bills were staggering. So Rob had gone to work for Claymore instead.

Tears splashed onto the shiny wood between her hands, beading up on the buffed surface. If it were possible for a person’s heart to burst from too much grief, she’d be joining Rob any second. She wanted to curl into a ball and hide in the dark where she could cry her guts out.

Instead, she stayed glued to the floor until her legs went numb and she was out of tears.

God, she had to get a grip. With a deep breath, she wiped her eyes and stood on shaky legs. Her knees were sore, her toes tingling. She leaned against the front door and snatched up her tote bag from the floor where she must have dropped it. The interview.

Somehow she managed to hold it together long enough to call Travers & West. The secretary clucked in sympathy at her reason for canceling, but explained that she couldn’t reschedule. They had plenty of applicants and would probably fill the job tomorrow. Jenna didn’t have the energy to push the issue.

She slammed the phone down on the kitchen counter and stumbled down the stairs to her one-car garage. The tiny space was stacked to the rafters with boxes labeled in neat print. Soon Rob’s things would join them, and her entire family would be reduced to belongings packed lovingly into cardboard. Some people went to a cemetery to commune with their lost loved ones. Jenna hung out in her garage with the boxes. Maybe she was crazy, but it helped.

“It’s too much!” she shouted into the whitewashed room as tears threatened again.

Had she wronged someone in a past life? Done something heinous as a child that she’d blocked out? Maybe the Ryan family had picked up a curse somewhere along the way. She laughed—an unbalanced sound—and smoothed her hand across a box of travel souvenirs.

Jimmy’s Swiss Army knife from Lucerne, a set of blue and white Delft plates from Holland, an obi—a Japanese kimono sash—her mother had picked up in Tokyo. Bits and pieces of the Ryans’ short lives, wrapped in paper and taped up because while she had no place for all the things left behind, she couldn’t bear to let them go.

She wiped her eyes and slumped against the wall. She’d give anything to have Rob walk through that door with a hundred-watt smile and lift her into a bear hug. In fact, a hug would be really great right about now.

Tara would be there in an instant if she called, no question, but Jenna wasn’t ready to share her pain yet. Instead, she sat there among her boxes until her joints turned stiff.

Finally, she stood and dusted herself off before turning out the lights, and slowly made her way back upstairs. She’d call her friend later. Right now, there was only one thing that could make her feel better. She changed back into her workout clothes and set off for a nearby trail.

Maybe if she ran hard enough, she could outrun the pain.

“What did you find?” Ghost asked the imbecile on the other end of the line as he stared through the floor-to-ceiling window at the sun setting over the Potomac River.

“Nothing more than the documents I took off Ryan’s body. Fury got to his things before I could.”

“And you’re sure Ryan had more evidence?” He squeezed the phone until it dug sharply into his palm. Between these idiots and the asshole who’d discovered them, everything was at risk. The contracts, the money, the company. Everything.

“Yes, sir,” Beavis said. “Rizzo saw him taking pictures.”

“Fuck.” He had just over a week to clean up this mess or everything that he’d worked so hard to accomplish would crumble between his fingers like a clod of dirt.

“I thought we might be able to get to his bag on the plane back to the States, but Fury kept it with him, and there were too many people around.”

Ghost sucked in a deep breath. A good leader didn’t lose his cool. “There’s too much at stake for this to get out.” He rubbed his forehead. Goddammit. None of this shit was supposed to follow them to the States. “Find any evidence and destroy it before he and the girl figure out what they have.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And if they get in the way…”

“I’ll take care of it, sir.”