Spirit Page 73

Finally an operator picked up. “Nine-one-one emergency, do you need police, fire, or ambulance?”

All the words fell out of Hunter’s mouth in a rush. He sounded about twelve years old.

It wasn’t until he started speaking that he realized he was crying.

“Someone’s shooting at us. I need the police. I need—”

The front door started to move.

Hunter dropped the phone and had the gun in his hand.

He drew back the hammer. “Freeze or I’ll shoot.”

In that instant, he meant it. If that door moved half an inch, he was pulling the trigger.

The door didn’t move. Nothing moved. Hunter was acutely aware of his breath echoing in the air around him, of Kate’s blood, a warmth that was slowly seeping into his own jeans.

The shooter’s gun went off, splintering the door and sending a round into the floor at Hunter’s feet.

He swore and jerked Kate back, trying to pull her toward the kitchen and keep his gun pointed at the same time. She cried out.

Then she said, “The address. Say the address.”

His phone was on the floor five feet away, but the display was lit up. The call was still live.

“Chautauga,” he called. He didn’t know the street number.

“Blue house at the end of Chautauga Court. Just off Ritchie—”

Another shot came through the door.

It killed his phone.

Hunter fired back. It hit the upper left quadrant of the door and took out a good chunk of wood.

But he didn’t hear anything. Kate was shaking against him.

Hell, he was probably shaking against her. His pulse was a thunderous rush in his ears, and his mouth had gone completely dry.

He kept the gun pointed, waiting for movement. Sound. Anything.


He pulled the trigger.

The gun clicked empty.

Impossible. He’d only fired once. He pulled the trigger again. The hammer slammed into place, making a loud metallic click.

No spark. No kick in his hand.

No bullet flying out to stop their opponent.

The door swung wide, and Hunter gathered Kate, intending to bolt into the kitchen.

If he could even make it that far.

She felt limp in his arms, and he wondered how much blood she’d lost. It wasn’t pooling on the ground, but his sweatshirt looked like it had soaked up quite a bit.

“Freeze,” said a voice thick with an accent. “Or not. I can shoot you while you move just as easily.”

Hunter kept his gun up, because it looked better than nothing. “I can shoot you back.”

Silver raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t you having some difficulty with the ignition? Funny when the spark just won’t happen, isn’t it?”

Hunter stared at him and didn’t want to lower the weapon—was Silver saying he’d done something to prevent the gun from firing? That would take an insane amount of control, especially from this distance.

“Go to hell,” rasped Kate.

“I gave you a chance, Hunter,” said Silver. “One chance. And while you were allowing known Elementals to escape, I was doing a bit of research about you. Turns out your father wasn’t quite the man I thought he was.”

“I don’t know what that means,” Hunter said. He didn’t care, either, but talking meant no one was dying.

“I think you know what he did. You’re living proof.”

“Shoot him again,” Kate breathed. “Just . . . try.”

Hunter cocked the hammer, but now that Silver was talking, he didn’t really want him to stop.

Silver didn’t look concerned. “You both know what I came here to do. You know and you chose the wrong side. You both know the penalty.”

Then he drew back the hammer of his gun.

“Wait!” cried Hunter.

“No.” Silver’s finger pulled back on the trigger. But the shot went way off target.

Because Casper was just there, tackling Silver in a snarling hundred-pound mass of muscle and fur and teeth. Silver went down. The dog’s jaws locked around his forearm, and the gun went skittering across the foyer floor.

The man was swearing, trying to get free, but Casper was a trained police dog.

Taking down a man with a gun was something he knew how to do.

Hunter felt giddy with relief.

“Run,” whispered Kate. Her fingers were clutching Hunter’s. Her lips were pale.

Then Hunter had her in his arms, and they were bolting past Silver and through the door. Sirens were screaming somewhere down the street.

He wondered if Casper could hold Silver off long enough to wait for the police—because Kate sure needed an ambulance.

But then Casper yelped, and Silver was stretching for his firearm.

Hunter all but flung Kate into the passenger seat, practically throwing himself in after her. “Casper!” he called. “Hierr!”

Then he had the ignition started and the car in gear.

No way he could go down the driveway; the street would be packed with cops in a second.

Thank god he had a jeep. He slammed his foot into the accelerator and the car shot forward into the backyard.

“Casper!” he called again.

The dog came galloping around the side of the house, tearing through the yard. Hunter hit the brakes and the dog leapt through the window, barely avoiding Kate.

Silver came flying around the corner next.

Hunter floored it. A gun fired. The jeep took a hit but kept moving.

Almost as an afterthought, Hunter ducked, grabbing Kate’s shoulder and shoving her down. The car barreled over rocks and underbrush, and he aimed for the widest opening between the trees.

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