Life's Little Edge

Roselle Graskey

I'm back did you miss me? Thanks to everyone for being patient. I'm moved and almost organized now with a new email address so please keep that in mind. Yes, I put in below. Also I figured y'all had waited long enough for this, so this section has not gone through the beta process. That's totally my fault remember no throwing things at my head.

Disclaimers: This is an original work of fiction. It's really not an Uber. This is my first foray on the web, so be kind if you can. Feel free to check out my website for my book October Echoes which is published by Renaissance Alliance Publishing. I'm not that good so please no copying this without my permission.

Subtext: Are you kidding? Of course there's subtext and yes there's sex involved. So if you live where two women aren't allowed that sort of thing move on and I suggest moving toward a more enlightened state. If you are not of legal age, don't force me to go to jail…just move along and wait till you're of age.

Violence: Yes, nothing too graphic or bloody. A fistfight or two and the normal 'went to war' violence. There is mention of child abuse again nothing graphic.

Feedback: Only if you feel like it. If you have something to share I would love to hear it, but if you're going to try and flame me or just feel like bashing be warned it'll just get tossed in the bin. You can reach me at or you can check out my website:

Thanks to Carrie Carr and the gang on Carries e-group. It's their fault so yell at them, I am totally innocent. Thank you Packer for doing the beta on this scary thing. Have I mentioned that I hate, just hate editing.

This one is for my girl. I love you best.

Chapter 21

Boomer parked his bike next to Cage's car with a grin. The playful glances she shot in his direction sent all the blood in his brain south. He followed her through the halls and to her room without thinking about anything other than the fun that they would be having soon. He couldn't recall a woman he wanted this much in a very long time. He was sure that he'd lost his chance the night he'd been forced to frisk her. It had been entirely difficult to keep his hands from straying.

Cage flashed a seductive grin over her shoulder as she keyed the lock pushing the door open. Watching him enter the room, she felt a slight disappointment when she closed the door and secured the deadbolt. Her original plans for him did not include what she was going to do this evening. It was a shame really. He was definitely her type of guy and it would have been fun. She pushed the thought away and let her professional self fall into place.

Boomer took a couple of his large steps into the room momentarily confused by the bottle of whiskey and two glasses, one of which was half full. He shrugged it off. Turning to face Cage he found himself staring into the business end of a silencer. He stopped cold in his tracks. There was nothing playful in her glance now. Cage enjoyed the fear and instant realization in his eyes that he was truly screwed.

"Not exactly the night you planned, I'm sure." She said casually. "You can come out now, Tommy."

Thomas stepped out of the dark bathroom. Silently as he walked around his sister and tied the biker's wrists together with the flexible plastic cuffs. He ignored the man's grunt of pain as he tugged it securely tight, maybe just a notch tighter than necessary. Thomas winked at his sister before moving away to take his seat next to the glass of whiskey. This was his sister's game to play. He was here as back up and witness.

"Boomer, I'll explain to you how this is going to work," she finally broke the silence. She watched his eyes flick in her direction, still laced with confusion and fear. "I am going to ask questions and you are going to answer. Honestly, I should add."

"Who the hell are you?" He asked if only to hear the sound of his own voice. He wished that it didn't sound so scared.

Cage settled the end of the silencer against the side of his right cheek. "See, now that's not part of the game. You don't get to ask anything. If, only if I feel like it will you get any explanation. Do you understand this game now? You can nod your head if you do." She watched him wrestle with the idea that he was not in control, she was. He nodded carefully.

Not bothering to remove the metal from his face, she pushed him backward until he was roughly two and a half feet from the wall then grabbing a handful of shirt she stopped him. She walked to his side placing her foot behind his left heel to keep him in place and pushed his shoulders and neck against the wall. She knew well what it would do to his body and his mind. His face flushed with the immediate pressure.

"You want a drink, sis?" Thomas' casual tone matched hers even though he was intrigued by the new technique.

"Maybe later." She answered moving back into the biker's view. "I think I can take this away for now." She waved the pistol slightly to make sure she had his attention. She heard the whiskey pour into the glass but didn't remove her eyes from the man braced against the wall. She waited to really start wanting him uncomfortable and close to the edge. She doubted that anyone had ever put him in a position like this. When it was done to her, she lasted maybe half an hour the first time.

"Spyder owns you?" She asked suddenly after the long silence.

"Yeah." Boomer answered without hesitation. There was no point in lying to her, she already knew that much.

"I think he's getting the idea of this little game, Tommy."

"We'll see." Thomas' reply was non-committal.

Cage nodded her agreement. "Maybe that one was too easy. Okay, Boomer, let's try something harder, shall we? You were there the night Hank ordered that car off the road at Moody's Gap?"

Boomer struggled against the wall for a second. It only increased the pain and pressure. "Yeah." He was amazed at how much energy the small struggle was. "I was there." It came out as a low grunt and he lowered his eyes.

"Look at me, Boomer." She waited until he complied. "I can play this game longer than you could believe possible."

"You are crazy." Boomer didn't care if he pissed her off. If he were lucky, she would just kill him.

Cage laughed slightly. "Of course I am but that's really not the issue here. I have the tape." She didn't raise her voice or change her casual tone and she could tell it scared the hell out of him. Men were so easy sometimes. Take away the idea of control and they would tell you anything, especially if confronted with their own perception of the truth. "Why did Spyder order that car off the road?"

Boomer struggled with the burning sensation in his lower back. He tried to breathe. "She was running…they thought she knew too…much."

"What did she know?"

"Names. She knew the names of guys Spyder has…in his pocket. I don't know how she got them. Damn it, I can't breathe." He admitted trying to get more oxygen.

"You have something in common with the two women who died that night then." Thomas couldn't help but point out just before he took a steadying sip of his drink.

"Tommy always has been the observant type." Cage purred as Boomer's face turned another subtle shade of red. She wasn't worried about him. All she would have to do was pull him slightly forward to ease his pain and then she would start again. "What was so important about that?"

Boomer closed his eyes as he answered. "Cops…politicians…" he blew out a shallow breath. "They protect Spyder… for a cut."

"Why did you let her die?" Cage asked the most difficult question. It wouldn't be the last but she really wanted the answer.

"Didn't want to…you saw what happened…" he rasped.

"I saw gutless. I saw spineless. I saw zero balls." Cage replied coldly.

"Couldn't…" he tried as the spots danced in front of his eyes. "Too much time…" his ears began to ring.

Cage stepped on his toes, stretching him further. As his body moved to accommodate the new strain, his eyes popped open. She knew it would clear his head if only for a moment or two. He drew in a measure more of air and his color evened out slightly.

"Too much time what?" She leaned in closer letting him see her eyes.

"Too much time…invested…" he whispered and swallowed hard.

She released her foot and he slumped back against the wall. Even that small impact stole his precious air again. He managed a groan before the pain settled back in and the sweat trickled down his neck.

"Kinda hurts don't it?" There was an almost clinical quality to her voice. "Makes you wonder how much it hurt to bleed to death. The autopsy report said she had five broken ribs and a punctured lung. That's not what killed her though was it? It was the blood rushing out from that gash in her throat. "

"Who the hell…are you?" He asked not sure if he was going to get an answer.

Cage's smile never touched her eyes. "I am the only chance you have."

Boomer mulled the answer in his fading brain. It was hard to think with the ringing and spots returning. "Wallet." He managed as his world faded.

Cage saw it coming and quickly helped him down. She wanted answers more than she wanted to hurt him physically. If need be it could be arranged later. Tommy was by her side almost immediately.

"Hey, Cage…let me know if I ever piss you off." He sounded entirely serious.

"Don't worry, Tommy. Mom would kill me if I did this to you." She said with a small smile. "Check his wallet." She rolled the biker on to his stomach as the papers and money contained in leather fell to the ground. Looking at his hands she knew that Thomas had exacted a small amount of revenge with the cuffs. Boomer's wrists would be screaming if she ever let him go. She heard Thomas turning the wallet inside out then suddenly stop.

A plastic card appeared over her shoulder. "You know, we might have to cut him free." Thomas said flatly.

Cage took the card flipping it over to read. The face on the card was definitely Boomer, even if he looked scruffier in person. Richard Mathis seemed like such a normal name for the figure on the ground, even as the initials DEA stared at her.

"Well this certainly makes life interesting, don't it?" she asked her brother.


Candace pounded on O'Malley's front door mindful of the pain that flared in her hand. Looking back at Donna's face she forgot the pain knowing that she was doing the right thing. She knocked again wondering if Terri and O'Malley were even home. All the lights were off including the front porch and she didn't see the truck in the drive.

Donna whimpered softly as a car pulled up to the stop sign down the street then turned. She was grateful for the dark as she pressed deeper in the shadows. While standing on O'Malley's porch wasn't her first choice she understood that it might be her only choice. She just wished that someone would answer the door before Hank could find her and make good on his promise. She also wished that this would all go away. She heard Candace pound on the door again.

"Awful late for a visit, ladies." O'Malley said quietly as she stepped into view. She watched as both women jumped at the sound of her voice.

"Jesus, that's not nice." Candace complained after she caught her breath.

"It's two in the morning, Candace." O'Malley reminded her as she tucked the Sig into her waistband.

"I know. I'm sorry but we…" she started to explain.

"Come on around this way. We can talk inside." She interrupted as she looked around. Donna hesitated suddenly aware that O'Malley could just hand her over to Spyder who would in turn give her to Hank. "You have a choice, ladies. You can stand out in the open and let whatever's chasing you catch up or you can come in." O'Malley kept her tone even. She could almost smell their fear and felt no need to add to it.

Finally, Candace made the decision for Donna. "Come on." She muttered grabbing a hold of Donna's arm and pulling her down the porch steps. "O'Malley doesn't like Hank, so I don't think she'll give you up to him."

"I hope you're right." Donna sighed giving up control of her fate.

O'Malley watched the two women make their way across her yard and into the side door of the house. She waited to follow them wanting to make sure that they had not brought any more unexpected company. Looking up at the dark heavens she wondered what sick game the fates were playing with her today. After a moment of mental venting she walked into the house closing and locking the door behind her.

As Terri settled the two women on the couch O'Malley lit a candle, placing it on the counter so that at the very least, they wouldn't kill themselves on the furniture. It took a long moment for everyone's vision to adjust to the dim light and gave them all time to shift mental gears. Without a word O'Malley started a pot of coffee, somehow knowing that they might need it before the morning was over.

Donna leaned back into the couch trying to put everything in some sort of mental order and suddenly realized as she looked at Terri and O'Malley, that her sudden appearance had interrupted something. Even in the dim light of the candle she could see that O'Malley's tee shirt was inside out. Terri wore a short robe that covered a minimum of skin and the house smelled of sex. She closed her eyes wondering when the women would tear into her for disturbing them. The hand that patted her on the knee gently came as a surprise.

"It's okay." Terri said softly as she removed her hand. "I'm going to get some clothes on and then we'll talk."

Donna nodded mutely. Terri's reaction was not what she expected nor was O'Malley's silence. For a while the only sounds were the coffee maker and Terri rummaging around in the bedroom. A muted thud and a colorful curse broke the stillness. Terri emerged in one of O'Malley's shirts and sweats. Her limp gave them all an idea of what caused the curse.

She smiled in the candlelight as O'Malley handed her a mug of coffee. "Thanks." Terri whispered.

"Anytime. You okay?" she asked suddenly concerned.

"Yeah but your disgruntled nightstand attacked me." She chuckled as her lover reached for another coffee mug.

"I have it programmed to protect my shirts." O'Malley answered as she poured coffee. Handing it to Terri she gestured towards the two dancers. "You take this one, I'll get the other two."

Terri nodded taking the cup. Watching where she walked, Terri managed to get the cup to Donna without spilling or taking out anymore furniture. She sat next to the still shaken woman not missing the tremble in her hands when she accepted the coffee. O'Malley was not long in taking up residence in her favorite chair. She waited until the obviously scared dancer was ready to talk.

Finally, Donna was composed enough. "I'm sorry for coming here like this but Rhea and Candy said you could help. I think I'm desperate enough to believe them." Donna took a deep breath wishing there were something stronger than coffee in her cup. "Hank's been after me to turn tricks for some of his high dollar clients. I kept telling him no. I might take my clothes off to earn my money but I'm not whoring for it. Tonight he said that if I didn't turn tricks, he would tell Spyder that I've been running my mouth about things I shouldn't." The fear in her voice was two fold.

"Rhea and I think that someone heard us the night of the party. They told Hank and now he's trying to use it." Candace filled in the gap.

"What's so different about tonight?" O'Malley wondered out loud.

"Huh?" The question caught Candace flatfooted.

"How long has he been wanting you to trick, Donna?" O'Malley couldn't help but be blunt as she took a careful sip of her coffee.

"Close to a year now. He had a couple of the other girls doing that but now he's after me." She answered quietly.

"So, why now?" Terri understood what O'Malley was getting at. Why would he pressure her hard now?

"He needs the money." Candace supplied and looked at Terri and O'Malley like they were idiots.

"He's got a shit load of money." Terri snorted. "He keeps it in his safe. Everyone knows that."

Donna and Candace exchanged an odd look before Candace spoke again "Where the hell have you two been tonight?"

"I worked 'til nine and then we came back here. You'll just have to use your imagination to figure out what we were doing." Terri leered and blushed at the same time. O'Malley managed to hold back a laugh.

"All night?" For some reason Candace just had to ask as she looked at O'Malley.

"Don't look at me. I was ready to go to sleep two hours ago." O'Malley kept a straight face.

"We'll talk about that lie later." Terri threatened. "What happened tonight?"

Donna took a breath. "Half the club burned down. Everyone got out okay but the place is totally trashed. When the fire department finally put it out Hank, went right for his office, well what used to be his office. I guess the safe was open when it all started because he came out white as a sheet and started yelling at Trey."

"Trey was there?" O'Malley couldn't keep the surprise from her voice. Her mind started putting pieces together.

"Yeah. Thumper got out of the hospital today so they were having a good time. Well, he wasn't but the rest of them were." Donna answered setting her coffee cup on the table. "Hank talked to Trey and a few minutes later he's in my face telling me that I'm going to turn tricks for him." Her eyes searched O'Malley's face. "I know there's nothing I could ever do to pay you back but I really need your help. If he goes to Spyder, I'm dead."

O'Malley didn't take long to make her decision. She knew she would help the dancer as soon as she heard Stillman's name. She shook her head absently to cut off the familiar anger. Hearing a low breath coming from one of the women in the room she refocused her attention. Donna was close to tears.

"Sorry, that wasn't a no. I had to think for a second." She apologized wanting to kick herself for adding to the woman's fear.

"Jeesh, O'Malley, give the woman a heart attack, why don't you?" Candace scolded from stress.

"It's almost three in the morning Candace, cut me some slack huh?" O'Malley shot back even as her brain churned. "Who knows you're here?"

"Rhea. She drove us over." Candace admitted with a small smile.

"But she lost her license." Terri was confused again. She loved Rhea and her partner in crime but the two women occasionally drove her nuts.

"My car's in the shop. Someone had to drive." Candace reasoned.

"If she gets pulled over any where close to here, we might be fucked." Terri said as the consequences started to sink in. "Spyder's got cops all over this town. It won't take a rocket scientist to figure out where she was coming from."

O'Malley took in the information and digested it slowly. "Let's hope she doesn't get pulled over." She muttered pushing slowly out of her chair. She walked into the bedroom searching for her cell phone. Cage would probably kill her for calling at this hour, not that she expected the woman to be asleep by any means. She found her cell phone and the corner of the nightstand. From the short laugh that sounded in the living room, she knew Terri had heard. She sighed as she dialed the number.

The other end rang as she walked back to her coffee cup and sipped on it. She hung up when the voice mail message filled her ear. She had to think for a minute before she remembered the second number. As she dialed, Terri rose from her spot and took the cup from her hands. O'Malley watched her pour a refill and walk back.

"This had better be a fucking emergency." Cage slurred into the phone.

"It's me and it is an emergency." O'Malley cringed as she answered. She would have rather faced interrupting Cage during sex instead of waking her up.

"Damn, O'Malley, do you know what time it is?"

"Yeah, I do. I need a major favor. You need to call me back when you're more awake?" O'Malley crossed her mental fingers. She could hear Cage sitting up.

"No I'm good. What do you need?" Cage's brain started slowly to work.

"I have three little refugee's I need to hide away. Can they stay at your cabin and can I have some cover for them?" O'Malley knew that she would be using up major favor points if Cage said yes.

Terri and the two dancers listened to O'Malley's end of the conversation and tried to make some sense out of it. Candace gave up and went for a coffee refill as Donna hung on every word that fell from O'Malley's mouth. It was hard for her to sit and do nothing while other's made decisions that might keep her alive. She silently promised anything to be able to keep living.

"You can have the cabin. It might take me a little while to get some cover set up." Cage mumbled sleepily. Her brain was having a hard time catching up to her body. "Get your refugees started on the way. I'll start working on the cover. You owe me steak and vodka for a year just for waking me up."

O'Malley chuckled. "You're all heart, Cage."

"I could make it more you know. Give me two hours to get some things worked out. I'll call you back. You're lucky I don't have to work tomorrow." Cage said just before she cut the connection.

"We're on." O'Malley informed her guests as she pocketed her phone. She looked at Candace. "Can you get a hold of Rhea?"

"Yeah. I know where she was going."

"Good. I'm going to pick her up and then we're all taking a road trip." She announced and ignored the stunned expressions on three faces. "Terri, this time pack light."


O'Malley groaned as she stepped out of the truck hoping to hell that her body would forgive her sometime soon. Five hours of driving with little sleep and a lot of stress was taking its toll. She tagged a mental note to talk to Cage about the seriously rutted road she had spent the last forty minutes bouncing around on. Walking up to the front of the cabin she let her eyes roam the surrounding land.

The area around the cabin, out to twenty yards, was clear of any vegetation giving her a full view. She knew, from experience, that the back end of the cabin would look the same. Cage liked a clear field of fire and she approved. Walking a slow circle she listened to the sounds of nature. It was quiet but not overly so that she worried. The approach of the truck would have scared the animal population into silence.

Taking a deep breath she detected nothing human in the scents that surrounded her. While Cage liked her solitude when she could get it, she was still paranoid as hell sometimes. O'Malley didn't blame her one bit. Her friend's profession was a dangerous one and having a cabin this far away from civilization served more than one purpose. Here, Cage could unwind and work on her human side. She could also hide those who needed to disappear for a while.

Terri finished rousing the three dancers wondering how they could have slept through the trip over the bumpy road and walked to O'Malley's side. She noticed the way her lover held her body and slightly narrowed eyes. She knew the woman was in pain. She'd seen that look far too often lately. Laying a gentle hand on O'Malley's arm she got her attention.

"How are you doing?" Terri's concern was hard to hide.

"I'm okay but could I talk you into lending me your hands later?" O'Malley failed at the smile she attempted. "My back is killing me."

Terri nodded. "Sure. I think those three are just going to crash for a while. Let's get settled and then I'll help you out with that."

O'Malley looped her arm around Terri's shoulder and together they walked to the front door stopping long enough for O'Malley to find the hidden key. Five very tired and stressed women entered the sanctuary of Cage's cabin. O'Malley watched as they wandered around the space with something close to amusement. Their surprised expressions were priceless and almost worth the trip up. The cabin sported three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and plenty of space to move around. The crowning glory was the almost medieval fireplace that dominated the living room area.

"Welcome to Cage's place." O'Malley smiled tiredly. "You three can fight over the other two bedrooms but Terri and I get the master."

The three dancers all agreed willingly as they chose rooms then drifted off to settle their few bags. Each woman had left home with little more than the clothes on their backs and they all thanked the powers that be for twenty-four hour Wal-marts. O'Malley sank gratefully onto the couch and closed her eyes for just a moment. She felt the overwhelming wave of tiredness as it washed in. All she really wanted to do was curl up around Terri and sleep.

Terri came back into the room after dropping the overnight bag into the master bedroom and watched her lover for a moment. She didn't miss the dark circles under closed eyes or the way she held her body. While she wanted to go to bed she knew that there were still things to accomplish. She walked over to the couch and shook her lover. O'Malley's eyes opened slowly. A sure sign that she was wiped out.

"Baby, you wanted to call Cage when we got here." She reminded gently as she handed over the cell phone. "I'll check on the girls."

O'Malley rubbed her face as Terri walked away. If she weren't so damned tired, she would have enjoyed the view of a retreating ass. She dialed the number and waited. "We're here." She announced when Cage answered the phone.

"You made good time. You beat the cover team by about an hour. You remember Jimmy Herredia?" Cage asked with a fond sound.

O'Malley smiled. "Yeah. He's a good kid."

"Well, he's all yours until further notice. He's bringing three guys with him. If I know him, your refugees will be safe and sound for the duration." Cage was all business. "Go ahead and fire up the surveillance system. I've modified it a little since the last time you were there and I changed code words." O'Malley memorized the code word immediately and took note of the changes as Cage rattled them off quickly. As tired as she was her brain still accepted the information quickly. "You carrying?"

O'Malley snorted a short laugh. "I got the Sig with me." She tried to keep the sarcasm out of her voice and succeeded only marginally.

"If you get any company, just know that there's firepower down in the cellar. Door code is gambit. You gonna be okay?" Cage's voice edged into concern.

"Yeah. I'll wait till Jimmy gets here and then I'm gonna crash. Terri and I have to stay a couple of days to keep to the story. After that, it's back to the grind. Cage, thank you." She wouldn't have disguised the honesty in her voice even if she'd felt like it.

"Stop it, Callan. I'll see you in a few days. I should have the SAW's soon. I'll call you as soon as I know."

"That fast?" O'Malley was surprised. She knew Cage had many contacts but this was quicker than usual.

"Yeah. I had to sweeten the deal but I figure the quicker we get it done, the quicker this will all be over." She sounded far away for a second and returned to the line again. "Hey, O'Malley?"


"You better change the sheets on my bed when you leave." Cage teased suddenly back to usual self. "And no, you can't use my toys." The line went dead as soon as the sentence was out of her mouth.

O'Malley stood in the middle of the living room almost shocked. After a moment she chuckled. She would make sure they changed the sheets but she made no promises concerning Cage's toys hidden away in the nightstand. She sighed knowing that it was an empty threat. The next couple of days were business not pleasure. Her eyes stole to the clock. Fifty-five more minutes or so and she could get some sleep.

Terri's hand on her shoulder almost made her jump. "You don't get points for that." She grumbled at Terri's satisfied smile.

"Yeah I do. I felt you move." Terri insisted with a yawn. "The girls are out. Donna didn't even make it under the covers." She relayed as she guided them to the couch.

"I wish we could do the same. Cage has some contacts coming over. They should be here in an hour or so. You don't have to stay up with me. I know you're tired." She offered.

Terri shook her head slowly. "I owe you a massage. If I go to sleep now you won't get it. Is Cage very mad?" She asked leaning against O'Malley.

"Not about the cabin, maybe about waking her up." O'Malley joked. "She said we have to make sure to change her sheets and we're not allowed to play with her toys." The pout was no where near genuine.

"We'll see about that." Terri teased with another yawn. "Can I ask you a question?"

"You can ask. I don't guarantee I'll answer." O'Malley said as she leaned her head on the couch.

"Where does Cage get all these contacts?" Terri held her breath after asking and hoped that O'Malley trusted her enough to answer.

O'Malley considered the question wondering why she almost felt confident enough to let Terri in on the secret. In her tired state, her brain wasn't working on all cylinders and she found herself answering honestly.

"Cage has had a very interesting professional life, not all of it good. Let's just say that once upon a time, she was a spook for the military and she kept some of those contacts." O'Malley answered quietly.

"Are you sure she's done with it?" Terri wasn't sure why the question fell from her lips and it was impossible to take it back.

"I don't know." O'Malley admitted quietly. "Sometimes I think so. They took so much from her back then I thought it was over. But now, honestly I can't say yes or no. Sometimes I think she's done and sometimes I think she's still in. Some people live their whole lives and nothing interesting happens to them. They go to work, they go home and they go to sleep then it starts all over again. She lives for the edge baby, and she loves it. If she's working for them again, I wouldn't blame her." There was something wistful in O'Malley's words.

"You miss it, don't you? Being on the edge." It was a question and a statement at the same time.

O'Malley sighed out loud. "Yeah, I do. It was a rush, you know? I can't explain it to you but I was good."

"Tell me." Terri practically begged. This was something she wanted and needed to know. It was a part of O'Malley and Callan that she would never be able to touch unless the woman shared with her. There was no one else awake to hear the tale and she hoped that her lover would let her in further. She'd noticed over the last few days that O'Malley was just a little more free with her information.

"I was good." O'Malley repeated sighing out her words. "Just take my word for it. I learned well and I'm grateful for the things I learned. I was lucky in a way…I had good teachers."

"I'm glad you did." Terri admitted slowly. She hated to think what would have happened if O'Malley wasn't as well trained as she let on. Her eyelids were quickly sliding downward and she was having a hard time stopping the process.

"You go to sleep, I'll be in as soon as the guys get here." O'Malley urged without moving.

"No. I can wait with you."

Chapter 22

Terri lifted her eyes from the pages of the paperback to read the clock. The earlier thread of worry was beginning to increase in its intensity. O'Malley was not back yet from the errands she said she needed to run. Not that Terri would blame her for getting away from the tense atmosphere in the cabin. O'Malley had asked if she wanted to come along and she had declined. Something in the biker's demeanor screamed a need for alone time and Terri needed some as well.

Five women in close quarters during good circumstances was usually hard enough but three high strung, high maintenance dancers in danger for what might well be the first time in their lives was more like a disaster. Even the cover team had decided that it was probably safer to spend as much time outside as possible. Rhea, Donna and Candace had spent the last thirty-six hours minus sleeping time bickering with everyone. She knew it was a stress thing but it didn't make any easier to deal with.

She and O'Malley had taken the chicken's way out by spending as much time as possible out of the cabin. There had been long walks in the woods talking to each other about everything and nothing. In those hours she found herself thinking of the woman as Callan more often, feeling special that she was trusted with the bits and pieces that made her. She sighed tossing the paperback onto the nightstand and leaning back closed her eyes.

There was something going on in O'Malley's head. That much she could tell but she couldn't begin to guess what it might be. There had been moments where it seemed that O'Malley wanted to tell her something only to back off. The woman was driving her crazy, not in a bad way, and she had no solution for the problem. Terri suddenly felt the sensation of being watched.

"Open your eyes."

Terri instantly relaxed at the sound of her lover's voice. "You've been gone a while." She whispered.

"Please open your eyes."

Terri did as asked seeing O'Malley leaning against the doorframe. There was something different in the way she held her body but she couldn't put her finger on it. O'Malley's gaze was uncertain almost shy as if she was expecting some sort of rejection.

"O'Malley? Are you alright?" Terri couldn't keep the concern out of her voice as she leaned forward in bed.

"That's a very good question." O'Malley said as she moved away from the bedroom door and closed it softly. She felt Terri's eyes watch her as she walked to the bed lying down with a sigh. "Too many thoughts going around in my brain. I think all of this is finally getting to me."

Terri shifted in bed wrapping her arms around the biker. "I'm not surprised. You don't have to do it alone you know? I'm here." She whispered as she curled around the slightly chilled body next to her. "Baby you're cold."

"Yeah, it's a little chilly out there." O'Malley answered quietly. "I walked for a while after I got back. I got one of the guys to bring in the groceries. I just wanted to think for a while. I was gone longer than I thought. Sorry."

"None of that now. Why don't you get out of those clothes? I'll keep you warm." Terri promised as she let lose of her hold. She noticed the slight narrowing of blue eyes. "What's wrong?"

O'Malley closed her eyes letting a small smile surface to her lips. "Nothing really. I just haven't heard that in a while. I think I'll take your advice." She leaned up pulling her tee shirt and sports bra off at the same time without modesty. She let them fall to the floor then made short work of her boots and jeans. Settling under the covers she let out a low sigh of contentment when Terri killed the light and snuggled in close.

Wrapping her arm around the smaller woman she let her eyes close and basked in the feeling of skin on skin. Her brain was still churning but at least here lying next to Terri she felt relaxed and almost content. Inhaling she took in the spicy sweet smell of the woman in her arms as a warm palm danced slow circles on her stomach. They were soothing and she could feel her brain shutting down bit by bit. They lay there in the dark of Cage's bedroom for a long time in silence.


Cage answered her cell phone on the second ring ignoring the irritated expression on Thomas' face. "Cage."

"We're a go. Boomer's info was good and the fuck head is definitely the money man on this one." Jack's voice filled the phone with an almost detached tone.

"How'd you manage that one?" She just had to ask. Jack could work miracles sometimes but this was almost too good to be true.

"He drinks, he talks. Easy if you ask me. Cjerzoki was a little harder but I have my ways."

"Jack, you sure you don't want to work for me?" She tried for maybe the millionth time.

He laughed into the phone. "Hell no. You people are way too scary even for me. I like being almost sane. Besides your retirement package sucks."

"I would have to agree. When?" She was back to business instantly.

"Saturday night 9 PM out at someplace called the dunes. I did some checking with my people and Cjerzoki brings plenty of firepower with him. This one might be a little iffy."

Cage shook her head. "I think I can deal with it now that I know when and where. I want your ass out of here now. If this goes down bad I don't want you caught in the crossfire."

"I knew you loved me." There was laughter in his voice.

"Right. More like I'm afraid of your wife. Go home Jack and give her a hug from me." She cut the connection and looking up relayed the information to the men sitting at the table.

"So the fire was Trey's way to get the cash. Nice." Thomas had to admire the guts to pull that one off even if he felt like killing the guy. "What kind of power vacuum would it cause if he gets the drugs?"

Boomer shook his head. "I'm not sure but it would cause a major shake up inside Spyder's circle. I know him. He'll take out anyone with ties to Trey just to prove a point."

"So why not let the fuck head get the drugs and we have a gang internal war. It might make it easier to get Spyder." Thomas had to put the suggestion on the table.

"Well the problem with that is still Spyder taking out Trey's associates. Unfortunately that includes Terri which would put O'Malley in even more danger." Cage worked it out in her head even as she said it out loud. Another idea sparked in her brain and her eyes darted to Boomer. "What's this dune place?"

"Sand dunes just outside the city. We get freaky wind currents up here sometimes, the dunes is kinda the hot spot. There are only a couple of flat places." Boomer explained and the light bulb went off in his brain. "If O'Malley is right and he's going after 10 keys…it's gonna take a car to get it out. Unless he's got a monster SUV he can only take one of two roads."

Cage nodded. "Would you like Cjerzoki and Trey?" There was something close to childlike in her smile. "I just bet one of the two would roll over. My money would be on fuck head."

Boomer grinned. "It would be nice to get out of this. It's been a long fucking time. I can get a team together for Saturday."

"I can set up the SAW's for delivery on the same night." Cage purred with a sly expression. "If we can I would love to get them both on the same night. It would be even better if Spyder walked in on Trey's little buy. Cjerzoki knows Spyder right?" Cage waited until after Boomer nodded. "So the likelihood of gunfire is reduced. I like that even better."

"You sure about this Cage? O'Malley's gonna be pissed." Thomas had to warn his sister.

"I know. Believe me I know but I'll deal with it myself. And this time little brother you are going home." There was something in her voice that let both men know she wasn't backing down from this one.

"I'm already packed. I knew you would say it so I rented a car when you two were out earlier. I'll leave in the morning." He admitted with a sad grin. "And I got another room just for me."

Cage looked at Boomer. "Such a good boy. Mom raised him from a puppy, you know." She teased feeling easy for the first time in days. "I want you to take the tape and mail it to the state police along the way. I really don't want it traced back to you."

"You got it." He looked at the DEA Agent sitting across from him. "What's that going to do to you?"

"I reported the incident and my involvement as soon as I could. The brass chose not to move on it. They said that this case was my only priority." He answered with a shaky voice. "When it goes public I'm sure I'm gonna take a lot of heat. I'll take though. I really didn't think they would just let her die out there. I would give anything to change that."

Thomas let the words and the demeanor of the man burn in deep. Richard Mathis was just another cop and he couldn't imagine what the man had been forced to endure in order to make his case. For once he was grateful that his shoulder had kept him from being able to go into law enforcement. There were some things he just would not have been able to stand by and watch. He nodded his head and kissed his sister good night. He walked out of the door and to his new room deep in thought. A lump formed in his throat at that thought that his friend was going to be extremely angry with Cage. Angry was too easy a word for it he knew but he had no other words for what O'Malley was going to feel.


Terri walked the path in bare feet enjoying the coolness on her skin. She navigated by memory. She and O'Malley had walked to the hammock many times in the last day and a half. It was their temporary refuge. She made a mental note to have one set up in her yard if she ever got back to her place. In the dark she felt almost comfortable. Here she could hide from the truth of who she thought she was. A low sigh escaped her lips.

She had felt a momentary panic when her eyes had earlier opened, her hand searching for O'Malley's warmth. The spot next to her was empty and instantly awake she waited, almost afraid that her lover would not return. Finally she decided that if O'Malley would not come to her she would go to O'Malley. She could do nothing else and there was no other choice. She wasn't used to chasing the woman in her life but then she had never met anyone like Callan O'Malley.

As she walked Terri let her mind drift over the enigma that was the woman who shared her bed. She was rouge and gentleman, hard and soft, tender and harsh all at the same time. Terri would have closed her eyes but the last thing she wanted was to trip and break an ankle. She was however sure that if it happened a certain knight in scared leather would come to her rescue. She turned the bend in the path and noticed the hammock swaying slightly in the night.

"Terri." O'Malley murmured quietly in greeting.

"You know that is entirely unnerving." Terri chuckled when her heart started beating again.

"Why do you think I do it?" O'Malley teased and lifted her head to look at the woman. "Come on in." She invited with an outstretched hand.

Terri closed the distance quickly and carefully sank next to O'Malley. "You were gone."

"Sorry. I couldn't sleep. I didn't want to keep you awake." O'Malley admitted as she settled an arm under her head.

"I wasn't until I figured out you were gone. Aren't you cold?" she asked as she shivered just a bit.

"Nah, been colder. But that's a story for another night." O'Malley smiled and relaxed a bit more.

"And why is that?" There was a teasing quality in Terri's voice.

"Oh, just one of those O'Malley was stupid kind of stories that you have to get me drunk to tell." O'Malley admitted without the usual wry embarrassed smile. After a moment she wrapped her free arm around Terri easing her closer.

They snuggled together watching the available stars in comfortable silence. O'Malley let her eyes dance across the stars and sighed, content to just lay back and do nothing but feel. She tightened her embrace in reassurance when Terri's fingers stilled their pattern on her arm. After a moment the pattern renewed. She smiled as the goosebumps rippled in the wake.

Terri said nothing as she shifted in the hammock so that she was leaning on O'Malley's body. She wanted a kiss and more. She couldn't identify why she felt like she needed to touch the woman lying under her. Her fingers found their way under the heavy cotton of O'Malley's shirt and she let her fingernails trace up and back down the tight stomach. She could feel the quivering and a surge of desire ran though her. Leaning her head slightly her lips captured O'Malley's mouth with a gentle possessiveness. She was surprised when the biker let her kiss and taste and nibble to her heart's content.

When she deepened the kiss she felt O'Malley's hands tighten slightly in her hair, not taking control only participating and giving consent. Embolden Terri kissed with everything she had in her. Even though they'd had sex many times this time felt different somehow. There was something softer to each action, each touch and kiss. Opening her eyes, staring into a dark blue she saw the same thing she was feeling. She pulled away and slowly lifted her shirt off her body almost shy in her offering.

Torn between wanting to take and give, Callan decided to give. Wrapping her arms around Terri's waist she pulled closer and let her lips close reverently over the closest raised nipple. Where in the past she teased quickly this time she went slowly. Tongue and lips brushing lightly, savoring the treat that was offered to her. She alternated between both nipples, taking her time and making sure that not an inch of breast was ignored. Terri's whimpers of pleasure told her when to speed up and when to slow down. She wanted to take her time, wanted to give Terri every moment she deserved.

Terri felt herself moving against her lover and looking down she caught the tender expression on O'Malley's face. Her heart soared for a moment, as she suddenly understood what she was seeing. This was not O'Malley touching her it was Callan. She slid her hand back under the tee shirt only to feel her hands removed.

"This is for you." Callan whispered into the night. "Please tell me what you want."

"You." Terri groaned as Callan's palms brushed over her sensitive nipples.

"You have me." There was a promise in Callan's voice that Terri had not heard before.

Callan raised her body up to press into Terri as her hands roamed over exposed skin. She touched her as though she had never touched a woman before. Her hands guided Terri's legs so that they rested on either side of her own so that her lover was straddling her. Slowly, so that they did not upset the balance of the hammock she eased Terri over until she was lying on her back. The gentle smile on her face stayed in place, kissing as much of Terri's skin as she could reach.

Her hands played inches lower than her lips, an indication of what she was going to do before she did it. She felt Terri shiver in anticipation as she teased the waistband of Terri's pajama bottoms lower an inch at a time. Her lips and tongue followed suit tasting and painting at the same time. She didn't have to look to know that her lover was wet and ready for her touch. She could feel the heat and the wanting. Terri's legs finally came free of the restricting material.

Callan slid her body between Terri's opened legs drawing her body against the slick treasure that waited. She couldn't hold back the chuckle when a heated groan reached her ears. She slid her body back down the same path not at all minding the wet trail on her own skin. She accepted the gift of Terri's arousal and planned on returning the gift tenfold. She settled into a curled ball and leaned closer to what she wanted. Instead of diving in, she simply exhaled, letting her hot breath touch the most intimate spot of Terri's body. Fingers tightened in her hair as Terri lurched slightly in surprise. She breathed again over wet lips and swollen clit as her fingers gently massaged Terri's breasts.

"Oh God, don't tease me." Terri's voice cracked with need. Whatever she was going to say next was cut off quickly.

Callan swooped in with a broad stroke of her tongue where she thought Terri needed it most. From the sudden silence she knew she had guessed correctly. Sometimes she loved it when she was right. She kept up the fast and darting strokes for a few moments before slowing to a fleshy crawl. She took her time discovering all the places that made Terri shiver and beg for more. Wrapping her arms securely around Terri's waist, bringing them closer to each other her tongue slowly entered the source of the tangy sweet taste. A moan of delight escaped her as familiar tight warmth folded around her tongue. She ignored Terri's please to go faster, instead content to make it last as long as she could.

Terri felt as though she were flying. Her nerve endings were singing out and she was powerless over them. Regardless of her pleas and words she was being given exactly what her body wanted. Deep inside she knew this was not sex. Callan was making love to her. The knowledge made the sensations that much more intense. She felt everything and everywhere that Callan touched her. She couldn't help but respond. When Callan pressed her nose against her clit, her whole body shivered. She was close and there was nothing she could do to stop it. She gave herself over to the woman inside her. She felt the tip of the talented tongue touch the spot she loved most alternating between soft and hard, and her back arched violently.

She lost her breath as she came and still she was able to feel Callan stroking her, teasing more out of her. The second wave started almost before the first subsided. She found her breath again only to cry out loudly. It was the sound of pure ecstasy and still Callan did not stop. Terri finally had to release her hold on her lover's hair to push her away if only for her survival.

Without words she pulled Callan up and close. If there had been a way to slip into the woman's skin she would have done it if she could have found the energy. Instead she kissed the mouth that brought her to a certain salvation. She had tasted herself on the lips of more than one woman but it never had seemed so important as it did right now. She licked herself from Callan's mouth, chin and cheeks. The flavor was something she knew she wanted more of for a very long time. She wrapped her arms around Callan's body and pulled her closer, tears easing their way past her eyelids.

Callan moved easily, her fingers wiping away the tears without saying anything. She was lost and she knew it. The walls she had placed were bricks at her feet, torn down by the woman in her arms. There was nothing more and nothing less that she could do but to accept that realization for better or worse. For a moment she was unsettled by the thought, a flicker of guilt for letting someone else into her heart. Slowly then Maria's words washed through her brain and the guilt eased if only for a while. She held Terri as tenderly as she knew how. It was the only way her lover deserved to be treated.

Chapter 23

A smile plastered on her face, Terri pulled O'Malley into the bar and barely avoided bumping into a couple of bikers leaving the bar. With a silly expression she mumbled an apology that was accepted in good nature. They were regulars at her section of the counter always ready with an order and tips. Artfully the four danced around each other.

"You're a goof lately." O'Malley chuckled as they walked into the bar. The sound of heavy metal assaulted her ears.

"Yeah and you're stuck with me." Terri teased with a quick lick of her lips.

O'Malley grinned wide. "Uh huh and I'll make you pay for it later."

"Promises, promises." Terri continued playing even as she turned around to face O'Malley. She did not miss the almost evil gleam in the eyes that constantly captivated her. No one else had ever been able to melt her with just one look. She liked the feeling entirely too much and almost tripped over her own feet.

"How graceful." O'Malley's words were playfully sarcastic even as she reached out to steady Terri. "You sure you can handle a drink or two?"

"O'Malley, you want to get lucky tonight?" Terri asked sounding almost serious.

"The thought had crossed my mind." She answered with a long look up and down Terri's body.

"Be nice to me."

O'Malley had to laugh. She certainly planned on being nice to the woman in front of her. More than nice if the truth had to be told. She drew her fingertips along Terri's sides slowly. "Okay, being nice now."

"Good boy." Terri pulled away from O'Malley slightly.

"That's a loaded statement."

"You have no idea." Terri was back in teasing mode or maybe a promise she wasn't sure yet.

O'Malley leaned in close to Terri's ear. "I think you like it better when I'm a 'bad boy'." A wet tongue followed her words and traced down Terri's jaw.

"You could be right." Terri managed when she caught her breath. Deep down inside she liked O'Malley's bad boy playful side. Turning carefully she weaved around the tables and led O'Malley to the bar counter. Together they pulled the barstools out and sat. While O'Malley ordered their drinks she let her mind wander to the trip back down from the cabin. Moments of talking and touching seemed a little more special. A soft smile covered her lips as she recalled feeding the dark woman hot french fries. When the fries were gone O'Malley had sucked her fingertips clean of salt and grease.

"What ya smiling at?" O'Malley asked as she settled back onto her stool. Her eyes searched Terri's for an answer. Then she decided that she didn't need one, it was enough to see her happy.

"Just remembering." Terri answered honestly as she leaned her head against a strong shoulder. There was something comforting about being able to borrow the strength that lay under the clothes.

"Anything in particular or just in general?" O'Malley dropped the money for the drinks on the counter as the bartender brought their beers over. "Keep the change."

Terri waited until the bartender took the cash and walked away with a grateful grin. "You sucking my fingers clean. You singing badly to the radio. We have to talk about that someday."

"No we don't. I'm tone deaf it ain't gonna change." O'Malley chuckled and then groaned when her cell phone rang. She let it ring for a few seconds before she decided to answer it. "O'Malley." She said gruffly.

"You have such a charming way of answering your phone." Cage purred in her ear.

"And you fight like a girl." O'Malley shot back holding back a laugh. She mouthed 'Cage' at Terri's questioning eyes and watched her lover nod her head.

"Well at least I don't run over landmines." Cage taunted.

"Good point but Sean was driving."

"That's a technicality. Hey, I talked to my contact and I got way lucky."

"Cage, you're twisted sex life scares me." O'Malley couldn't resist.

"Eww. He's a troll and we're talking business here. Keep up with me would ya?" Cage's voice shuddered.

"I'm trying but you confuse me all the time."

"Just wait mine magnet I'm gonna get you back. I can get four out there by the end of the week. Does that sound good to you?"

"Damn Cage, that's fast. You gonna be okay with that turn around time?" O'Malley couldn't help but wonder if her friend was going to be pudding from the driving distance.

"It's gonna be a little tight but I'm good with it. I can sleep before delivery depending on when we set it up. I can pick up on Wednesday and be out to you by early Friday. I'm just asking for about eight hours of good sleep. I was talking to Boomer about a good delivery spot and he gave me some places…so I'll want to check them out before we call your boy."

O'Malley leaned her arm against the bar thinking quickly trying to gauge if it was enough time. She figured she could make it work. "We're a go. I think I can give you the time. If you want I can recon for you in advance. Give you an idea of what we're working with."

Cage loved that way O'Malley's mind worked. It was one of the reasons the woman had been such a good soldier. "That would make it easier. I'm leaning to something called the dunes. He said your boy uses it a lot. That would be my first choice. It'll keep him easy if you know what I mean."

"I could do easy for a change. I'll check it out first." O'Malley promised.

"I'll see you on Friday then."

Terri motioned for the phone and O'Malley saw the evil gleam in her eyes. "Hang on a second, T wants to say hi." O'Malley handed over the phone.

"Hi Cage. I just wanted to thank you for letting us use the cabin." Terri said and listened to Cage do her humble impression. "The toys were incredible and we did wash them and put them back but I'm gonna have to buy you new sheets." Terri said in a rush then cut the connection. Ten seconds later the cell phone rang again. Terri looked at O'Malley, an almost innocent expression on her face. "You might not want to answer that."

O'Malley almost fell off her stool from the uncontrolled laughter. "No shit. I like breathing. You do know that she will get back at you." She reminded as she turned her phone off.

Terri flashed a cocky grin. "She can try."

"Okay you two are up to something and Terri's got that evil look on her face." Maria's voice reached them and they both turned their heads at the same time, like children caught doing something wrong.

"Evil can be fun sometimes." O'Malley drawled slowly giving away the time she had spent in Texas.

"Yeah, but it always bites you in the ass later." Maria shot back with an easy smile. "You two look good."

"Run Terri. She gave us a compliment, she wants something." O'Malley teased and took a sip of her beer.

"Maybe she just missed us." Terri leaned over the bar and gave her friend and boss a hug. "Hi there."

Maria returned the embrace and pulled away slowly. "Nah don't want anything except to let you both know something. Keep smiling and don't react. Let's just play like we're catching up." Maria instructed, as her smile never reached her eyes. "Hank's been on a rampage lately. He's tearing up the town for a certain threesome. He's convinced that a certain ex-soldier has something to do with them getting out of the city. Keep an eye on your six O'Malley. You too, Terri."

"What's a six?" Terri asked completely confused by the expression.

O'Malley pulled her girlfriend closer. "It's your back baby. Thanks carina. I got our six." O'Malley promised with a low tone. "And God help him if he decides to fuck with us."

Maria lifted her half-full glass when O'Malley finished her words. "If he does, take him down hard Chica." It was a statement and a request at the same time.

"I will, on O'Malley honor, I will. Now, tell us why you look so damn happy." O'Malley demanded with good nature.

Maria leaned against the bar casually, her face giving nothing away. "You wanna be an Uncle, O'Malley?"

It took a long moment for the question to sink in to O'Malley's brain. When it did the slow smile faded with shock and then renewed itself.

"I think you might have killed her Maria." Terri teased with pure joy. Her friend's desire to have a child with Gato was no secret to those around her. "Do I get to be the little one's aunt?"

"Hell yes. I want my kid to be well rounded. Like the gaping fish sitting next to you said….'Evil is good'." Maria laughed for real this time. She was happy and couldn't hide it any longer.

"This calls for a toast." O'Malley declared as she raised her bottle. "To MY kid. May the road rise up to meet her and may all her sunsets be to her face."

"Well hell, she is Irish isn't she?" Terri laughed and lifted her own drink. "To your family Maria. I hope your child is as good as you are. If she is, then it she will be wonderful."

Maria took a sip of her water. "Joan say's we're having a boy."

O'Malley groaned. "We're screwed. He's gonna look like Gato."

Maria laughed and set up two shot glasses. "Just for that you shit head, you get to take a shot on me." She pulled up the bottle of tequila and ignored O'Malley's groan.


O'Malley was definitely feeling loose as she pulled the Sportster up to the stop sign but not enough to miss the strange car that was parked at the curb of her house. She leaned back to Terri and turned her head. For once she was glad that she had forgotten her helmet, at least Terri would be able to hear her.

"When I park don't say a word just go into the house and don't come out." She ordered.

There was something in her voice that gave rise to the hair on the back of Terri's neck. "What's going on?" She asked as she shifted on the seat of the bike.

"I got a feeling we got company we don't want." O'Malley answered honestly.

Terri didn't like the deadly serious sound to her girlfriend's voice. "You good to do this?"

The grin O'Malley flashed was anything but pleasant. "I'm so good I'm dangerous, baby. You just do what I say. I can take care of this and them. Trust me."

Terri let her reassuring caress answer for her. She would do as O'Malley asked but she would watch and act if she had to. Her protective nature, rare in it's expression was still there. She would fight hard to keep hers what was hers. Her hands tightened around slim hips as O'Malley pulled forward into the unknown.

O'Malley rode the bike into the drive way without keying the garage door. She didn't want to give Hank and his two boys an extra way into the house if she didn't have to. Terri peeled out of the seat without a word. It was a comfort to the dark natured woman. She wouldn't be divided on two fronts. All she would have to deal with was Hank…and his two goons. Flicking a quick glance she knew she could take his company without too much trouble. She'd seen them around. They were yes men and flunkies. It might hurt a little in the morning but it wouldn't kill her.

She pulled the key from the ignition and slid off the bike. She didn't have to wait very long as they stalked across the lawn with Hank right in the middle. The burn in her chest rose to a boil instantly and she turned off every feeling except hate. She forced herself to keep her body relaxed and ready.

"That looked damn cozy." Hank muttered as the three men halted just a couple of feet in front of her.

"Why is everyone always saying that?" O'Malley asked without really expecting an answer. "You want something Stillman?" She watched them carefully.

"I want those three bitches and I think you know where they are. All five of you disappeared at the same time." Hank kept his voice at an almost normal level.

"You wanna tell me when who ever the hell you're talking about disappeared?" O'Malley had to try if only to make it look good in front of his sidekicks.

Hank took a step forward. "You know who I'm talking about you bitch. Get them back here or…"

"Or what Stillman?" She demanded and matched his step. She showed no fear because there was none. She could take him and his men out of rage alone. "T and I spent the weekend at a friends place alone. You can't keep track of your girls, then maybe you should get out of the business. I hear you have a habit of that. Losing girls I mean. Try working on your charm it might keep 'em around." She watched his face turn several shades of enraged purple. "Get off my lawn."

Hank's hand shot out and grabbed at her throat. He came up empty as she easily sidestepped the clumsy maneuver. The biker to his left rushed in and she dropped quickly and planted the heel of her boot on the inside of his knee. He crashed to the ground as a scream of pain escaped him. She was playing for keeps this time. Rolling to the side she regained her feet and spun, tracking the two targets as she righted her body.

The second biker held back a little in a wary stance. He was just smart enough to not wade in without some sort of plan. She stepped toward him deliberately while listening for Hank. Predictably he went for her while her back was turned. She waited until the last second to stop short and half turn while she extended her arm. The move caught Hank between shoulders and chin, it wasn't a classic clothesline move but it worked for her. She took a small measure of joy in his pain as he thudded on the to the ground. O'Malley turned her attention to the second biker again. For a moment he looked like he was going to run but then charged at her.

She backpedaled a few steps and picked the moment when he was slightly off balance. She ducked under a punch and while turning planted a hard right into his kidney. She heard the painful grunt and hit him again in the same spot. Grabbing the back of his jacket she swept his feet out and pulled backward at the same time. Sometimes she liked the results of momentum. He joined his friends on the ground.

Hank picked himself slowly off the ground drawing in gulps of air. His dark eyes met hers and suddenly he knew fear again. Looking around at his two men he had the feeling he wasn't going to get any help from them.

"What's the matter Stillman? Just sinking in that I'm not like the women you're used to being around?" She punctuated the question with a well-placed jab that caught him just under the left eye. His head snapped back and his feet stumbled. Instead of following up the punch she gave him time to recover his balance. She wanted this to last.

Hank felt the flesh under his eye begin to swell. "Fuck you." He growled and rushed her. For a moment his hands were on her jacket then he felt himself being pulled down and forward. He lost his breath when her knee crashed into his chest twice. She let him go and he sank to his knees trying desperately to breathe.

O'Malley let the cold smile cross her face. The confusion and pain on his face was something she was enjoying. She knew most of the story of what happened that night. Trey and his boys weren't the only one's listening to the dancers the night of the party. They had only confirmed most of what she had been able to find out on her own. Looking down at the man responsible for Ellen's death she could conjure no pity for him. She'd felt pity for the Iraqi soldiers she'd help kill and for the enemy in the Bosnian region but for him she felt nothing.

"Breaks over." She grunted as she pulled him up to his feet and took one step back. "I'll give you one free shot. Better make it count." She watched him blink as though he couldn't believe what he'd heard. It took him a moment to throw the punch. She blocked it with one hand, twisted his arm and smashed her fist down over his elbow. He screamed as the joint gave. She let him fall for the last time. Taking a deep breath she sank to a crouch over him. Her eyes locked onto his. "I lied. Now get your ass off my lawn and take them with you." She ordered in a quiet even voice.

Terri watched from the window as O'Malley stood up and walked away from a broken Hank Stillman. O'Malley's Sig in her hand ready if she needed it. This was O'Malley's fight but she would be there if the woman needed her. Deep inside she knew that Hank Stillman would probably never see the inside of a jail cell for what he had done that night and for tonight she was not a cop. She was a part of deserved retribution. For the first time she was very glad that no one in this neighborhood would call the cops.

She pulled the door open as O'Malley's feet touched the porch. O'Malley didn't say anything as she stepped into the house and locked the door behind her. Her eyes widened slightly at the sight of Terri holding her pistol. Terri shrugged slightly and closed the drapes. Setting down the weapon she took O'Malley's hands inspecting for damage. She winced slightly at what she found. They would be using plenty of ice tonight.

"I need a drink." O'Malley declared suddenly as she stalked into the kitchen.

The abruptness of the action startled Terri for a moment. "I'll make it. You get ice. What do you want?"

"Whiskey and water on the rocks." O'Malley's voice was tight. She was having a hard time reining herself in.

"O'Malley, you okay?" Terri was confused and suddenly worried.

"Adrenaline Terri. You might not want to sleep next to me tonight." O'Malley had to admit. She didn't want to do anything that wasn't conscentual or mutual.

"I'm sleeping next to you O'Malley." Terri answered with determination in her voice. She turned back to making the drinks.


To be continued…

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