He reached out and brushed her
cheek with his knuckles. “Then that’s settled. The sooner we can finish this, the sooner you and I can talk about what happens next.”
She felt a sudden rush of happiness at the prospect of Jorge wanting a future with her. They had issues—lots of issues—to work out and discuss, but the thought of being herself again focused her. “Okay, then we’ll stick to the plan. When should your DEFEND friends arrive?”
Jorge had mentioned two Feiru named Santos and Jimenez organizing a team of DEFEND soldiers to help them. The phone call had been brief on their way here, but he seemed confident they would help out.
He nodded to the east. “The group in charge of the distraction should be there already, and the others should be in position near the shop. When the distraction is ready and the others are in place, the group in the east will signal us with a high-powered flashlight.”
She looked toward the east, but all she saw were streetlights. Good, that meant she had at least a little more time to say what she needed to say. “Jorge.” He looked back to her face. “Promise me that whatever happens, you won’t kill Watkins outright and will hand him over to the Feiru enforcers.”
“What makes you think I’d kill him?”
“Well, it’s more than likely that he’s the one who turned you over to the Collector.”
Jorge fell silent for a second before glancing to the east and saying, “You put that together too, huh? Well, as much as I’d like to kill the bastard for the pain and suffering he’s caused all of the Feiru he’s handed over to the Collector, there’s a reason why I can’t.”
“Because then I’d never get a chance with you.”
The words slipped out before Jorge could stop them. This wasn’t the time or place to get sentimental, but it was true—if he killed Watkins, then he’d probably be locked up and sent to some AMT research facility. Just because the Feiru High Council hadn’t passed a law requiring all Feiru with latent abilities to be turned over to the AMT system didn’t mean it wouldn’t happen.
Hell, he had no idea if surviving tonight would result in anything with Sabrina, but dammit, he wanted to try.
Sabrina was staring at him with her mouth slightly open, but before either of them could say another word, there was a series of light flashes from the east. He switched into work mode. “Okay, that’s the signal. Let’s go.”
Sabrina managed to close her mouth and nod.
The signal meant they had five minutes to climb down the one story building to the ground and get into position, and all without making a sound. At the edge of the roof, he eased over the side until his feet touched on the discarded sofa. Once he was down and out of the way, Sabrina did the same. They circled around the building and kept to the shadows to reach their target.
Ninety seconds to go. Most of the DEFEND soldiers would guard the back door, Sabrina the front, and Jorge would cover the door of the building adjacent to the shop where Watkins and the others assembling the bomb for the school would be. If what Sabrina had told him about Watkins was true, the man usually kept an empty dummy house or shop next door to his workshops or safe houses. He had a feeling Watkins would use the dummy house to escape.
However, Jorge wasn’t an idiot and wouldn’t go into this without sufficient backup. Luciana had mentioned other Fed League soldiers and maybe even a few latent abilities in there with Watkins. Just in case, a few DEFEND soldiers were keeping lookout from nearby rooftops, armed with rifles that shot tranquilizer darts.
Everyone was in position by the time a loud boom sounded from the east. Jorge hugged the shadows of the nearby wall, his gun out and ready. He might not be in his shadow form, but his black clothes hid him well enough.
The plan was for Santos to throw a homemade smoke bomb into the house and force the people inside to flee. If the human police somehow caught word of the smoke bombing, they would pin the homemade device on some of the local teenagers. The last thing they needed was the human police sniffing around and looking for DEFEND or the Fed League.
He heard some glass break and a few seconds later there were cries and coughs from near the back door of the original building, but he held his position. Anyone who’d done mercenary work as long as Watkins had would know that dividing his resources would also divide an enemy’s. Sometimes the maneuver was a death sentence, other times the sole means of escape. Since Watkins only cared about himself, he’d divide his resources and not give a shit who else died.
A few more seconds passed, but while the front and back of the other house grew noisier with scuffling and the muffled sound of an occasional tranquilizer gun going off, nothing happened on his end.
Part of him itched to go help the others, but he trusted Sabrina and—oddly—Santos. DEFEND had yet to fuck him over, and if this went according to plan, he might even consider helping them out again if they asked him.
A window opened on his side of the building and a small amount of smoke started to trail outside. An arm and head poked out to look around, but it was just one of the Fed League lackeys. However, the lackey in question was one of Watkins’s best bodyguards who just happened to be a dead shot.
The presence of the bodyguard meant Jorge was going to have to shift and use his shadow-transport trick to anonymously deliver Watkins to the Feiru enforcement agents in the area.
Jorge tucked his gun into his waistband and imagined his cells breaking down until the familiar pain shot through his body and he became a dense shadow-mist. He kept to the shadows as the lackey slipped out of the window and motioned one of his guns—he had two—to signal the all clear. As Watkins started to climb out the window, Jorge moved closer.
He’d never brushed up against someone to try to knock them unconscious before since all of his past assignments had been to get in and out as quickly as possible. This time, however, he was going to try.
The instant Watkins touched his feet on the ground, Jorge moved as fast as he could toward the lackey, brushed over him, and was relieved that the man fell down to the ground in unconsciousness. Watkins started to run, but in this form, Jorge was faster. He caught up with him and surrounded him from behind. Watkins also fell to the ground unconscious. As much as he didn’t want to bring the bastard into his shadow cloud, Jorge knew he had to do it, so he started to imagine the bastard’s cells breaking down. But just before he managed to finish the process, a sharp pain shot through him and he lost his concentration. One second he was a shadow cloud, and the next he was in his human form again.
What the fuck? Jorge glanced down his body and saw a knife sticking out of his thigh.