“What they want is their money. Listen, I can get your brother back for you. I can get him out of danger, for now. He’ll need to stay hidden until someone ponies up the dough he owes them. I’m not bringing him back here. That’s dangerous for him and for you.”
“I don’t know where else there is for him to go. I told you, he’s burned his bridges with the pack.”
“He can go with my pack and stay at my house. I’ll be at the hotel most of the week anyway, and I’ll want you to pack so you can go with me. I don’t want you alone. I suggest you send your parents on a little vacation, as well.”
“They won’t leave. Dad has patients to attend.”
“I’m pretty sure the house cats and poodles of the world can wait on their shots for a few days, just long enough for your family to figure out how to get the money together to bail your brother out of this mess, if that’s what you want to do.”
“It’s not for me to say. I would do anything for my sisters, but if he’s just going to keep doing what he’s doing and heap more trouble on the family, where does it end?”
His phone beeped, and he looked down at it for a moment, typing in a quick response before looking back up at her.
“That’s the guys. They’re ready to go. I want you to pack up enough clothes for at least a few days and be ready to go when I get back here. Sort out your parents after you have your stuff together so they can be working on the money end, hopefully from a charming hotel room somewhere.”
He knew he was being demanding, ordering her around, but it was the Alpha in him. He was scared for her to be alone here. Leaving her behind was the last thing he wanted to do, but he couldn’t take her with them. He’d have to trust her to do as he asked.
Kissing her softly on the lips, he gave her a wink as he turned to go. She stood there behind him, motionless, as if frozen in time. He paused at the door.
“Kat, get moving,” he told her as he opened it.
She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
“Always,” he replied.CHAPTER EIGHTEENKat
The last thing Kat wanted was to get Travis involved in all of this. She had just been so distraught when he had returned and didn’t know what else to do. As soon as he left, she hurried to her bedroom and pulled a suitcase from her closet, trying to pack what she would need.
Fortunately, she didn’t have any clients until Friday, so she wouldn’t have to worry about her board or any of that. She tried just to keep it simple, tossing in jeans and t-shirts along with her underthings and a few pairs of shoes. She moved along to her makeup and toiletries, trying to get it all into one big case so she didn’t look like some sort of princess with too much luggage. With that done, she went down to her parents’ house to talk to them face to face.
“Travis has no business getting involved in this mess,” her father growled.
“Someone has to do it, Dad. Would you rather they hurt Mike? Who knows what they might do to him?”
“They can’t hurt him more than he hurts himself,” he replied.
Her mom said nothing; sitting quietly beside him with her hands in her lap, she merely pursed her lips and looked downward. Mike had always been a wedge between her and Dad. He was always in trouble, and their mom was always bailing him out, until she couldn’t anymore.
“What about the money, Dad? Are you going to help with that?”
“I don’t know. I’m not the one who got tied up with a bunch of thugs who are shaking down my family for money to pay off my debt to them.”
“Fine. I’ll go to the bank and get a loan.”
“You will do no such thing, young lady. You don’t even have a steady job.”
“No, but I have collateral. That’s all I need.”
“You’re going to compromise your financial wellbeing to pay off your brother’s drug debt? No. I forbid it.”
“You forbid it? I’m a grown woman, Dad. If you won’t help Mike, then I will. We’re family. That’s what family does for one another.”
“Family doesn’t get their parents and sister tied up in a mess like this.”
“Right now, while you refuse to help your son, strangers are going to try and get him away from the men who are holding him. Do you understand that? They are putting their lives on the line with bears in order to save him from whatever harm they intend to do to him when I don’t show up at that park tonight with their money.”