“Why don’t you tell Jackal that piece of advice?”
Max shook his head. “Nope, Jackal can’t take a joke.”
Ice shook his head at his longtime friend as Jackal took a seat. Ice hadn’t seen him since they had returned from class and Jackal had been called for a visitor.
“I talked to Rave. Grace’s boss, Ross, gave in and went out for drinks with her. It took her a while, but he gave more information. Nothing unusual. She attended UT because her parents traveled frequently. She has an older brother who went in business with her parents. The reason she took the teaching job was because Ross threatened to fire her. There aren’t a lot of jobs in this town, so she didn’t want to move after having to do so for so many years with her parents.”
“So, nothing which would draw any attention to her?”
“No, but Henry hasn’t gotten back to me on her background. I’d feel safer if we waited.”
Ice glanced around the room at his men spread throughout. They were here because of him. If they waited much longer, they could lose the window of opportunity for another month. Ice didn’t want to sit in here for another thirty days any more than they did.
“Monday is our target, brothers. This is the last weekend we spend behind bars.”
* * *
Monday morning, Grace pulled into the parking lot of the prison, locking her car door after she got out, smiling to herself at her actions. There really wasn’t a need to lock her doors; there was enough security around her to make the best thief wary. Besides, who would actually be stupid enough to steal a car from the prison parking lot?
As she walked toward the gate, she saw a large truck backed up to the building. Food delivery must be stocking up for the upcoming holiday. She felt saddened that they must miss their families.
Her parents and brother were flying down to join her. She was looking forward to seeing them again, and the Thanksgiving dinner she and her mom would prepare together.
She stepped through the first gate, waiting patiently for the second to open. She was ten minutes ahead of schedule since she had left her office early to dodge Jones, who had managed to stop by several times already that morning. Her instincts had proven correct; he was already trying to entrench himself into her life.
She had gone out this weekend with him, despite her reservations. Jones had been a pleasant dinner companion and she had enjoyed spending time with him, but she had also recognized there was no chemistry between them.
The second gate opened and she walked inside the building. Giving the guard her briefcase to look through, she then stepped through the scanner. After the green light, her bag was handed back to her.
“You’re early today,” Jackson greeted her.
“Yes, sorry. I left early Friday, so I thought that, if any of the men needed my help before class, I would have the opportunity.”
“They need all the help they can get,” he said grimly.
Once upon a time, Grace would have agreed with him, but she had begun to like several of her students. She could understand how Mattie had helped so many find jobs once they had been released.
“Looking forward to Thanksgiving?” Grace attempted a conversation with the gruff guard.
“Looking forward to the overtime I’ll make. My wife expects something nice for Christmas.”
They walked down the long corridor, coming to a stop in front of a steel door. Jackson pushed a button, waiting, while Grace steeled herself to get through the next hour and a half.
“On what to get her?”
“Does she like jewelry?”
Grace laughed as the door opened. “Most women do.”
The men were just entering the room as she walked beside Jackson. Several men turned at the sound of her laughter in the silent hallway. Ice was one. She noticed his muscular body was taller than hers by several inches.
Grace waited as the men entered. The other two guards were already there; one at the front and one at the back.
When she walked through the door with Jackson following behind, she started heading toward her desk when a scuffle had her turning back toward the door.
Jackal had sprung up from his seat, a weapon, which looked like a knife, pointed at Jackson’s throat.
Grace screamed, but a hand over her mouth prevented her as she was pulled back against a hard body. She didn’t have to look up to see the man holding her to know it was Ice. Terror flooded through her body.
“Move it.” Ice forced her toward the front of the room. Her horror-ridden gaze saw Max laying an unconscious guard down on the floor while Buzzard held the other in a stranglehold. Several of the prisoners looked as shocked as her.
“Get them under control,” Ice ordered.