This wasn’t about precautions anymore.
Because it sure appeared as if the Executioner was coming back from the grave in order to keep stalking his victims.
Logan spun away from the scene and headed back into the hallway. That faint blood trail might help them. It might lead them to Genevieve. “Get me an analysis unit out here,” he said. “As fast as you can.” Every moment that passed put his team at a disadvantage on this hunt.
He could hear Gunner barking orders to the men at the EOD headquarters.
“We’ve got blood at the scene,” Logan said grimly.
Blood and no victim.
So much for leaving the nightmare back in Rio. Genevieve had cheated death once. Would she be able to do it again?
I hope so. Hang on, Genevieve. We’ll find you.
He just hoped they found her alive.
* * *
CASSIDY JUMPED WHEN she heard the loud banging at the front door. She’d just finished dressing, and she hurried out of the bedroom.
Cale was already at the door. Already swinging it open to reveal—
Mercer and Gunner.
Cassidy’s breath caught. The men hadn’t called them. They’d just shown up at the safe house.
She knew that wasn’t a good sign.
Then Mercer’s eyes met hers. “It’s time to go, Cassidy.”
How many times had he said those same words to her? Over and over in her life?
It’s time to go, Cassidy.
At her mother’s grave, when Cassidy had stood there, feeling so broken and alone. He’d pulled her away, despite her tears and pleas.
She’d wanted to stay, just a little longer.
It’s time to go, Cassidy.
At sixteen, she’d been thrilled because she was finally going to attend a party with all of her friends. She’d been dressed, ready to go.
He’d come to her—arrived in one of those big dark cars that he always seemed to use. The kind that had bulletproof windows. He’d been afraid that someone had found out who she really was.
He’d taken her away.
No party that day.
It’s time to go, Cassidy.
More and more instances rolled through her mind.
He always said the same words. Always looked the same. So grim and determined.
When it was her life that was being ripped apart.
Cale took a step toward her.
Mercer lifted a hand and locked it around Cale’s shoulder. “No, son, that would be a mistake.” Mercer’s voice was steely and hard. Most men backed down instantly when Mercer talked that way. She’d sure seen plenty of agents weaken when he used that tone.
But Cale—Cale shrugged away his hold. “I’m not your son.” Then he was stalking toward Cassidy. His gaze met hers. “While you were in the shower, I found out…” The faint lines around his mouth deepened. “I’m sorry to tell you, but Genevieve is gone.”
Her heart beat so fast that she was afraid it would rip through her chest. “Gone?” No, a mistake. Genevieve had said that she’d only arrived in town a few hours ago.
She came looking for me.
Because Genevieve wasn’t close to her family, either. They were both alone, two women who’d found a kinship with each other. Genevieve might not know about Cassidy’s past, but they were friends. They’d been constants in each other’s lives for more years than Cassidy could count.
They were family, damn it.
“By the time Logan arrived at her hotel, she was gone.” This came from Gunner. He’d stepped inside the safe house, making sure to lock the door. He shot a quick glance at Mercer’s stony face; then he studied Cassidy once more as he revealed, “There were signs of foul play at the scene.”
“What kind of signs?” Even as she asked the question, Cassidy knew that she didn’t really want to hear his answer. She didn’t want to hear any more at all.
We were both supposed to be safe. The Executioner is dead. The nightmare should be over.
She might not want to hear the gory details, but Cassidy had long ago learned you couldn’t hide the dark and ugly parts of life, no matter how hard you tried.
Cale’s arm brushed against hers.
He was at her side.
Gunner and Mercer were in front of the door.
“Blood.” Mercer’s reply was blunt. “Overturned furniture. The surveillance system at the hotel was dismantled, so we don’t know who took her—we just know she didn’t go willingly.”
But she’d been taken, and so soon after talking with Cassidy. Her lips felt numb as she said, “She wanted us to meet.”
Mercer took a fast step forward. “You told her that you were in D.C.?”
Cassidy shook her head. “No. I said I wasn’t at my place, here. She thought I was—that was the reason she came to town.” She came here for me, but I turned my back on her. Cassidy forced her chin to stay up. “I told her that I was with a friend. We were together. That I would send someone to watch over her until I could get with her.”
“If Genevieve went to Cassidy’s place in order to look for her, then the perp could have seen her there,” Gunner said as his eyes narrowed in consideration. “Seen her, targeted her, then followed her back to the hotel and taken her.”
Her face went from feeling too hot to icy cold. “Why?” Her gaze was on Mercer. “If this is about us—”
Mercer gave a fast, negative shake of his head. His eyes darted to Gunner, then right back to her. “Right now, we have to assume Genevieve’s abduction and the attempt on your life are both related to the Executioner. That case isn’t over.”
Ian was dead. Just how much more over could that get? “We have to find Genevieve.” The words were so familiar—because she’d been just as desperate to find her friend back in Rio. This can’t be happening again.
Mercer nodded. “We will find her. I have a team on the job right now. And Sydney’s pulling up every video feed in that hotel’s area—anything that she can get her hands on. She’ll find an image, a car, something that we can use.”
Cassidy realized that her hands had clenched into fists. Fear twisted inside her, growing bigger and stronger with every second that passed. She’d thought that she’d saved Genevieve. That she’d done something right for a change.
“The city isn’t secure enough for you,” Mercer told her in his hard, growling, I-know-best voice. “There’s a plane waiting for you at the airport.”
Wasn’t there always?