A Secret Excerpt from Beyond Doubt…
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He nodded to Laurel as she slipped past, and Six waited until the door was closed before relaxing into a smile. “I was going to come to bed in a little bit. I promise.”
He leaned against the door frame and nodded. “You have things to do.”
“Not too many tonight.” She picked up the list of names and held it out. “What do you think? Lex said they could hire up to five bouncers full time once the Broken Circle is open again.”
He studied the page, his gaze flicking over the list. “They would all be good at it, if that’s what they want to do. Kelly might need some help with de-escalation.”
“Yeah. Life in Sector Five doesn’t exactly prepare you for de-escalating.” Six shoved out of her chair and pushed the files back into a stack. “We can talk to them, see who’s interested. Maybe give them some specific training over the next couple weeks.”
“But not tonight.” He slipped the paper under the edge of the stack of file folders and held out his hand. “You’ve been at it too long today.”
They’d spent a long afternoon at Hawk and Jeni’s, which had meant even more messes to clean up once they got back. Six finally understood the depth of Dallas’s patience and commitment–and how vital Lex was to his sanity.
She slipped her hand into Bren’s and let herself lean against his chest. It was broad and solid, an unshakeable wall, and always there when she got tired of standing on her own. She liked how they fit together–he wasn’t so tall that she couldn’t kiss him when she wanted, but it was still easy to turn her head and rest her ear over his heart to hear the steady, reassuring thud.
His chest rumbled beneath her cheek. “I have a surprise for you.”
That piqued her interest. “Yeah?”
“Mmm, if you don’t mind stopping by the bar on our way up to bed.”
“I think I can make it if you can, old man.”
“Brat.” He flicked the switch beside the door, plunging the room into darkness. Six looped her arm through his, trusting his night vision as office door creaked open.
The hallway beyond was almost as dark, with the softest glow coming through the oval window in the door that led to the main bar. To the left, stairs lead up to their living quarters on the second floor, but Bren guided her to the right.
Her eyes adjusted slowly, revealing the outlines of the framed posters lining the wall. Their collection of pre-Flare music memorabilia had spilled out of the main floor since the end of the war, now that Riff and Scarlet had time to work their black market contacts. The bar had a comfortably lived in sort of feel now, still rough around the edges, but a place where you could relax with a drink and enjoy some music.
A place where you could escape.
The swinging door to the bar’s main area squeaked open, but Bren froze before walking through, his body going rigid and still. A moment later, Six heard it–the scuffle of footsteps in the darkness beyond.
So much for escape. Someone was fucking robbing them.
Her fingers brushed the knife strapped to her thigh, but Bren reached back and stilled her hand. Then he stepped into the bar, moving quickly and silently.
Six kept her hand on her knife, but used the other to catch the swinging door before it closed all the way. The scuffle of footsteps stilled, kicking her heart toward her throat, and she slipped through the door and felt along the inside of the wall for the light panel. Her fingers encountered a bank of switches, and she flattened her palm and swiped them all on at once.
Light blared from every corner of the room–behind the bar, the stage, the booths around the edges. And in the center of the floor…
At first, all Six could see was the gun.
The muzzle was all of eight inches from Bren’s forehead. He stood in the middle of the cleared space that served as a dance floor, staring down the panicking kid as if he didn’t have a gun pointed shakily at his brain.
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