Crazy Enough: Chapter 18

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Chapter 18

"Lieutenant Spears!"

Alex whipped around to see Captain Mans running toward them. "Thank god you're alive!" the captain said. "This way!"

Alex could hear the beating blades of the evac chopper, and he picked up speed, wanting Corkie away from here.

"Espinoza?" he shouted at his commander over the noise.

The captain's head shook. "Haven't found him!"

Alex's mind whirled as they trotted toward the nearest gate. All he heard from Espinoza earlier...about him haunting Corkie for six years, because the man blamed her for his son's suicide, because she did what she always did...took a photo of the wrong person doing the wrong thing. It wasn't because of what happened the day he first met her.

All that work...down the drain, he thought. Looking back, Alex realized that nearly every move Espinoza had made in the past few years was to get Corkie. Business deals that turned out to be nothing. Contacts that weren't made. Money passing between hands that made no sense. It was things like that which kept Espinoza in the clear for so long...because nothing connected with anything else, not the way Alex had wanted to think. Who would have thought that the man was only after one thing...or one person? Espinoza had his fingers in so many pots for so long, that all of a sudden, he wasn't dipping into those buckets anymore, and it puzzled Alex. The business deal at that airstrip was the one thing that would have put Espinoza away for good...if it had been real.

It just didn't make sense.

Alex glanced back at Corkie as they hurried away from the mansion. It was all because of her. That, he understood. For different reasons, Alex would have obsessed over her for six years, too. She was...everything. Rainbows and thunderstorms, sunshine and fog, the wind and the earth, joy and heartache. She was his life. And there was no coming back from something like that.

"Daddy!" Corkie cried as they cleared Espinoza's property and caught sight of Colonel Davenport near the emergency chopper just below the gate. Alex let go of her hand, which he'd been clutching for the last five minutes, and allowed her to run to her father.

She was safe. She was alive. And Alex felt her dad wouldn't mind if he dropped to his hands and knees in pain and exhaustion. The adrenaline in his body depleted long ago, and he had run on fumes until now.

"Cortney!" the colonel shouted and barged through a line of soldiers to get to her. Two from the Mexican army and a medic came toward Alex. He wasn't going another step on his own.

They had been lucky. This day could have ended a lot differently, but it was a shame they didn't catch Espinoza. Right now, Alex was okay with that. All that mattered was Corkie, and saving her. The rest could wait.

Strong arms lifted Alex in a fireman's hold. Alex dangled limply, unable to do more than stay conscious. His vision darkened dangerously, and he wasn't going to last much longer on his remaining energy. The man carrying him took two steps...then automatic gunfire burst from behind. Alex fell forward as the soldier dropped to the ground for cover.

Corkie yelled, "No! Alex!"

Alex rolled over on the soft grass and gazed feebly at her. They were out of danger, dammit! The fight was over, and yet, there she was, struggling to get away from her father, fighting to get to him, and Alex turned his head toward the mansion, saw a blurry figure, wearing body armor over his tailored suit, firing a carbine at him, and he thought, Well...shit.

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