Chapter 31

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“Caden,” Nole called, “get away from him.” To no surprise, his brother wouldn’t budge from Ryker’s side. “He and some of the Enforcers conspired to kill Murphy. The evidence they have against me was planted. The Chief was in on it too.”

As he rambled through all of the information he’d learned, desperate to get Caden on his side, Nole released the apprehended Caswell and passed him off to Maddox.

“You’re only hurting your brother, Vale,” Ryker said sternly, pulling Caden closer to his side. “Surrender, and your siblings won’t have to suffer.” The thinly veiled warning was enough to set Nole off. It was one thing to jeopardize Nole’s life, but he wouldn’t stand anyone threatening Caden and Suri.

“Don’t you dare think about doing anything to them!” Nole shouted instinctively. The area grew quiet at his outburst, and even Caden was taken aback by the dramatic proclamation from his older brother.

The overcast created a shadowed area, almost concealing Ryker’s expression, but not enough to obscure his unperturbed confidence. The smugness in his face made Nole livid and his fists shook trying to contain the rest of his overflowing anger.

“I saw Captain Hadley inside,” Caden murmured. It was barley audible, but Nole could hear his brother’s concerned remark. “She needs a doctor. Why isn’t anyone helping her?”

“Hadley?” Maddox interrupted alarmingly. “What’s her status?” he demanded, moving away from the apprehended Caswell.

“Rest assured Captain Maddox, she’s been taken care of,” Ryker dismissed with another double-meaning answer. The Captain adjusted his aim, fully aware of Ryker’s deceitful answer. Judging from his recent action, Nole could only assume Maddox would take a shot at Ryker like he almost had with Caswell. Despite the possibility of rescuing Caden, Nole panicked at the thought of a bullet being fired so close to his brother.

“Don’t shoot!” Nole instructed resolutely. “He has my brother!” Maddox finished arming his weapon and then met Nole’s gaze. Although they had common enemies, they were far from friends. This made Nole falter when staring the Captain down, but his resolution on the matter wouldn’t allow him to submit to Maddox’s short temper.

“Get you’re brother to safety,” he commanded, turning his attention to Ryker. “My partner needs help, I need to act quickly.” The affirmation to Nole’s concern was enough to convey Maddox’s compliance.

“Caden,” Nole called calmly, “Chief Caswell admitted to killing Murphy. Murphy wasn’t their original target, but they got rid of him because he figured out the conspirators within the Enforcers; conspirators like Caswell and Ryker. They planted evidence to cover up their actions, but some of the Enforcers saw through it. Captain Maddox knows the truth, and he’s fighting alongside me now, but Ryker killed Sgt. Bellamy and wounded Capt. Hadley to cover his tracks. They’re trying to get rid of us. Even Suri will be in danger.”

He wasn’t replying, but Nole could see the look on Caden’s face. The concentration in his eyes told Nole that his little brother was piecing it all together. It was the same expression Caden held when he’d read the paper each day. “I know I wasn’t very involved in the day-to-day stuff,” Nole admitted, “but I love both you and Suri. If I had known,” he paused reminded of his devastation from that day. “If I had known you were trying to make sense of mom’s death, I would have talked to you and been there more. I’m sorry for being so oblivious to it.”

His younger brother appeared surprised when Nole revealed knowing about his fixation on their mother’s murder. It was hard to tell, but when Caden rubbed his forearm across his face, Nole realized his younger brother was crying.

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