SEVENTEEN

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A silent scream accompanied the rush of adrenaline that plunged Virginia into action. Shifting her hip to hit hard into Enzo's groin, she felt his body fold and his grip slacken. Wasting no time, she grabbed his shooting arm, forcing it off target. Wrenching her knee up, she slammed it into the middle of his forearm, hoping to break the damn thing in half.

The pistol fired once before he dropped it.

With a curse he let her go to reach for the weapon tethered at his side. She acted solely on instinct, intertwining fingers and locking down both elbows. Pivoting fast on her heels, she swung, stepping into it, hitting hard into the side of his head with her bunched up fists.

He staggered back, buying her some time.

Diving to the ground, she secured her gun and rolled onto her back, bringing its aim up between her knees. It couldn't have taken more than a second. Maybe two.

But it was too late.

Enzo's mouth opened and closed, but only a gurgling sound came out. A thin handle stuck out of his chest like a tiny flagpole, and his eyes peeled wide when he looked down at it. Taking two more stumbling steps backward, he tripped and fell to the ground.

In an instant, Mark was above her, working the other knife back into its sheath. Then he offered her his hand and helped her up. For a moment he kept their palms together. His stare was intense, demanding, angry even. "Did he hurt you?" His eyes shifted to her shirt.

She looked down. The tearing she had heard earlier had turned her crew neck into a plunging V-neck. Great. She tugged on the torn edges to try to cover up cleavage, but it was a lost cause. Lifting her gaze back to his, she shook her head. "No, I'm fine."

He seemed to relax a little. Letting go, he turned his attention to the man on the ground, causing her to do the same. Enzo blinked up at them, blood spurting from his mouth as he tried to form words.

Mark got down on his knees and went for the handle sticking out of Enzo's chest. "Turn away."

". . . Why?"

"Just do it," he snapped. He shut his eyes and took a deep breath before looking up at her. "Please," he said more gently, "I don't want you to see this."

Still stunned by all that had happened, she did as he asked, her stomach heaving at the suction sounds that followed. She took two deep breaths and swallowed, willing her lunch to stay down.

"They must have heard that shot. You need to go. I'll distract them."

She turned back just in time to see him sliding the second knife away. She holstered her gun. "Exactly how are you going to do that?"

"Give me your hat."

She pulled off the ball cap and handed it to him.

"Let's get him into the car." Placing her hat on Enzo's head, he nodded his readiness. "Grab his shoulders."

She moved into position. Her lunch's uprising threatened again as she looked down at the lifeless face at her feet.

"Ginny!"

Breathing in through her mouth and out through her nose, she bent down and unfastened the sling, placing the submachine gun on the ground beside her. On his count of three, they lifted and carried the body to the car. With a little awkward maneuvering, they managed to get the dead weight into the passenger seat. In that slouched position with the cap pulled low to hide male features, the white lettering of POLICE was the first detail seen through the tinted windows.

"Now get the hell out of here," he said.

"I can't. I have to find Walt."

Mark frowned. "He's at the station."

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