Hit Me (The Bailey Boys #2)

Hit Me (The Bailey Boys #2) by PJ Adams Read Free Book Online

Book: Hit Me (The Bailey Boys #2) by PJ Adams Read Free Book Online
Authors: PJ Adams
or me.
    Anything I did now would put Imelda at risk.
    And yet doing nothing now also put her at risk.
    I felt powerless.
    All I could rely on was her judgment of the situation: she had told me to go, implied she could handle this. Had that been because it was the best option, or had she done so to protect me? And what price might she end up paying for that...?
    I was clenching and unclenching my fists, a nervous tic, a diversion. Rolling from the balls of my feet to my heels and back.
    I was going to burst.
    I...
    Another change in body language, and Hristo spat out some more words, shrugged, turned.
    Meekly, Imelda, Georgi and the other guy followed.
    I stayed there. Forced myself not to move, for if I did I knew I would follow, too, and that was not something that would end well. I understood myself well enough to know that, while I might claim to be a thinker and a planner, there are times when the gut takes over, when I think with my balls and my fists rather than the gray stuff crammed into my skull.
    I was still there when the last few customers drifted out of the bar. When the taverna’s staff had finished clearing the tables and hauling the furniture in from the street terrace. When the old dishwasher had waved everyone goodbye and shuffled round to lock up and turn out the lights.
    Finally, I turned away, followed that dark alleyway through to another street that ran behind the bar, found my way to the seafront and turned left towards what was now my home.
    §
    I got the call from Dean a few days later, and immediately I knew it was serious. My brother was in trouble.
    He didn’t say as much, but he didn’t have to.
    There are three of us – the Bailey Boys, as people took to calling us back in London as our reputation grew. I’m the youngest, Dean’s a few years older, and Owen’s ten years older still. Owen’s always been a bit separate, a bit aloof, but Dean and me are close. We’d always looked out for each other. Always been able to read between the lines, too.
    So when Dean calls and says, “Hey, bro’, how’s things? Listen, we’ve got a bit of a situation here. Could do with some advice, know what I mean?” Well, when you get a call like that, you don’t hang around.
    I met Dean and Jess at their place in San Pedro, a small development ten kilometers west of Puerto Libre. I found them on the terrace behind their bar, the New Duchess, a small area where a cluster of canopied tables overlooked the bay.
    It was still odd seeing Dean dressed down like this, in pale gray linens and a short-sleeved shirt. Back in London it had been rare to see him out of a suit and neck-tie. He’d taken to this new life well.
    Jess had adapted well, too. She was at his side, tanned and fit-looking, her blonde hair cropped short, the elaborate tatt of a blackbird peering out from among twisting vines and roses creeping out from around the neckline of her cropped top.
    The two of them made the perfect couple.
    I know when Dean fell for Jess he did so hard and fast. A part of me couldn’t help wondering if that’s what I was experiencing with Imelda – or if, perhaps, that was what I was craving. Was I deluding myself?
    Among the happiest times of my life was that journey down through France with Dean and Jess in a battered old Fiesta cousin Ronnie had acquired for us, no questions asked. A safe, nondescript car chosen not to draw attention to us. A ‘drive and burn’ as Ronnie had called it.
    We’d stopped off in little market towns along the way, not in any kind of hurry. We stayed overnight in a succession of small hotels and guesthouses, enjoying the ambience and change of pace, and all the time knowing our future lay in wads of used twenties and fifties in the trunk of that car.
    We’d never said out loud where we were heading – just that we would cross the Channel and follow the sun, heading away from the mess we’d left behind in London, the aftermath of a clash with one of the new Russian mafioska

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