Home > Blue Blooded (Jessica McClain #6)(4)

Blue Blooded (Jessica McClain #6)(4)
Author: Amanda Carlson

Kayla turned, appraising Tyler with quiet apprehension, finally nodding.

“Everything clear?” I asked my brother. “Do you think Jax is inside?”

He shook his head. “My best guess is no, but he might be sleeping or—”

Kayla bristled. “Jax is not dead. There’s no way he could be dead. He’s too strong for that.”

“I wasn’t going to say dead,” Tyler said, “but Enid might’ve knocked him out or is keeping him quiet.”

“It’s time to find out,” Rourke said. “How many staircases are inside?”

“Two,” Kayla answered. “One in the middle and one at the far end.”

Rourke turned to Ray. “Go tell Irish we’re ready. They enter from the front, we’ll take the side. Tell them to be ready in five. We meet on the fourth-floor landing. Nobody goes any farther until I give a signal.”

“Will do,” Ray said as he shot into the air.

We walked around to the side and entered the building. Smells from the other tenants—garbage, takeout, and pets—were all over the hallway. As we ascended, I couldn’t detect any sign of a struggle, and there were no strange supernatural scents permeating the air.

Once we reached the fourth floor, we spotted James down the long hallway. He was waiting at the top of the stairs as directed. Rourke nodded. We all crept forward, following Kayla’s lead until she stopped at the door in the middle. I hovered over her shoulder, reaching a single finger out to press it against the wood.

Nothing buzzed back, so it wasn’t warded or spelled.

I nodded the all-clear, and she grabbed on to the handle, turning it. It swung wide with no resistance.

We all paused at the entry and peered in.

The living room was in shambles, everything overturned.

Kayla made a move to rush in, but I held her back. I scented nothing, but tossed my power out to check. It came back clear. After a few moments, I whispered, “Okay, but move cautiously. We’re right behind you.”

“Jax!” Kayla called as she made her way through the wreckage. “Can you hear me?”

We picked our way through the debris, shifting wood and scraps of furniture out of the way as we went. There’d been a massive fight here. Jax had not gone with his kidnapper willingly. The lack of police presence or any concerned neighbors milling around meant that Enid, or whoever she’d hired, had warded the area until they’d had the boy under control.

I didn’t think he was dead. Lifting my head, I took air in and filtered it over my tongue. There was no scent of death, and Enid would’ve left him behind like trash to rot. “Is anyone picking up on any strange signatures?” I asked. “This place had to have been magically locked down while this was going on, or it would be crawling with cops, yet I scent nothing. Marcy?”

“Nada. Not even the smallest whiff.” Marcy stood behind me. “This place is totaled. Whoever did this was massive. The dents in the wall are eight feet high, and things are crushed to smithereens.” Marcy and the others hadn’t yet heard what Kayla had told us about her brother.

There’d be time to explain later.

We followed Kayla down a narrow hallway. She paused by a closed door, stretching her hand out tentatively. “Jax,” she called quietly. “Are you in there?” Her fingers curled over the knob. She closed her eyes, angling her head toward the ceiling. I knew she was praying to someone—anyone—to give her strength to open that door. I prayed right along with her.

She swung the door wide, and we all gasped.

If the living room had been ruined, the bedroom had been demolished.

There wasn’t a thing left standing.

Most of it was broken to dust. Giant holes marred the walls, and the mattress was in tatters, springs poking out everywhere. There was nothing resembling a dresser or any furniture anywhere to be seen. There wasn’t even room to walk.

The wreckage was three feet high.

“Your brother put up quite a fight,” I murmured. “Anyone can see he’s a force to be reckoned with. Whoever took him is likely ruing their decision to do so right this instant.”

A quiet sob issued out of her throat. She covered her mouth with her hand and bowed her head. A long curtain of her dark hair fell, blocking her emotions from us.

I didn’t know her well enough to physically comfort her, and it likely wouldn’t have been welcome, so I didn’t reach out. Instead, we stood shoulder to shoulder, and when she was ready, I would be there.

Rourke made a small sound. “Look, there’s something sticking out of the wall.”

“Where?” Kayla’s head shot up, hope breaking in her voice.

Tyler saw it too. “It’s tucked into one of the holes on the far side.” Tyler gestured to the wall.

Sure enough, a rumpled piece of paper, barely visible, was stuck in a remnant of obliterated sheetrock near the window.

Kayla went forward to claim it, picking her way over the obstacles carefully, stumbling and sliding as she went.

Rourke rested his hands on my shoulders, gripping them tightly, leaning over to whisper in my ear. “Whatever that note says, it’s not going to be welcome news.”

I nodded.

That note wasn’t going to contain anything we wanted to hear, but hopefully it would lead us to Jax.

A sudden feeling of déjà vu washed over me, and I shivered. Rourke, sensing a change, rubbed my arms, a small growl issuing from the back of his throat.

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