This story takes place after Relentless and before Rage.
Megan hung up after the call from her mother and promptly sent a text to every member of Benson Security’s Scottish office.
Code Green, was all it said.
She raced down the stairs of the house she’d grown up in, grabbed the go-bag she’d stashed in the closet beside the front door when she’d arrived from London, and ran outside. Slamming the door behind her.
“Hey,” Dimitri called from where he was clearing out a lifetime’s worth of ‘man-junk’ from her dad’s garage. “What’s the rush?”
“Code green,” she said as she yanked open the door to their SUV.
Dimitri stopped wrapping the cord around the third sander he’d found, tossed it on the bench and jogged toward her. “I’ll drive.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m faster.”
“We don’t need safe. We need fast.”
“Did you text your brother?” he asked as he blocked her from climbing into the car.
“Then we’ll have a police escort, and we’ll go fast. Fast but safe—so long as you aren’t driving. Get your ass in the passenger seat, Buffy. Time’s a wasting.”
With a huff and a frown, she stomped around the car. “You have one little car crash, and you’re branded for life,” she muttered.
“One?” Dimitri arched an eyebrow at her, his eyes glittering with amusement.
“Or two,” she conceded. Did a crash count if she wasn’t the one who’d been injured? “Maybe three, if you count the time that we ran Grunt off the road.”
“Everybody counts that time.” Dimitri put the SUV in gear and headed for the main road out of town.
The sun shone over Invertary, warming the gray stone walls of the houses dotting the hills around the loch. At the bottom of the High Street, the blue waters glistened in the afternoon sun. Home. Even though she now lived in London and traveled all over the world with her job, the tiny Scottish town would always be home to Megan.
“We could always move here,” Dimitri said softly. “Transfer to the Scottish office.”
She shook her head. “My feet are too itchy for that. I like the international jobs that the London office pulls in. Plus, big brother’s here, and there’s no way he’d let me work as a security specialist without interfering. Then I’d have to kill him, and that would upset Jena.”
“Just Jena?” His lips twitched. “Not your mom?”
“Mum’s been expecting it for years. It’s only a matter of time before Claire or I snap and off him.” She cast him a wry look. “You try growing up in a town where your brother’s the only cop. Talk about a killjoy.” Blue flashing lights up ahead caught her eye. “Speak of the devil.”
Dimitri signaled and maneuvered their SUV in behind Matt’s police car. And he wasn’t the only one. Megan twisted in her seat and spied Lake Benson driving the car behind them, sitting beside him was Joe Barone—her brother-in-law’s best friend.
“We’re going to need more people,” she said.
“Three cars back. Looks like Josh and Mitch.”
“What the hell use are a singer and a suit? We need people with guns.”
There was silence for a beat. “Please tell me you didn’t bring a gun.”
Megan didn’t answer, because he’d specifically said not to tell him.
Dimitri heaved a sigh. “You can’t go in armed.”
She didn’t think that rated an answer either, because she could definitely go in armed.
“Give me your backpack,” he ordered.
“Not going to happen.”
“I’m your superior. You’re still a trainee. When I give you an order in the field, you’d damn well better obey.”
There was so much wrong with his statement that it took Megan a minute to decide what to deal with first. “Nobody is my superior. We aren’t in the field. This isn’t a job. And you aren’t in charge. So, you can stuff your order right up—”
A car shot past them, and one of Lake’s men saluted from the passenger window.
“At last.” Megan breathed a sigh of relief. “Some decent backup. I bet nobody’s asked them if they have guns.”
She couldn’t wait until she lost her trainee-badass status and her right to bear arms was no longer under question. Although, that right might only hold up in America. She needed to Google that.
“Whatever you’re thinking,” Dimitri said. “Stop it.”
“Just get us to Fort William and let me deal with the rest.”
“We should have rented a house there for the duration,” Dimitri said for the millionth time since they’d arrived in Scotland three days earlier.
“Don’t you think it’s enough that my crazy brother-in-law moved his wife and mother-in-law there two months ago, ‘just to be safe’? Invertary’s close enough. We’ll get there in plenty of time.”
He shot her a skeptical look. “Are you sure? How long does it take to have a baby?”
“Two babies. And it takes as long as it takes.” She shuddered at the thought of suffering through days of pain pushing out not one but two human beings. “I’m never having kids. You do know that, right?”
“Buffy.” He said in the tone he used when talking her out of her underwear.
“I’m serious. Twins run in our family. You saw how big Claire got toward the end. She looked like she’d swallowed a bus. Her ankles had swollen to the same width as my thighs. And all she did was cry. Nothing on this green earth would make me go through that.”
He glanced at her with molten eyes that made her clench her thighs together. “Nothing?”
She swallowed hard, determined to resist the power of his sex appeal. “Nothing. Still want to marry me?” She couldn’t help holding her breath as she waited for the answer.
His grin was pure sexual promise. “You don’t get out of it that easy.”
“Whatever,” she said, trying to sound casual as a wave of relief swept through her.
“Speaking of weddings,” Dimitri said as they zoomed along the highway. “We’ve got time to talk before we hit Fort William. How about we set a date for the big day?”
Megan groaned and sank into her seat. “How about the tenth of never? That good for you?”
A look of sheer determination crossed his face. “You ever been to Vegas?”
“The only way you’re getting me to Vegas is by drugging me and carrying me onto the plane.”
He nodded. “Sounds like a plan.”
Megan just shook her head as her phone buzzed in her hand. It was a text from her mother:
S.O.S The beast is loose. I repeat, the beast is loose.
“Better step on it,” she said as she rang her brother. “Or there won’t be a hospital to visit when we get there.”
Dimitri put his foot down while Megan spoke to Matt. “Pick up the pace,” she said when he answered. Mum says Grunt has gone full Hulk. This is a full-blown Code Green situation.”
Matt muttered something under his breath before raising his voice. “Stay behind me. I’ll clear the way.” There was a pause. “Please tell me you aren’t driving.”
Megan hung up on him.
They heard Grunt before they saw him. The whole hospital shuddered with his roar.
“It’s all under control,” Matt called as he led their group through the corridors toward the shouting. “Stay back.”
In front of Megan, and behind her brother, were Lake and Joe. Dimitri was on one side of her, Josh McInnes on the other. Behind her were Mitch and the rest of Lake’s Scottish team. She was surrounded by testosterone—and Josh.
“Remind me why you’re here again?” she asked the singer.
“Are you implying I’m useless?” He grinned like that was funny.
Her cousin Flynn, an ex-professional footballer, appeared beside them. “Sorry I’m late to the party. And nobody’s implying you’re useless, we’re saying it outright. You need to train, or you’re going to die during your next concert tour. Tomorrow morning, you come running with me.”
Josh tripped over his own feet, head-butting Joe in the back. “Sorry,” he said to Joe. “Run?” he said to Flynn like it was an alien concept. “For fun?”
“No,” Flynn said. “For fitness.” He eyed Josh, who wore an Iron Man T-shirt. “We’ll throw in some weights as well.”
“Yeah, I’m too busy to run,” Josh said. “Got to work on the album.”
“I’m sure Caroline could help clear your schedule.” Flynn grinned and the men around him chuckled. Josh’s wife had been trying for years to get him fitter.
“You’re all assholes,” Josh grumbled. “Except for you,” he told Megan. “You’re just scary.”
“Thanks,” she said as they rounded a corner and screeched to a halt.
Two hospital security guards blocked their path. Several nurses stood in doorways, while patients and their families peeked out into the corridor through their windows. Two men in scrubs inched toward Grunt; their hands held out in front of them. Behind them stood another security guard, who looked like he was either about to run or wet himself. And, in the middle of all this, Megan’s mountain of a brother-in-law towered over everyone as he held a guy in a white coat against the wall by his throat.
“Grunt.” Joe elbowed his way to the front of their group. “What you doing, big guy?”
“Um, going Hulk on the medical staff,” Megan said.
“Samuel!” A screech filled the corridor, coming from one of the rooms. Claire wanted her husband.
Grunt’s hand tightened on the doctor’s throat. If he’d heard Joe, or even registered they were there, it didn’t show.
“My wife is in pain,” he said to the doctor in a low growling voice. “You need to stop the pain. My wife doesn’t have to deal with pain. Ever.”
“Oh, this isn’t good,” Flynn muttered.
“I told you.” The doctor clutched Grunt’s wrist, holding on as he stretched up on tiptoe. His face, which had turned red, was inching into blue. “It’s too late to administer pain relief. We just have to let nature take its course.”
“No!” Grunt roared.
“Big guy.” Joe stepped forward. “You need to back the hell off. You’re damaging Claire’s doctor, and she needs him.”
Nope. Still didn’t penetrate.
“Pain meds,” Grunt told the doc.
“Samuel,” Claire screamed. “Samuel, I need you.”
One of the guys dressed in scrubs stepped toward Grunt. “Listen, Samuel,” he said, and everyone who knew Grunt gasped.
“Damn it to hell,” Joe snapped. “Julia told everyone in the hospital not to call him that. She sent a memo and everything.”
Still holding on to the doctor’s throat, Grunt turned his head slowly toward the nurse, who visibly swallowed.
“Big guy.” The nurse took another step forward. “Your wife needs you.”
“Do not engage,” Lake told the man.
Neither Grunt nor the nurse listened.
“Samuel,” Claire shouted. “These babies are too big!”
“Samuel.” The nurse took another step. “Can I call you Sam?” The idiot smiled while everyone else groaned.
That was when Grunt dropped the doctor, picked up the nurse and tossed him through a window into one of the rooms.
“Everybody back the hell off,” Joe shouted as people screamed.
“Somebody stop Claire’s pain,” Grunt shouted. “You.” He grabbed the other guy in scrubs. “Make the pain stop.”
“Okay. Okay.” The guy looked like he was about to pass out. “Let go of me and I’ll get some meds.”
Megan shook her head in disgust. Even at this distance, you could tell the guy was lying. Grunt tossed him over his shoulder and down the corridor before turning back to the doctor.
En masse, Benson Security descended.
“Grunt, step away from the doctor,” Lake ordered.
“Claire’s in pain,” Grunt shouted, knocking Lake out of his way.
“Arrest him,” one of the female nurses called. “Don’t just stand there.”
“Aye,” Matt said. “I’ll get right on that.”
“Big guy,” Joe put a hand on Grunt’s arm. “You need to calm the hell down. Claire needs you.”
Grunt’s fist went back and then connected with Joe’s face. And that was the last time Joe spoke for a while. As one, the rest of the men jumped on Grunt, who roared and shook them off like a dog with fleas.
“Dose him,” Matt shouted.
“Joe’s got the sedative.” Lake dodged Grunt’s fist.
Mitch fell to his knees beside the unconscious Joe and searched his pockets. “It’s smashed.”
“This is a bloody hospital,” Flynn snapped as he jumped on Grunt’s back. “Somebody get something to knock this guy out.”
Grunt threw himself back against the wall, smashing Flynn into it. Flynn let out a strangled whine then slid to the floor.
“This baby is too big,” Claire shouted. “Why did I marry a freaking giant? Samuel Dayton get your backside in here and get this monster child out of me.” And then she screamed with pain.
Grunt heard the scream and lunged for the doctor, throwing two of Lake’s team out of his way. The doctor’s face lost all color as he fell to his backside and crab-walked away from the crazy giant.
Megan calmly watched all this from the end of the corridor before reaching into her backpack.
Dimitri saw the move as he tried to get between Grunt and his prey. “You can’t shoot him.”
Ignoring him, she pulled two fully charged stun guns out of her bag and strode toward Grunt, stepping over Joe and Mitch, and dodging everyone else.
“Now I know how the Black Widow feels when she tries to calm the Hulk,” she muttered.
Only, she didn’t plan to sing him a lullaby.
“Grunt,” she snapped, and his head swung toward her.
“Claire?” He seemed confused. And not for the first time, Megan thanked God that she was an identical twin.
“Samuel,” she said, smiling sweetly. “I need you, honey.”
His face softened, and he took a step toward her. It was close enough. She shot out both arms and hit him with enough volts to take down Godzilla. His jaw clenched, his face turned red, his arms stiffened and his eyes rolled back. And then, he toppled to the ground like a felled tree, hitting with a crash that reverberated throughout the building.
Megan stood over him as the men around her wiped blood from their faces and struggled to their feet. All but Joe. He was still out cold.
“Now would be a good time to sedate him,” Megan told the doctor. “He gets a bit upset when his wife’s in pain.”
The doctor gave her a wide-eyed look before nodding and running for the meds room.
Megan looked at her boss. “A syringe? That’s what you brought?”
Lake wiped the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand. “I didn’t want to fry his brain.”
She looked down at the man-mountain in front of her. “What brain?”
“Samuel,” Claire screeched. “Get these unnaturally big-headed babies out of me.”
“I’ll deal with my sister.” Megan stepped over Grunt. “If I were you, I’d cuff him to a chair, and anything else that will keep him down. You can sedate him, but who knows how long that will last.”
Lake cocked his head at two of his men, who warily set about cuffing Grunt’s hands behind his back.
“These are the last kids these two have,” Matt declared. Like he had any say in the matter. Honestly, her brother had a serious God complex.
Megan passed the men and strode into her sister’s room. The tension inside was worse than it was outside. Claire lay on the bed, knees up, face red and sweat pouring off her. She had a death grip on their mother’s hand, while the midwife checked the machines at the head of the bed.
As soon as Claire spotted Megan, she frowned. “Did you taze him?”
“Had to.” Megan strode toward her sister.
“Bloody men,” Claire said between pants. “I hate them. All of them. I hate their sperm. And their babies. And sex. I hate sex. I’m never having sex again.” Her head spun toward the midwife. “While my husband’s out, can you vasectomize him?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, honey,” their mother said, looking worried.
At that point, Claire went into full Exorcist spinning-head mode. “De-sex that man,” she shrieked. And then started gasping with pain again.
Megan eyed the midwife. “Just curious, but would it hurt her and the babies if I used my stun gun on her?”
“Megan!” her mother snapped.
“I had to marry a giant,” Megan ranted once the contraction passed. “And have giant babies. Not one giant baby. But two. And where is the giant man who caused all this? He’s outside being a giant arse to everyone because he can’t deal with the pain. It isn’t even his pain.” She finished on a screech before her hand snapped out and she grabbed the midwife’s wrist. “I want a C-section. Now.”
As the midwife unpicked Claire’s fingers one at a time, there was a scuffle behind them. They turned to watch four men drag an unconscious Grunt into the room, prop him against the wall, and then cuff him to the radiator.
“That’s…unusual…” the midwife said.
Just then, the doctor pushed his way past the men filling the room. His face was still red, and it looked like there might be bruising around his throat.
“Everybody out,” he snapped, his voice hoarse.
“Did Grunt do that to you?” Claire’s eyes were on his throat.
“Let’s focus on dealing with these babies before we worry about anything else,” the doctor said.
Claire nodded, a manic gleam in her eyes. “Please, could you cut off my husband’s balls before he wakes up? It would be payback for both of us, and you’d never have to see him again.”
The doctor hesitated before answering, casting a glance at the unconscious Grunt. “Tempting, but how about we deal with you first?”
At that point, Claire hunched over and let out another blood-curdling scream. The doctor went to the foot of her bed and lifted the sheet to peer underneath.
“She’s fully dilated, these babies are coming.” His voice was filled with relief.
“I think everybody should wait outside now,” the midwife shooed the men out of the room.
“Hi,” Josh said. “I’d like to offer you complimentary tickets for my next show, with backstage passes. Just a little something to compensate you for all your trouble.”
At the sight of Josh, the woman almost fainted, and a blush stole up her cheeks. “You’re Josh McInnes,” she gushed. “I love you. I have all your albums.”
Josh smiled his award-winning smile at her before shooting Megan a look. “See,” he said. “I’m helpful. I smooth the way.”
Megan rolled her eyes.
Dimitri threw an arm around her shoulder as the room cleared. “This could be you one day,” he said.
“In your dreams.”
“The head’s too big,” Claire screamed.
“On the plus side,” Dimitri said. “We would have normal-sized babies. I don’t think they’d hurt this much.”
“If you aren’t family,” the doctor said, “get out.”
With that, he flicked back the sheet and Megan saw more of her sister than she ever wanted to see. And a good chunk of a baby she’d only planned on seeing when it was fully disconnected from its mother.
That’s when the room went black and she hit the floor.
“You’re an aunty.” Claire beamed at Megan as she cradled a baby swathed in pink to her chest.
“And you’re a mother.” Megan still couldn’t believe that either of them was old enough to have children, let alone care for them. She looked at her own mother. Didn’t you have to be an adult to be a mother? Was she an adult now? Was Claire? Who the hell decided that?
“And I’m a father,” Grunt boomed.
The look of wonder on his face almost made up for the carnage he’d caused earlier. He stood beside the bed with a tiny bundle of pink cradled in his arms. His face glowed with awe.
“I have babies,” he said. “I’m a father.”
“Is he okay?” Megan asked Dimitri. Between the electricity and the drugs, she wasn’t sure if there was long-term brain damage.
“Hard to tell,” Dimitri said.
“I can’t believe we have twin girls.” Claire looked up at Megan with tears in her eyes. “Just like us.”
“Here’s hoping not exactly like you two,” their brother said drolly.
Claire sniffed and smiled up at Grunt. “Next time, we have to have boys.”
“Sons.” Grunt’s face softened as he leaned forward to kiss his wife.
“Next time?” Megan looked around the room, and everyone seemed just as shocked as she felt.
“We’re going to need a better plan,” Lake said.
“And perhaps a different hospital,” the doctor muttered.
Grunt lifted his head from his wife and beamed at everyone. “I’m a father,” he announced again, then frowned. “When did you all get here?”
As everyone groaned, Megan hooked her arm through Dimitri’s. “Okay,” she whispered, her eyes on the babies. “I’ll think about it.”
The smile he gave her made her concession worthwhile. It also made her want to get out of there and practice for their future. Their distant future. While everyone explained to Grunt why they were so beaten up, Megan and Dimitri slipped out of the room. But not before she grabbed her go-bag.
Who knew when she’d need it again?