Fiddlestix, Kaz and Harmony agree to accompany General Scott and his men inside their fortress under the mountain. Part of the agreement includes them disarming, as well as neutralizing any cyber weapons. It’s not ideal, but they really have no other choice.
No one said anything until they were deep underground in a conference room. Deacon, Jasper and ten of their men took up one end of the table. Fiddlestix and her two men sat at the other. She waited for Deacon Scott to speak, but he just stared at her. Good at playing mind games herself, she stared back, letting her eyes travel over his body without expression. She lingered on his massive chest, her gaze drifting down to the tabletop, though one got the impression that wasn’t what she was looking at.
She didn’t appear to be impressed, but her mind was dancing around, singing a song of great appreciation. Deacon Scott exuded sexual virility. Like a scent, it surrounded her, burrowing deep inside. Never in her life had she been so attracted to a man. It really irritated her, because he was one of the most arrogant, annoying, hard edged, coldhearted men it had ever been her bad luck to encounter. He was a walking, talking contradiction from whom she got mixed signals. Priding herself on her ability to size up an adversary, she couldn’t get a handle on General Scott. She quit trying, waiting for him to speak. He seemed bent on the same thing. It was a silent standoff.
Fidgeting nervously, Jasper Scott nudged his brother. He didn’t play the silent game like Deacon did. It wasn’t that he couldn’t, he just thought it was a waste of time. He wanted answers as much as his brother, but he was willing to go about it differently. Given the need, Jasper could extract information from even the most reticent. Clearing his throat, he nudged his brother again. Deacon broke eye contact with Fiddlestix long enough to glare at his brother.
He didn’t say a word, but his eyes asked a question, “What?”
Jasper raised an eyebrow asking a question of his own. Deacon blinked, cutting his eyes at the three at the end of the table as if giving permission. Jasper leaned forward, laying his forearms and palms on the table in front of him. His dark hair flowed around him like molten chocolate. He too wore a thin, red tied braid.
“Miss Braun,” he started.
“Master Sergeant,” Kaz corrected automatically. Reddening, his lips snapped shut and he deemed it wise not to talk again.
“Beg pardon, ma’am. Master Sergeant. I’m sure you can understand our hesitation in accepting what you say.”
Fiddlestix nodded. “But you’ve had trouble at your north gate. I’d say, if it’s a well populated area, you’ve lost close to fifty people since they broke through. Probably took them roughly twenty-five hours to get in, now you can’t get them out. Am I close?”
The brothers exchanged a look that she couldn’t interpret. Deacon nodded ever so slightly.
“Twenty-four and a half to be precise,” Jasper said quietly. “Upwards of forty people. Mostly soldiers but a few civilians too.”
“Look….” She sighed heavily, running her fingers through her short blond hair. “I didn’t want to come in like this. I asked my commanding officer, General McLain, to contact you. He knew about your father, he knew this location.”
“How would he know that?” Jasper was incredulous.
“He didn’t share that with me, Jasper.”
She had no idea what his rank was. The Shine Clan wore identical uniforms but no insignia.
“General McLain?” Deacon frowned deeply. “Thomas McLain?”
Fiddlestix thought for a moment. Did she know the general’s first name. She visualized the nameplate on his desk. General T. H. McLain.
“Could be. I don’t know the general that well,” she smirked. “Not like the old man and I are on a first name basis. His initials are T.H.”
For the first time, Deacon’s eyes twinkled. His face remained stony, but there was a glimmer of something in his eyes.
“If it’s Thomas McLain, it would explain a lot. Short guy, bad attitude, sort of exudes this aura of….” He hesitated for a word that wouldn’t offend a lady.
“Abject stupidity?” She nodded. “That’s our general. Dumbest son-of-a-bitch I ever met.”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes