Hey guys, so we know that the re-release of Burn For Me was supposed to include extra goodies but since the cover remains the same except for a different font and they chose not to add any bonus material for various reasons and due to our time constraints, this is our small way of making it up to you. In keeping with our Male POV tradition this one will focus on the first time Rogan… not really meets, maybe kidnaps or abducts, Nevada. The next will the scene in Burn For Me where Rogan shows Nevada his awesome basement man cave/enhanced interrogation fun room.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was warm, the sky was blue, and I would have liked nothing more than to take the afternoon off and be just about anywhere but sitting in a car waiting for a certain rogue Prime to show up. Adam Pierce was running around Houston setting fires and getting people killed. I didn’t know why, and I normally wouldn’t have gotten involved but he’d fucked with my family and now deserved my undivided attention. Not that I was particularly close to them, but, when your cousin comes to you crying and at the end of her rope because her teenage son is implicated in murder and on the run, you don’t just say no. I mean, you could, but, then you’d be the cold bastard everyone thinks you are. Maybe I was, but she was my favorite cousin, and the thought of that flashy poser Pierce using the boy to help him do all his horrible shit really pissed me off.
I’d known guys like Adam my whole life. Born with the wealth, the looks, given the best education, the fanciest toys, everything but a sense of duty. No responsibility to do more than spend money and have a good time. Mostly they were harmless assholes who’d eventually settle down and raise more little useless assholes. Most didn’t blow up banks and incinerate off duty cops. What was Pierce playing at? He didn’t need the money. I knew his mommy was still giving him his allowance on the sly. Was he just having fun? Why the sudden move from petty vandalism to murder? Despite being an incredibly powerful fire mage, Adam had seemed content to amuse himself with petty mischief until now: little fires, bar fights, trouble that his family had always gotten him out of. This was different. Now he’d killed a man, a cop, for no reason, and he’d involved my family in it.
The big question was why? Why go from bad boy heartthrob to Houston’s most wanted? Was somebody pulling his strings, manipulating him the way he was doing with Gavin? When I found him, I’d have to ask him before I ripped his tongue out and shoved it up his ass. The thought brought a smile to my lips.
But first I would have to find him and so far, that was easier said than done. It was supposed to be simple. The man was a fucking ghost. None of my contacts turned up anything useful except a single lead, a motorcycle repair shop, where Adam supposedly picked his mommy’s money once a month. Today was the day, so I set up in a neighboring parking lot and waited for him. Except now, he knew there was too much heat. He hadn’t shown up, but someone else had. A young woman in business clothes who didn’t look like she had any reason to be here. She looked around before going in, not like she was a regular who’d been here before. Not a cop, but something…
Who are you, pretty girl? Let’s find out.
I snapped a quick pic of her in profile and one of her license plate after she disappeared inside. A short time later I knew that she was Nevada Baylor, chief investigator and co-owner of the Baylor Detective Agency. That told me nothing; however, the financial report stated that the business was mortgaged to MII.
Montgomery didn’t own them out right, but Augustine held their leash, which I confirmed once she left the repair shop and drove straight to MII. I parked two rows behind her and watched as she left the car and marched toward Augustine’s ridiculous building. No doubt to see Augustine Montgomery. I strolled by her car, attached a tracker, and came back to my vehicle. No security showed up to ask me what I was doing in Augustine’s parking lot. Disappointing.
I sat in my car and watched the building. So, Pancakes, what are you doing mixed up in all this?
Then it hit me. House Pierce must’ve hired him to help Adam.
The check must have been huge. Adam was public enemy number one at the moment. Every cop in Houston wanted a piece.
Still, money was money. Plus, Pancakes would have dirt on them, and House Pierce would owe him, and House Montgomery, a favor. Had Mommy insisted that they also pass along little Adam’s lunch money? It was one thing to be on the run from every law enforcement agency in Houston but to have him destitute, well, that simply wouldn’t do.
The Augustine I remembered would never have soiled his hands with this kind of sordid business. If it came out that he had aided a cop killer… unless he forced someone else to do his dirty work, somebody he retained and could just as easily disavow should it become expedient to do so. Somebody like a pretty young girl. She had to know that aiding a notorious fugitive could mean losing her PI license and her family business. Was Augustine forcing her to do it or did she want to help? Most likely the latter. Attractive, eligible Primes always fascinated certain types of people. Perhaps the bad boy image had something to do with it, maybe being a wanted man made him even more alluring to her.
I half wanted to walk into the building and ask Augustine what the hell happened to the young idealist who was going to change the world and wanted no part of House politics? I guess he became his old man after all.
The girl burst out of MII at a near sprint to her car. Now, that was interesting. Where are we going now? She must’ve picked up the money from the repair store, brought it to Augustine, who called Pierce and okayed the payoff. She was going to meet Adam. I started the car.
This was as simple as it got. Follow the girl, find Adam, wrap him up tight in this nice roll of military-grade fireproof cloth, (the perfect gift for the psychotic pyromage in your life), take him home and spend some quality time together. Then, after he told me how to find Gavin, I’d drop what was left of him off at some police station.
She was driving like a maniac, and I did my best to keep up with her without being noticed. The bug I’d placed on her car would let me find her anywhere in Houston but if it was discovered or if she noticed me, she’d be a lot more cautious. As long as she led me to Pierce.
The traffic ground to a halt, bumper to bumper, clogging the highway. One car ahead a guy with a hard hat and orange vest walked out from the exit marked with roadwork warnings and held up a stop sign. Dump trucks roared and began exiting onto the highway.
I took a deep breath and counted the dump trucks between us. One, two, three, four, five, …for fuck’s sake! God help me, I wanted to simply sweep them aside like a child’s toys or crush them and toss them away like empty soda cans. Most people felt this way sometimes. The difference was that I could do it. I could but I wouldn’t. These were just guys, civilians, doing their job, and I wasn’t going to harm them. No, that’s what someone like Adam would do. Which meant that per my rules, I could hurt him. In many wonderful ways. I thought about all of them, while I waited for the seemingly endless stream of construction vehicles to pass. Finally, after broken bones but before I moved on to chemical and electrical burns, we were allowed to proceed. Of course, by this time she had a ten to fifteen-minute lead on me.
The tracker blinked on my display, moving north. Where the hell was she going?
Five minutes later she pulled into Mercer Botanical Gardens. The tracker stopped. Damn it.
Fifteen minutes later I ran past her car through the parking lot at Mercer Arboretum, the bolt of fabric under my arm. It made sense. A public place, while at the same time secluded. The trail wound through the botanical gardens, branching in a dozen places, peppered by pavilions, fountains, and plazas. They had to be somewhere on the trails. That’s what I would do. Too many people in the plazas. He had a target on his back and she was probably infatuated, so they would want at least some privacy. Where would I take a pretty girl who was bringing me money?
Bamboo garden. Easy to hide, while still suitably picturesque. I sped up.
I was ten yards away, when the sound of a motorcycle roaring to life came from close by. Definitely within the park. It had to be him. Who else was enough of a dickhead to bring a motorcycle into a place like this? And now he was taking off and there was no handy tracking bug on his bike. I couldn’t make him crash if I couldn’t see him and I’d never catch him on foot before he roared out of the park and into the city.
This day just kept getting better and better. Adam, when I find you, and I will, I’ll be sure to throw in a nice scaphoid fracture or two, no extra charge. Even once it healed, his motorcycle riding days would be over. Hard to ride with your wrists hurting like hell.
Not everything was lost. Adam took off, but the girl would be on foot. She brought him money; likely as not she would know how to find him again. The motorcycle roar had come from the left. She’d likely walk out through the plaza. I sped up.
A minute later I walked into the plaza. A blonde woman on a bench by the fountain. Yep, that’s her. Nevada Baylor. Hey girl, we need to talk. I slowed down. Don’t stalk her, don’t scare her, remember to stroll up, nice and casual. You’re just a pleasant guy whose sees a pretty girl and wants to chat her up. What’s this under my arm? Oh, that’s not fireproof high-tech fabric. It’s just a giant fruit roll up, you want some? Don’t worry, I’m harmless. I’m not interested in you or the fact that you are aiding a murderer who burned a man to death and used my kid cousin to help him. That death would be forever on Gavin’s soul. Adam didn’t care, but a sixteen-year-old kid would have to live the rest of his life with it.
She looked up.
Maybe she didn’t see me.
Shit. She saw me. Don’t run, please don’t run. Damn it.
I sprinted after her. She dashed through the park like she was on fire.
Yelling, “I don’t want to hurt you, I just want to wrap you up and sedate you, so I can take you to my secret torture dungeon to interrogate you” probably wouldn’t help. She veered onto the trail, heading back toward the exit. So convenient. Less people around.
She was pretty fast, but I knew I’d catch her before she got to the gift shop by the exit to the park. The trick to catching someone with fabric is to not suffocate them. I gathered my magic, realigning it. Wrap her in fabric, pick her up, and carry her right out. Neat and easy.
She whipped around.
And now she had a gun. I really didn’t like when people pointed guns at me.
She sighted me and yelled, “Stop, I’ll shoot you.”
I looked into her eyes. No, she wouldn’t shoot me. I kept walking. Even if she did, others had shot at me before and it never turned out well for them.
“Help me,” she yelled at no one in particular.
No, they won’t. There wasn’t a soul in this place that could save her now. It was much too late. It was over the minute she pulled that pistol out. Nobody would want to get involved and she just went from an enemy sympathizer to an active threat. Now she was fair game.
She fired the gun, not at me but high and toward the trees. Should have taken the shot. I used my magic to push the fire blanket at her and wrapped her up nice and tight. I caught her before she hit the ground and pulled the sedative out.
There we go, it’s almost over now, a quick shot and then you get to take a nice long nap. I scooped her up and headed for the exit.
“Hey,” some idiot in a cowboy hat yelled at me and started toward us. Big mistake.
“I wouldn’t advise it,” I told him. I looked at him, promising that if he took one more step, it would be his last. He must have believed me because he stopped dead in his tracks. Lucky for him.
The woman stirred and tried to say something. I shifted her in my arms so that I could see her face. Her eyes were wide with fear and confusion. Then it dawned on her.
There it was. It is nice to be recognized.
“Mad Rogan,” I finished for her. It’s good that you know who I am. It will make this next part easier for both of us, I hoped.