Here’s this week’s episode of Renee and Frei. I’m not very well at all so I haven’t read out for you but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the scene better than my attempted accents anyway!
Please excuse any typos and I hope you enjoy catching up with the girls!
Renee wasn’t surprised at the slave trader’s estate or his grandiose white stone entrance as they landed in the grounds. The owner wasn’t someone Renee had heard of even though Frei had mentioned it was an associate of Sven and Jäger’s. But, Renee didn’t really need to know much more because from the statues and busts of family members to the slaves scuttling into slave corridors out of sight, it was a cookie-cutter slave owner home.
“Gem is from a long line of cutters who are respected for their work,” Huber said like they were on a school trip not an assignment. “You’ll find him more mild mannered than you’ve come to expect from owners.”
Renee double-checked her dart gun. “So, you’re saying he’ll ask before drooling?”
Frei managed a small smile but, as always, when she was in these places, her scars showed, her eyes glinted and it made Renee want to make the whole lot of cronies heading into the large house do boot camp, twice.
Huber glowered across at Renee as if warning her that making owners run boot camp was unfair on the staff at boot camp.
“Do try to act appropriately, Miss Worthington,” Huber muttered then scowled at the young scrawny boy scuttling toward them with a metal detector.
“That would mean stealing people to sell and cheating at cards then?” Renee winked at Frei who studied her like she wasn’t sure whether to send her back to the chopper. “You flash that at me, kid, and I’ll bite.”
The boy darted away from her.
“Locks, too,” Renee said desperately wanting to rescue the boy and feed him… and she’d sooo been Lorelei-d.
His eyes glimmered as he stared up at Locks.
Stosur, who was hooked onto Huber’s arm smiled at the boy. “You like locksmiths?”
He glanced behind him, nodded, then glanced behind him again. “Mr Gem doesn’t…” He hunched like saying that much might get him beaten. “Please… he’s… he doesn’t like them.”
Frei nodded to him. “I will remember your bravery when I remove his household from him.”
Stosur held up her chin, pride in her eyes. “Yes, you show much promise… why don’t you escort me to the ladies. I wish to explore safely.”
The boy nodded, dipped his eyes and led her away as if she hadn’t told him anything.
Renee fought the urge to groan. “You didn’t mention removing his household.”
Huber pursed his lips. “I’m not that good at cards.”
Frei strode onward toward the steps. “He sold Jessie to Caprock.”
Huber’s shoulders hitched. “How do you know this information?”
“Jessie was placed with Dutch parents by my mother,” Frei said as if they were both dense. “And somehow they died and she wound up back in a slave academy. Jäger might have paid for her school fees without realising… but he had no idea who she was.”
“And Gem was part of this… how?” Renee was thankful she was in a pant suit and flats. If Frei was in this mood, she’d have to climb and climbing in heels was a pain in the butt.
“His family might have been good at cutting gems but he has no skill for it,” Huber said with a resigned sigh as he ignored the slave holding open the door.
“No, but he still likes to sell gems to willing buyers.” Frei stopped and met Renee’s eyes. “Jessie loved her adopted parents.”
Renee scanned the hallway: cameras, infrared sensors, bars across the windows on the upper floors, thirty guards within eyeline all with automatic weapons and a dining room full of yet more cretins selling kids.
“Can I use bullets?” Renee mumbled thinking she should have packed a rifle not a secondary pistol.
“No.” Frei glared in the direction of a handsome blond man with some workout regime. “I’m going to remove his assets instead.”
“Huber, do be useful and target his brother in cards. He has less skill than you in it,” Frei shot and strode over to the blond man whose eyes glinted with anger.
“I expect you to rescue me,” Huber muttered then strode in the opposite direction into a room filled with cigar smoke by the stench.
Renee turned to the guard nearest. “You know, when I decided to be a mistress, I thought: good pay, extensive travel, hot clients to mess around with and I got to fire my gun,” she said as he lowered his eyes. “I mean, Hartmann was a breeze so working a locksmith was gonna be fun, right?”
The guard flicked his eyes but any mention of Locks tended to get attention.
“And yes, I had a great time ploughing through Sven’s poor excuse for slaves. They were slower than Huber at cards.” She laughed but the message was getting through and the guard was flicking his eyes to and fro like he didn’t want a firefight with her. “But Locks has to be in the mood to let me fight… she’s not in the mood when Samson isn’t around. I get itchy then…” She lifted his chin to look into his eyes. “You any good with that gun because you know we’re gonna have to fight.”
“I follow Mr Gem’s orders, Miss Worthington,” the man grunted, voice wobbling.
“And he’s gonna try and get one over on Locks which means I get to practise moving targets.” Renee leaned on his shoulder. “Unless you would rather work for Locks instead?”
He flicked his eyebrows. “She does not own me.”
“Yet.” Renee smiled at him. “If you and your buddies would rather stay bullet-free, throw your guns down when I give you the nod.” She tapped his cheek. “Now when do slaves get to decide whether they want to keep an eye on her or some guy who can’t even cut a gem.”
She tapped his cheek again and strolled off into the dining room.
“You made a lot of money in Caprock,” Gem said in his baritone as he nodded to Frei.
“Only a small amount. It was personal.” Frei held his gaze but she still hunched as if he would attack and the urge to lower her eyes was there in every blink of her long eyelashes.
“And I personally enjoyed it,” Renee said as she stood next to Frei and slid her arm around Frei’s waist. It was really more of an Aeron move but she was going to have to channel her own Lorelei to help. “Particularly you and Samson on the bike.” She puffed out her chest. “Don’t you think they look great on a bike?”
Gem flicked back his surfer style blond hair and licked his lips. “What, the thug with the muscles?”
Renee felt some kind of energy pulse through her. She shot forward. Shoved her leg behind his knee. Slammed him in both shoulders. Drew her pistol. Primed it.
The guards watched but didn’t raise their guns or move. The guests stared and Gem wheezed out a breath, eyes on her barrel.
“Roberta… calm.” Frei sounded surprised and then some.
“Calm?” Renee glowered back at her. “This chump needs to learn manners.”
Frei studied her like she’d lost it.
“You’re above him,” Renee said in her best haughty voice. “He’s almost a slave and he dares insult Samson?”
Frei’s eyes softened. “Worthington is annoyed Samson isn’t here to keep her entertained.” She flicked her gaze up and down Gem. “I agree, but Huber likes cards.” She held up her hand. “So no shooting unless I say so.”
Renee holstered her gun then felt that weird energy again, strode to Frei and kissed her clean on the lips. “You’d better keep me busy then.”
Frei nodded like she was used to it. “Do get up, Gem, you look more pathetic than usual.”
And ex-slave just broke from her scars.
Gem pulled himself up and dusted himself off. “I have some new jewels to show you.”
Frei nodded then strode over to the dining room table with Gem following like he was a slave. Renee smirked to herself, winked at the guard who lowered his gaze then headed toward the bathroom to see what Stosur was up to. She touched her St. Christopher’s which warmed in her hands and smiled. Inner Lorelei… huh… guess she’d learned a few skills from her junior officer.