"What the fuck is happening?" Garrett asked, his eyes widening in horror.
"There's more," Brady told him softly. "SEAL team four…"
Brady trailed off, unable to voice the words that tightened his throat and made him clench his teeth. Garrett closed his eyes and turned his face to the sky. He breathed deeply a few times before looking back at Brady.
"How many?" Garrett asked with trepidation in his voice.
"All of them. Dragon, King, and Maxwell. I went on a few training ops with them over the years. They were good men. Strong men. The best of the best," Brady told him sadly, shoving his hands in his pockets and bowing his head.
"Tell me how in the fuck they are taking out trained Navy SEALS?" Garrett pleaded.
"I don't know. I honestly don't know. They fight dirty. And they have a very big secret that needs to be kept. They know Fernandez will make their lives a living hell if they fail to do what he orders," Brady said. "They know that everyone in their lives will be dead if they don't keep his secrets. That's a lot of motivation."
"We need to find Parker before Milo gets her anywhere near Fernandez," Garrett said.
"Agreed. I'll access the locator chip on her phone. Assuming that she still has it on her, I should be able to find where she is in a matter of minutes."
Brady pulled out his cell phone and opened up the application linked him to Parker's phone.
A resort employee walked up to the desk, finally responding to the bell Garrett had rung minutes ago.
Garrett prayed Milo still had a little bit of good left in him, and he wasn't following in his father's footsteps. If he'd turned into the same type of monster whose blood ran through his veins, Garrett didn't even want to think about what that would mean for Parker's safety.
He showed the employee a picture of Parker and asked if he'd seen her within the last hour. The man smiled as he recalled how her "husband" had carried her out front to a waiting car because she'd had too much to drink. He never noticed what direction the vehicle went. He'd seen plenty of unconscious people needing to be carried out by a loved one over the years. He never paid much attention to where they were going or what they were doing.
What little hope Garrett may have had about there being any good left in Milo vanished in the blink of an eye. He'd taken Parker out of the resort, unconscious.
All pretenses and fake background stories were finished. At this point, there was no need to keep up with the lies; Fernandez and his people knew everything about them. Garrett whipped out his military ID and told the resort employee to take him to the security office where the surveillance tapes were stored. They pulled up the video from the past hour and Garrett searched frame by frame until he found what he needed.
The camera angle was from across the courtyard of his and Parker's villa, and it looked to be shot from high up in a palm tree, but he could tell immediately that he'd found what he was looking for.
Garrett watched in silent, black and white clarity as he walked away from Parker an hour ago. He watched her stare after him with a look of complete devastation on her face. He watched as Milo came up behind her and made to put his arms around her. He saw Parker move away from him and begin talking. Garrett had no idea what Parker was saying, but he could tell that whatever it was agitated Milo. He watched Milo get in her face and could tell he was yelling at her. Parker's back was to the camera. Garrett would give anything for her to turn around. He needed to see her face. He watched as Milo spoke to her, stalking towards her as she walked backwards, until her back was up against a tree. The top halves of both of their bodies were now partially behind the palm leaves.
Garrett's hands clenched into fists and his heart rate accelerated.
Through the leaves, he saw Milo's arm swing up and hold something against Parker's neck until her knees give out.
Garrett's fist connected with the wall next to him, his hand easily breaking through the drywall. Brady ran into the office just as Garrett swept everything within reach off of the table, sending it crashing to the floor.
"McCarthy! Calm down man," Brady shouted as he ran into the office after hearing the commotion. His words were ignored as Garrett lashed out at the wall on the other side of the table, leaving another fist-sized hole in that one as well.
Brady hurried up behind him and wrapped his arms around Garrett, holding his back against his chest until Garrett stopped fighting him.
"It's okay, I found her. I found Parker," Brady told him.
Brady felt the anger drain from Garrett as he unclenched his fists and his shoulders relaxed, and he finally felt confident that he could let him go. As soon as he let him go, Garrett turned to face him.
"What the hell are we waiting for then? Let's go get her," Garrett said as he started backing towards the door.
"It's not that simple," Brady told him.
"What the fuck do you mean it's not that simple? You found her. We're going to get her. Right now."
Brady ran after Garrett as he stalked out of the destroyed office and past the handful of resort employees who stood just outside with their jaws dropped.
"Garrett, we have no team left. No back-up. We'd be going into this alone. You need to stop and think about this."
Garrett whirled around to face him, the anger back and flashing in his eyes.
"There is nothing to think about. The woman I love needs my help. I've already failed her too many times to count. I'm going, with or without you," Garrett threatened. "Now, where is she?"
Brady sighed, putting his hands on his hips and shaking his head in frustration. He knew Garrett didn't make idle threats. He really would do this alone if he had no other option. Knowing he couldn't keep it from him forever, and that he'd follow Garrett anywhere and help him with anything, Brady shared the news he'd uncovered moments ago.
"She's in the palace, Garrett."
"The one thing I'll take from him is his poor, sad, beating heart."
The words Milo had spoken close to Parker's ear echoed over and over in her head long after he had left the room and made one of the guards stay behind to keep an eye on her. They were smarter this time. She was cuffed with her arms behind the wooden support beam, and her legs were tied together at the knees.
She had no doubt that what he said was true. If Garrett got anywhere near this place, Milo would kill him. For the first time since he walked away from her earlier, Parker hoped Garrett was still angry. She hoped he still doubted her and had given up on her. As much as it would kill everything inside of her, at least she knew it would keep him away from there and keep him safe. She knew her chances of getting out of the room alive were down to nothing at this point. Parker knew she could handle dying as long as Garrett would be okay. A world without Garrett in it should never exist
She had no idea what time it was since there were no windows in the room. She wondered if Garrett realized she was gone by now. She wondered if he had assumed she left with Milo essentially chose him instead of Garrett. Her heart physically ached at the thought even though she knew it would be for the best if it was true.
The shuffling of feet off to her left reminded her that she wasn't alone. She turned her head to see the guard Milo left behind leering at her. Parker quickly looked away, not wanting to give him any ideas, and shifted her shoulders in an effort to ease the ache from her arms. Even though it hurt less now that she didn't have her arms suspended above her, it still wasn't any picnic being tied up the way she was. The rough edges of the wood cut into her arms every time she moved, and painful cramps started to vibrate through her shoulders and biceps from being stuck in the same awkward position. Parker winced in pain as she wiggled and flexed her fingers behind her in an effort to get some circulation into them.
"If you knew your place, quierda, you wouldn't be in this position right now."
Parker snorted in amusement and cast an annoyed glance at the guard.
"And where would my place be, exactly? In one of the whore houses your piece of shit boss sends little girls to be sold as slaves? Or maybe it's right here, being a brainless lapdog like you, bending over so Fernandez can fuck me in the ass."
The man's hand flew out and smacked her across the mouth, reopening the split lip from Milo.
"You don't speak of El Presidente that way!" the guard yelled. "He is a man to be honored and respected."
Parker laughed out loud, right in his face this time. She knew she was playing with fire, but she couldn't help herself. All of these people who thought Fernandez was a God disgusted her.
In true thug fashion, the guard tucked his gun into the waistband of his pants and then brought both of his hands to Parker's breasts, palming them roughly.
"You need to be taught a lesson. One that will make you think twice about disrespecting the man who has brought money and power to this small country," he said quietly, his hot breath hitting Parker square in the face and making her stomach roll with the smell of stale cigarettes and rotting teeth. Her hands clenched into fists behind the pole and she bit her lip, reminding herself to be patient. Contrary to what the man might think, she wasn't some helpless female.
His dirty hands slid up to the neck of her t-shirt and with the material clutched in his fists, he ripped the cotton right down the middle. His eyes swept down the front of her, paying extra attention to her white, lace covered breasts that were now on full display.
"El hijo pródigo is a lucky man to have tasted your flesh. I think I will enjoy the sounds of your screams."
Parker closed her eyes and counted to ten while the guard unzipped his pants with one hand and unbuttoned her jeans with the other. When she felt sweaty fingers sliding into the waistband of her underwear, she mumbled something under her breath.
"Did you say something, quierda?" he asked, halting the downward movement of his hand into her pants.
Parker opened her eyes and stared right at him, nodding her head in answer. He angled his head towards her, right where she wanted him. With a split second to brace herself, Parker thrust her head forward, slamming her forehead into the bridge of his nose as hard as she could. She saw stars on impact and heard the crunch of cartilage. The spray of blood from his broken nose splattered across the front of her as he collapsed to the ground in an unconscious heap.
"Here's a lesson for you, asshole. Don't fuck with me," Parker muttered into the quiet room.
"Don't be a dumbass, McCarthy. You can't do this by yourself," Brady argued as they walked into the room Garrett and Parker shared.
"We don't have any other options. I am not waiting another minute to get her the hell out of there," Garrett replied as he stalked over to the nightstand, pulling out his Beretta Jetfire backup weapon and his Navy SEAL issued MK3 MOD knife. He lifted his foot and rested it on the edge of the bed, placing the gun safely into his leg holster and tucking the knife into his boot.
"This is suicide, McCarthy, plain and simple. Fernandez gets one look at you, he's going to shoot first and ask questions later," Brady stated.
Garrett smoothed his pant leg down over the weapons, put his foot back on the floor, and turned to face Brady.
"That's why I need you to stay here, get me some back-up, and make sure that doesn't happen. The longer I wait to get over there and get to her…" Garrett stopped, placing his hand over his mouth to keep from doing something stupid like breaking down.
In the middle of their argument, they hadn't noticed the door to the bathroom opening or Margarita coming out of it.
"I want to help," she stated calmly.
Both men turned to stare at her.
"Out of the question," Brady replied as Garrett dismissed her and turned back to face him.
"Just figure out a way to get me into the―"
"STOP!" Margarita yelled, throwing her hands in the air and interrupting Garrett. "This is my fault. I should have done something before now. I shouldn't have been such a coward. I need this chance to make things right. Please, let me fix this."
Brady glanced over at Garrett to see what his decision would be, and Garrett stared in contemplation at Margarita.
"Not that I'm agreeing to this, but what exactly do you propose?" Garrett asked.
Margarita took a deep breath and walked closer to the two men.
"Emilio is expecting me back any moment. The only vehicle that will be permitted into the palace is mine, especially now that they have your Parker. They won't take any chances," she told Garrett, before turning to face Brady. "I'm assuming you have access to some kind of recording device, correct?"
Brady nodded in response before muttering a curse and rushing over to Garrett's laptop that sat open on the table.
"What's wrong?" Garrett asked as Brady continued cursing under his breath, tapping rapidly on the keys.
"Give me a second," Brady replied distractedly as he typed in passwords, opened several different programs, and entered the appropriate parameters.
"Son of a bitch," Brady finally said in astonishment.
Garrett came up behind him and looked over his shoulder.
"Is that the bug Parker was wearing earlier when we were waiting for our mystery guest to arrive?" Garrett asked in shock. He ripped his off at the hospital and threw it in the trash, assuming Parker had done the same thing.
As he stood there staring at the screen, he almost couldn't believe his eyes. A small, black box stood out in the center of the page, the audio graph filling the box with white lines and jagged strokes to indicate speech patterns. The word "recording" blinked in the upper right-hand corner, right next to the word "Parker".