Excerpt from The Wife
He smiled, quickly releasing the two other women Gracella had been tied to. Susan Treacher first, then Cassie Warner, as if he recognised the hierarchy.
Gracella rubbed absently at her wrists, inspecting the damage. Clovis would know immediately if it didn’t look like she’d been a genuine hostage. But the skin was raw where the plastic ties had bitten in deep. It might even be enough to convince him.
She got shakily to her feet, legs barely able to support her, and went to Lottie Amaya. The maid was still on the chair where the robbers had put her after she’d struggled from the couch. She was clutching her injured leg, her face sheened with the sweat of genuine pain, although Gracella wouldn’t put it past her to ham things up a little.
"You were brave to try, Lottie," she said, lifting the melting bag of ice from the woman’s ankle. It was swollen and already starting to bruise. She clucked. "But foolish. Look what you did to yourself."
"I’m sorry, Ms Gracella," Lottie moaned. "It’s just, I—I thought maybe they were here to kidnap you, and I couldn’t help myself.
Like hell you couldn’t.
Gracella straightened, steadier now, put a hand on the woman’s shoulder, and managed tomurmur, "Thank you, Lottie," with a straight face. She glanced across to where Martinez and one of the other deputies were releasing Traynor. "We heard gunfire, and explosions. Is anybody else hurt?"
After a moment’s hesitation, it was Martinez who answered, "'Fraid so, ma’am. They were dropping Molotovs from an airplane, from what we can gather. One of the guys is out cold, and a couple of the others are burned pretty bad."
"Them sons o’ bitches," Traynor swore, then flushed. "Beggin’ your pardon, ma'am."
Gracella waved a distracted hand in his direction. Her heart rate stepped up. Nobody was supposed to get hurt—except Clovis, of course. A kick in the bank balance, where it would sting the old bastard the hardest.