As soon as Letty was back across the border and able to get a cell signal, she'd hit Brian's number, praying for him to pick up. Shit was not supposed to happen like this. Yeah, she had known she was neck deep in trouble, but there hadn't been a whisper of the mules getting bagged like that before she'd gotten into that race.
Her eyes cast up at her rearview mirror. She didn't see pursuit, but it would be coming. It had to. That son of a bitch handling the executions... was that a headlight? Shit, it was.
She coaxed her baby harder, using every trick she and Dom had ever made work for them, trying to get deep enough back into the city that it might back him off.
Dom, damn it. If he'd only... if she had...
//Focus, poonta.// She had to survive. Had to do what Bri needed to get Dom's back clear. No other way.
Her phone beeped that it was back on a tower, and she punched the speed dial for Brian.
"Bri, I'm in trouble! You gotta get to me... gotta get here before..."
The headlights were too close. She needed both hands, one for the wheel, one for the stick, and she just had to ignore Brian screaming out of the phone that he was coming.
Brian saw a car peeling out as he came up as fast as he could, following the GPS off Letty's phone – green, old model, modded engine by the way she sang – maybe spooked by his arrival. It didn't matter, he couldn't go after it. He didn't have any backup, only an ambulance on the way because of what he had heard before a long crack he knew all too well.
The car he was worried about was a wrecked hulk, rolled up on its hood in the street.
He had to swallow white-cold acrid fear in his throat to get around it where he could see.
She was laying there, blood pooling, looking like she had taken every roll hard against the car's frame.
Her head was still bleeding... actively bleeding.
That little fact, caught in the lights of his car made him hurdle the distance, finding a pulse with disbelief.
"Get that damn ambulance here now!" Brian roared into his radio.
Penning placed a hand on Brian's shoulder, standing outside the critical care unit. "She might still make it, but you hovering over her isn't making this thing work out any better."
"If they think she made it out of the hit..." Piercing blue eyes looked at the head of this operation, questioning.
"We won't let that happen. They need to think she's dead, so from here on, she goes into Witness Protection... even though she's comatose." Penning grimaced. "That includes the rest of the operation...I trust them, but you never know when a mole might develop. We'll have to hold a funeral for her, just to be sure. That's going to draw him into this, you know. Think you can handle it, O'Connor?"
Brian squared his shoulders. No matter what deal he had been brokering for Letty, if Dom got involved now... the man would step way the hell over the line. Letty's dream of Dom coming home for good would depend on Brian holding it all together, working him.
"I'll handle it."