Being rammed by the police car wasn’t that awful. Lexi saw what they were about to do as the white and yellow Saab came alongside, and the Discovery was barely jolted.
What was awful was recognizing the cops as the two burly but handsome guys who had kidnapped her from her hotel in Arram. Lexi glanced over, saw Blaine at the wheel and Colby in the passenger seat, and let loose with a passionate curse of anger and fear.
“I don’t think those are cops.”
“What?” Molly and Rocky asked at the same time.
“Not unless they moonlight as kidnappers.” Lexi put her foot to the floor and explained as quickly as she could.
“What happened to you?” Molly asked. “You used to make friends everywhere you went.”
The freeway was widening out, coming out of Marjori, and the police Saab came alongside again. Lexi glanced over at the brothers, who were glaring back at her. They weren’t wearing police uniforms, and she wondered where they’d gotten the car.
It was a brief wondering. They feinted toward her, and she instinctively cut the Discovery’s wheel away, avoiding contact. The empty tow dolly wagged and bounced crazily.
Colby rolled his window down. Molly cried out when she saw the gun, but the report came from inside the Discovery as Victor put a shot into the Saab first. He missed Colby; the bullet punched through the door, and the police car swerved away.
“Weren’t expecting that, were they?”
“I’m going to be sick,” Molly said.
“Better put your head ‘tween your knees,” Lexi said, her voice absolutely calm. Molly had heard that tone before, from both Lexi and her father. There wasn’t a trace of panic in her voice, and that was oddly calming even though Lexi frightened Molly when she got like this. It was as if all of the normal codes of conduct were officially thrown out the window, and heads got bashed into lockers, or worse.
Then again, she couldn’t think of a better time for Lexi to get like this. The Saab had dropped back behind them again, and Colby snapped off a few wild shots, one of which removed the Discovery’s back window in a crashing explosion of glass. The wind thrummed around the opening.
“Shit, he hit the trailer,” Lexi said. Rocky had taken Molly’s idea of crouching down, but he could feel the instability in the truck as the tow dolly’s left tire disintegrated and it began to bounce erratically. He wanted to look up, but now Victor was kneeling on the seat and shooting back through the back window. The shots were deafening even over the roar of the wind, and hot brass rang down around his feet. Would these seats even stop a bullet? For the first time in his life, Rocky wanted a gun.
The Discovery had begun a steady left-right rocking as Lexi adjusted for the damaged trailer’s precessing. They were losing speed, though, and the Land Rover would have had trouble outrunning the Saab even without the damaged trailer. Lexi rolled her window down, to make the air stop roaring in the vacant back window, and when she did she could hear a helicopter. “Is there a police chopper out there?” she asked Victor, who seemed to be the best person to ask.
“Yes. At your seven,” he said. Lexi ducked her head and could just glimpse it in the mirror. “What do you want to do?”
She was surprised he was asking, instead of telling her what to do, but didn’t hesitate. “We need to get rid of the tow dolly,” she said. “It’s slowing us down.
“How do we do that?”
She smiled humorlessly at him in the mirror, dodging a slower car as she did so. “If you’re feeling adventurous, you can open the back door and unhook it. Hopefully without getting shot. There’s a clamp on the ball and two safety chains, and it should bounce off.”
Victor nodded, slapped in a fresh clip and tapped Rocky’s shoulder. “Need your help,” he said, climbing over the back seat. The Discovery dodged back and forth as Lexi swerved around, trying not to give Colby a clear shot at her passengers or her tires. She reached over and gave Molly’s head a little rub to let her friend know everything was okay, then floored the pedal yet again. The needle hovered near a hundred, which was about as fast as they could go without turning over. Lexi considered leaving the freeway entirely and going overland, but the salt desert was flat enough that the Saab could probably follow without trouble. She looked in the mirror to see Rocky climbing over the seat, too.
He made it to the back. There wasn’t much room in the cargo area for both of them. “You’re going to cover me, right?”
Victor nodded, and Rocky reached through the broken back window to the outside door handle. The rear door swung wide open, and Victor snapped off two shots over his head, causing Blaine to swerve into the next lane to avoid it. “Now!”
Rocky went flat on his belly. He focused on the trailer’s gooseneck and tried to ignore the pavement speeding past a few inches below. The trigger-style clamp came off easily, and as it came free he realized he probably should have undone the safety chains first, as the dolly bounced loose from the ball and promptly wrapped itself up in the chains. It would be impossible to unhook them now. “Vic!” he said. “Shoot these chains loose!”
Victor leaned over him, and he rolled out of the way. The Saab swung back in behind them, Colby hanging out the window like a Chicago gangster, gun in both hands. Victor’s gun barked three times and the tow dolly vanished, breaking free of the Discovery. It hit the pavement with sparks and an ugly scraping sound and immediately launched itself into an amazingly noisy cartwheel. Blaine was forced to swerve around the tumbling trailer, spoiling Colby’s shot.
There was a brief struggle to get the rear door closed. Once it was done, Rocky slumped down against it to take advantage of the minimal protection offered by the spare tire hanging on the back, while Victor climbed into the rear seat again.
“Are we having fun yet?” Victor asked Lexi.