Lenore squealed the tires of her sedan taking a sharp curve. Accelerating through the apex she drove straight for the Angels Trumpet covered wall surrounding Vivian’s complex. In the front seat, Pauley braced for impact, doing her best to brake from the passenger’s side. Stan, pressed back into his seat, covered his face with both arms.
The car slammed through a hidden gate in an explosion of yellow blossoms, and splintered wood.
“Damn, Lenore!” Pauley was the first to recover. “A little warning next time.”
Skidding to a stop at the rear entrance to Vivian’s house, the trio exited the car in unison. Having popped the trunk with the latch under the dash, Lenore raced to the back of the car as Stan opened his gun case, tossing each of the women a weapon.
“We can forget catching them by surprise,” Stan said, grabbing extra ammo clips. “Where to first Lenore?”
“The noise not slow Sampas down,” Lenore slid back the chamber on her Glock, satisfied with the loud click. “They will hunt Vivan and Danela until we stop them.”
Pauley tucked her clip into the back of her pant’s waistband, then made sure her own Walther p22 was loaded. “I told Viv to get into the house crawl space. We need to find her, now.”
Stan filled his pockets with extra clips and followed the women to the back of the house, each searching for signs of Tomas and his men. Their urgency ruled out stealth, rushing forward with little regard for giving away their arrival.
Making their way around the house, Lenore led them toward the entrance beneath the porch. Peering under the railing Pauley saw the back door off its hinges, the jamb shattered by gunfire. Grabbing the back of Lenore’s shirt, she also turned to Stan getting his attention.
“They’re in the house,” Pauley’s voice a fierce growl. “Lenore and I will go in, you follow the lattice around to the basement opening. Look for Viv.”
Lenore and Pauley backtracked to the stairs while Stan moved around the edge of the house. Entering the kitchen, one after the other, the women stayed in a crouch, moving carefully, and this time quietly.
Seeing Marco’s lifeless body on the floor, a red bloom at his temple, Pauley scanned the living room from behind the settee. Lenore, knelt by the stairs, listening for movement above them.
Holding up two fingers, Lenore pointed the barrel of her gun toward the ceiling, telling Pauley Tomas’ men were on the second story. Slipping around the banister, Lenore stayed low, her gun held ready but tight to her side. Pauley followed, her back to Lenore.
Inching up the stairs, the women were hyper-alert. Still running on her adrenaline high from her earlier hit, Pauley tingled with anticipation. When Lenore reached the top of the stairs, she signaled for Pauley to follow her down the hall to the last bedroom.
They could hear the two men rummaging through the room, tossing the mattress and trashing the closet. Peering around the door frame, Lenore could see where each man was, and motioned for Pauley to stay low. On either side of the bedroom doorway, the women remained silent, but a charge of electricity ran between them, as if they were linked in thought and action.
From her position, Lenore took aim at the man in the closet, and Pauley bore down on the one rifling through an armoire looking for valuables to steal. Holding up three fingers of her left hand, Pauley folded each one slowly into her fist. Firing from her knees, Pauley’s kill shot severed her target’s spine. Standing at the same moment, Lenore fired over Pauley’s head, hitting her mark between the eyes as he turned toward the first shot, her bullet ricocheting around inside his skull. Both men hit the floor at the same time.
Before the two Sampas took their last breath, Lenore and Pauley were running for the stairs, hoping to find Vivian and Stan before Tomas did.