Molly heard the door open and started to smile before it occurred to her that the creak had come from the wrong direction. She was hearing it through a closed door, granted. It was muffled and sometimes sounds carried strangely in a strange place but she wasn’t betting her life on it. The noise had come from the balcony. And as odd as Flynn could sometimes be, he generally used the front door.
She climbed from the bath as smoothly as she was able, wincing at the splash that followed her out. She didn’t have a robe and it would take too long to pull on her clothes. It was one room. Even if whoever it was out there was searching for something in particular, it wouldn’t take the thief long to toss the place.
She picked up her gun first, a neat little Smith & Wesson revolver she’d kept nestled in her boot. She moved behind the door, where it wouldn’t hit her if he slammed it open. And then she reached for a towel to wrap around her. A trick to do that, holding a gun. She hadn’t quite managed it when the main door to the suite opened and Flynn called out her name.
She’d reached for the doorknob before she thought it through and the floor shuddered beneath her feet. Flynn shouted. There was a thump against the wall and the sound of shattering glass. She threw open the door and braced her shoulder to the frame as she raised her gun and looked out.
Two men—Flynn and a slender man dressed in dark clothes. Flynn was in the process of tackling the smaller man and they were headed straight for her.
She couldn’t shoot. Not without risking Flynn and she wouldn’t do that. A flurry of bodies, the heavy thud of landed punches and Flynn was straddling the man.
She stepped forward, moving to help him but her foot landed in a damn puddle and slid right out from under her. She recovered quickly enough, regaining her balance but losing her towel in the process. And of course, Flynn looked up right then. His crooked smile faded into an awestruck expression that might have been flattering under other circumstances. Their thief took the opportunity to knock Flynn aside before rolling to his feet and running for the balcony.
She shot him in the calf. Little risk of him bleeding out there, though it would hurt like a bitch. And he did squeal like a stuck pig, dropping to the carpet and clutching his injured leg to his chest. Flynn bent to check the man for weapons and she wrapped the towel around her body again, tightly this time. Flynn cursed roundly and she hesitated before retreating to the bathing room.
“Is everything all right? You’ve got him?”
Flynn glanced up. “I know him.”
She reached out to steady herself against the wall. “You what?”
“My contact didn’t show at the saloon. Apparently, he thought to meet me here.” A knock sounded at the door, followed by the soft query of Mae’s voice. Flynn jerked his chin toward the bathroom. “Go get dressed. She’ll help me get the bullet out. We’ll decide our next move then.”
She nodded and turned on her heel, closing the door behind her, placing the gun on the vanity and sinking with shaking knees onto the stool that sat before it. She’d dress, she would. She’d be okay in a moment she just needed a second or two to pull herself together. Flynn had everything under control for now.
“This is your contact?”
Mae had come and gone. She was likely downstairs reassuring her guests that the sound of the fight had been nothing more than a plumbing issue, now resolved.
Molly had dressed, sadly, and stood looking down at the sorry lump of outlaw sitting on the floor. His back was propped against the chest at the end of the bed as Flynn tied off the bandage on his leg. Ben turned green and looked like he might puke again. Flynn handed him the porcelain basin and backed away.
“This is Ben,” he said, working to keep his voice steady. “Ben, Molly. What the hell were you thinking, sneaking in here like that? You could have gotten yourself killed.”
Ben looked at his leg, clutched the bowl to his chest. He swallowed hard and looked up. “The bullet?”
“Removed it when you passed out. The alcohol should keep it from becoming infected but I’d see a doctor sooner than later. Mrs. Hoffman, not that quack on Main.”
“You owe me double for this.”
Molly snorted. Flynn wiped the blood from his hands with a rag and tossed it onto the ruined carpet. He’d owe Mae for the damned rug too.
“I didn’t shoot you,” he pointed out.
“Your woman did.”
Flynn couldn’t help but smile at that. “She’s not mine. She’s working for me just like you are. And you snuck into her room while she was bathing. You’re lucky she aimed for your leg.”
Ben scowled. “Lucky. That’s what you call this?”
With Molly holding the gun, yes. She was capable of hitting a fly off a fence post at twenty yards. Ben was damned lucky even if he didn’t seem to fully appreciate it.
“What information do you have for me?”
“The money first.”
Flynn grabbed his leather satchel from beside the door and placed it on the bed. Someone had been through it. The money was still there but the cord was loose. “You tried collecting the payment yourself.”
Ben craned his neck to look at him. “I didn’t. I didn’t have the chance. You came barreling through the door on my heels.”
Flynn looked at Molly. She stared back and then shrugged with a dip of a shoulder. What did he expect? He knew what she was. Counting out the money, he dropped it into Ben’s lap and began to repack his belongings. “A bonus for your trouble. And you can have the room for the night.”
“It won’t cover the time I lose until this heals.”
“I don’t pay people for their mistakes.”
Ben face screwed up in a frown. “Maybe I don’t have your information.”
“Maybe I take my money back, call the law and have you arrested.”
“Fine.” Ben scowled. “You’re not going to like it.”
Probably why he’d tried to steal the money rather than collect it honestly. Flynn didn’t go back on his promises but Ben apparently didn’t share the same set of scruples. A besetting flaw, that. Expecting people to play fair. You’d think he’d be well past hoping.