Home > Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Gallagher Girls #3)(6)

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Gallagher Girls #3)(6)
Author: Ally Carter

Maybe it lasted a minute; maybe it lasted a month. All I really know for sure is that one of the men moved toward me. I ducked as his fist flew, narrowly missing my head, and yet my focus was already somewhere else—my eyes were scanning the roof, looking for a weapon, a way out, or both. And that's when I saw it—a narrow window washer's plank dangling off the side of the roof. It had rails on both sides and was attached to a pulley system.

My heart pounded. The wind roared in my ears as I grabbed Preston's hand and screamed, "Come on!"

There were footsteps behind me—a hand on my arm. I spun around, but before I could land a blow, Preston pulled back his free hand and punched the man in the throat. It was a perfect lucky shot, but I was willing to take any help I could get as I pulled the potential first son out of harm's way and onto the narrow plank.

"I hit a guy," Preston said, staring at his fist as if that were the most shocking thing of all.

"I know. Good job," I said, reaching for the controls; but then for the first time Preston seemed to notice that I had guided him onto something that was dangling off the side of a sixty-story-building.

"Wait!" he shouted.

"You'll be fine," I told him.

"But shouldn't I…" he muttered in the manner of a boy who knows he should be chivalrous but doesn't quite know how.

Behind me, I heard Macey cry out in pain, but I kept my focus and hit the green button, knowing somehow that getting Preston off that roof was my mission at that moment.

"Hang on!" I yelled, and in the next instant gravity took over and Preston dropped twenty stories to safety.

I might have savored that fact, but the attackers seemed to refocus, and I watched the woman raise her hand and point to where Macey was taking her place by my side.

"Get her," the woman ordered. I stole a sideways glance at my friend, the daughter of a United States senator and one of the wealthiest women in the world. My friend, who had been featured on every newsstand in America. My friend, who would be any kidnapper's dream.

Macey and I were retreating slowly, coming closer and closer to the wall behind us, and I knew we were cornered.

"No," I cried, as if that was all it would take for them to stop.

And then I saw it—a rusty vent ten feet to the right of the door I'd given up any hope of opening. I dropped to the ground, kicked the vent as hard as I could, and felt it give slightly. I kicked again while, behind me, the men lunged for Macey. I heard a sickening snap. I turned and saw my roommate clutch her arm and fall to the ground, howling out in pain, so I kicked harder, and this time the old vent buckled under the pressure. It popped free, and I hurled it toward the head of one of the men who was reaching for Macey. I heard the crash of metal against skull, but I didn't stop to survey the damage—I was too busy grabbing Macey and pushing her toward the hole in the wall that the vent had left.

I started to follow, but someone grasped my shoulders with a steel grip holding me to the spot. I clawed against her; but as I tried to pry myself free, my hand brushed against a gold ring engraved with an emblem that I could have sworn I'd seen before. For a split second my mind went still as I tried to place it, but then I heard a frail voice say "Cam," and I remembered my friend—my mission.

I clawed harder, leaning forward, praying that my momentum would take me through the gap in the wall to a safer place. Suddenly, I remembered the Winters McHenry campaign button on my blouse. I heard my shirt rip as I pulled the button free and jabbed the pin into the hand on my left shoulder.

The woman behind me howled in pain as I pushed Macey all the way through the vent and followed after her.

"Run, Macey!" I screamed. "Go!"

I wasn't thinking. No strategies came to mind. No flash cards. No vocabulary words. It was the age-old case of fight versus flight. I looked at Macey, whose arm hung at a strange angle; I felt my side and knew my ribs were bruised at best and maybe broken, and I knew that fight wouldn't be an option much longer—that we had to get out of there and soon.

"Go," I told her. Behind us, I heard the metal door open again. A flash of light sliced across the cement floor, illuminating a pair of long legs bent at an odd angle, protruding from behind one of the room's massive machines.

I heard Macey whisper, "Charlie."

We pushed past the churning machines and skirted a decade's worth of broken furniture and hotel relics until we reached the elevator that had brought us there.

And then for the first time, I honestly felt like I could


The elevator's doors stood open. Mangled wires protruded from the control box, still sparking where they'd been pulled out of the wall and sliced in two with professional precision.

There was no place we could run. No place we could hide. I turned to look at the three figures, approaching us in perfect formation—a hunting party with a helicopter ready to take my friend to someplace I didn't dare imagine.

I glanced around for a weapon, found a rolling cart and pushed it toward them with all my might, hoping it might serve as the greatest bowling ball in history and knock the black-clad figures down in one swipe. But the man in front merely tossed it aside.

"Cam," Macey whispered. She was growing paler. Her left arm had swollen to twice its normal size, but still she managed to point with her right toward a square hole in

the wall—a shaft or chute of some kind.

I didn't know what it was or where it led. And I didn't have time to ask. I just dove, pushing Macey ahead of me.

One of the men lunged forward. I heard a cry of "no" reverberating down the shaft, but it was too late. Gravity had taken over, and I was hurtling toward the unknown, praying that it would be better than the place I had just left.

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