Hardwired
can.”
    â€œAnd we need Carly,” Chris said. “She’s our ticket inside.”
    It was true. The guards at that facility were mean, I’d give you that, but I doubted they were cruel enough leave a poor, innocent girl stranded outside the front gate with us as her sole company.
    â€œWe can play her off as some random girl we picked up along the way. Tell them we hit her car and miraculously, the three of us walked away,” Chris suggested.
    â€œExactly,” I said. Chris’s plan was perfect and completely in line with mine. We didn’t need to sneak ourselves in; we belonged in there. And Carly … well, she was the pity card we’d play with Ms. Tremblay.
    â€œNo way,” Joe argued. “There’s no way I’m letting you take Carly in there unarmed and without me to keep her safe. Without me to keep you all safe.”
    If he gave a shit about her safety, then he wouldn’t have dragged her up here at all , I thought to myself.
    â€œI’m with Joe on this one,” Nick added. “I’m all for leaving the other guys behind, but there’s no way I’m letting you walk back into that place without me at your back. You know better than anyone what that place is capable of. I was there the day you buried Tyler, the day the Dentons buried Olivia. You honestly think I’ll let you drag Carly in there without me?”
    â€œYou’re only two years older than me, Nick. Two. And I hate to tell you this, but Chris and I are the only ones who know how that place works. I’ll go along with this stupid idea of Joe’s—I’ll even try and get Cam out and hand-deliver the research to Ms. Tremblay—but I’m taking Carly in there with us. Only her.”
    I hadn’t exactly come to this conclusion without considering everything that could go wrong. The Bake Shop was full of teenage boys, all being subjected to tests deliberately designed to break their control. And the half-dozen, trigger-happy guards who lived there worked on six-week cycles, so the only woman they’d seen this month was the rather unimpressive Ms. Tremblay; adding Carly to that mix of amped-up testosterone was a risk I wasn’t looking forward to taking. But if this was going to work, then yes, that’s exactly what I expected Nick and Joe to let me do.
    â€œOnly her,” I said, restating my position.
    â€œShe’s the only daughter the Dentons have left, Lucas,” Nick argued.
    â€œWe won’t let anything happen to her,” I said, fully aware of how hollow that promise was. Chris and I would be lucky to get ourselves out alive, never mind protect Carly.
    I searched out the darkness surrounding me for Carly, knowing for a fact I could sway her to my side. She’d do just about anything to get to her brother, including leaving Joe and his collection of weapons behind. “You want my help getting your brother out, then this is the only way you’re going to get it. You in?”
    â€œAbsolutely,” she responded.
    â€œIt’s just going to be you, me, and Chris. Nobody else. We’re not bringing any weapons with us, not so much as a rock. I can’t guarantee we’ll be able to get Cam out, but—”
    â€œI know,” Carly interrupted. “But he’s all I have left. After what happened to Olivia, I can’t lose him too. I need to at least try.”
    â€œGood. Because if what you’re saying about Cam is true—if they broke him the way they broke Tyler—then I’m not sure he’ll listen to anybody but you.”

sixteen
    The sun was barely making its appearance the following morning as we set out for the Bake Shop, each of us lost in our own thoughts. There was no point in sleeping. No amount of rest, no amount of plotting, could prepare us for what we were about to do. And lying on the cold, wet ground, with nothing but my own thoughts to keep me company, was the last

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