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Archer fell out first, the camera right after. Off balance already, he was defenseless against the huge hands that grappled and grasped at his shoulders and the ferocity of the man who threw him onto the asphalt and knelt on his back.
ďJesus Christ. . .Ē Archer barked just before the breath was knocked out of him.
ďShut up, fuck face.Ē The man atop him growled and dug his knee into Archerís back, taking hold of his hair.
Archer grunted. Shit, he was getting old. The guy in the house not only made him, he got the drop on him. Archer ran through what he knew: the guy was a suit, one seventy tops, didnít work out. He should be able to flick this little shit off with a deep breath.
While the first ground Archerís face into the blacktop, the second found a home for the toe of his boot in Archerís midsection. Archer bellowed. He curled. He tried to roll but that opened him up and this time that boot clipped the side of his face, catching the corner of his eye. The blow sent him into the arms of the first man who embraced him with an arm around his throat. Archerís eyes rolled back in his head. Jesus, that hurt. His eyelids fluttered. One still worked right. He looked up and stopped struggling.
The guy who had him in a headlock knew what he was doing. If Archer moved another inch and the man adjusted his grip, Archerís neck would snap. As it was, the guy was doing a fine job of making sure Archer was finding it damn hard to breathe.
His eyes rolled again as a pain shot straight through his temple and embedded itself behind his ear. He tried to focus, needing to see at least one of them if he was going to ID them when Ė if Ė he got out of this mess. They could have the car. No car was worth dying for.
But he couldnít tell them to take it if he couldnít speak and he couldnít identify them if he could barely see. There were just the vaguest impressions of blue eyes, a clean-shaven face, a checked shirt. Archerís thoughts undulated with each new wave of pain. Connections were made then broken and made again like a faulty wire. The one that stuck made sense: these guys didnít want his car but they sure as hell wanted something. Just as the chokehold king tightened his grip, and his friend took another swipe at Archerís ribs, one of them offered a clue.
ďYou asshole. Thought you got away with it, didnít you?Ē
That was not a helpful hint.
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