So I don’t think this is going to make it into the book. Have an outtake. (Chloe is Button; Nita thinks of her as Button but Max thinks of her as Chloe. This is Max’s PoV.)
When Max came to, he was lying on the big table in Hell Bar, Chloe and Jeo were bent over him, and there was blood all over the bar.
“What the hell, Chloe?” he said, trying to sit up. “Is that my blood?”
“No,” Jeo said.
Chloe held him down. “Stay down, you’re hurt.”
“I know I’m hurt, you shot me–”
“No,” she said, and Jeo shook his head and said, “She was in here with us when we heard the shot. It wasn’t her.”
“Fuck.” Max pushed Chloe’s hands away and sat up. It hurt to sit up, and he was still dizzy as hell. “What is this?”
Jeo shrugged, and Max looked past him to Mammon.
Mammon’s façade was down and he was as pale as a green guy could get.
“You okay, boss?”
“You saved my life.” Mammon took a deep breath. “Again. Max, my boy, I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“You’re welcome. So who have you pissed off enough to want you dead this time?” Max said, trying to feel the bandage on his shoulder.
Chloe batted his hand away. “Stop touching that. You got winged in the same place I got you, so it’s kind of a mess, the bullet took out a chunk of you, but it went through so not as bad as it could be. .”
“I got shot,” Max said to her. “It’s bad, okay.”
Chloe patted his good arm. “But you’re strong and brave and it won’t bother you at all.”
Max glared at her through the dizziness. “I’m weak and cowardly and I’m going to whine for a week.”
“I know,” Chloe said. “I was just trying to give you something to aim for, personality-wise.”
He shook his head, which was a big mistake, dizziness-wise. “What the hell is going on?”
“Somebody’s taking out the competition,” Jeo said. “They’ve been trying to kill Nick and Nita, somebody came after Rab and me today, and now somebody’s taking shots at Mammon and possibly you.”
“Moloch,” Mammon said. “That bastard.”
Max looked back at Mammon. “You’re grounded. From now on you do not go out at night. In fact, go back to Hell and let me finish up here. But lay low when you get there. I can’t save your ass in two places at once.”
“No, no, I have to help you close those gates,” Mammon said virtuously.
Max looked back at Chloe, who looked concerned for him. And really cute, not that he’d ever tell her that again. “Thank you for bandaging me.”
She smiled. “Oh, sure. Any time. Especially if I’m the one who shoots you.”
Max groaned and lay back down. He was stuck on Earth with Mammon, who had a plan, and somebody else, whose plan was to end Mammon.
And Chloe Button.
“Crap,” he said, and passed out again.