But his dick was hardening between my legs and I wanted him so bad it hurt. When he let my mouth go and cupped my butt in his hands—lifting me and carrying me back into the bedroom—it never occurred to me to protest.
I wanted him way too much.
All of him.
His smell, his strength, the way he’d thrown himself over me when my house blew up. The love in his eyes when he saw his daughter, and the fact that I’d found two stunning diamond pendants in blue Tiffany boxes next to the letter his wife had written him, right in the top drawer of his dresser.
None of that would ever be mine … But for tonight, I’d take what I could get and pretend my world hadn’t ended.
“What did you find for me today?”
That voice. It haunted my dreams. I think it would’ve been easier if he yelled at me, or even if I sensed that he enjoyed hurting Jessica. But we could’ve been talking about the weather or what I’d eaten for lunch. The guy was like an exterminator, and I could tell he’d shoot Jessica and then go home and put up his feet, maybe watch a TV show.
We weren’t even human to him.
I drove on slowly, Puck following me on his bike, wondering if I should just turn out along the highway and head for the high bridge. Then I’d drive off the side. End of story. Suddenly I heard the bloop of a police siren, then caught the flash of blue lights in my rearview mirror. At first I couldn’t tell if they were after me or Puck.
Then he pulled over and the cop stopped behind him. Thank God for that—no way I could deal with the police and this phone call at the same time. Puck might’ve just saved Jessica’s life by distracting the cop for me, I realized. Was her existence really hanging by a thread that thin? Yes, it probably was. Sweat broke out on my forehead.
“London? I’m waiting.”
Catching the phone between my head and shoulders, I reached up to swipe at the moisture with the back of my hand.
“I don’t have anything,” I admitted. “Reese didn’t want me cleaning today, so I didn’t even make it inside. He said they were shutting things down. Security situation. Same excuse he gave for having someone follow me around. I think he knows what’s going on—”
“Who’s following you?” the man asked, his voice casually curious.
“A prospect named Puck,” I said. “He’s with the Silver Bastards. He’s not following me right now, though. The cops just pulled him over and I’m still driving.”
“Interesting. Why not a Reapers prospect?”
“How should I know? Maybe they’re watching the other girlfriends and old ladies. Things are really tense right now. I talked to Marie this morning and she said that even Maggs had someone with her, and she’s not part of the club anymore.”
“So why would you think they know about you?” he asked. “All the women are under guard. Things are tense, and you don’t even know why. Unless Hayes has been talking to you?”
I shook my head, then realized he wouldn’t be able to see it.
“No, he doesn’t talk about anything important. Not about the club or business or anything. He said a girl at The Line sold them out, but I don’t know the details.”
It was his turn to be silent.
“He give the girl’s name?”
“No,” I whispered.
“So, you’re on your own right now?”
“Good, I’ve got a new job for you. Do you have a gun?”
“Why on earth would I have a gun?”
“This afternoon you’re going to get one,” he said slowly. “And tonight you’re going to kill Reese Hayes. If you do that for me, I’ll let Jessica go.”
The van swerved. I slammed on the brakes and skidded to the side of the road, wondering if he’d actually said what I thought he said.
“I can’t kill him. I can’t kill anyone,” I babbled. “I don’t even know where I could get a gun—I don’t know how to use one.”
“You have all afternoon,” the man told me, his voice calm and patient. “I’m going to give you an address. You’ll go to your bank and pull out six hundred dollars. Then set your GPS for that address and follow it out there. Someone will meet you, and you’ll buy the gun he offers. You won’t discuss me with him and he won’t say anything to you. If you try to say something, he’ll leave without giving you the gun and Jessica will die. Are we clear?”
My tongue wouldn’t work. I couldn’t kill Reese—I didn’t kill people. Real people didn’t have things like this happen to them.
This couldn’t be happening.
“London, are you paying attention?” he asked me.
“Yes,” I whispered.
“I don’t think you’re taking this seriously enough. Maybe you need some encouragement.”
The phone pinged, and suddenly a video request came through. I stared at it for a second, then closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and hit accept.
Screams filled the air.
Jessica faced me on the screen. A large, muscular hand held her by the hair, which gave me a nasty sense of déjà vu because Reese had held my hair almost exactly the same way last night. Jess wasn’t sitting in anyone’s lap, though.
A second hand flashed through the air, hitting her so hard that she ripped free of her captor and slammed to the ground with a sickening thunk, her head literally bouncing from the impact against the concrete floor. Someone started laughing. The man who’d been holding her opened his fingers, chunks of her hair drifting down across her body. I clutched my side, my vision going dark, and for long seconds I wondered if I’d lose consciousness.
“Jess?” I finally managed to whisper. She didn’t respond. A man kicked her in the stomach, and then I heard some muffled Spanish in the background. Her body jerked, quivering for about ten seconds before falling still again.
Seizure. She used to get them as a child, but I hadn’t seen one in years.
“You need to take her to a hospital. That kind of head trauma can damage the shunt. She’ll die. You can’t let her die!”
The video died, transitioning back to audio only. I raised the phone slowly to my ear, hand shaking so bad I almost dropped it.
“After you kill Hayes, we’ll dump her in front of a hospital,” the man said. “I’ll need proof. Homicide report will do nicely. Call nine one one yourself if you want things to move faster, I have people monitoring the police scanners up there. They’ll tell me when it happens.”