“But there’s no body,” I say, looking for a reason to hope Rebecca’s alive.

Blake’s jaw sets grimly. “We don’t believe we’ll find a body.”


Because she’s in the ocean. Like in her constant, horrible nightmares. I run my hand through my hair and turn away, trying to get a grip on the rage inside me. I want to go to that bitch and kill her. I want to hurt her in a way I’ve never wanted to hurt anyone.

I whirl around on them. “I want the address of the friend who agreed to supervise Ava.”

Tiger curses. “That’s why I told you not to tell him,” he growls at Blake.

“He had a fucking right to know,” Blake snaps, then tells me, “I know what you’re feeling, man. I lost a fiancée to a bastard who I’ve sworn to kill. And since he’s a drug lord who evades the law, the million ways I can make him disappear without anyone knowing better are lined up like a fairy tale for me. I’ll do the world a favor wiping him out.”

“Exactly my thoughts with Ava,” I ground out. “I want the address.”

“You’ll end up in jail.”

I fist my hands on the table, staring Blake down. “Ask me if I fucking give a shit. Where the fuck is Ava?”

“Now seems like a good time for a change of subject,” Tiger interjects. “Your head of security at the club lost the financing he had to buy the club. But I want it. I’ll meet his offer and I’m self-funded.” He opens a folder. “I drew up new contracts, replacing my name with his.”

I don’t look at him. I stay focused on Blake. “Are you going to tell me or not?”

“No, man. I’m not.”

I push off the table. “I have money. I have resources. I’ll find her myself.” I glance at the two men. “What about Ryan? I know he’s involved.”

Blake replies, “If he is, he’s covered his tracks well. But we’ll pressure Ava into confessing his involvement.”

I shake my head. “Right. So she can negotiate some plea deal for giving him up. All I can say is, you had better get to him before I do.”

I turn and cross the room, exit into the hallway, and keep on walking. I’m on a hunt now, and my prize is vengeance. I didn’t fight enough for her when she was alive. I’m damn sure going to do it now.

Part Three

Falling Apart

Mark

One. Two. Three. Fuck counting, I think, bursting into the stairwell of the building, on the edge of something dark and violent threatening to overcome me. The only thing holding it at bay is my focus on finding Ava and Ryan. I take the downward steps toward the lobby, needing to move, to do anything to stop the burn in my chest and the fraying of my mind. Retrieving my phone from my pocket, I key in the auto-dial for the man I’d hired several weeks back.

“I want to know where she’s hiding,” I say after a short greeting and explanation, not giving a shit if my phone is tapped. I just want Ava. “And find her before they arrest her again Monday.”

“That’s extra,” he replies.

“Find her,” I order. “And do a better job than you have of finding out Ryan’s role in all of this.”

“And when I find her?”

“We’ll talk when you actually get the job done right.” I end the call and dial the driver that I have on payroll parked nearby. I’ve somehow ended the walk down ten floors. I stuff my phone back in my pocket, pausing at the heavy wooden exit door and lean on the wall, fighting the demons threatening to rise to the surface. The past that has become my present.

I told her love was a façade. I told her it’s a cruel destructive monster that will destroy you. And it did. She loved me and I destroyed her. Why the fuck did I let her fall in love? I should have pushed her away harder. I tried, and that’s how Ava and Ryan got involved. I should have done so many things that I didn’t do—and done so many I did, differently. I let her down. I hurt her. I can never make it right.

I shove off the wall. But I can get some justice. I will get justice.

Yanking open the door, I enter the deserted hotel lobby and cut to my right, traveling a long hallway toward a back exit, my stride focused. I want to see Ava pay for her crime, but Ryan, that bastard, will not walk away from this. He won’t. I know he’s involved; I saw it in the bastard’s eyes when I confronted him about what he told the police. I’ve stayed away to keep from beating the shit out of him. No more holding back for the sake of an investigation that’s given me the wrong answers. It’s all come back full circle, to me.

I exit the hotel by a side door and the car that I’ve called is already waiting. I slip into the back of the black sedan giving Ed, the sixty-something private driver I keep on standby, a nod.

“Evening, sir,” he greets me, immediately putting the car into gear, having been warned about the press. He glances in his rearview mirror at me. “Or perhaps I should say ‘morning’ at this hour.”

“As long as you leave out the ‘good’ part.” I pull my phone from my pocket. “Drive by my house so I can evaluate the press situation.”

“Yes, sir.” He glances in his mirror again. “Is there any news on Ms. Mason?”

The memory of him chauffeuring Rebecca around when she refused to let me buy her a car hits me like a blast of ice that bites clear to my soul. She’d been fond of him, and him of her. “Nothing I can share.”

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