“And because of that little stunt you just pulled, I’m not letting you go.”

Jase

Fuck! The palm of my hand bangs on the steering wheel, sending a sharp pain radiating up my arm. Fuck! Over and over I slam my hand against the wheel while gritting my teeth to keep from screaming out profanities.

Even with the adrenaline still racing and the anger still present, I force myself to sit back in the car, listening to the dull thuds coming from the trunk.

I shouldn’t have done that. What the fuck was I thinking?

I put cuffs around her wrists, her ankles too, and then gagged her to keep any more screams for help from crying out between those beautiful lips of hers.

I backed my car into her garage and dealt with the kicks and her feeble attempt to fight back as I forced her into the tight space.

I can only imagine what she’s thinking with the handcuffs digging into her wrists as she’s trapped, dark and alone and having no idea what’s going to happen.

Thump. The sound reminds me—I shouldn’t have done that shit.

Her garage door opens with an abrupt, jerky motion and then slowly rises, bringing with it a vision of the suburban street, lit by the warm glow of the inevitable evening. A sarcastic huff leaves my lips as I pull away, gently stepping down on the gas and blending in.

Knowing she’s bound and gagged in the trunk, unable to do a damn thing until I decide what to do with her, time slips by as I drive down her street, thinking about how the hell I’m going to fix this shit.

The second I give her freedom again, she’ll go to the cops, which is fine, since they’re in our back pocket.

Every way I look at this, I know she’s going to have to go. A threat is a threat is a threat. I underestimated her, but now that I know what she’s willing to do, there’s no excuse for keeping her alive.

No reason except for that look in her eyes.

The blinker ticks as I round the corner, turning right out of her neighborhood and down the main drag. I’m not taking her to the back of The Red Room. I don’t want a damn soul to know about her pulling out a weapon. She’s merely a nuisance, nothing more.

No one can know. If they find out and I don’t silence her, they will.

“Call Seth.” I give the command and instantly the cabin of the sedan fills with the sound of a phone ringing. Before it finishes the second ring, Seth answers.

“Boss,” he greets me.

“I need you to do something.”

“I’m listening.” I can hear the shuffle of papers in the background and then it goes quiet on the other line.

“Drive out to the address you gave me yesterday. You know which one?” I ask him and keep my words vague. I’m careful not to risk a damn thing, not when calls can be recorded and used against me.

“Of course,” he answers and I can practically see him nodding his head in the way that he does. Short and quick, with his eyes never leaving mine.

“I went over there and I may have made a mess.”

“Just clean it up?” he asks. “Anything in particular to look out for?”

“The hinge on her door broke, and there’s a bullet hole in her ceiling, but everything’s fine otherwise. No one will be there, so lock it on your way out.” A thought hits me as I get closer to my own home and my fingers slide down to my house key, dangling from the ignition. “I’m going to need you to make me a copy of a key too.”

“For the address I gave you yesterday?” he clarifies and I nod while answering, “Yes.”

“Anything else?” he asks and I’m silent for a moment, thinking about the next step and the one after it.

Seth is a fixer. Every fuckup I make, or better yet, any fuckups from my brothers, he cleans up. He’s also my right-hand man when I want to keep things from Carter.

“If anyone asks or comes looking, let them know you were hired to fix it.”

“No problem.”

Thump, thump, THUMP! My gaze lifts to the rearview mirror as I listen to Beth trying to escape. The trunk can’t be opened from the inside; she’ll learn I’m smarter than that. She caught me off guard once, but it won’t happen again.

Bethany

My heart won’t stop racing. It’s pounding hard and fighting back from inside my chest; I can’t imagine I’ll survive this.

It’s throbbing so loud, it takes me a moment to realize the car’s stopped. The hum of the engine has vanished and there isn’t a damn sound other than my own chaotic heartbeat.

I hear a crunch, I think, and my head whips around to the side, so sharply it sends a bolt of pain down my already aching shoulder. Traveling up and down my shoulders is a dull fire that blazes. Between the way I was forced in here, practically thrown in, and lying on my arms with them cuffed behind my back, my shoulders are in absolute agony. The metal bites into my wrists and ankles, and I know I’ll have bruises on my knees from slamming them as hard as I could into the top of the trunk. My entire body is cramping.

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