A band that I always love listening to - here's Framing Hanley with Criminal. Enjoy!
Smex Scene Sunday
2 hours ago
The black bag was ripped from her head, along with several strands of her hair. Abby blinked against the bold light of the naked bulbs hanging from the low ceiling. She glanced around the dingy space in shock as her gaze traveled from girl to girl—six young teens, dirty, bruised, and malnourished, staring up at her through bland eyes while they sat or lay on filthy mattresses on the dirt floor. “What—”
“In.” Victor shoved Abby into a small, windowless room, slamming the door, locking her in with a rusty scrape of something sliding against the heavy metal barrier.
She walked on shaky legs to the wooden chair in the corner and collapsed to the uncomfortable seat, clutching her arms around her waist, shivering as she bit hard on her bottom lip while tears rained down her cheeks. Where was she? What was this place? She shuddered, remembering six sets of listless eyes holding hers. Nothing good was happening here.
She covered her face with trembling hands and gave into her sobs, relieving the worst of her dread, wishing for nothing more than to be home with Lex and Livy. Thinking of her sister and niece, she forced away her tears, taking several deep breaths of stale air. If she wanted to see her family again she needed to pull herself together. She couldn’t get herself out of this—whatever this was—if she didn’t think. There had to be a way out. Her eyes darted around the barely lit space, searching for a weapon, another exit, anything.
The door opened, and she rushed to her feet as a tall, well-built man stood haloed in the beam of light from the room beyond. Abby blinked as he stepped forward. “Renzo?” She bolted from the corner and fell against her friend’s firm chest as a wave or relief flooded her. “Oh, thank god.”
His strong arms wrapped around her.
“I’m so glad you’re here. I don’t know what’s going on. I need help. Can you help me?”
“What happened?” He eased her back some, but she refused to release him from her grip.
“My family—we were on our way home from Virginia Beach. We stopped at a rest area, and two men grabbed me and brought me here.”
“You were with your sister and niece?”
“Yes, Alexa and Olivia. I think they’re okay, but I need to call and make sure. Will you get me out of here?”
She could hardly believe she was leaving. “Thank you. Thank you.” She hugged Renzo again as tears of gratitude flowed free. “I knew this had to be some sort of mistake.”
“Come on, let’s get you home.” He wrapped his arm around her waist and walked with her to the door. “Oh, wait.” He stopped.
“I can’t let you go.”
“The law is done with Whitlock. You oughta be done as well. And if you ain’t, then next time we talk it’ll be at the station. You understand me?”Nobody in the town of Logan trusts Daniel. He’s shunned and hated and feared. And Daniel doesn’t trust himself either. He’s afraid he’ll kill someone else. He’s so afraid of this that he makes some bad decisions. He thinks he can keep himself contained. Then he thinks he can trust some guy he met on the internet to do it for him.
Brock’s mouth tightened.
“You understand me?” Bel asked again.
“Yeah,” Brock said, scowling. “I got you loud and clear, Officer. Kenny’s dead, Whitlock’s walking around, and I gotta let it go. That’s the fucking law.”
“Yeah, that’s the law.”
Brock stared at him for a moment. “Ain’t no wonder people take it in their own hands then, is it?”
Yeah, Bel thought as he watched Brock slink away like a stray cat. Ain’t no wonder.
There were no winners here. Not Kenny, not Daniel, and not the law. They were all wanting, every one of them.
“Pelley is in there.”
Corinna halted her flight and looked over her shoulder. Ian stood in partial shadow, his long legs and handsome face slanted with torchlight.
“He is?” she said.
He folded his arms over his chest. “I thought that might stop you.”
“Are you telling the truth?”
“I never lie.”
She bit her lower lip. “I didn’t consider the possibility of his presence here.”
He frowned, his gaze slipping along her bodice to her hips. “Apparently.”
“Don’t look at me with such disapproval,” she snapped. “Your doxies wear much less than this.” How on earth had she gotten herself into this? What had she been thinking? He was right: this was not she. She was trying to be something she wasn’t and making a fool of herself. And now Lord Pelley would see her in this scandalous gown, and any last hope she might still have of convincing him she was the serious woman to whom he should sell his publishing company would be lost.
“I don’t disapprove,” Ian said. “Quite the contrary. I’m merely curious as to your motive.”
The words that were so easy to practice alone in her dressing chamber now clogged her throat. His eyes sharpened. For a moment that seemed like forever, neither of them spoke.
He strode forward and grasped her arm. Raindrops pattered on the shoulders of his dark coat and her lashes.
“I’m taking you home.”
She resisted. “What if I don’t want you to?”
“Oh,” he said in a low rumble. “You want me to.”