Twisted Roses

Page 78

Flynn scoffs. A warning gleam flashes in my gaze and he sucks in a sharp breath.
“You can’t be serious. You can’t expect me to… I’m not going to tell you!”
I grab his hand and twist it backward to his immediate scream of agony. “It’s certainly your choice. But have I mentioned I have interesting methods to get people to talk? You don’t need all ten fingers, do you? How about this one with this nice club ring on it?”
Flynn’s initial scream is nothing compared to the pained howl that leaves him when I snap his ring finger like a twig.
He breaks down insobs. The fucking Police Commissioner of the Northam PD falls to his knees cradling his hand, tears streaming down his cheeks.
No mercy.
“You have ten seconds to tell me or I’m slicing it off next.”
Flynn’s misty eyes bulge at the sight of the Balisong knife I produce from my pocket.
“Alright, alright! But you have to understand. I was drunk. It was only once. A grave mistake I’ve regretted ever since.”
I glance at Delphine from over my shoulder. She stares back, equally perplexed.
“I met up with someone, alright? For… for sex. Paid sex.” Flynn’s face reddens from underneath his wannabe Phantom of the Opera mask. “It was… it was a man. It was my first and only time doing something like that. I was very confused and lonely at the time. I didn’t know the escort would film the encounter. Isn’t it enough that my wife left me? Isn’t it enough that he’s blackmailed me for months now? I’ve done every damn thing he’s asked!”
Delphine gasps. “So that’s why you and Rachel divorced? Your wife moved into my old apartment building.”
“I’d appreciate it if you don’t say a word to anyone. Are you satisfied? Do we have a deal?”
“You’re the next one,” Delphine says. “It’s you he’s going to expose. He told me it would be someone who wasn’t camera shy.”
The blush reddening Flynn’s face vanishes. Instead, he pales. “He… he said that?”
“You’re going to help us uncover who he is.” I grab the front of his fancy dinner jacket with my fists and ram him against the wall. “Your phone is my phone from now on. Call him back. Tell him you want a new meetup.”
“I can’t just call him and start making demands.”
“You call or you lose some of your fingers. Your choice, Commissioner. I think you’ll find guys like me are exceptional at getting off for the crimes we commit. Ms. Adams here can vouch for that.”
Delphine stands shocked and silent for a second before she backs me up. She nods and says in a tight voice, “I’m sorry, Commissioner. But I haven’t seen a thing that’s gone on in this room tonight. I also can’t guarantee the DA’s office is interested in pursuing charges against Mr. Mancino at this present time.”
The Commissioner gnashes on his teeth. “Alright, alright. Hand me my phone back.”
As if it’s planned—Delphine’sphone rings.
The three of us are shocked by it. A second passes where we glance around at each other and the phone twinkles with its wind-chime-like ringtone.
“I’ll answer it,” I start.
But I’m a split second too late. Delphine takes the plunge and presses the green answer button, setting it to speakerphone.
“Delphine, Delphine, Delphine,” sings an anonymous, digitized voice. “You’re determined to break my rule every step of the way, aren’t you? How should I punish you?”
Delphine looks straight at me, freezing up.
A growl revs in my chest as I stride toward her, ready to swipe the phone out of her hand and threaten the guy on the other end within an inch of his life.
“I’ll have to take my time to decide. I invited you and the Commissioner tonight as a test to see if you trust me. But you’ve failed, like every other test I’ve given you. Tonight’s not your night, but if you’ve ever doubted I’m serious, take a look at the latest headlines.”
The dial tone cuts in, its endless drone filling up the curator’s office.
“He hung up,” Flynn says, cradling his broken finger. “Do you see what I mean? He’s not exactly the easiest guy to reason with, is he?”