“Let’s see the goods, then,” a man in his forties says. “That outfit is cute and all, but I’d rather get a look at those tits.”
I shrivel inside and fight the urge to hide my body with my arms.
The older man at the back seems uninterested in me—at least not in the way the others are. Why is he here? Is it for Don? Does he want to make sure he’s still got the detective’s loyalty, or is it the other way around? I’m unsure of the dynamics, but this man exudes power and confidence. It’s as though he takes up more space than everyone else in the room. I wish I understood what the situation was so I could figure out if there was a way I could use it to my advantage.
Don comes up behind me. I freeze, my breath trapped in my chest. Every muscle in my body is a tightly coiled spring, and I find myself squeezing my eyes shut, as though I can mentally propel myself somewhere else.
Rafferty, Brody, Wilder, Asher.
Rafferty, Brody, Wilder, Asher.
I repeat my prayer over and over, using it to draw myself away from this situation.
Don’s hand reaches around my body, and his fingers find the silky bow between my breasts. He tugs on one end, and, as I’d expected, the whole thing unravels, and the two sides of the negligée fall open. Though it didn’t provide much cover before, my breasts are now completely exposed. My nipples crinkle at the cool air, and I suck in my stomach. My head is bowed in shame. He pulls the rest of the material off my shoulders, and it drifts to the ground and creates a soft puddle around my bare feet. I’m grateful I still have the thong on, but how long that will last, I don’t know.
“Come and inspect her,” Don offers the men. “Decide how much she’s worth.”
My head snaps back up. How much I’m worth? What does that mean? Does he intend to sell me?
I’d imagined this situation being that he’d bring his friends over and allow them to have a little fun with me, and then they’d leave. I’d never thought he’d sell me on. What am I looking at? A life of servitude? As a sex slave to one of these men? Somehow, that feels even worse than being in Don’s possession. At least I know Don. I can try to predict how he’ll react to things. But these other men are complete strangers. I have no way of knowing what they’ll do to me, or where they’ll take me. What if they try to smuggle me abroad?
The impact of this realization sends the room spinning. If that happens, the guys will never find me.
MY LEG IS BOUNCINGas the blades begin to whir. Rafferty is completing the pre-flight checks, and although I’m impatient as fuck to get moving, I let him do his thing. It’s not going to help Honor if we crash and burn into the ocean.
Waves of adrenaline wash over me, smashing onto the shores of my nervous system, keying me up. We are going to get Honor back, and what’s more, we might also find Wren.
I’m not walking out of there with her stepfather still alive. The man is too much of a menace. We won’t be able to rest knowing he’s out there, threatening her safety. I’m not sure how on-board Rafferty will be with that, though. He’s the one who always has his eye on the legalities.
We’ve always stuck to the right side of a very thin line in all we do, but we always had the mutual, if at times unspoken, understanding that once we found Wren, all bets were off the table. Well, now the same goes for Detective Don.