Twisted Roses

Page 34

His message is loud and clear—he’s issuing a threat.
Possibly from Lucius himself.
The windows are tinted, disguising the people inside. I don’t know who the hell this is, but they know who I am. And they want me to know they’ve got no problem running me off the road. Too bad I don’t intimidate easily.
I rev my engine and blast off.
The race is on. They’ll have to catch me first.
The Hummer barrels after me like a fucking maniac. I glance over my shoulder to the sight of the giant vehicle speeding up the rear. They’re flying in order to keep pace with me.
My grip on the bike tightens and I press harder on the throttle. I cut across the three lanes, sliding from the far left to the right side. Other cars on the road honk their horns and even swerve in panic as I narrowly cut between.
They can kiss my ass. They’re needed as buffers between me and the Hummer asshole.
When I’ve created enough distance, I slip into the last lane. An exit is coming up in half a mile. I’ll snag it and thenreallydisappear.
Northam is too big of a city, full of so many alleys and side streets, it’s remarkably easy to lose somebody when on a bike.
The Hummer doesn’t give up. Even though it’s trapped several cars behind, it shadows my every move. I’m in the exit lane, they’re in the exit lane. I speed up, they tailgate the poor cars in between us.
The exit comes up. I take it, smooth as I navigate the steep bend. My bike glides along, leaving the Hummer stuck on the highway. At the end is a streetlight that forces you to turn left or right.
I’m preparing to pop a quick right on a red when it happens. AsecondHummer crashes onto the scene and T-bones into me at full speed. My bike and I don’t stand a chance the moment the huge slab of metal clips us.
I’m jerked forward, yanked off my bike. For a moment, I’m airborne, tossed far away by the force of the impact. The world spins around me before I smash into the ground. I don’t need a doctor to take a look at me. I’m fucked up, barely conscious, lying broken and bleeding in a ditch.
The Hummer that crashed into me pulls up in the near distance. One of the men gets out and walks over. I can’t move any part of my body. Even my head. Only his black boots come into view as he stops beside me. He crouches lower.
“You were warned this isn’t the type of problem you want.”
He raises his boot and crushes it into my face. The final blow that knocks me out cold.
11. delphine
Saturday morning,I log onto my laptop to another email from NorthamNeptune123.
dear delphine,
it’s time u make good on my request. it’s time for us to meet. sit down like friends and get to know each other. though i know plenty about u and u know nothing of me. but i can promise im here to help.
if u have any doubt whether u can trust me, how about i prove myself again? if harding wasn’t enough to convince u, today surely will. an old friend of urs will find himself drowning in quite a lot of debt. see for urself. nine at noon.
then we’ll set a date for our special meetup.
ur friend,
I lower my face to my hands and puff out a wary sigh. I had been hoping that after a week of radio silence from him, he’d decided to fade into obscurity. It seems that’s nothing more than a pipe dream at this point. He’s determined to continue this charade.
Technically, other than asking to meet up, he’s made no demands. The few emails and text messages he’s sent have only vaguely alluded to the secret he believes I’m keeping, and how he intends to help me keep it buried.
It’s on my mind all morning. If NorthamNeptune123 is my attacker, or affiliated with my attacker, then there’s a good chance he’s part of the Neptune Society.
The ring could be what finally narrows it down. There’s only so many club members who could have one.
I’ve begun researching the Neptune Society and those who belong to the club. The official list of club members is private information never released to the public. Most citizens in Northam have come to the natural conclusion the swanky club’s membership is a rogue’s gallery of the rich and powerful.