Authors: Coulton, JC
~ A Romantic Suspense Thriller ~
Seize Me Romance Series
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
SEIZED PART 4
First edition. May 31, 2015.
Copyright © 2015 JC Coulton.
Written by JC Coulton.
All rights reserved.
This series is dedicated to the men in blue, and to the one that got away...
~To stay alive she needs to learn to let go.~
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Seized Part 4
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What would you do to have a second chance with the one that got away?
Two days earlier
I’m driving from the hotel after Special Agent Cooper shows up. I think back on the last twelve hours, and as great as it was being with Carrie just now, I feel sick. I think it’s the guilt I’m harboring about Neon in the car last night. I should have seen that kiss coming, but she made me powerless, even if my mental paralysis lasted just a minute.
The only lips I want to taste are Carrie’s lips. The only woman I want to touch is Carrie. That’s why it felt so wrong. Neon tasted different. It made me cringe. Her mouth was metallic. It was nothing like it used to be between us. Where there was so much passion, all I felt this time was a coldness when she kissed me. All I wanted was for it not to be happening.
When I pushed her away, I looked at her skin. She was waxy and sweaty at the same time. She looked pale. She must be sick. A few years ago I would’ve been hooked by that kiss. It was an obsession. Her attention used to feed something unexplainable in me. Not any more, though. The shine has worn off that little diamond.
I can see now how unhealthy I was when we were together. But the clench in my chest when she started to cry was still there. I told her I was with Carrie now, and that I was loyal. But those silent, guilt-tripping tears kept rolling down her cheeks. That’s what made me feel sick.
I’m working my way through traffic. The guilt I’m feeling is matched equally with logic in my brain. I don’t owe her a thing, but for some reason, I feel like I need to keep giving. She was like a poison that told me it would feel good to keep taking it. She was like an addiction.
I’m different now. I know I am. I proved it just then too. I was finally strong enough to push away the one person who used to control and manipulate me. I grew up enough to see what a fool I was back then. And now I’m smart enough to ask her the questions I needed answers to—after which, I ask her to get out of the car. The question remains though; am I wise enough now to figure out which answers she gave me are true and which are pure lies?
That’s why I’m going to work now—to think and to do my job. I know the precinct will be quiet. I want to look at those old case files. If what she was saying was true, then I’ve been looking at things from the wrong perspective this whole time.
I arrive and the car park is cramped. It’s the same story with the Detective’s cage. It’s too crazy in here to think. I book off an interview room to go over my files for a few hours. I’m left in peace and quiet to ponder her words, and when I look up again, four hours have gone by. It’s time for me to go home. I need to shower and rest. I still haven’t got the answer, but sitting here all night isn’t going to bring me any closer. Maybe some sleep will make things more clear. Maybe it won’t.
By the time I decide to get going, it’s late in the morning. I shouldn’t be working this hard, but who else is going to find April if I don’t? The case seems to have dropped off everyone’s radar here. April deserves better. My mind is full of gory images as I leave the cage. Crime scene photos always leave their mark. I take a breath, squash them down, and nod to the desk Sergeant on my way out. The lights of the city are lonely and stark as I cross the bridge. It’s quiet outside but noisy in my head.
When I get back I’m relieved no one is home. George is at school and Brenda’s at work. I need to make it up to them for being so busy lately. I walk past his room, and can’t resist looking in. I need to talk to him soon about what really happened. For now, I just stare at where his sleeping form would normally be, and hope he’s having a better day. He’s such a beautiful kid. He deserves happiness.
When I finally get upstairs to my space, the relief is palpable. It’s been a long day. My body is physically exhausted. I ditch my bags on the couch and put my phone and laptop to charge for tomorrow. The shower is beckoning. I shed my clothes on the bathroom floor; it feels good to let go and be a bit messy in here. My body looks normal in the mirror, but my face is tired. I need to start eating more and working less. The shower is pounding hot, waiting for me. I step into the stream and close my eyes. For now I’ll just do this.
I don’t know how long I stand there. I don’t care either—the water on my scalp feels incredible. Toweling off, I slide between the sheets, naked. There was a time I might have taken a sleeping pill to get a full night of sleep, but these days, I don’t risk taking them. My program is too important. I need to stay sober more than I need sleep, so I abstain. Any mind-altering substance could trigger my desire to drink. That would be sabotage.
Thoughts of the case are still swirling through my mind. Neon’s words come back to me. I don’t know if I should believe them or not. I don’t even have to try hard, to come up with reasons she’d want to deceive me. The list is a mile long. To start with, she’s always hated cops. As much as she says she wants me, I’m the enemy now, no matter what alliance we had.
Then there’s her business. I’ve never met a woman who’s more prone to the hustle. She’s always looking for an opportunity to earn. If concealing what she knows about April serves that purpose, I don’t doubt she would do it.
There’s also Carrie. Neon seems disgusted that I’m finally making a connection with someone who’s good for me. The most obvious reason is jealousy. That kiss in the car was her last desperate attempt at ownership. But it’s not a real desire to connect. I can tell she wants something from me. If she’s looking to turn me into a mole in the force, she’s hitting up the wrong guy. I can’t stand bad cops. I’d never let anyone bribe me.
I keep coming back to the point she was making about Jacob’s employment background. Why would such an effective Deputy Chief be demoted so far down the totem pole, and how would Neon know so much about her if there were no reason to be suspicious?
There’s something more to discover about the final case Jacob worked on before she was reassigned. Neon may be manipulating me, but I suspect she may be on to something. She’s not the first person to mention this to me. I can’t completely ignore the anonymous source that called in to warn me that April’s abduction was an inside job either. There are so many angles to take into account.
My gut normally tells me when a suspect is lying. I just don’t know with Neon. If what she says is true, I may be looking at this entirely in the wrong way. I may be putting myself in jeopardy. Sometimes there has to be a fall guy, and I’m lined up perfectly, if that’s what Jacob is looking for.
Shit. I need to reel it back in. I’m going off on too many tangents. It’s time to focus on the here and now. It’s the evidence that makes me think Neon knows more about April’s disappearance than she’s letting on. Neon could be developing a connection with a trafficking ring. The woman she is now wouldn’t hesitate to get involved if there were profit up for grabs.
Drugs change people. They’ve made her cold. They’ve made her greedy, and it must be a lot of work running a stable of hookers. Each girl will have her own little drama to deal with. Neon must have dozens of issues and habits to manage. Added to it are the clients who don’t pay. Not to mention keeping track of security guys, paying off the law and competing with other pimps. It’s a full time job. It’s expensive and it doesn’t always go well.
There’s someone feeding the traffickers in this city. Giving them innocent women and children, taking small boys and little girls. There’s also someone making sure the cops don’t get any closer. Logic tells me Neon has an interest. I can’t help wondering why she’d be accusing the brass of being involved. Is it some twisted desire to protect me, or is she just trying to throw me off the trail of one of her associates?
My head is painfully busy. I’m obviously too close to her and Carrie to think straight. Jacob was smart to take me off this case. I made too many mistakes. I need someone to step back and look at this with fresh eyes. I’m just not willing to stop trying. I owe April that at least; April and all the others who have been taken. I sigh and roll over again.
Maybe it’s time to swallow my pride and talk to Special Agent Jason Cooper. I’ve never met him before today, but I heard about him. He’s a well-respected guy with a lot of experience in these types of cases. Maybe he’ll share some of it with me. Unlikely though. There’s an age-old conflict between the FBI and the NYPD. Too many egos have been bruised when their agents take cases from our detectives.
The resentment towards the bureau is institutional. It’s been passed down through generations of cops without losing potency. The moment any case has an element of cross-jurisdictional importance, they tend to come in and take over crime scenes, pushing good cops out of the way and taking the credit.
And the FBI doesn’t like us either. Everything we’re told at the precinct about working as a team is lip service. When it comes to dealing with our proverbial federal brothers in arms, some NYPD cops make being obstinate and difficult an art form. If I’m going to get what I need from Cooper, I’ll have to drop that ego bullshit. Christ, I don’t know if I can do it. There’s something about the guy that makes me suspicious.
It was the way he looked at Carrie. He just took over but it was more than that. I could tell she was attracted to him. She does this thing where she bites her lip. My body is attuned to her. She’s part of me and I know when there’s someone else on her radar. It fucks me up that she’s even thinking of someone else right now. She’s mine. She’s been mine since we were teenagers. The thought of calling and asking for his help is impossible. Not when he has her with him. I’m not going to be that guy.
Christ! I could punch the wall at the thought of them together. I’m so tired, I’m irrational but my mind is invaded by images of them together. I imagine her being with him and I’m instantly annoyed. I picture myself walking into the hotel room, finding them together and decking him. I sit up from the image. I need a glass of water.
This level of obsessing is doing nothing for my chances of sleep. I could spend the whole day in a fit of jealousy, but what good would it do? What evidence do I have? None. Just gut instincts. Just fear. My desire for her has only intensified and the thought of another man touching that beautiful soft skin makes me crazy.
I swear when I get her back in this room with me I’m going to tell her everything. I’ll make her understand how much I love her. I’ll pleasure her more than anyone ever has. She needs to know that she’s all I think about; seeing her, being with her, pleasing her. Making her happy.
I realize I’ll do anything for this woman. Anything to make her mine, anything to make her realize we belong together. Eleven in the morning is not the time to be making noble pledges, but suddenly it’s the most important thing in the world. With that thought on my mind I finally drop into an exhausted sleep.