Confer, Lorelei - Deadly Deception (Siren Publishing Classic) (9 page)

BOOK: Confer, Lorelei - Deadly Deception (Siren Publishing Classic)
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Shortly after returning to the States from Central America, he had run into her at a coffee bar near the school where she worked. He had made her laugh. They started to see each other on a regular basis, and their relationship soon had become serious. He invited her to move into his townhouse with him. She happily accepted.

They shared all their dreams and lifetime desires. She thought they were in love with each other. A marriage she had dreamed of all her life could be the next step in their relationship.

They’d been happy living together for the first few months, but then Michael changed, taking on an unfamiliar persona she didn’t like. Out of the blue, with no notice or discussion with her, he quit his job, which made a hardship for her to support them both on her teaching salary. He started leaving early in the morning and staying out late at night. He stopped talking to her the few hours he was home. When she asked him about this change, “I’m working,” was his only explanation, and that “it isn’t any of your business.” He wouldn’t talk to her about his job, telling her very clearly that her responsibilities did not include “keeping tabs on him every minute of the day or night.” Paying the bills and servicing all his needs, especially sexually, were what she needed to be concerned about. And it didn’t matter whether day or night, tired, in the mood or not. He basically had become a sex addict with perversions beyond her greatest imaginations.

She despaired over what to do, not sure she had the strength to walk away from her lifetime dreams. Then she came home from work
that
night. She remembered it as if it were yesterday.

* * * *

The ringing of the doorbell stirred her from her nightmarish daydream. She tiptoed to the door, opening it just enough to see out. Over the stair railing, she could see Wyatt, who now had on a shirt, walking toward the door. As he opened the front door, he motioned with his hand for a nice-looking healthy, fit man to come in.

“Hi, Dave, come on in. Coffee’s fresh and hot, just like you like it,” Wyatt said in greeting.

“Good! I can use a cup.”

Dave laughed as they shook hands and patted each other on the back.

“Come on in the kitchen. We can talk there,” Wyatt motioned for Dave to follow him.

Once they reached the kitchen, she could only hear the rumbling of male voices but nothing she could decipher.

She closed the door and sat on the bed wondering who he might be, hoping he wasn’t a cop. Damn! Had Wyatt called the police to have her arrested like he had threatened? They couldn’t help her; they would only muddle everything up. She couldn’t believe it had happened to her herself.
I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him.

She heard footsteps on the stairs, jumped off the bed, and scurried behind the door.

Wyatt knocked while asking, “Isabella, are you dressed? Breakfast is ready, and I have someone downstairs I’d like you to meet.”

She groaned, gradually moved her hand toward the doorknob. Unlocking and opening the door slightly, she became mesmerized as she looked into his bright blue eyes. As if frozen in time, she couldn’t move.

He grabbed her hand and gently pulled her toward him, breaking the spell. “Come downstairs with me. You need to eat breakfast, and I have someone I want you to meet. I promise it will be worth it.”

She started to back away, trying to find some excuse not to go with him. The strength, power, and masculinity emanating from him both alarmed and thrilled her.

“I don’t have to go anywhere with you. Besides, I don’t have any shoes to wear.” Isabella pouted like a reticent child.

“We made an agreement, remember?”

“But what about shoes? I don’t have any to wear.”

“That’s fine. I usually don’t wear shoes around the house anyway. You need something to eat to build up your strength. Trust me!”

“Trust you? Famous last words! I’m not dressed for any company. I don’t have the proper underwear and you can see through my shirt,” she whined, covering her breasts with her hands.

“I don’t care about that right now. I think I can help you, and we agreed you would follow my rules. This is one of those rules. You can sit at the table and no one will notice. I promise.”

He half-pulled, half-dragged her down the middle set of stairs of this three story house, around the corner, and toward the kitchen.

Chapter 14

As Wyatt followed Isabella into the kitchen, Isabella stopped, hesitating. She examined the room, remembering her hasty journey through it less than eight hours ago. Now with the early morning sunlight streaming in through the large window, the bright and airy room looked like a different place entirely. It felt homey.

A man sat at the table and raised his coffee cup to her in acknowledgement. His tanned complexion, dark hair, and trimmed mustache reminded her of her father. His loose T-shirt, jeans, and smiling green eyes made her relax.

Wyatt picked up the coffee pot in one hand, carrying it to the table while ushering Isabella by the elbow with the other hand. “Sit down and have some breakfast.” Wyatt told Isabella, leading her to the table. “When did you eat last, do you remember?”

She shrugged and shook her head. She had to think. She couldn’t remember eating a meal or much of anything except Pop-Tarts, or protein or granola bars once or twice a day since she had woken up dazed in that wretched room with Joe.

“That’s okay. I have some scrambled eggs and toast ready, and there’s orange juice on the table. You can help yourself. Go ahead while I get you a plate.”

Wyatt retrieved a plate and returned to the table to find Isabella standing in the exact same spot. He motioned for her to sit down at the table before making introductions.

With her arms across her chest, she walked warily around the table to the opposite side from the man and sat down.

“Isabella, I’d like you to meet my best friend, Dave Miller. He and I grew up together, not far from here actually. He is a genuinely true friend, and he knows how to be discreet. He’s accumulated a wealth of information and experience helping people in similar situations as yours. Dave, I’d like you to meet Isabella Donnelly from outside
Denver
,
Colorado
.”

“Isabella, it’s very nice to meet you,” Dave replied, his voice soft and comforting.

Isabella, feeling more and more comfortable, nodded at Dave. Wyatt put a plate in front of her heaped with scrambled eggs and toast. When she smelled the eggs, she felt a wave of sickness, and then realized she was famished. She lifted her fork and began to eat. It tasted delicious. She had taken only a few bites before nausea crept through her. She broke out into a cold sweat, tiny beads of moisture appearing on her forehead and upper lip. She put down her fork, wiped her face with a napkin, and tried to take deep breaths in through her nose and out through her mouth until the queasiness subsided.

Wyatt looked at her with concern. “Are you okay? You look kind of pale. Do you need a drink?”

She nodded. “I guess I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I last ate any real food.”

She added more cream to her already-diluted coffee with sugar while looking at Dave. She caught Wyatt’s concerned look, out of the corner of her eye, as he sat down beside her. A few minutes later, she felt better and began to eat again.

Eating a little more before putting her fork down and pushing her plate away, she folded her hands in front of her on the table.

“Wyatt’s told me a little bit about you and your predicament and I think I can help you,” Dave began. “I’m a detective assigned to the Human Sex Trafficking Task Force.”

Terror gripped her, reached to the very depths of her inner soul. Her heart began pumping, she began shaking, and she swallowed hard. Her chair scraped the floor as she stood, rushing to leave. Wyatt grasped her arms with his hands, gently pushing her back down into the chair.

“Will you please listen to what he has to say?” Wyatt asked quietly.

“Why should I? I’ve heard enough. I asked you to help me get back to my home, my family, and to leave the police out of it. I can’t trust you, I can’t trust anybody,” Isabella, seething, managed to say through clenched teeth.

“We had a deal. Have you forgotten that already?”

“No, I haven’t forgotten our agreement. But I don’t know how this has anything to do with it.”

“Listen to what he has to say and then decide. It won’t hurt to listen. Where else do you have to go?”

Wyatt looked between Dave and her. When she sat down Dave tried again.

“As I said, I work on the task force for Human Trafficking,” he paused, watching her reaction, “and based on the information Wyatt relayed to me,” he said as he pointed to a number of printed pages spread out on the table, “we have reason to believe you may have been abducted.”

Isabella just stared at Dave and Wyatt in puzzlement.
Duh! Finally you believe me!
She laughed, rolled her eyes in disbelief, and crossed her arms across her chest.

“That’s what I’ve been telling you. They took me. They abducted me. You act like you just solved the great mystery of the Egyptian pyramids.” She paused, waiting for their reaction. Hearing none, she continued. “I don’t even know for sure what ‘human sex trafficking’ is, so how do I know it might have happened to me?” Isabella took another sip of her coffee.

“Isabella, without any identification or evidence, we have no idea who you are or from where you came,” Dave explained.

“Except for what you’ve told Wyatt, of course. It’s pretty clear we have to start at the beginning and reconstruct and verify virtually your entire life. The sooner we do, the sooner we can make plans to get you back where you belong.”

He took a small fingerprint kit out of his briefcase and began to take her fingerprints while explaining they would be entered into a database looking for a match.

“Since schools typically fingerprint anyone and everyone who works within the school system they will be searched within the same database. We’ll probably have a match quickly, and that would be a good thing.”

After putting the fingerprint kit away, he retrieved a small black notebook, directing his attention to Isabella. “You need to tell me everything about yourself in detail, things I can verify.”

“Okay, what do you want to know?”

“Let’s start with personal information like your full name, address, age, date of birth, social security number, parents’ names, home and work addresses, occupation, where and when you graduated from school and college, where you work and how long, your friends, and especially your ‘friend’ Amanda,” Dave answered.

Surprised to hear he knew about Amanda, she assumed Wyatt must have told him. She took a couple of deep breaths, hesitating, knowing she would have to relive the past year, which included moving out of her mom’s house, moving in with Michael, breaking up with Michael, getting her own apartment, and somehow getting abducted to Virginia. None of it seemed real or appealing to her.

Chapter 15

Isabella answered their questions while Wyatt retrieved a yellow legal pad and made notes on it.

“Are you married?” Wyatt interjected among Dave’s questions.

“No.”

“Ever been married?”

“No. Is this relevant?” she asked Dave.

Dave and Wyatt ignored her question and continued asking her about what kind of car she drove, the tag number.

“Okay, how did you come to know Amanda?” Dave asked her.

“I met her at the gym where we’re both members. It’s near the school where I work.”

“How did you become friends with her? Did you approach her or did she approach you?” Wyatt asked.

“Amanda introduced herself to me one day at the gym. Then she invited me for coffee after our workout, so I guess you could say she approached me.”

“When did she first meet you?” Wyatt asked.

“About six months ago. I had recently broken up with my fiancé and needed a friend. I guess I was vulnerable and she won me over.”

“Where did you go for coffee?” Dave asked.

“It’s a local coffee shop with a real trendy name on
Ridge Street
near the school. I don’t remember the name exactly, but it’s something like Groovy Grounds or something similar.”

“Interesting name. Maybe we can get a video surveillance with a description of Amanda,” Wyatt interjected.

“What’s Amanda’s last name? Maybe she has priors,” Dave asked.

Isabella shrugged her shoulders and shook her head from side to side. “She never actually told me her last name. I just always knew her as Amanda, and I never asked her that I remember.”

“Can you tell us Joe’s full name, if he works and where?”

“Amanda introduced Joe as Joe Sneed but neither of them ever mentioned their jobs. Amanda lives in a beautiful, affluent condo building so she had to work somewhere. She always dressed real nice too.”

“Can you describe them? Did they have any accents or tattoos? Did any of them wear watches? What kind of clothes did they wear?” Wyatt asked her.

“Well, Joe is tall with a handsome face, crooked nose though. He dressed nicely enough in jeans, T-shirt, sports coat, dress shoes. He sometimes pulled his shoulder-length dark brown hair back in a ponytail.

BOOK: Confer, Lorelei - Deadly Deception (Siren Publishing Classic)
10.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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