Read Dixon's Duty Online

Authors: Jenna Byrnes

Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction

Dixon's Duty (13 page)

BOOK: Dixon's Duty
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“Jail? Why would I go to jail? I haven’t done anything! I told you, I haven’t seen Sami.”

“Yeah, you told me, but I’m not sure I believe you.
You had her pictures.
You also had photos of a lot of other women—and girls—on your computer. Some of them weren’t very nice.
Or legal.
Child pornography is against the law, Howard.” He stood and leant down to the man. “Don’t worry, though. You’ll get along fine in jail as long as no one knows you’re in there for kiddie porn. Funny, the worst criminals, the most murderous biker thugs and gang members, for some reason they don’t like guys who prey on children. They’ll rough you up pretty bad when they find out what you’re there for.”

“I didn’t do anything! That stuff doesn’t belong to me! I swear it.”

Dix slapped the table again. “It’s on your computer! Who would you let keep shit like that on
computer?” It dawned on him at that moment, and he saw in Howard’s eyes that they both knew. “Oh, my God. Those pictures belong to your father, don’t they?”

Howard set his jaw again. “I’m not saying another word.”

“Your dad couldn’t keep stuff like that at home because your mother would find it. So he used your computer, and your house, to look at his filth. Was he the one who took the pictures? The scrapbook of Sami from five years ago—was that your father’s, Howard?”

His face fell. “He made me take the blame. I didn’t want to do it. Everyone looked at me funny. Everyone except Sami. It was almost like she knew I didn’t do it.”

Dix studied him, taking it all in. Sami hadn’t been too hard on Howard the night before. Perhaps somehow she did know. “So your father made you take the blame back then. Tell me, Howard. What do you think would have happened if Sami’s mother had called the police like she wanted to? Do you think your dad would have spoken up, or would he have continued to allow you to take the punishment that was rightfully his?”

Tears formed in the man’s eyes.

“Yeah, pretty much what I thought. And what about now? Is your father here to bail you out? Or do you think he’s going to allow you to take the heat this time, too?”

“I can’t go to jail,” Howard blubbered, tears falling freely now. “I’d never survive.”

“It’d be hell, that’s for damn sure. You’d be someone different’s bitch every night. I hope you’re up for that, Howard.”

Something flashed in the man’s eyes. “My father has a thing for Sami. He has for years. He was trying to get her out of his system by dating other women that kinda look like her, but it didn’t work. He wanted her worse than ever.”

“Dating other women?
Is that what he calls raping and murdering them?”

Howard’s jaw slacked open. “He did that?”

“We think so.” Dix heard a knock at the door and went to open it.

Alvarez met him. “We got a DNA match from the Howard’s house to the fourth vic, Stephanie Marcus. A hair. A greasy black hair.”

Dix blinked. Howard’s hair, what was left of it, was short and light brown. “Galen.”

Alvarez nodded.

“Fuck me,” Dix muttered. It felt good to have a match. It felt lousy that the match belonged to Bryan’s cousin. He sighed and returned to Howard.

“Well, buddy, we just matched some DNA evidence to a strand of hair found in your house. A black hair.”

Howard’s eyes widened.

“We know it wasn’t you, Howard. Your father’s the man we’re after. Tell us where he is, and we might be able to get you out of here tonight.”

“To jail?”

“No, home. If you’re telling the truth, and all the evidence belongs to your dad, we can probably let you go. But you have to help us. Where is he?”

Howard chewed his lip nervously.

“I think you know where he might be. He’s not at home, and he’s not at your place. Where would he go? Where would he take Sami if he had her?”

“If I tell you, you won’t find a way to spin it and send me to jail, will you?”

“Not if you had no part in the crimes. If you were part of them, then all deals are off.”

“I had no part of any of it! I swear to you, I didn’t know he was killing anyone. He told me he was dating them.”

Dix frowned. “He’s a married man. You thought that was normal behaviour?”

Howard shrugged. “He’s my dad. I figured he knew what he was doing.”

“Yeah, I can see that. So do you have an idea where he might be?”

“Yes.” Howard nodded slowly. “We have a hunting cabin out by the lake.”

Dix’s heart leapt. “Of course you do. You think he might be there?”

He nodded again.

“Does Bryan know where this cabin is?”

“He’s been there plenty of times. He should.”

“Thank you, Howard!” Dix raced from the room.

“Can I get some Burger King?” Howard called after him.

Alvarez was already talking to Bryan. He told Dix, “Let him drive, so you can text Mac and me with the coordinates. When you get there, wait for us. I mean this with every fibre of my being. If you so much as set foot in that cabin, Scott, I’ll have you arrested for obstructing justice and everything else I can think of.”

“I hear you.” Bryan grinned, and they headed for the door.

Dix called back over his shoulder, “Have someone get Howard some Burger King, will you? I’d say he’s earned it.”

The drive to the cabin took twenty-five minutes. Dix texted Mac and Alvarez the location and Mac replied they were about ten minutes behind with a squad of SWAT team members and police.

Bryan pulled off the road by the long driveway and turned off the car.

They crept towards the cabin. “Lights are on,” Dix observed.

“I’m going to kill the son of a bitch. I took care of him, I championed him, gave him a job and every courtesy my family had to offer. If he’s harmed one hair on my daughter’s head, I will fucking kill him.”

Dix grabbed Bryan around the waist. “No, you will not. We have orders to wait for backup.
I have to
follow orders.”

“You may have to, but I don’t. That’s my daughter in there, Dix. I can’t sit here and twiddle my thumbs.”

or I’ll handcuff you to that tree over there. I’m as worried about Sami as you are, babe. She’s very important to me. But I won’t lose you. If you go in there and do something stupid, you’ll go to prison. I’m not going to let that happen. I love you, remember?”

Bryan tensed and paced. “I know, damn it. I just don’t know what’s going to happen if I find out he’s—hurt her. I might lose it, Dix. I really might.”

“Then we’re staying right here. I won’t take the chance of losing you. Mac and the captain will be here any minute.” He wrapped his arms around Bryan and they held each other until the crackling noise on the drive indicated the others had arrived. When SWAT team members began creeping forward, Dix handed Bryan off to one of them. “This is the girl’s father. He needs to stay back. Far back.”

“Roger, sir.” The agent took Bryan by the arm and led him away.

Bryan locked gazed with Dix. “Love you,” he mouthed.

Dix nodded and put on the bullet-proof vest that Mac handed him. “Seen anything?”

“Nope. I’ve been busy trying to keep Bryan from killing the ass-wipe.”

“I pray to God she’s okay,” Mac muttered, securing his vest.

“I’ve been doing a lot of that myself. I just hope we’re not too late. It’d kill me to know we’ve been out here waiting when we should have gone in.”

Alvarez, Peyton and Evans moved in behind them. “You had orders not to go in without backup,” the captain said. “You did the right thing, Dix. Now let’s go. SWAT team is in place.”

They surrounded the cabin with Dix and Mac on either side of the front door. Dix counted and nodded. “Three, two, one. Now!” He battered the door and it cracked and broke open. “KCPD! Freeze!”

Sami, clothing torn, was tied to a straight back chair. Her face was bruised and she looked like she’d been beaten. But she was alive.

Galen stood in front of them, a .38 Special gun in his hand.

“Drop it, Galen,” Dix ordered. “We’ve got you surrounded. We’ve got your DNA. This is over.”

He didn’t speak, just slowly raised his weapon.

“Death by cop,” Mac whispered.

“I said
drop it!”
Dix yelled. He saw what his partner did. A suspect who couldn’t escape often made a threatening move so the police had no choice but to shoot him. He
did not
want to be the one to shoot Bryan’s cousin. “Galen, don’t be fucking stupid. This is over.”

Dix saw resignation in the man’s eyes. “Yeah, it is.” He lowered his arm then just as quickly, raised it again and shot himself through the mouth. Blood sprayed out the back of his head and his body slumped to the ground.

Sami screamed.

Dix and Mac winced. “Damn it,” Mac swore, moving to kick the gun away from the suspect, just in case.

Dix grimaced. Mac needn’t have bothered. He hurried to Sami’s side, knelt and began untying her. “Hey, princess. Good to see you. Just so you know, this would be a great time to hit your dad up for a new car or something. He’s right outside. Think big.”

She grinned through her tears, and when her hands were free, she flew into his arms. “I knew you’d find me. I kept telling myself that, the whole time he was…”

Dix groaned. “God, baby, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry this happened to you.”

“I’ll be okay.” She nodded, wiping her filthy face. “Galen was whacked out, though. Honestly, I think he figured it would end this way. I don’t see how it could have gone in any other direction, given the things he did.” She looked in Dix’s eyes. “He
told me
about all of it, in detail.”

A shiver ran down his spine. “I’m sorry. That had to be terrible.” They’d need to get Sami some therapy when all was said and done.

“Did he tell you why?” Mac asked over Dix’s shoulder.

“Something about my dad having everything, and him having nothing. I didn’t understand all of it. He was drinking pretty heavily, and taking some kind of pills.”

“Never a good mix.” Dix shook his head. “Stupid son of a bitch. Your dad did everything he could to help him.”

Mac said, “Some people just need to blame others for the shitty way their lives turned out.”

Dix accepted a blanket from someone behind him. He helped Sami stand and wrapped the blanket around her. He nearly wept when he spotted the burn mark on the upper edge of her cleavage. “Damn it, no.”

She smiled sadly. “Cured me of the smoking habit. I’ll never touch another cigarette.” She glanced at the pack on the table next to her.

Dix looked down. Camel Non-Filters. “Sick bastard.” He put an arm around her. “Can you walk?”

“Yeah. I just want to go home.”

“Sorry, babe. You’ve earned a trip to the hospital first. I expect they’ll want to keep you overnight. Then we’re going to have a ton of questions for you. It won’t be easy, and it doesn’t have to be me. If you’d prefer to talk to a female detective, I’d understand.”

She clutched his arm. “I’d rather talk to you. I trust you. For some reason, I have since we met.”

Glancing at her, he cocked his head. “Did you have a premonition that something might happen? What you said to me the other night…it was strange.”

“I don’t know. I felt something in my gut. I can’t explain it.”

“Maybe you oughta be a cop.”

“Nah. I’ll leave that to you. You’re the best.”

He smiled. “Thanks, kid. And just so you know, while anything you tell me is confidential, it might be tricky keeping things from your father. You see, I love him. And he loves me.”

“I know. I could have told you that a week ago. And no, we won’t be keeping anything from my dad.” She tightened her grip. “Not from either of my dads. I want you both to know what happened, so you can help me get over it.”

He kissed her temple. “That’s a promise.”

They walked out of the cabin and Dix saw Bryan standing back with some SWAT team agents. When he spotted them, relief flooded his face. He broke into a grin and began running.


The grand opening of
Buono Mangia
was a roaring success. It had taken nine months to pull it together, and Bryan lovingly compared it to birthing a baby. Once the Last Call Bar and Grille had sold, Dix had come up with the other half of the capital, and they’d found the perfect building in a bright, downtown location. Kayla had convinced the chef at La Maison to come work for them and continue training her. He was so much in love with her, he’d have done anything she asked. But what he’d
admitted to
was excitement at the new opportunity.

Sami had assumed the role of assistant manager under her father, who eventually hoped to retire and leave the place to his kids. Adam had taken to bartending with great aplomb, and they all agreed he was perfect for the job.

“Thank you, everyone.” Bryan raised his glass of champagne in a toast. His family and close friends who surrounded him did the same. “You all know, this past year has been one of ups and downs for us. There were some awful low points, but also some very bright spots.” He smiled at Dix, standing next to him.

Dix raised his glass and nodded.

Bryan continued, “My family and I believe that
Buono Mangia
, or Good Eats, is the start of something exciting for all of us. We appreciate your being here to begin this journey with us. To all of you we wish—let’s see if I can get this right. Excuse my Italian!
Vivi bene, ridi spesso, ama molto e mangia italiano.”

Dix grinned. “That means live well, laugh often, love much and eat Italian.”

Everyone cheered and drank their champagne.

Bryan took a sip, then slipped an arm around Dix and kissed his cheek. He whispered, “I intend to love you as much as I can, handsome. Well and often.”

“You already do, stud. If it gets any better than this, I might collapse from exhaustion.”

“Keep that in mind when we get home to the townhouse. I think a soak in the whirlpool might be in order.”

They smiled at each other then separated when guests filtered up to speak with them.

“So…” Mac glanced around the place. “With a cushy berth like this, I can’t see why you’d want to keep your day job.”

Dix chuckled. “What would I be, the janitor? No thanks. I like my ‘protect and serve’ gig. I’ll come here for dinner at night. And I hope you and Cecile will join me as often as possible.”

BOOK: Dixon's Duty
2.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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