HIS Choice: An H.I.S. Novel (H.I.S. series Book 2)

BOOK: HIS Choice: An H.I.S. Novel (H.I.S. series Book 2)
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HIS CHOICE
An H.I.S. Novel
Sheila Kell

HIS Choice
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Cover design, editing, and formatting by AuthorsDesigns

 

Copyright © 2015 by Sheila Kell

All rights reserved.

 

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

 

ISBN 978-0-9909165-3-6

To my sister, Valerie Hollis Habeeb

You’re always there to support me, pick me up and laugh with me.

I love you, sis

Table of Contents
C
HAPTE
R ONE

“Who the fuck are you?” The tall man’s bellow carried with the frigid, early evening wind. Dark brown eyes, the color of the fattening chocolate bar she’d scarfed down for lunch, glared
at her.

If looks could kill, she’d have been dead too many times to count.

Adrenaline rushed through her, charging every nerve ending. Flashing a press card in front of his reddening face, she shouted over the sound of the music blaring from the passing car, “Megan Rogers,
Baltimore
News First
.”

Transforming before her eyes, Baltimore City Councilman Richard Thomas squared his narrow shoulders and the corners of his mouth curved into his photogenic smile. “No comment,” he stated into the recorder she held
before him.

The need to break his politician’s façade burned deep inside her. She loathed him, and his actions tonight deepened her disgust. She’d caught him red-handed making an exchange with a known dealer. And she had the photos to
prove it.

Front page, above the fold, here
I come.

“Did you just buy drugs from an alleged Magic Shop drug dealer?” she
asked bluntly.

The councilman’s hard eyes narrowed into tiny slits, sending the wrong type of shiver coursing through
her body.

He pointed a long, slender finger at her chest, shaking it with each word. “Look here. I don’t know what you think you saw, but I did not purchase drugs. I had best not see this false accusation in the newspaper,” he
angrily demanded.

He was right that she couldn’t prove he’d purchased drugs. She could print the photo and let the public draw
their conclusions.

Her ice-cold lips slowly broke into a half-smile, but her heart raced when his six-three frame stepped closer. He towered over her in what she suspected was an attempt to intimidate her. She’d seen much worse in her line of work, but that didn’t mean she didn’t worry about the volatility of the person she was interviewing, especially when she caught them committing
a crime.

Her gut told her he’d been doing something illegal. She’d followed this particular dealer, in the bitter cold for days, photographing his exchanges, hoping he’d lead her to his boss. Someone higher in Baltimore’s largest drug ring, Magic Shop, must know where her brother Kevin had been taken, even if he’d died at their hands. She swallowed down the pain and fury at the thought of her brother, and centered her thoughts on
the councilman.

“Then what are you doing in Washington Village speaking with Keyshawn, a dealer in Magic Shop at this time of day? It’s not like there’s a council meeting out here. I’d think you’d avoid this area considering you once called it, and I quote, “The Sludge
of Baltimore.”

The councilman dropped his hand, took a step back and cleared his throat. “I like to visit all areas of our fine city to help me make
better decisions.”

She caught herself before she rolled her eyes. Typical political
BS answer.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me.” He turned and
walked away.

The euphoria of breaking a big story surged through her veins. She fought her instinct to chase after him. She wouldn’t get anything useful from him tonight. He’d have a great deal to say tomorrow when the paper published
her story.

Megan’s face now carried a
full smile.

An exclusive of this magnitude would please her editor, no, make her ecstatic. This scoop would allow her boss to stretch the deadline for it to appear in the morning edition. But, Megan needed to get to the
newsroom soon.

She preferred to speak with Keyshawn first. She turned to find him no longer standing where he’d been. No! She needed him. He was
her key.

After Kevin disappeared, she’d immersed herself in his investigation of Magic Shop. If his disappearance was at their hand, she knew she’d never see him again. That didn’t settle well
with her.

Unmasking the Magician, the Magic Shop’s mysterious leader, had been her brother’s goal and now it was hers. It’d take time but she’d do it. She would find out what had happened to her brother, and break the big story he’d worked so hard to bring
to light.

She closed her eyes against the tears forming. The past few months had been pure torture. Her brother’s investigation notes were nowhere to be found. She had located the names of his sources, but they’d refused to speak with her for fear of reprisal from the Magician. They believed that he’d done away with Kevin, and they valued their lives too much to continue speaking to the press,
even anonymously.

Starting from square one, it’d taken her most of the last month to earn trust from her new sources. Unfortunately, neither of them were in the gang. She wasn’t sure how they got it, but Raven and Tyrone provided her with excellent inside information. That was how she had found and followed Keyshawn, the dealer who brought in the
most money.

She placed her phone in her inside coat pocket and zipped it. It had to be safeguarded. It held her photos, recordings, and notes on her stories. That reminded her to back up the information tonight. She really should set herself up on
the cloud.

Knowing she’d finally have to put Keyshawn’s photo in print, her days of trailing him, hoping he’d lead her to his boss Jimmy, were over. Since she had no idea what the man looked like or where to find him, she’d have to introduce herself to the dealer and hope he cooperated. Finding his boss would take her one step closer to finding her brother or his killer and expose the
drug ring.

Throughout her time in the neighborhood, she noticed Keyshawn had quite the rapport with the local kids. She found it strange they all carried the same, small, drawstring bag. But after she witnessed their sly swap with the dealer, she knew she’d found out how he resupplied. The children were called runners, aptly named because she had tried to follow one and he’d lost her. She decided to add more cardio to
her workouts.

Megan couldn’t imagine money would be in the bags since children ran them. Keyshawn would have to go to his boss and turn in his profits soon. Maybe she’d missed an exchange, not realizing it was that versus a
drug buy.

Tonight would be the night of her big break in exposing the leaders in this criminal organization. The night she hoped to find a lead to
her brother.

She sighed. If it’d been easy, the organization would have been destroyed long before. Vengeance was a powerful motivator though. She wouldn’t
give up.

The beginning of dusk and deserted streets greeted her. As one of the most dangerous streets in Baltimore, no one willingly allowed themselves to get caught on Johnson Street at night, unless they were dealers
or buyers.

She rubbed her gloved hands up and down the sleeves of her black, leather jacket. But, it didn’t help. Goose bumps still formed. Just standing here was not wise. She had to get moving. Though she’d worn a purple hat, scarf and gloves, the gang’s colors, to keep from standing out, it was
not safe.

After checking the time on her Hello Kitty watch, dang Kevin and his sense of humor, she calculated how much time before she’d need to leave. Forty-five minutes should be enough time to track
down Keyshawn.

She jammed her hands in her pockets and turned in the direction he’d fled. Her destination was where he’d ended the previous day. Could she confront him around so many people? She’d have to play it by ear, preferring not to
get shot.

Rushing down the sidewalk, Megan barely managed to remove her hands from her pockets in time to wind-mill her arms and regain her balance on the ice, before she landed on her backside. Her heartbeat raced. She needed to watch her step. No one tossed salt on the sidewalks in front of the abandoned buildings on
this block.

She stepped off more carefully. Walking the familiar streets, her mind wandered. A different exchange she’d witnessed earlier in the day, pushed its way to the forefront of
her mind.

Two men she thought were city policemen accepted an envelope from a big, burly man she suspected was in Magic Shop. That man had scared her. He looked hard, angry and dangerous. She hadn’t found the courage to follow him, though now she wished she’
d tried.

From the respect shown by the two men, he had to be important. Maybe he was Jimmy, or another boss? Could he be the Magician? She’d photographed them and would show the photos to her sources tomorrow. Someone had to have
his name.

Reviewing ideas of how she might approach that story, she didn’t pay attention as she turned
a corner.

“Oomph.” She’d run into
a wall.

The wall stepped back and a hand shot to a shoulder holstered gun.

A sense of danger prickled the hair on her arms, and her scream lodged in
her throat.

Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. Why had I let my mind drift, ignoring
my safety?

Once she regained her composure, she gazed up and her heart skipped a beat. The sexiest man she’d ever seen stood before her. His tight, unshaven jaw and dark, brooding look only enhanced his appeal. She slowly turned to the short, mocha skinned, well-built man beside him. He also held his hand on a holstered gun. Could this get
any worse?

“Bitch, what the fuck are you doing here? Ain’t no
dealers here.”

Her throat constricted. She couldn’t speak to the short man, couldn’t answer him. Her heart beat rapidly, seeking its escape from her chest. The blatantly hostile look displayed on his face spelled
big trouble.

Panic clawed at her. Her instincts demanded she run, but her limbs betrayed her. The dream where she was unable to scream or move had become
a reality.

She turned back to the tall, sexy man. Her legs weakened as his gaze raked boldly over her body. His face remained impassive, but his eyes burned with desire. The tingling in the pit of her stomach surprised her. She gulped. Now was not the time to lust after
a man.

Megan couldn’t take her eyes off him, her wall, even after his golden-brown eyes turned cold, hard as stone. His look rattled her, frightened her. Why shouldn’t it? He was a man with a gun out in the slums late at night and looked ready to
murder someone.

He stared at her but remained quiet, leaving the conversation to his
scary friend.

“Get the fuck off the street before I
make you.”

She turned back to the short man. She swallowed, attempting to find her voice. “I’m…I’m on my way home.” Her breathless response betrayed
her fear.

She couldn’t resist looking back at the taller man once more before leaving. She searched his eyes hoping something would break through the glacial stare. She was searching for something to make her feel safe. She shivered, apparently that would not happen. Why had she even thought that could be
a possibility?

He stepped around her and
walked away.

Hmm, they were not wearing purple. The cold, purposeful way they moved into the night screamed for her to follow, but they walked in the opposite direction of where she’d hoped to
find Keyshawn.

Observing the straightening of shoulders and respectful nods to the two men from the few people they passed, her investigative instincts fired to life. They must be important. The two men turned a corner before she moved her feet to follow. She hugged the walls on the opposite side of the street hoping to blend into the shadows. Her journalistic curiosity drove her. If they were important, she needed to know where they were headed. They could lead her to a boss or maybe even
to Kevin.

She furrowed her brow and froze. The image of their guns popped back into her mind. Maybe they carried them only for protection like many others. Heck, she carried one in her purse. Her intuition told her that she might be wrong this time, but finding her brother trumped
everything else.

The naked desire she’d witnessed flash through the man’s eyes stayed with her. Instead of repulsing her, it roused her curiosity….and her intrigue, which was a dangerous combination since she had no idea who he was and knew nothing
about him.

But she couldn’t put it
completely aside.

She almost called it a day when they stopped. Slipping into the alley across the street, she watched one of the men knock on a door before she hid
from view.

Muffled voices carried with the wind toward her. Antsy, she chanced it and peeked around the corner as Keyshawn appeared at
the door.

Yes! She smiled, excited that luck had followed her. She’d have missed him if she’d traveled in the direction she’
d planned.

One of the men grabbed Keyshawn’s bicep then pulled him down the stairs. She pressed back against the wall as they shoved him down the street. Her heart pounded loudly in her ears. Her pulse raced. What would she do if they crossed the street
toward her?

Megan released the breath she hadn’t realized she held captive when they stepped in the alley across from her hiding spot. Her senses heightened. Nothing good could come from a meeting in
an alley.

Her brick wall of a man stepped to the entrance of the alley, turned to the street and crossed his arms across his broad chest in a don’t-mess-with-
me pose.

She immediately understood why when the man who’d accompanied him punched Keyshawn in
the stomach.

Nooo! He’s a criminal. He can’t be. I can’t lust after
a criminal.

Great. Once again she desired the wrong man. First that snake of an ex-fiancé and now this criminal. He took bad boy to a whole
new level.

BOOK: HIS Choice: An H.I.S. Novel (H.I.S. series Book 2)
5.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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