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Authors: Capri Montgomery

Red Noon (6 page)

BOOK: Red Noon
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He let his fingers gently brush over her soft, silky black hair. In the pictures she had worn it down in one and he could see that it fell just at bra band length. The other picture showed the Indian in her with the two braids filled with feathers and her body adorned in Indian garb. He would feel a hell of a lot of guilt for getting excited at the look of her if it hadn’t had twenty-first birthday written at the bottom of the picture. She looked young in all her pictures and he was starting to worry that maybe he had started to lust after a young girl with one look at that one. One of the other memorable pictures was the one with her hair up in an elaborate up-do made for a wedding and he hoped to God when he saw it that it wasn’t her wedding all decked out in ceremonial garb. Thankfully he found out she was single, never married.

He chuckled to himself as he thought of how many pictures Kit Mason had brought to the briefing. Would seem that Takahiro was not the only man forming lustful thoughts about this woman.

“We really only need one, Kit.” Dallas Blakely narrowed her steely green eyes and brushed one hand through her short cut black hair. She took the photos from him and handed them to the Captain.

This woman’s hair was black, but it reminded him of a raven. Her eyes and skin color just amplified her beauty a thousand times more. The bruises on the outside of her would heal, but the ones on the inside wouldn’t heal so easily. In reality, some of those might not heal at all. He could imagine she wouldn’t be able to walk out the house for a long time, if ever, without worrying if somebody was going to come up and grab her.

Chapter Four

“W
ell it’s a happy ending...”

“Almost,” the co-anchor interrupted.

“Yeah, almost,” the ebony soft spoken woman said. “As you all know, because we have been covering this all day, interrupting programs to bring you news of the rescue of Sheila Brackett. People across the world are offering up their prayers and sending well wishes her way.”

Dick sat there angry. Yeah, they had got her back. Mission failed and that sucked, but the fact that his brother got murdered infuriated him more than a failed mission.

“Right now the other attacker is at large but federal agents say he’s probably moved on. I do hope they’ll keep a unit driving by her house just in case.”

“I know, Tiffany. We’re all praying for her. But what wowed me the most was that rescue. SWAT was on fire.”

“Yeah they were. In and out with no injuries to the good guys.”

Dick crushed the empty beer can in his hand. He didn’t care about the police. He cared that his brother got killed, but everybody from news stations to the Internet seemed happy about that.

“I was more amazed how they kind put up this wall of humans to block the shots of her when they brought her out. I mean, bad for us but I’m kind of glad they protected her like that.”

“Oh that’s going to get you in trouble,” the near spiked brown haired man said. “But it was cool how they built a human shield for her. At least that’s what one of our experts said it was. It’s like bigger than what he’s seen before though seeing as though everybody got involved in it. Wow!” He smiled as if that was a good thing and Dick felt rage still building within him just listening to the prick talk about how great SWAT was.

“Well she’s recovering at San Tan Memorial now, but from what our anonymous source tells us she was very banged up so the injuries will take a while to heal, and of course the psychological and emotional trauma…well, it’s going to take a while.”

“That it will,” he said as he shifted some papers around. “The Governor did a great job of getting everybody involved on the hunt for this man, as did the Mayor of Scottsdale and even some other major players in the state game of politics. It was nice to see them come out and help on this. Definitely worth another term in office given their concern for the citizens of Arizona.”

“True.” She agreed and then they started rattling off more information and showing more of the rescue while Dick felt anger nearly consuming his body.

“I’m sorry about your brother, Dick. I didn’t know it would come to this.”

Dick looked at Ike. The man had put him up in the smaller ranch style home he still owned up in Cave Creek. He had a good six acres of land and some privacy since the people next to him had an orange orchard so Ike figured he could hang out there without being seen. Of course he couldn’t stay with him because if he didn’t show up at work things were going to look worse for both of them.

“They don’t know the second guy was you.”

“I know. They’re not the sharpest tools in the shed, but they’re not that dumb either. They’ll put it together. It might take a while, but they’ll come for me. I hope they bring the bastards that killed my brother so I can take them out with me.”

Ike leaned forward, resting his elbows on his thighs. “I have money. I’ll get you out of the country for a while.”

Dick shook his head. “Not until we finish this.”

“Are you saying you still want to help me?”

“More now than before. If it weren’t for her my brother wouldn’t be dead.” He opened yet another beer, his fourth for the night already. “She must have done something to make him angry. The blood on the shirt stashed in the rug is what tipped them off. Stupid of my brother to wrap it in there but given the fact that it was garbage day he couldn’t have known one of those trash stalker idiots would pick up the rug. Nah, it’s all her fault. She did something to make him mad and he just couldn’t think straight.”

“Sounds like he worked her over real good,” Ike sat back and hiked his ankle to his knee. The khaki black pants and the clean pressed white cotton shirt made him look like a regular office workman, but something in his eyes tonight spoke higher volumes of his true self.

“Yeah, but not good enough.” He took a swig of his beer. “When you’re done with her I’m going to spend a couple days breaking her apart bone by bone.”

Ike nodded. “You are good at that. Singapore,” he looked at him and gave him a raised eyebrow of respect. “I had never seen a woman trashed like that before. Man you are good. I envy you that in a lot of ways.”

“You covered for us. You helped me get her body hidden enough to get us out of there. They didn’t find it for over a year after we were gone. By then the body was just bones. They’ll be looking in their own backyard forever.”

Ike laughed. “Yep. But you still did a job on her that I wish I could have been there to see.”

“Then watch it when I do it to this one. Maybe I’ll teach you something.”

“Oh yeah,” Ike laughed hard. “Man, we should do it together—her and the others to come after her…but I’ll give you her since she got your brother killed.”

That was his best friend, his brother in arms and brother in crime too. Yeah, they would make a great team, but this Sheila woman was all his. Once Ike got what he wanted out of her body he was going to have fun breaking her body up. Ike could watch, but not touch. This one was his.

“Team Red,” he said. “You and me, Dick. We can be Team Red. That’s why the Army couldn’t handle us—we’re too good for them.”

“Hell yeah,” Dick agreed with a solute of the beer can. “We need a signature to make them scared as night.”

“Other than breaking bones with a world class lethal beat down?”

“Yeah…something these media fools can run the ground with.”

He saw the wheels turning in Ike’s head. When his lips tipped upward Dick knew the man had it.

“We finish off the kill and leave a watch stopped on noon. Of course we have to make sure they don’t think it’s stopped at midnight, but we can work that out.”

Dick chugged the rest of his beer, completely satisfied now that they had a plan. He was satisfied that they were going to remain a team and since they would be working together there wouldn’t be any sending him out of the country. That was good for him because he didn’t just want her; he wanted the SWAT team that had shot up his brother. He wanted to kill them all, but first things first—Ike’s little obsession had to go into the ground.

 

Takahiro noticed the change in her breathing and he knew she was getting ready to come out of her disruptive sleep. Twice during the night she had nearly wailed from the nightmares she was having. A warm hand on her hand seemed to calm her back into some type of rest. He had taken a quick shower in the room they had moved them too and did the work he needed to via his laptop. He had even managed to get it submitted. So now he could put away the work and sleep, was what he had thought, but he hadn’t slept much. A few fifteen minute naps was all he could have. Between her restless sleep and his visions of her chained and beaten he just couldn’t close his eyes and get that image out of his head. If it bothered him that much just seeing it he knew her nights were going to be torment for a long time to come.

“Hmmm, her voice sounded pained and scared. He put his hand back over hers.

“It’s okay now,” he assured her as her eyes fluttered open and stark terror turned to a softer acknowledgement of safety. “’Morning,” he smiled at her but she was not yet able to return the smile. “Your bosses had you moved to a private room.” He left the lights as low as they were while she slept as to not cause discomfort on her eyes. “Peach walls,” he said. “Mahogany wood boarders, a soft king sized hospital bed with what looks like some expensive white cotton sheets and gorgeous peaceful blue comforter. Comfort is what your bosses wanted you to have so they demanded to have you moved.”

Her eyes closed and then opened softly. Would she speak again to him or remain silent? “It has a shower so I’ll help you get over to it when you’re ready. The nurses gave you a sponge bath before putting you in this bed. I promise I tried not to look.” He cracked a smile trying to get one out of her too but she didn’t smile. Her eyes just seemed to peer at him. Never once did she look at her surroundings. She looked like a lost kid trying to make sense out of the world around her.

“They even have a couch in here. Now this is more hotel to me than hospital—except for all this monitoring gizmo stuff,” he laughed again yet she didn’t. Her eyes did finally leave his face and look over in the direction he had pointed for the navy blue velvet tufted couch before looking back at him. Her eyes drifted down to the chair and then back up to his face.

“You slept there,” she spoke softly but he knew it wasn’t a question.

“Yes. You had a restless sleep.” The first time he laid down it was on the couch, but the near wailing sounds coming from her fitful sleep had awakened him and he had gone to her. After that he figured being closer to her could help him calm her faster.

“Sorry,” she closed her eyes and turned her head away from him. “I thought I dreamed getting rescued and that I would wake up with him beating me again, but it wasn’t a dream. You’re really here. You should have been able to sleep in a bed, not a chair.”

“It’s not a problem. I wanted to be here for you.” She didn’t look back at him. “But if you want me to go—” He was joking but the swiftness of her hand clutching his and her eyes darting open to his told him jokes weren’t going to fly right now. She nibbled on her bottom lip and shook her head.

“Don’t go.” The softness of her voice, so innocent, so honest, broke his heart more. He wished his bullets had assaulted that demon. He wished he was the man to find the second guy. He wished he could resurrect the one and beat them both for days. And at the end of it all he wished he could burn them both into the grave.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he brushed his fingers through her hair. “The detectives will be here by eight to get a statement from you.”

She shook her head no with tears in her eyes.

“They need a statement.”

She shook her head no again. “I can’t. Please don’t make me…I can’t.”

While he hated to say it he had to. They needed the statement because it was necessary to close any file, but more importantly, they hadn’t got the other guy yet so this wasn’t over, not for her, and not for the detectives working the case. And if SWAT was needed, which he was sure it would be, his team might the team on call if it remained in their area. “We only got one of the guys.” He saw the way her face scrunched in fear and the tears that amplified with the knowledge of what that meant.

“I can’t. I can’t.” She cried.

“You have to. We have to take down the other guy.”

She sniffled. “I can’t close my eyes without seeing what he did to me. I can’t breathe without smelling the rancidness of his breath in my face. I hurt. My body feels like the skin is raw and it hurts to be here. It hurts to breathe.”

He understood the words in that last sentence. “It hurts to breath,” was almost like saying it hurts to still be alive with the memories. The hell he would walk away letting her wish she were dead.

“My men and I came in hard to get you out of that hell, Miss Brackett; don’t you dare give up on us now.” The harshness of his voice was commanding, but far softer than he gave to his guys. She bit her bottom lip, tears still in her eyes she conceded to his request with a nod of her head.

“I would like to get dressed first if I can. I don’t think a shower would be good. My skin feels so raw it really hurts.”

“I’ll get a nurse to see if they can give you another sponge bath.”

“Could you do it for me? It sounds crazy, but I feel safe with you here.”

“Um…uh…” he felt the words leave his mind. Sponge bath to a woman he found attractive before he saw her beat up and found even more attractive after he rescued her was a bad idea. He had to remain a little distant on some levels because she was coming out of hell and he couldn’t be the man she latched on to for light.

“That’s okay. I probably won’t be able to stand to look at me either. I’ll do it myself if you help me get the water set up in the sink in there.” She pointed to the bathroom.

It wasn’t that at all. He couldn’t let her think she was heinous or anything like that. “How about if I do it but I keep, what Kelly calls, your girly bits covered.”

“Is Kelly your wife?”

“I’m not married, dating, engaged or any of that. I’m single,” he said as if he was just answering her question when in reality he was doing more than that. All he had to do was say no yet he told her of his complete freedom which was a mistake because now she knew there was no reason on the books that she couldn’t latch on to him.

Takahiro went and put warm water in a bowl and brought it, the towels and the softer lemon verbena oatmeal soap bar back with him. He watched her turn over onto her stomach with a significant amount of pain in her eyes and tears that sprung out one drop at a time.

“I’ll be gentle,” he said as he pulled the sheet down to her tailbone. His jaw clinched tight as he looked at the swollen redness of some of the belt marks. Some of them were trying to go down, but she was lit up like a forest fire of red. Each bruise spoke of the torment she had sustained. This wasn’t just one beating. This was multiple attacks. A man the size of the guy they took down had enough power in one strike to cause pain but to keep hitting the same marks over and over again was a kind of torture he hadn’t seen before—and he had seen a lot of evil doing this job.

BOOK: Red Noon
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