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Detained: Chapter 5

ZARA

I pull my jacket tighter as the cold air hits me. It’s only eight am, so I drive to Frankie’s house and park across the street. Reclining my seat, I blast the hot air and fight to keep my eyes open. With Dad being away, I’ve stepped in and helped Mom out. Every day is watching her fade away. She can barely walk five steps without getting out a breath. I swallow down the lump in my throat, as tears sting in my eyes.

Instead of dwelling on that, I focus on what I’m here to do. Despite my dad’s angry call in the middle of the night, I’m still here. I might have promised I’d stop, I just can’t. I know Frankie is hiding something. They all are.

His Porsche is parked in his driveway. The house is gigantic, a mansion even, with ivory covering the brickwork and black framed windows. An absolute dream. I tap my nails against the seat belt buckle and turn up the radio, slipping on my black Prada sunglasses. Even if they are oversized, I have no doubt Frankie would spot me a mile away. I don’t think my father realizes just how clever this man is.

I sit up and lean against the steering wheel as his front door opens. My heart hammers as two stunning blonde women appear, stepping out onto the porch. They’re followed by the man himself, his bare chest rippling in the morning sun. Oh my God. Even from here, I can see how perfectly built he is. Of course he is.

He grabs one of them by the back of the head and kisses her. I try to tear my eyes away, but I can’t. The blush is evident on her face from here, almost matching the heat on my own cheeks. He forcefully slaps her ass in her tight red dress and turns his attention to hoe number two, who gets the same service.

When his dark gaze connects to me, my heart almost thuds out of my chest.

Shit.

I should be worried he’s caught me. Again. Actually, what I’m more concerned about is I think that was a performance to get at me. The asshole knows he can get under my skin.

It only makes me despise him more.

He closes the door and I grab my phone, snapping pictures of the girls as they get in the car outside and note the plates to run when I’m back in the office.

It’s half an hour before he finally makes his reappearance. I’m taken aback when I see him in a pair of gray sweatpants and a black hoodie. I’ve only ever seen him in his designer suits. He rolls up his sleeves, revealing his tattoos scaling up his right forearm.

Shit.

He breaks out into a jog, not even looking my way, and heads off down the road.

Shit. Shit. Shit. I wish I wore sensible shoes today.

I follow behind, keeping him far enough where I can just about have him in my vision as he jogs along the sidewalk. He takes a left; I quicken my steps to get him back in sight. The cold air creates a billow of fog with each breath.

“Fuck,” I mutter as I round the corner. He’s not there.

I do the best I can in my two-inch heels. Where the hell has he gone?

My pace slows, the bottoms of my feet are on fire. Reluctantly, I turn around and start to make my way back. A rustling sound comes from my left. As I spin, I meet a pair of piercing gray eyes that I’m starting to know too well. Before I open my mouth to scream, his hand clamps down over my lips and he yanks me down the alleyway, making my back crash against the brick wall.

A cool blade presses into the side of my neck.

“What did I say would happen if we crossed paths again, detective?” His tone drips with danger.

I can’t speak, his palm restricts my air.

“If I remove my hand, do you promise to be a good girl and not scream?”

I nod weakly, letting him think he’s won. It’s a struggle to ignore the fact his words have me hot under his touch.

He peels back his hand and presses the knife harder against my skin. My breathing becomes heavy. Concentrate Zara.

It takes all of my willpower to make sure I speak even and calmly. “Screaming would mean I need help. I know you won’t kill me. Not here, anyway.”

Is that a flicker of a smile that is teasing up the corner of his mouth? “Hmmm, is that so?”

I close my eyes as he trails the edge to the center of my neck, then painfully slowly down the front of my chest.

He’s consuming my space, his face just inches from mine.

“Zara, Zara, Zara. What am I going to do with you?” His eyes focus on my lips.

“Let me go, Frankie.” My breath hitches as the knife brushes against my shirt over my stomach.

“Why would I let my stalker get away so lightly?” He grips my chin and turns my face left and right. I don’t know what to say. Why is my heart racing? The thrill of his body wedged against mine feels better than I expected.

He can’t ever know that.

“Get the fuck off me.” I hate that I want the opposite. For him to push harder.

His nostrils flare as he looks me up and down before he chuckles. “Are you going to make me, dolcezza?”

What the hell is dolcezza, and why does it sound so damn hot coming from his deep voice? That line of thought has to stop. I need my brain to start working.

Sliding my hand down my side, I reach for the flip knife in my pocket and bring it up to his throat. I press a little too hard and droplets of blood start to drip down his neck. He doesn’t flinch, but grabs my wrist and squeezes until the blade falls from my grip. Pushing my back against the bricks with a thud, one of his muscular legs wedges between my thighs.

“Don’t fight me, detective. It will only make me harder for you. And that’s the last thing either of us needs.”

I gawp at him, fighting for air as his hand laces around my throat. He squeezes and leans in.

“Now, whatever this little mission of yours is, it needs to end. Maybe look a little closer to home for the real enemy, Zara. You never know what monsters are lurking in plain sight.”

I swallow against his palm.

What the fuck does he mean?

“You’re the only monster here,” I croak out.

That earns me a full bellied laugh. “I didn’t have you down as naïve. I thought you were smart, relentless with a disregard for personal safety. It seems I was wrong.”

He releases his hold and my body sags. I rub my neck and he wipes the droplets from his. Staring at the crimson stain on his fingers, his eyes narrow, then lock with mine.

“Open your mouth,” he demands.

I look up at him through my lashes. He cannot be serious.

He raises his eyebrow.

“No.” My voice shakes as I speak. I can barely hear it through the pulse pounding in my ears.

“Have it your way.” He shrugs and grips my chin and pries my lips open, slipping in his finger to the back of my mouth. The metallic twang of blood sours on my tongue, his eyes glint with hunger.

“I’ll see you around, detective,” he rasps. The way it rolls out of him with a deep Italian accent does something to me. He slips out his finger, still tightly holding my jaw. His mouth is just a breath away from mine. I’m fighting between the urge to headbutt him or kiss him, giving him back his blood from my mouth.

He gives me one last smug grin and backs away from me. Breaking into a jog, he veers out of the alleyway. Leaving me up against the wall, my body is tingling and the taste of him lingers on my tongue.

A new fire is set within me to take this asshole down.


“Hey, Alex. Can I talk to you for a second?” I ask as he pours himself a coffee in the break room.

His spoon clinks against the edge of his cup as he glances up. “Yeah, sure. Fire away.”

“So, I’m working a case and the guy keeps going to this address.” I lie. I spent the afternoon following Frankie around. First to King’s Gym, then to Grayson’s house and lastly, he met Jax on his bike outside this shady looking black building. I watched him swipe a key card to get in. I know there’s something important behind that door.

So, I stayed for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. It was either stunning women in hardly a shred of clothing or suited men.

I’ve got my bets it’s a strip club, and what mafia organization doesn’t have one of those?

I pull up the address on my phone and the picture of the entrance. Alex’s brows bunch together and then his eyes go wide. Bingo.

“Oh, umm. I’m not sure that is the kind of place you want to be standing around, Zara.”

I tilt my head, and he chuckles.

“Why? What is it?”

The look on Alex’s face indicates something else is behind that boring black door.

“It’s a sex club, Zara.”

“Oh.” My heart rate starts to pick up. The last place I want to bump into Frankie is in one of those, knowing the effect that man can have over me. It would be the place he least expects me and somewhere I have no doubts he would be too busy to even notice me.

It would be the perfect opportunity for me to plant a wire.

“It’s run by the mafia. I would try to avoid that as much as possible. If you need to, I can send in a team, just send me the details of the case?” He eyes me suspiciously.

“No, no. It’s fine. I’ll keep digging. I’m not sure I’d find my answers there, anyway.”

He gives me a curt nod, turning his attention back to his coffee, while I stand here trying to ignore the heat spreading on my cheeks. That isn’t happening. I open my mouth to keep pressing, and quickly stop myself remembering how he hid evidence for Frankie. I can’t trust him or my father at this stage.

It’s perfect timing for Dad to be away.

“Thanks Alex.” I shove my phone in my pocket and head straight to my desk.

If I’m going to do it, it has to be tonight. I just have to work out how the hell I’m going to get myself in to do some real detective work.


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