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Red Handed

By:Shelly Bell Chapter One

Red Handed - Shelly Bell
Chapter One


With the loaded Glock in his hand, he leaned on the doorframe and watched her sleep.

So innocent.

So pure.

He doubted her ability to carry out this mission, but they had no choice.

In a room decorated with framed Degas prints, Danielle Walker lay on her king-sized sleigh bed, tangled in her silk sheets. Her window was open, paving the way for the moonlight to illuminate her creamy skin and the desert breeze to caress her flesh.

His fingers itched to do the same.

She wasn’t his normal type. He preferred his whores thin, blonde, and tan like the California girls he’d heard sung about on the radio as a child. Although Danielle had lost weight this past year, she was still soft and curvy. He’d studied each and every photograph his man had taken of her over the last few months, especially the ones of her sunbathing naked by the pool in her backyard. He wanted her, and damned if he would allow anyone to stop him from having her.

A sigh passed her plump lips, and she rubbed her thighs together as if inviting him to her bed.

He checked his watch and peered down the hall.

Perhaps he had time to accept her invitation.

He crossed the room and settled on the edge of her mattress, inhaling the faint scent of lilacs. His dick hardened as he traced her raven hairline with the muzzle of his gun. She stirred and licked her lips before opening her sleepy brown eyes.

It only took a moment for those eyes to widen into terror.

Before she could scream, he covered her mouth with his gloved hand and waved the gun in front of her beautifully frightened face.

Not that it mattered if she did scream. No one would help her.

“Stay quiet, Danielle, and I promise no harm will come to you.” The whispered lie spilled effortlessly from his lips.

True, no harm would befall her tonight, but the countdown to the end of her life had begun years ago.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

She nodded as she stared at his masked face, no doubt trying to identify him. Between the mask, dark paint covering the skin underneath, and colored lenses, he could be her father come back from the dead for all she could discern. He leaned closer, trailing his gun down the length of her neck.

The echoing boom of a gunshot fired down the hall pierced the silence of Danielle’s room. She startled, her body convulsing in fear and tears spilling down her face. She shouted beneath his gloved hand.

Damn it, he’d lost his chance.

Oh well. He’d take her after she finished her assignment—after she became just another whore . . .

Right before he killed her. His associates had ordered an efficient execution-style gunshot to the head, but after they got what they wanted, did it matter if he tortured her a bit before he ended her life? How could he resist such a sweet temptation?

“Stop yelling or next time my men will shoot your stepmother. That was merely a warning to let her know we mean business.” When she quieted, he removed the hand from her mouth and patted her cheek, his gaze trained on her cleavage and the Tiffany sterling silver heart key locket that she always wore around her neck. “I’ll prove to you she’s alive and well. Come with me to her bedroom.”

After slipping his gun into the holster at his waist, he grabbed her hand and pulled her out of bed. Thankfully, she allowed him to lead her down the hall to Tasha’s room. He couldn’t afford to bruise her. Yet.

The scene came into view. His three men had done their job. Bound and gagged, Tasha lay on the carpet, helpless in a shimmering silver peignoir set, a rivulet of blood trickling from the corner of her mouth.

On a sob, Danielle bolted for her stepmother. He stopped her at the entryway of the bedroom and gripped her by the shoulders, forcing her to stay in place.

“Now be a good girl and listen. There’s something I want, and only you can get it for me. Until you do, I’m taking Tasha as collateral.” He slid his hand into the pocket of his black leather jacket and pulled out the papers. “This is a plane ticket and your instructions. By your home’s front door, you’ll find a suitcase packed with everything you’ll need.” He checked his watch and nodded to his men. The strongest of them scooped Tasha off the floor and hoisted her over his shoulder as if she were a sack of potatoes.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

“I don’t understand,” Danielle whispered. “Why me?”

He spun her around and yanked her down the hall back to her bedroom. “The only thing you need to understand is Tasha will die if you fail. And don’t even think about calling the police.” He pushed her on the bed. “If you breathe a word of this to anyone, I’ll not only kill her, I’ll torture her first.”

Taking Tasha with them, his men strode down the hall and down the staircase.