Rules of Protection (Tangled in Texas)(10)

By: Alison Bliss

Sergio was a creep, but he didn’t deserve to die. Hell, what do I know? Maybe he did. He obviously had associations with some very bad men. No matter what, though, I didn’t deserve to have his death forever stamped into my memory.

My face heated as I swayed a little in my chair. I wanted to pass out again, but having another meltdown would only prolong the inevitable. I gained some composure before continuing and tried to keep my voice from cracking while I calmly described the rest of the events that led me to the police station.

Afterward, Stevens led me to another room to search their database. Two long and tedious hours went by before I fingered the three men from the club. The officers were ecstatic, though I had no idea why. Only person I couldn’t find in the system was Jake.

They let me take a break and issued another offer of coffee. I accepted, knowing it might be a while before they asked again. A female officer escorted me to the bathroom, then deposited me back into the interrogation room, along with a cup of strongly brewed glop. I couldn’t bring myself to try it, but the potent smell kept me awake.

Stevens excused himself, saying he needed to check on something, and left me alone. No clock on the wall. No way of telling how long he’d been gone. I knew it had been a lengthy stay when my ass fell asleep. My initial assumption about the chairs was right—they were uncomfortable.

I paced the floor for a while, then stopped to look at myself in the mirror. Holy hell. My curly blond hair resembled a raggedy bird’s nest, my makeup was streaked, and my clothes were dirty and disheveled. Even my boobs looked crooked.

Casually, I glanced behind me and saw the green light shining on the camera in the corner. They were still filming me, but being alone in an interrogation room for hours does something to your mind. Apparently, it made me lose mine. I kept my back to the camera and my body close to the mirror as I reached into my blouse and adjusted my boob.

It was a familiar problem, since one of my breasts was a large B, while the other was a small C. It wasn’t a noticeable difference, and most women have one breast that’s larger than the other. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. No explaining that to men, though. Every time I’ve tried, I always got the same response. “Un-uh! Prove it! I want to see for myself.” Even Dale, who had more interest in a man’s hacky sack than a pair of tits, said the same thing.

Men are idiots.

Tired of standing, I sat in the chair and laid my head on the table. I could barely keep my eyes open, but every time I closed them, Sergio’s face stared back at me with a blank look. I thunked my head on the smooth surface, trying to get the image out of my mind. Then the door opened and closed.

“Thank God,” I said, lifting my head. “I want to get this over with—” I stopped breathing, and the room grew eerily still.

Jake stood there looking at me, measuring me up. The butt of a gun peeked out from under the edge of his jacket. The panic that had settled in my bones from earlier resurfaced, as if Jake himself had pushed the big red button.

His lips curled into a disgustingly sarcastic smile. “Rough night?”

Instinctively, I jumped out of my chair and screamed. He hurried to round the table as I ran to the other side near the door. He stopped coming forward when I picked up a chair and held it in a throwing position.

“Don’t you dare,” he said, his face knotting with anger.

Yeah, like I was going to listen. I threw the chair, but he turned at the last second, and it caught him in the shoulder. I tried to run out the door, but didn’t make it before Jake grabbed me.

With warp speed, he shoved me against the wall, pinning me there with his body, making it hard for me to breathe. The intensity in his eyes told me he positively seethed with rage. That’s when the door flung open as Officer Stevens burst into the room. Jake let go of me and backed away slowly with his hands in the air.

“We have the whole thing on camera,” Stevens said. “Do you want to press charges?”

I looked at Stevens stupidly. “Of course I do! Arrest that sonofabitch!”

Jake and Officer Stevens traded puzzled looks before both men burst into hysterics. I’m talking the kind of laughter that can easily make you wet your pants and not care because it’s that damn funny.

“I was talking to him,” Stevens said, still chuckling.


The officer wiped his watery eyes. “Ma’am, you just assaulted a federal agent. This man here is Special Agent Jacob Ward. He works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

I glanced over at Jake. “FBI?” He grinned and cocked his eyebrow at me. “Fine. Officer Stevens, I want this agent arrested for kidnapping and assault.”

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