Tony pressed the end button on the cell phone. Braxton was making this all too easy. He had no idea that he'd just jumped into a viper's nest by coming to Tony for help in cleaning up his little mess.
“What was that about?” Sammy asked.
Tony chuckled low, deep, as he punched out a new number on the cell phone. “It seems Mr. Braxton has gotten himself into a bit of a mess.” He pressed the phone to his ear.
A puzzled frown pinched Sammy's brow. “A mess?” He asked. “What kind of mess?”
Tony simply smiled, was silent a moment then spoke into the phone as someone answered on the other end. “It's Tony. I got a clean up for you.” He glanced at Sammy again as the corner of his mouth twitched with a grin. “A clean sweep.” He listened briefly then added, “The Plaza. Top floor. Charles Braxton.”
Tony ended the call and tucked the phone back inside his jacket. He leaned back against the seat and smiled coolly. “I almost wish I was there to see his expression when he learns his own wife put a hit out on him.” Tony chuckled and shook his head slowly. “That would be priceless.”
“Technically she doesn't have the hit out on him anymore.” Sammy reminded. “She called it off.”
Tony grinned and shrug. “She didn't mean it.”
Laughing low, Sammy turned the windshield wipers down a notch as the rain eased up a bit. There was a sudden loud thump in the trunk. Sammy glanced in the rear view mirror on reflex. “Sounds like our passenger is waking up.”
“Good.” Tony spoke low, a resonating chill to his voice. “I want him awake and clear headed when he meets Jericho.”
Sammy shifted uncomfortably behind the wheel.
Tony chuckled again. “Relax, Sammy boy. We come bearing a gift. Although...” Tony looked Sammy up and down. “He ain't nearly as handsome and sexy as you.”
Sammy shot him a sharp, fierce look. “Shut up, man.” He shuddered with exaggeration as if trying to shrug off Tony's words. “God.” He shuddered again.
“It's your curse, Sam.” Tony tilted his head back against the seat and released a laugh. “You're a hot, sexy young man.”
“Shut the fuck up!” Sammy's voice was unusually high pitched, which made Tony laugh harder. “It ain't funny. For two years now that fuckin' freak's been trying to...” Sammy bit off his own words, clear revulsion on his handsome face.
“Get you to play with his ding-a-ling?” Tony finished for him, still laughing.
“Fuck you, man.” Sammy looked like he was about to vomit, his eyes hard and staring out into the stormy night ahead.
Tony released an amused sigh. “Shit, Sammy. I'm just fucking with you.” Sammy grunted but didn't answer. Tony grinned. “Better me than Jericho, huh?”
Sammy squirmed and released a repulsed groan. Tony chuckled.
Tony had set the wheels in motion to deal with this mess. Charles thought the man might be of psychopath stock, but he knew how to make a problem go away. For the right price. And Charles had the means to always pay the right price. That was the magical thing about wealth – it could buy a man out of any fucked up situation.
Dressed in an expensive suit, Charles sat on the edge of the bed and made one more call. As the phone on the other end of the line rang in his ear, he turned his head and gazed at the dead woman. A sliver of regret needled at him. She had been a hell of a lover, very eager to please. He had liked that. He would miss that. If she hadn't crossed the line and fucked with his relationship with Sabrina, she would still be alive this very moment, her pretty face buried in his crotch, her hot, sexy mouth giving him the most mind shattering blow job he'd ever received from a woman.
He shifted as his cock began to throb again. Why the hell couldn't she have just accepted her role in his life rather than insisting on being something she wasn't.
“Such a waste, baby.” He murmured. “Such a waste.”
“You need to go to the hospital.” Owen helped Sabrina put on one of his t-shirts to cover her naked, abused body. He had to focus. He couldn't let himself think about the details of what Jackson had done to her. He thought about her nausea from before. If she was pregnant, she needed to be checked by a doctor after her assault. She needed to be checked anyway.
“I'm okay.” She sounded weak, tired. “I just need to sleep.”
“Baby, I really think...”
“Owen.” Sabrina touched his face as he sat next to her on the bed. “I don't need a doctor. I just need you.” She laid her head on his chest and closed her eyes. Owen held her close, his throat tight and his rage carefully held in check. Barely.
“I won't insist on going to the hospital tonight.” He said as he helped her lay down. “But in the morning, you're going. Okay?” He leaned over her and gazed down into her eyes. Her every movement told him she was in some level of pain. Jackson had hurt her more than she was admitting to. Her eyes were slightly glazed as exhaustion reached for her. She nodded and closed her eyes.
Owen's chest tightened until it felt as if it might cave in on itself. He held her gently but securely as she slipped into what he prayed was a fitful sleep. He stroked his fingertips across her cheek. His eyes burned. Even if Sabrina could get past this...could he? Could he ever forgive himself for not seeing what was right in front of his eyes? For allowing this to happen? She insisted it wasn't his fault, but the guilt was there and it was slowly grinding his heart into tiny, irreparable pieces.
His arms tightened just a little around her. He buried his face in her hair and tried to stifle the sobs that rose in his throat and threatened to choke him.
But nothing else followed. His soul felt dry, barren. After everything that had happened...did he even still believe in a God who gave a damn?
Blackness surrounded him. Something hard was digging into his back and he shifted. His entire head hurt like a motherfucker and made it extremely difficult to focus his thoughts and remember what the hell had happened.
Owen Briggs had come home. He remembered that. He remembered the intense rage in the man's eyes as he threw him to the floor and began to beat the shit out of him. He remembered coming to the realization that he was going to die.
Well, he wasn't dead. He could hear the sound of the car, feel the movement as it sped down the highway. He'd been dumped into the trunk – naked. But by who? Owen? Somehow he didn't think it was Owen. The man had been pissed off enough to just kill him right there in the bedroom. But he hadn't. What had stopped him?
He's gonna cut your fucking balls off.
Sabrina Braxton's words beat against the inside of his skull.
You are so fucked.
She hadn't been talking about Owen, but she'd refused to tell him who it was. That's why he'd hit her.
The car suddenly swerved off the smooth paved road and onto a rough, gravel road. Jackson grunted as the car jounced over the rough road, knocking him around the trunk.
“What the fuck?” He tried to brace himself with his arms.
Where the hell was he being taken? And what would be done to him once they got there?
He fumbled around the dark trunk with his hands, searching for something, anything, he could use as a weapon. He may die tonight, but he wouldn't go down without a fight.
The car rolled to a stop and the engine died. Jackson's pulse raced wildly. He grabbed blindly in the darkness. Car doors opened and slammed shut. There had to be something. Footsteps crunched in the gravel, at least two men. His hand fell on a tire iron. A key slid into the trunk lock.
His hand closed around the tire iron as the trunk lid popped loose.
Come on, motherfuckers. Let's dance.