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The lovers game, p.15
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       The Lover's Game, p.15

           J. C. Reed
 
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  “So, Mr. Grayson told me you joined two days ago. Is that correct?” he started eventually.

  “Yes.” I nodded, staring at him blankly and gradually relaxed, happy that he didn’t ask about the hotel. Maybe he didn’t remember me after all. Maybe it was just a normal investigation and his frown came as a part of the job description, meaning it had nothing to do with me personally.

  “All right.” He smiled politely and opened his notepad. “Let’s start with the last time you saw Gina alive and we’ll take it from there. You mentioned you went out?”

  It wasn’t a question, but rather a statement. I had mentioned no such thing to him.

  I nodded. “After Grayson offered me a trial period to see whether I was cut out for the job, Thalia invited me and Gina for a drink at the La Rue Bar. We had a few drinks, then Gina suggested we visit the Hush Hush bar, and we had some more drinks there.”

  God, why did it sound like I was a complete party girl when it couldn’t be further from the truth?

  The detective nodded and scribbled a few words on his notepad without looking up. “What happened after?”

  “Gina tried to hook me up with a guy.” Cringe. I didn’t need to hear the detective’s thoughts; I could read them from his expression and they weren’t pretty. I brushed my hair out of my face and continued. “I started to feel sick so a guy brought me home. And that was the last time I saw her.”

  I recounted the same story I had told Thalia: That a stranger drove me home, and then left. “Thalia said she had one last drink with Gina after I left. What happened after that, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask her.”

  “The man who drove you home—” He stopped scribbling and looked up from his pad, his eyes the color of brown parchment assessing me. “—what did you say his name was?”

  “I don’t remember,” I lied. “I was too drunk.”

  The detective pressed his lips in a tight line. The way he was drumming his fingers on the table made me nervous, so I looked away, mentally counting the seconds until I could get the hell out.

  “Did anything strange happen yesterday? Such as a fight, not necessarily between you and the victim?” I shook my head and he continued, “Can you think of anyone who might have held a grudge against her?”

  A new spasm of nerves coursed through me.

  “No, of course not.” I brushed my hair out of my face as I considered my words carefully. “I only just met her so didn’t know her particularly well, but it seemed Gina is...was friendly with all the girls here. I think everyone liked her.”

  “How was the relationship between Gina and Thalia?”

  I paused taken aback by the strange question. “Good, I guess. I think they were good friends. Like I said, I only met them both recently.”

  “If anything unusual happened, no matter how trivial you think it might be, I need you to tell me. It’s the little things that often carry enough weight to break a case. Do you understand?” He stared at me. “They’re often relevant.”

  His tone worried me.

  “I wish I could be of more help, but I don’t remember much, except that Gina brought us drinks,” I said carefully. “We got drunk. We had fun. And the next thing I knew a guy drove me home.”

  Even though I omitted quite a bit, I stuck to the truth. My mind had been a blurry mess. Yesterday’s events seemed so far away, they almost resembled a dream. The only thing I remembered was the way Jett had broken my fall, and the fake name he had given me, but I couldn’t share that with the detective. For some inexplicable reason, I couldn’t tell anyone about the Jett incident. It was like my brain wanted to lock that episode away forever.

  When I finally finished my recounting, the detective opened a folder on the table. “Maybe these pictures will jolt your memory.” Slowly, he began to sort through countless sheets of paper and pictures.

  “Did Gina wear this make up when you last saw her?” He slid over the first picture and I shrank back in shock.

  It was a headshot of Gina. For a second, it looked like she was sleeping, until I registered that her eyes were slightly open, and a dried trail of blood marked her chin. There was no doubt the picture had been taken after her death and the discovery of her body. The rest of her body from the neck wasn’t on the picture. If there were, I knew I would have needed therapy for the next few years.

  “What do you mean?” I asked slowly. Her face and lips were so pale they almost had a blue shimmer to them. I had never seen a corpse in real life, not even when my father and my sister died.

  The detective pointed his finger to her left cheek. “Did she have the two spots on her face?”

  I narrowed my eyes in concentration and finally grasped the meaning of his words. There were two dots on her cheek—like two little moles or freckles. Come to think of it, they didn’t really stand out. They had been painted onto the skin in a fashionable but such a realistic way, that it wasn’t glaringly obvious that they weren’t real.

  “No, “ I said and shook my head. “Not as far as I remember.”

  He nodded, as if my answer confirmed his suspicion, and handed me the second picture.

  “Do you recognize this man?” he asked.

  I looked from the detective to the picture, and my heart froze.

  Holy mother of grace.

  That couldn’t be possible. I blinked several times as an array of emotions washed over me.

  Staring back at me was Jett’s face.

  End of sample

  To those, who want to learn more about Brooke’s past and the story behind the Lucazzone estate, I welcome you to read the prequel of No Exceptions:

  To My Readers: A thank you letter

  There are so many things I want to say at the end of a book, but in the end it all comes down to six words:

  THANK YOU for reading my books!

  Writing this book was a dream come true as was fleshing out the characters that haunted me even in my deepest dreams, urging me to tell their story.

  I hope you were entertained and enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you can take out some time, please leave a review on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, iTunes, or Goodreads, or simply write me. And please call me Jessica. I noticed a lot of readers start with “hello,” and I get why. You’re not sure if you should call me J. or J.C. Let me settle this for you. Call me by my first name. And when you write, please know I always write back.

  I look forward to hearing from you! I’m forever grateful and hope you will enjoy my next release.

  J.C. Reed

  Connect with me online:

  My website: http://www.jcreedauthor.blogspot.com

  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/AuthorJCReed

  Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jcreedauthor

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  First and foremost, thank you, Shannon Wolfman, for being the best friend and critique partner any author can have. You have never let me down. Never. Not one single time. Even if I’m close to giving up, deleting chapters and killing off characters, you’re the one who pushes me to get going, reminding me that every story has to be told. Thank you for forcing me to sit down and write those hot scenes and then pointing out all the weird things I wrote when my brain decided to switch off for a while.

  I won’t forget the laughs we shared or the fact that you always go above and beyond the call of duty and friendship. You’re fucking amazing. If there was an award, it would go to you for being the best friend ever.

  I want to thank the wonderful bloggers who started the journey with me and never let me down. Thank you for fitting me into your busy schedule and for always being there. I love you all.

  Thank you to my freaking awesome agent Lauren E. Abramo for pitching my work and answering countless of annoying questions. You rock!

  Thank you to my editors and cover artist for their hard work. You never fail to amaze me.

  Thank you to my little munchkins for understanding that mommy’s busy writing a book in the late hours of
the night. And no, sorry, I can’t read my books aloud as a bedtime story, but maybe later when you’re older (which I hope you’ll never be.)

  And, finally, I want to thank God for allowing me to meet the best readers I can have.

  Other Books By J.C. Reed

  Surrender Your Love (Book 1 in the Surrender Your Love Series)

  Conquer Your Love (Book 2 in the Surrender Your Love Series)

  Treasure Your Love (Book 3 in the Surrender Your Love Series)

  The Lover’s Secret (Book 1 in the No Exceptions Series)

  The Lover’s Game (Book 2 in the No Exceptions Series)

  The Lover’s Promise (Book 3 in the No Exceptions Series) ... coming Oct 2014

 


 

  J.C. Reed, The Lover's Game

 


 

 
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