Dirty reads, p.1
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       DIRTY READS, p.1

           Scott Hildreth
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DIRTY READS


  BOOK I

  DICK

  Scott Hildreth

  DEDICATION

  To the woman who wrapped her arms around a real-life bad boy and loved him with all her heart. Jess, this one is for you.

  AUTHOR’S NOTE

  THIS BOOK IS A WORK OF FICTION.

  All names, incidents, and occurrences in this book are a figment of the author’s imagination, and are depicted in a work of fiction. Any likeness to fact is pure coincidence.

  COPYRIGHT

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead, are coincidental.

  DICK 1st Edition Copyright © 2016 by Scott Hildreth

  All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the author or publisher constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use the material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the author at designconceptswichita@gmail.com. Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

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  PROLOGUE

  THERE were a hundred places I would have rather been than the interrogation room of a police station, but being there wasn’t the grandest of my concerns. My biggest problem was the smile I couldn’t wipe from my face. The two shit-hat cops were irritating – each in their own little ways – but it was the creepy mustache that made it impossible for me to stop grinning. The night had been filled with drinking, exotic cars, a bloody umbrella, foreign diplomats, a million-dollars’ worth of drugs, a Savannah Leopard, an attempted robbery, and plenty of gunfire. But, in the end, it was going to be the smile that got me into trouble.

  I needed to play the part of an innocent bystander, but I was still half-drunk, which made hiding my emotions difficult. Cop number one looked like he just stepped out of a 1980’s porn film, and his nasty little mustache had my face covered in a cheesy grin that made it seem like I was lying.

  And, for the most part, I was.

  The one with the caterpillar on his lip was wearing jeans, boots, and an untucked tee shirt. The other wore a navy-colored jacket over a light blue button-down with a loosely tied polyester tie dangling from underneath the collar. As necktie stared at me and chewed on a wooden match, Mr. Mustache paced the floor. Neither looked like any cops I had ever seen.

  “We need something,” the cop with the necktie said. “Something significant.”

  My gaze fell to his scuffed loafers. As I lifted my eyes along the length of his wiry frame, I shook my head. “You two don’t even look like cops.”

  Cop ‘stache sauntered to the edge of the table, pressed his hands to his hips, and bent at the waist slightly. “We’re detectives,” he seethed.

  I shrugged and fought against the urge to smile.

  He cocked an eyebrow. “I wonder if I’ll look like a cop when I cuff your skinny little ass and toss you in a cell for obstruction of justice?”

  I tried to pry my eyes open, but the four margaritas and three glasses of wine I had over the course of the evening made it close to impossible. I gazed at him through narrow slits. “I didn’t see him that well. It was dark, and I was drunk. Hell, I’m still drunk.”

  It wasn’t far from the truth.

  He stepped away from the table and glanced at his partner. “You think she’s lying, Joe? I think she’s lying.”

  Necktie gnawed on his wooden match. “Prob’ly.”

  Mr. Mustache exchanged glances between us. “You know how I can tell?”

  “How’s that?” necktie asked.

  The porn star locked eyes with me and pursed his lips. “Cause she’s grinnin’.”

  I wasn’t intimidated. Not in the least. I’d seen far too much in the last year to let two cops intimidate me. Especially when one of them looked like he should be fucking some chick with a hairy bush while bow-chicka-wow-wow music played in the background.

  “Look,” porn ‘stache said. “We’re just trying to put together pieces of a puzzle. We weren’t there, and you were. We know you were part of it, so just tell us what happened.”

  It sounded simple, but it wasn’t. Not even close. It was the most fucked up thing I had ever become a part of, and I doubted no matter how long I lived that I’d ever participate in anything half as fucked up ever again.

  “I need to pee,” I said.

  Mustache pressed his thumbs into the pockets of his jeans. “Tell us his name, and I’ll have Joe take you down to the bathroom. Hell, we might have a fresh pot of coffee.”

  “I’ve watched Bluebloods,” I said. “If I’m not under arrest, I can leave. If I am, I can ask for an attorney to be present.”

  I wasn’t worried about an attorney. It was my understanding one was going to show up promptly at 11:00, and I had no reason to doubt it. I was simply trying to stay awake until that time came. Whatever happened until then was going to be nothing but entertainment.

  The one wearing the necktie chuckled. “Shit, Tad, we’ve fucked around and apprehended a Bluebloods trained professional. She got her a certificate of criminal justice from watching fucking T.V., maybe we should just let her go.”

  The porn star sat down across from me. “Just tell us what happened. And his name, we’ll need a name.”

  The smell of cheap cologne and sweaty gym socks crept across the table and found its way into my nostrils. I shook my head, attempted to wipe the stench from my nose, and responded with a blatant lie. “I can’t really remember what happened. The whole night’s a big blur. Especially the part when people started shooting.”

  “Okay, we’ll work on what he looked like later. It’ll all come to you as you sober up. For now, what was his name? The one driving the Ferrari?” he asked.

  I held my breath and tried to act stupid. “Fer-what?”

  “The car you were in, it was a Ferrari,” he said. “Well, the car you were in until he left your ass for dead.”

  I flattened my upper body onto the cold steel table and exhaled slowly. As the last puff of alcohol-laced breath passed my lips, I met his gaze.

  His mustache stared back at me.

  My mouth curled into a smirk.

  “Look, sunshine. We have three-dozen eyewitnesses who saw you two in the club. I know you know what his name is and what he looks like You were with him all night. Tell us what his name is, and I’ll have Joe take you to the bathroom. Then, you can have a cup of coffee and see what you can remember about everything else. How’s that sound?”

  I pushed my chair away from the table. “My name’s Jess, not sunshine.”

  I crossed my legs, feigning lack of bladder control, and glanced at necktie. He quickly switched the match to the other side of his mouth and tossed his head toward the door. “Follow me.”

  “I know what your name is,” mustache said. “I wanted his.”

  Providing his name wouldn’t give them with any useful information. Half the city probably shared his first name. I glanced at the round over-sized clock hanging over the doorway.

  10:30.

  I still had thirty minutes. If I took my time in the bathroom and slowly sipped my coffee when we got back, I might get by with only lying to them for fifteen minutes. I could talk in circles for fifteen minutes.

  “His name?” I asked over my shoulder as I followed bad cop toward the
door.

  “Yeah, I’ll need that before you go.”

  I turned around and met his gaze. “Dick.”

  Mustache stood and folded his arms in front of his chest. “Excuse me?”

  I studied him from head-to-toe. As our eyes locked, the corner of my mouth twisted into a smirk. “Dick.”

  His eyes narrowed and his jaw muscles went tense. “What’d you call me?”

  “His name,” I said with a shallow grin. “His name was Dick.”

  He chuckled, seeming slightly relieved. “Dick, huh? No last name?”

  I shook my head.

  “Well, when you get back, we’ll need you to tell us what happened.”

  I laughed. “I wouldn’t know where to start.”

  He licked the edge of his mustache with the tip of his tongue, pulling the end of it into the corner of his mouth. “At the beginning.”

  “The beginning?”

  He nodded. “Yeah, the beginning. It’s always a good place to start. Might be tough to remember all the details, I’m sure you were scared shitless with all the gunfire and commotion. Go to the bathroom, get your coffee, and we’ll get started when you get back. At the beginning.”

  The beginning? When I met Dick?

  When I met him I was scared and not quite myself.

  This? Tonight?

  This is fucking fun.

  ONE

  Jess

  THE clock in my car said 3:01, but I kept it five minutes fast so I wouldn’t be late to work again. Sitting in the alley roughly one hundred feet from my parking spot, the two cars stopped in front of me and the truck directly behind me caused me to wonder if the four minutes I had to spare were going to be enough. Unwilling to take the risk, I pressed my palm against the center of my steering wheel and blared the horn.

  The driver of the first car got out and walked toward the black Mercedes-Benz parked in front of me. The clock clicked to 3:02.

  Fuck.

  My boss was a prick. He was the type of asshole who should have an online $99 webinar teaching the unknowing how to become assholes. I had been late enough times to know if I was late again, he would fire me on the spot, no questions asked.

  I rolled down the window and pointed at the six-stall employee parking lot directly in front of the two cars blocking the alley.

  I was so close.

  The driver of the Mercedes opened the door and got out. He was wearing dark jeans, a powder blue untucked button-down shirt, and dress shoes. The light growth of beard that covered his face made him seem rugged and slightly more handsome than I imagined he would look without it. He clenched his fists and stretched his shoulders back, revealing an extremely broad chest.

  Dear God.

  Everything about him emanated sex.

  I wagged my finger toward the empty parking stalls. “Can you pull over? I just need to get right there!”

  He turned toward me and took a few steps. He was built like a linebacker and had the confident strut of the criminals in the books I loved to read. Mysteries and suspense were my favorites, and I always dreamed of being the girl who was the hero’s main lady.

  “Honk that motherfucker again and see what happens,” he seethed.

  Oh wow.

  What an asshole.

  I really needed to keep my job. I pointed beyond him and toward the bar. “I just need to park over there,” I squeaked.

  “Well, here in about five minutes you’ll be able to.”

  I’ve only got four.

  “Please?”

  He turned away.

  I cleared my throat. “Please?”

  He turned around and stared. It was only for a second, but it was long enough that I realized pleading with him would probably get me nothing but an early trip to the cemetery.

  He looked menacing and handsome at the same time. As much as I wanted to tell him to fuck off, his demeanor warned me against it. I raised both hands in surrender, prompting him to forget about me and approach the other driver. While they talked, I anxiously watched the two men, paying more attention to the man driving the Mercedes than the other.

  They exchanged what seemed to be heated words. I turned down my music and tried to hear what was being said. Clearly frustrated, the truck parked behind me disappeared from view in my rearview mirror, speeding down the alley in reverse.

  The driver of the first car was dressed like a businessman; wearing navy slacks, a dress shirt, and jacket. He shrugged and started to speak. The guy from the Mercedes shook his head and interrupted, waving his arms as he spoke. His shirt clung to the muscles of his biceps, leaving little to the imagination regarding what appeared to be a very athletic build.

  “I’ll give you until two weeks from Friday,” the Mercedes driver said. “If you don’t have it, I’ll burn your house down and sell your fucking wife to the Sinaloa Cartel.”

  “I’ll have it.”

  “You fucking better. I’m not fucking around, Seton. I’ve got that money promised out. People are counting on me, and you’re making me look like a goddamned fool.”

  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Visions of a drug deal gone bad or a botched kidnapping filled my mind. The driver of the first car said something in response, nodded, and got into his car.

  Slightly shocked and filled with a considerable amount of curiosity, my imagination began to run wild. After a moment of gawking at the driver of the Mercedes, I closed my eyes and imagined him auctioning off the other man’s wife to the highest bidder in the dirty streets of Mexico while children sold hand-made trinkets in the background.

  The horn blared as my chest pressed against the steering wheel.

  Fuck.

  “Sorry,” I shouted out the window.

  Peering at me through the windshield of my car, his eyes narrowed to slits. “What the fuck did I tell you?”

  The tone of his voice wasn’t very inviting. With a mesmerizing swagger, he began walking toward me.

  Oh shit.

  As the first vehicle sped away, the muscular man stepped alongside my car.

  My throat tightened.

  He leaned down and peered through the open window. “What the fuck with you and the fucking horn?”

  I shrugged and fought to swallow the lump that worked its way up my throat.

  His eyes surveyed the interior of the car and eventually met mine. “God damn, you’re a cute little bitch.”

  Most who knew me described me as feisty or mouthy. No one had ever referred to me as a bitch and walked away without me giving them a piece of my mind. I pressed my tongue to the roof of my mouth, parted my dry lips, and prepared to speak.

  “Thank you,” I murmured.

  Intimidated, a little scared, and completely oblivious to what time it was, I broke his gaze and glanced at the clock.

  3:07.

  Fuck.

  I inhaled a slow shallow breath. A faint hint of his cologne caused my mouth to salivate.

  He stepped away from the car and tossed his head to the side. “Get out.”

  “I uhhm. I’m late for…”

  “Get out.”

  The tone of his voice was confident, but not cocky. He wasn’t asking me; he was telling me, but for some reason I felt like it was my choice. My eyes fell to his waist. A very noticeable bulge in his jeans caused me to do two things:

  Swallow heavily.

  And open my car door.

  Dressed in my normal work attire of Chuck’s, jean shorts, and a tee shirt, I nervously stood no more than five feet in front of him. He folded his arms in front of his chest and studied me carefully from head-to-toe. Prying my eyes from his prominently chiseled facial features was almost impossible.

  Almost.

  I gazed beyond him and focused on the back of his car.

  His hand lightly grazed against my cheek. He pressed against my chin with his thumb, turning my head until our eyes met. “What’s your name?”

  I nervously gazed back at him, trying not to seem scared. For some reason
, I wasn’t, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why. His finger traced along the outline of my jaw.

  My legs went weak.

  “I’m going to be fired,” I murmured.

  “Your name,” he said. “I asked you what your name was.”

  “Jess.” I tilted my head to the side, pulling it away from his hand. “I’m Jess.”

  He coughed out a light laugh. “You pull away because you’re scared? Or you just want me to think you’re hard to get?”

  His questions caught me off guard. “I uhhm, I was just…”

  He cocked his head to the side and his mouth curled into a mischievous little grin. “Doesn’t really matter.”

  “What doesn’t matter?”

  “The reason you pulled away. It doesn’t matter.”

  My eyes fell to the street. I studied the tips of his shiny black shoes and felt guilty for wanting him to touch me again. If anyone else would have touched me the way he did, I would have slapped them. But, I hadn’t had sex in forever. And he was really hot.

  “Why?” I asked. “Why doesn’t it matter?”

  He reached for my chin and lifted against it until our eyes met. “Because it doesn’t.” He released my chin and lowered his hand.

  My eyes followed his hand as he reached into his pocket and removed his wallet. He produced a business card and flipped it between his fingers with the finesse of a magician performing card tricks.

  He extended his hand. “Here.”

  As I reached for the card my eyes once again fell to his very noticeable bulge.

  I took the card from his hand. My mouth went dry, and responding in any manner that included speaking was quickly excluded as an option. I fought to swallow, slowly raised my shoulders, and simply shrugged.

  “Call me, text me, whatever. Don’t make me wait long.” He shook his head. “Jesus. Looking at you makes me…”

  I wanted him to finish his thought, but he never did.

  I fought against the tightness in my throat. There were a million things I felt I should have said, and half as many again that I wanted to, but for whatever reason, none of them came out. I wondered if he felt my silence was an invitation or maybe acceptance of his request to call him.

 

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