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Burnett looked back at the wall. “I guess you can come and get him.” He started out.
“Wait,” Damian spouted. “Okay, I’ll talk. It wasn’t me, though. It was my boss. Tyler Myers. He used them to hold fight matches. People paid big bucks to see them fight, and then he got a cut of the profits. But Tyler got word that you guys were aware of the operation and had closed down the Dallas branches, so he shut down. He got rid of them.”
Della’s chest gripped. She felt Chase move beside her as if afraid of what Damian might say.
“You mean he had them murdered?” Burnett asked.
The air in Della’s lungs turned to syrup and it took everything she had to not to let her knees buckle.
“Yeah. But I was just following orders.”
Burnett gripped his fist. “How many? And where are the bodies?” His eyes turned orange with fury and Della felt her own brighten even more.
“I don’t know. The boss and the others got together and got rid of all of them. I heard something about a junkyard.”
Chase’s arm came around Della.
“But I swear I don’t know where it is.” Damian looked down at the photos. “But these weren’t ours. They might have been with the others, but they weren’t ours. I’d remember her.”
Chase took Della’s hand in his and she heard him breathe for the first time. “It’s still not over,” he said.
“Then why does it feel like it?” she asked and felt the knot in her throat expand.
He turned and pulled her against him. She rested her forehead on his chest. She closed her eyes and smelled blood. But it wasn’t Chase’s blood.
She pulled back and looked up at him. Liam, not Chase, looked down at her.
Chapter Forty
Della had done this numerous times—slipped into a vision, or whatever it was—but that didn’t make it any easier. Especially now, when her faith that Natasha and Liam were still alive had shrunken to nothing but a tiny seed of hope.
Natasha was reclined on a dirt floor, halfway on top of Liam’s na**d body.
Della focused really hard and tried to force Natasha to ask Liam where they were, but all the effort was wasted because she didn’t speak. She rested her chin on Liam’s chest and she felt her bare br**sts press against the solid feel of his abdomen.
Liam pushed her hair out of her eyes. “What is the first thing you want to do when we get out of here?”
Natasha frowned, and Della knew why. She didn’t think they were getting out. But she was willing to placate him. She looked back at his chest, shifted her hand up to just below his right shoulder and traced the emblem that appeared to be part tattoo and part scar.
“What do you say we go get our tattoos removed?” She ran her fingers over his tattoo again.
Della studied the cross-like symbol. Could that mean something?
Liam chuckled. “I like that idea. How about we go listen to a band play? Do you like to dance?”
“Love to. Sometimes my friends Amy and Jennifer and I go.”
That loud noise came again. The sound of heavy machinery.
Liam put his arm on her back, as if he knew the noise bothered her. “Then we’ll go dancing first thing.”
What’s the noise? Della screamed in Natasha’s mind, hoping she would hear her, but her question went unanswered.
“Maybe we should take a shower first,” Natasha teased. She rested her head back down and looked around the dark room.
Della took it all in. The walls were like blocks, but the floor was dirt, and there was what looked like an open passageway into another area that appeared just as dark.
What was this place?
“Together?” Liam asked, his hand running across her na**d back. “Let’s take a shower together.”
“Yeah, together.” She giggled and spread her hand flat on his chest and glanced at it. Natasha was a shade or two lighter than Liam.
“Is your mom or dad black?” Natasha asked.
“My dad was half black.”
“Was? Is he dead?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Did you ever know him?”
“Yeah, he came around some when I was younger. Mom didn’t like it.” He got quiet for a minute. “They would always fight. The last time he was there, I was like thirteen. They got into a real big fight. He accused my mom of trying to raise me to be white. Mom told him all she wanted to do was raise me to be a good man, and that had nothing to do with color, and everything to do with character, and that if he was going to see me, he’d have to get himself sober and set an example.”
“What did he say?” Natasha asked.
“He hit her.” Liam’s body under Natasha tightened. “It wasn’t the first time, but it was the first time I decided to stop him,” he said.
Natasha pushed herself up and looked at Liam’s face. “Oh, my God. What happened?”
“I came out with a baseball bat. I hit him in the arm. I don’t think I broke it or anything, but I could tell I hurt him. I told him to leave and never come back.”
“Did he ever come back?”
“I don’t think so. Mom got married to Hank a few years later. He was a good guy. Black, too. But Hank was twenty years older than my mom. He died of a heart attack less than a year after they got married.” Liam ran his hand over her back. “Didn’t you tell me your dad died?”
Natasha paused. “Yeah, my adoptive dad died when I was eleven and when I went to look for my real parents I discovered my real dad was dead, too.”