Royce was sitting at his desk two hours later. He’d probably get more work done if he’d stop thinking about the pretty little officer, but he couldn’t seem to shake the image of her lying on her bed covered in blood. It had been just over a week and the image was just as clear as if it had just happened.
When her uncle and he had pulled up in front of the huge, sprawling house Royce had thought he’d had the wrong address. When Jay had gotten out of the car and walked up the steps, he looked around. The place was a dump and he’d bet his last dollar that a murder happened near here at least daily. The place didn’t improve once they’d walked inside either.
Jay walked up to a couple of kids hanging out on the stairs and spoke to them. He came back a minute later and started up the stairs. Royce was surprised that the man was taking them two and three at a time, but followed him close. The boys came with them.
“They said she came in about twenty minutes ago. Said they didn’t see her, but they heard her going up. She was crying.”
The boy in the back went back down the flight of stairs and ran back up them seconds later. He looked over at Royce. He wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but he was pretty sure that whatever it was could potentially get them all in trouble. The kid dropped to his knees in front of a door and pulled open a little black bag.
“He’s gonna pick the lock,” Kasey’s uncle told him. “I told him we thought Kasey was hurt and he said he thought someone was, there was blood all over the stairs when he’d gone up to his apartment just after she’d gotten in.”
Royce didn’t ask why they didn’t knock and see if she could come to the door, he just kept his mouth shut. The other kids seemed to know what he was thinking because one of them answered Royce’s unvoiced question.
“Reasonable cause like them police shows. We heard her moaning, didn’t you? ‘Sides, she ain’t gonna open the door anyway for anyone on accounta she don’t supposed to be here this time a day. She’s hurtin’ to miss work.”
Before Royce could comment one way or the other the kid at the door swung it open. When he stepped back Royce saw Jay give him some money, but couldn’t see how much. Royce stepped over the threshold, thinking to ask so he could pay the man back, but the room, the bed, and the girl took his entire attention.
Her face was swollen beyond anything he’d ever seen. The eye that was turned up was closed shut and blood seeped from it. The side of her head where she lay against the bed was soaking blood into the mattress and a small stain now saturated the blanket. Her arm lay at an odd angle and her left pant leg was tight around her thigh and made Royce think if they cut the seams, the flesh would spill out. The fingers to her hand were all bloodied as well as swollen. He thought some of them might have been broken, but couldn’t be sure with all that blood. He startled out of his shock when Jay shook him.
“Call an ambulance, I said. She’s got to get to the hospital.”
Royce pulled out his cell again and dialed the number. He’d had to ask for directions twice and assured the dispatcher that he’d remain there with her until the police arrived.
Royce thought that the emergency vehicles might get called to this address a lot if they knew to ask if it was Sebastian or Jesus who had over dosed again.
“No, an injury. Miss York, Kasey York. It looks like she has a head injury, leg, and her arm. I’m betting by the way she’s laying there are probably a good many ribs broken as well.”
Within an hour after leaving his building, Royce was racing after the ambulance with a police escort and Kasey’s uncle sitting beside him. And her injuries were more extensive than they had thought.
Five broken ribs on her left side and three on her right, a concussion, and seven stitches in the back of her head. There was the contusion to her forehead and another to just below her ear. Two of her fingers were broken on her left hand and one on her right. Her leg was sprained and there were about three dozen cuts on her body that would heal quickly; the others would take their time. The tape they’d pulled of the incident showed that when White had hit her with his fist the first time, she’d fallen back but had not been too seriously injured from what they could see. She’d gotten right up and beat the living shit out of the man until he’d gotten the upper hand by using a ball bat on her ribs. When she’d gone down he’d stood over her and beat on her several times before his brother had come into the room and wrestled the bat away from him.
White was currently in jail pending charges filed by Royce and the company. They were also waiting for Miss York to wake up enough to tell them she was pressing charges as well. Royce was still smiling when his mom walked in.
“Must be a pretty girl for you to look like that this early in the morning. Is it that Strouse girl?” She sat in the chair across from his desk. “Or is it that girl…what was her name? The one that laughed like she was a bad muffler? You remember her.”
“Porsche Strouse and the muffler girl… You mean Candace Sheppard? Christ, no. She has been with more men than the NFL has players. Whoever she marries is going to need to put in a revolving door to his house. No, I was thinking about the merger deal we’re finalizing tomorrow morning. You still planning to be here?”
He knew she didn’t believe him by the smile. He didn’t care so long as she didn’t point it out.
She smiled that mom smile and leaned back in the chair. “Keep your little secrets. I’ll find out sooner or later. And yes, I’m going to be here. I’ve been helping with this deal for three months and I can’t wait to see the look on Charles’ face when he realizes what we plan to do with that building. He’ll be furious.”
Charles Benton had messed with the wrong person when he’d pissed off Royce’s mom. Annamarie Hunter was a person who got results. She’d been doing some volunteer work at the hospital when a young girl had been brought in. Jessica had been fourteen, pregnant, and beaten. She lost the child and then died two days later, but not before telling the police who had beaten her and why. Her daddy had said no child of his was going to shame him.
Of course nothing could be proven. The man who’d beaten poor Jess had been killed only days later and everything pointed to him acting on his own. But nearly everyone knew better. Charles had made no bones about the fact that he cared very little for his daughter and less about the child she’d lost.
“We have everything in place to start the reconstruction of the building on Monday. Then all the players are lined up to make it so that we can reopen as ‘Jessica’s House’ the month after. It’s amazing how many people have agreed to give their free time to work with this house.”
Royce leaned back in his chair and regarded his mom. “You’re an amazing woman. How come I never realized that before?”
She snorted at him. “You knew. You’re too much like your other brothers to say so unless you need something. What is it now? A girl you’ve knocked up? Someone who won’t sleep with you and you want me to tell her what a great catch you are?”
“Mother,” he said with mock shame. “The things you think of me. And I know better than to try and have unprotected sex. You’ve told us often enough growing up what would happen if you found out. I, for one, want to keep all my appendages, thank you very much.”
She flushed slightly and Royce grinned. “I love you, son. But you do know that you irritate me to no end, correct?”
Laughing, he got up and grabbed his jacket. “Come on, beautiful. Lets you and I have lunch together. I want to run a few things by you.”
They were to the lobby when his cell phone went off. He pulled it out to see that it was from the hospital. Royce answered with a bit of concern.
“Mr. Hunter, it’s Abby from the hospital. Miss York is…she’s… Oh my, there is someone in the room with her and they are going at it loudly, sir. You told me to call when there—”
“I’m on my way. If whoever it is tries to leave before I get there, try to at least get their name. I should be there in about five minutes.” Royce turned to his mom. “I’m sorry, but we’ll have to do this some other time. I have to—”
“I’m going with you. And don’t even try to argue because you know it’ll do you little to no good and only make you later. Let’s go.”
Sighing heavily, knowing she was correct, he nodded and went to the doors to his car. The limo was just coming to a smooth stop as they stepped out into the warm sunshine.
“I said to get out of here. I don’t give a shit how you found out, just get the hell out of here.” Kasey pulled the pillow out from behind her head and threw it at the man in front of her. “Get out!”
“Now, Kasey, that ain’t no way to treat your daddy. I’ve been busy, is all. You know how it is trying to make a living. I was just wondering about how you’re gonna sue that fancy company you work for is all.”
Gilbert MacDonald had run out on them when Kasey was born. He’d been pissy, Kasey’s mom had told her, when he’d found out she was pregnant and ripping mad when Kasey had been born a girl and not a boy. Over the years he’d come around when he wanted something, money usually, and to knock around Leah York, Kasey’s mom. Until Kasey got big enough to fight him back, then he would only come for money. Like now.
“I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. I got hurt and I have no insurance and no money and, if you go near my mother, I’ll hunt you down and hurt you so bad you’ll feel it for a month.”
Gilbert moved closer to the bed, his eyes dark with anger. She’d forgotten that she was helpless and that was the way he liked his women. When he drew back his fist to hit her she closed her eyes and waited for the pain. She couldn’t fight him in the condition she was in.
“You’ll back away from that girl right this minute or, so help me, I’ll be causing the pain.” Kasey turned to see what the hell Mr. Hunter was doing here. “Are you all right?”
She nodded. Mr. Hunter had her father in a full nelson. She wasn’t sure how that had happened, but was immensely glad that he did. Kasey started to explain who the man was, but a woman, a very beautiful older woman, came to the other side of the bed and started checking her injuries.
“She doesn’t appear to be hurt, Royce. Why don’t you take the trash out and I’ll make sure the nurse comes in and gives her something for—”
“You know, I’m right here. I don’t need anyone to bring me anything for pain, and I certainly don’t need you to call her if I did.” Kasey looked at the woman. “You have to be related to him. I’ve never met a pushier bunch of people in my life.”
Kasey wouldn’t admit how badly she hurt right now. Nor would she admit how grateful she was for the intervention of Mr. Hunter. The woman simply started laughing, much to the surprise of Kasey.
“Oh my, you have to be the secret. Yes, I’m related to Royce. I’m his mother, Annamarie. And you would be…”
“Mother, don’t do this. She works for me and was—” He’d just stepped back in from taking her father out of the room. She didn’t worry about her father coming back soon, but he would be back.
“I worked for you, not work for you. I was fired. Remember? And I haven’t the slightest clue what sort of secret you think I might be. And frankly, I don’t care. I have to get out of here.” Kasey looked over at Royce when he growled. “Oh grow up, you big jerk. Not everyone has money dripping from their fingers.”
Mrs. Hunter started laughing even harder at that. “You’re not the least bit intimidated by him, are you? Good. A woman shouldn’t be afraid of their mate, I think. What happened that landed you—” She looked over at her son. “The officer from the lobby?”
“Yes, I’m…I was Officer York. And now I’d like for you both to be going now. I’ve got plans to make and places to go.” Kasey wasn’t sure how she planned to execute anything, but she had made them. She raised a brow at them both when they pulled up chairs.
“Now, tell me who that man was and why he has reason to want to hit you. I must admit, I’ve been under the same strain since I’ve met you, but not enough to actually follow through.” Kasey glared at him as he continued. “You have been a pain in my ass since you stopped me in the hall of my own building.”
“Then don’t make rules you have no intentions of following.” She laid her head back on the bed and closed her eyes. “Haven’t you heard that ‘he who makes the rules is a man
of great leadership?’ I don’t think I’ve ever read where ‘I make the rules and I say fuck them.’”
She’d forgotten about his mother and looked over at her when she laughed. The woman was certainly his mother. She had the same glint in her eyes when she was laughing. Kasey looked over at Royce. His glint didn’t seem to be from laughing.
“Miss York, are you in the habit of biting the hand that feeds you? And I’ll decide when you are fired from my company. Who was that man and what did he want with you?”
She turned away from him to answer. She wasn’t ashamed of being a bastard child, but she was ashamed of the bastard who was her father. “His name is Gilbert MacDonald and he’s my father. At least in the sense that he was the sperm donor that created me. He’s not been much of anything else. He and my mother never married.” Kasey looked at the door when it opened.
“Miss York, your lunch is here. Shall I bring it in or wait until later? You know what the doctor said.” Abby seemed a bit miffed again, but Kasey didn’t care.
“I know what he said and I still don’t care. Bring it in please, but don’t expect me to eat any more of it than I did this morning. I’ve told you three times I don’t care for it. And I want to go home.”
Even to her ears she sounded childish, but no one would listen to her. She didn’t want any broth and she certainly didn’t want any hot tea, all they would give her. She turned her head away when the tray of “food” was put on the little table.
“What is wrong with you? Are you nasty to everyone or just those that try and help you? Christ, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as caustic as you are.” Royce stood up and started taking lids off of the containers. “You’ll eat every bit of this or, so help me, I’ll hold you down and pour it down your throat.”
Kasey glared at him. “Try it.” Her voice was low and full of intent. He paused for several seconds as they glared at each other. She was glad that she’d made him think. She wasn’t one of his minions who jumped when he barked. And she didn’t fucking work for him.
“Royce, why don’t you go get you and me a nice sandwich from the deli across the street? I’m sure that Miss York and I can get this lunch business squared away.” Neither of them looked at Annamarie. “Royce.”
He finally looked at his mother and gave her a short nod before leaving. He turned to look back at Kasey before he walked out the door and that look said volumes. He told her that if she hurt his mom, she’d be a dead woman. Well, she had news for him, she didn’t care.
“Oh goodness, no wonder you don’t want this. It’s crap.” The woman began taking the rest of the lids off the other bowls and cups as she tisked around. “Good heavens, is this suppose to be helpful or kill you? This won’t do, not at all. Why, if I had a dog…nasty.”
The nurse came in a minute later and with instructions to take “this vile tray away.” The nurse left. Annamarie pulled out her cell phone.
“Darling, pick up some of that wonderful chicken broth while you’re there and see if Dominic has any of that delicious beef broth he uses for his roast beef sandwiches…yes, I
did look at it and it’s nasty. Hold on, let me ask her. Kasey, sweetheart, Royce wants to know if you would care for some tea with your lunch or would you like some bottled water?”
Kasey was reasonably sure that it hadn’t been put that way, but didn’t quibble over the delivery of the question. She told her that she liked iced tea, not hot, and water would be fine if it wasn’t available.
Stay Tune for Next Week Chapter Four
Books In the series
THE HUNTERS -
1 ROYCE – http://smarturl.it/royce
2 CURTIS – http://smarturl.it/curtis
3 JESSE – http://smarturl.it/jessethehunters
4 DANIEL- http://smarturl.it/danielthehunters
I hope you are enjoying this book
Kathi S Barton
Abby Curry's strength was gone. She had given up hope that she'd be found by someone that could help her. The blood trail she'd left was easy enough to follow. The three men that hunted her would finish her off if she wasn't dead already before they got there.
Vicente caught her before she could hit the ground?there was something about her?he didn't even know what she looked like she was beaten so badly, but he had to save her if he could....
But when he heard her name, his blood ran cold...it couldn't be her...it couldn't. He'd left her five years before...standing at the altar.... Now what was he going to do?
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