Ocean Kills:Book One of Ocean Breeze(4)

By: Jade Hart

No! Stop. It's over. No more. No one would hurt me like that ever again. “Shut up! Stop it!”

Officer Bliss jumped and slammed the file closed. “I'm—I'm sorry.”

My eyes were wild. It was over. So why was I suddenly that eight-year-old again? I prided myself on being an ice queen. My heart had long ago succumbed to the cold embrace of frost, but even as I clawed my way back from the memory, the air in the tiny room was sucked into a black hole of misery and evil. It’s in the past, Ocean. You survived.

Fat Officer Wade cleared his throat and spoke, awkwardness in every word. “Tell me about tonight. I flashed my lights at you. Why did you run? Prostitution isn’t illegal, but you’re required to stop if requested to do so.”

I latched onto the topic. The memory of taking that bastard's life sent satisfying, fiery strength through me. The cold claws of anxiety let go, and I resettled into my actress self. This was safe. I was safe. I ran because I killed a man. Like I'd ever admit that.

“I wasn’t doing anything wrong; I saw no reason to stop. Excuse me if I don't trust the law. If you continue with the gruesome details of my file you will also know the two men were never caught.” I hated myself for the rush of tears that pressed on my eyelids. I would not cry. Not now. Not ever. “How can I respect the law that let the devil's spawn live after my family died?” I pierced them each with a glare. “Believe me, you would run too.”

Officer Bliss clenched his jaw.

I couldn't understand him. He wore an aura of old cop, which couldn’t be true since I guessed he was only in his late twenties, but his tanned face was ashen. Had he never seen a case like mine? I was hardly unusual. Not common, but not unusual.

He shook his head, clearing the horror from his eyes. “Why sell yourself? After everything you survived, why allow sleaze-bags to touch you? To buy you?” He swallowed hard. The way he asked was very personal. As if he needed to know, not the cop force he represented. “Kings Cross is the capital of prostitutes, so why degrade yourself?”

He truly did care. It wasn't an act. I would have sniffed that out of him in a heartbeat. I couldn't afford to allow sympathy to thaw my frozen heart. I was an assassin. A killer who took the lives of men who didn't deserve to live. Men like the ones who took my innocence—my chance at a happy life—and chopped it to smithereens with a chainsaw.

Sniffing, making my voice as cold as Antarctica, I said, “Are you going to wrap up this pity party and book me? Or should I order a pizza and get the tissues ready for a cry fest?”

Officer Wade spluttered, but it was Bliss who gave me a wry smile. “You're tougher than you look. I respect that.”

Despite myself, I returned his smile. It was nice to invoke pride in a man's eyes for once, rather than the fear and knowledge he was about to die.

“Well, we don’t have any evidence you were up to no good. So what should we book you on?” Officer Bliss asked, picking up a pen to flick over his knuckles.

Ah, he was one of those: never able to sit still. I always wondered how people did that with a pen. I watched in fascination as he balanced the thin Bic, twisting it between his digits effortlessly. My face grew hot. His fingers were agile. Long, graceful. . . what else could he do—? Stop that, Ocean. You're dirtier than a truck driver.

I leaned forward, well aware that my cleavage was pushed to the max, and spilling over my boob-tube. Tacky, smutty, but I’d been bait tonight, after all. It wasn't like I always dressed like this. It was the price to pay on this particular mission.

It took me seven years not to slice and dice at the barest of brushes against my skin, but now I was a robot. I was as good as dead inside and it was only going to get worse. My back twinged in agreement. The scorch marks on my spine held evidence: I was a ticking disaster.

I smirked, answering his question. “Well, Mr. Tub-o-lard over there seems to think I was selling my booty. So I guess that's what you book me on.”

“Were you? Selling yourself, I mean?” Officer Bliss's eyes practically begged me to say no. What was with guys wanting to believe in innocent women? Did it matter I'd only slept with two men in my entire twenty-four-year existence?

“Yes. Yes, I was selling myself. Good coin, too.” Take that, Mr. Sympathetic. I don't want your pity.

His eyebrows fell, causing a slight frown to appear. I bet he had a little wifey at home who was curled up asleep, waiting for him to finish work. Men like him didn't last long on the market.

“Officer Wade, would you mind stepping outside for a moment?” Officer Bliss looked pointedly at Chubby.

“Eh, sure. I'll be close if you need me.”

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