Slick (Burnout 2.5)

By: Dahlia West
Chapter 1



Keep your eyes closed.

Sarah Sullivan had been telling herself that for the last ten minutes. She shifted slightly, getting uncomfortable.

“Don’t move.”

“Sorry.”

Sarah clutched at the thin fabric covering her torso. It was August, hot as hell, but she was freezing. Normally she longed for the night stars, but right now she’d rather have the warmth of the sun shining on her instead.

As hands pressed on her inner thighs, spreading her legs and exposing her, a tear managed to fall out of the corner of her eye. With her eyes closed, her mind filled with all the images that kept her awake some nights.

Blood. And begging. Screaming. And stars.

Sarah, help me!

She still didn’t open her eyes. Doing so would only trigger a different set of memories. She didn’t need to see. There was a white ceiling and harsh lights. The smell of antiseptic filled her nose.

“How are you doing?”

Is she going to be okay?! My baby! My baby girl! Is she going to die?! Oh, God, Sarah! Sarah it’s mom, can you hear me?

“I’m fine.”

Sarah steeled herself against the invasion, her stomach tightening. She fought off the instinct to close her legs. The urge to vomit was harder to suppress.

Did he rape you, Sarah?

Not this time.

But his fingernails had scratched her and caused her to bleed. It had taken a long time to get comfortable with Chris fingering her again.

Til death do us part, baby. I’ll wait my whole life for you to be ready if that’s what it takes.

More tears fell and she wiped them away.

I can’t give you what you want, Chris.

You are what I want, Sarah. You’re all I need.

“Sarah.”

But, Chris, what if I never-

“Sarah. Open your eyes.”

Sarah took a deep, steadying breath. The weight of a dozen disappointments were making it hard to breathe. She felt as though she would suffocate underneath them. Or break.

She opened her eyes. Her vision blurred as fresh, new tears sprang forth. She blinked and they spilled like tiny raindrops.

The technician moved the monitor so Sarah could get a better look.

“That? That right there? That’s the heartbeat.”

The dam inside Sarah burst. Her chest expanded suddenly and she could finally breathe again. She sobbed jaggedly. The technician calmly handed her a box of Kleenex.

Never say never, baby





Chapter 2



Sarah nearly jumped the curb in her SUV as she parallel parked. Downtown traffic in Rapid City wasn’t as bad as other cities she’d lived in, but she was pretty sure that it was easier to navigate if you were actually driving the speed limit. She grabbed her purse and the glossy black and white strip of photos resting on top. She locked the vehicle and rushed to the top of the steps of the city’s finest historic hotel. Or it would be when Abigail Raines was done with it.

Abby had been fresh out of college looking to start her life. So she’d packed up her Toyota, waved goodbye to Las Vegas, and drove a thousand miles to a city she’d never been to, and took a job with a boss she’d never met, to work in a hotel she’d never seen.

The city, it turned out, had suited Abby just fine. Better now that she had a serious boyfriend and a group of new friends. The job had turned out to be a slog that required Herculean feats of management. Better now, though, since she’d moved up the ladder. The hotel had turned out to be on a steep decline, with a shabby interior and even shabbier finances. Better now, though, since Abby had stolen it from the owner. With the help of a .38, a mob lawyer, and four ex-army Special Forces operatives.

Well, not really.

Chris had said that he, Easy, Tex, and Hawk had just stood against the wall, looking menacing, yet reasonably certain Abby wasn’t actually going to shoot anyone.

Caleb, the fifth of the remaining Ranger unit members, stayed home that day. Because he was now one of RCPD’s finest. And the paperwork involved if Abby had really pulled the trigger would’ve been monumental. He still enjoyed hearing the story, though.

Sarah walked up to the Custer hotel’s doors and headed inside. She heard Abby before she saw her. The redhead was in the hotel’s bar, though she wasn’t ordering her usual gin martini. The bar was actually closed. Tables and chairs were stacked to one side and covered with canvas. It appeared to Sarah that the workmen were actually preparing to cut a hole in the bar’s back wall.

“I need this knocked out and the framing done by next week,” Abby was explaining to the foreman. “Though the finish work can take longer.”

Sarah was normally polite having been raised in the South. She understood that she should wait until her best friend was finished, but she couldn’t.

“Abby,” Sarah called out.

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