Wicked Me:Wicked in the Stacks Book 1(5)

By: Lindsey R. Loucks

I was sweating enough for the both of us.

“I was on my way to the warehouse. Got caught in traffic,” I said and dropped my hands into my lap. “Shit happens. I tried to be there.”

“Yes, you did try. Just not very hard.”

“I’m sorry.” I hoped it sounded like I meant it.

When Hill didn’t say anything, I glanced in the rearview mirror at him with a hard swallow. But my throat clamped shut at what else appeared there. Paige, her luggage in tow, five yards away on a direct path toward my car.

Oh, shit no. Even if she didn’t know who I was, she couldn’t see what was happening here, whatever was happening here. Was Hill going to take me out in the parking lot of the public library?

“Sam?” Hill asked.

“What?” I couldn’t tear my gaze away from Paige, drawing closer, still set on this exact direction. Fifteen feet.

Turn, baby, turn.

“Surely this isn’t the shovel I asked you to bring,” Hill said, his voice soft, menacing.

Before I realized what he was talking about, he mashed one end of the crowbar into my hand wrapped around the steering wheel.

Pain shot through me. I threw back my head to howl, but I couldn’t. I wouldn’t do it. Because around the agonizing red flashes that blasted behind my closed eyes at every dig, there was the unmistakable roll of luggage. Paige’s luggage. Coming louder. Ten feet away.

“Do you know how much pressure it takes to break our fragile bones? Only twenty-five pounds. That’s not much at all, is it?”

“I’ll do better next time. Promise.” I forced open my eyes to stare straight ahead as Paige and her luggage drew nearer. Six feet.

Don’t look inside the car. Just walk on.

I crushed my teeth together to keep the pain from showing up all over my face.

“Where’s the package, Sam?” Hill hissed.

Movement to the left. A blur of white shorts and honey skin I’d had the pleasure of sightseeing just minutes ago. She didn’t slow, marched right past with her head held high.

I swallowed back my relief. It was short-lived anyway with Hill’s next growl.

“The money, Sam!”

“Glove compartment. It’s in the glove compartment.”

In front of the car, Paige turned her head in our direction and squinted into the setting sun. She might’ve heard us, but hopefully the glare would prevent her from seeing anything.

The pain in my hand was starting to lessen. I wasn’t so sure that was a good thing. The stink of my own blood inside the heated car rolled my stomach. Sweat trickled into my eyes.

Go, Paige.

“So predictable.” Hill took the crowbar from my hand then leaned between the seats to open the glove compartment. “You didn’t think to secure it better before your jaunt into the library? Maybe I need to start adding interest to the debt that’s owed me so you’ll take better care of what’s mine. Or maybe we need to end our little arrangement, and I’ll just turn over all the photos—”

“We made a deal.” I tore my gaze from Paige to stare him down. “And interest wasn’t part of it.”

“Neither was missing our appointment.”

Paige turned back around and disappeared behind a van.

“I’ll do better next time,” I said again, unable to keep the relief out of my voice.

“See that you do.” He dislodged the crowbar from between my knuckles.

I fell back in my seat and groaned. Blood leaked from my hand in sticky, nauseating pools that soaked through my jeans. Oh, how I wanted to kill him. Then there would be no more Hill, no more hell for the part of my family I cared about most, no more hidden secrets.

Hill dropped another package into the front passenger seat, this one wrapped in plastic and smaller than the one he’d taken, and readjusted his dinner jacket. “You’ll make the delivery tonight at a yellow house. Give it to Slim and no one else.”

He rattled off an address that I committed to memory around the haze of pain. I nodded my understanding.

Then, with his white, spotless gloves, he slithered out of the car, only to lean back in seconds later. “Let’s behave ourselves, shall we, Sam? Because when I add interest to debts, I usually take a few fingers, too.”




I was pretty sure that when I’d stepped back in time to the city streets where I grew up, the molecules in my body had merged with someone else’s, someone much more daring and flirtatious than I ever was. That was not me in the public library back there, caged between a stranger’s well-muscled arms and a shelf of Lisa Montgomery paperbacks, while I wished he would just kiss me already.

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