CuffedBy: Joanna Blake
“Are you cold?”
She’d insisted on giving me back my jacket but I was more than happy to hand it back to her. It had smelled so good when I put it on in the parking lot. I had to stop myself from sniffing it.
Like honeysuckle and sunshine.
I grimaced, glad no one could hear my thoughts. I sounded ridiculous. Like some love-struck hero in a romance novel.
She didn’t look fine. She looked tired and scared and cold. Probably hungry too.
“When is the last time you ate?”
She took a sip of her coffee and shook her head again.
She almost rolled her eyes at me and I had a moment of sympathy for Mason. He’d brought this girl up. And I had a feeling that she could give as good as she got. Maybe it was the stubborn little chin, but I could tell Casey Jones had backbone.
I grinned at the thought of the burly biker trying to tell the girl she was grounded.
“Before my shift. It got busy and I just- forgot.”
Well, fuck. No wonder she looked woozy. I decided to get her something to eat as soon as we got through the interview. Before I showed her the mugshots.
Considering how uncommunicative she was being, I had a feeling that wasn’t going to be productive. But I was doing this by the book with zero deviation.
I didn’t want anyone saying I was going easy on her because I wanted to toss her over my shoulder and run off with her. Even if it was true.
She was so small, I could probably lift her with one arm.
I leaned back and stared at her.
“Not one thing. No fights. In a biker bar?”
“Not that I noticed.”
Well, this was going nowhere.
“So when did you find out about the body?”
“When I heard the sirens.”
I frowned. It was possible that she hadn’t seen anything. But highly unlikely. For her sake I almost wished it was true.
For a second, I found myself wondering what she would think of me if we had met under other circumstances. If a cute little thing like her would consider a stiff like me.
Especially considering the crowd she ran with.
But the truth was, I would never let myself get close enough to find out. I hated them too much. All of them.
“Did you wait on the victim?”
“I still don’t know who the victim is.”
I slid a picture across the table. It had been easy to find. Forensics had taken the guy’s fingerprints before they even carted the body off.
And the vic had a rap sheet a mile long.
“Dustin Scott. He’s a pretty scummy character.” I smiled grimly, raising my eyebrows. “Or, he was.”
She chewed her lip and I wondered again how she’d ended up in this mess. She could do a hell of a lot better than waiting tables in a dive bar, that was for sure.
“He was at the bar I think. Did he have a beard?”
I shook my head. I had a feeling she was deflecting. But that didn’t mean anything. She could just be shaken up because there’d been a damn murder.
Or because she was in an interrogation room. They weren’t exactly designed to be comfortable.
But that wasn’t what my gut was telling me.
My gut was telling me that she knew something. Maybe, just maybe, she knew everything.
She was the only person who had a reason to be in the back, near where I’d found the drag marks and blood. There wasn’t another waitress on that night, and the bartender had sworn up and down he never left the bar except to whiz.
Fuck it, I might as well get on with it.
“Do you know this man?”
I pushed the photo of Dante across the table. I saw her stiffen up. She barely glanced at it. She acted like it was a snake that might bite her.
Well, that answered that. She knew him alright. I felt a weird heavy feeling settle in my gut. It felt like dread.
Her slender shoulders lifted in an imperceptible shrug.
“He comes in sometimes.”
“Do you know who he is?”
She looked at me and I saw it. She did know. I saw how lost and scared she was. And how tough. But also how good.
And dammit it if I didn’t want to take care of her.
“He’s a biker.”
I leaned back in my seat and smiled at her. I couldn’t help it. I’d wanted to smile since the moment I set eyes on her.
“He’s the president of the Hell Raisers.”
She chewed her lip again and I stared, the gesture sending a hot shot of lust right to my groin. Something about that pouty lower lip… I could do things with that mouth.
Dark and dirty things.
I cleared my throat.
“Let me get you something to eat. I’ll be right back.”
She frowned at me.
“I told you everything.”
“We still need to go over a few more things. You eat, I ask. And then I’ll take you home.”