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The Skull Crusher (Skull 2) Penelope Sky 2022/8/5 16:52:02

“My name is Balto.” Might as well speed up the process.

Heath grinned, finding the whole thing funny.

Evan repeated it over the line. “He goes by the name of Balto. He has a twin—” His eyes fell when the line went dead. “Hello?” He kept the phone to his ear even though he knew they were long gone.

“I own the police.” My hands came together at chest level. “I own this city. Now I’m about to own you.”

Evan slowly returned the phone to the receiver, his hand shaking slightly.

“If he didn’t shit his pants before, he definitely did now,” Heath said. “Look at him…he’s about to faint.”

The fear in Evan’s eyes was nothing compared to the suffering Cassini had experienced. She became the slave and wife to a despicable man. Every day she was reminded of the freedom she gave up—for this asshole.

Evan managed to keep his voice steady enough to speak. “What do you want?”

I opened my arms, indicating to him. “This.” I wanted his fear, his terror. Just as Cassini felt helpless, now so did he. There was no one he could turn to for help. I could shoot him right between the eyes without consequence. “Cassini is my woman, and as her man, it’s my job to torture the people who’ve wronged her. That starts with you.”

His chest rose and fell with his labored breaths as the fear burned in his veins. He sat across from a dangerous man he had no chance of defeating. All he could do was wait for my execution.

“Why did you do it? That woman is perfect from head to toe. I would assume you’re gay, but you married someone else three months after Cassini took your place. So explain that to me.” Why would any man do something like that? I would take her place in a heartbeat, and I didn’t even love her. I would never let anything like that happen to her. “What did Lucian have on you?” Evan didn’t seem like he lived in the same world Lucian and I did. He worked at a bank, so he wasn’t a rich tyrant. He was just an average man. So why was he mixed up with a crime lord?

Evan sighed but didn’t answer.

“I suggest you cooperate,” I threatened. “It’ll be a lot more painful if you don’t.”

Evan dropped his gaze, distressed by the interrogation.

A gun could be pointed right between my eyes, and I still wouldn’t flinch. A real man never showed fear, especially when it could be their last moment on this earth. That was when bravery mattered most, when terror tested your dignity. I was disappointed that this man was so weak, that Cassini actually thought she loved him at one point. No, a woman like her could never love a man as pathetic as this. “What did Lucian have on you?” Cassini never told me why Evan was in that position in the first place. It was a huge mystery.

Evan sighed again in defeat. “Don’t hurt my family.”

“Cooperate and I won’t.” I wasn’t going to do it anyway, but he didn’t need to know that.

“You give me your word?”

I grinned. “What makes you think my word is worth anything?”

Terror entered his gaze.

“Lucky for you, I am a man of my word,” I said. “And I won’t hurt your son or your wife. But when this conversation is over, I will hurt you. There’s no getting around that. You subjected Cassini to a life of servitude and torture. You’ll pay the price for that.”

“Don’t kill me,” Evan whispered. “My son needs a father.” Talking about his little boy brought a thin film of moisture to his eyes.

I didn’t feel bad for him. “I won’t kill you. But I’ll definitely hurt you. Now tell me what I want to know.”

Evan was quiet for a while, probably accepting the fact that his family would be safe. But he knew terrible things would happen to him soon enough. “Lucian didn’t have anything on me. He saw me with her, wanted her for himself, and made me a deal.”

My eyes narrowed as the rage pumped in my veins. This wasn’t a story I expected, an explanation that justified Cassini’s treatment. It was a twist I’d never anticipated. “Then what happened?”

“He offered me a lot of money to go along with his plan.” He could hardly meet my gaze as he spoke. “It would be the only way to get Cassini to submit, to be the prisoner he wanted. He’d been watching her for a long time, had become obsessed with her, knew exactly how she would behave if he just took her. So he had to make her do it on her terms…which is why he staged the whole thing.”

I stared at him blankly as the heartbreak hit me right in the chest. Cassini had been tricked, had been manipulated into being a cooperative prisoner. I wasn’t sure who I was angrier at, Lucian or Evan. “How much did he pay you?”