Home > Taming Cross(12)

Taming Cross(12)
Author: Ella James

I press my lips together as the obvious answer comes to me. “It’s more what I won’t do. I won’t turn in the evidence I have against you, Jim Gunn, and my father. E-mails that you sent to each other about a year ago. I have them in my inbox, and I also have them printed, hidden in a few spots.” One of which is Lizzy’s mother’s house.

“I don’t believe you,” she says, but her words are an angry hiss.

I pull out a piece of paper from my wallet. Within a heartbeat, Priscilla is on me like an oversized koala bear. Her rock-hard breasts punch into my chest, and her fingernails scratch my neck as she grabs for the paper. I accidentally backhand her in the struggle, and I cringe as she falls back against the white couch. She is a terrible person, but obviously I would never intentionally hit her.

I step back, holding the paper up and pointing to her name on it. “Looks like you there.”

Priscilla arches her left eyebrow in a way that reminds me of a Disney villain. “I want to see one of the e-mails in its entirety.”

I shake my head. “But I’ll give you some details. In one of them, you and Jim Gunn mentioned something about your diamond-studded cunt.” I smirk at her, and Priscilla actually colors a little. It’s quickly followed by an unabashed grin, which I feel sure is just for show. “I’m pierced, darling.”

I’m not going to dignify that with a response. “Obviously there’s lots of damning stuff in there too. Jim Gunn isn’t very smart. He actually mentions Ceintos by name in two of the e-mails.”

I slide the paper into my jacket and fold my arms as Priscilla pales.

“That may be, but I never did.”

“You’re pathetic. Not any better than Jim Gunn—”

“This is his business, not mine!”

I shake my head. “That doesn’t change what you did.”

Priscilla’s red mouth twists into an ugly pout. “She was a little bitch. She fucked your father behind your mother’s back. You should be glad she’s gone.”

“No one deserves to be gone that way.” I want to add, except maybe you, but I lock that impulse down. I need her help. “All you have to do is tell me where you think she might be.”

“Why do you care?”

I don’t see why I should lie to her, so I don’t. “I feel like shit for just leaving her there. I found out this happened a year ago, and—”

“If the police find that out, you’ll be in trouble too.”

“I don’t care.” It’s true—I really don’t.

Priscilla rubs her forehead with her manicured hand, and her eyes meet mine. “Believe it or not…I do feel guilt at times. It was a mistake, getting involved with Jim. He brought me down. Made me worse than I really am.”

I nod solemnly, even though I’m not buying any of it.

She stands and steps close to me. Close enough that I can barely breathe for the scent of her toxic perfume. She runs her finger down my jacket, almost like she’s seducing me. I step back.

“I’m sorry about you, too, Cross. We were covering our asses, and we made a terrible decision that night.”

“Well, this is your chance to undo that. Start making better ones. Tell me what happened to Missy King.”

“That Mexican you saw in the barter house that day, the one whose gun you stole—that’s Guapo. He works for Jesus Cientos.” She pauses, scrutinizing my face, like that name might mean something to me. It doesn’t. She smiles. “He’s big-time. The leader of the Cientos Cartel. Usually he just sells the girls, but he kept Missy. He liked the little—” Her mouth closes. “He liked her. During the…time I spent in Mexico” —she must mean when Guapo and his guys ran off with her— “I found out she ran from Jesus. He treated her very well, I heard, but she wasn’t grateful. Some months ago—almost a year maybe; I’m not sure—she ran to…some church.” Priscilla wrinkles her nose, like the word tastes bad. Hell, it probably burns her tongue. “A Catholic church. It’s supposed to be neutral ground for the cartels.”

Priscilla sits back down and drops her head into her hands. “Sometimes when I think about this, I feel ill. It was a bad decision. Very bad.”

“How can I find this church?”

When Priscilla looks up, I’m surprised to see tears in her eyes. “I know someone who might be able to help you, but…it might be dangerous.”

“I don’t care. Tell me.”

“His name is Carlos. He’s a hustler in Mexicali. Most nights he’s at a seedy strip club called La Casa del Amor, off Boulevard Islas Agrarias.”

I pull out my cell phone, jotting down what she said, then cut my eyes up at her. “Seedy by American standards or Mexican standards?”

“Mexican.” She fans her face.

I slip my phone back into my pocket. “And if I want to talk to Carlos, I should…mention you?”

She nods. “Mention Priscilla sent you.”

“He’ll know where the church is?”

She nods. “It’s hardly a secret.”

I think this over. Figure it’s the best I’m going to get. “Thank you, Priscilla.”

I start walking to her door, and she grabs my arm. “You’re not going to tell, are you? You’re not going to share the e-mails? I’m repentant. I’ve helped you.”

I nod. She is helping me. But I’m leaving that decision to Missy King.

 

 

9

 

 

Cross

 

 

I WANT TO head for Mexico as soon as I leave Priscilla’s house, but that would put me crossing the border at night. And I know that’s not a good idea. I exit her neighborhood the back way and spend some time driving around the city, trying to be sure she didn’t put a tail on me. For all I know, my father warned her I might pay her a visit.

When I feel reassured that no one’s on me, I stop at a Target in the burbs and stock up on supplies. Some are for Meredith, some for me. Maybe I go a little overboard with the girl stuff, but if I find her, and I can get her to leave with me, I want to have everything she needs. Everything she hasn’t had this last year—or however long it’s been.

It seems possible that we might have to hide out for a little while, at the shop or maybe somewhere else when we get back to the States. I think I’ve got the essentials covered (I am NOT buying tampons or any of that other stuff), but I’m reminded again that I really don’t have a plan, and what little I’m going on comes from the mouth of deviant porn star.

I wonder, as I cross the parking lot to the Mach, if a year or a year and a half—I don’t know exactly when they sold her—is long enough to wreck someone for good. I hope not.

I check into the Hampton Inn and soak my shoulder in a hot shower. It’s stiff and sore from the way I’m riding the bike, but I don’t feel a pain attack coming on, so it’s whatever.

The next morning I’m up before the sun is. Just can’t sleep. I pull on the jeans I wore yesterday, my scuffed-up boots, and a long-sleeved ringer that's got a grease stain near the collar. I think of Suri as I clomp down the stairs. She still hasn't called me, but I called her last night and left a message.

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