Ashley Wilkins has done some bad things, torturing people until they give him the information he wants, but all that was in his past. Making amends for all those wrong doings will never happen. He knows that, but that doesn’t stop him from trying, which is why he takes a break from interrogation to save Iain Liron’s life. Iain is a recovering drug addict who understands all too well what finding forgiveness means. Can he make Ash see that he’s more than just his past sins?
What Ashley—Ash to his friends—Wilkins wasn’t good at was waiting, especially not in a dark foyer of an apartment building that smelled like bleach cleaner and someone’s spicy cologne. Of course, those smells could be worse, so he wasn’t necessarily complaining. The cologne stuffed up his nose and threatened to make him sneeze, though.
What was worse, he was wearing a cheap suit that made him look like a cop, or rather it made him look like he worked for Mize. He even had his old agency badge in his pocket. It was useless to him except when he wanted to fool someone into thinking he was on their side. He hated wearing suits, especially the one he had on. It was scratchy around the collar.
He sighed and shifted from one foot to another. Damn shoes weren’t the most comfortable he had ever worn. They were black, and dressed up his clothing nicely. The only problem was the soles felt as if he were walking on bricks.
Needless to say, he didn’t dress up very often. To say he didn’t like it was an understatement.
“Still not home yet?” Germ’s voice came through the communication device in Ash’s ear. Germ was like God’s nerdy little sidekick. He was always there whenever a Demon Elite member had to go on a mission. The only time he wasn’t the voice of God for Ash was during an interrogation. That was because Ash needed to concentrate on the person in front of him when he did that, so Germ was too much of a distraction.
“Negative.” He stood there waiting for Bradley Kessler to come home from work. It just so happened that Kessler had bought Iain Liron as a sex slave. Mize hadn’t delivered his new toy yet.
“Don’t you wonder why a workaholic needs to buy a person? Where is he going to find the time?”
“Kessler is a psychopath. The only reason he works so much is to keep up appearances. He’s obsessed with getting his rocks off, and that’s probably getting harder and harder to do, which is why he needs a slave,” Ash whispered.
“I forgot how freaking good you are at reading people.”
Ash made a noncommittal noise in the back of his throat. “My question is how does he expect to get away with it? How are any of them getting away with it?”
Kessler couldn’t keep a person against his or her will in an apartment building in the city. He’d get caught eventually, unless he was just that arrogant. Mize was either making the buyer alter the environment, or she was altering the person. The latter would explain why Kessler didn’t have Iain in his possession yet.
“I’ll talk to Derek about investigating that. Good question, by the way.”
Just the thought of someone conditioning the slaves, torturing them so they would learn to comply, made Ash’s skin crawl. His stomach rolled a little and nausea threatened his system. “Takes a fucker to know a fucker, right?”
“Shut up. You’re not a douche nozzle like Kessler. You never were.”
“I’m just saying torturing people is my thing, so I know all about it. This whole slavery business is all just torture tactics regardless of their reasoning. Getting people to do what you want them to do by any means necessary.”
“I love it when you get all smart. It’s so sexy. Say something else smart.”
“Eww, not that. That’s not sexy.”
“Well, that’s where I excel.”
“Not true. You know about all kinds of other things.”
Yeah, he really didn’t. He’d graduated high school with average grades. The military had been the best bet for him if he didn’t want to be stuck on the farm for the rest of his life. At the time, he’d fought taking over the farm as if it were a prison.
“Well then, maybe you can stand in my office with your clothes off. When you come back home, I mean. Because you do have that going for you too.” Germ was the flirtiest person he had ever met in his life. Fitting in with the team was the number one goal for Germ and one he always thought he failed at, which wasn’t true at all. He was different than everyone else but also the most valuable team member they had because of it. It was a good thing he never took it any further than flirting, though, at least with Ash. Dude was like a brother. He didn’t think the flirting went any farther with any of the other guys on the team either, but didn’t know that for sure.
“I’m taking your silence for a yes.”
“We’re not any closer to finding Iain, by the way.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Figured you’d want to know, considering you’re catching his buyer.”
“Not really.” Ash leaned against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest. Ash’s indifference wasn’t entirely accurate. He wanted to find Iain as much as any of the other members of the team. Iain was the brother of Raven, who was a team member, so that automatically made Iain top priority for all of them, Ash included. Other than that, Ash had no reason to care one way or another.
“Your cold attitude isn’t fooling me.”
“If it doesn’t directly pertain to the job I’m doing right now, I don’t need to know.”
“Whatever. You’re a fucking softy.”
“Shut up, Germ.”
“Shutting up. Hey, guess what?” Germ didn’t even wait for Ash to answer. He just continued talking. “Reggie is in his room right now. He’s trying on all the clothes we bought him.”
Ash smiled. “Well, he needed clothes.”
“Thanks for helping with the expense of it. You didn’t have to.”
“I wanted too. Guy’s been through enough. Got to pay back all that bad shit I did somehow, right?”