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Mary Stone - Shadow's Siege (Shadow Island FBI Mystery Series Book 15)

A Taste of… Shadow’s Siege

Chapter One

Attorney Braden Moore stood in his elegant, recently remodeled Spring Street office, rethinking his life choices. He’d never been able to tell his mom no, which should have been a good thing. Living like that should’ve made him a good person, a good son.

But did it? Of course not.

His mom was a degenerate gambler, and the relentless pressure to cover his mother’s gambling debts had pushed him into the arms of a small-town law firm, a move that seemed rational at the time. The firm, owned by Steven Campbell, a former classmate from law school, had appeared to be Braden’s lifeline—a chance to settle the debts and move forward.

Yet, as he watched his printer spew out page after page, he couldn’t shake the feeling that this ‘lifeline’ was more of a noose. Joining Campbell’s firm had thrust him into the murky waters of legal and moral ambiguity, far from the noble career he’d envisioned.

Making partner at an established firm before he was forty was a feat that impressed his year mates. They didn’t know that Campbell had done shady business with his clients or that his dealings got him killed only one month after Braden had started, leaving him the sole owner of the firm.

While cleaning out Campbell’s files, Braden had come across a bunch of familiar names. People who’d acted as witnesses, offered alibis, or posted bonds for Steven’s clients. That was when he started piecing things together. Albert Gilroy’s shady dealings, the work the firm did for the Yacht Club…these were damning details, hiding in plain sight in Campbell’s papers.

Unknowingly, Braden had agreed to work for a criminal organization—and now he knew way more than any criminal defense attorney should’ve ever known about their clients and their client’s associates.

When his phone started ringing around two that morning, he knew without checking what it meant. Another one of the Yacht Club goons had gotten into trouble, and they were expecting him to fix the problem.

After recognizing the caller, he’d listened to the rain pattering against the window, fearing it was the sound of someone breaking in and coming for him. This went on for hours as he tossed and turned. Sleep never returned, but he’d hatched a plan that he didn’t know if he’d have the guts to follow through on—though as it turned out, he did.

He’d been ignoring their calls for ten hours now.

Refusing to help when they called was a death sentence. Although he’d been formulating a plan since Campbell had been gunned down, the clock didn’t start officially ticking until the first call. He was getting the hell out of Dodge.

At the moment, his mom didn’t owe anyone, and she swore she was in a twelve-step program to kick her addiction. That only ever lasted until the next sporting event, though.

Sighing, he knelt by the printer to reload it with paper. As soon as he closed the cover, it immediately began to whir again. He plucked up each document as it emerged.

With the rapid uptick in clients who’d been coming through his door and calling him at all hours over the past weeks, the Yacht Club seemed to be sinking fast. Considering how many of his clients had “accidents” in jail afterward, Braden didn’t want to go down with the ship.

Attorney-client privilege only extended to facts shared between a client and their lawyer. Nothing Braden had incidentally overheard during Albert Gilroy’s temper tantrums was covered. He’d confirmed this technicality with a friend who had nothing to do with the sordid business on Shadow Island.

Braden cursed the thin walls of the office he’d briefly shared with Campbell. Thanks to lousy insulation and cheap materials, he’d learned information never meant for him. And now he stood in front of the printer playing “catch the evidence.”

He pulled files from a filing cabinet to add to the fresh stack of documents he’d printed. His perfectly tailored suit contrasted with his unkempt hair, and the dark circles under his eyes betrayed his inner turmoil.

So what if I look like hell? I’m taking my freedom.

Since first getting accepted into law school, his life had been a constant struggle between codependently helping his mother with her debts and practicing the kind of law he’d always dreamed about. Ultimately, he’d chosen his mother, a decision that now had him running for his life.

He turned to his desk. On the edge of the polished cherrywood surface sat a box filled with bulging folders. The first part of his plan was put together—it was his paycheck off the island and his shot to get his mom into a real recovery program instead of an amateur group run by volunteers in a church basement.

Each folder was filled with meticulous documentation he’d been compiling for the last few weeks. He knew the names of the people involved in the Yacht Club. It had taken just a little bit of digging to learn even more. At first, it had only been for his own morbid curiosity.

The thing about the low-level criminals he usually represented was they loved to talk. They especially enjoyed talking about their bosses. And once they thought their lawyer couldn’t share that information, they blathered on and on about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Braden hadn’t explained to them the finer details of attorney-client privilege. For instance, crimes committed by other people weren’t covered, especially if those crimes were part of an ongoing criminal act. Like Oswald Chapman’s loan sharking. Or the blackmail schemes run by several other members.

The media was keyed into many of the names in his burgeoning files. And they’d pay top dollar for information exposing the powerful and prestigious elitists as nothing more than perverts and criminals.

Shining a spotlight on the breadth and depth of criminal activity on Shadow Island would serve multiple purposes. Braden would take down the Yacht Club so no one would be left to retaliate. He’d start his new life without looking over his shoulder. And he’d bank some real money to help his mother with an addiction she was unable to kick.

His hand lingered on an exceptionally large file. Only recently had he been able to connect the dots of a myriad of crimes all the way back to Jim and Vera Sawyer. His tired eyes scanned the pages. The Sawyers had put a hell of a lot of effort into concealing their positions within the criminal organization. Everyone in the club had participated in obscuring their involvement. But he’d been able to pull back the curtain and get a glimpse into their true selves.

They owned three homes, but only one was in their name. Their other assets were buried deeply within shell companies or offshore accounts. Their blue-collar son wasn’t as he’d appeared either.

But I found them. And after I sell this information to the media, I’ll make a fortune. Hell, I could probably get a book deal out of it.

And with the sordid details in these files, local jurisdictions and the Feds could begin to bring closure to the countless victims and their families. What he was doing was reckless, but so much good would come from his actions. And he’d be free to start over as a reputable lawyer.

Braden’s hands trembled as he sorted through the files. His knowledge of the Sawyers’ secret made him a target, and it sent shivers down his spine. Although he’d never personally met any of the Sawyers, the threat they posed was real.

But if I haven’t dealt with them, I shouldn’t even be on their radar. Maybe I’m freaking out over nothing.

None of Braden’s clients lived on Shadow Island, since they were low-level members of the organization. And he made sure to keep their names out of the files he’d assembled. He was paid a retainer by a shell company that contacted him when they needed representation. Then he showed up and defended them. That was all he did. Jim and Vera Sawyer probably didn’t even know who he was.

That was something he was thankful for. He was a nobody who neglected to answer a phone call. It was trivial.

Still, though. That one small act of defiance might draw attention. Getting noticed by “the bosses” led to a short life and painful death. That was common knowledge among his clients, even the more hardened ones.

He’d been regaled with stories, passed down through the ranks, of what the Sawyers did to anyone who disappointed or crossed them.

I could move my practice to Richmond and never look back.

For half a year, he’d taken care of these Yacht Club idiots. They talked to him like he wasn’t even human, put on Earth to serve them. It would feel poetic to end up on top while everyone else burned.

Braden straightened his suit jacket and adjusted his tie, preparing to leave for his appointment with an editor from the Daily Press. The journalist had practically drooled over the phone at the idea of digging up dirt on Albert Gilroy. After running a front-page article about the man after his death, this would be the perfect “follow-up” piece.

The rain had let up, so he wouldn’t need to struggle with an umbrella to protect the documents, but the box was heavy, and he only had two arms.

Once again, he wished he’d hired an intern or a receptionist who could open doors and run errands. Campbell had been adamant about not employing anyone else in the office, though. And since his partner had been gunned down in the street right outside their building, Braden hadn’t been able to find anyone willing to work for him.

Eyeing the heavy box, he decided to open the door before worrying about schlepping the documents. He was reaching for the handle when the door swung outward, revealing a hulking figure whose broad shoulders blocked his path.

Braden’s blood ran cold, his hand instinctively pulling back. Fear laced his every word as he stammered them out. “Who are you? What do you want?”

After an entire career of working with criminals, he’d learned to spot the difference between braggarts, two-bit thugs, and the ones who were truly dangerous. The hulk of a man staring at him definitely fell into that third category.

“I’m sorry, I’m just leaving to meet a client. You’ll have to come back at another time. Let me check my calendar.” Words had always been Braden’s best defense, and he deployed them to his advantage as he backed around his desk to put some distance between them.

The stranger’s eyes glinted with menace as he closed the door, his movements deliberate and slow. “Sit down.” His voice was low and gravelly.

Braden’s legs trembled as he obeyed the order, sinking into his chair. Was this related to those phone calls he’d been ignoring? If he could convince this hulk of a human that he wasn’t afraid, maybe he could get out of this alive. “As I said, I have an appointment with a client on the mainland, but I could pencil you in for sometime this evening. How does six o’clock sound?”

There was no way Braden was going to be back by six. If things went well, he might never come back. He’d use the weekend to disappear while movers boxed up everything for him. And he was more than ready to move on and start his life away from this place. He picked up his pencil and held it over his calendar, waiting for a response.

The man strode over to the desk, his gaze falling on the box of papers. With a wry smile, he flicked the lid off with a meaty paw and started rummaging around.

“Quite the collection you’ve got here. Where exactly were you planning to go with all this?” The man’s mocking tone turned Braden’s guts into an acid bath.

Still, he wasn’t going to show just how shaken he was. “Those are confidential papers for a client who’s waiting, as I’ve said.” Braden leaned forward, ready to snatch the box away from the man. “Please don’t touch them.”

“That’s a pretty little lie. But we both know there’s no client waiting for you. In fact, you’ve been ducking your calls for hours. And our bosses aren’t too happy about that.”

Our bosses?

Desperation clawed at Braden’s insides, his mind racing with thoughts of self-preservation. This guy could be fishing for information. “I never got an email from them. If you really work for my client,” he stressed the word, “and they have a case they want to work on, they should make contact with me in the usual way.”

The hulk laughed as he produced a gun from under his jacket, leveling it at Braden’s chest. “The Yacht Club has decided that emails aren’t personal enough for their current needs. That’s why they sent me.”

Braden blinked several times, trying to shake himself out of the shock settling into his system. His gaze stayed locked on the gun’s silencer, while his brain kept chanting the same thing over and over.

This can’t be happening. Not when I’m so close to starting a new life.

He didn’t recognize the man, so he was betting he was outside help. Maybe Braden could use that to his advantage.

“Look, let me be frank. I’m sure you’ve only recently been hired by the Yacht Club. I’m their defense attorney and know every one of their members. So trust me when I say this is not an organization you want to be associated with. They have more enemies than friends now.”

The hulk of a man shrugged that off. “I don’t need friends. Or even friends of friends. I’m only working for the Yacht Club because they pay me well and I find the work interesting.” He flipped through the box of files, acting like he was reading them. But all the while, his focus stayed on Braden, and the gun never wavered.

Braden ignored the growing pressure in his bladder and kept the smile plastered on his face.

“It’s only their exterior that’s shiny.” He tapped the stack of papers that the hulk had been looking through. “Their bank accounts are nearly empty. Members in jail. Members who went to jail but died while waiting for court. These people have no loyalty.”

The man didn’t even blink. “Why should I believe you?”

Braden frowned, shaking his head. Juries always responded well to this act. “My partner was shot dead in the street while his client hid behind him. If you work for them, you’ll end up the same. Like the man before you. Dwight Stokely knew jumping to his death was a kinder way to go than at the hands of the Yacht Club. I’m choosing a smarter way out. One where I’m not looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. You could too.”

“I could?”

Braden grinned, certain he’d won over his would-be killer.

The hulk leaned in, eyes narrowed. “The club’s accounts are nearly empty because they sent all their money to me.” His lips parted, showing his straight, pearly-white teeth as he drew out that last word. “I’m the person you call when you need a big cleanup. And you’re the first person on my to-do list.”

Ice filled Braden’s veins, and his hands started to shake. “Please.” His voice was barely above a whisper as he rose from his seat. “I…I have money. I can pay you whatever they paid. And you can tell them I’m dead. Just let me go.”

“You’d pay me the same amount of money they’re paying me? There’s only one problem with that.” A thoughtful expression crossed his face. “They won’t take me at my word that you’re dead. They’ll want proof.”

Without hesitation, he pulled the trigger. The silenced gunshot sounded like a muffled cough in the small office, but its impact was unmistakable.

Pain seared through Braden’s chest as he crumpled to the floor behind his desk. He clutched the wound, desperate to staunch the flow of blood. He looked down. His shirt was red. He had a moment to wonder if he should pretend to be dead. But that plan was foiled as soon as he started gasping for air.

The assassin approached him with an eerie calmness and set a duffel bag on his desk. He tucked the gun away somewhere under his jacket. Donning a pair of gloves, he pulled out a set of tools from the duffel before moving to Braden’s computer, which he popped open, removing the hard drive before closing it. Such an easy and neat solution.

Squatting down, the man seemed to be assessing Braden’s injuries. “I can be bought. But only by one person at a time. And the deal she gave me is a lot better than what you’re offering anyway.”

She?

There was only one she that could have done this.

Swallowing hard, Braden tried to think of something else to say as the big man pulled a thin knife from behind his back. Braden instinctively tried to move away but failed. It was like his mind and body were no longer connected. Was this shock? His brain trying to distract him from the fatal pain in his chest?

The hulk’s meaty fingers wrapped around Braden’s jaw and squeezed, prying his mouth open.

In horror, Braden watched the knife enter his mouth. There was a sharp jabbing sensation, minor compared to the agony in his chest, but intensifying in pain as the man began to saw.

“You’re not going to need this anymore.” Chuckling, the man retrieved Braden’s severed tongue from his mouth.

Choking as blood ravaged the hollowed-out space in his mouth, Braden tried to scream. Viscous gurgling sounds were all he could manage.

The man placed the tongue in a clear plastic bag before wiping his hands with several prepackaged hand wipes and drying them with a towel he’d pulled from his duffel.

After that, the room and the hulking monster before Braden faded to black.

The last sound he heard was the hum of the paper shredder coming to life. A cruel mockery of his failed escape plan.

Chapter Two

“Rebecca, my parents are the Yacht Club.”

Those words echoed in Sheriff Rebecca West’s head, as persistent and unsettling as the sterile buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead. The lights cast a harsh glare on the cold metal table separating her and Senior Deputy Hoyt Frost from their prisoner, Ryker Sawyer. As Rebecca locked eyes with Ryker—the man she’d called her boyfriend until last night—her heart ached with a mixture of hurt, sadness, betrayal, and anger.

How could I have been so foolish?

It was one o’clock in the afternoon, but it might as well have been the depths of night in the windowless interrogation room. The only clue that a world existed outside came from the occasional burst of heavy rain pelting the roof.

“Ryker.” Her voice was steady despite her roiling emotions. “You know as well as I do that it’s time to bring down your parents and the Yacht Club. They tried to get you and Luka Reynold to kill me.”

“I wasn’t going to kill you. I was told to leave the door unlocked so Luka could get in, but then I was going to stop him. You heard me tell him to stop.” He tried to smile. “That has to count for something, right?”

Her fists clenched under the table. Those damn adorable dimples made him look so sweet. Now she was certain he used them to hide his rotten core. She ignored his comment and his innocent smile. “Count for something? You aided a fugitive murderer to get into my home. You weren’t even supposed to be there.”

“Rebecca’s right.” Hoyt leaned forward. “The Aqua Mafia’s collapsing anyway. The club’s a laughingstock on the island. The boogeyman in the shadows isn’t so scary now. Especially since so many of the members have gone to jail or been killed, half of it from simple infighting.”

“I always hated it when you called the Yacht Club the Aqua Mafia. It’s such a juvenile and demeaning name.” Ryker fidgeted in his seat, dropping his focus to his handcuffed wrists.

“It seems fitting for a criminal organization that targets underage girls and whose members act like frat boys on spring break,” Rebecca snapped back.

She was hurt, but more than that, she was angry. At him. At his parents. At the fate that had brought her here to this town.

All she’d wanted was a vacation to heal and recover after she’d tracked down her parents’ killers and nearly died herself. The space and time to plan her future. Instead, she’d become embroiled in something far more complicated than what she’d left behind.

Hoyt lifted his hand, signaling her to back down. She was only here to get Ryker talking. He was the one who was supposed to be steering the interview. She pulled back, letting him take over.

Lifting his hat from his head, Hoyt ran his hand through his hair before setting it back down again. “We have Wallace’s files, and we’re searching several of their yachts as we speak, and it won’t take us long to dig through everything on your phone. And we’ve got Luka Reynold’s phone too. But we still need direct evidence that your parents are in charge. Your testimony can change that.”

Ryker shook his head, his jaw set stubbornly. “You don’t understand. My parents always get what they want. Testifying against them would make me disloyal, and I refuse to be disloyal, no matter what you think of me. You’re asking me to crucify myself.”

“Disloyal?” Rebecca clenched her jaw tighter. “What about what you did to me? You made me think you cared, tricked me into having feelings for you. I let you and Humphrey move into my house. Your dog is still there because he has nowhere else to go!”

“My dog?” His shrug was so casual, so unnerving. “Humphrey picked sides the day he met you on the beach. And he picked them again during the fight last night. Maybe Humphrey knows me better than anyone. Besides, I already said you can keep him.”

He didn’t seem to care about the dog any more than he cared about her. Was that what being raised by sociopaths did to a person? As her cheeks heated, Rebecca pushed her chair back to stand. Hoyt shot her a look, forcing her back down into the seat.

She spoke without thinking. “You don’t even give a shit about the dog.”

Ryker stared at her as if she’d sprouted a new head. “It would’ve been nice if Humphrey had shown me unconditional love. But he never warmed up to me. And it’s not like I tossed him overboard or in the furnace or anything. I’m not as mean as my mom.”

Rebecca felt like her eyes would bulge out of her skull. “Your mom? Tossed him overboard? What are you saying?” She couldn’t even force herself to ask about the furnace. Just the idea of Humphrey’s sweet face as he was tossed anywhere was enough to make her blood boil. And Ryker spoke like it was the most normal thing in the world.

Ryker’s gaze shifted from her to Hoyt as if looking for help.

Hoyt stared at him, his jaw clenched.

“It’s not like they treated me that bad.” Ryker straightened, coming to his family’s defense. “When they tossed me overboard, they always made sure there was at least a raft being pulled behind the boat to swim to. And that only happened when they were really pissed off.”

So many things were making a lot more sense to Rebecca now, hearing that tiny bit about his childhood. She almost felt sorry for him. In her memories, she could still see the gangly little boy she played seaweed tag with. That same boy would get tossed into the ocean by his parents when he misbehaved.

It was more proof that she never really knew Ryker the way she thought she did.

Something in their faces must’ve alerted him, because Ryker suddenly shut down. “I need to call my lawyer again. He should’ve been here by now.”

That was true enough. Both Ryker and Luka Reynold had been making calls to their lawyer all morning. None of them had been answered.

“Fine. Deputy Trent Locke will supervise your call.” Hoyt stood and looked Ryker up and down with a sneer. “A man like you isn’t worthy of a good boy like Humphrey.” He motioned for Rebecca to stand.

Those words soothed her enough that she could walk outside without feeling the urge to commit violence.

“You heard him.” She spoke as soon as the door was closed. “He said on the record that I can keep Humphrey.” Trent was waiting at the corner by the new metal door to the holding area. Behind that door were the two new cells, one of which was occupied by Luka Reynold. Rebecca waved Trent over.

He held up a landline phone with a lengthy cord. “Does this one want to make a call too? Reynold has been trying all day and says he can’t reach his lawyer.”

“Yeah, same with Ryker. I can’t imagine why their lawyer, or lawyers, would be dodging their calls after they were caught red-handed in the sheriff’s house, trying to kill her while she slept.” She managed a faint smile, but her mind was elsewhere. “Take that to Ryker. And make sure you stay and supervise him.”

“Sure thing, Sheriff.” Trent disappeared into the interrogation room.

Hoyt leaned against the wall in the hallway, folding his arms. “Do you think Ryker really believes his parents will protect him after he crossed them?”

“Probably.” Rebecca sighed. “The Sawyers don’t know their son revealed their involvement. And he seems to be regretting it now. But they have to realize the assassin they sent after me last night failed.”

Failed last night. But how many more times will they try to kill me? And how many more people will they hurt in the process? I’m lucky Viviane followed me home and that Humphrey is so fiercely loyal.

“Maybe it’s time to show Ryker that devotion works both ways,” Hoyt suggested, pulling Rebecca from her thoughts. “Let’s see if his parents are willing to protect their son.”

“Right.” Determination settled into Rebecca’s chest. “We need to bring them down once and for all.”

As they waited for Ryker’s call to end, Rebecca wondered whether the man she had loved could achieve redemption. She hoped, for his sake, he’d find the courage to defy his parents and help bring justice to the countless victims of their ruthless organization. But one thing was clear in her mind. She would not let the Sawyers slip through her fingers.

Trent emerged, holding the landline. “Ryker wants to talk again.”

Rebecca exchanged a knowing glance with Hoyt before they entered the interrogation room once more. The atmosphere was heavy, suffocating, as if the air itself had been stripped of life.

“Lawyer didn’t answer.” Ryker muttered, his voice hollow and distant. His eyes were downcast, and his hands lay limp on the table. He looked broken, like a puppet whose strings had been cut.

“Want to try someone else?” Rebecca’s tone was steady despite the turmoil raging within.

Ryker remained silent, defeated resignation etched across his face.

Of course, Rebecca thought, realization dawning. He’d spent his entire life following his parents’ rules, trusting only the people they approved. It made sense that the criminal organization would have a lawyer on retainer. He and Reynold had to be calling the same guy.

Who was their lawyer?

It only took a moment for his name to come to her. Braden Moore.

The tall, well-dressed man who joined Steven Campbell’s law firm about a month before Campbell’s untimely death back in June. Albert Gilroy’s lawyer and obedient guard dog had been killed. With Campbell dead, Moore hadn’t missed a beat. He became the sole attorney for the Aqua Mafia. It would make sense he’d be the one they were trying to get ahold of.

“Listen, Ryker.” Rebecca forced herself to maintain eye contact as she took her seat again. “You’re in a bad situation no matter what. Cooperation might be your only chance. And it’s the least you can do after everything.”

Ryker hesitated, biting his lip.

Rebecca found it disturbing to watch him. His every move and mannerism were foreign to her. Was he putting on an act right now? Or was this who Ryker Sawyer had always been?

Hoyt dropped into the seat next to her, leaning back and letting her take the lead for now.

Rebecca leaned forward. “Your parents instilled loyalty into you since birth, but they have no qualms about sacrificing you. Or anyone else. They treat loyalty with contempt. Your only real options with them are choosing between a fast or slow death.”

“Actively working against them is a betrayal on another level altogether. They’d make me wish I were dead.” Ryker shook his head, his eyes unfocused.

“Unless you provide enough information that they can never find you again.”

“Rebecca’s right.” Hoyt interjected in a firm voice. “If you still don’t want to cooperate, maybe a couple of nights in state jail will change your mind. You know what happened to all the other members who went there. They’re dead now.”

The weight of his words hung in the air like an executioner’s axe. Ryker’s gaze flickered back and forth between Rebecca and Hoyt, desperation seeping into his eyes. It was clear from his expression that he knew they were right. But could he find the strength to defy his parents?

Considering the way he’d claimed to have been punished as a child, it’d take a miracle for him to be willing. But Rebecca had seen glimpses of a caring person before.

Was that only an illusion?

She had no answer for that question.

“You’re not a dog, Ryker.” Hoyt clenched a fist. “Why are you protecting people who treat you worse than one?”

Tears glistened at the corners of Ryker’s eyes as his head shook.

It was so small a movement, Rebecca wasn’t certain if it was him denying Hoyt’s words or if he was shaking in fear.

“They made sure there was a boat.” His voice was small and strained. “There was always a boat for me to swim to. And I could hide on that until they cooled down. Then, no matter how many days it took, they always pulled me back in. My parents never left me behind. They won’t leave me behind now.”

Rebecca had no idea what to say in the face of such insanity and pain. Days? They’d left him on a small boat being towed behind their yacht for days?

What Ryker was describing was torture. Isolation, threat of death, exposure to the elements, possibly sleep deprivation. She’d glimpsed the face of the man she knew so well as he’d spoken those words.

“Ryker. Look around you.” Hoyt spread his arms wide. “They did leave you behind. There is no boat. There is no help coming. Your lawyer isn’t taking your calls. Why do you think that is? He’s their lawyer, too, isn’t he?”

He bit his lower lip, keeping his eyes focused on the table in front of him.

Hoyt leaned forward, putting his face close to Ryker’s. “And I wouldn’t treat my worst enemy the way they treated you when you were only a kid. That’s child abuse. Torture. If that happened to an enemy combatant, it would be a war crime. You were just a child. I understand you want to believe your parents are going to pull you back in. But you’re not a kid anymore. And your parents are only going to save themselves.”

“Fine.” The whispered word escaped Ryker’s lips on an exhale. “I’ll testify.”

A bittersweet sense of triumph washed over Rebecca. Maybe there was someone good buried under all the twisted training he’d received. It was a small victory, but one that brought them closer to dismantling the Sawyers’ criminal empire. Yet she couldn’t shake the sorrow of losing the man she once loved to the monsters they fought against.

“Thank you.” Her gratitude was sincere, but her heart felt heavy with the knowledge that no matter the outcome, their lives would never be the same again.

Shadow Island is under siege.

Just a few short months ago, Sheriff Rebecca West thought her toughest battles were behind her. But nothing could have prepared her for the turmoil she’s faced since coming to Shadow Island. Attempts on her life. Heartbreak. Betrayal. And that’s just the beginning.

The worst is yet to come.

Still reeling from the shocking discovery of who’s behind Shadow Island’s exclusive and depraved “men’s” club, Rebecca is determined to take them down. There’s only one problem. One by one, the members end up dead. Tongues cut out, hands chopped off—the message is clear… Read More