Hitch, Blurb & Chapters 1-2

Blurb:

Obsession never does me any good, especially when it comes to her.

From the first moment I saw her, I knew she was trouble. But that didn’t stop me from chasing her and forcing her to take every inch of me.


The plan was to give in to my desire to conquer her. Then I’d leave her body with the rest of them. 


But Reggie proved to be a feisty little thing. A damn hitch in my plans.

She saw what I was hiding, and she ran.

Funny thing is, I let her live. 


But I knew better than to let her go free. I watched her. Learned her habits. Drank in every depraved act she committed behind closed doors.


Only to find out that someone is blackmailing me.


It has to be her. 


And so, this is what I’m going to do:

I’m going to force Reggie to expose her blackmailing secrets.

And once I get my carnal fill of her, I’m going to put her in the ground.


Author’s Note: This dark romance follows a murderous stalker’s obsession with the heroine. It contains disturbing content. Reader discretion is advised.



Detailed Trigger Warnings for Ch 1-2: non-con, anonymous spice, attempted murder, stalking. For trigger warnings for the rest of the book, please click here.




 CHAPTER 1

Duane 

six months earlier

There she is—a spec on the side of the road, an ant I could crush with my fingertip. But that don’t stop me from staring. Black hair runs down her back in a heap of waves and tangles, dark eyes rimmed with black makeup. Amber skin. Full puckered lips sucking the music right out of the radio. Her jeans are cut off at a jagged angle like she cut them herself, her ass hanging out the back like she don’t mind if anyone looks. In fact, she encourages it. The kind of woman you can have a good time with and never ask her name. A knot in a ball of rope where all you need is a good tug and she’ll roll over every which way for you. 

Her hips sway as she walks inside the only gas station for fifteen miles. The convenience store’s fluorescent lights beam down on her like she’s the star on a movie scene.

I drive past, knowing that she’s a good way to get lost. I don’t need that tonight. I know what’s in the bed of my truck, and I need to get rid of it.

But as my truck rumbles past, the yellow lines on the road transform into visions of black hair wrapped around my fist, makeup bleeding down her cheeks as those dark eyes look up at me. My head spins. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t been with a woman in a long fucking time. Maybe it’s because of what I just got done doing that makes me ache for my length between those pretty puckered lips. 

After what I’ve done tonight, I make an exception. Might as well break another dry spell. Whether it’s blood or come, everyone deserves a reprieve every now and then. 

I swing the truck around and head back to the gas station. 

My truck’s got half a tank, but I fill her up anyway. My boots carry me languidly inside, the rubber soles thudding on the floor. Dirt lays a trail around my shoes, tarnishing the white tiles. Doo-wop music plays, bringing in all of that fifties nostalgia. Bright lights illuminate the space as if to prove that this is a clean, honorable establishment. Even the aisles of chips and candy bars are lined up like they’re ready for an order, except there’s no one in the store, but me. Everything’s immaculate, exactly the last place you’d expect a woman like my little ant to come wandering into. 

But there ain’t no sign of my girl.

I head for the corner to find a bathroom, assuming that’s where she went, but it’s all boxes and cases of coke.

I’m about to head back to my truck—I ought to make sure the tarp is securely fastened so no one sees what’s underneath—when I catch a glimpse of a door leading outside. Slightly ajar. Calling out for another visitor.

Waiting for someone like me.

The door swings open to the back of the building. The moon is full, the night freckled with starlight, the cicadas serenading their lullabies. Still, I don’t see my girl. But then on the backside of the building, I catch another open door, leading to a dark room. Like a white rabbit, I follow the path, bringing myself into a bathroom. Dim fluorescent lights decorate the place, but the only one that works is above the sink, leaving the two stalls pitch-black. 

But I forget all about that, because between the smell of piss and shit, I can smell her, that nauseatingly sweet vanilla drifting through the dirt and depravity. Graffiti and muck cover the walls. Posters ripped in half are glued to the ceiling. And phone numbers are scribbled in the shadows. The damn near opposite of the store inside. 

Both the stalls have floor-to-ceiling barriers, and that don’t help with the lack of light. I check the far stall, but it’s locked, so I go into the one next to the sink. Inside, I find a hole right at my hip level. After a while, my eyes adjust and I can see a patch of amber skin through that opening. 

Then her tongue sticks through the hole, and those cherry-red lips are suctioned and ready for me. 

So Todd wasn’t lying. There is a glory hole on Mariposa Highway.

I unzip my jeans, my rod angry and red. Blood pumps with recklessness in my veins, surging straight to my groin at this anonymous act of perversion. I don’t even know for sure if it’s my black-haired vixen on the other side of the wall. Could be a man. Could be a woman. Could be someone not on the binary at all. But the excitement of it gets to me. This person is a complete stranger, and I’m about to trust myself inside of their mouth. It’s idiotic. Dangerous, even. No sane man would do it.

But goddamn, I want that mouth on me. 

The tip of my length scrapes against the hole’s rough edges, sending a subtle jolt of pain to my spine, but that don’t stop me. I press myself against the wall, letting my cheek and forearms rest against the sticky surface, squeezing the base of length. My balls tighten against my boxers. 

And then that stranger’s tongue settles on my tip, simmering me in a pool of paradise. My eyes roll back into my head as she swallows me up. It’s like getting wrapped in a glove, the way her tongue takes me in. She tries to take me deep—a gagging noise blubbers out of her mouth—and that need sets me off. I thrust against the wall, rattling the whole fucking stall. It’s like an earthquake about to break loose, but I shove forward again, the desire for her throat overwhelming me. I plant my hands on the walls for leverage, grime coating my fingertips, my nails tearing into the paint-caked plastic. 

Then she takes it, past that dangling flesh, down her throat. Pleasure destroys my last sense of control and I unleash, fucking the hole in the wall, because I need more from her. I need her mouth around me until she chokes so bad, tears ruin her makeup, proving that I’m destroying her. Her hands grasp my length, a flash of chipped black polish coating her fingernails, her red lips so full and soft, even this tiny glimpse of her makes her look like a depraved angel. 

Her teeth barely knick my skin, a sharp bite of pain jumping through my bloodstream. Invigorated by her teasing, I thrust against that hole harder and harder, until the wall shakes like it’s about to fall down. My girl gasps so sweet and fearful that I growl a deep and guttural noise. She moans back, just as beastly for me. Her lips reach for my length once again, so eager to please. And at that, the spasms take hold of me, and I pull back, exploding through that hole, no doubt coating her tongue and lips. She licks me up, greedy little thing, moaning again at the taste, and I let out a sigh. My head spins all over again.

Within seconds, the door for the next stall crashes open and slams shut, like the dark-haired devil couldn’t wait to get out, possibly second-guessing her life choices right about now. I don’t blame her. I honestly never thought I’d get that lucky sticking myself in a hole like that. I ought to have gotten the whole thing bitten off, trusting myself with a stranger. But I chuckle, rinsing my hands of it. What’s done is done. 

At the sink, I twist the handle, but the faucet stays dry. I wipe my hands on my jeans, letting those drips of come mix with other brown and red stains on the fabric. After the night I’ve had, stains are the last thing I’m worried about. Nobody’s going to question someone in my line of work. You expect that kind of thing when you own a farm. 

Once I close up the gas tank, I get in the truck, humming to myself. The engine buzzes to life and we return to the road, back to the main task at hand. 

But then I see that little knot of a woman on the side of the road again. I turn off the radio.

Ass jiggling. Black hair shimmering. Those red-stained lips.

She turns over her shoulder, her eyes lit up with the headlights, wiping her mouth on the back of her hand. She puts out her thumb, asking for a ride.

I pull over in front of her. This way, she’s got a chance to listen to her gut instincts and do the right thing by going in the opposite direction. She doesn’t need to get into a truck with a man like me. Anyone with half of a brain would know better than that. 

But the little devil comes forward, opening the passenger door. 

The heat of her sex swarms me. A hint of body odor—don’t blame her, she’s probably been hiking a while—and a whole lot of vanilla, like she bathes in ice cream. A hint of musk on her lips. 

My musk. 

I know it’s her. 

I pull back onto the road.

“Where you heading?” I ask. 

“Stockton.”

After that, it’s silent for a while. The blue tarp flaps in the back of the truck, the ropes binding it down. I don’t bother with the radio; with a woman like her next to me, I don’t need anything else messing with my heart rate. Her legs spread out on the seat, her thighs thick and decadent, and she tips to the side, her cleavage pushing against her arm, barely contained by her black tank top. The seam of her shorts pinches right in the middle of that valley between her thighs, giving away all the angles that show exactly how she’s made down there. I lick my lips. 

She meets my gaze. Her brown eyes are filled with burning wood, drawing me closer to her fire. Asking if I like what I see.

“What’s in Stockton?” I ask.

“A strip club.”

Double Take, the only joint like that for miles. I know the owner. The same man who told me about the glory hole. 

“Some people might say you’d be getting into trouble going on that way,” I say. “You stay away from places like that. Wouldn’t want to see you end up in handcuffs.”

“Maybe I’m done with men telling me what to do,” she says. 

My jaw unhinges for a second, but then I can’t help it: I chuckle. Didn’t expect a phrase so defiant from her, especially directed toward me. She’s got some fight in her; I’ll give her that. But the little devil doesn’t know what I’ve done tonight. I wouldn’t mind putting another body in the back of my truck, especially one as pretty as hers. 

“Then why do it?” I ask. 

The air puffs through her cheeks like she’s angry that I’m even questioning her.

“Why not?” she finally says. “No one’s tying me down anymore.”

“Ah,” I say. “So it’s an ex. Typical, ain’t it? Must be one unlucky son of a bitch.”

“This has nothing to do with any piece of shit ex.”

“You think I’m stupid?” I ask. She raises a brow at me, and I smirk. “A woman like you don’t find herself on the side of the road, taking rides from strangers, unless she’s got an agenda. You got another plan under all that frustration. I can see it in your eyes.”

For a moment, she focuses on the road, the headlights shining on those yellow stripes like they’re made of the sun. Cornfields stretch up on either side of us, rustling from the speed of the truck. 

“Now tell me,” I drawl, “what did he do to lose someone as good as you?

Her bright red lips press into a faint side-smile, pleased with the unexpected compliment. My bulge fills with blood, thinking of those red lips wrapped around me all over again. Does she know that she sucked me off? That I know it’s her? 

The pleasure fades from her expression. 

“He said I’d be homeless without him,” she says under her breath. “That I can’t make it on my own. That I have no skills.” She crosses her arms. “But he’s the one with no skills.”

“That so?”

“I had to fake it every time.”

My length pulses at that thought. A woman like my little devil, neglected by some man who doesn’t know how to give her pleasure? That ain’t right. 

“He wouldn’t even touch me. He just used these vibrators on me, thinking if it was anywhere near my clit, it would get me off,” she scoffs. “But I know what I want, and I’m not going to sit around and wait for it. Not when I don’t need him anymore. I don’t need anyone.” 

And then it hits me. That’s why she found herself in a glory hole. Her man wouldn’t touch her, so she found a way to make another man lose control.

Me.

The tarp flies open, the plastic whipping against the wind like a bird losing velocity. 

“Shit,” I mutter. 

“I’ll fix it,” she says. 

“Don’t—”

But she’s already reaching through the back window, grabbing the tarp. 

She freezes when she sees it.

A lifeless body, lying face up toward the night. The speckled sky reflecting in the corpse’s vacant eyes. 

She turns back to me cautiously. I keep my eyes on the road, my knuckles straining white against the wheel. 

“Listen now,” I say calmly. “This ain’t nothing you need to concern yourself with.”

She smothers her duffel bag against her chest like it can protect her from me. 

“Don’t make this hard on yourself,” I warn.

Her eyes dart to the gun in my holster, as if she’s just now noticing it. I lean to the side, ready to keep her pinned in place. The little devil needs to think harder before she gets into a truck with a stranger next time, though it’s looking like there won’t be a next time. 

But she opens the truck door and rolls onto the asphalt, straight into a muddy ditch. 

I curse under my breath, swinging the truck around and parking along the road. The corn stalks whisper to each other as she disappears inside their arms. I follow her in. The husks catch on my flannel shirt, itching against my bare arms where the sleeves are rolled up. I don’t see her black hair, but I can see the green stalks shimmying back and forth, showing me exactly where she disappeared to. 

She’s a knot I need to pull out. A damn hitch in my plans. 

“I can hear you, girl,” I call out. “You don’t know what you saw.”

I pause for a moment, listening to her movements in the field, and hear her aiming to the right. I anticipate her next movements, moving as slow as the setting sun as I get ahead of her. She pushes the stalks aside, her eyes widening as she sees me. She screams, her fists hitting my chest. I pull her into my arms, blood draining from my head and going straight to my groin as she struggles against me, primal instinct kicking into full drive. Her fist connects with my eye socket and I laugh in her face.

“You got so much fight in you, huh, Hitch?” I ask as I wrestle her wrists to the ground. “But not enough to overtake me.”

“Get off of me,” she hisses.

“It’s not enough. Not when I’ll fuck a hole just to get to your mouth.”

Her eyes widen, realizing it was me back in that glory hole. “Please. Don’t—”

But all it takes is one hand on her throat, and her legs spread for me. Her cheeks purple as I undo my pants. 

“I’m just like you,” I say, gripping my length as I pull myself out of my boxers. “I just want to have a good time. I know what I want, and I’m done neglecting these urges. These needs.

“Stop—” she tries to say, but she can barely get enough air to get the one word out. I smack my free hand against the seam of her shorts, and she instantly parts her thighs even wider like a good little devil. I dig my fingers into the fabric and her flesh until the fabric moves to the side, and there’s enough room that her wet slit runs against my fingers. 

I don’t care what she wants. I don’t care if this is wrong or right. I take what I want. I do what I want. I kill what I want. And If I’m going to kill her, I’m going to fuck her pretty little slit first.

I thrust inside of her wet heat, and she moans.

“Please stop this,” she says, but her eyes are glazed, full of a need so deep that she can’t even tell that her body is calling out to me. Then shame blossoms in her cheeks like a red apple, like she knows she hates herself. Because secretly, she wants this as much as I do.

“That’s the funny thing about this,” I chuckle. I push deeper inside of her, the seam of her shorts rubbing against my groin, my length hitting her cervix. She winces at the pain, the tension dissolving into a warmth so tender that she licks her lips. “I ain’t your ex. I’m going to take what I want, when I want,” I say, my voice deep and gravelly. “And what I want right now is you, Hitch. Then I’m going to kill you.”

She cries like a helpless little rodent trapped in a cage, and I lick her neck in a brazen heat, scraping my teeth against her skin. I shouldn’t be doing this; I swore I would concentrate on the business, only letting myself indulge in blood when it came to work, but this feels right. She fits me perfectly, like the planets aligned just to make her for me, and so, I lose control. Her lips are too sweet. Her hips too plush. Her hair needs my fists. 

My mind overflows with pure, primal desire as her walls clench around me like she’s wringing the blood out of my body. My length twitches for the second time tonight, my come squirting deep inside of her, and for the briefest second, my eyes close, the uncontrollable pleasure taking hold of me—

Then something cold presses against my forehead.

I open my eyes, staring back at my own gun clutched in her hand.

My come never stops filling her up, and she breathes through her lips, staying still as the moon, almost like she wants to savor this moment. The last twitch of seed flicks through me, and her eyes glance down between us, almost as if she expects to see me limp.

But I’ll never be flaccid. Not when it comes to her. I’m still hard and I need more, the blood pumping through me as if every cell in my body knows she’s near.

Adrenaline fuels me, bringing a hint of a grin to my lips. There’s nothing quite like having a beautiful woman put a gun to your head when you’re deep inside of her.

Still, I pull out, knowing it’s what she wants. My fly hangs open, my jeans around my hips as I get to my knees. She keeps the gun aimed at my forehead. The corn stalks rub against my flannel shirt, but with her shorts and tank top, she’s going to be scratched as hell when the sun rises.

What I would give to see her torn up like that, the morning after. 

“You going to shoot?” I ask. “Go on, now. Give yourself some trouble.”

She examines me again. My arousal is obvious; bulging, red, veiny, and ready for her. Her lips pucker, almost like she knows just how much power she has over me: a man torn between desire and survival, the need to fuck her winning over the need to kill her for what we both know she saw. Hunger lingers in her composure as her pupils dilate further, almost like she likes the desire I have for her, even if she mentally denies it. The strong woman inside of her should resist a man who forces her to do anything.

But now, she’s got me trapped.

I hold the base of my rod, squeezing it. Another drop of pre-cum pools on the tip, begging for her. I roll my finger in it, teasing myself as I fixate on that black-haired beauty in all of her glory. Hair tangled. Covered in dirt. Red puckered lips. Come dripping down her thighs. Holding a gun. Ready to kill me. 

“Look at what you do to me,” I growl.

A sharp breath trickles through her throat, bringing her back to her senses. She runs through the field, taking my gun with her. I fist my length, feeding off of her fear, listening to the corn stalks fight against each other as she flees. I find my feet, still clutching myself with my palm, knowing that I’m letting her get away. 

Waiting until I start coming to steal my gun? Hell, she deserves it.

Maybe I want her to get away. 

“Let me give you a warning,” I shout, still touching myself. “If you don’t keep quiet, I’m going to find you.” The remnants of her vanilla scent waft through the night air, and I suck it down like it’s the last breath I’ll ever have. “And I’m going to get my fill. And when I’m done with you, I’m going to put you in the ground.”







CHAPTER 2

Duane

present

Todd motions me into his office, but it ain’t an office. It’s more like a hole in the heart of the strip club, covered in coffee stains, loose papers, and my favorite part: the surveillance cameras. He pulls the edges of his red vest, smoothing the silk over his white button-up shirt, as if formal clothes hide all the illegal shit he does underneath. 

I don’t care what he does. As long as he sticks to our arrangement. 

“I didn’t realize she was coming in today,” he says.

Todd and I—we’ve got ourselves a deal. I give him our product, which he sells to his clients. He gets a bigger than typical cut of the proceeds, and as a bonus on my end, he ‘hires’ me to come watch the surveillance footage, keeping an eye on things. Really, we both know I’m only interested in Secret, his stripper from Oakdale. I like seeing my little Hitch in action.

I’ve been stalking her for months now. 

“You good for a while?” Todd asks.

I tilt my head toward the back of the building. “Left a case in the back of the truck.”

“Exactly what I like to hear.”

He closes the door behind him, leaving me alone. I lock the door, then slide into the office chair, the hinges squeaking as I relax into it.

Unzipping my jeans, I pull myself through the hole in my boxers, playing with the head as I watch Secret enter the private room. It’s my favorite pairing today; Secret and the Mortician. He comes every other week, but he’s the only one she lets touch her.

Lucky son of a bitch. 

The Mortician rests his open palm on his thigh. I learned his legal name once, but don’t care to remember it now. Not like I remember every detail about my Hitch. Regina ‘Reggie’ Flores, known around these parts by her stage name, Secret. Twenty-three-years-old. A young woman who recently broke it off with her sugar daddy. Information I got from the strip club owner.

Her sugar daddy was an idiot, though. Couldn’t keep my woman satisfied, it seems. And how do you let a woman like that go?

But it explains some things, like why a woman like her moves aside her panties as she lowers her sex onto the Mortician’s hand. Sliding back and forth, wet and ready for him. My bulge aches with jealousy. I roll the palm of my hand over the crown of my arousal, using my pre-cum to lubricate the shaft. It’s been six long months since I first met Reggie, and every day, I’ve rubbed myself raw, punishing myself for letting her get away. It was a stupid mistake. I should’ve killed her months ago. A witness living and breathing so close to my farm isn’t the kind of hitch you want screwing up your plans.

But she’s smart enough to know not to betray a man like me, and I’m not dumb enough to forget about her now. When she applied at this club, I took a couple of photocopies of her application. One on my desk back at the farm, and one in my wallet. I like having her info with me. The one in my wallet is creased and grainy as dirt, but it’s my piece of her, so she’s always under my thumb. 

If she keeps her end of the bargain—keeping her mouth shut—then I have no reason to get closer. A woman like her is sure to claw her dainty chipped fingernails into my brain, and I don’t need a weakness like that pulling me apart from the inside out.

But I still dream of fucking her, melting her shame into pure bliss. 

If I get that close again, I’m liable to get out of control. Which is why I stay back here. Behind the screen. Watching her. 

On the screen, the Mortician jerks his head to the side, using his nose to get inside of her bra. His mouth opens, taking in those tender brown nipples like they’re the fountain of youth. Reggie, Secret, Hitch—whatever you want to call her—rolls her head back like she’s losing herself in ecstasy. She’s such a pleasure slut, always hungry for more, ready to take whatever is given to her.

The funny thing is that the Mortician doesn’t even get himself sucked off; he pleases her and pays for the privilege. My girl likes to gut the customers and suck their wallets dry, out for no one, but herself. Always has been a predator.

I like that about her.

Now that my Hitch has had her fill, she takes a break from dancing, settling on the leather sectional next to the Mortician as they drink their beer and wine. I stroke myself, her dark eyes ripping a hole in my soul. But I don’t want to come like this; I want to save it for later. I use some tissues to clean up, then text Todd, letting him know that I’m leaving the club now. 

As I drive through Stockton, I find Reggie’s one-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a cheap complex. Brown paint with white trim. Sparse bushes hacked to bits by the tired landscapers. A neighbor across the hallway waves to me, and I nod back as I let myself inside of Reggie’s home. Her neighbor must think I’m Reggie’s boyfriend, the way I come in and out all the time. Nobody cares to ask for the details around here. You live, you work, you die, and who cares if your neighbor has a big southern boy coming in all hours of the day and night, so long as he pays his bills and nobody’s screaming?

Goddamn, though. I loved hearing Reggie scream.

I suck in the scent of her living space; the remnants of a frozen meal hang in the air, dust and citrus cleaning spray mixing with it. I pry through her fridge, taking mental notes on her menu for the week. Crossing over to the bathroom, I’m drenched in synthetic vanilla fragrance, a stripper’s bread and butter when it comes to seduction. And it should be; it works. Her real estate textbook lies open on her dresser for once; perhaps she’s actually going to register for that state required class this time. 

I lean against one of her bedposts, and the damn thing creaks in annoyance. A holey zebra comforter is thrown over the mattress, probably from when she was a teenager. Pulling the cover off of her pillowcase, I jerk off, my length needy and veiny, as I imagine she’s dancing on top of me, that she’s rubbing her slit against my hand, that I’m the one who get to suck on those pretty brown nipples like she’s going to bring me back from the dead. Images of her sleeping on that same pillow flood my vision as I think of the times I didn’t fuck her in her sleep, but jerked off inches away from her face. She’s a heavy sleeper, so unaware of the evil she’s within arm’s reach of. A man who could strangle her to death and come from the pleasure of doing it.

I explode over her pillow, wet stains coating the fabric like drops of rain. I pull the case back over the pillow, hiding the evidence, knowing that it’ll look like a drool stain, and my woman won’t even notice it. She’s been sleeping with my come rubbed up against her cheeks for months now.

It wasn’t always like this. I had work. Everything was stable. The mushroom business was booming, and I had the corn to keep us covered from the law.

Then I killed my first victim in years, the same night I met Reggie, and everything came undone. It’s like she put a spell on me.

I’m goddamn insatiable. 

I wipe my mouth and fix my belt, then pull open the top drawer of her nightstand. There it is. My gun. Right where I moved it last time. A pistol I took from my father, engraved with his lifelong motto: Life Always Ends. The bastard was too confident in his own abilities, but I still respect what he taught me. It’s how it got me to where I am today, while he’s underground. 

It’s the first time Reggie hasn’t taken the pistol with her to work at the Double Take. Either she doesn’t know where I put it, or she’s getting too confident now. 

I ought to change that.

I head back to the Grainswept Fields. It’s about a thirty-minute drive from Stockton, but once my cornfields come into sight, the back of my neck tingles, and I don’t know why. Something bad is about to unfold in front of me; I can feel it. I finger my new pistol, ready to fix any unsavory problems that arise.

But nothing happens, so I drive up the gravel road to the farmhouse. It’s got three stories and enough rooms that Braden—my laboratory manager—and I don’t run into each other much. There are even secret rooms, something that could be handy in our line of work, but most of the time, I don’t remember them.

After all, working and living together, you need space. So when you get a man like Braden working for you—forging papers, growing illegal mushrooms, covering your crimes—you keep him happy, but most of all, you keep him close, since you never know who will turn their back on you, especially after what happened with Braden’s little sweetheart. A crush, really. He barely had the nerve to talk to her. Still, things have been different since I killed her, but business comes first.

When you have an illegal business that gives you a good excuse to indulge in your violent pastime, then you make damn sure that you don’t get caught. And that means getting rid of loud mouths.

I check the mailbox, pulling out a few bills and junk envelopes, but then I find a coarse, cardboard envelope without a return address. My name and address are handwritten on it in capital letters. It’s personal. I press my lips together as I tear open the envelope and read the writing on the square napkin inside, the ink messy, as if the writer is trying to hide their identity. All caps with those letters too. 

I scan the area to see if Braden is around. If Todd happened to drop by after leaving the strip club. If any of our sellers are out here, waiting to see my reaction. 

But I’m alone. 

I grit my teeth and read the note again: I KNOW WHERE YOU KEEP THE BODIES. SELL YOUR BUSINESS NOW, BEFORE I END YOU. 

The threat of violence lingers on the napkin, like the writer actually thinks they’ll get me. Blackmail with the intent on getting every last penny of mine.

Except this blackmailer isn’t asking for money. They want me to end my business.

Shit.

It could be anyone. Maybe it’s another one of Braden’s crushes. Or maybe it’s a random seller who can’t shut the fuck up. Or hell, it could be Todd or Braden. But Todd likes the product I sell him, and Braden knows that he’d be just as incriminated as I am with all he’s done for the business. 

Which leaves just one person.

My little Hitch. 

It’s not just confidence that’s keeping my pistol tucked in her nightstand these days, is it? Maybe Hitch is so sure of herself that she’s willing to blackmail me. 

Perhaps it’s time I made my presence known. Perhaps it’s time to show her that I’ve been near her for months now, waiting for the right time to crush her under my fingertip.