“I thought I wasn’t your type?” He liked a woman with a little fire. Not much, but a little.
“I changed my mind.”
She snorted at him. “I’m not waiting for you to get out of prison. After they catch your ass, you’ll be in for another twenty years.”
He gave her an enigmatic look, saying nothing else. When he showed up at her doorstep, then she would believe him. He had no intention of not seeing her again once he regained his freedom. She didn’t need to know that yet, or she would probably run back to France or Milan or whatever other fancy places she had lived before. The only new places she was going to be visiting for a while were the places he took her.
Grace lay on the mat, staring at the tiny sliver of moonlight coming in, with Ice lying next to her.
“You never told anyone what happened while you were kidnapped?”
“No. It wasn’t anyone’s business.” She was curled into a stiff ball next to him, her back against his chest.
“They offer you money to talk?”
“Yes, and I told them to stuff it.”
There was a brief silence. “If I had known, I would have done things differently.”
She swallowed hard. “It happened a long time ago.”
“I shouldn’t have grabbed you like that. I’m going to be straight with you. I plan to fuck you when we get out of here, but I wouldn’t force you.”
She rolled over to face him. “Winston didn’t rape me, Ice.” She saw the surprise in his eyes. “All the gossip magazines, my therapist, my family—they all still think he did, but he didn’t. He took something more precious than my virginity. He took my two best friends.”
“The two models he killed?”
She nodded. “We had gone to modeling school together, started our careers together. We were so excited. I wasn’t as pretty as them. They were beautiful. I was given a chance because my mother pulled some strings to get me in.
“Dad had a break before his next picture was starting, and Dax was going to start his first movie. We decided on a big vacation in New York during fashion week. Mom asked if my friends wanted to come. They were so thrilled to meet my parents they jumped at the chance.
“We were there for two days when my parents and Dax came down with a flu bug. We didn’t want to stay cooped up inside, so we went shopping. None of us could drive in the States, so we took a cab, spending the entire day shopping. It is one of the best memories of my life: going to the different stores, even stopping to eat at an old-fashioned hamburger joint. We all had milkshakes and fries. It was my first hamburger. My mom never let me and Dax eat junk food, so I was in food Heaven.
“Afterwards, we went to catch a cab. The valet motioned for one when we went outside, and we all climbed in without our bags, talking about what we had bought that day.
“A voice came over the radio almost as soon as we pulled out. ‘If anyone sees Rocky, tell him to call me then call me and tell me you gave him the message. He hasn’t responded for calls in twenty.’
“‘What happened? A driver went rogue?’ I joked and we laughed, but the driver didn’t respond.
“I felt a pinch on my arm and turned toward Simone and Avril. Both of their expressions were terrified. Simone reached out to touch the plastic card on the back of the seat. Rocky Rodriquez was on the nametag, and the man in the picture looked nothing like the man driving the cab.
“We all held each other’s hands and started crying and screaming when we passed our hotel. He pulled over in an alley, turned around, and shot Avril in the face. Just like that, she was gone. He told us whoever made a noise was next. Neither of us made a sound. Then he pulled into his house. I’ll never forget the sound of that garage door closing.
“He kept us for six weeks and when the police came, I was too afraid to answer when they called out. I sat there until they found Simone and me in the basement. Her hand was still warm. She never knew they had come for us.”
“God.” Ice pulled her close but she tried to pull away, not wanting physical comfort from him.
“Ice, do you think she knows she's not in that basement anymore?”
“Yes, baby, I do. I think she knows both of you are free.”
“But I’m not.”
Ice’s heart sank at her words. He hated Winston for kidnapping her, and then he had done the same thing. She wasn’t lying here next to him because she wanted to, but because he had taken that choice away from her.