Escalation - Tessa Teevan


Those three little dots tell me everything. Yet, as much as I want to hear them, I can’t let her say the words. Not until everything is out in the open between us. No, when she gets the chance to tell me whatever she wants me to know, it’d be to my face. I would hear her say them out loud, watching as her pink lips form each syllable. I can wait until then because there is no way in hell I am letting anything happen to her. Not on my watch.

I slam my hand against the wheel, pissed beyond belief that I let this happen. By the time I figured out that Morningstar was back in town, I was too damn late. Now, as I glance at the screen tracking them, I push my foot on the accelerator, weaving in and out of traffic, not giving a fucking damn about anything except getting closer to them. The police scanner squawks and my blood runs cold as it details a high-speed chase in progress. All the air leaves my lungs while I wait to hear the description of the offending vehicle, hoping like hell it’s not them.

It is.

My blood simultaneously runs both cold and boil.

Even though I knew I could’ve called in a kidnapping in progress and given law enforcement the location of Adrian’s vehicle, I wanted to do this on my own. It was my own risk. I knew that. It’s just I also knew involving the police was a gamble with Brie’s life I wasn’t willing to take. Not when I had no idea about Adrian’s current state of mind. There was no reason to bring unnecessary attention to his current predicament. Not until I have Brie back, safe and in my arms. As far as the world knows, Adrian Morningstar is an upstanding citizen, and for all intents and purposes, we need him to still appear to be that man. If the media gets wind of this, who knows what could possibly happen?

My thoughts are interrupted as the police scanner sounds again. I press my foot on the accelerator, hoping I can get to her before it’s too late. The last thing Brie needs is for Adrian to get spooked by the cops. He’s an unstable fuck, and there’s no telling what he’s thinking right now. Not to mention what the hell he might be on.

He knows and he thinks he’s protecting her.

The reminder of my boss’s warning is enough to chill me to the bone. What the piss does he know, exactly? And who does he think he’s protecting her from? Me? Or someone else?

Still, part of me has a feeling he won’t hurt her. At least, not intentionally. I just saw the surveillance footage of Adrian taking Brie. Even as he tied her up and led her to down the tunnel, he wasn’t exactly forceful. Something in the way he moved had given me pause. He appeared tentative, unsure, and I watched as he hesitated for the briefest of moments as he gazed down at Brie before he gave a slight shake of his head and pushed her towards his car. Even so, his movements were cautious, his touch easy, and when he lifted her and placed her in the trunk, he did it with a gentleness not of someone wishing to inflict harm. And then, when he closed it, he placed his hands on the lid and bowed his head. His chest heaved as if he were taking a deep breath or releasing a heavy sigh. Reading his body language, I deduced that he was conflicted about what he was going to do.

So why is he doing it? And what, exactly, is it?

It’s yet another question in the long list that has piled up tonight. I need answers, and I need them quickly. I’m running out of time.

First things first, though. More than anything, I need to get to Brie. Everything else can come after that.

The closer I get to the sirens, the harder my heart pounds, threatening to beat out of my chest. As the sounds increase, I realize it’s because they’re no longer moving. When I look at the screen, I see that the dot has also stopped, which can only mean one of two things. He willingly stopped, or he was forced to. Either way, Brie is close.

When I glance back up and find that I’m clearly at the scene of an accident, my whole world stops spinning.

My entire