Wasted Lust - JA Huss

“Miss Aston?” The man is the kind of tall that makes you look up. He’s wearing a dark suit with a skinny black tie, and even though we’re indoors, he’s got sunglasses on.

Anyone over the age of six can spot him for what he is. I stop walking so ten years of manners and settling can fall away and the girl I am underneath can take over. “Who’s asking?”

“I’m Special Agent Jax, Miss Aston. And I have a few questions for you. Please come with me.”

“Am I under arrest for something?” Holy fuck. He leads me through a set of double doors, and then another door, and then another door, until I’m three layers deep inside the fucking Denver International Airport. We finally come to a small office, where he waves me in and says, “Please, take a seat.”

I take my seat as my mind races with all the possible reasons the FBI could be interested in me.

Just be cooperative, Sasha, Ford tells me in my head. We’ve covered my tracks well since he adopted me ten years ago. But we’ve always planned for the day when people discover my history is a lie.

“Am I under arrest?” I ask again, trying not to take deep breaths. Trying not to sit on my hands and fidget in my seat. Trying not to wonder if this is the end of the line for me.

“No, ma’am,” he says. “I just need to ask you some questions, if that’s OK.”

“What if it’s not OK? What if I want to call my dad?”

He sits down at the table opposite me and opens up a folder. His hands are large and his fingers are long and slender. I concentrate on those two characteristics as he shuffles some papers around. Who uses papers anymore? You’d think they’d have this shit on a tablet. It’s a ploy. To unsettle me. Make me think they’ve got dirt on me. Make me fuck up and talk. Make me—

Hush, I tell the killer locked away deep inside me. Be cool, Sasha.

“You are Sasha Aston, correct?” He waits as I process things. Not smiling, not frowning—impassive. Typical.

I can be impassive as well. I learned from the best. “You know I am. I just got off that plane. So I was checked in.”

“You came from…”

“Peru.” I fill in the blank for him.

“What was your business in Peru, might I ask?”

“I was at an archeological dig. They found bones.”

“Bones?” He cocks an eyebrow at me.

“Dinosaur bones. I’m a paleontologist. Well, a grad student. It was a summer internship. Why?”

He looks at me for a moment. I have been questioned by enough dangerous men to recognize the pause as reevaluation. I tend to have that effect on people. “Impressive. And your father is Rutherford Aston IV?”

“Yes.” I swallow hard. Jesus Christ, we are totally busted for something. “I need to know what’s going on. You’re scaring me. Did something happen to my dad?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Stop calling me ma’am. I’m twenty-four and you look like you’re about thirty.”

He eyes me down the bridge of his nose. “Thirty? I don’t look thirty. I’m twenty-seven.”

“What?” I have to shake my head at that. “What do you want, Special Agent Jax? If I’m not under arrest, then I’m leaving.”

He flips the page in the folder just as I begin to stand up, and produces a photograph that steals all my breath away.

“Do you know this man, Miss Aston? Can you identify him for us?”

I shake my head as I study Nick’s face. His perfect face. The blond hair, the brown eyes. The steely gaze. I can picture him smiling at me in that hotel room in Rock Springs back when I was only thirteen years old.

Thirteen and already a killer several times over. Thirteen and I had lost everything. There was absolutely nothing left of me that day. Thirteen and wanting to die so bad because this boy here left me. Live your life, he told me. Grow up, move on. You will love again.

I never had a choice, did I? Because just a few days later I was on a boat heading out to sea and he was standing on a beach. Didn’t even wave goodbye.

“Never seen him before,” I say, lying right to Special Agent Jax’s face. “Why?”

“Take another look, Miss Aston. How about this one?”

This time, Nick is shirtless. His whole body is covered in tattoos. His chest, his arms, his neck. And when I look closely, even his hands have tattoos on them. It pains me—emotionally and