In the Arms of the Elite (Rich Boys of Burberry Prep #4) - C.M. Stunich

My graduation gown—and my heart—are in tatters.

I can barely breathe as the uniformed officer nearest me grabs my elbow.

“Miss?” he asks, and I blink stupidly in his direction, still reeling from the shock. He … he went to get the car, I tell myself, hands shaking. I reach up with one and grab my cap off my head, the red and black Burberry Prep tassel smearing blood across the back of my hand.

“She’s in shock.” Someone else is talking, but I’m not sure who. All I can think is: will he live? I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to that question, but I don’t want to believe it. I can’t. I just can’t. Hands haul me to my feet, and I can hear voices talking around me, but all I care about is getting to the hospital.

“… just her, I’m afraid, but we’ll take good care of her,” the officer says, and then I’m shuffling over to a police cruiser. I shake my head to clear it and look back at the boys, the ones who are still by my side. Someone … seems to be missing, but then I remind myself again that he just went to get the car.

I’m sorry, I’m sure I make no sense. I just … I’m in shock right now.

“Where are we going?” I ask as the officer opens the back door for me.

“We can get you to the hospital with the sirens,” the man says, and I nod because that makes sense, even to my addled brain.

“We’ll be right behind you,” one of the guys holding onto me says, his grip tight but firm. “Right behind you.”

I’ve just taken the very last lick of my revenge, put the final nail in the coffin. I’ve made peace with the decision of which boy I should choose, and yet, I’ve never been so miserable. I’ve never hurt so much. How could this happen to me? It’s so much worse than what I suffered during first year. So, so, so much worse.

A cosmic joke.

A middle finger from the universe.

“You’ll be right behind me …” I breathe, and then I slip into the backseat of the cruiser. The red and blue of the sirens flickers across the faces of the crowd, including the boys I just left behind. I wish one of them were in here with me.

We take off down the road as I reach into my pocket for my phone. The thing is, there’s a hole in my pocket and my damn cell is missing. Of course it is.

Fuck.

The nearest hospital is … God, it’s like an hour from here, isn’t it? I almost throw up, leaning over and putting my head between my knees until I get control of my breathing. I’ll wait awhile, and then I’ll ask the officer to call the hospital for me.

Leaning my head against the cool glass of the window, I close my eyes against the trees as they whir by in a blur. The shock must really be getting to me because, I swear, I lose time there for a moment. When I open my eyes and sit up, I realize that we’re heading in the wrong direction.

“Isn’t the hospital due west from here?” I ask, looking around and realizing that we’re closer to the casino than we are the hospital. What the hell? The sirens aren’t on anymore either, which is weird.

“We’ll get you there, don’t worry,” the officer in the passenger seat says, but he doesn’t turn around to look at me. The longer we drive, the more concerned I get.

And then we pull into the casino parking lot, and my heart starts to beat so fast I feel like I might pass out.

“What are we doing here?” I choke out, looking around as we pull into the gravel parking lot, and the officers climb out. They don’t answer me as they open the back door, and then I’m dragged forcefully from the back seat and thrown unceremoniously to the gravel.

My hands skid across it, tiny rocks embedding themselves into my flesh as I look over my shoulder just in time to see the officers climb back in their car and take off.

They’ve left me here, at an abandoned casino in the middle of a Native American reservation. It’s bordered by national and state parks on all sides, just trees and nothing else for miles. I push up to my knees just as I hear the scuffle of feet on gravel, turning to look in