Dawn (Dangerous Web #3) - Aleatha Romig



Book #3 of the DANGEROUS WEB trilogy in SPARROW WEBS

The conclusion of DARK, book #2 Dangerous Web


“I haven’t seen her,” Maples repeated as Mason’s knife cut another notch in his wrist.

“Next one will be deeper,” Mason said. “Poor Zella, she’s going to find you dead. If she can find anything in this shithole. I wonder if she’ll be more distraught over your death or at not winning the million dollars.”

Maples was now bound to the dining room chair where he’d sat nearly fifteen minutes earlier, his arms tethered to the chair’s arms and his legs secured to the chair’s legs.

“Who is the rich guy?” Mason asked.

“Hernádez, Garcia, Roríguez. Shit, some brown...” His beady eyes came my way. “Not like you, boy. You know...a Mexican. Not sure what we’re supposed to call them or your kind now days.”

As the small hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention, this asshole’s poor choice of vocabulary added fuel to the flames of rage that began when I figured out what he’d done to my wife twenty-five years ago. I worked to keep my expression statuesque though it wasn’t easy to suppress my enthusiasm for what was about to occur.

“Nancy was getting payments from” —Mason hesitated— “a—”

“Mexican,” I said, finishing his sentence using Maples’s words.

Missy was Latina. This had to be the connection. It was the only plausible explanation. “Why was Nancy getting payments from a Mexican?”

“He don’t live there...he lives here. But she made some deal with him. He paid until...well, eighteen.”

Mason’s knife went to Maples’s neck. “What is his name?”

Maples stretched his neck, backing away from the blade. “I can’t—”

Mason pushed the blade against his sagging skin until a crimson drop of blood dribbled to his dirty, worn collar. “Wait. It was Garcia. Yeah, I’m sure.”

Mason pushed the blade deeper. “Tell me what this has to do with my sister.”

Maples’s gray eyes narrowed. “The brown one or the pretty one with red hair?”

My fist landed in his stomach. “What did you do to Lorna?” I asked as his coughs turned to gagging.

Maples spat as blood dripped from his lip. “The payments were for the other one, but oh, that redheaded one was downright sweet. She had the softest little hands. And her lips—”

My next punch connected to his jaw.

He spat more blood and this time a front tooth. “Don’t know why you’re mad. She wanted it. We were friends and she liked my attention. All little girls like to hear they’re special.” He looked at me. “Oh shit. Are you fucking her now? Damn, I wanted that tight pussy. Is it still tight or saggy like her mother’s?”

There was no conscious train of thought. I didn’t consider the ramifications. For once, I wasn’t thinking steps ahead. Taking Mason’s knife from his grasp, I plunged it deep in Maples’s upper arm.

It wouldn’t kill him immediately.

“What did you do to her?” I asked again.

His words sputtered as blood mixed with his oxygen. “Nothing she didn’t want. Just like her momma.”

I looked at the blade in my hand, dripping with deep red blood. “This is for my wife,” I said as I pushed the blade through his ratty shirt, above his belt and sliced laterally, as deep as the blade would go.

Maples’s eyes widened as he watched organs and tissue roll from his wound.

There were moments of consciousness before death. It was his only time to make amends with a superior being or beg for his life, not that we could save it now, but he didn’t. The vile creature stared at both of us.

Mason’s eyes met mine before he took back the knife, and buried the blade into Maples’s upper leg. Blood spouted as his body convulsed. We both stepped back as the asshole bled out before us.

His time for amends had expired.

“I would have been okay with him enjoying more of the experience,” I said. “You know, since he was such a good friend to Lorna.”

Mason took a deep breath before disappearing into the kitchen and returning with two towels. He handed one to me.

“Call the cleanup crew,” I said as I wiped my hands on the towel. “After this is done, we’re bulldozing this place. Too much shit happened here.”

Mason nodded as he sent a text. Once he was done, he reached for the knife, wiped the blade on the towel, removed a leather sheath from his pocket, and reinserted the knife. Next, he put the knife back in his pocket. “What? It was a gift.”

His casualness made me grin.

I took