Straight Up (Twisted Fox #3) - Charity Ferrell
There’s rock bottom, and then there’s the underbelly of rock bottom.
Getting arrested and going to federal prison.
Today, I’m being released from the hellhole.
With my chin held high, I salute the guard and exit the place where I’ve been held hostage for two years.
There’s no stronger high than freedom.
Everything I took for granted in the past I’m grateful for.
Hello, fucking freedom.
It feels damn good, being released from prison for a crime I didn’t commit.
I’ve been humbled like a motherfucker.
I went from owning a million-dollar penthouse to sleeping in a prison cell to crashing in my brother’s guest bedroom.
From being the VP of a million-dollar empire to broke.
The feds took possession of nearly everything with my name on it.
Underbelly of rock bottom.
It’s been a long-ass day. After leaving the prison, I was treated to a steak and lobster dinner, courtesy of my mother.
“I read that people like a nice, big meal after being released from incarceration,” was what she declared.
I replied with a forced smile and enjoyed the meal.
Who turns down a steak and lobster dinner?
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that all this guy wanted straight out of prison was solitude, peace and quiet. One more luxury I’d taken for granted.
After showering, I slide into the king-size bed—the silky sheets yet another relic of my old life—and snatch my phone. Just as I plug it into the charger, a text comes through.
Unknown number: It’s Isla. Can we talk?
My blood boils, and my grip tightens around the phone.
How’d she get my number?
I had my brother, Archer, change it, so I could have a fresh start when I was released.
Cursing, I delete the text, toss my phone onto the floor, and sigh as I soak in the silence.
Had it not been for Isla, I might not have been incarcerated.
Had it not been for Isla, my father might not be in a prison cell, awaiting his own freedom.
“Have you lost your fucking mind?”
Since I’m walking out of the county jail, my brother’s question isn’t a shocker. Barefoot with my heels in my hands, I hop down the concrete steps one at a time. Call me classy.
Get Arrested wasn’t on last night’s bingo card.
Kyle leans against his Jeep with crossed arms and a deep scowl. I gulp back the dread of the interrogation he’ll deliver on our drive back to my sorority house.
“Yes, you’ve definitely lost your mind,” he adds when I fail to answer.
I squeeze my forehead to ease my pounding skull while facing him. “Can you not be so loud?”
My head throbs.
My body aches.
My heart is wounded.
A drove of emotions kicked through me while I sat in the jail cell, waiting to be bailed out.
Sadness. Anger. Abandonment.
Last night was supposed to be a parade of romance while celebrating six months with my boyfriend, Quinton.
Correction: ex-boyfriend after he deserted my ass.
What great taste I have.
Fall for a man who bails when the cuffs come out.
Instead, my night ended with me incarcerated and him walking free.
“What?” Kyle shouts.
He raises his voice. “You don’t want me to be loud?”
I roll my eyes, yank the door open, and hop into the passenger seat while Kyle slides into the driver’s side.
“Thanks for bailing me out,” I grumble. Frustrating or not, I have to respect the man who rescued me from jail.
He shakes his head and starts the Jeep. “You’re not goddamn welcome.”
“I should’ve called Rex.” I jerk the seat belt across my body. “He wouldn’t have freaked out like this.” My younger brother would’ve arrived with an iced coffee and offered me a high five.
“Had I not been able to pull strings, I’m sure you would’ve.”
Kyle is a cop, and with his help, I hoped for a speedier release.
I chose less jail time over an iced caramel macchiato.
Proof I don’t always make stupid decisions.
Kyle runs a hand through his dark hair. “You ready to face Mom and Dad?”
“Hell to the no.” I pin my gaze on him. “Which is why, dear brother, you’re keeping your mouth shut about this little adventure.”
I’m twenty-one. My parents don’t need to be filled in on every component of my life. There are things a lady should keep private and all.
“Too late. The university called to inform them of your expulsion.” A heavy sigh leaves him. “Hell of a wake-up call for Mom.”
“They can do that?” I shriek. “Don’t they have, like … a HIPAA for criminal records?”
His lips twitch as he fights back a smile. “You lose confidentiality when you break