Officers were trying to talk to me, but all I could see was that other than the front door being kicked in, the front of our house looked completely normal. Save for the dozens of officers and detectives who were walking in and out of it. Someone tapped my shoulder but I walked quickly to the hallway, barely paying attention to the other officers taking pictures of our bedroom, which looked like a hurricane had just gone through it. I turned into the bathroom and went to the large closet. We had a faux wall set up that was really just flimsy material. But with all the clothes around it, it looked legit, and I’d put it up for times just like this. Rachel had joked that I was going overboard, and at the time I’d agreed I probably was. But now, I hoped like hell she’d used it and that I would find her behind it. Alive.

Opening the closet door, I flipped on the light, and my heart sank when I saw the drag marks on the carpet. I called one of the officers over to take pictures before I walked in there. The female officer snapped photos and I stepped in cautiously.

“Rach?” I said softly. Please, God, be in here. “Rach?” With one last breath, I grabbed the edge of the faux wall and yanked it back. I sank to my knees and a sound of pain left my chest as my eyes fell on our puppy, Trip, backed into the corner whining softly. There was no Rachel. She was really gone. “C’mere.” I grabbed him and pulled him into my chest as I fell back against the wall and the tears that had been threatening started spilling over.

“Kash, you need to see this,” Mason said softly from the doorway to the closet. I looked over at him, rolled to my knees, and stood. “Give me Trip. Go into the bedroom and look at the wall. We’ll find her, okay? I swear to you we’ll find her.”

I handed him the golden retriever and rushed into the bedroom, my eyes widening when they finally landed on the wall opposite our bed. A roar filled the room, and before I could realize it had come from me, two officers were holding me back and trying to get me to sit down on the bed.

On the wall in red spray paint were the words DID YOU THINK WE WOULD FORGET? Underneath was a symbol both Mason and I’d had tattooed on our left forearms before we’d gotten them covered up. The sign for Juarez’s gang, the one we’d had to join on our last undercover narcotics assignment.

“How?” Mason was asking a detective who was in the room with us. And that was a damn good question. The hit on Mase and me had died when the guys hired were thrown in prison for murder. And I knew for a fact Juarez and his boys were all in prison. “Recruiting people from the inside who got out? Or just using people he trusts? Set up questioning with each of them separately.”

I looked up when Detective Byson’s cell rang. His mouth snapped shut as he stopped talking to Mason and took the call. “Byson.” His eyes flashed over to me and a grim look crossed his face as he listened. “Mmm-hmm . . . Yeah. Set up something with Romero Juarez and his attorney immediately. I’m on my way.” He turned to face me fully and slid his phone back in the holder on his belt. “Rachel is alive.”

“Thank God,” I breathed, and tried to stand, but the officers were still holding me there.

“A call was placed about fifteen minutes ago, they said they had Rachel and demanded that every charge against Juarez’s gang be dropped. Before the dispatcher could ask anything, the caller said they would call back in two days and expected progress on the charges being dropped, and would continue to call every two days until the gang was released. They said if there wasn’t progress, there would be consequences, and if they aren’t released within the month . . . she dies.”

“Kash, Kash, Kash, calm down. Come on, man. Calm down. I know.”


Mason gripped my shoulders and I tried to focus on him. The other two officers were now struggling to keep me down as I thrashed against them. Where I was going to go when I got away from them, I didn’t know; I just needed to go. They had my girl. I needed to find out who they were and I needed to get her back.

“I know this is hard. But we’ll find her. I swear.” Mason looked just as panicked as I felt, and it was then I noticed the wetness in his eyes he was trying to keep back.

When I finally stopped struggling, the officers let me go at Mason’s request, but he kept me seated on the bed. “I need to get her back, Mason. I have to.”

“We will.”

“I’ll do anything.”

A determined look settled over his face and he whispered low enough that only I could hear him, “Anything to bring the fuckers down, right?”

I slammed my fist against his and replied, “Always.”

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