Authors: Jasmine's Escape
Jasmine’s Escape by Keira Kendrik
by Keira Kendrik
Copyright July 2013 JK Publishing, Inc.
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© Copyright 2013 by JK Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ed by Caroline Kirby
by JK Publishing, Inc.
JK Publishing, Inc.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales are entirely coincidental.
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This is dedicated to my wonderful husband who has taught me that anything is possible in love and life with your soul mate. Thank you to my editor, Caroline, for all her hard work and patience with me through this book. A special thanks to my BFFs who encouraged me to write and stayed by my side.
I would love to hear from you!
Table of Contents
Jasmine Dupree had alwa
ys thought of herself as street-smart. It was obvious by the situation she was in that that particular intelligence had left her. She glanced around the small room she was in. She didn't know what the men who grabbed her wanted but she knew she had to think fast to get out of there. She didn't even know where 'there' was. She had been at the club with her girlfriends trying to let go of a hellacious workweek and the next she knew, she woke up in the tiny room. She had been dancing with Keni and Olivia then gone outside to get some fresh air. It had been so stuffy in the club, too many bodies.
When she had gone out the side door, she didn't think about the fact that it would lock
behind her when it closed. She had tried banging on the door but of course, the music was so loud no one had heard her. The door had opened into an alleyway so she turned and began to walk around to the front. She had almost reached the end of the alleyway when a man had come around the corner and smiled an evil smile at her. When she turned in fright to run, there was another man behind her. He had laughed and taunted her to run.
She pressed herself up against the brick of the building and started screaming for help as loud as she could
. One of the men rushed up and clamped a hand over her mouth. The other came and put a cloth over her mouth and nose, it was then that she realized the cloth was covered with a chemical. It made her very dizzy and sluggish, then blackness engulfed her, and she passed out.
She had woke
n up in the room she was in currently. It had no windows and one door that was locked from the outside. They had kindly placed a bucket in the room to use as a substitute bathroom.
, she thought sarcastically. Jasmine was not the outdoor type so the bucket thing was a no-go. She had a splitting headache and was dying of thirst. She wished she had some water. She pressed her ear to the door to hear what was going on outside but heard nothing. She hoped that Keni and Olivia had reported her missing by now to the cops. She sat back down on the cot in the corner where she had woken. She scooted until her back was against the wall and put her head on her knees. As the tears ran down her face, she prayed that someone would help her.
Phoenix Raine looked out over the San Diego skyline and sighed. He had two more meetings before he could leave for the weekend and head to the ranch. He hoped Gabe was wrapping things up, he wanted to get away. The city always did that to him after a while. He would come in and work for a few weeks, then he needed to get back to the wide open spaces of the ranch, which was located on the outskirts of Alpine. Their family had owned it for generations. The phone on his desk buzzed, signaling his next appointment had arrived. He turned from the view to brace himself for his next client. Actually, it was two of them.
Phoenix and Gabe had started their company together
. It was located in downtown San Diego, California, in a section called Mira Mesa. Champion, Inc. was a private investigative firm that did the unusual. They took cases that were difficult or desperate and solved them. They had just rescued a woman who had been held captive by a sheik in Iraq. Their men were highly trained, most retired from the military for one reason or another. Phoenix and Gabe had been Army Rangers at one point in their life. They liked this work more due to the fact that they called the shots. Some called them mercenaries—Phoenix called them avengers. Their whole team hated when others were taken advantage of and tried to do everything to make that wrong a right.
Phoenix and Gabe were brothers in the true sense and had a wonderful upbringing
. Their family, generations before, had been in oil in Texas and struck it rich. Their parents had opened their own vineyard, which had quickly turned into a success. Both men had money from family as well as their own careers and had no need to work ever again, but they loved what they did now.
Their parents still lived and worked the
vineyard except now they had turned the day-to-day operations over to their employees. Nowadays, they took more time with each other, still as in love as the day they met. They traveled to the ranch to visit their sons often and their mother called them at least once a week to check in. Phoenix loved his family, he loved his work but felt an emptiness inside him. He had recently decided that what he wanted was to have a family of his own. He and Gabe had known early on that they would share a woman. Someone they could care for and share their life with. They had searched for her for sometime but when they hadn't found her, they threw themselves into their work. Lately, Phoenix had thought about her, even what she would be like.
shook himself out of his reverie and turned to the phone on his desk. He hit the button on the phone that would alert his secretary, Gladys, he was ready for his next appointment to come in. Gladys did a wonderful job. She had been with them since they started the company four years ago. She had been fired from her last job due to the fact she was nearing retirement age and the company hadn't wanted to pay out her retirement. Phoenix and Gabe had liked her right away when they had met her. They had found her quite by accident, a story she never let them forget. She called it ironic considering what their company did. She was one of them and they trusted her completely.
He glanced around his office, it was spacious,
and it had a large oak desk against the back wall with a full bathroom off to the side. It was also equipped with a small conference desk and sitting area. He usually spoke to potential clients in the sitting area, as it relaxed them and helped them to tell him what he needed to know to determine if they would take the case. Just as he sat in his chair, he wondered what this new case would entail.
The door to the outer office opened and Gladys ushered in two young women who smiled tentatively at him. He stood and came around his desk to shake their hands as Gladys made the introductions.
"Phoenix Raine, this is
Keni Creswell and Olivia Paxton.” Gladys introduced them then smiled gently at the two women as she exited the room.
"It's nice to meet you both, why don't we sit over here?
” He indicated the sitting area.
The two women took seats on the couch while he sat in the armchair
. Keni Creswell was average height, about five foot three. She had blonde hair that hung down her back in a ponytail with large blue eyes. Olivia Paxton stood a few inches taller than her friend and had brown hair that fell to her shoulders. Her eyes were a light brown and seemed to mirror her friend's in worry. Beside him on a small table was a pad and pen for notes, but he usually didn't need them as he remember everything that was said.
"Why don't we start with why you are here today?"
Keni sat forward and handed him a picture of a very beautiful woman
. She had long brown hair with blonde highlights, curvy figure, and the most captivating green eyes he had ever seen. He was intrigued with her and didn't even know who she was. He snapped out of his perusal of the unknown woman when Olivia spoke.
"That is our friend, Jasmine
. Jasmine Dupree. She went missing two weeks ago and the police aren't really doing anything to find her,” Olivia explained. "Mr. Raine, we know something very bad has happened to her. She wouldn't just disappear without telling one of us where she was going."
"Does she have any family
? Have you contacted them?" he asked.
"No, she has no family
. She was a foster child. We are her family," Keni said. "She was with us at the Luxor letting off some steam. She went out to get some air and never came back."
"We called the police and they searched but they concluded pretty quickly that she had left with a guy
. Mr. Raine, she wouldn't do that, it's not her,” Olivia had filled in.
, he himself had been to the Luxor on many occasion. It was one of the most popular nightclubs in San Diego. "The police didn't have any leads for the most part," he concluded and they nodded their heads. "Okay. What about her apartment? Does she have roommates?"
"She lives by herself in
Santee in a small apartment. We have a key," Keni said, pulling out said key and handing it to Phoenix.
"Does she have a boyfriend
? Ex with a grudge?" Phoenix asked.
Olivia answered this time
. "No, none of the above. No one that would want to hurt her. She is a good person," she said vehemently.
Phoenix smiled and held up his hands
. "Ladies, I am just trying to get a feel for her. I am going to have to pry into her life, know everything about her down to what type underwear she likes if Champion takes the case."
Keni put her hand over Olivia's as if to calm her
. "We're sorry, Mr. Raine. It's just that we have answered these questions over and over for the police. We are just anxious for someone to understand that Jasmine would not just take off. Someone has her or something terrible has happened and we are desperate for her to be found."
. "I completely understand that it's difficult for you both. You are both obviously good friends and worried about her. I am going to call a contact of mine in the force and get a copy of the investigation."
"Does this mean you will take the case?" Keni asked.
"Wait...we, um, also need to talk about payment," Olivia said unsure, looking over at Keni.
Phoenix knew they were worried about his fees
. He had investigated them before they came in and found they made decent, if not, meager salaries and it would be difficult for them to pay his fees. Looking at the picture of Jasmine Dupree again, he made a decision.
"Ladies, we here at Champion are able to have some leeway with some cases
. Why don't I see what I can find out and then we can discuss this then. For now, let's wait," Phoenix said smoothly.
Olivia narrowed her eyes
, but Keni answered for them both. "Thank you so much, Mr. Raine. Please, find her."
The two women exchanged a look that said Olivia would be holding her comments for now as the need to find Jasmine overrode all else
. He smiled and shook their hands again as he pressed a button on the side table. It signaled Gladys to come in and escort guests back out to the lobby. Once she had done that, she informed him that his last meeting of the day had called to cancel due to an emergency. He took that time to call his contact and get everything faxed over.
As he was packing up
when Gabe sauntered in dressed in jeans and a t-shirt with cowboy boots. Phoenix grinned at him.
"Eager, are we?" Phoenix teased his brother.
"No more than you are," Gabe replied, casually leaning against the wall just inside the office.
"Looks like we caught a case
," Phoenix informed him as he handed Gabe the picture of Jasmine Dupree. He filled him in on what information her friends provided as they headed for the ranch. He watched the look on his brother's face as he kept looking back at Jasmine's picture, he knew Gabe was thinking the same thing.
Was she the one