Read Stepbrother Protects (His Twisted Game Book Six) Online

Authors: Chloe Hawk

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Stepbrother Protects (His Twisted Game Book Six)

BOOK: Stepbrother Protects (His Twisted Game Book Six)
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STEPBROTHER
PROTECTS (HIS TWISTED GAME, BOOK SIX)

by
Chloe Hawk

 

Copyright 2015, Chloe Hawk, all rights
reserved.
 
This book is a work of
fiction, and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is entirely
coincidental.
     
All characters depicted in this book are eighteen years of age or older.

 
 

COLE

 

I snapped.

It was wrong.
 
I
knew
it was wrong, but I couldn’t stop myself.
 
Seeing someone put
their
hands on Avery, seeing someone try to hurt her, filled me with an
uncontrollable rage.
 

I’d felt something shift inside of me as
soon as that cop grabbed her.
 
It
was the same feeling I’d had the night I’d seen Gordon ogling her.
  
I would give anything to protect
Avery and keep her safe – taking a beating from some shithead cops was a
small price to pay.

You’re in love with her.

The words echoed through my brain as the
officers surrounded me, as they manhandled me and roughed me up and then,
finally, handcuffed me.

Avery was crying, the tears sliding down
her face and creating trails on her beautiful face.
 
I hated seeing her cry, hated seeing her upset and
vulnerable.
 
I was supposed to be
protecting her, and here I was, just making things worse.

“It’s okay,” I told her.
 
“It’s going to be okay.”
 

She shook her head.

“Look at me.”

She looked at me.
 

“Take my keys.”
 
I motioned to the driveway, where the keys had fallen out of
my pocket during the scuffle.
 
“Take my car and go back to my apartment.
 
It’s going to be fine.”

I didn’t know if it was going to be fine.

But what else could I say?

They pushed me into the back of a police
cruiser, and I watched through the window as Avery climbed into my car and
turned the key in the ignition.

Good.

The only thing that would drive me
crazier than not being able to protect her
was knowing
she was with Gordon.

That, and the words that kept echoing
through my head.

You’re in love with her.

I couldn’t be in love with my stepsister.

It was too fucked up.

I shook my head.

We were connected because we’d grown up
together.

What we had wasn’t love – it was just
lust and dysfunction, swirling together to create something forbidden and
destined to end in disaster.

As we pulled onto the main road and
headed toward the police station, I told myself I needed to be careful.

Love was not a word I wanted to associate
myself with.

Not with anyone.

Not ever.

 

AVERY

 

I gripped the steering wheel tight,
trying to keep up with the police car in front of me.
 
There was no way I was just going to drive Cole’s car back
to his apartment in the city – not without knowing he was okay first.

But cruiser turned its sirens on and
began zipping and weaving through the streets.
 
I couldn’t keep up and after a few moments, I lost
them.
 
So by the time I got to the
station, there was no sign of Cole.

I walked inside, but the cop manning the
front desk told me I couldn’t see Cole, that he would be booked and arraigned
tomorrow morning.
 

“I just need to talk to him,” I
said.
 
“I need… I just want to make
sure he has bail money.
 
I’m his
sister,” I added, just in case the cop thought I was some kind of obsessed
girlfriend.

But he was unmoved.

“You cannot communicate with a prisoner,”
he said.
 
“He’ll be allowed a phone
call like anyone else.”

“He’s not a prisoner,” I said.
 
“He just… he just got arrested.
 
And besides, I was a witness.
 
I
am
a witness.
 
I need to give my statement.
 
Please, can you just check with someone else?”

The officer sighed.
 
“What’s his name?”

“Cole Buchanan.”

He raised his eyebrows.
 
“Cole Buchanan?” he repeated.
 
“What’s he doing back here?”

“He was…” I didn’t know how to answer
that.
 
Fucking me in my old
room?
 
Threatening his dad?
 
Stealing some mysterious papers from my
stepfather’s office?
 
“Can you
please just find out where he is?”

The cop sighed and then disappeared down
the hallway.
 
When he came back, he
had that same look of tiredness on his face.
 
“He’s being held on charges of resisting arrest and
assaulting a police officer.”
 
His
lips hardened into a thin line.
 
“There’s nothing that can be done until the morning.”

“Fine,” I said, feeling my blood start to
boil.
 
“Then I’ll just sit here
until the morning.” I indicated the two plastic chairs in the lobby.
 

“Fine.”
 
The cop shrugged.
 
“Suit yourself. But he won’t be here.
 
He’ll be transferred to central booking and taken to the
county courthouse.”

I bit the inside of my mouth to keep from
screaming.

What the hell was I supposed to do now?
Cole couldn’t get in touch with me.
 
I had no phone since that asshole Jeffrey stole it.
 

Think, Avery, I told myself.
 
What should I do?
 
Call a lawyer?
 
No.
 
Cole probably had tons of lawyers already, much better
lawyers than the ones I could find just from looking someone up randomly in a
phone book.

I had no one to call.

No one to help me.

I hardly had anywhere to go.

Take my car and go back to my apartment.

That’s what he’d said.

I knew that’s what I should do, but I
hated the feeling of helplessness that flowed through me.
 
He’d been protecting me.
 
He was in jail because of me.
 
And there was nothing I could do to
help him.

I stood there for a second, dejected.

But I had no choice.

I turned around and left the police
station.

 

***

 

I wasn’t used to driving in the city, and
even though it was late, the city showed no signs of slowing down –
people crowded the sidewalks, limos went racing by, cabbies honked and stoplights
turned red at inopportune times.
 
I
had to circle the block three times before I was able to find the entrance to
Cole’s garage, and as I pulled in, I almost swiped Cole’s car against a cement
pillar.
 

Good job, Avery,
I told myself as I guided the car into a
parking spot.
 
You almost wrecked Cole’s super expensive
car.
 
That would have been a
perfect capper to this shitty night.
 

I took a deep breath, then got out and
walked into the lobby of Cole’s building.
 
There was soft elevator music playing, the kind that was designed to
make you feel calm and relaxed.
 
But I wasn’t calm
or
relaxed.
 
My
stomach flipped as I realized I was going to have to convince the doorman,
Graham, to let me into Cole’s apartment – I didn’t have a key.

But it turned out I didn’t have anything
to worry about -- Graham handed me a key as soon as I walked in.

“Mr. Buchanan called and asked me to give
you this,” he said, tipping his hat at me.

“Um, thanks.”
 
I took the key from his outstretched hand and then
hesitated.
 
I was surprised Cole
had called Graham from the police
station, that
he’d
had the wherewithal to make sure I had a way to get into his apartment.
 
I wanted to ask Graham if Cole had said
anything else – if he’d mentioned me, or what was happening to him, or given
any more information about his situation.
 
But I couldn’t just go around asking Cole’s doorman if he’d heard
anything about Cole being in jail.
 
I had to protect his privacy.

“Is there anything else I can help you
with?” Graham asked, a touch of concern in his brown eyes.

I swallowed.
 
“I just…did Cole say anything else?
  
Like did he leave any other
message for me?”

Graham shook his head.
 
“No, miss. “
 
He must have noticed the look of disappointment on my face
because he added, “Is everything okay?”

“Oh, yes,” I said, forcing a smile to my
face.
 
“Everything’s fine.
 
I’m just going to go upstairs and wait
for my stepbrother.”

“Very good.”
 
Graham tipped his hat at me again with one white-gloved
hand, and I turned and headed for the elevators.

When I opened the door to Cole’s
apartment, all the lights were off, and a shiver of trepidation instantly slid
up my spine.
 
Something was
wrong.
 
Cole would never leave all
the lights off – there was no way.

We’d had an unspoken agreement ever since
we were younger – never leave the house completely dark.
 
If you left a room, if you were the
last one up at night, you always made sure to leave a light on.
 
That way, if Gordon were to decide he
wanted to start something, at least there wouldn’t be any surprises. It didn’t
always work of course –Gordon would turn the lights off if he found we’d
left them on, screaming and yelling about the electricity bill.

But we tried.

Which is why I knew something was wrong
when Cole’s apartment was completely dark.
 
A heavy stillness had settled over the space, and I got that
same premonition I would get sometimes, right before something was about to go
wrong.
 
I’d honed my instincts over
the years, and I was usually right.

I flipped switch in the hallway, and the
living room flooded with light.

I gasped, my hand flying to my mouth.

Cole’s apartment had been ransacked.

The couches had been stripped of their
cushions, the end tables upended, the television smashed,
an
angry spider web of glass bleeding out from the middle of the screen.
 
The kitchen drawers had been emptied,
and pots and pans were haphazardly strewn about on the shiny hardwood
floors.
 
The espresso machine had
been unplugged and tipped over on the counter -- dark black liquid dripped from
its tiny steamer.

My heart began beating fast, the blood
pumping rhythmically through my body.
 
I listened
carefully,
trying to figure out if
whoever had done this was still here.
 
But there were no sounds – in fact, a creepy kind of stillness had
settled over the whole place, letting me know I was alone.

I knew I should leave.
 
I knew I should walk downstairs and
call the police, tell Graham what had happened, have him pull the security
tapes.
 
But I didn’t know whether
or not Cole would want me to do that.

I wasn’t sure if he’d want the police
involved.

I remembered what he’d said – that
the FBI was after him, that he didn’t know if Jeffrey had turned on him.
 
I remembered the way the police had
questioned me when they came to see me at Cole’s office, how they acted like
Cole was some kind of criminal.
 
I
thought about the man who’d followed me, the one who’d tried to gain access to
Cole’s apartment.
 
He didn’t seem
like the kind of man you’d want to call the police on.

No.

I couldn’t call the police.

At least not without talking to Cole
first.

I took a deep breath and began walking
gingerly through the carnage.

I was reasonably sure that whoever had
been here was gone.
 

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