Home > Sidetracked (Mindf*ck #2)(8)

Sidetracked (Mindf*ck #2)(8)
Author: S.T. Abby

“I was so worried,” she finally says.

“They said your team was hit,” Duke explains, running a hand through his hair. “She drove. I couldn’t talk her out of coming. They wouldn’t tell us who was hit.”

I hold her for a second longer. Three of my team members are staring at us with raised eyebrows, before I finally snap back to reality.


I drop her to the ground and push her away, ignoring the way she blanches.

“You can’t fucking be here!” I yell, then cut my eyes to Duke. “Why the fucking hell would you bring her?”

His eyes narrow to slits. “Did you miss the part where I said she was coming with our without me. I came to keep her safe.”

I gesture to Lana, all 5’4 of her. “She weighs 120 at most. You’re at least 200 with law enforcement training, yet you can’t restrain her?”

Lana backs away, saying nothing, but my eyes are on Duke, furiously glaring at him. He glares back, just as furious.

“She’s not a prisoner or a criminal. I can’t legally confine her to her damn house, you arrogant asswipe.”

Donny takes a step between us, as though he’s preparing for things to go bad.

“He’s possibly here or watching, and you bring her here? I’m not fucking stupid. You want him to find her. Especially now. You want a new promotion from a shiny little arrest for the highest profile killer in the nation right now.”

He takes a threatening step toward me, and Donny wedges between us more when I take a step too.

“I couldn’t give a shit about that. I came because I was trying to keep her safe. I don’t have any authority to confine an innocent civilian to her home, and neither do you.”

I open my mouth to yell at him some more, when Lana calmly inserts herself into the conversation, her haunted eyes icy and detached, something I haven’t seen in a while.

“You told me to have a protective detail, and I agreed,” she says quietly. I swallow down my words as she continues. “You told me to let a stranger stay in my house; I agreed, even though I didn’t want to. I take someone with me when I leave. I’ve put my business deals on hold to appease you, not traveling and risking myself. I’ve sat in a protective bubble, answering all your calls and texts promptly so you don’t worry about me.”

Her eyes glisten, but I can tell they’re nothing more than angry tears. And I realize I’ve seriously fucked up.

Chapter 8

When anger rises, think of the consequences.



Harsh. Oblivious. Arrogant.

Three words I never thought I’d use to describe the man before me.

Unfairly confining me to my house, while not giving me the same option of knowing he’s safe… I can’t even put into words how pissed off I am.

“You don’t even take the time to fire off a text that you’re okay,” I go on, keeping my tone even, refusing to show too much emotion.

I don’t bleed for the world anymore.

He saw more than anyone else, and he didn’t bother to care when it mattered the most.

“Lana, I get that you’re pissed, but you can’t be here,” he says, his voice softening.

“I see that,” I retort tightly, taking a step back. “Sorry I cared. It won’t happen again.”

Tacky and juvenile as that sounds, it’s a bitter girl’s prerogative right now.

I turn and start walking away, but he follows, grabbing my arm. I rip it free from his grip.

“You don’t understand,” he whispers, looking over at a camera. “He could be watching. We don’t know what he’s capable of right now, and his past is mostly a mystery.”

“You put me in a bubble, and I gave you peace of mind. You cared. I’d do anything to ease your mind so that you didn’t worry.” I swallow down the knot in my throat, refusing to get emotional, disallowing my weakness or vulnerability to shine. “I worry too, Logan. Duke got the call your team was hit, and you were all at the hospital. You wouldn’t even answer your phone. Or send a text. Or respond to my hundreds of texts. I can handle a lot of things, but I won’t let you walk all over me, then refuse to offer me the same peace of mind. And then get pissed at me? Talk down to me? Who the hell do you think I am?”

I turn and walk away, and he lets me, because he can’t follow. He can’t make a scene.

The Boogeyman could be watching.

Let the sick bastard come.

I need something to stab.

“Stay with her. I’ll be there as soon as I can get free,” I hear Logan saying, probably to Duke as I keep walking. “And someone find me a fucking phone charger!”

The first tear falls as I step into the open elevator and stab the Lobby button fiercely. I ran up three flights of stairs, worried out of my mind that Logan was hurt when I couldn’t get him to answer my million and one calls or texts.

Turns out, I’m just someone he didn’t bother to think of when I was going out of my mind with all the worst case scenarios.

Dead phone is not a good excuse. Not when everyone on the team is here with their phones he could have used.

Duke slides into the elevators just before the doors close, and he leans against the wall.

He doesn’t say a word, and I toss him the keys the second we hit the lobby. Silently, we make it to the car, and make the long drive home. I don’t speak. The radio is silent. The only noise is the sound of my V8 Mustang vrooming down the street.

My phone lights up with a text from Logan—guess he got that charger—but I don’t bother reading it. Just like he didn’t bother with me.

When we finally reach my house, I take the keys from Duke, but I cross over to the driver’s seat.

“What are you doing?” he asks.

“Giving you time to get out of my house. I don’t want to be around people right now. All of you better be off my property before I return.”

His eyes widen. “Look, Lana, I get that you’re pissed right now. He’s an overbearing douchebag who just acted like a thoughtless prick, but don’t risk your own safety to punish him. Let us stay and protect you.”

I hold the door open, one foot inside the car. Duke’s a good guy, but it’s hard not to take this out on him, since he’s the only one around right now.

“You have no legal right to be here. Just as you said. I can’t stop you from loitering on the street, but you’re officially trespassing if you stay on my property. Be gone before I get back, or, ironically enough, I’ll call the cops.”

He groans and curses, running a hand through his already disheveled hair. “Where are you going?”

“Wherever the fuck I want to,” I say, flipping him off as I get into the car. “If Logan has a problem with that, remind him it’s a free country,” I add before shutting the door.

Without giving him more time to argue, I crank the car and slam it into first gear, spinning on a dime in my driveway, feeling my rear swing around as I start barreling out. I don’t glance back as I drive to the warehouse in town that Jake rented out. I also drive with my knees as I turn off my phone and pull the battery out.

When I get there, I leave my car in the warehouse before grabbing the keys to the Altima. We have several cars I use when I go to collect the debts. No cameras are out this way, meaning no one ever sees me do this.

The warehouse has the best security, and even if someone breaks in, they won’t know who it belongs to. Well, unless my pretty little Mustang is in here when they hit.

Not likely enough to be concerned.

The cars are disposed of after they serve their purpose.

I leave the warehouse, turning on a burner phone in the car, and call Jake.


“It’s me. Find anything on the Boogeyman?”

“No. This guy is pissing me off,” he grumbles. “How’s Logan?”

“He’s in one piece and untouched. He’s also recently single.”

He grows quiet, and I ignore the tear that rolls down my cheek.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, since I’d feel so much better if you weren’t dating a federal agent or living with cops, but are you sure you’re not overreacting?”

“He didn’t bother to care that I was going out of my mind with worry, even though I’ve jumped through hoops to keep him updated on my safe-and-sound state.”

“Sounds…petty. Sure you’re not just looking for an excuse to get out before you get too attached?”

I’m already too fucking attached. I don’t cry.

I haven’t cried since the day the tears stopped falling.

Yet tears are breaching my eyes with a renewed vigor as I drive toward Jake’s house.

“Petty is getting pissed that he doesn’t call when he says he will. Petty is not being livid that he didn’t bother to tell me he was alive. I can’t do this, Jake. I can’t live with cops in my house. Those badges…I want to rip them off and flush them down the toilet. They wear them with pride.”

“They’re not from Delaney Grove, babe. You can’t confuse the two.”

“I’m not. They’d be dead if there was any confusion. I just feel…dirty. I don’t want them there. I don’t want him there anymore—not because he makes me feel dirty. I’m giving up too much by playing by his rules. I haven’t even started Anthony’s house yet besides the two cameras.”

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