* Mason *
“You bugged Kyrell’s phone?” The ballsy move impressed Mason.
Dash flushed, “It’s easy when they’re distracted,” he cleared his throat, peering out the windshield of the SUV, “Bentley and Kyrell are moving her during a shift change. We have to keep vigilant.”
“Do we look for a van? She can’t even fucking sit up!” he growled, “Bentley has to know by now I found her and will form a contingency plan. The man’s a schemer.”
“My people are monitoring the security feeds. There are few blind spots, but I’ve also looked into private airfields. You rich pricks always use the sky to avoid capture.”
“Hey, I may be a dick but I don’t own a plane.” Mason theorized for a minute, “If I were him… Well, he bought an island a few years back when he made his first million. He once mentioned the only way on and off was by seaplane.”
“Do you remember the location?”
“South Pacific somewhere close to Fiji,” he shrugged, “It’s inconsequential, I’m not letting him anywhere near her. If anything, I’ll move her into my penthouse until everything blows over. In fact, I should hire a nurse along with armed guards.”
He took out his cell to do some research as Dash asked, “Wow. Do you love her, or are you motivated by guilt?”
Mason gripped his phone, disliking the conversation already, “Does it matter?”
“Yes, it does.” Dash tapped his fingers against the wheel, his tone serious, “We have no idea what she’s gone through, but I can guarantee her mind won’t be right. Bentley probably broke her down and used techniques to convince her he’s the greatest thing since they invented toilet paper. She has a long, hard road ahead of her and if you decide one day it’s too much, you could destroy her mental health further. Just consider what’s in Clover’s best interest, not yours. Don’t jump the gun.”
Mason ruminated on his advice while they waited. He wanted Clover to feel safe and happy again once they caught Bentley. Shit, they’ll make her testify against the asshole. Dash was right, Clover had a lot more to heal from than a chest wound.
As he was staring out the window, an old yellow pickup truck parked by the curb. A flash of red snared his attention when it drove off and shook his head at the sight. Son of a bitch!
“Reese,” he spat, “Dash, that’s Reese! Can you believe our luck?”
“Stay here,” Dash barked, jumping out of the vehicle and approaching Reese from behind within seconds of spotting her.
He spoke into the Bluetooth sticking out of his ear, communicating with his people while Mason checked out Reese’s appearance. The girl was barefoot, leaving crimson footprints against the concrete pathway leading to the main hospital entrance, indicating her feet were bleeding. She also wore a filthy sleeveless blue dress that barely reached her ass.
Dash finally said something to her, which freaked her out. Before Mason cracked the door to help, Dash had the petite girl unconscious, zip-tied, gagged, and stowed in the back seat.
“Whoa! You ever work at a rodeo?” he grinned despite the seriousness of snatching a wounded person off the sidewalk in plain view of people coming and going from the building.
Dash hopped in, huffing and puffing, “Something like that. Fuck, that little filly can kick.”
He started the SUV, swung around the block into an alleyway where a tall, muscular woman and a man built larger than him quickly took possession of Reese. Mason stayed quiet, trusting Dash.
As they returned to the hospital Dash explained, “They’ll talk to her. Maybe we’ll figure out where Bentley’s holed up and end this before nightfall.”
Mason nodded in understanding, thankful Reese had been stupid enough to show up at the one place she never should have. Why had she gone there? She looked half-crazed and on a mission. Had she escaped after stabbing Clover?
Hopefully, all of his questions would be answered with no more surprises.
* * * * *
Mason slept a few winks in the car because Dash had his back. He roused him at six, saying they needed to join his team to speak to Reese, and YES, he had men looking out for Clover.
He wasn’t even mad at the cost of hiring Dash after finding Clover alive and semi-well. The man didn’t mess around when it came to getting results and knew where to take unwanted garbage. They pulled up to a filthy hotel-motel in the city where people turned a blind eye because they, too, were up to shady shit.
Dash tapped twice on door number five and the massive man Mason met earlier opened it, offering a grimace in greeting. The stout woman who helped nab Reese from the SUV stepped out of the bathroom and her surprisingly beautiful features threw him off, although certain she could beat the snot out of him if he pissed her off. As one, they rounded on the girl with cherry-colored hair bound and gagged to a chair in the center of the rundown room.
“She came from West Wind,” the woman clipped, placing her hands on her wide hips, “She refused to divulge more information until she spoke to Mason.”
“Bentley’s in West Wind?” he was a stupid fucker, “He grew up there. Fuck.”
“Let’s hear it,” Dash ordered, taking the cloth from her mouth.
“May I have some water, please?” Reese’s voice came out raspy but charming. He remembered how he first noticed her soft inflections the night they met at Patches.
Her blue eyes narrowed, and she yelled, “You are all the same! I deserve it! Get it! I’m sweet! I am!”
Everyone shifted uncomfortably at her bizarre outburst, but the other woman sighed and opened a water bottle, helping Reese drink. She grinned after draining half the liquid, but no one smiled back. Mason should have felt sympathy for this girl who obviously needed psychotherapy, but couldn’t muster the emotion. She stabbed his girlfriend, and that was inexcusable.
Besides, Clover rambled the same bullshit about being sweet and it was really freaking him out.
Her round blues brimmed with tears as she talked, “Sir told me if I was sweet… there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for me, and it had been true. He kept me. I was the best at preparing others to obey the rules until HER,” the tears dried quickly as they had in his home where she pranced around in his shirt after drugging him, “SHE isn’t sweet. She pretended and now he’ll see. I caught on. Yes, we ALL saw through Clover! TOUCHING Sir when he didn’t ask for it! Making Sir hurt me because she hated the fact he protected us!” her speech swelled louder and louder until she stilled, giving Mason a look that chilled his blood.
Bentley had stuffed her head with insidious ideas about him. Mason already explained to Dash exactly what the little psycho spouted once before, but hearing Clover had been intimate with Bentley on her own accord twisted something inside of him. Still, Reese claimed she played him. Right?
“Mason Thistle,” she gave him a pretty smile, making him want to retreat, but he held his ground, “Did you pat yourself on the back after Sir took the fall for nearly killing that girl? When they tarnished his name so badly he was unable to enroll at other colleges, did you stop to bask or move onto the next victim?”
The color drained from his face. His early twenties was a grim period in his life he didn’t dwell on. Dash shuffled foot to foot beside him as the other two remained watchful. His past wasn’t anyone’s business and arguing over shit Bentley lied to her about was a waste of their time.
“Clover can’t give Sir what he needs!” Reese was back to spitting fury to all that would listen, “He tells me everything! He wants you, DEAD!”
Mason huffed in frustration, looking to Dash, silently asking if he should say something. The stoic man gave Reese a contemplative gaze before nodding towards Mason as if he knew only he could salvage the situation.
Looming over her he quietly said, “To quote Benjamin Franklin, believe none of what you hear and half of what you see. Where’s Bentley?”
Reese lowered her lashes over baby blues, curving her lips coyly, “Who?”
He gritted his teeth, “Where is your fucking SIR?”
She pouted, “Clover’s crass too. I’m glad I stabbed her.”
Mason clenched his hands, refusing to fall for her bait, “Where is he?”
“Do you remember using my mouth as a cum-dumpster that night at the bar? How you held my hair in your fist, pumping your salty goodness down my throat until I swallowed?” Reese ran her pert tongue across her upper lip slowly, “Sir promised Clover would never want you again and it’s true. She won’t have you or Sir once I get to her. I’m younger and better. SWEETER.”
Nausea swirled in his stomach, shamed at the image she painted. Was she lying? He remembered nothing from that evening. Once again he was reminded of the extremes Bentley would go to in order to complete his sadistic goals. Feeling violated after her taunting revelation, he rubbed his arms in an attempt to brush off the unsettling confusion.
Dash turned to the hulk of a man scoffing at the shit show, “What were the toxicology test results?”
“We found no drugs in her system,” his deep voice rumbled, “She’s in love with her captor and under the illusion Clovers in the way. Typical Helsinki syndrome behavior. Factor in malnutrition and dehydration, and you got one crazed individual.”
“Clover’s not sweet!” Reese screeched, hurting his ears, “Hey, Mason! Mason… Why did you let Sir believe he doesn’t deserve happiness? What makes you so special? You aren’t even man enough to—”
Dash gagged her mid-tirade, and he exhaled in relief. It was becoming obvious Bentley corrupted this kid just to torment him. Dirty bastard lost his morals long ago.
“I made mistakes,” he confessed, ignoring everyone in the room, “The girl who tried killing herself was our plaything. We took it too far, and she paid the price. I told him I would no longer participate in his perverted activities after that, but he saw it as a challenge. He never STOPPED. I’m sorry for what he’s done to you. Forget Clover for a minute, yeah?” he waited until the rage seeped out of her expression, “What about the other women? They’re innocent. Tell me where your Sir’s at, and I’ll apologize to him. I swear.”
He pulled the gag from her mouth, giving her a solemn look. Her eyes searched for signs of deception until she sagged with resignation, “Sir wants to kill me, so nothing matters anymore. I don’t know exactly where we were kept, but it’s a big two-story house surrounded by woods. I noticed a mile marker for Sage Bend before a kind man picked me up.” she licked her lips, glancing at the others, “Sir promised to get rid of the Sweets… but Alisha stayed. Too pure to run. I had no choice but to leave her on the lawn. Hope she enjoys his whip as much as I do…”
Mason gave her a small smile of encouragement although his resentment grew at her callous disregard for the abused women left in Bentley’s care, “Did you know Clover was at that hospital?”
“Yes, I…” she seemed frightened, admitting, “Sir said I wasn’t sweet. He was right. I hurt Emmett and tried to make Sir keep me instead of them, but he will once she’s gone. She isn’t worthy of his love. Not like me! Oh, I deserve punishment!”
She broke down in a mess of tears. Mason felt sick by how brainwashed she was and without saying a word, he strode outside to pace the trash littered parking lot. Reese couldn’t even admit she wronged Clover. A few moments later Dash joined him and they piled into the SUV. Sitting in silence, both absorbing what Reese brought to light. One thing was indisputable. Clover meant something to Bentley, and they had to put it to an end.