Home > Charged (Saints of Denver #2)(3)

Charged (Saints of Denver #2)(3)
Author: Jay Crownover

A harmful one.

A guilty one.

A selfish one.

I could even be considered a dangerous person, if you asked the right people, and they weren’t necessarily wrong. It was amazing how hazardous doing nothing could be. It had even more disastrous results than doing the wrong thing … at least, it had up until now.

The lawyer’s cultured and smooth voice startled me out of my dreary thoughts. “Asa Cross. He was one of the victims of your boyfriend’s armed robbery attempt. The other was an off-duty police officer. So it’s no surprise that they booked you and locked you up with almost zero lag time. The DPD protects its own so no one is looking to do you or your boyfriend any favors.”

I winced when he brought up Jared.

Jared, the boy who had come along and convinced me he loved me. The boy that assured me we were so much alike we couldn’t fail. He was as screwed up and unhappy as I was, so we were bound to be together forever.

Jared, the boy that had hid from me the fact he was not only an addict with a serious problem but also deeply involved in the city’s drug trade until I was so far in, with what I thought was love for him, to pull myself out.

Jared was the perfect punishment for a girl that couldn’t get it together and deserved nothing more than exactly the kind of guy he really was.

Jared was also the boy who had run off with his supplier’s stash and money, leaving me behind to pay the price for his dishonesty and to pass along the message that his connections weren’t happy with him. He was also the boy that managed to convince me the only way to help him to help us, was to steal from the one place that had always been home no matter what. He convinced me that petty theft made no difference, that it was money I was owed anyway since my father had handed over his bar, his livelihood, without a thought as to what that meant to me. Jared was good with words when he wasn’t high, and like always, I couldn’t do the wrong thing fast enough. Only, the handfuls of cash from the register barely put a dent in the amount he owed.

Like I said, I wasn’t stupid or naive, so I should’ve known when he told me he needed to swing by the bar my dad used to own and where I used to work that he was up to no good. Jared was always up to no good, and more and more frequently that no good left marks on my arms and legs. He’d learned pretty quickly that even though I constantly disappointed and let down the people that loved me, they still cared, they always cared, and they didn’t appreciate me walking around with black eyes and swollen cheeks. He hadn’t slapped me across the face again after Church, the new bouncer at the bar, followed us out to the car one night and gave a few crystal clear hints about what would happen to Jared if I showed up looking roughed-up again. Addicts were unpredictable, but they knew how to hide the things they were doing that were wrong, the things they didn’t want other people to know about. So Jared still did bad things to me; he just got more skilled at hiding the evidence, and I pushed harder at the people that cared so I didn’t have to make excuses. I could never explain why I stayed or why I thought a guy like Jared was the kind of guy I was supposed to be with. I knew why, but that didn’t mean my reasons would go over well with them because, despite everything, they cared about me, even if I knew I didn’t deserve it. The lawyer didn’t want my story … That was fine because it felt like I would be torn in half every time I was forced to tell it.

“Why would Asa hire you to represent me? He hates me.” And rightly so. I had given the gorgeous southern charmer a thousand really good reasons to loathe me in the short time we had known each other. I couldn’t imagine why he would go out of his way to help me out. He wasn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy type, even on a good day.

The attorney lifted a gold-colored eyebrow and leaned back in his seat. He put his expensive pen down on the file in front of him and considered me through narrowed eyes. This guy had silent interrogation and intimidation down to a fine art. I felt like he could tell exactly what made me tick and exactly why I did the things I did simply by looking at me. I wasn’t used to that kind of perception from anyone, especially not from a guy that clearly came from a different kind of world than I was familiar with.

“Considering your current surroundings, shouldn’t you simply be grateful that he did?”

I bristled a little at the censure in his tone. “I’m just confused.”

“Good. That’s what I want you to tell every single person that asks you anything about what happened that night. You were confused. You didn’t understand what was happening. Your boyfriend coerced you and lied to you. You had no clue what his plans were that evening.”

I shifted in the rock-hard seat and all the chains attached to me rattled again. “That’s all true. I didn’t know what he had planned that night. I never would have gotten in the car with him if he told me he was going to rob the bar.” But I knew as soon as I recognized where we were headed, something bad was going to happen, and I did nothing to stop it … again.

I could have slid into the driver’s seat and left. It would have been so easy. I could have put the car in drive and kept going and going until I ran out of gas and ended up somewhere far away from the nightmare I was stuck in now. I could have climbed out of the car, walked inside that bar, and begged Jared to stop. I could have picked up my cell phone, called the police myself, and told them that my junkie of a boyfriend was tweaked out, owed some bad people a lot of money, and was currently trying to stick up the bar that had saved my dad’s life and that had always been a safe place.

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