Home > Charged (Saints of Denver #2)(4)

Charged (Saints of Denver #2)(4)
Author: Jay Crownover

So many good choices, so many right things I could have done, and yet all I did was sit there in the car and wait. I knew it was going to go bad. I knew someone was going to get hurt and I had done nothing. Nothing was the worst choice of them all, so of course that was the one that had settled around me like a lead blanket. I was suffocating on all the things I could do, should do, but it was the nothing that won. It was the nothing that defined me. It was the nothing that owned me, ruled me. It was the nothing that haunted me, chased me. It was the nothing that I spent my entire life trying to repent for and live beyond, but nothing always won.

Moments later, while I was still fighting through the nothing of the past and the paralyzing nothing of the current moment, I found myself facedown on the asphalt of the parking lot in front of my father’s legacy, being arrested for accessory to armed robbery and, according to the very angry cop that shoved me in the back of his patrol car, looking at anywhere from three to five years in prison if convicted.

“I told you I’m not interested in your story. Your boyfriend is in the hospital with a bullet wound but he’s already singing a pretty little tune that points the finger at you as the mastermind behind the robbery. He’s painting you as a vindictive daughter, angry that the family business was passed on to someone other than you. He’s claiming you used your relationship to manipulate him into robbing the place, to teach your father a lesson. Considering he has a five-mile-long criminal record and a history of drug-related charges, he’s not exactly credible, but then again, neither are you.”

He tapped the file in front of him with his index finger and all I could do was sigh. That file held a lifetime of poor decision making on my part. It was all laid out in black and white, every flaw, every terror, every mistake … right in front of this too-pretty man and his chilly and unwavering gaze.

I don’t think I’d ever been this exposed, this unprotected and bare, before anyone. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling and it took every last scrap of self-control I had not to squirm guiltily in my seat.

“I’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but I’ve never been in jail before now.” I sounded defensive and infantile. I didn’t understand how he wasn’t getting up and walking out of this room without looking back. I thought that was probably what I would do if I was in his shoes … not that I would ever be able to afford his shoes. The guy was the complete opposite of everything I had ever known. I don’t think my dad even owned a suit and the only time I saw him in a tie and shoes that weren’t boots was when someone was getting married or buried.

Those golden eyebrows danced upwards again and the corner of his mouth pulled down in something that would have been a frown on a less extraordinary face, but on him it looked more like a practiced expression of displeasure. I wanted to kick myself for noticing anything about him other than his credentials, considering the circumstances. He was distractingly good looking and it was annoying because I needed to focus on my impending doom, not his perfectly straight teeth and his disarmingly sharp blue eyes. “Multiple tickets issued for underage drinking, public intoxication, a recent DUI, a citation for shoplifting, a citation for trespassing, more than one basic assault charge … should I keep going?”

I gave my head a little shake. “No. I understand that it can’t be my word against Jared’s because we’re both equally untrustworthy. Neither one of us is running around with angel wings attached to our backs.”

That had his frosty demeanor thawing enough that the corners of his mouth kicked up and I felt my breath catch and my eyes widen at how the slight expression turned him from outrageously handsome into something so otherworldly attractive that my simple human mind couldn’t compute it. I wondered if he won all his cases because the female jurors were too blinded by lust to listen to any of the evidence he presented. That could really work in my favor, so I sure hoped it was part of whatever he was planning to spring me from the slammer.

“You don’t need angel wings or a halo to persuade a judge or a jury that you’re innocent. You need to listen to me and be more believable than him. I think it’s pretty obvious he’s trying to throw you under the bus. I’ve seen the surveillance tape the cops took from the bar and this is not a respectable individual we are dealing with.”

If he had seen the tape, then that meant he had seen Jared grab the back of my head and slam my face into the dash of the car when I told him I wasn’t going to be part of whatever he had planned for the bar. Absently, I lifted up my joined hands and rubbed at the knot that was still prominent between my eyes. I hadn’t had a mirror to look in to check out the bump but the paramedics at the scene had declared it a minor injury, even if the headache that had eventually settled in from the blow felt pretty major.

“No, he’s not respectable at all. He’s an addict.”

“It sounds awful to say, but that actually works in our favor.” He picked up the fancy pen again and folded the file closed in front of him. He rose to his feet in a lithe movement and I found myself shrinking back in my chair to make myself as small as possible. He had already been sitting on his side of the table when the cops brought me into the room so I wasn’t expecting him to be as tall as he was, or as big. “Your bail hearing is in the morning, which unfortunately means another night in lockup for you. However, I’m confident I can get you released tomorrow but it isn’t going to be cheap, and I also need to prove to the judge you have a place to go if they do, in fact, grant you bail.”

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