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Published by Hachette Book Group on November 10th 2015
Genres: Erotic, Romance
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Source: The Next Step PR
Equal parts Dexter and 50 Shades, this is the eagerly awaited new novel from A. R. Torre, author of the award winning erotic thriller, The Girl in 6E.
The rules are the same. I can’t open the door. I can’t leave. I can’t kill anyone.
The only difference is, I don’t set the rules anymore. Guards in grey uniforms do. It is everything I never wanted and everything I always deserved. I write to you now, from a prison cell. My home for the next twenty to thirty years.
That’s the going term for murder.
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*** Spoiler Free ***
“Where were you last night, Ms. Madden?”
I brought my eyes up from the water bottle and into the woman’s eyes. “I was here. In my apartment.”
The woman’s eyes darted, from left to right, like a pong paddle. “All night?”
“Can anyone verify that?”
When she spoke, her eyebrows pinched together in a sharp V of distrust. I watched their narrow exclamations and wondered what they have on me. Anything? Was this a fishing expedition or a sharpening of the nails that would seal my coffin?
“Umm… yes. My next-door neighbor. Simon.” I tried to push into last night’s vault, but found nothing. Strange.
“He was with you?”
I felt the upward curl of my lip. “No. But he locked me into the apartment. From nine till sometime this morning.”
That surprised them. I felt the shift of air, the rigid tilt of the woman as she fought against turning her head to the man. He leaned in a little and spoke, “I don’t understand.”
I sighed, an action that bought me a moment to deliberate the wisdom of information sharing. “Simon lives a few doors down. He locks my door at night. So he can verify that he locked me inside last night, and I was here all night until he unlocked me.”
“Your door locks from the outside?” EyelinerCop found this very interesting. I watched the tip of her pen, the increased tremor of it as it scratched against the page of her notebook.
“Yes.” I lifted my eyes from the pen. “What evidence do you have against me?”
Her mouth widened into a grin, a stretch of raw lips that looked painful. I didn’t like that grin, that tell that I’d just stepped into a pile of shit. “Why, Ms. Madden, what an interesting question. An innocent person would be more interested in finding out what crime was committed.”
“Who said I was an innocent person?” The response slipped out, snarky and unnecessary. I’d wanted to shut the cop up, to wipe that smug grin off her face. The question was much more passive than what I wanted to do. To spring across the table and claw at her throat. Yank at her belt and palm her service revolver. Celebrate the gun’s weight in my hand in the moment before I pointed the gun at her temple and pulled the trigger. Take that, bulletproof vest. Compared to that scenario, my egotistic response was tame. Tame and stupid. The pair of detectives all but high-fived each other with their eye contact. I settled back in my chair and waited. Counted to ten and swore to behave.
The woman composed herself and spoke. “What are you guilty of, Ms. Madden?”
I wondered why she was in charge of this interaction. If it was her rank or if it was because they thought I’d associate with a woman more. Thought I would buddy up and confess away, all because a penis didn’t hang between her legs. I tapped my fingers against the arm of the chair. “I’d like you both to leave now. Unless you have something to charge me with.”
They had to have something. Surely they didn’t show up at my apartment on a whim. I must have slipped up somewhere, forgotten something. Left a gaping hole big enough for them to stick an arrest warrant through.
The man spoke. “Let’s get back to the neighbor. You said he locks you inside? Why would you let him do that?”
This was wrong, bad. I shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t be talking to them. I had asked them to leave, didn’t that mean they had to? I took a sip of my water and looked away from the man, making accidental eye contact with the woman. She leaned forward and pointed, her finger one long arrow of invasion. “What happened to your nose, Ms. Madden?”
“My nose?” I reached up and touched it. Felt the caked blood, the split across my bridge. I fought the urge to follow suit with my second hand to fully explore the damage. Focused on my pain and suddenly realized how much it throbbed.
“It looks broken.” She looked concerned, but she wasn’t. She was giddy, would probably have reached out and gripped my nose herself if she could have.
It looks broken. It felt broken. I pushed on the tip and got lightheaded. Pulled my hand away before I fainted. I stared at a strand of the woman’s hair that had escaped her ponytail. Focused on it until the spots cleared from my vision.
“Ms. Madden?” the man prodded.
“What happened to your nose?”
Good question. I looked away from the strand of hair and into the man’s eyes. “I’m not sure.”
The seed of unease was growing in my stomach. Why was I talking to them? Why were they here? Why was I offering information when I wasn’t getting any? I stood up and watched for a reaction. A reach for a paper, for evidence to wave in my face, but they did nothing, just stayed in place and watched me. “I’d like to be alone.”
I walked to the door and waited, the pair slow in their stand, step, then pass through the open door. I was almost free, about to shut it, when the woman’s hand settled on my arm, a firm and hard grip that tightened against the sleeve of my Marilyn Monroe sweatshirt. I turned, raising my brows at her in question.
“Why did you kill him?” the cop whispered, her eyes glued on me.
I didn’t answer her. I held her eye contact while I reached down and pulled back on her index finger until she released my arm. Then I dropped my hand, stepped back, and shut the door, the slam of the steel against the frame loud and unfamiliar.
I didn’t not answer to be smart or mysterious. The main reason I didn’t answer was because I wasn’t sure how to answer. I wasn’t sure which death she was asking about. To be honest, I was starting to lose track.
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