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Slick (Burnout 2.5)

By´╝ÜDahlia West

Slick (Burnout 2.5)
Dahlia West

Chapter 1

Keep your eyes closed.

Sarah Sullivan had been telling herself that for the last ten minutes. She shifted slightly, getting uncomfortable.

"Don't move."


Sarah clutched at the thin fabric covering her torso. It was August, hot as hell, but she was freezing. Normally she longed for the night stars, but right now she'd rather have the warmth of the sun shining on her instead.

As hands pressed on her inner thighs, spreading her legs and exposing her, a tear managed to fall out of the corner of her eye. With her eyes closed, her mind filled with all the images that kept her awake some nights.

Blood. And begging. Screaming. And stars.

Sarah, help me!

She still didn't open her eyes. Doing so would only trigger a different set of memories. She didn't need to see. There was a white ceiling and harsh lights. The smell of antiseptic filled her nose.

"How are you doing?"

Is she going to be okay?! My baby! My baby girl! Is she going to die?! Oh, God, Sarah! Sarah it's mom, can you hear me?

"I'm fine."

Sarah steeled herself against the invasion, her stomach tightening. She fought off the instinct to close her legs. The urge to vomit was harder to suppress.

Did he rape you, Sarah?

Not this time.

But his fingernails had scratched her and caused her to bleed. It had taken a long time to get comfortable with Chris fingering her again.

Til death do us part, baby. I'll wait my whole life for you to be ready if that's what it takes.

More tears fell and she wiped them away.

I can't give you what you want, Chris.

You are what I want, Sarah. You're all I need.


But, Chris, what if I never-

"Sarah. Open your eyes."

Sarah took a deep, steadying breath. The weight of a dozen disappointments were making it hard to breathe. She felt as though she would suffocate underneath them. Or break.

She opened her eyes. Her vision blurred as fresh, new tears sprang forth. She blinked and they spilled like tiny raindrops.

The technician moved the monitor so Sarah could get a better look.

"That? That right there? That's the heartbeat."

The dam inside Sarah burst. Her chest expanded suddenly and she could finally breathe again. She sobbed jaggedly. The technician calmly handed her a box of Kleenex.

Never say never, baby

Chapter 2

Sarah nearly jumped the curb in her SUV as she parallel parked. Downtown traffic in Rapid City wasn't as bad as other cities she'd lived in, but she was pretty sure that it was easier to navigate if you were actually driving the speed limit. She grabbed her purse and the glossy black and white strip of photos resting on top. She locked the vehicle and rushed to the top of the steps of the city's finest historic hotel. Or it would be when Abigail Raines was done with it.

Abby had been fresh out of college looking to start her life. So she'd packed up her Toyota, waved goodbye to Las Vegas, and drove a thousand miles to a city she'd never been to, and took a job with a boss she'd never met, to work in a hotel she'd never seen.

The city, it turned out, had suited Abby just fine. Better now that she had a serious boyfriend and a group of new friends. The job had turned out to be a slog that required Herculean feats of management. Better now, though, since she'd moved up the ladder. The hotel had turned out to be on a steep decline, with a shabby interior and even shabbier finances. Better now, though, since Abby had stolen it from the owner. With the help of a .38, a mob lawyer, and four ex-army Special Forces operatives.

Well, not really.

Chris had said that he, Easy, Tex, and Hawk had just stood against the wall, looking menacing, yet reasonably certain Abby wasn't actually going to shoot anyone.

Caleb, the fifth of the remaining Ranger unit members, stayed home that day. Because he was now one of RCPD's finest. And the paperwork involved if Abby had really pulled the trigger would've been monumental. He still enjoyed hearing the story, though.

Sarah walked up to the Custer hotel's doors and headed inside. She heard Abby before she saw her. The redhead was in the hotel's bar, though she wasn't ordering her usual gin martini. The bar was actually closed. Tables and chairs were stacked to one side and covered with canvas. It appeared to Sarah that the workmen were actually preparing to cut a hole in the bar's back wall.

"I need this knocked out and the framing done by next week," Abby was explaining to the foreman. "Though the finish work can take longer."

Sarah was normally polite having been raised in the South. She understood that she should wait until her best friend was finished, but she couldn't.

"Abby," Sarah called out.

"One sec," Abby replied, not even glancing over her shoulder. To the foreman she said, "So, listen, if this floor needs to be refinished after, I'd like to-"

"Abby," Sarah said again.

"Hang on!" Abby called back.

"Vegas!" Sarah yelled.

Abby finally turned to face Sarah. "What?"

Sarah held up the strip of photos.

A piercing scream rang out in the bar. Abby launched herself at Sarah.

"Oh, my GOD!"

Sarah caught her, gripped her around the waist, and both women devolved into bouts of hysterical laughter.

"I knew it!" Abby proclaimed. She took Sarah's face in her hands, beaming at her. "I knew it would happen for you guys. No one deserves it more. I need some champagne!" Abby announced. "And I'm in an empty bar! Ugh. We have to go out for lunch."

Sarah grinned at her. "How about some shopping?"

"Oh, God yes! She needs her first dress. Her first shoes. Do they make high heels for babies? What about cowboy boots?" Abby squealed. "Oh, she's going to look so cute in boots!"

Sarah laughed. "How do you know it's a girl?"

"Because I'm the aunt and I say so! Oh! Baby's first jewelry!"

Sarah smiled and shook her head. She looked at the flower made of rubies and diamonds that was always nestled in the hollow of Abby's throat. To the outside world it looked like a beautiful vintage necklace. But only Abby and her boyfriend Tex and their friends knew its real meaning. Abby Raines was used to getting her way. Except in the bedroom, where she submitted to the, probably slightly depraved, desires of the man she loved.

Sarah didn't know exactly what went on between Mark and Abby in the bedroom. She suspected she didn't want to know. But they were both happy and Sarah was happy for them.

But Sarah had her own ideas about bedroom sass. And right now she wanted to shop for some things that would make tonight special. It was Poker Night (ha) but that was the only appointment Sarah could get on such short notice. She wanted to call the guys and cancel, but then they'd want to know why. And she didn't want to alert Chris to anything suspicious.

She'd already told him she was headed to Maria's bar to work the lunch shift, as she often did on Thursdays. Instead she'd called out, telling Maria everything. She knew she could trust the older woman to keep it quiet.

A year ago when Sarah had been attacked, for the second time, she'd fled South Dakota to her native North Carolina to deal with the aftermath. After deciding that her life and her future lay with the second family she'd created here, she'd returned.

Even though Sarah's life story was the talk of the town, it wasn't the talk of Maria's bar where Sarah had worked before the kidnapping and where she worked again upon return to Rapid City.

Maria was nice enough. But it was her place and her rules and she'd laid down the law when Sarah returned. Any gossip about Sarah Sullivan and you were out on your ass. Permanently.

Maria was overjoyed that Sarah and Shooter had been trying for a baby. She'd waxed poetic a few times that it was going to be hard to lose Sarah, the best waitress Maria had ever had. But Shooter a