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Authors: Adelle Laudan

Tags: #romance, #suspense, #kidnapping, #motorcycle, #ebook, #contemporary, #abduction, #biker, #biker fiction, #crucified, #adelle laudan

Crucified

Crucified

by
Adelle Laudan

Copyright
© 2011

Legz
Publishing

Cover
illustration by Adelle Laudan © 2010

 

License
Notes

This
ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may
not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to
share this book with another person, please purchase an additional
copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book
and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only,
then you should purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting
the hard work of this author.

Ebook
ISBN : 978-0-9867347-4-8

 

 

Dedicated
to

All those
who have ever

been
wrongly judged

by
others.

Chapter
One

 

An eerie
stillness settled over the sleepy hallow of Johnstown, Nova Scotia.
An empty swing creaked back and forth beckoning the town children
to play. Small shops littered either side of Main Street’s
cobblestone roadway—void of the usual hustle and bustle on a Sunday
morning.

The rumble of
Taylor Danson’s beloved motorcycle reverberated through the
deserted streets.

A picture of
young Casey Adams had been found on the post office bulletin board.
News of Preacher Adam’s pretty blonde daughter bound and gagged had
the townspeople in an uproar, and all fingers pointed directly at
him.

Taylor had been
raked over the coals when she first disappeared. Now Chief Walker
requested his presence yet again, with a much too early phone call.
The general consensus—it had to be someone from town, and money
couldn’t be the motive. There were plenty of people around town
with more money than Preacher Adams. So Taylor became the official
fall guy, as he’d been deemed a few too many times in the past.

He pulled up
out front of the police station…well, a police station of sorts. It
consisted of two rooms. One was where they locked up drunks who got
out of hand, and the other, where the chief and his ever-present
sidekick, Deputy Lucas, played cards and drank cheap Scotch.

Since the auto
shop re-opened a year ago, he’d been called in and questioned at
least a half dozen times, suspect for minor break ins and
vandalism. It royally pissed him off being labeled a troublemaker.
He wished someone would have told him about the previous owner of
the auto Shop. Supposedly, the guy had been the epitome of a ‘bad
ass’ biker, wreaking havoc in the small town.

Now Taylor was
pegged as the same type of guy, when nothing could be further from
the truth. With a heavy sigh, he lifted his leg over his bike.

Chief Walker’s
oversized frame filled the doorway. “Sorry to bring you out so
early on your day off, Taylor.” He rocked back and forth on freshly
polished shoes. “You know how it is.”


Unfortunately, I do. I hope you got the coffee on.”


You bet I do.” Chief Walker opened the door and ushered him
inside.

Deputy Lucas
chased dust around one of the cells with a rarely used broom. The
small cot had been made with fresh sheets and the smell of
furniture polish mixed with perking coffee replaced the usual aroma
of stale booze and sweat.


Is it spring already?” Taylor laughed.


Nope. They’re sending in a couple agents from the head office
to deal with Casey’s abduction.”

Chief kept his
back to him, making it impossible for Taylor to gage his
reaction.


You don’t say.” He folded his arms across his
chest.


Yup.” He handed Taylor a cup of coffee and sat behind a
surprisingly clear desk. “I guess they figure this case is a bit
much for a small time chief and his deputy.”


Sorry to hear that.”


Don’t be. I’m happy to have the help. To be quite honest, I
don’t know where to begin looking for the poor kid.”


So why am I here again?” The bitter coffee assaulted the back
of his throat and he grimaced. “Damn you make the worst
coffee.”

Chief chuckled,
setting his belly in motion above a shiny belt buckle. “Let’s just
say it isn’t my drink of choice. It seems a few of the townsfolk
feel I haven’t asked you enough questions.” His gaze diverted
scrutiny.


I’m getting pretty sick of being the fall guy around here.
When are they going to get it through their thick skulls, I’m
nothing like the biker who used to own my shop?”

Chief Walker
shrugged. “If you just answer a couple questions, we can both get
on with our days.”


You’re wasting your time, but shoot.” Taylor bobbed his leg up
and down.


Where were you all day on Friday?”

Taylor let out
a burst of air from his lungs and straightened in his seat. “I
already told you, I closed up shop around noon, like I always do on
Fridays, and went riding.”


Where’d you go?”


I chased some clouds down by the ocean, stopped for a bite to
eat, and back home before nightfall.” He drained his cup and stood
behind his chair. His patience wore thin as he clenched hands
behind his back.


Is there anyone who can testify they saw you?”

He shrugged.
“Maybe the waitress at Fisherman’s Wharf. I don’t remember her
name, medium height and big boobs.”

Chief Walker
scrawled on a pad of paper and stood. “Thank you, Taylor. Let me
remind you not to go too far in case the agents have any further
questions for you.”


Great. I better go home and bake them a fucking cake.” He
looked back over his shoulder as he strolled toward the door. “Am I
done here?”


For now. Are you going riding today? It sure is a nice day for
it.”

Taylor smirked,
amused by the chief’s attempt to make nice. “For sure, while I’m
waiting for the cake to cool.”

Outside, he put
a hand over his eyes to shield them from the bright morning sun. He
took sunglasses from the breast pocket of his well-worn denim shirt
and put them on. A dark sedan pulled up behind his bike. He
couldn’t see the occupants through the tinted windows. If a car
ever looked like a cop car, the sedan did. He straddled his Harley
Davidson Knucklehead and kicked her to life, keeping an eye in his
mirrors.

From the
drivers’ side came a tall man in a dark suit. Sunglasses hid his
eyes and his blonde hair was perfectly combed back. He looked up
and down the empty street and buttoned his jacket. The passenger
door opened and out stepped a second agent. Even though her
tailored suit said all business, she failed to hide very feminine
curves. She’d pulled her red hair back in a tight bun at the back
of her head. As with the driver, her sunglasses hid her eyes, but
the direction she stood told him she was taking him in.

He smiled and
tipped two fingers to his forehead before slipping into gear. He
twisted the throttle and left the two out of place agents standing
in front of the station. He imagined the chief and Lucas falling
over each other to make sure the Scotch was well hidden. The poor
guys were going to have serious withdrawals with the feds in town.
He chuckled to himself and inhaled the crisp morning air. A nice
long ride would shake away the anger he felt brewing in the pit of
his stomach.

****

Agent Dianne Parker watched the motorcycle pull away.
What I wouldn’t give to have that kind of
freedom
.

She’d walked
out of the briefing earlier that morning with conflicted emotions.
On one hand she wanted nothing more than to find the young girl and
bring her abductor to justice. On the other hand, she wondered how
many more cases like this she could take. It was becoming
increasingly difficult to not become emotionally involved of
late.

Maybe this one will be different
.

Her gaze wandered over the charming cobblestone roadway. Small
shops littered either side of the deserted street. The only
semblance of life came from the diner across the road where half a
dozen patrons pressed against the glass watching their every
move.
Two small children made faces at them
and giggled uncontrollably.

Her last case
had been particularly hard. There was no reason to predict the
horrific ending. An enraged husband and father took his son after a
lengthy court battle awarded the mother full custody.

The father
obviously loved his son to go to such lengths. At least that’s what
they had thought. On a dreary, overcast day that Spring, a cook at
a local restaurant called in after finding a hand sticking out of
the debris in their dumpster.

For months
after they uncovered young Matthew’s body, she’d been jolted from
sleep with the image of his tiny hand reaching out for someone to
save him. An intense manhunt found the father in an abandoned
beachfront property with a single gunshot wound to the temple. He’d
left no note, no explanation for his crime. To this day, she
couldn’t hear a child’s laughter without the image of Matthew
flashing in her mind.

Now a young
girl was missing and she’d be damned if they didn’t find her before
she suffered a similar demise. To be quite honest, she didn’t know
if she could handle it if they didn’t succeed. Maybe she’d been
doing this kind of work too long. Her professionalism was being
compromised by emotion from which she’d been trained to detach
herself.

She feigned a
smile in their direction and straightened her jacket as Seth
rounded the front of the car towards her.


Ready?”


As ready as I’ll ever be.” She inhaled deeply and let it out
slowly as she followed him inside.

A mixture of
coffee and cleaning products assaulted her senses making her
sneeze. The small station was no bigger than the lobby of
headquarters. A seriously overweight chief of police stood behind
his desk. A smaller version of the man entered the room brandishing
a broom.


Good morning. I’m Chief Steven Walker, and this is my deputy,
Lucas Barnes.” He shook Seth’s and her hand in turn.

Lucas stepped
toward Seth’s outstretched hand, and tripped over the carpet. His
hands flailed in front of him in a futile attempt to maintain his
balance. His palm landed squarely on her left breast.

Mortified, she
brushed his hand away and took a couple steps back. She curbed an
impulse to knock him flat on his ass.


I-I’m sorry ma’am.” The spindly deputy’s face turned fire
engine red.


Why don’t we get down to business?” Seth took a seat by the
chief’s desk and motioned for Dianne to sit next to him.

She thanked her
partner with a look. He knew her pretty well. If he hadn’t stepped
in, she might have torn a strip down one side of the totally
flustered deputy.

Chief Walker
went over the details of the case. It became more and more evident
as he rambled on—they weren’t prepared to handle a case of this
magnitude. The photo had been handled numerous times. If the
abductor’s prints were there, they’d long ago been smudged or
covered.


So, you’re telling us you only brought one person in for
questioning?” Seth flipped through his notes. “A Mr. Taylor
Danson?”

The chief
seemed to squirm in his seat. “If you two got here a few minutes
earlier you would have met him. Taylor owns the auto body shop on
the other side of town.”

Dianne looked
up from her note pad. “Are you talking about a tall man with long
hair, riding a motorcycle?”


Yup.” Chief Walker leaned back in his chair. “Casey and her
friends had a habit of hanging out in front of his
shop.”


Does Mr. Danson have any prior convictions?” For the first
time since they were seated, she was interested in what he had to
say.


Nope, he’s squeaky clean. Not even a speeding
ticket.”


If that’s the case, why are you so interested in him? Is he a
suspect?”

Chief Walker
nibbled on his bottom lip. “Listen, I’m sure we do things a little
different than you all in the big city. But, here in Johnstown, if
the folks start pointing fingers, it’s my job to check things out.
Unfortunately, the previous owner of the auto shop also rode a
motorcycle. Let’s just say, the guy was trouble from the get go.
Taylor has been wrongly riding in his shadow since he moved
here.”

Dianne saw where this was going.
Pin
the crime on the biker
. “Has Mr. Danson had
any altercations with anyone in town?”

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