No One to Trust

By: Katie Reus
Red Stone Security 01

Chapter 1

Secrets are what keep a family strong. United. Elizabeth Martinez could still hear her father’s words echoing in the recesses of her memories. Over a decade had passed and not a day went by that she didn’t wish she could rewrite history. Some secrets had a way of eating a person alive. From the inside out, one giant bite at a time. Gnawing until she couldn’t stand it. If her father hadn’t forced them all to keep the family’s dirty little secret, maybe she’d be at home enjoying a nice glass of wine and a bubble bath. She wouldn’t be picking up her brother from a drug dealer’s house on a chilly Tuesday evening.

Lizzy put her BMW into park and slid from the vehicle. This particular mansion in Keystone Island was the last place in the world she wanted to be. Unfortunately her brother had called begging for help. Again.

Everyone else in the family had turned their back on Benny but she simply couldn’t say no when he needed her. Not when he’d always been there for her.

While she wasn’t sure what Benny was doing at the recently deceased Alberto Salas’s home, she knew it couldn’t be good. Salas had been infamous for running drugs up and down the entire East Coast. She’d heard his son, Orlando, had taken over his operation. She’d briefly interacted with Orlando at a few charity functions around Miami and he’d always been perfectly polite, but the man gave her the creeps. There were some things an Armani suit simply couldn’t hide.

Self-consciously, Lizzy tugged at her dress as if she could somehow make it grow a couple inches longer. The bright turquoise halter-style dress and black cardigan sweater she wore were completely respectable, but as she walked down the stone driveway toward the front door, she could feel several sets of eyes on her. Considering Orlando Salas was rumored to be in the same business his father had been, she guessed that even though she couldn’t see them, he had plenty of scary looking security guys milling around. They were nothing more than thugs in suits and ties. She worked for one of the best security firms in the nation and the guys she worked with—they sure weren’t thugs. No, they were highly trained, mostly ex-military, and didn’t deal with scum like Salas. They protected uber wealthy clients and government dignitaries and everyone they worked for got a detailed military level background check—courtesy of her computer skills—and if it appeared they were into anything like drugs, Red Stone Security didn’t take them on. With how much money their company made, they could afford to be picky.

Before she could knock on the bright red door, it swung open and a man carrying an assault rifle looked her up and down.

A cold chill slithered through her, mainly because of the look on his face, rather than the gun. She’d known the guards here would be armed, but yuck, this guy made her feel like she was naked. Clutching her purse tighter against her side—as if that could somehow save her—she started to tell him why she was there, but he beat her to it.

With a lecherous grin on his face, he stepped back and allowed her to enter. “Your brother’s out back.” He pointed down the tile hallway. “Just follow until you reach the French doors.”

Fighting back the growing panic humming through her, she nodded and did just as he said. Yeah, maybe she should have called her boss and told him what she was doing but she didn’t want to drag anyone she knew into Benny’s problems. Then everyone would know how messed up her family really was. It was too embarrassing. She’d take care of it just like she always had. Chin up, she ordered herself.

As she neared the doors she could see her brother stretched out on an Adirondack chair. She yanked the door open and hurried to his still form. “Benny!”

When he didn’t stir, an icy fist clasped around her heart. He looked like a corpse. His normally bronze face was a grayish color. She touched his wrist and a sharp burst of relief popped inside her. At least his pulse was strong. But his face…tears blurred her vision for a moment. A garish purple bruise covered his left cheek and one of his eyes was swollen almost all the way shut. A light trail of blood had trickled from his nostril and dried on his upper lip. Had they broke his nose? Her throat tightened with raw grief. He’d sounded bad on the phone but she hadn’t expected this. She wanted to touch him, comfort him somehow, but was afraid she’d only hurt him more.

Her hand hovered over his pale face for a moment before she settled on brushing a lock of his dark hair away from his forehead. “What have you gotten yourself into,” she whispered.

“He’s going to be out for a little while.” She swiveled around at a familiar male voice and let her hand drop.

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