Devil's Playground

Devil's Playground by Gena D. Lutz Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Devil's Playground by Gena D. Lutz Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gena D. Lutz
see her, like your great-grandmother, Deidra, did?”
    “No, she’s too young.”
    “I see. Or I guess I don’t see, in this case.”
    I glanced from Rafe to Darcy and asked, “Will you tell me about the bracelet?”
    Terror faded to a whisper of fright in Darcy’s eyes.
    “I guess so.” She took a long breath that produced no air. It was a force of habit for a ghost to mimic the human condition. “From what little I can remember, all of us had to wear those damn things. It’s how our Handlers kept track of us.”
    “Handlers?” My thoughts jumped back to Josh and how he described his role in Darcy’s murder. “Do you mean the people who picked you up and dropped you off?”
    “Uh-huh. As I mentioned before, they also forced me to drink some weird concoction more than once a day. I didn’t know what the hell it was, but as soon as the effects of it kicked in, I couldn’t tell up from down. That’s when the Handlers would come. The rest is foggy.” She took another glance at the bracelet and grimaced. “Except for those damn bracelets; I remember those. We were branded by them like a herd of cattle.”
    My heart bled for her. I could only imagine the kind of Hell she’d been through. It was enough to make me want to strike out in vengeance for what was done to her and God only knew who else. Then a truth so apparent hit me. From Darcy’s definition of a Handler’s duties, Josh, even though Slone swore to his innocence, knew far more about her death than he was letting on.
    “Rafe, can you do me a favor?” I asked.
    My tall perfect specimen of a man gave me an endearing look. The softness in his features warmed me. Not in the way that a certain vampiric porno show in the basement did, but in a familiar one that denoted a love that was born from pure loyalty of heart, trust of mind, and creation of the flesh. I knew without question that Rafe Devereaux was someone I could trust with everything. Our bond was without measure.
    “Of course, Kris. Anything, just name it.”
    “How do I get one of those?” Darcy interrupted.
    I ignored her and her raging hormones.
    “Can you go down to the kitchen and see if a guy named Josh is still there?” I was breaking Slone’s confidence by asking Rafe to do that, but if what I suspected were true, it couldn’t be helped. “Slone will know.”
    Rafe’s mysterious dark eyes dimmed even further, almost to a pitch black. The look he gave gripped me with its fierceness, and soon after, a feeling of foreboding shadowed me. I had a hunch that it wasn’t only my emotions I was experiencing.
    That wasn’t the first time Rafe and I had shared our minds. We’d once forged a connection so strong that I could see through his eyes and feel everything he was feeling at the exact moment it was occurring. It was so powerful a joining that it knocked me out cold.
    “Something isn’t right. You think this punk is no good, maybe even evil.” Rafe’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “This means he may be a danger to you. No way am I going to bring him near you. I’d much rather kill him on sight.”
    With a charming smile, I explained, “My suspicions aren’t truths. Besides, how can anyone harm me with you around to watch over me?”
    He thought about it for a second, and then his shoulders relaxed a bit.
    “I’m not taking my eyes off that fucker. And he stands right next to me the entire time you’re talking to him, just in case your gut feeling is on the money.”
    “I can live with that,” I said.
    He grunted his agreement before turning to leave.
    “Oh, shoot!” I said.
    “What?” Darcy asked.
    Her eyes were glued to Rafe’s retreating backside.
    “I forgot my phone behind the bar, and I need to get in touch with Rush.” I scraped both hands over my face. “And I need to drop off a rental agreement by 6:00 tonight, or I’m going to lose an apartment I really, really want.”
    “Oh. It’s 5:00 now, so you still have time,” she said.
    “How do you know

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