reminding her of that slap that Travis had given her. Sophie didn’t need his reminder, because she could still feel the sting on her cheek. However, she wasn’t sure she could let her father face down a loan shark, either.
Royce huffed, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking. “You don’t have to marry a jackass to stop a criminal. That’s what cops are for.” He took a pen and paper from Maggie’s desk and pushed it toward her father. “I want the name of the loan shark and any contact information you have.”
Her father nodded. “His name is Teddy Bonner, and he’s in Amarillo.”
“This guy is clearly dangerous,” Travis pointed out. “And besides, you’re a small-town deputy sheriff. You hardly have the credentials to stop a loan shark.”
Royce didn’t glare. Just the opposite. He returned the smug expression. “I have a gun and a badge. Pretty good credentials if you ask me. And then there’s the whole part about Sophie being here and not in the hands of the kidnapper. I’m pretty sure that means this small-town deputy outsmarted the dangerous loan shark.”
Travis’s eyes narrowed. “For now.”
Royce leaned in. “ For now is a good start. I plan to keep it that way.”
Sophie wanted to cheer. Well, for a few seconds anyway. But then she remembered Royce was paying a very high price for her safety, and after what she’d done to him, she didn’t deserve his help.
Her father wrote on the paper, handed it to Royce and then stood. “You’ll stop this monster from going after Sophie?”
“I’ll do my best,” Royce promised.
“Are we free to go then?” Stanton asked.
Her brother was already turning toward the door when Royce answered, “No. Mr. Congeniality here,” Royce continued, glancing at Travis, “said he had some photos sent to him anonymously. Know anything about that?” And, with another glance, Royce extended that question to her father.
“What photos?” her father immediately asked.
“Of Royce and me,” she clarified when Royce hesitated. Maybe because he didn’t want to have to explain anything about the incident in the motel. She certainly wasn’t looking forward to explaining it, either, but it might be connected to the attack.
Her father’s gaze flew to Travis. “What photos?” he repeated.
“Doctored ones, no doubt,” Travis answered. “Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that at the time, and it caused Sophie and me to have a little disagreement.”
“He slapped her,” Royce quickly provided, causing Travis’s scowl to return.
“A small fit of temper, that’s all,” Travis growled. “It won’t happen again.”
Royce made a sound to indicate he wasn’t buying that and looked at her brother again. “What do you know about those photos?”
“Nothing.” Stanton dodged Sophie’s and Royce’s gazes, and he opened the door. “Time to go, Dad.”
Her father hugged her and brushed a kiss on her cheek. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered. “For everything.”
The for everything made her freeze, and Sophie wanted to know what he meant by that. The engagement, maybe? But she didn’t have time to ask, because Stanton took their father’s arm and started to leave.
However, Eldon stopped and turned back to Royce. “This seems minor in light of what happened to Sophie and you, but someone broke into our house.”
“When?” Royce and Sophie asked at the same time.
Eldon shook his head. “This morning. Maybe it was the gunmen looking for Sophie.”
No doubt. They would have definitely searched the house for her.
“Anything missing?” Royce pressed.
Again, her father shook his head. “Not from what I can tell, but there was some furniture overturned and things out of place.”
“I’d take some security precautions if I were you,” Royce said. “In case those men return.”
That got her moving, and Sophie raced toward the door where her father and brother were exiting. “Be careful.”
“We will,” Stanton assured her,
Mark; Ronald C.; Reeder Meyer