By: Tara Crescent

It was in the most obvious spot, in the kitchen drawer, along with the rest of Elodie’s keys. I slipped the key in the lock and turned it, leaving the door ajar.

Alexander’s study contained his secrets. It was finally time for me to find out what they were.

For the moment, I ignored the computer at his desk. I sat down in his leather chair and I tried a drawer, but this too was locked. Elodie’s stack of keys didn’t work this time, but my eyes trailed around the room, looking for hiding spots. The key had to be in this room. Alexander didn’t carry around more than two or three keys on his Ferrari keychain. I’d noticed it yesterday and I’d asked him about the car logo, because he didn’t drive a Ferrari. If he had cared enough to buy a keychain, I didn’t understand why he didn’t own the car. He’d shrugged. “It’s a long story,” he’d said vaguely.

Secrets. Always secrets. How could I have been so foolish to ignore them all week? How could I have basked in his caresses?

I spun around, my trained eyes assessing and discarding each potential hiding spot. I honed in on the mantelpiece and lifted the heavy marble bust of Caesar up, sliding my fingers underneath. Voila. A key.

My hands were shaking as I opened the drawer. What was I going to find?

Check book. Bills. A travel itinerary. Sylvia’s travel itinerary, which my fingers paused on for a second before moving on. She wasn’t my focus at the present.

Finally, underneath it all was a pad of paper and on it was a list of names of fifteen women. All but one of these names were scratched out, but that wasn’t what my gaze had locked on. My eyes rested on one name and my lips parted with shock.

My pulse beat in my neck like a furious, frightened cornered animal. Because the name I read on his piece of paper was my name. My real name. Ellie Samuelson.

My mouth was dry with fear. I scanned the list quickly, committing it to memory. Another name jumped out - Claire Bectell. Lucien’s dead sister, who’d been abducted by Dylan’s henchmen, and who had died in a brothel in the Middle East. Had Alexander been responsible for her kidnapping?

Had he caused my own imprisonment in Nigeria? Why were the names scratched out, all except mine? Were the girls all dead? Was I next? Did I have a target painted on my back?

I heard the sound of the front door opening.

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His name is Alexander Hamilton. He is supposedly the billionaire financier of Dylan McAllister, the man I’ve sworn to kill.

Despite all of that, I had started to trust him. I had started to believe he was uninvolved in the grim, dark world of human trafficking. Until I found that list.

Now, my mission needs to take precedence again. My broken heart does not matter. The only thing that matters is getting to Dylan.

But as Alexander’s secrets are slowly revealed, everything I believe is turned upside down. And when I hold the gun in my hand, I will have two targets in my sight. Which one will I shoot?

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