Truman watched the tall oak trees fly past outside his lowered window. He felt as free as the birds soaring through the sky. Who could have guessed this turn of events?
His men would watch the girls, get them all cleaned up. They weren’t a burden anymore. They were money.
Except Sara. Sara. He blinked, taken back by how much emotion the name carried with it. There was a girl he’d known in junior high. He’d had an awful crush on her. Jane, with her sparkling blue eyes and golden hair. So much like Sara.
Jane died in a car accident right before her junior year. Drunk driver hit her car. Seeing Sara was like seeing Jane, back to life. She was worth more than money. He’d make her forget the past, and she’d be happy.
He opened his netbook and made a few marks in his spreadsheet, then closed it as they pulled up to Sid’s large manor. The sun shone on the red brick driveway, and he pulled out his sunglasses. One of the servants came and opened the car door for him, and he stepped out. Large palm trees waved in the wind. Tall lamps blended into the foliage above them, giving them the additional heat and light they needed to live in this climate.
Truman pressed his lips together. Sid had money to burn. He made a mental note to raise the price.
Sid strode to the car, looking comfortable in Bermuda shorts and flip-flops.
Wrong season, Truman thought.
Sid greeted him with a large smile. Truman didn’t return it. Sid wasn’t a friend. But he wouldn’t sell Truman out, and that was all that mattered. “Sid.”
“Never thought I’d be doing business with you,” the other man laughed. The gel in his wavy brown hair glistened in the sunlight.
“It was an accident. But I’m sure it will be beneficial for us both.”
They walked past the immaculate lawn into the front sunroom. The warmth coming through the glass and the tiled walls made Truman feel like he was in South America.
“You’ve got three little ladies, you say?” Sid asked.
Sid raised an eyebrow.
“I’m keeping one,” he said, feeling uncomfortable. He didn’t like having to explain himself to Sid.
“Ah.” Sid leered. “She play well?”
Truman clenched his jaw and didn’t answer.
Sid shrugged, then motioned him into one of his wicker chairs while he sank back into a large black leather couch.
Truman sat, removing his outer jacket and placing it on the end table.
“Cigar?” Sid offered as a servant came by with a cigar platter.
“Thank you.” Truman’s cell phone began to jingle, and he pulled it out. Frowning a little as he saw the caller, he looked at the other man. “May I?”
He flipped the phone open. “Yes?”
“Truman.” The excited voice shouted in his ear, and he winced. “The girls escaped! They’re not in the house!”
He stiffened. “What? They’re gone?” He wished he hadn’t spoken out loud. Better yet, shouldn’t have answered the phone. Bad business manners, anyway. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Sid lean back in his seat, touching his fingertips together.
Truman hissed into the phone. “I don’t care how they got out. Just find them. Now!” However they’d manage to get out, it was a big problem. He couldn’t even begin to count the ways this could bring about the demise of the unstable empire he was building.
“Well?” Sid asked in an irritatingly mellow voice.
Ignoring Sid, Truman stood up, gathering his jacket. “I’m afraid we’ll have to continue these arrangements later. Thanks for your time.”
Sid chuckled as Truman hurried to the door. “Anytime, my man. Anytime.”
Truman didn’t respond. The blood rushed through his veins, his temples pulsing. All he could think of was getting those girls.