Damaged Goods(3)

By: Cynthia Dane


Most of the women in the station had the same looks on their faces. Most were tired. Others fretted about their children and pets. Who was looking after them? Should they use their phone call on a lawyer or the mother-in-law? How had they even been arrested? “I was standing on a street corner!” one woman barked to another. “Fucker walked up and arrested me. That can’t be right! This city hates sex workers.”

Sylvia wouldn’t argue with that.

She should alert her roommate when her phone call came up. Let her know that the dame wasn’t coming home anytime soon. Sylvia would undoubtedly be held overnight. What was her bail going to be? Last time she could barely afford it. Almost wasn’t worth it, except then she’d lose her jobs. In a place like Portland, those jobs were gold. They didn’t pay much, and they made her want to tear out her hair, but it was better than nothing. Life wasn’t cheap in Portland.

I miss the days where I had all my own money and my man to pay for the extra stuff.

No. Now was not a good time to think of Maxwell. Or Sebastian, for that matter.

“Ms. Rogers.”

Sylvia opened her groggy eyes to see a female officer looming over her. Was it time for her booking already? “Yeah?”

“Come with me. You’re wanted in Interview Room 1.”

Well, that was different. Also not a super great sign that things were going to continue going her way that night.

Sylvia was led through the station. Most of the other people, whether sex worker or officer, glanced at her on her way by. Did they know what was up? What she was being marched toward? The last time Sylvia was in an interrogation room… no, not the time to think about that.

It was never the time to think about that.

She was left uncuffed in the room. Alone, but uncuffed. Sylvia sat in a folding chair. The red light of a camera steadily throbbed in the top left corner. A two-way mirror reflected her image back at her. God, I look like shit. Aubrey Hepburn? More like Awfuckit Heartburn.

Before she could contemplate the invigorating silence, the interview room door opened.

That wasn’t Jake Lawson or Thomas Mills. But it was someone who was almost as cute as the latter.

Almost.

Because there was nothing really cute about Agent Joseph Montoya, the man she had slept with right before they became a part of one of the biggest FBI raids in Portland’s history. Which he tried to take credit for, of course.





Chapter 2



Sylvia



“Oh my God.” Sylvia sank farther down into her folding chair. “Go away.”

A huge stack of folders slammed onto the table in front of her. The screech of the other folding chair scraping across the cement floor made Sylvia’s teeth hurt. Kinda like how looking into Joseph’s face made her body hurt. Tingles? What tingles? No tingles! Just hurting rage!

“Hi, Sylv.” A man covered in sandalwood cologne sat down in his chair. White shirt sleeves rolled up to reveal tanned, muscular arms covered in long dark hairs. Not too much hair, of course. Enough to make him look more masculine than he had any right to be. The right amount of testosterone, Sylvia supposed. Whatever that meant. “Or are you still going by the name Quail?”

“Fuck off with that.” Sylvia never wanted to hear that name again. Burn it. Scorch it from the earth. Strike it with lightning and drown it in the ocean. “What are you doing here? Didn’t know men of your high standing worked at 10 PM on Thursday nights.”

“I was actually about to head home when I heard you had been brought in.” A folder opened. Sylvia still refused to look him in the face. “Thought we might catch up.”

“Catch up?” Sylvia scoffed. “You had me brought in here so you could shoot the breeze with me? Come on. I need to be booked so I can spend my night in jail and get the fuck out of here. Aren’t you obstructing justice right now or something?” You know, like you tried to do the night of the FBI raid? Great. She was thinking about it.

And she was making eye contact with him. Not on purpose, of course. Quite the opposite. Sylvia wanted nothing to do with those chestnut brown eyes, those slim black brows, and that mussed dark hair that had been finely combed that morning… but now looked like bed head. Nor did she want to scope out his big, silver watch on his wrist or that smirk of acknowledgment gracing his sharp features. Joseph Montoya may have been an ass, but he was a cute ass. Sylvia had to give him that.