BY NANCY S. THOMPSON
Tyler dropped my hand and turned away from me, sitting straight along the edge of the sofa. With his elbows resting on his knees and his fingers steepled between his nose and upper lip, he struggled to find the right words. Unable to sit still, he stood and paced the floor.
“Hannah, I’ve explained that you—by proxy, of course—have a price on your head, that you’d been sold already. I’ve been trying to get you out of this deal, but these people Nick and I are mixed up with are reluctant to renegotiate. They’ve already received payment from their client and are just waiting for me to deliver you to them. I’ve explained to Nick’s boss, Alexi, that I’d made a mistake, that I had misidentified you, that I had the wrong girl.”
Ty shook his head and kept his eyes pinned to the floor.
“From the beginning, Alexi knew I was intending retribution against Erin, and since he would directly benefit from it, he was only too willing to accommodate me, but essentially, he doesn’t care about the reasoning behind the plan. All he cares about is that I owe him his, uh…merchandise. Merchandise he’s already sold and been paid for. He only cares about closing the deal. I told him I would repay the price his boss, Dmitri, had accepted, with interest, and he could refund the money to his client. But he’s not willing to do that. Nick said it’s not about the money for Dmitri, it’s about power. They can’t allow themselves to be screwed with, to look weak.”
He stopped pacing, stuffed his hands in his pockets, and stared out the window.
“I told Alexi I would never turn you over—an innocent girl—to be used that way. At this point, I couldn’t even do that to Erin.”
Tyler’s focus wavered and he choked up. He looked down at his feet and continued, his brow knitted tightly together.
“We argued over this point for some time without coming to an agreement, so Alexi felt… He felt it…necessary to secure some kind of...insurance policy—leverage, you might say—to compel me to complete the deal by our prearranged deadline.”
Tyler dropped his hands to his sides and tightened them into fists. He glanced over his shoulder and looked me in the eye.
"Hannah, Alexi has my brother, and he will kill him if I don't comply."
You can check out Nancy's blog here.