Las Vegas Crime
Baxter and Holt Book 3
by Leslie Wolfe
Genre: Crime Suspense Thriller
“Simply love Leslie Wolfe! The Baxter-Holt series is one of the best in the genre! This was a great story that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Cannot wait until the next one, Las Vegas Crime, coming in November. Keep writing them, Leslie!”
Detectives Laura Baxter and Jack Holt are members of the elite: Las Vegas Metro PD, one of the toughest and most respected law enforcement agencies in the United States. In the middle of a city with two million residents and 43 million annual visitors, they’re searching for a missing girl and the ruthless killers who snatched her.
The girl: gone
When a teenage girl is daringly kidnapped from her school, minutes after being dropped off, a frenzied search begins, involving the entire police force of a city that never sleeps. But for Detectives Baxter and Holt this isn’t a crime like any other; it is personal.
The crimes: terrifying
A bold and merciless serial killer preys on young girls and leaves them out to die in the cold and dreadful expanse of the Mojave Desert, unable to move, to scream, to fight for their lives.
The choice: impossible
Now Detective Holt is faced with an agonizing decision: he can sacrifice all that he holds dear or jeopardize the life of an innocent girl, his own flesh and blood. The man holding all the cards in this game of life and death isn’t willing to negotiate; he’s only willing to kill.
In Las Vegas, few things end well.
Two mavericks form an intriguing team. Baxter and Holt trust each other with their lives, just not with their secret plans.
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She struggled to control her sobs but failed miserably. With every mile the man drove into the dark desert, her fear grew, panic overtaking her sense of reason, making it impossible for her to sit still and be quiet like the man had ordered.
“No, please,” she whimpered, “I’ll disappear. I won’t say a word to anyone. I swear,” she added in a high-pitched plea, her voice trembling badly.
She stared through a blur of tears at the man’s intense eyes, reflected in the rearview mirror. He rarely looked at her, not even when he spoke to her, but when he did, his eyes were ice cold, feral.
She couldn’t tell how long they’d been on the road, or how far away from the city they’d traveled. Far enough for darkness to engulf the dazzling lights of Las Vegas, left behind at their brightest and now gone from view. Far enough to know that no matter how loud she’d scream, no one would hear her desperate cries for help. She sat silently, petrified, unable to fight anymore, knowing what Homeboy did to those who disobeyed him.
They had entered the desolate vastness of the Mojave Desert, cold and bleak at night.
Her breath shattered as raw memories swirled in her head, repeating over and over like a broken record.
“Get rid of her,” that terrible man had said, “this bitch ain’t good for nothin’.” The one they called Snowman had curled his lip in disgust and ran his fingers across his throat in a clear gesture, sealing her fate.
She was to be killed.
She remembered how her knees gave and she folded onto the cold, grimy floor, half-naked and barefoot, shaking, sobbing uncontrollably, while the other man, a brute she got to know only as Homeboy, smiled and licked his lips. Then he’d grabbed her arm and dragged her out of that place, mumbling, “Sure, boss, whatever you say.”
She’d seen that look on Homeboy’s face before.
Maybe she was better off dead than having that animal’s hands on her again. Her body still ached from the hours she’d endured at his pleasure. The thought of peace soon to be found, even if in death, calmed her taut nerves. Soon she’d be free, one way or another.
No one dared defy Snowman’s orders.
Her mind wandered, numb and absent for a while, as Homeboy drove fast into the night, mile after mile, without saying a word.
A slight chime came from the GPS and he braked, although there was no intersecting road crossing the highway, no available turn to take, just desert dunes, covered in shrubs and cacti, and trolled by scorpions, snakes, and coyotes.
He turned off-road and drove carefully into the desert, climbing over a hill then descending behind it. He didn’t immediately stop; he kept on going, putting more and more distance between them and the road, eliminating any chances that someone could see her, could hear her screams.
She felt her heart thumping against her chest, the sound of its terrified beats deafening against the deathly silence of the desert. Fresh tears started rolling down her cheeks and her pleas were left unanswered.
She gasped when he cut the engine, bringing the SUV to a stop. Trembling, she didn’t fight back when he grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the vehicle.
“Please,” she mumbled, “I’ll do whatever you want. Please let me go.”
“Can’t do that,” he replied, his lips stretched in an evil smile that exposed crooked, yellow teeth. “You heard the boss man.”
He let go of her arm and reached inside his pocket. Panicked, she bolted in a desperate attempt to save herself. She ran toward the highway, now hidden behind a hill, not feeling the cactus thorns tearing at her flesh, not minding the sharp edges of the desert stones bloodying the soles of her feet.
She’d run a few yards and he hadn’t caught up with her yet; hope gave her wings, and she sprung uphill clawing at the stones with her bare hands, desperate to put more distance between the two of them.
She was almost at the top of the hill when his steeled grip bore into her arm, stopping her in place so abruptly that her bleeding feet sent pebbles and sand in the air. Angered, he dragged her back to the SUV and slammed her against the cold metal.
“Nice try, bitch. There’s nowhere to go.”
She was starting to understand that, to accept it, although every fiber in her body screamed its fear, urged her to fight, to run, to survive. She drew breath hastily and let out a blood-curdling shriek.
Homeboy laughed. “Sure, go ahead, scream. You’re giving me a hard-on.”
Her scream died, stifled by a sob.
He dug into his pocket and pulled out a small bottle fitted with an eyedropper. With a lewd, sickening smile, he took his time unscrewing the cap and carefully extracted two drops of the clear liquid. Then he grabbed her jaw and forced her lips open.
“No, no,” she whimpered, fighting desperately to free herself.
Homeboy just smirked, ignoring her feeble kicks, and squeezed the eyedropper, releasing the liquid into her mouth. Then he held her lips sealed under his heavy hand, forcing her to swallow.
She couldn’t detect any strange taste; he’d barely used a drop or two. It couldn’t be too bad, she thought, gasping desperately for air as soon as he released his grip.
She felt her tongue becoming numb, then her lips. Panic opened her eyes widely and made her lungs scream for more air. She gasped, feeling an evil numbness taking over her body, reaching her extremities, weakening her knees. A strange sense of dizziness overtook her, making her reach for support, finding none until her body hit the ground. No matter how much she willed herself to move, she lay still on the cold desert dirt, feeling every stab of pain where sharp-edged rocks cut into her flesh.
Homeboy crouched near her body with a satisfied grin. He pushed aside a few locks of her hair, clearing her face, touching her frozen lips.
“You won’t die,” he said, while his hand fumbled with his belt buckle. “Not now, anyway. Not until I’m bored with you.”
She forced her lungs to draw air and screamed, then drew another raspy breath and screamed again.
She listened but couldn’t hear her own screams. The desert was completely silent, except for the brute’s rhythmic grunts.
Leslie Wolfe is a bestselling author whose novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. She creates unforgettable, brilliant, strong women heroes who deliver fast-paced, satisfying suspense, backed up by extensive background research in technology and psychology.
Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at http://wolfenovels.com/order.
Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.
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