One school project. One kidnapping. One night they won’t forget.
Natalie is an honors student with perfect grades. Victor is a drug dealer with a cryptic past. When a school assignment forces them to work together, things quickly spiral out of control.
Victor fails to complete his part of their assignment, so Natalie hunts him down the night before it’s due. But Victor’s kingpin boss interrupts their study date and drags Natalie down into a seedy underworld where anything can be bought and sold—including her.
Over the course of one night—while dodging bad guys and trying not to inhale—Natalie discovers shocking truths about Victor. And she’ll need to choose between preserving her perfect academic future and helping him escape his troubled past.
Inside the pocket of my backpack, my fingers hooked around one of the key rings. I yanked on it only to have my car keys fly up and through the air, then land with a clank on the parking lot asphalt. A hand grabbed them off the ground before I could even bend down.
Victor Greer stood in front of me, holding out my keys, the multi-colored metals dangling in the air between us. I snatched them and opened my mouth to say thank you, but no sound came out.
I remained idle, unsure if I should say anything about our assignment. I had never spoken a word to Victor before. He was a head taller than my five-foot-five frame, with tan skin and dark brown hair that was always a mess. A healthy protrusion of pecs and biceps pressed out from under his worn t-shirt. But it was his reputation, not his stature, that silenced me.
Victor had transferred to Kennedy High at the beginning of the school year. He didn’t have any friends, yet he was always busy. Preoccupied. If he wasn’t asleep in class, he was on his phone. Texting, sometimes calling. Someone.
There were a ton of rumors about Victor. People said he had been held back a grade, maybe even two. He had Mexican cartel ties. He was a Russian spy. He had been infused with gamma rays and turned green when angry. Everyone in school had their favorite myth.
But there was one rumor that stuck and stuck hard—Victor Greer was a dealer. And not the car kind. Sophia said he had a brother who was in prison for federal drug distribution charges. And Josh once told me that Victor had taken up his brother’s helm at doing whatever it was that drug dealers do. Sell drugs and stuff, I assumed.
Victor took a deep drag off his cigarette and looked past me, over my shoulder. Black lashes fringed his dark brown eyes. On the inside of his wrist was a black tattoo—22. Nothing else, just the number 22. Maybe it was the number of people he had killed. Or the number of cats he had at home.
Smoke exhaled from his nose and Marlboro replaced ponderosa in my lungs. He gave me one last glance before turning to the driver’s door of his black Trans Am. It was smaller than Josh’s car, but just as loud when started up. Victor shut the door and drove away.
“This is so not gonna be fun,” I muttered as the impending dread of having to work with that guy settled into my stomach like a rock.