About The Book
Author: T.E. Woods
Genre: Thriller / Suspense
Perfect for fans of Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter, the sensational Justice series continues in T. E. Woods’s newest explosive thriller. In this whiplash-paced sequel toThe Unforgivable Fix, a depraved mind taunts those who seek retribution.
Seattle Chief of Detectives Mort Grant is still reeling from losing his daughter — again. Now, Mort investigates the gruesome murder of a beautiful young woman whose death was captured in a snuff film. When a second victim–and film–are discovered, Mort knows he’s not dealing with an ordinary criminal. Mort hunts a twisted menace from a chain of sleazy loan shops to the dark underworld of the sex trade. But he’s not the only one. Once again, The Fixer is on the hunt–and she’s desperate to make things right.
T. E. Woods is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin. Her scientific writings are well represented in peer-reviewed journals and academic texts. Her literary works earned her first place for Fiction at the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute. Dr. Woods enjoys kayaking, hiking, biking, and hanging around the house while her two dogs help her make sense of the world. Her habit of relaxing by conjuring up any manner of diabolical murder methods and plots often finds her friends urging her to take up knitting.
Penguin Random House: Penguin Random House
Barnes and Noble: B&N
Google play: Google Play
Books a Million: Books a Million
He kept his eyes on his hands, forcing them steady. What he really wanted to do was grab the cellphone from where it hung on a chain around the neck of the three-hundred-pound slab of beef masquerading as a human, throw it to the floor, and punch a two-by-four into the guy’s throat. Instead he studied his cuticles.
“I asked if you understood.” The woman’s voice came over the speaker. The sound of her condescending calm made his hands itch for yet another target. “I appreciate the concept is new to you.”
What did she know about concepts he did or didn’t understand? He’d grown his business from the ground up. He’d had no problem managing his girls before. He knew how to keep them in line. Now she was in charge? Wanting to change everything?
“Yes, ma’am.” She demanded to be called that. Forcing him to treat her as his better. He hated it. “Like I said, I’m sorry. I guess the client got carried away.”
“It’s your job to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Her voice wasn’t calm anymore. He looked up. The massive man in the nylon jogging suit had a face carved from brick. He stood motionless, holding the phone and staring at him. “Things are different now. Nurture our staff. Select them carefully. These aren’t drugged-out sacks of flesh hooking to score their next hit. Our associates are women in difficult circumstances. We’re here to help them.”
He’d heard the lecture before and was sick of it. A whore was a whore, no matter what. But he had to play along . . . until the day he could make his move. Then she’d see how a real man manages things.
“Explain how Crystal ended up dead,” the woman’s voice demanded.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I wasn’t there. The guy says things got hotter than expected. He’s a movie guy. Money. Used to getting his way. Like I said, he gave us an extra ten large.”
“Ten?” the voice asked. “For such a significant loss?”
He looked up again. The giant standing in the doorframe didn’t make a move. “Maybe it was twenty. But I had expenses to cover. I called in guys to clean up and move the body. Ten’s what’s left.” He wiped a trace of sweat from his brow and waited for her response.
“No more deaths,” she finally said. “It’s a new world. All these women have right now is their body. We will be successful when our women leave us on their own accord, confident they can do more. Then we’ll recruit others.”
He wondered what kind of dope she was smoking and where could he get some. Whores didn’t walk away. They spread their legs and took their money until they died. Needle in their arm or on the job like Crystal. Either way, it was the same. Still, he had to bide his time.
“I gotcha,” he said. “New world. Nurture.”
Her voice was as professional as a banker. “There must be consequences for your mismanagement of Crystal.”
His left eye twitched. He looked to the giant man but couldn’t catch a read. “What d’ya mean?”
“You have this week’s receipts?” she asked.
He patted the zippered bag. The one with the double-headed eagle emblazoned on it. “Right here. Seven grand and change. It was a good week.”
“Add to it the twenty thousand Mr. Hollywood gave you.”
A flare of anger rose in him. He was smart enough to choke it off. “Like I said, I had to pay a crew.”
“Twenty. And add an extra five for stepping away from my policies.”
He shook his head. “That ain’t gonna happen, lady. That’s my end for the whole last month . . . maybe six weeks. No way I’m giving you that much.”
A response was slow coming. Maybe he should have stood up to this bitch a long time ago. Sure, she was protected, but a hole is a hole and sometimes they have to be put in their place.
“Twenty-five thousand in addition to this week’s revenue.” She sounded firm. “Put the money in the pouch, hand it to Staz, and do it now before I raise the rate.”
He shifted his right hand toward the desk drawer. The one where he kept his pistol. “I can’t let you bleed me like this. I got a business to run.”
His heart pounded while he waited to hear what she’d say next. He hoped he could open the drawer and draw his piece before the big guy got to him.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” she finally said. “Staz?”
In an instant Staz kicked a tree-trunk leg and the man behind the desk flew up, landing in a crumpled heap two feet away. The giant man stepped to him, rained a series of kicks to his back and chest, and dragged him across the floor to a safe.
“The price is now thirty thousand in addition to the weekly receipts.” The bitch was still on the phone. “Put the money in the bag before I increase my fees in body parts.”
His right arm didn’t want to move. Staz saw his hesitation and rewarded it with another kick straight to his hip. He fumbled with the combination, forcing his mind on the numbers. He managed to open the safe. Staz dragged him clear.
He watched in shivering pain and plotted the revenge he’d wage as the large man bent down and began counting. He realized Staz hadn’t said one word the entire time he’d been in his office. Not in greeting. Not in beating. The only communication had been from the woman on the other end of the phone hanging around his neck.
Staz stood. A dusting of bills remained in the safe where there had been stacks. Staz zipped the pile of money inside the bag and tucked it under his arm.
That cold female voice was back on the speaker. “Staz will be back next week. Remember what I said about the way you treat the women.”
He waited until he could no longer hear Staz’s footsteps. He tried his left leg first, but a searing jolt of agony urged him to start with his right. It took him a full five minutes to make his way back to his desk. Another three to pull himself up into his chair.