Who wants another sneak peek of STAY AWAY FROM MY DAUGHTER? The next installment in The Friessens family saga will be released this week, but you can read Chapter 2 now!
Her father says he’s no good for her, and she doesn’t want to believe that he might be right.
Sara Friessen, the youngest daughter of Laura and Andy, believes she’ll never find the man who can make her soul sing, especially because after just one meeting with her father, every young man who has ever knocked on her door has come to the quick conclusion that she isn’t worth the trouble. Fearing the promised wrath (as Andy so aptly puts it) that could befall them if they mess with his daughter, they always run the other way.
That is until one night when a mysterious handsome stranger comes to her rescue. He’s bold and strong, just the kind of man she never expected could be real or that she would ever possibly meet—but she soon uncovers a hidden truth and the cold, ruthless side of the dark world he belongs to.
Even though he tells her to stay away from him and that no good can come from getting involved with the likes of him, Sara’s heart has different ideas, and she’s determined to show him that true love is all they could ever need.
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“Devon Reed,” he said. “I already told you my name and what happened.”
He was talking to the sheriff, who had shown up in a red minivan, which he was sure wasn’t standard department issue, dressed in blue jeans and a blue checkered shirt. It appeared as if he’d gotten dressed in a hurry.
The babe was now sitting on the back end of an ambulance, its lights flashing too. She still had that spooked look in her eyes, shock, but at the same time, he wanted to tell her how lucky she was that he’d been walking by. If he hadn’t, she would’ve been just another statistic, and he couldn’t shake the thought that she could’ve ended up ice cold on a slab at the morgue. What a waste of a life.
“Well, tell me again about the guy you pulled off her,” the sheriff said. “You seen him before? You know him?”
He wondered, by the way the sheriff was looking at him, the way he was talking to him, whether he thought he’d done something. Devon could feel his temper starting to spike, and he had to fight the urge to tell the cop that he wasn’t the bad guy here. This had happened one too many times.
“No idea who he was. Never seen him before. It happened too fast. I heard her scream, saw that he’d pinned her to the ground and was on top of her. He was working her pants down, and I ran over and pulled him off her. I hit him, and he managed to knock a few off on me before he got away. It was a white boy, light hair, a little shorter than me, not scrawny, wearing a green and white shirt. A college kid, likely. That’s all I got. I could’ve gone after him, but you know the scenario, a black man running down a white guy…” He let the words hang.
The sheriff allowed his shrewd gaze to linger as if he wasn’t impressed. “You’re sounding defensive. If you didn’t do anything, I can’t help wondering why I’m getting this attitude. So you’re saying you just let him go?”
Why did it sound as if he was the bad guy here? He didn’t like the way this was starting to feel.
“Fuck off,” Devon snapped. “I’m not the one who attacked the chick. I went back to check on her, to see if she was hurt. She looked hurt. It was a choice I made at the time, and I stand by it. I don’t give a fuck what you think.” He squeezed his fists, which were hanging by his sides, taking in the girl again. She had blond hair, a scrape on her face, and wore a low-cut shirt. The fancy truck was still sitting there with its door open. Students from the dorms had filed out, and he wondered how many would think he was the one who had done something. He was starting to feel far too much interest coming his way.
“So what were you doing here at this time of night? You live at the dorms, out for a late-night walk, what?”
He wondered if his annoyance showed in his expression. “You mean what was a black man doing out this time of night when a white woman was being pinned to the ground and about to be raped—by a white guy, I might add? You trying to insinuate something, like maybe me being out means I was up to no good because I’m a black man?” Even he could hear that he sounded like an asshole, but he was done with this situation being twisted. “I saved her, so don’t pin any of this on me, and let me be damn fucking clear: If it were a black guy who’d done that to her and a white guy had pulled him off, you’d all be pinning a medal to his chest and starting a city-wide manhunt instead of wasting time with this.” He gestured to the scene. There was one deputy, one sheriff, and an ambulance with lights flashing. That was it. He couldn’t shake the absurdity of the imbalance.
“Now just hang on a second,” the sheriff said. “No one is accusing you, so stop being so damn defensive. It sounds to me as if you’re trying to label me a racist. I can assure you I’d be asking the very same questions, doesn’t matter your gender or color, but here you are, angry, with a chip on your shoulder. Seems you’re not cooperating but are trying to spin this into some racist crap about police overreach.”
The girl was now making her way over, shrugging off the blanket and the medic. He could see how bad her face was marked up, the bruising on her neck. Even her lip was puffy. At the same time, he wondered if the cop really believed what he was saying.
“Excuse me,” she said. “I just wanted to thank you…”
He wondered by the way she stopped talking if she wanted to say more.
The sheriff turned his shrewd gaze on her. “Hey, Sara, get back in the ambulance. I want you off to the hospital, and we need to have you checked out by a doctor. Your mom and dad are on their way, too.”
Then he spotted headlights, a truck driving too fast, also black and fancy.
The sheriff turned and lifted his hand. “And there he is. Didn’t take him long.”
By the way he said it and then rested his hand on Sara’s shoulder, Devon could see the familiarity. So he knew her. He found himself looking over the crowd of kids, all watching, cell phones out and likely recording anything and everything they could.
“You should get back in the ambulance, get checked out,” Devon added as he realized she was still standing there in front of him, and he took in the man and woman who stepped out of the black truck. The sheriff stepped over to them.
“I just wanted to thank you again,” the girl said. “I should know your name. I’m Sara Friessen.” Instead of holding her hand out, she pulled her arms around herself. Of course, she was still shaking.
“Sara, are you all right?” the woman cried as she ran over. Devon could see the resemblance as she pulled her daughter into her arms. A tall man the same height and build as the sheriff, with a mix of dark and gray hair, rushed over too. He carried himself like a man who made things happen. His arms were around Sara, and she was sandwiched between the couple.
These were parents who loved their kid, just another privileged white family. He couldn’t help wondering what would happen to him. Could some part of this fall on him? If he’d been smart, he would’ve kept walking.
Then the man was watching him and said, “You the one who saved my daughter?”
Devon nodded. “Yeah,” he said, and he pulled his hand from his pocket when the man held out his hand to him. He hadn’t expected it. “Devon Reed.”
The man still had his arm around his daughter as he shook his hand with a strong grip, not pulling his gaze from him. “Andy Friessen, and this is my wife, Laura.” His eyes were icy blue, as if he’d like to kill someone. Yeah, he knew that look, but he still didn’t know what was to come.
“Thank you, Devon,” Sara said. Laura still had both her hands on Sara’s arms, and she must have touched a sore spot, as Sara hissed.
“You should take your daughter to the hospital,” Devon said. “She was worked over pretty good, from what I saw, before I pulled him off her. It had gotten pretty rough.”
Andy’s expression darkened with the kind of look he knew well, that of a man who could be pushed only so far.
The sheriff was back, and Laura had somehow maneuvered Sara back to the ambulance. Only Andy and the sheriff now stood in front of him. Of course, he could feel their anger.
“So how did this happen, Blake?” Andy said, looking to the sheriff, who was now shaking his head.
“Was just trying to get to the bottom of it when you showed up. Let me do my job, Andy, so we can find the guy.”
Devon didn’t miss the warning in the sheriff’s tone or the fact that the men knew each other.
“You know who attacked her?” Andy said, giving all his attention to Devon and clearly ignoring the sheriff’s request.
“Never seen him before, but then, this is a big campus,” Devon said. He didn’t want to rehash the fact that he hadn’t run the guy down. He could have, but then he’d seen her face. “He was choking her,” he said. “She was gasping and hurt, and I didn’t want to leave her. I gave your deputy the description of the guy already.”
The two glanced to each other.
“I don’t know him,” Devon said. “I’ll say it again, and I don’t know what else I can add. I hope your daughter is okay, but maybe, word of advice, she shouldn’t be walking through dark campus parking lots alone late at night.”
The father raised a brow. Devon couldn’t believe he’d said that.
“So you go to school here?” the sheriff asked, and it took him a second to realize that he was being questioned again.
“What relevance does that have to any of this?” he replied. The asshole tone was back in his voice, but the last thing he wanted to talk about was the real reason he’d been on campus. “Now is there more, or can I go?”
Neither the sheriff nor Andy pulled their gazes from him.
“Now I’m thinking you’ve got something to hide,” the sheriff said.
Anyone other than him would likely have cowered under the way the two were staring him down, but he just stared right back and gave them nothing. “Nope, just done here and done with this interrogation. I saved the girl, gave you a description, and as I said to you before, that white guy tried to rape her, and a black guy saved her, yet here you are, sounding an awful lot like you want to pin something on me. Now, unless I’m under arrest, I’m leaving,” he said, knowing he was pushing it. “You already have my contact information.”
Andy glanced at the sheriff. “Why would any of this be pinned on you? Did I miss something? Can someone fill me in here?”
“No,” the sheriff replied. He was getting pissed, and Devon knew he needed to go. “It’s just Mister Reed here, by the sounds of it, has some issues with the police. I’d like you to come down to the station, get you to look at some photos and see about ID-ing the guy.”
Devon just shook his head. The last thing he wanted was to be anywhere near a cop shop. “No, I gave you a description. Am I under arrest?” he added, jamming his hands in his pockets. He glanced over to see that the girl was now sitting back in the ambulance.
The face the sheriff made was the kind that let Devon know he was getting on his bad side. “No, you’re not under arrest,” he replied, letting it hang as if the “but” was yet to come. Then he pulled in another breath and finally said, “Don’t leave town.”
Devon realized the sheriff wasn’t seeing him as a good Samaritan who’d saved the girl—but then, Devon belonged to a dark, ruthless world. A good guy was someone he could never be.
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