Home > Free (Chaos #6)

Free (Chaos #6)
Author: Kristen Ashley

Who’s the Redhead?


Rush, his dad walking by his side, made his silent way to the two men standing by the edge.

Hawk was turned at the waist to watch their approach.

His man, Mo, had binoculars held up to his eyes and they were trained down from where they were on the roof of an office building next door to one of the parking garages at Cherry Creek Shopping Mall.

“What we got?” Tack, Rush’s father, asked as they arrived at Hawk and Mo and stopped.

“Take a look,” Hawk replied, and as if he’d given the order, Mo handed his binoculars to Hawk who gave them to Tack.

Tack took them and trained them where Mo’s gaze had been aimed. It took him a couple of seconds but eventually he honed in.

“Who’s the redhead?” he asked.

“Her name’s Rebel Stapleton.”


Kickass name.

Rush turned the way his dad was looking, but even if the garage was lit, he couldn’t see much from their distance through the dark.

Tack took the binoculars from his eyes and handed them to Rush.

Rush looked through them and scanned the parking structure.

“There a reason why it was urgent we show on this roof to watch Harrietta Turnbull talkin’ to some redhead with a kickass name?” Tack asked.

Rush felt his lips curl up when his dad said what Rush thought . . .

And then he froze when he saw them.

Illuminated by the lights in the parking garage, she was in full color, and with the high-powered binoculars, it was like he was standing five feet away.

She was definitely a redhead, but even if that described the color of her hair, that huge mane of wavy auburn deserved a lot more words to define it.

She was tall.

She was built.

And fuck.

She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

“Rebel Stapleton’s been makin’ a name for herself in Denver for a few years now,” Hawk answered his dad. “Started with weddings. Parties. But she was ambitious. Took some risks. Did some stuff with bands. Some DJs. Clubs. Bloggers who post to YouTube, mostly fashion shit.”

Rush could tell his father was losing patience. “What are you talkin’ about, Hawk?”

“Made some waves with her style. Won a few awards,” Hawk went on like Tack hadn’t spoken. “Small ones. Local and online, but that shit is new and she was on the cutting edge.”

Rush vaguely noticed Harrietta Turnbull was gesturing wildly.

But Rebel Stapleton was cool as shit. The expression on her beautiful face was set one step up from bored. Her body language was closed with arms crossed on her chest, torso swayed slightly back.

While dozens were rushing out of Turnbull’s mouth, he hadn’t noticed Rebel open those full lips once to form a word.

She had fantastic lips.

And man, the woman had fucking amazing cheekbones.

“Now,” Hawk continued, “she’s an executive producer and the exclusive director and cinematographer of all movies made by Luxe Films.”

At Hawk’s announcement, acid filled his throat.

Rush dropped the binoculars and sliced his eyes to Hawk.

“Say what?” he asked.

Hawk looked to him. “Benito Valenzuela’s new line of porn. He’s goin’ legit. Higher budgets. Better production value. Actual storylines. Actors who can kinda act, not just fuck. Apparently, women are gettin’ their porn groove on but they want love stories attached to their closeups of blowjobs.”

“We know what Luxe Films is, Hawk,” Tack told him. “You’re tellin’ me that woman is in bed with Valenzuela?”

“Not literally,” Hawk replied.

Rush turned his head back to the parking garage, but he didn’t lift the binoculars.

His thoughts were that Rebel Stapleton working with Valenzuela was a waste.

But what made him uneasy was just how sick that thought made him after only seeing the woman through a set of binoculars.

“Her name on the credits appears as Tallulah Monroe,” Hawk kept talking.

“So she’s not all in,” Tack murmured.

“She’s not putting her name on porn,” Hawk replied. “But Valenzuela actually has a bona fide payroll for Luxe Films. He’s turning a new leaf. Reporting to the IRS. And her salary is being paid to Tallulah Monroe.”

“Unravel why that means dick to us,” Tack demanded.

“Tallulah Monroe with a false social security number, Tack,” Hawk shared and got Rush’s gaze again. “Though I figure the IRS knows what’s goin’ on considering she’s an on-file confidential informant for Lieutenant Hank Nightingale of the Denver Police Department. It’s just Valenzuela who does not know what’s goin’ on.”

Rush’s eyes cut back to the parking lot and this time he lifted the binoculars.

He did this still feeling sick.

But for a different reason.

He also did this clipping, “Jesus, shit.”

“Why the fuck does Nightingale have a CI in Valenzuela’s business?” Tack asked. “He’s not on that case. Slim and Mitch are.”

Turnbull was now in Rebel’s face, finger lifted and jabbing.

Rebel hadn’t moved a muscle, but she no longer looked one step up from bored.

She looked like that red hair was not just a product of genetics, and she was about to let loose what it said about her personality.

“It’s my understanding, this coming from Slim and Mitch, that Hank didn’t have a choice. Either he sent her in, and she reported to the police what she dug up, or she went in on her own and took down Valenzuela by herself,” Hawk answered.

“Jesus, fuck,” Rush growled, and watched as all Rebel had to do was uncross her arms and lean into Turnbull, her gorgeous face hard with anger, and Turnbull paled and retreated a step.

For what it was worth, at least Turnbull thought she was a badass.

The problem with that was, Benito Valenzuela was a psychopath who had a pastime he exercised to take him away from dealing drugs, producing porn and pimping whores, and that pastime included exploring the various extremes of his pathological misogyny.

He’d not think Rebel Stapleton was a badass even if she actually was a badass.

And if he found out she was playing him, and informing on him to the cops, he’d slit her throat.

But only after he and his boys gang raped her to the point she begged him to bleed her dry.


“Hank, Eddie and Jimmy decided that if she was gonna go in, at least she should have the cops at her back however they could be that way,” Hawk finished.

“What’s her beef with Valenzuela?” Tack asked.

“I’m not sure her beef is with Valenzuela,” Hawk told him.

Rush listened closely and watched closer as Rebel Stapleton declared she was done with her conversation with Harrietta Turnbull.

She did this by simply turning on her boot and walking away.

And wasn’t that just fantastic?

She also had a spectacular ass.

Not to mention a way with dressing like she was a 70’s rock groupie who would catch the eye and become the muse of Jim Morrison himself, wearing low slung jeans, a thick belt, a flowy flowered top and cowboy boots, and she rocked it all.

Rush lowered the binoculars and looked to Hawk. “Who’s her beef with?”

Hawk shrugged but his gaze was sharp on Rush’s dad. “My guess? Arthur Lannigan.”

Rush went solid and felt his father go the same at his side.


And this just got worse.

Way fucking worse.

“Chew?” Tack asked.

“Chew,” Hawk confirmed. “For Stapleton, Valenzuela will just be icing. From what we got on her, she’s not a big fan of Valenzuela. Even so, she’s all about taking down Lannigan.”

Rush turned his body fully to Hawk. “Does she know women are droppin’ like flies around Valenzuela and Chew?”

“She knows at least one woman has lost her life to this mess,” Hawk said, and the way he said it made Rush’s neck get tight.

“She know Natalie?” Tack guessed.

Hawk shook his head.

“Camilla Turnbull?” Rush asked.

Hawk shook his head.

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