A little girl is stolen from her yard and police have no leads. Hope dwindles with each passing hour.
The desperate parents hire Michael Sykora to find their daughter, and to kill anyone involved in taking her. Michael and his team discover this case has roots far deeper than a single kidnapping. Children are a commodity for the wealthy and depraved.
Following leads from daycare centers to the Darknet, this search is about to become personal.
The clock is ticking…
*This book can be read as a stand-alone novel.*
Excerpt – Chapter 1
If cleanliness was next to godliness, then this place was the devil’s lair. Grime crawled across the walls, stealing nourishment from the paint and the plaster. Her red Doc Martens stuck to the threadbare carpet, as if it was trying to suck her down into the floorboards below. This room was a giant flytrap, except the spider was a human predator and she the fly to be toyed with, and then eaten.
An invisible vapor cloud of stink had replaced the air here. Something foul, like human waste and rotted meat, mixed with mildew and a hint of drunken bum. She tried breathing through her mouth, but the vile flavor settled on the back of her tongue, and so she continued breathing through her nose, thinking the smell was a minor improvement over the taste.
The predator absently fondled the blade in his hand, stroking it like a lover. “This room’ll be your home for now,” he said.
“You can’t be serious.” Not fear or disbelief, but sarcasm. Annoyance. Anger around the edges.
He cocked his head and stared, as one might watch an animal behaving oddly in its cage. “Yeah, I am serious.”
His name was Daniel Miller. He was thirty years old. Four years younger than her. His face was soft, no hard angles. Soft cheekbones. Soft lips. Boyish, but in the way of the creepy kid at school who everyone suspected was dissecting neighborhood cats in his bedroom. He wasn’t much taller than her, maybe 5’8”. Average build. A soft middle.
Maria Milan sighed and said, “Dan, you are a horrible host.”
A blip of self-doubt crossed his face. He frowned, motioning to the stained mattress in the corner of the room. “Get comfortable.”
“I think not.”
“You’ll get tired of standing soon enough.”
Behind her back, Maria slowly turned her wrists within the bathrobe sash he’d used to tie her. Moved her fingers. Slid her thumbs close to her palms. Worked at loosening the tie’s hold. Ignored the rough cotton digging into her skin. “Where is Alexis?” she said. A demand more than a question.
His eyes were the only hard thing about him. They were pale blue, a winter sky frosted with ice, and now they narrowed and glared. “I don’t know who you’re talking about.”
“Cut the crap, Daniel. I know you took her.”
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