Razor:A Bad Boy Stepbrother Romance(2)

By: Lauren Landish

My opportunity to put the Mayor on the spot came when Bianca told him that I had a master’s degree in Information Technology, and that a lot of the big players in Silicon Valley were in bidding wars for my formidable talents.

“Steven here is absolutely amazing,” Bianca boasted, flashing a pretty smile up at me. Fake names did have their uses. “There’s not a major tech company here in the valley that doesn’t want him on their roster.”

It was amazing the kind of bullshit you could get away with if you had enough confidence and someone naïve enough to listen.

“Oh really?” Bradley asked me, flashing me a grin that told me that he loved successful people, because successful meant money. “What brings such a prosperous young fellow like you to this type of event?” He was obviously referring to the age group of most of the attendees, who were mostly middle-aged with money.

Here was my chance.

“I’m here on the behalf of a friend of mine to raise awareness for his sister he lost a while back,” I replied.

Bradley’s boyish grin dimmed somewhat. “That’s awful. What happened?”

I looked the mayor straight in the eye. “She was murdered.”

His fading grin was replaced by a frown. “Oh gosh. I’m sorry to hear that.” He looked at Bianca like he was about to change the subject, but then it seemed he was overwhelmed by a sudden burning curiosity. “What was her name, perchance?” His eyes bore into me with an intense scrutiny that would’ve been unsettling had I not been prepared.

I didn’t miss a beat. “Ashley Collins.”

Bradley, for the most part, kept his composure, but I didn’t miss the momentary flash of panic in his eyes. It was then that I knew, despite all of his charisma and efficaciousness, I was looking into the eyes of a cold-blooded killer.

“Hey, I’m extremely sorry for cutting the conversation short,” Bradley mumbled suddenly, tearing his eyes away from me, “but I must go find my wife. We’re supposed to be giving a joint speech here soon. It was nice meeting you, Steven.” Bradley nodded quickly at Bianca in parting, “Bianca,” and walked away.

I watched as he swiftly disappeared into the crowd, my suspicions confirmed.

It’s him.

All the information Anonymous had painstakingly compiled on the corrupt official seemed to be true.

There was one drawback to being a public figure — everyone knew where you lived. As an online task force against corruption and injustice everywhere, the local chapter of Anonymous kept watchful tabs on all of the power players in the area.

Unbeknownst to Bradley, Anonymous had kept vigil on all of his business dealings as soon as he was elected, as the office of the mayor was a frequently abused position of power.

It wasn’t long before the hacker group, along with my help, amassed a plethora of information about the handsome young politician.

Bradley, it seemed, always sold himself out to the highest bidder, influencing the city council to vote on propositions that were beneficial to whoever donated the most money to his office.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he took bribes for about almost any issue . . . as long as the dollar amount was right. He was rotten to the core.

Then there were his hobbies . . . golf, art-collecting, buying horses and . . . last but certainly not least, prostitutes. And not just any prostitutes. Bradley liked the young, desperate type — girls that would debase themselves to perfect strangers for a John like Mr. James.

While it’s certainly not my thing, there was nothing wrong with a man who used prostitutes for sex, but Bradley liked to torture, beat and rape them to get his rocks off — or so that’s what the rumors were at Anonymous.

The disgusting behavior was at odds with the way he presented himself to the public — a loving father with the perfect family — a doting wife with two very young children. And he always made sure they were around for any public event for photo opportunities to further enhance the made-up image.

I had to laugh at the hypocrisy.

Family man by day, prostitute beater by night.

And now murderer would be added to his list of titles if I had anything to do with it.

Through a network of contacts, Anonymous learned the mayor was the last one seen with the young Ashley Collins before her death. But you wouldn’t know that from the details that the police released to the public. They claimed that their investigation found that Ashley Collins had likely been killed by someone she owed drug money to, and that they were doing everything in their power to bring her justice.

Except for the fact that they hadn’t pursued new leads in over a month, even vital leads that were given to them by Anonymous tipsters and community task forces.