Leopard's Prey - By Christine Feehan Page 0,2

on him, and the grin faded from Gage’s face. “I wouldn’t put it like that, although the kids in school certainly taunted her day and night. I believe the proper line was, ‘born with a silver spoon.’”

“She inherited millions. And the money’s still pouring in,” Gage pointed out. “Just sayin’, bro. Money can make up for a lot.”

“Trauma and neglect? I don’ think so,” Remy said. “Her daddy was crazy. Everyone in the bayou and in New Orleans knew it, but he got away with it. He had everyone in his pocket. The cops, the teachers, everyone said she was a problem child with no talent, and moody as hell.”

“Maybe she was a problem child,” Gage argued.

Remy sent him a steely glance, the sliver of moon lighting his face for one brief second so that the lines etched deep seemed carved into stone. “Or maybe her father paid them off, like he did the cops and judges and everyone else he came into contact with. Maybe you’re just a little too young to remember what Bodrie Breaux was really like.”

“Aren’t all rock stars into women and drugs?” Gage gave a little shrug. “His music was awesome. It couldn’t have been that bad bein’ the daughter of someone who is a legend.”

“Really? I heard the kids taunting her on the street more than once. And her best friend slept with her father in high school and then tried to blackmail him, at least that’s what Saria said, and I believe he did sleep with the girl, even though Bodrie denied it and accused both Bijou and the girl of lying. With a father that famous, how was it possible to tell a real friend from someone who just wanted to use you to meet your daddy?”

Gage sent him a look over his shoulder—one that made Remy uncomfortable—but he wasn’t certain why. He felt sorry for the child, he always had. She was all eyes and thick, wild hair, a sullen expression, moody and ready to fight at the drop of a hat.

“You seem to know a lot about this girl.”

Remy gave a casual shrug. “I helped her out a time or two. And sometimes Saria would talk about her when I came home.” Twice he’d pulled Bijou and Saria out of a party when things got out of hand. Both times the girls had been sober, but a few of the very drunk boys thought they had easy targets. Well, they were lucky to have walked away intact. Bijou Breaux was no easy mark and neither was Saria. They’d had to fight for themselves almost from the moment they were born. Each had a soft heart, one that could get her in trouble if the wrong man came along. It was no surprise that Saria and Bijou had become friends. Both were loners and had to grow up fast.

“When she was young,” Gage, said, “I’ll admit I didn’t care much for her. She always had such an attitude. I never saw her smile, not one time.”

Remy remembered her small, tentative smile, as if she feared with one smile she might be giving too much of herself away. She’d held both arms tight around herself, her long hair hanging in her face, drawing his attention to her eyes and her feathery, impossibly long lashes. Her bow of a mouth curved reluctantly, and for one moment his heart had stuttered. He’d seen a glimpse of a young girl, already far too old for her years, holding on by a thread.

“She smiled. Maybe you were just too much like everyone else, judging her for how you thought she should be. I’ll bet you thought she was stuck-up.”

Gage kept his eyes on the black, shiny water, maneuvering the airboat around a bend and through a narrow opening in the tall grass to the canal that veered off toward the swamp.

“She was stuck-up.”

Remy shook his head, watching the water ahead of them for alligators. Bijou Breaux had been a mixed-up kid, born into a rotten situation. All the money in the world didn’t fix what went on in that mansion. Just once he’d caught her with drugs and he’d been ice-cold, his reaction so ferocious he couldn’t comprehend his own emotions. He dumped the drugs, not caring who they belonged to. His leopard wanted to be unleashed on the others in that upscale, expensive hotel room, and he’d barely managed to keep the animal under control while he beat the three men to a bloody pulp

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