Freedom's Price

Freedom's Price by Suzanne Brockmann

Book: Freedom's Price by Suzanne Brockmann Read Free Book Online
Authors: Suzanne Brockmann
to call me back—unless you, um, need a ride or something. Anyway, I hope to see you then. Bye.”
    Liam cursed under his breath. Something about Dan pushed every single one of his buttons. Especially when he called to ask Marisala out on a date.
    Ricardo had returned to chopping peppers, but after the machine clicked off, after several moments of silence, he spoke. “Men are drawn to her. Despite all that she’s been through, she has a sweetness most men find hard to resist.” He glanced at Liam and smiled. “You should resign yourself to receiving many more of these phone calls. Or prepare to…what is the American expression? Stake your claim.”
    Liam turned abruptly toward the door. He didn’t want to talk about
this
either. “Right. I’ll be in the shower.”
    The puppy perked up her ears and barked, then dashed into the entryway, nearly knocking Liam over in his haste to reach the front door as Marisala pushed it open.
    “Well, hello,” she said to the little dog, kneeling down to greet her. “Hello, Evita. Don’t you look beautiful today. Now, wasn’t that bath worth it?”
    She looked up to see Liam and blushed. He knew it wasn’t his lack of shirt that embarrassed her, but rather the fact that he’d caught her giving the puppy a name. “You’ve named the dog
Evita
?” He couldn’t help but laugh.
    She laughed, too, even as she lifted her chin defensively. “I couldn’t just keep calling her ‘puppy.’ Besides, her owners haven’t called about her yet.”
    “They will.”
    “Not necessarily.”
    “Mara, don’t let your expectations get too high.” Liam was talking about more than the puppy, and they both knew it.
    She gazed up at him. “You must’ve met Ricardo.”
    “Yes, I certainly have met the good doctor. He tried to give me therapy with my coffee. I, however, prefer my coffee black.”
    “You always were too smart for your own good.” Holding Liam’s gaze, Marisala called down the hallway, “ ’
Dias, Rico
.”
    “
Buenos dias, Marisalita
,” the other man called back. “Lunch will be ready in thirty minutes.”
    Liam lowered his voice. “If I want therapy, I’ll find myself a doctor on my own. Am I making myself clear?”
    She didn’t even blink. “I thought it would help if you knew there was someone you could talk to. Someone who had actually been in the prison—”
    He changed the subject. Pointedly. “I’m sorry I wasn’t awake to see you off this morning. You should have gotten me up.”
    She gave Evita’s floppy ears one more rub then straightened up. “I couldn’t. I went into your room, but…you looked so peaceful. Did you sleep well?”
    The picture from his dream—her body crumpled in the dirt of the San Salustiano prison—crashed into his mind, pushing aside the provocative image of her in his room, watching him as he lay asleep in his bed. He carefully kept his voice even. “I slept. How were your classes?”
    Marisala snorted. “Ridiculous.”
    “In what way?”
    “In
every
way. The topics. The professors. The other students. It was worthless.”
    Liam sat down on the stairs and took a sip of his coffee. “What happened? Something must’ve happened, because that sounds like a classic Marisala knee-jerk reaction to me.”
    “
Nothing
happened. It was awful. I had two classes this morning—”
    “American history and English lit. I know.”
    “The history lecture was absurd. There were so many people in the lecture hall, I could barely see the professor from where I was sitting. He spoke in a monotone! I would have learned more from reading a book. And the literature course! We’re starting by reading a book about a dog.” She glanced down at the puppy. “No offense, Evita dearest, but I’m sitting there, thinking why am I here? Why am I going to read a book about a
dog
when there’s so much else I could be learning? And the literature discussion group was stupid. I’m in a group with six other students—six
children
—and all

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