Clifford Beaumont was one of my favorite characters to write. A man with a past. A man with stories to tell. A loyal friend, but formidable enemy.
EXCERPT - Beyond A Reasonable Doubt
Closing the door, he headed down the stairs. He’d kept his hands clean for a long time, but before that night was over, blood would flow.
Clifford returned to the library, downed a quick glass of wine, replaced the gun in the drawer, and pulled out his switchblade. He opened a panel behind the bookcase, stepped through, and closed it behind him before flipping on a light switch and descending a set of stairs. The room below had taken months to build to his specifications. The contractor had thought him crazy when he’d stated he wanted it totally soundproof. That night was the first time he’d had to use it. His hands clenched at his sides. Depending on what the bastard told him, it wouldn’t be his last.
Travis had already secured the man, his hands and feet tied to a chair, and he’d removed the black hood. “He’s awake, sir, but not very talkative.”
Clifford smiled. “Let’s see what we can do about that. Put down some plastic, Travis, he looks like a bleeder to me.”
Clifford took his time unbuttoning his shirt, folding it, and placing it on a table against the wall. Next he removed his shoes and socks and placed them on the table. He undid his belt, stepped out of his pants, folded them neatly, and placed them with the shirt. He’d saved the best for last. Hooking his fingers in his underwear, he slipped them off and tossed them on top of the shoes. He flexed his shoulders and rolled his head from side to side until his neck made a cracking sound before he picked up the switchblade. The only thing more intimidating than a huge, hairy man approaching with a blade was a huge, hairy, totally naked man approaching with a blade.
“I ain’t talking,” the intruder said. Clifford slid the knife inside the neck of his black T-shirt and slowly ripped it from top to bottom. “Why don’t you tell me your name?” He nicked him just below the collarbone, letting the knife glide across his chest, a small trail of blood appearing along the line. “Or better yet, tell me who sent you here.”
“Told you, I ain’t talking.”
Clifford reached up and grabbed his face, holding it tight as he looked him straight in the eyes. “They all say that, son. But everybody talks. All you’ve got to decide is how much blood you want to lose before you do it.” Clifford smiled and lowered his voice. “Eyes, tongue, fingers, or toes?”
“I’m gonna start cutting. Being the nice guy I am, I’ll let you choose where I start.”
The fear in the man’s light-blue eyes pulled at Clifford’s primitive side, that side of human nature that made one more of an animal than a man. He’d buried that side for a long time. An image of Kamela lying in bed, her blond hair spread out on the pillow, flashed through his mind, and he let the knife slide across the intruder’s bare chest again, that time going a little deeper. “You tried to hurt my daughter. If I were crazy, I wouldn’t let you choose. Let’s start with fingers. Travis, bring me a board.”
Travis picked up a board and approached the chair. “Right or left, sir?”
Travis grabbed the right hand and strapped it to the board. “Want me to gag him?”
Clifford shook his head and, with one fluid motion, chopped off the pinky. A scream filled the room as the chair rocked. “Who sent you here?”
“I ain’t talking!”
Clifford swiped at the blood that had sprayed across his chest and grinned. He raised the knife. “Suit yourself.”
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