Clockwork Image

So far in Clockwork Image:

Tressa Wimple finally knows who wrote the bloody message across the silver platter--Christina Brown. However, Tressa now knows something even more important. The horrible crimes committed against the children Westwood claimed to be helping is still going on. Brox is looking into the legal side of this battle. However, Tressa is convinced they need more substantial proof. She is determined to save the children and make those responsible for hurting them pay--and for that, she needs Jasper's help.

Tressa peered over the edge of the small bridge and deep into the water rushing below. How would Jasper respond to her letter? Would he be willing to help her? She wasn’t sure she could do this without him. Machines she knew, but not cameras. He had said he’d perfected a way of taking images without a flash.

 

She glanced up at the clouds, brushed with pink and orange by the sunset. Oh, how she prayed her brother would come to meet her.

 

The wooden planks of the bridge creaked and Tressa spun around. She’d come here to be alone, and to gather enough strength for what lay ahead. Brox stood with shoulders slumped and hands deep inside his pockets. He strolled up to her and leaned back against the bridge railing.

 

“I spoke to every member of the board,” he said in a heavy voice. “They all deny any knowledge, though it was clear that more than a few were lying. Mr. Clark included.”

 

“It’s a start,” Tressa said. With Brox’s hands in his pockets, she doubted he would reach for her as he had once been wont to do. She missed the small gestures—his hand on the small of her back, him offering his elbow to her.

 

He tipped his head back, staring up at the evening sky. “I can’t believe I was so blind.”

 

“I was, too. I knew it had happened. I didn’t know until this afternoon that it was still happening.”

 

His head rocked to the side, and he gave her a half-smile. “Well, if the jack-a-napes could hide it from someone as attentive as you . . .” His gaze dropped to her lips and his smile slipped way.

 

Brox stood up straight, his posture once more rigid. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m working on things and I’ll keep you posted.” He turned on his heel.

 

He was going to leave because he thought she didn’t care. But she did. Kissing him was all she wanted. Tressa drew in a big breath and forced a few words out. “Brox, wait.”

 

He stopped a few paces away.

 

She would have to explain herself. If he was ever going to understand, she would have to speak of Westwood and why she’d withdrawn into herself the other day. He’d always heard her out and saw things from her point of view; he would understand this, too.

 

“You’re going to need proof,” she said. Well, it wasn’t exactly on topic, but first she’d get him to stay and then she’d explain. One thing at a time.

 

Brox turned around. “Yes. But I’m not sure what I’m looking for. If I can get a search warrant, I can search financial records. Those might show who’s paying for the child labor and give us a clue who is guilty.”

 

Tressa moved to stand close to him, yielding to the pull she felt to be near him. If only she could let him know how she felt without her memories coming between them. “I’m going out tonight,” she said. “I’m going to sneak into Westwood and try and get some proof myself.”

 

“Tressa, that’s dangerous.” He took hold of both her arms, then his hands dropped back to his own sides and he rocked back slightly. “I don’t want to see you hurt,” he added, his tone a bit flatter.

 

“I won’t be.” She may not be strong enough to speak of the things that haunted her most, but she was plenty strong enough to sneak about an orphanage at night in search of proof.

 

His lips twisted to the side, the movement holding Tressa’s attention. “Then I’m coming with you. Two eyewitnesses are better than one in court.”

 

Tressa tore her gaze away from his lips and back up to his eyes, which were every bit as mesmerizing. “Are you sure?”

 

“It would mean I could no longer be the prosecuting attorney, but I have several associates I would trust with this. I think we’d stand a better chance if I wasn’t prosecuting anyway, since I’m on the board.” He gave her a determined nod. “Just tell me when and where to meet you.”

 

“Midnight. Northwest corner of the building across the street from Westwood.”

 

They stood there in silence. Close, but not touching.

 

“Tressa,” Brox said, his voice lower than before. “About last week.” He didn’t have to specify more than that. She knew what he was talking about. “I wanted to apologize. It was unforgivably forward of me. I also need to apologize for my coldness toward you since then. If all you want is friendship, I can respect that.”

 

Lud, that’s not at all what she wanted. But how would he know that? Tressa thought back to that awful afternoon in front of his motorcar. She’d stood with her hands behind her back, nearly leaning away from him in an effort to not get grease on his bespoke suite. Then when he’d asked her, she’d scowled, overcome by her memories.

 

Of course he thought she didn’t want him.

 

“I’d be honored if you’ll let me join you tonight,” he said. “I promise I will be a perfect gentleman.”

 

Tressa felt all the unspoken words piling up in her throat, choking her. He wouldn’t understand until she explained. Tressa opened her mouth. She had to say something, or he would leave and never speak of kissing her again.

 

Hang explanations. “Devil take you, Brox.” Grabbing his lapels, she went up on tiptoe and kissed him.

 

He remained motionless at first, stunned, no doubt. Then he melted against her. His lips moved over hers and his arms wrapped around her waist, holding her close against him.

Tressa’s hands moved up his neck, her fingers winding through his hair.

 

Take that, stupid memories.

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The survey is now closed. Below are the options which were available. 

In Chapter 12, who do both siblings admit is better at picking locks?

Option A) Tressa

Option B) Jasper