“As you should.”

“Why didn’t you tell me who you were before now?”

“Not now,” she cautions. “When we’re alone and safe. We need to focus on safety and the speed of our departure. A man like the one you just left behind will shut down this city to stop you if he can.”

I get her discretion, but I don’t like how she’s avoided his name. “What do you mean, a man like him?”

“Rich and obsessed. It’s a dangerous combination.”

My defenses prickle. “He’s far more than you give him credit for.”

“Oh, I give him plenty of credit, which is exactly why I told our driver to take us to the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge. We need out of this city before he can stop us.”

I cut my gaze and stare out of the window, repeating her words in my head. Out of this city. I would have said the exact same thing forty-eight hours ago and I guess that should be comforting. She is thinking like I was thinking. Even Liam was screaming we had to leave fifteen minutes ago. But together. We were supposed to be together.

Thirty-minutes later, I’ve spent the drive replaying conversations I’ve had with Meg in the past, looking for warning signs, but there isn’t much to go on. We exit the cab at a chilly subway station and I eye Meg’s blue jeans, black knee-high boots and black leather jacket with envy. “Where to now?” I ask, hugging myself and not looking forward to being braless in a subway, especially at whatever time it is. I don’t even know.

“I left my car in Albany.”

“How far is that?”

“Three hours, and one stop where we have to change trains. That is, if we can catch the last train out at 12:30. Otherwise we have to find a cheap hotel and hole up, which gives anyone looking for us time to organize.” She eyes her dainty silver watch. “We’re cutting it close. We’d better run.”

We dart forward, and unbidden, Liam’s voice plays in my head, run to me, Amy, not from me. I’m trying, I think. I really am trying and I hate the hell I must be putting him through.

An hour later, Meg and I have finally completed the short trip from one stop to another and have boarded the train to Albany, settling uncomfortably into the hard plastic seats, with cool air rather than heat blasting me from a vent somewhere above. With no one near us for several rows front and back, we are in the perfect place to talk without eavesdropping.

I lean against the window and face her. “Tell me about Chad. Tell me everything.”

“He’s everything to me and I’ll do whatever it takes to get him back.”

She says the words with conviction and emotion, so why am I struggling to believe her? “How did you meet him?”

“I was a full-time student working at a diner to pay the bills when he started coming in during my shifts. We’d flirted quite a bit. Still, he never asked me out. I wasn’t sure what to think. Then one night this creepy customer was drunk and he tried to...he was inappropriate. Chad punched him and I was rattled. Really rattled. It reminded me...” She cuts her gaze a moment and draws a breath. “I had some bad stuff with my stepfather and I left the diner in the middle of my shift. Chad came after me, clearly worried. No one had worried about me for a very long time, but he hadn’t ever asked me out and I was afraid he just felt sorry for me. Like he had some kind of hero complex about saving damsels in distress. But I found out later he was worried about his job and my safety.”

My brows dip. “His job? What was his job?”

“He told me he did high profile consulting that required complete anonymity and confidentiality.”

“Meaning what?”

“I don’t know.”

I officially sympathize with how Tellar felt with me when I said the same thing to him. “You mean you married him and never knew what he did for a living?”

“I just thought it was a government security thing or something to that effect. New York has plenty of--”

“New York. Are you telling me my brother lived in New York?”

“Yes. A few blocks from you. He told me you were in a witness protection program.”

Witness protection? Was I? Could that be true? “Did he go by Chad?”

She shakes her head. “David Chad Wilson. He told me he preferred Chad, but his legal name was David. I didn’t know any differently until the night we moved you to Denver.”

“What happened that night?”

“He told me he was the reason you were in hiding, and...he told me about the fire.”

“Did he tell you who set it?”

“No names. He said his work had put him in the cross-hairs of some very rich, very powerful men, who thought he had something they wanted. I didn’t ask a lot of questions of Chad. It was simply part of being with him and at the time of his confessions he was in crisis mode to move you and us before it was too late. I figured I’d ask for more details when we were safe.”

“So he felt you were both in harm’s way, too?”

“Oh yes. And it was destroying him to think he’d put me in danger by marrying me, not that we were really married. He’d used an alias.”

Her voice cracks and guilt twists in me over how I’ve doubted her. “He had to. You know he had to.”

“Yes. I just wish he’d have told me. I love him. I do. I’d do anything for him. I’d die for him, Amy.”

I think of Liam’s words. Anyone who wants to hurt you has to come through me first. He’d die for me and I can’t let that happen. “No one else is going to die. I...my parents...”

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