Page 38 of Forced Alliance

“Does the FBI know you’re here?”

Beaux shook his head at Connor’s question. “No, but I’m hoping they’ll cut me some slack if I help y’all get away. Maybe y’all could vouch for me. I got a family to consider.”

Josie wished he’d considered his family before selling his soul to a bunch of criminals.

“Do you know who’s after Armond?” Josie asked.

Beaux stood there, as if weighing his next words very carefully. “I have my suspicions.”


“I’m thinking Mrs. A. went to New York to hire someone to do away with Mr. A., starting with that troublemaker Lewanna.”

“His wife?” Josie shot a questioning glance at Connor, then looked back at Beaux. “Do you have any proof?”

“She hates him fiercely,” Beaux said on a low whisper.

“Motive,” Connor pointed out.

“And the means?” Josie asked.

“The son, Lou, was in the military for a little while,” Beaux said. “He got kicked out for disobeying orders. It wasn’t pretty. They tried to hide it. Sent him to Europe. But he’s still causing a stink, always gambling and asking for money.” Beaux lowered his voice. “He likes to blow things up.”

“Surprise, surprise,” Connor quipped. “So you think mother and son have teamed up to off Mr. Armond?”

Beaux nodded. “Mr. A. thinks so, too. But you see, they say he has another son hidden away somewhere.”

Another revelation. Connor got up to pace but he didn’t seem surprised. Had he heard this, too?

His next question indicated he hadn’t. “You mean Lou isn’t Louis Armond’s only son?”

“Nope, or so they say. I heard Mr. and Mrs. A. arguing about it one night long ago. Never forgot that fight, let me tell you. Throwing stuff and slamming doors.”

“Does his wife hate Armond enough to have him killed?” Connor said on a dry note.

“I think so,” Beaux replied. “She mighta found out the will don’t leave very much for Lou.”

“Lou, the firstborn?” Josie couldn’t believe these new revelations.

“That’s the problem. He might not be the firstborn.”

“But if he kills his father and no one knows about the other son, he could stand to inherit a lot of money through dear old mom.”

“Exactly,” Beaux agreed. “And his mama could team up with whoever it is that’s supposed to be a silent partner. Somebody hugely powerful, is all I know. I’ve never seen Mr. A. scared before.”

“Maybe the proof is somewhere on the estate,” Connor said. “That garage has all kinds of storage places and hidden cubbyholes. Maybe even another safe. Or maybe the old garage.”

Beaux turned stubborn. “I ain’t going out there to find anything.”

“Beaux, do you know anything at all about this silent partner?” Josie asked. “Or the other son?”

Beaux’s eyes widened. “No. Not a thing.” Then he lowered his head. “Okay, maybe. But Mr. A. don’t confide in me about those kinds of deals.”

Connor and Josie exchanged glances. Josie figured Beaux knew too much but he was afraid to talk now.

“I need y’all to find whoever is doing this,” Beaux said. “They’ll kill all of us if the FBI doesn’t get to us first.” He wiped his brow. “I need y’all alive. And I plan to stay that way, too.”

“Why are you warning us like this?” Josie asked, her mind trying to comprehend this turn of events.

“Mr. A. told me,” Beaux said. “He didn’t make a whole lot of sense ’cause he’s so mad and scared.” He gave Connor a solemn stare. “But he told me himself—said to protect Connor. Warn Connor Randall. Remind him of the garage. I think you need to find out what he’s talking about.”

“Good point.” Connor looked over at Josie. “What do you want to do?”

“I’m not running,” she said. “I’d like to get to Lou and Vanessa Armond and check out Beaux’s suspicions.”

Connor got up and slapped Beaux on the back. “You heard the lady. We’ll take care of this. But first, we need a favor from you.”

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