Page 58 of Forced Alliance

Connor didn’t believe that. “I could persuade him—”

“I said no. Stay away from Armond. You’ll bring the killers right to his hospital room.”

Connor finally gave up on that, but he wouldn’t give up on protecting Josie. “Josie needs to stay hidden, too. With me.”

Sherwood’s scowl shouted NO. “Gilbert needs to get back to the office first thing next week and you need to remember I’m watching you.”

“And what about Josie, sir? Who’s watching out for her?”

Sherwood hadn’t liked that question. “Maybe I should separate you two so she can get on with her job.”

“Not tonight, not after the past few days,” Connor had replied. “She’s not staying here in this apartment and she’s sure not staying alone anywhere in this city. She’ll be with me for the weekend at least.”

“If anything happens to her, it’s on you,” Sherwood had retorted.

It’s on me.

Sometimes, Connor felt as if it was all on him.

He glanced back over at Josie. She was mad and frustrated and she’d put up a good fight, but she had gotten in the car with him. That was a good sign.

“I’m not worried about the bad guys,” she finally said. Shutting off her phone, she pushed at her hair and gave him a daring stare. “Right now, I’m only worried about one questionably good guy who forced me into this car.”


“Oui,” she replied, the one word more confident than the confusion in her eyes. “I agreed to come with you because I’m tired, Connor. Tired and determined to keep eyes on you.”

He said the words slowly. “You are safe with me. You can trust me. We’ve got two days. You can get some rest and rethink this whole thing.”

“Famous last words.”

He skirted Canal and took side streets in a zigzag pattern. “I don’t think anyone is following us, but just in case.”

They’d found nothing to help them at her house. Just a destroyed apartment, which only proved someone was looking for something. A file or a thumb drive? A notebook or a stack of letters and receipts? What? What could it be?

And who?

Connor used to be the hunter, the one watching for routines and patterns and changes. Now he and Josie were being hunted. And for what? And where was Armond?

Josie stayed alert the whole trip, watching in the passenger-side mirror when she wasn’t eyeballing him through a grumpy glare.

“My clothes are ruined again,” she said, staring down at the jacket and slacks she’d been wearing all night and most of the day.

“I have clothes.”

“Of course you do.”

“Deidre left some things in my apartment last time she was stateside.”

“Just to test your no more secrets theory, tell me about Deidre?”

Connor smiled at that, but he didn’t mind the interrogation. Josie never just asked a question. She was still looking for answers. “My sister is cute but bookish, smart but shy, lovable but reserved. She could be a real beauty if she’d let anyone near enough to get her new glasses and a new wardrobe. I love her, but she hasn’t always loved me.”

“But she’s your half sister, right?”

He nodded, memories of growing up with his sweet little sister always centered in his mind. “And like me, she never knew who her father was.” He shrugged. “Our mother was unconventional at best. She never needed a man except for the occasional companion. She didn’t believe in God or Jesus. She only believed in herself. Thought she could conquer the world.” He downshifted when they reached a crumbling parking garage. “But in the end, the world conquered her.”

“I’m sorry,” Josie said, “about you and Deidre not having fathers, about how your mother died. I can see why you became so desperate after you realized she was bankrupt.”

“I was never desperate,” he corrected, his rage always simmering just below the truth. Her curt question brought it all back. She couldn’t trick him into any kind of confession, though. “But I was hungry and afraid, and I wanted to feed my sister. We lost everything after our mother was killed.”

Lenora Worth Books | Suspense Books |