“Oh?” I say, feigning surprise then flash a grin to mask my uneasiness. “Has he not popped up yet?”

Yes, that’s pretty morbid, even for me. And just picturing Ahmed’s body bobbing to the surface of the Mediterranean makes me feel a little sick.

“No,” Matthew drawls out and his expression hardens. “Perhaps if you gave me a clue of his whereabouts, I could find him and fix this little mess you’ve created.”

I stare into the icy blue depths of Matthew’s eyes and wonder if evil is contagious. It must be because I somehow find myself saying, “Clue? You want a clue? I pushed him off the yacht after he threatened to kill me. He discovered a detail trailing me and believed I was out to get him. You wouldn’t know anything about those men, would you, dear brother?”

For once in his life, Matthew looks a little taken aback.

“Or perhaps I should ask Simon? I would hate to think you purposely compromised me… After all, we’re still family, yes?”

“Meredith, I would never—” he starts to say in his defense but I yank my elbow out of his grip and cut him off.

“Save it. In the past, I would have believed you…”

Matthew stiffens and his face flashes with annoyance at the reminder that I’ll never forget, forgive, or understand what I stumbled upon in that basement.

No matter how badly he ever wanted me to.

I know one of the reasons he hates having me around so much is because I’ve seen his true face. It’s not my charming personality that annoys him. Oh no, it’s that when I’m around, he can’t buy his own bullshit.

“But not now. Never now,” I say lifting my chin in the air. Then I sneer out the moniker I bestowed upon him. The name that’s made him infamous. “Lucifer.”

I turn and walk away from him before he can stop me. I don’t necessarily want to join the others, in fact I’d prefer to actually go back to Simon’s, which just proves how uncomfortable I am. But I can’t stand to remain in Matthew’s presence for one more second.

Heels clicking against the dark wood floors, I walk towards the center of the room and stop, taking in those who are gathered. Most of the men are lingering near the fireplace with drinks in their hands as they talk and laugh among themselves. While it looks like they’re having a good time, there’s this somber under-current to their laughter.

The women seem to be concentrated at the sofas near the huge floor to ceiling windows. Lily and a dark-haired woman both hold babies in their laps. And I’m pretty sure the young redhead with them is pregnant.

I recognize a few faces, Lily, James, and of course Matthew’s son Adam, but the rest are strangers.

I’ve never felt more out of my element. Not only because everyone is here to remember and mourn a dead man I don’t know, but because I don’t know who I can trust in this den of vipers.

Lily is pleasant enough, but she’s married to Matthew. I find it hard to believe she’s never seen the true him… and yet she’s still with him. She subjects her children to him. And she’s even had his child.

The baby she’s holding in her lap, David, might as well be a clone of Matthew. Blonde hair, blue eyes, excessively beautiful.

Honestly, I’m surprised she’s still alive after the birth.

After all, they say Matthew’s mother, Anna, died shortly after bringing him into this world because he poisoned her womb.

Then there’s my nephew Adam. I know he’s not Matthew’s by blood, but the resemblance is beyond uncanny. When I look at Adam, I see Matthew when he was the same age, and it gives me the fucking creeps.

Matthew is raising Adam in his image. The boy can’t be older than nine, yet the way he holds himself, his entire demeanor, and the sharp intelligence in his eyes, bespeaks of a boy much older.

I wonder if history will end up repeating itself.

Will Adam one day assume the mantle of this fucked up little family by eliminating his father?

While I have no concrete proof, I heavily suspect that Matthew murdered my stepfather, Joseph.

Joseph was getting up there in the years, yes, but he was in decent health. To suddenly pass in his sleep after he and Matthew had a disagreement about running the business…

Shaking my head, I go over my options again. Perhaps I’m being too harsh on Lily. There’s a strong possibility she’s isn’t aware of Matthew’s true nature. After all, he fooled me for years…

Simon intercepts me before I can make it to Lily. His hand wraps around my arm and it takes everything I have in me to keep from jerking away. I’m tired, so tired of being grabbed and restrained.

But I need at least one ally if I’m going to make it through the rest of the night.

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