Gia stops at the door to the women’s restroom and faces me. “I guess we’re double-teaming this again?”

I grab her and pull her to me. “Why were you in that bathroom?”

“I was weak. It all hit me and I started to cry. I’m not a crier. But I just—”

I kiss her, my fingers slicing into her hair, my tongue licking into her mouth. I need her. I need an escape, and I want nothing more than to yank her jeans down and fuck her right here, right now. She moans and wraps her arms around my neck, and I mold her close, trying to suppress what my mind is telling me. I lift her, my hands around her backside, carrying her into the bathroom.

As I shove her against the wall, our lips part and she whispers, “I hate that you hate me.”

It’s a jolt of reality that I need, and I set her down, turning away and leaning on the sink, my head dipped low, my breathing heavy. I do hate, but not Gia. I hate Sheridan, and Amy is going to hate me. Amy. I repeat her name in my head, willing her to be alive, and forcing myself to face what I’ve been avoiding. If Gia didn’t call Sheridan and the salesman didn’t either, that leaves only one option—and it’s trouble.

Shoving off the sink, I remove the back of the cell phone, removing the SIM card and breaking it in half. Next I do the same with the phone, before walking into one of the stalls and flushing both down the toilet. Exiting I find Gia standing there, looking stunned. “What just happened?”

“I stopped blaming you. We need to go, and now.” Her eyes go wide, and I close in on her, urging her out of the bathroom and down the steps. “Now,” I say again, and she takes off running, with me on her heels. Inside the Escalade, I start the engine and back us the hell out of what could easily become a trap.

Pulling onto the highway, I am not pleased to see just how few vehicles are on the road, leaving us standing out like a sore thumb. “You think we were tracked through your phone,” Gia states.

“Yes,” I confirm. “I called from that number over and over, and didn’t block my number.”

“You think that means the person you’ve been calling betrayed you?”

My fingers tighten around the steering wheel. “No. I don’t think he betrayed me.”

“Oh.” She pauses a moment, and adds, “This doesn’t mean he’s dead. It doesn’t mean your sister isn’t safe, either. It doesn’t.”

While her words are meant to offer comfort, I reject what will only make me weak and soft. “The only thing we know for certain is that you and I are alive, right here and now. Everything else is a question. And I do mean everything.”


GIA AND I are two hours from Denver when I start grilling her, wanting to take advantage of anything she might have learned about Sheridan after a year of working for him. I have her describe every visitor, every employee, every interaction she had with anyone and everyone. I ask a ton of questions about anyone who might resemble Meg, but get no answer that makes me believe that Meg has visited Sheridan or communicated with him, when I know damn well that she did. Sheridan is too smart to make many mistakes, but too human not to make any.

By the time we hit the Denver city limits, I’ve stopped at a store to buy a phone and spent a good portion of time focusing my thoughts on a person of interest. A fortysomething, attractive blond woman who, per Gia’s claims, started visiting Sheridan a month ago.

“They were intimate?” I ask. “You’re sure?”

“Oh yes. Very sure.”

“You saw them showing affection?”

“No. It was a vibe when they were together. A way that they looked at each other. The length of time they were behind closed doors together, often for hours.”

“And you never knew who she worked for?”

“No, and I could never get to the sign-in register to find out who she was.”

I arch a brow. “Why would you try?”

“Honestly? I don’t know. There was just something about her that seemed odd.”

“Odd. Okay. Did anyone else ever join their meetings?”

“Never. This isn’t much help, is it?”

“It helps.”

“But we don’t know who she is.”

“I’ll find out.”

We reach the exit that leads to Cherry Creek, the fast-developing area where I bought a number of investment properties years before—and the location where I’ve hidden Amy—and I tell myself to pass it by. I’ll be looked for here, but I can’t seem to care. I exit and stare at the road, completely still and focused, but adrenaline pulses through me, my heartbeat pounding in my temples.

“Chad,” Gia prods gently. “What’s wrong?”

That she can read me so easily is a sign that she’s slipped beneath the walls I’ve erected around myself. “Aside from the present delay,” I say, stopping at a light, “who said anything is wrong?”

“Your mood. The exit. What am I sensing? Are we close to your sister?”

I cut her a look. “If my sister is where she’s supposed to be, yes.” The light changes and I turn to the left and down the street leading to what should be Amy’s new apartment, but I keep going, passing it and the hotel directly across from it. I want to stop, but I have another destination in mind. “Stuff your hair in your jacket again,” I order, grabbing the baseball cap and putting it on before taking another left.

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones The Secret Life of Amy Bensen Romance
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