Motioning to the winding black metal stairs in front of us, I lean into Gia and say, “The master bedroom is to the left. There’s a first aid kit under the bathroom sink. I’ll be there in a minute.”

She doesn’t move. She turns and faces Jared as he joins us in the kitchen. He scowls. “Something you want to say to me?”

A second passes. Two. Three. “Nothing,” she finally replies, turning and running up the stairs.

Jared whistles. “What was that, and who the hell is she?”

Trust no one. The words play in my head. The sense of unease I am feeling with Jared is like removing the last piece of security I had left in this world, and it’s pissing me off. I march past him and enter the laundry area, keying in a code that will put this place on lockdown if anyone tries to come or go without another matching sequence of numbers.

Returning to the kitchen, I find myself confronted by Jared, who gives me a big hug. “I thought you were dead, man.”

I return the embrace, relief seeping into my bones. He’s a friend. A real friend. Gia might stir unfamiliar emotions in me, but I share a history with Jared. “They can’t kill me,” I tell him.

He breaks away and stares at me. “What is it you have that they want so badly?”

I step back from him, and we both lean on the counter, facing each other, him arching a brow. “You aren’t answering. Talk to me, man. What are they after?”

“More importantly, where’s my sister?”

“Back in New York and safe, I promise.”

“New York isn’t safe.”

“Denver wasn’t safe. Not with Meg here, working damn hard to get close to her. And let me show you just how big a problem that was.” He reaches in his pocket and pulls out his phone, flipping it around to show me a picture that has me grabbing the cell from his hand.

“Rollin,” I growl. “That bastard is supposed to be dead.”

“That’s what we all thought. The question now becomes, does Daddy Dearest know he’s alive? He hasn’t shown up on Sheridan’s radar at all.”

“What about Meg? Has she? Where is she now?”

“Gone. She followed Amy to New York, wreaked a little more havoc on her life, and then disappeared. I’ve tried to find her.”

“At least tell me you got the clue I left for Amy and gave it to her.”

“That I can confirm. I gave her the clue, and she found the letter you left for her, and the list of Sheridan’s business partners and their many sins. She went to Sheridan and promised to turn him and his partners in to the authorities if they didn’t leave her alone. And her new fiancé went one step further. He hired a hit man and promised Sheridan that everyone on that list would be dead if anything happened to Amy or anyone close to her.”

“Fiancé? What the hell are you talking about? I haven’t been gone long enough for her to have a damn fiancé, let alone one she trusts enough to involve him in this.”

“Long enough for her to fall in love and get pregnant.”

“Pregnant? Amy’s fucking pregnant?”

He gives a grim shake of his head. “No. She miscarried, and she didn’t handle it well.”

And I wasn’t there for her. The idea that she has been alone, and turned to some stranger out of desperation, shreds me. “Explain how and why she ended up back in New York?”

“That’s where her billionaire fiancé, Liam Stone, lives.”

“Billionaire? She got pregnant by a man she just happened to meet the night she was on the run, and he just happens to be a billionaire?”

“I agree, it’s hard to swallow. But Liam Stone claims he loves her, and he’s pretty damn convincing. And his résumé, if you want to call it that, is impressive. Protégé of a famous architect and famous as one himself. He not only makes a fortune from his own work, he inherited a fortune from his adopted father, who was also his mentor.”

“And he met Amy how?”

“They met on her flight to Denver.”

“That’s a little too coincidental for my comfort.”

“He has to have a corrupted agenda? While I agree again, there simply isn’t proof, and he did go for Sheridan’s jugular with that hit man.”

“Which could have been an act to convince Amy to trust him. And who says he has to be working with Sheridan? There are plenty of people outside of Sheridan’s circle who want what he wants, all of whom would use my sister against me to get it.”

“Which is what, damn it? What was worth the slaughter of your family, the risk to your sister, yourself, and now me? What’s the problem here? Why not just give them what they want? Because I’ve never known you not to take money for anything. It’s time to tell me what this is about.”

“It’s time for you to get out. Tell me what I need to know, and then get as far away from me as you can.”

“It’s too late for me to disappear. Liam knows I’m in this, and so does Sheridan.”

My jaw clenches. “I didn’t want this for you.”

“Yeah, well, we both know I didn’t want this for me, either. There’s a reason why I didn’t join The Underground. But I’m in now, deeper and deeper every single day. Give them what they want—or tell them where to get it themselves.”

“It’s not that simple.”


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