The Insiders

Page 47

“Another boy.” His voice cracked. “She didn’t want a nine-year-old from another woman.”

“Matt.” My heart sank for him.

“She wanted a baby boy. A boy to match her perfect little girl.” Without warning, he threw his glass across the bar. It hit the wall and shattered. Matt just stood there, watching the liquid start to spread over the floor. His jaw kept clenching. His nostrils were flaring at the same time. “Fucking bitch. That’s what she is.” Suddenly, he looked over, piercing me with that same anguish that almost knocked me off my stool. “Watch yourself with her. She doesn’t like you. She doesn’t like having you here, and she might be gone all the time, but she knows what’s going on. She knows you and Kash have something going on.”


“She doesn’t like that, either, I bet you. She’ll do something to get you out of here. Don’t know what, but something.”

“That’s enough.” A snarl came from the doorway.

Kash was there. “Nothing’s going to happen to Bailey.”

Matt laughed, the sound harsh. “That doesn’t mean shit with Quinn. You know it. Bailey can see it. Ser and Cyclone, they can feel it. Ser—Jesus, Ser. She’s terrified of her own mom, her mom that dotes on Cyclone more than she does her. Seraphina’s expected to be perfect. Always put together. Quiet. She’s supposed to have the popular friends, girls who are outright bitches. Have you been around when they come over? They’re horrible to Ser, and Quinn loves it. She gets off on it, I swear.”

“Shut up.”

“No. No, man. It’s time something happened.” Matt flung a hand in my direction. “Quinn’s going to take all the goodness in my sister and she’s going to gut her. She’ll take it out and fill her with nothing. We’ll be lucky if she doesn’t di—”

He stopped, just stopped.

He blinked.

No one said a word. No one stopped him.

Then his eyes grew bleak. He rubbed a hand over the back of his neck, his head folding down. “We’re so far fucked up. We’re ruined, Kash. All of us. We’re too damaged.” He saw me and blinked a few times, focusing to see me better. “You should get away from us, before you become like us. Get lost, Bailey. I mean it. For your own good.”

He moved past Kash. He started for the door.

“Where are you going?”

Matt paused, shaking his head. “Does it really matter?” Then he headed out.

I flicked a tear away, my throat closing up.

“His mom killed herself.”

What? That was a punch to my system. Matt …

I wanted to go after him, hug him until he healed, no matter how long that took. I’d hug him for years if I had to.

Kash moved to the stool beside me, sitting with his back to the bar behind him. “Report says car accident, and technically that is how she died. Report doesn’t say that she directed the car at a tree, or how security cameras across the street show her staring ahead. There was nothing wrong with her. She was like a statue. She turned that wheel, sat back, undid her seat belt, and pressed down on the accelerator.”

I sucked in a breath. My gaze flicking back to where Matt had gone.

“He doesn’t know about the footage, just that she wrote a good-bye note to him and she was dead. Death by tree.” Kash was looking too. “He’s smart. He’s always known, without asking. It’s something we don’t talk about.”

I was aching. For Matt. For Seraphina. For Cyclone. For Kash, too.

As I moved my hand to his, I wasn’t sure what he’d do.

I wasn’t expecting him to flip his hand over and slide his fingers between mine. I wasn’t expecting to suddenly be pulled into his arms, his head burying in my neck. And I really wasn’t expecting him to press a kiss there. “I will never let anything happen to you. No one.”

My legs parted and he was between them. Just holding me. I was holding him back.

We stayed like that.

Minutes could’ve passed. An hour. I didn’t know. I didn’t care. Until we heard footsteps on the ceiling above us and Kash stiffened.

He cursed under his breath. “They’re back.”

Which meant we’d leave. I was starting to understand this family’s dynamics. Understanding, yes, but not liking it. How could I?

We were going past the kitchen, our hands entwined, when Peter appeared in the doorway.

Kash stopped. I stopped.

Peter seared me with his eyes before switching to Kash.

He clipped out, “Matthew took off in the Lamborghini. He’d been drinking.”

Another look my way, and then he disappeared.

His words echoed in my head first.

Worry for Matt hit me second.

And third, I was seared.

Peter had walked away from me again.

I should have been used to it by now.



Kash called the security team on Matt, and we were pulling up outside of a dark mansion two hours later. It took us that long to get his location.

“Where are we?”

Kash flashed a quick grin at me, pocketing his keys. He had chosen to drive us himself, in a sports car. Two SUVs pulled in behind us. I recognized the guards.

“We had a team following us?”

Kash had skimmed a look over me before focusing on the road again. “There’s always a unit on us. They might not be in the car with us, but they’re around.”

The house wasn’t in a gated community. That felt wrong, but the road was isolated. I didn’t see any other houses along it, just forest. Tree after tree blanketed both sides of the road as we drove here, giving us an isolated feeling. The house itself was three stories. The driveway wasn’t long, but three cars were parked in front. I recognized a Lamborghini and assumed that was Matt’s. The others were just as expensive looking.

Kash walked ahead of me, pocketing his keys and phone. He took my hand, leading me up to a fence. He gazed up at the camera perched on top of it and, without saying anything, pushed a button. The gate swung open for him.

Strobe lights lit up the backyard. Low bass filled the air. The smell of bonfire and marijuana was strong, too. But the view. Man. The view was spectacular. This was why this house was built here. A drop-off opened up to a valley filled with lights from each of the homes nestled along the side, and the river at the bottom had bobbing boat lights.

Tip: You can use left and right keyboard keys to browse between pages.