The Insiders

Page 56

“No.” Kash’s hand fell from my nape, but touched the small of my back. “Thank you.”

She nodded toward a phone on the wall. “Just pick it up if you need something.”

Kash waited until she was gone before he turned to his guards. “Where is he?”

One guard started for the door. “I’ll take you to him.”

I started to go with, but Kash’s hand rested on my stomach. “Stay. You’ll be safe.”

All the same questions that I’d had for the last month and a half were still in my head, but I nodded to him. He and the guard left, and it took only five minutes before he was back. Alone. The storm was in him again, but it had upped to a hurricane. An angry hurricane.

Kash looked capable of murder.

He blew into the room, coming right to me. His hand wrapped around the back of my elbow. “Let’s go.”

I didn’t ask where Matt was. I didn’t have time.

Kash was walking me back out into the hallway. The guards were in front of us and behind us. We could hear yelling as we went through the back, the kitchen, to a back door, and we were out. Kash’s car was there. He guided me around to the front, opened the door for me, a hand to my back as I got in. Then he was moving around to get behind the driver’s side. An SUV was in front of us and one was behind us. The guards piled in both.

I waited until we pulled away from the lodge. “Where’s Matt?”

“He left,” Kash growled, slamming on the brakes as some people darted out from the side of the lodge. Laying on the horn, he turned the wheel to ease around them. Staff from the lodge ran outside to try to barricade the people back.

This was insane. They were acting like Kash was royalty, and he’d been in hiding for years.

I couldn’t even process all of that, so I fixated on what I could. “What do you mean Matt left?”

He left me?

The SUV in front of us began to pick up the pace. Then we had to pause as we pulled out and onto the road. Once there, Kash was done waiting. There was a pocket of space where he could pass, so he punched it forward and zipped around the front SUV. We really were off after that. We couldn’t get away fast enough, and he was up to fifty, sixty, seventy. The road widened further and Kash really let it go. We were past eighty in the next three minutes.

“He left you to go fuck someone.”

“He told me he was going to the lodge.”

“No.” Kash was so cold. “He told you that to keep you there, feeling all fine. Thought you’d be safe at the loft. The little fuck took off somewhere else.”

“He left with the bartender girl?”

Kash spared me a quick look, his top lip sneering. “No bartender. Unless he took her with him. No. Matt’s fucking a married woman. He went to her house. You were his alibi if he got caught.”

It was as if Matt was here, picked up a paddle, and slammed it against my face.

“What?” No. That couldn’t be.

“Believe it,” he clipped out. “I’m going to hurt him.”

I felt like I’d just ingested a full piece of tree bark. “Was it all a lie? The lunch? Victoria?”

Kash didn’t reply right away. He looked through the corner of his eye, his lip flattening. “I don’t know. The lunch was probably a truth he twisted. Matt has an ability to do that.”

My head was pounding, but I fell silent the rest of the way.

We were on the outskirts of the city, and Kash was maneuvering the car around others on the interstate. We were rounding, heading into the suburbs on the southern edge. Slowing down, he took an exit, and the size of the houses maybe shouldn’t have surprised me, considering the estate, but they still did. I think I had stopped considering the estate as a home. It was just that—an estate. People lived there, but it was more than a mere home. And these buildings, they were large houses. A few were big enough to be considered mansions, but most were just large, though large enough to impress me.

The sports car slowed and pulled in to a home that had a tower of glass extending up past three floors. The home itself had a rectangular shape on one side; the tower attached this to another section of the house. I was guessing that the main rectangular shape was where the living room and kitchen were, with the bedrooms and the rest of the home in the other section. Matt’s car was parked in front of a four-stall garage, alongside a sleek-looking Mercedes Benz. It was brand-new, the chrome still sparkling. The license plate had a pink frame.

Kash pulled up behind Matt’s car, blocking him in, and was out. I thought he’d head inside, but he came around to my side. I was opening the door before he could get there, but he took the handle and held it open as I got out. Shutting it for me, he locked the car and pocketed his keys as we headed for the front door.

“What’s the plan?”

Kash gave me a look, his hand coming to the back of my hip. He was pulling ahead, once we got to the front door, and that’s when the guards showed up. Behind us and in front of us. Just as we were approaching, a guard came to the door from inside the house, his hand to his earpiece. He looked at Kash and me, saw the others who were pulling into the driveway, and nodded briefly. He opened the door for Kash, saying, as we went past, “Third floor. Back right.”

Kash took the stairs two at a time.

I was following at a slower pace, stunned by everything happening. His guards had sold Matt out, but Kash was the boss. And as I saw Kash get to the third floor, he looked back to me. I was coming to the second floor. I waved him off. I was going, mainly because I wanted to see Matt’s betrayal for myself, but I didn’t want another visualization of my brother thrusting into some woman.

I was just getting to the third floor when I heard it.

A woman screamed.

Matt started yelling, “Get the fuck out! What are you doing? Kash!” More yelling. Something thumped on the wall, then the floor.

I heard feet pounding on the ground.

A guard was outside the door, watching me come, with a lidded expression.

Oh, joy. That wasn’t good.

“Help! Max!”

The guard looked in, stared a second, and turned back to watch my approach.

“You little fuck.” That was Kash. A savage curse ripping from him.

Another thud.

The woman began screaming again. “Oh my God. Don’t. What are you doing? Don’t hurt him!”

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