His name was familiar …
Get Kash now!
Thoughts and pieces of the puzzle were fitting, forming— clicking.
Drew Bonham. The husband. Matthew.
The guy who tried to poison Matt, whose wife was sleeping with Matt—was helping Quinn now?
I was going to be sick.
Cold sweat dripped down my back.
“Arcane was sent by someone who knows my grandfather…”
“Quinn knows Kash’s family…”
The voices. The memories. Round and round.
“My father was indebted to Calhoun…”
And then, nothing.
I knew who hired the kidnappers.
Her smile was evil, her words soft. “You’re a very stupid little girl, aren’t you?”
It was too late to get Kash.
Quinn’s words were cutting, but she was smiling, speaking them almost lovingly, and she reached over, resting her hand on my arm. Then she grabbed me in a tight grip and reached forward, pressing something into my side.
I felt a sharp pain before jerking away. “What—”
She grabbed for me again, jerking me to her and hissing under her breath, “You are a problem. He was supposed to poison you that night, not stupid Matthew. He wasn’t supposed to have found out his wife was fucking my stepson. I mean, my God, why would he care? He was fucking me, but he wasn’t the only one.
“You have no idea how many years of planning you have royally fucked up. You weren’t supposed to come into my family and mess everything up. I was set for life. I have no problem that Peter likes to screw around. I enjoy it too. Hell, sometimes we share. But that was all until you came, until your father started remembering your mother, until he started feeling all these insidious feelings, like love, and suddenly he’s getting other sorts of ideas, like commitment and monogamy. He wants to be a role model for his children growing up.”
She laughed, so harsh and ugly sounding. “He wants to be a new man, a better man.” She drew in a sharp breath at that word. “He’s being foolish, but once you’re gone, which I put into action a long time ago, he’ll go back to how he was. He’ll be heartbroken, and there I will be. Knowing him, knowing all his little guilty desires he enjoys, I’ll have him wrapped around my finger once more. You were never supposed to even be a problem. I wanted you taken care of before your father made the final decision to reach out to you, but stupid fucking Arcane. They messed up.”
I almost couldn’t keep up.
The outside was beginning to swim around me, moving in circles.
Quinn’s voice was looming, her face and body growing up to a giant size.
She had drugged me. That’s what the prick had been. And now she was spewing out everything.
She was behind the kidnapping attempt.
Because of my essay, because Peter was starting to think of coming for me.
And he loved my mother. Was that right?
She said things about Kash.
What else about Kash? Other planning for years? Was that all about Peter?
I couldn’t run away. I turned, trying to, but I was falling. I was going to face-plant on the patio brick. That was going to hurt.
But then someone caught me, and I was being whisked up into the air.
I looked, feeling a strong chest behind me.
Kash, I thought.
It was the guard from before. Helms. The one Kash had suspended.
He was speaking over me to Quinn. “Did you have to drug her?”
“Shut up. Arcane is in the back, behind the DJ’s van. I got them in and now I’m delivering her to them. I’ll expect a steep discount for doing their work.”
“What if you dosed her too much? They’re hoping Calhoun will want to meet her.”
“Don’t be stupid. Kash’s grandfather has no idea this was in the works. There’s no way Calhoun Bastian would sign off on this. Too many strings. Hurry. Drew was supposed to do enough to distract everyone, and Kash is distracted too, but they won’t all be gone for long. I talked too much. Get her out of here.” She snapped one last time: “Now!”
Helms cursed under his breath, and he was going fast, carrying me around the back of the house. Or I thought? I could still make out a little, but the woozy factor was strong. I was going to be sick. I was sweating and shivering and moaning, and the guard was trying to tell me to shut up.
I wasn’t listening.
I’d been drugged.
Shit. I’d been drugged! I needed to get out of there.
Quinn was psychotic. I had to tell everyone. I had to save them.
She’d do it to someone else.
No. I had to save myself.
I was going to die—that last one helped. Primal fear coursed through me and I started struggling. Or I started trying harder. I was swinging around. My arms. My legs.
I could try and headbutt the guy even.
Helms cursed, tucking me more firmly against his side, trapping me completely so I couldn’t fight even a little bit. “Fucking bitch. She should’ve drugged you, then lied and told you I was carrying you to bed. Why the hell’d she have to spill all that to you?”
I wasn’t answering. I couldn’t. But I could do something else. My mouth was pressed into his neck and, rearing back, opening my mouth wide, I sank my teeth into him.
He screamed, jerking and dropping me.
As soon as I was clear, I was screaming alongside of him.
The sound that came from him sounded like an animal having its skin pulled off while alive.
“What the fuck?”
A rush of feet came around the back. I could see them on the ground. The same boots, and I was back there, back in my old house.
Boots was coming. Literally.
Then I recognized the voice from before. It was the boss. Arcane.
“Shut her up!” A hand came down hard on my mouth.
I bit that too, and he cursed. “Damn it!”
A piece of tape was slapped on me, hard enough that I felt tears falling down my face from the force. I could smell blood. Just didn’t know if it was mine or not, and the stars above were circling again. They were almost a complete line by themselves—they were going that fast.
Arcane bit off a growl. “Are you serious? You scream like that and drop the cunt?”