Beneath These Lies (Beneath #5)(13)

by Meghan March

Before I climbed inside, I peeked over my shoulder to see if Hennessy was watching.

He was.

I hoped he realized it was none of his business who was driving my car, and that the tinted windows would prevent him from ever finding out.

When I climbed inside, Rix’s expression was unreadable. I didn’t wait for his prompt before I started rambling.

“They don’t know where she is. Her purse was there, but she was gone when the first responders arrived. I don’t even know what to think. They’re going to call the other hospitals and make sure she wasn’t picked up by some Good Samaritan and taken there. I need to check her house still, but I don’t want to wake her grandmother this late.”

Rix stayed quiet through all of this, but when I paused to take a breath, he held up a hand. Whatever else I was going to say fell away.

“I’m gonna give it to you straight, because I don’t think you’d appreciate me dickin’ you around on something this important.”

My heart hammered against my chest in anticipation of whatever bad news he was about to relay. “What? What do you know?”

“Waiting on confirmation, but best we can figure, the FNDs wrecked on purpose, and when D-Rock was pinned too bad to get out, they grabbed your girl instead. I called a meet and issued a warning that the girl they took belongs to my crew, and is not to be touched.”

“Oh my God.” Cold chills ghosted over my skin. “Are you serious?”

I’d thought of dozens of disastrous things that could have befallen Trinity during those hours I couldn’t find her and the police wouldn’t take my missing person’s report, but not a single one of the possibilities I’d considered were as scary as being kidnapped by some rival gang. Probably because I hadn’t known gangs were something I needed to worry about.

I covered my face with both hands. This isn’t my life. How is this happening?

“Is she okay?”

Rix pulled my shaking hands away from my face. “I’ll get her back. No one is fucking stupid enough to hurt her now that I’ve laid claim.”

I squeezed my eyes shut, wanting to block out the unreality of this moment. But blocking it out wasn’t going to help. I opened my eyes and stared at him.

“I don’t know what to do.”

Rix squeezed my hands before releasing them, straightening in his seat and shifting the car into gear. “You’re gonna go home, go to bed, and wait for word from me tomorrow morning. That’s what you’re gonna do.”

“Tomorrow morning?” But I wanted him to go rush in and save her tonight.

“Meet is set for ten a.m. In the meantime, they won’t touch her.”

“How can you be sure?” I asked, not willing to leave Trinity’s safety to chance.

Rix’s answer was blunt. “Because they know they’ll all be dead if they do.”

His words didn’t scare me. I didn’t care that he’d threatened to kill people. I didn’t care about anything except the fact that he was willing to do whatever was necessary to keep her safe.

“Then take me home so I can get on with the waiting. There’s no way I’ll sleep tonight.”

He didn’t respond as he drove to Saint Charles Avenue toward my house before slowing at my driveway. My gate opened automatically as my car approached it, and I hit the button for the garage door.

“How do you know where I live?” I asked.

“Told you it didn’t take me long to get all the info on you. And your address is on your car registration.”

When I shot him a sideways look for riffling through my glove box, he shrugged. “What? You talked to that cop forever.”

“You can park it inside.”

He pulled into the garage and turned off the car. “Nice digs.”

“Thank you.”

“Fancy as fuck, aren’t you, duchess?”

How did I answer that? I was pretty sure fancy as fuck was a relative term.

“I don’t know if fancy is the word. I inherited the house from my great-aunt. I spent a lot of time here as a kid, so it has a lot of great memories.” I waited for some other judgment on my lifestyle, but none came.

He reached for the door handle and glanced over at me. “No point in you staying up the rest of the night. You need sleep.”

Yeah, I’ll get right on that, I thought as he climbed out of the car.

Gathering my purse from the floor, I reached for my own door handle, but the passenger door swung open before I could touch it.

He’s opening my door for me? Who is this guy?

Rix offered a hand to pull me out of the low-slung car. “Come on. You need to get inside, and I’ve got a ride coming to get me.”

I jerked my hand back in surprise. “You’ve got a ride coming here?” Did I want more gang members knowing where I lived?

Rix’s eyes narrowed, taking my meaning clearly. “Not here. A couple blocks toward the Quarter. Don’t worry, duchess. I don’t want anyone to know I’m fucking fascinated with you either.”

My mouth fell open at the backhanded compliment, but Rix was done wasting time. He pulled me out of the car and led me to the side door of the garage that led into an enclosed portico connected to the house. The garage slid shut as I pressed the button on the wall, and Rix pushed open the door.

He was fascinated with me? How did I respond to that?

Apparently Rix wasn’t waiting for a response, though, because he was already opening the door in the portico that led out front.

With one foot out, he turned and looked at me. “Get some sleep. I’ll call or text if I hear anything.” He shut the door and was gone.

I wandered from room to room, my house feeling more empty than it ever had before. I liked living alone, and normally enjoyed the solitude. When you lived alone, there was no one questioning why you were painting in the middle of the night, or working on financials on Friday at eight o’clock when everyone else was doing something fun to celebrate the weekend.

But tonight, I wasn’t loving being alone. Worry for Trinity stalked me as I wandered, and the only thing I could do to stem the thoughts that spiraled out of control was go back to my studio, turn on some music, and start mixing paints.

I painted furiously. Canvas after canvas, until my eyes burned and my back ached. I blinked against the grittiness and looked out the window into the blinding orange and pink of the sunrise.