Home > Hush (Black Lotus #3)(3)

Hush (Black Lotus #3)(3)
E.K. Blair

When her breaths even out, I slip out of bed and allow her the rest her body desperately craves. I stop before I walk out of the room and look at Elizabeth lying in my bed as a swell of contentment and anger rushes in a tidal wave under my skin. She’s knocked my control off its axis, and I need to steady it back into place to keep her safe—to make sure nothing else happens without my say-so.

“CHRIST,” LACHLAN SAYS with a startle when I slam the double doors to the library, closing us off from the rest of the house.

With my back facing him, my hands grip tightly around the door handles in a lame attempt to control my turmoil. There’s rioting in my bones, rattling me into a cold sweat. Pulling back to open the doors slightly, I slam them once more, grunting, hammering my palm into the aged mahogany.

“What can I do?” Lachlan questions from across the room.

A string of answers fills my head and wraps around my neck in a tightening noose. I can’t talk as I think about Elizabeth upstairs in a drug-induced sleep. Visions from when I found her last night flash behind my eyes in vivid detail. Her naked and bloodied body, the bruising and lacerations between her legs from what that dickfuck did to her, it brings up sour bile that I fight to swallow back.

All I wanted to give her when she woke this morning was as much peace as I could, but instead, I watched her world erupt into even more chaos. Chaos she doesn’t need. Chaos I’m worried she’s not stable enough to handle.

“Declan.”

I turn and face my friend, thankful that he stayed the night and is here right now, because there’s no way I could sort through my deranged thoughts on my own without smashing my fists through the walls and destroying this house in a blacked out rage.

“How is she?” he questions.

“Sleeping.” The word is strangled as it comes out. I walk over to the couch and sit down, lowering my head to meet my clenched fists. My harsh breaths through my nose are audible. I won’t allow Elizabeth to see this. She needs to believe I’m in utter control and that she’s completely safe with me.

“How is she really?” he pushes for a better answer than the one I just gave him.

I look up and meet his concerned eyes as he takes the seat on the other side of the coffee table.

“She’s not good.”

I won’t go into detail with Lachlan, because what’s hers is mine and no one else’s.

“Look, what happened last night, what you witnessed—” I start to say but Lachlan cuts in, “It’s vaulted.”

“It better be,” I tell him, my voice glazed in unspoken threats. “You’ll never speak of it, not even with her, understand?”

“Without fail,” he responds with a nod.

“I need your help,” I tell him, shifting the conversation.

“Anything.”

“I need you to find someone for me.”

“Who?”

“His name is Steve Archer.”

With a curious look, he responds, “Why does that name sound familiar?”

“He’s Elizabeth’s father.”

“Her father?” he reacts in surprise. “He’s dead. I came across his death certificate when I found her mother.”

“I don’t know. We were upstairs watching an American news report and she swears she saw him.”

“On TV? There’s no way.”

“She’s adamant.”

“Declan, her mind has to be a mare’s nest right now. I’m sure she’s seeing what she wishes to see,” he says. “The man is dead.”

I shrug my shoulders, releasing a heavy breath. “Pull the news footage and compare the two men.”

Lachlan steps over to the desk in the corner of the room, and I follow, directing him to the correct news station webpage. We find the video, play it, and when I see the man who Elizabeth made me pause on, I reach down and stop the video, freezing on his face.

“Him.”

It takes a few minutes to find an archived article on his arrest, but Lachlan finally comes across one with a photo.

“There,” I say when I see the link. “Click on that.”

And with a single click, I know Elizabeth isn’t imagining things. It may be an old photo, but there’s no way I can argue that it’s not the same man.

“Holy shit,” Lachlan says as he compares both of the photos.

“That’s him. Tell me you’re seeing what I’m seeing.”

“I’m seeing it.”

“Fuck!” Raking my hands through my hair, I pace over to the windows, wishing I never had the goddamn TV turned on this morning. “I can’t allow anyone else to hurt her.

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