Home > Shattered Lies (Web of Lies #3)(9)

Shattered Lies (Web of Lies #3)(9)
Author: Kathleen Brooks


“Let’s try it. It’s the first real possibility we’ve seen.” Dalton steered the boat toward the shore. He stopped ten feet from shore and tossed the anchor into the shallow water. He hopped out of the boat, the water came up to his chest. Lizzy handed him two guns and then jumped in after him.

They walked through the water and onto the beach. Dalton held out his hand and Lizzy stopped. He pointed to the ground next to a table. Blood coated the sand. He’d seen it enough to know that dark stain anywhere. “I’ll take the back. You go around front,” he ordered.

They sprinted off in different directions. Lizzy hugged the side of the house as she made her way around front. She heard glass breaking in the back and used the butt of her M16 to break out the glass door.

“Clear!” she heard Dalton call as she made her way through the rooms.

“Clear!” she called back as they met in the large living room looking over the sea. “They’re gone now.”

Alex buzzed her, and she looked at her phone. “Alex says Sally, the fake name Sandra is using, just boarded a plane in Bucharest.”

“Dammit,” Dalton cursed. “We were so close.”

“Let’s collect as much evidence as we can,” Lizzy told him as she found the kitchen and pulled out some plastic bags.

“We’ll collect the blood in the sand when we leave. Let’s get some items that likely would have been touched by the people here.”

 

* * *

 

Three hours later Lizzy and Dalton leaned against a crate as the plane took off. They were alone in the cargo hold with a bunch of large pallets of supplies, and it was perfect. They had a duffle bag of potential evidence, a secretary of state to talk to, and the rest of an organization to bring down. But for a couple hours, they’d have peace.

“Lizzy,” Dalton said against her head resting on his chest over the engine noise.

“Yes?”

“I love you.”

Lizzy turned her head and looked up at Dalton’s face. They hadn’t slept in days, his face was scruffy, and he was still the sexiest man she’d ever seen.

“I love you, too.”

 

* * *

 

Humphrey would never fool Tate again. He was a fierce warrior. He’d not only bullied his way into the secure ward, but also into Birch’s room. He was alive—barely. Tate gasped as Humphrey pushed her to Birch’s bed. He’d undergone three hours of surgery to repair a collapsed lung and internal bleeding.

As he lay on the white sheets, Tate wouldn’t have known he was alive if it weren’t for the beeping of the machines showing a steady pulse. “Birch,” she whispered as emotion overwhelmed her. Again Humphrey was there.

He rested his hand on her shoulder. “He’ll pull through. He should be waking from the anesthesia soon. And when he does we’ll be right here.”

Tate nodded as Humphrey parked her wheelchair next to the bed. “I’ll check with the doctors,” Humphrey told her, walking over to the ICU’s main station that overlooked the beds.

Tate reached out and clasped her hand in his. “Birch. We’re safe. We made it. Please come back to me.”

Tate hoped his eyes would open, but they didn’t. Instead, she rested their clasped hands against her cheek and talked. She talked about their future, about places she wanted to travel with him and things she wanted do together. Seconds turned to minutes, and minutes turned to hours.

Tate’s voice had gone hoarse, but that didn’t stop her. “I always wanted to spend time at a small lake in the middle of the woods. It would be just you and me there. No outside world and no responsibilities, at least for a few days. Can you imagine sitting wrapped in each other’s arms on a dock overlooking the sunset?”

“I can.”

Tate’s eyes shot up to Birch’s face at the sound of his hoarse voice. He was so pale, but his eyes were opened, and there was a slight smile on his face.

“Birch!” Tate cried, bringing his hand to her lips and kissing him as doctors and nurses rushed into the room. Humphrey fought them off long enough for Tate to whisper that she loved him, and then a nurse yanked her wheelchair out of the room.

“Stop!”

Tate’s heart clenched as she heard the pain and energy it took Birch to call out. Everyone froze. “Since I am very much alive, I want you to bring my girlfriend back to my side immediately. We are not to be separated until our release. Is that understood?”

Tate was rushed back as a doctor looked down at Birch. “You’re doing well. You’ll be in the hospital five days or so. You lost a lot of blood. You had some internal bleeding when your rib punctured your lung. I’m sorry, but I’ll have to take Miss Carlisle away in about three hours. She needs surgery to set her broken leg. After that, I will return her to your side so long as you both rest. Do we have a deal?”

Birch nodded and grabbed her hand. The room cleared, and he looked at her with such love that Tate felt her heart fill. “I want you by my side forever,” Birch said, never taking his eyes from hers.

“There’s no place I’d rather be,” Tate smiled at him as he kissed her hand.

No matter what the next day brought, they’d all face it together. They would find Valeria, and the team would be back together. Humphrey, Lizzy, Dalton, Alex, Valeria, Crew . . . they were more than a team. They were family. Mollia Domini may have struck a direct hit that day, but her family would be together again soon. Mollia Domini would feel the full force of what they were capable of. The cracks had been made. It was time to blow them apart.

 

* * *

 

He sat looking at the videoconference screen. There were two black squares, and he felt the rage all over again. Fucking Stanworths and their mess. Sandra and the man looked worried. And they definitely should be. He would kill them faster than he killed the Stanworths if they didn’t get their jobs done.

“He survived,” Sandra said with a hint of fear lacing her voice. “The vice president has already turned power back over to Stratton.”

Rage erupted. He threw his glass against the wall, sending shards exploding into the air. His secretary knew better than to come in when he was like that, but he almost dared her. He wanted to lash out, but instead he took a calming breath.

“We have to move up phase three,” his other partner said. “How soon can it be done?”

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