All the Lies (Page 23)
“You’ve lost me, Leonard,” I groan.
“Hadley Grace called them about Kennedy. Pretty typical of her.”
He suddenly climbs over the middle, his hip smashing into my shoulder on his way to the backseat.
“What the actual hell?” I harp, swerving when he hits my shoulder again.
“Sorry!” he calls out as he settles into the backseat. “Just wanted to make sure I’m out of hitting range.”
My eyebrows hit my hairline.
“Look, it sounded absolutely absurd, but I struggle to believe in coincidences,” he rambles on.
“Leonard, I swear, I’m this close to losing my fucking patience.” I pinch my fingers together to show him exactly how little patience is left.
“Hadley always researches any girl you’re involved with,” he finally says.
“I realize everyone thinks I get around a lot, but I’ve never heard of Kennedy Carlyle,” I tell him dryly. “And I don’t get around nowhere near as much as the rumors like to say I do.”
“She was in the hospital the same night as Victoria Evans—the same night she and Marcus Evans died.”
“And I found that really coincidental, considering her parents were the reason Jasmine Evans died. So I dug into it a little. Kennedy Carlyle changed her name a long time ago. Ten years ago to be exact. She also left the hospital against doctor’s orders the next day after her life-saving surgery.”
“Damn it, Leonard!” I shout.
“Fine! Fine.” He takes a long breath. “Before I tell you this, you should know there is no romantic involvement with any other man going on. I researched that very, very thoroughly. In fact, she’s had very few romantic involvements over the years.”
“Why do I give a damn?” I groan.
His eyes dart around the car as I glare at him through the rearview mirror.
“She left with Jacob Denver. The two of them own a buy, sell, and trade store online. And Kennedy Carlyle now goes by Lana Myers.”
My blood seizes in my veins as all the oxygen leaves my lungs painfully. The car skids to an abrupt halt, and Leonard catches himself on the back of the seat in front of him.
“Seatbelt,” he mutters, grimacing. “Why didn’t I think of a seatbelt?”
But my ears are thumping wildly with the drumming of my over-stimulated heart. My hands grip the steering wheel too tightly as I stare ahead but see nothing.
“She loves you, Logan. I think you should know that before you react at all.”
Something ignites loudly, and a hissing of fire drags me out of my head for a brief moment as a fire lights and slithers over a wall at the town hall. People trip and stare—gawk, actually—as the words appear, written in fire this time.
Run. Before the town burns to the ground. Run. Run. Run.
“No,” I say quietly, shaking my head. “No. There’s no way it’s Lana.”
“I thought that at first,” he says too quietly. “Then I read the reports on Plemmons from the autopsy. Lana had a few bruises. Plemmons was loaded down with them. A man who had easily subdued so many women in the past just ran over a knife after taking a beating? We just never looked into it, because—”
“Hadley,” I say on a rasp whisper.
“Yeah. Hadley. And then there was the pedophile who hurt—”
“Hadley,” I say again, feeling the binds of betrayal squeezing tighter and tighter, almost as though it’s becoming a tangible noose around my neck.
“Yeah,” he whispers, so much pity in his voice. “Obviously she believes in whatever Lana has told her about this crusade. After what Hadley went through, it’s not surprising. I understand it too, but…I don’t understand how she can be a proxy but not be suffering any signs of psychotic breaks. I feel like I’m missing something.”
My chest gets heavier and heavier as the truth slowly creeps into my every bone, robbing me of my ability to use any of my motor functions.
“She does love you,” he says quietly from the back seat. “I’ve seen it, Logan. She risked it all to—”
“Stop talking,” I say on a rasp, unable to say more when my throat knots up.
Cars pass us as we idle in the middle of the street, and I continue to stare aimlessly.
Every morning I woke up and spent the day worried about her safety, dreading every second away. And every night she laid down with her secrets, possibly laughing at me.
“You’re a profiler,” Leonard says, ignoring my demand for silence. “You know what she feels isn’t imitation. Don’t do anything stupid, Logan. You may be the only thing grounding her to reality, and if you love her… Just remember the story about Katie.”
I snort derisively as my heart kicks my chest.
Instead of driving to the M.E., I turn around and drive back to the cabins.
“Don’t tell anyone else yet. I want a confession,” I say with a deadly calm tone.
“I said don’t do anything stupid, Logan.”
My hands grip the wheel tighter, betrayal continuing its course through my bitter veins.
I’ve loved a killer who I knew nothing about. I’ve loved a girl who was obsessed with a dead family to the extent of killing, or manipulated by a man who preyed on her psychosis.
One way or another, I’m finding out tonight.
Tears are the silent language of grief.
I’m just stepping out of the bathroom, adjusting my towel, when Logan steps through the bedroom door, scaring the shit out of me.
“You gave me a heart attack,” I groan, gripping my chest. But then my lips turn up in a smile, despite his very serious expression.
“Come back for the circus outside?” I ask, adjusting the towel.
“Everyone is gone. There was a new message in fire this time. I’m sure everyone all over town has said something to someone else. Things get around fast in a small town.”
“Small towns everywhere have that nasty little habit,” I chirp, swallowing anything else I might want to say on the matter.
He continues staring at me, his serious expression growing foreboding.
“Are you okay?” I ask, getting worried.
“Yeah,” he says, stalking toward me.
I don’t have the chance to ask more, because he’s suddenly on me, his lips crushing mine in a painful kiss. There’s no finesse or tenderness the way there usually is.
It’s hard, demanding, almost punishing, but I kiss him back, clinging to him. I’m not sure how he already got some free time, but I’m all for it.
“I love you,” I say against his lips, which earns me an even harder, just shy of painful kiss as he lifts me and drops me to the bed, coming down on top of me.
He doesn’t return the words, possibly because he’s too busy tearing his clothes off, frantic to have me. When his lips find mine again, it’s no gentler.
He shoves my legs apart with the same rough vigor, and then he thrusts in. I cry out in surprise, thankful that I happen to get wet easily around him. That could have hurt otherwise.
And he thrusts in harder, and harder, and harder… It just goes on and on, his hips thrashing angrily to no rhythm.
“I love you,” I say against his ear when he breaks the kiss and drops his head beside mine.
Again he doesn’t return the sentiment, and he continues to fuck me wildly, violently, furiously. As good as it feels, a hollowness forms in my chest, a dull ache growing and expanding over me.
I cling to him harder as a tear falls, realization slowly sinking in. He grips my hips, arching me up, taking me like I’m his to own…his to break.
Another tear. And another. Not from any physical pain, because there’s only intense pleasure. It’s because you don’t have angry sex unless you’re angry, and Logan is furious.
And he’s using me.
One last time.
Because he knows.
But he still doesn’t know the whole truth.
Tears slip free faster, and I take it. I wish it didn’t feel so incredible, but the flesh enjoys it even as the heart shatters beneath it.
I cry out, unable to help myself when an orgasm tears through me. Even as I cry from emotional anguish, the physical pleasure still forces my body to shudder with desire.
As he stills inside me, my heart pounds, shattering more and more with each passing beat. I knew it would hurt.
I knew it would devastate me.
I had no idea it would strangle me with a heavier hand with each passing second.
“You know,” I whisper softly, the broken sound of my voice nearly scratching my own ears.
He pulls off me as abruptly as this all began, and my hands are jerked above my head. I don’t even fight as I stare at him, watching him refuse to look at me as my hands get bound to the wrought iron headboard with his handcuffs.
My tears fall without mercy, embarrassing me, humiliating me, robbing me of any dignity I might find in this moment.
And he leaves me naked as he stands and pulls on his clothes, not saying a word until he’s fully dressed.
He still doesn’t look at me.
“I shouldn’t have done that,” he says bitterly. “Then again, I also should have known I was sleeping with a killer for the past several months.”