At eighteen, Chase was given a choice: keep his mouth shut about who gave him the beating or go to prison for rape.
Once learning there was one thing Tiffany hadn’t lied about, he returned to see his son.
Meaning only to watch from the distance, he received a startling invitation to stay—with disturbing results.
Tiffany disappeared years before, both her parents were killed, all three incidences under suspicious circumstances. The lone family survivor, Tiffany’s younger sister, inherited the family fortune and his son. Grateful to Sydney for the care she has given Ryan, fascinated by her, he couldn’t help but sense something lurking, just beneath the surface.
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Billmore gave a snort. “Getting involved with her is not a good idea, Lomen. She’s a worse mess than Tiffany ever was. Between the school, things like football, and church, we all keep a pretty tight monitor on that kid of yours. She takes good care of him for whatever her reasons.”
“Don’t tell me you’re buying into Reed’s theory.”
“If you knew her better, you wouldn’t think it’s so farfetched. She gets an idea in her head, and she never lets it go. As long as she stays on her meds and doesn’t feel threatened, she seems to be okay.” He hesitated, took a breath, and spoke with determination. “I could never prove a thing, but my advice to you is do not do anything to set her off and get out of here before she decides either you’re a threat to her in some way, or she isn’t going to get what she wants out of you.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I don’t want any more unexplained disappearances or deaths. I can’t prove she had anything to do with Tiffany’s disappearance or her parents’ accident, but my gut tells me she did.”
“Tiffany called the other night.”
Billmore scoffed. “Right. I played that game with her for awhile. Wasn’t anyone on the other end, right? Ask her sometime to show you how the phone program on her computer works and can be set to dial a number any time.”
He gave a good spit. “Nearest we could figure was she and Tiffany got into it over the baby. Sydney wanted it, and Tiffany wouldn’t let her have it. They were screaming bloody murder over it one night, and the next Tiffany disappeared.”
“No, but Sydney is: crazy, smart, and tricky. Her father kicked her out because he was afraid to have her in his house anymore. She had the kid so things went along pretty good until she went back, demanding money from him when she’d tapped out the trust fund from her grandmother. Cain was strapped and couldn’t come up with what she wanted. He called me after she left, scared out of his skull. She threatened to kill both of them, and guess what, two days later they were both dead. Tiffany disappeared years before, presumed dead by everyone around here, both parents end up dead, the order of their deaths a little too convenient, and who’s left to inherit it all?”
“What’s the order of dying got to do with anything?”
“He disinherited Sydney, Tiffany, and that kid of yours. With him dead first, his wife inherited, even if it was only for a few minutes, a tricky little fact Sydney was well aware of. The old lady had a will, just a formality to accommodate the terms of her trust fund. See, Sydney’s grandmother hated the old man and had a soft spot for Sydney. She set up the trust so that when she died the money went to Mrs. Gibson with the condition that if she died before it was all gone what remained went to Sydney. Mrs. Gibson wrote that in her will, but didn’t bother specifying that it only pertained to the trust. Complicated, I know, but since the old man died first, it all went to his wife, and with some legal maneuvering, Sydney ended up with everything.”
Storing all information away for a later analysis, Chase told him, “I heard her raze Reed over not investigating the accident that killed her parents.”
He gave a snort. “Smoke screen for your sake. I investigated that accident, inside out. Someone ran them off the road is the only explanation. There wasn’t any ice on a straight stretch of good road. The old man didn’t have a heart attack or stroke either. I made sure there was an autopsy. With all of them gone, there was no one left to oppose her with a couple of nice insurance policies thrown in.”
He scoffed and spit again. “Within days of their deaths, she started liquidating everything her father spent his whole life to build, even before the funeral she didn’t go to. God knows where she’s squirreling the money away. How did she get you to go to bed with her the first time? Knowing her, it was devious as hell. Or does she tease you and make you hopeful the way she has that poor sap Reed?”
Chase’s feature set, but he couldn’t help thinking of how that cat had been tied up in the middle of the night and how revealing her pajamas had been.
Billmore chuckled. “Don’t feel bad. You aren’t the first she’s suckered in with her vulnerable innocence look. She uses it on every man she meets. It makes them want to protect her. If you want my advice, you’ll run while you’ve got the chance. Put enough distance between you to be safe. If you want that kid, go after him through the courts.”
“What kind of evidence do you have?”
“Not enough to arrest her. The only thing I can prove is motive. I told you, she’s clever as hell.”
“All you’ve got is gossip?”
“I’ve got a damned sight more than gossip,” he growled as he shoved up straight. “I warned you. That’s all I can do.”
PURCHASE CHASE AT MUSEITUPPUBLISHING.COM! Larion Wills, a multi-genre author, also writes under the name of Larriane Wills. From contemporary romances to science fiction to historical, she holds up to her tag of ‘two names, one author, thousands of stories.’
Born in Oklahoma, but raised in Arizona, she feels a native to the state and has settled in the high desert country. In a quiet rural area with a family who tolerates her writer’s single-mindedness, she presents us with a collection of contemporary romances, many laced with paranormal settings, while still producing unique westerns and science fiction stories. All with strong characterizations and suspenseful plots, they are capable of dragging you into a story in a genre you thought before you didn’t care for. At her website, http://www.larriane.com , you can keep abreast of releases under both pen names, keep up with new releases through various publishers, and she invites you to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the author's blog at http://larionmusing.blogspot.com/?zx=7dbdfccf76cfc6ca and find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/larriane.wills
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