a Touch of Revenge (Romantic Mystery - book 6): The Everly Gray Adventures (21 page)

BOOK: a Touch of Revenge (Romantic Mystery - book 6): The Everly Gray Adventures
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“No, nothing, thank you.” I pressed a palm to my stomach, but it had already settled into a more peaceful panic. My manners kicked in. “It’s nice to meet you.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. I had wanted to meet him, but it was a hell of a lot more uncomfortable than nice.

And there it was. Pierce’s grin. The one that warned me I was in deep trouble. “I need some information, please. Pier…er, Tynan and I were wondering if you could give us the location of Eamon Grady’s house? We saw him when we first arrived, but didn’t have a chance to say hello.”

Lorcán frowned. “Now why would you want to speak with that
diabhal
?”

I forced a smile. “He worked with my parents many years ago. I’m just touching base with him. Is
diabhal
Gaelic?”

He snorted. And darn if he didn’t sound exactly like Pierce. “Means devil. Grady’s not to be trusted.”

Siofra bustled into the kitchen, stopped when she noticed me, then slipped an arm around Lorcán. “What are you telling our guest about
diabhal
,
Fear Céile
?”

“She’s looking for Eamon Grady’s whereabouts.” His upper lip curled.

It was beginning to get old, having them standing over me. I stood, tugged my sweatshirt down. “Tynan and I need to speak with him, so if you could direct me to his house, I’d appreciate it.” I tried to put some steel in my words, but if the parental glares they gave me were any inclination, I’d failed.

“You won’t be going alone? Tynan will be with you?” Lorcán demanded.

“We’re a peaceful community, but Eamon is unpredictable.” Siofra’s words were softly apprehensive, a complete contrast to Lorcán’s more aggressive approach.

He snuggled her tighter into his side. “I’ll go with them,
Mo Chroi.
See that Eamon stays calm.”

Siofra nodded, looking very relieved.

Panic chased my nerves into full-blown fear. “Oh, no. That isn’t at all necessary. I’m not even sure when we’ll visit with him. Not tonight, since we’re both tired from traveling. If you could just show me where he lives, we can touch base with you tomorrow and make plans.” So damn many lies, and all in one freaked-out gush of words, and lying to Pierce’s parents—surely I was on the brink of being struck with lightning.

Lorcán squinted at me, then pointed toward the right. “Over the ridge. It’s the only house with a wheelchair ramp leading up the slope to his front door.”

Siofra elbowed him. “It’s a bit of a difficult path to navigate. We’ll all go tomorrow morning and make an outing of it. Perhaps bring along a mid-morning picnic to share over by the lake.” She smiled with way too many teeth showing.

Thank the gods and goddesses I had what I needed, and hopefully Pierce and I would be long gone before sunrise. Yellow-bellied chicken that I was, I scooted toward the door. “I’ll let Tynan know. Send him over to work out a good time with you.”

I escaped Pierce’s parents’ house, and did a record-breaking sprint to our cottage, burst in the front door, and skidded to a stop. Well, then. Pierce stood in the living room dressed in nothing but a towel wrapped loosely around his waist. Bare. Chest. There was something about all the warm skin that made it impossible for me to stop staring. I wanted to tug on the end of the towel, and let it drop to the floor. “My curiosity is about to get the best of me. How about you get dressed?” Yep, there was a quiver in my voice.

“You’re zapped.” He cocked his head to the side, studying me.

I pointed behind me. “Your parents.”

His hand, the one holding the towel in place, twitched.

“Go. Clothes. Now.” I spun on my heel, reached the front window in three steps, and peered intently outside. “Grady’s house is on the other side of that ridge.”

No response from Pierce. I dared a sideways glance over my shoulder, but the living room was empty. A breath whooshed from my lungs, and I turned back to stare out the window. I couldn’t recall a single time I’d ever seen Tynan Pierce without a shirt, and, flipping fudderbudders it was a glorious sight. Ought to be immortalized and patented. For someone else, of course. Not me. My fingers burned with the urge to touch, but that was the plague of my curiosity. And hormones. My heart and mind weren’t ready for any skin-to-skin explorations.

The soft fall of footsteps sounded behind me. “Everly.” There was a question in his voice.

“Yeah. Here.” I turned slowly, not sure if I would be facing a bare chest or one of his normal black t-shirts.

Black t-shirt. My breathing evened out. “We should probably go. I’ll change into some dark clothes.”

He nodded. “Wear your boots. Rough trail.”

It was a rough trail for my emotions, too. “I met your father. He’s an enigma. Really big, but doesn’t look anything like you. He’s more, um, exuberant. Still, it was like meeting an older version of you. The way you sound, your intense concentration, and that protective thing you both have going on. Unnerving.” I headed for the bedroom. “It’ll just take me a minute to change. Oh, and they’re expecting us to join them for a visit to Grady’s house and a picnic tomorrow morning. I told your mom you’d work out the details with her.”

Last thing I saw before closing the bedroom door—Pierce, mouth open. It was almost better than tugging that bath towel loose. Almost.

I switched clothes in less than a minute, adding a hoodie over my t-shirt. “Let’s go. I’m worried about what Grady might do to Cait if he catches her snooping into his stuff. What if he has a secret room like Connor? Cait’s not ready for something like that. I mean, both of her parents being dangerously unstable, and she could get into deep trouble before she realizes it.”

“You’re protective of her.” Warmth colored his words.

I rubbed at the knot in my chest. “Yeah. It’s…I’m not sure why. I feel like this about Annie and Madigan, even you and Adam, but I just met Cait. Everything about this is weird, though, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.”

He nodded toward the kitchen. “We’ll go out the back.
Máthair
is watching the cottage from her kitchen window.”

I didn’t question him. “Yeah. I figured she’d be keeping an eye out. I would. Nope, that’s a lie. I’d be hiding in the bushes, ready to tail us when we left the house. Siofra doesn’t think like that, does she?”

“She’s a mother.”

“Right. So why’s she watching and not skulking?” I stuffed my hands in my hoodie pocket when Pierce opened the back door. Sunset had brought a chill to Tuatha Dé Danann.

“My father.” Two simple words that held an entire explanation.

We hadn’t discussed any kind of plan, and it stopped me cold. I grabbed Pierce’s arm. “We don’t have any weapons.”

“Nope.”

“You’re not concerned.”

He’d started walking again. “I have hands.” Pierce’s tone was flat.

A shudder worked its way along my spine. Sometimes I forgot about the dark side of his life, not that we hadn’t been in some touchy situations since we met, but Pierce hadn’t killed anyone with his bare hands recently. Not that I knew about, anyway. “So, what’s the plan?”

“Surveillance.”

His one-word responses were a clear indication he was in super spy mode, so I shut up, monitored my surroundings, and primed my fingertips for action. No telling if some discreet intel collection would be needed, and I’d dialed down my ESP senses since we’d arrived at the commune.

When we got to the top of the ridge, scattered lights blinked through the trees at the base of the slope. “Looks like they’re just on the other side of that thicket. Do you think it’s Grady’s house?”

“Could be.” Pierce started down the slope, then reached back and offered me his hand. “Slippery. Loose rock.”

“My fingers are working, wide open, and I don’t want to shut down when we’re this close to a potentially dangerous situation.”

He wiggled his fingers. “Take a look.”

Warmth flooded me when our palms touched, and then the images came pouring through. The fights with his parents weren’t loud, ugly, and over with a burst of passion. If they had been, it would have been so much easier. Siofra and Lorcán appeared to not only believe in the Danann tenet of a gentle, peaceful life, but lived it totally and completely. Their arguments were quiet and devastating. I rubbed my thumb over the back of Pierce’s hand.

There wasn’t enough light to see his face clearly, but I was positive his expression was guarded. “The scene at the kitchen table?” he asked.

“Yeah, they’re—”

“Good, honest people who have never understood how they raised a son who kills people for a living.” Pierce’s words were spoken lightly, but his grip on my hand tightened.

“They welcome you now.” I wasn’t sure what else to say. I liked Pierce’s parents, even though they were a touch misguided about my relationship with their son.

“Yeah. But I’m permanently on the Tuatha Dé Danann equivalent of a prayer chain.”

We reached the bottom of the slope, and he let go of my hand, pointed at the house. “Wheelchair ramp. Open blinds, back right window. I’m moving closer. Stay here.”

“Bu—” I bit off my objection. My fingers would be put to better use checking on the windows with tightly drawn blinds. I watched Pierce’s shadow, just visible in the shaft of light from the window.

The night was quiet and scented with pine. I listened closely and imagined his breaths, and then synchronizing our inhalations and exhalations, I started toward the nearest window. He saw me move, and I signaled what I was going to do.

Pierce nodded, sharp, and in that instant our relationship shifted. We became partners at a deeper level, far more intense than discussing my plans and options for revenge, we were working, moving as a team. Heat spread through my chest. It was the first time in my life I’d shared that kind of a link with anyone. A soul link, maybe. I’d have to give it some serious thought once we’d…

He was at my side in an instant, yanking me behind the hedge bordering a single-story ranch style building.

Headlights flashed, and a car rolled to a stop in front of Grady’s house.

 

TWENTY-THREE

 

I GRABBED PIERCE’S
ARM
WHEN
the mysterious car stopped in front of Eamon Grady’s house, totally unprepared for the image that flared into life on my internal screen. He saw Fion Connor sitting in that car. Saw. Her. A shiver crawled along my spine. I’d been blinded by the headlights, couldn’t see a thing. Not Pierce. His exceptional vision was more shocking than Connor’s sudden appearance. Another image flashed. The license plate. Holy shit. I hadn’t been prepared to see stuff through his eyes…in real time. Nope. The images I picked up were almost always in the past, occasionally in the future, but they’d never been in real, live, present time.

I jerked my hand back. “What’s Connor doing here?”

His upper arm slid along mine in a shrug. I shifted away a couple inches. Seeing, touching…it was like our circuits had been welded together. And without my permission. I shivered.

Pierce must have sensed it, because he shot me a sideways glance. “You okay?”

Ignoring the shivers, I kept my attention on the car, headlights off, engine stopped. “She should be in the hospital.”

“Uh-huh.” He hunkered lower in the shrubbery.

The man I’d seen talking to Nolla at the Cockington Court Manor House restaurant got out of the driver’s side, circled around, and opened the rear car door. He held out his hand, lifting Connor out of the back seat. He blocked my view of her, supporting her on her left side. I nudged Pierce. “Why’s he on her left? I shot her right thigh.”

“Cane. She’s right-handed.”

They’d moved a few steps toward Grady’s front door, and I caught a glimpse of the cane. I’d shot her in the left shoulder. “Bet it’s damned uncomfortable having that guy support her on her injured side. She’s got to be hurting. I’m absolutely positive those bullets hit her. How could she have healed enough to be walking?”

“Good question, Hot Shot.” Pierce was in work mode, his attention lasered.

The man steered Connor away from the stairs, led her up the wheelchair ramp, then pounded on Grady’s door. It opened a crack, and the scent of boiled cabbage and potatoes wafted toward me. Dinnertime. Surely Grady hadn’t invited Cait’s mother for dinner.

I shifted, trying for a decent line of sight. “Can you see if it’s Cait or Eamon who opened the door?”

“Cait.”

How did he see this stuff? “Are you—?”

“Grady was in the kitchen. Couldn’t have rolled to the door that fast.”

The door opened wide, but Cait must have been behind it, because I still didn’t see her. Fion and the man disappeared inside. “That guy was talking to Nolla at the restaurant in Cockington Village. Wonder who he is.”

Pierce had his cell out and was typing. “Checking the license.”

I stood. “I’m going to turn my fingers loose on that car.”

Pierce hesitated, then nodded. “The interior light didn’t come on when they opened the door, so you should be in the clear, but disappear if you hear anything.”

“Got that.”

He started to move away from me in one of those scrunched, skulking walks. “Hey.” I grabbed his shirt. “Where are you going?”

BOOK: a Touch of Revenge (Romantic Mystery - book 6): The Everly Gray Adventures
8.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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