Read Dying Wish: A Novel of the Sentinel Wars Online

Authors: Shannon K. Butcher

Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #General, #Paranormal, #Fiction

Dying Wish: A Novel of the Sentinel Wars (45 page)

BOOK: Dying Wish: A Novel of the Sentinel Wars
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Clay debated lying, but Payton didn’t seem too freaked out by the possibility, which gave him the boost to say what needed to be said. “It’s been going on for months now.”

“How often?”

“Not very, at first. These last few weeks…at least four times that I know of.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“There were a couple of times that I woke up and things weren’t where I thought I’d left them. Once I was wearing clothes, when I was sure I’d stripped down before going to bed.” He lifted his head and forced himself to confess. “I think I’m going insane.”

Payton’s mouth turned down and a haze of regret
dulled his eyes. “You’re not. I won’t let that happen. I’m going to see you through this. If you do what I say, everything is going to be fine.”

“I don’t see how. Once Bella finds out, I’m going to lose my job.”

“Bella won’t find out. We’re going to fix this. I swear it.”

For a glittering, hopeful second, Clay believed him. He clutched on to that hope and held on tight. “How?”

“First, you need to give me your phone.”

“What?”

“Your cell phone. If I’m right, then it’s dangerous for you to carry one.”

Clay had no idea what to make of that, but he shoved his hand into his jeans and pulled out his phone. He set it on the table.

Payton stowed it in his pocket, his demeanor changing to one of all business. There was no more emotion showing through—just the get-it-done attitude that Clay had come to recognize. “I’m going to send you someplace safe. Isolated. I want you to take my car and go there right now.”

“Why?”

“I’ll explain everything once I’m sure, but for now, I need you to trust me.”

“Why send me away?”

Payton pulled a key from his ring and wrote an address on the back of his business card. “The farther you are away from here, the better. Don’t tell anyone where you’re going. Don’t speak to anyone along the way—not even a clerk at a gas station.”

“Payton, you’re freaking me out here. Why go to all the—”

“When you get there, unplug the phone. Don’t bring any electronics with you. No laptop, no games, no GPS. Nothing, understand?”

“No. I do not.”

He shoved the key and the card at Clay. “I need a couple
of days to gather some information, but you shouldn’t be alone. I will send someone to stay with you.”

“I don’t need a babysitter.”

“You do. If you don’t want to hurt someone else, you do. Trust me.”

“I don’t want anyone to know I’ve gone off the deep end. I have to work with these people.”

“It won’t be someone from the Edge. I’ll have your guardian show up at the back door at exactly six thirty-two. If anyone but me shows up at any other time…”

He trailed off as if debating his options, leaving Clay hanging.

“What? What crazy thing do you want me to do along with all this other cloak-and-dagger bullshit?”

“If anyone else shows up at any other time, kill them.”

Payton waited until Clay was behind the wheel and on his way before he left in the other man’s car.

First order of business: burn the evidence. He didn’t need to keep a sample to see if it was human blood or not. He knew it was. The things Clay would be used for had nothing to do with animal control.

The suggestion about it being animal blood had been a strategically timed diversion to keep Clay from breaking. The man was already on edge. There was no way to know how long he’d been suffering with his secrets. He’d said months, but chances were even Clay wouldn’t remember everything.

Payton was counting on it.

After a quick stop at one of the houses Payton kept set aside for extreme circumstances, the clothes and sheets were no more than a burning ball of ash. He watched the glowing embers while he made the call.

Dr. Leigh Vaughn answered on the sixth ring, leaving Payton biting his nails.

“This had better be good. I’m in the middle of something.”

“I’m sorry for the interruption, but it’s important.”

“It always is,” she said on a sigh. “What is it this time? Another secret gunshot wound I can’t report?”

“No. It’s a much bigger favor than that.”

“Spit it out. I don’t have all day. Patients are waiting.”

“Send them home.”

“What? No way. If your emergency is that serious, then take them to the hospital.”

“If you do this, I’ll get you in to see Garrett.”

The line went silent for too long.

“Leigh? Are you there?”

“Yeah,” she said, her voice thick with emotion. “I just…You’re not joking, are you? Because if you are, you should know that I’m really good with a scalpel, and you have to sleep sometime.”

“No jokes. I wouldn’t do that to you.”

“Okay,” she said. “Whatever you need. Name it.”

“Be sure. Because once I drag you into this mess, you’re in it for good. Understand?”

“I don’t care. If you can promise me a visit, then I don’t care.”

“Good.” Relief poured over Payton like cool rain. Until now he hadn’t been sure exactly how he was going to keep Clay safe while he took care of his mistakes.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Pack as fast as you can. Bring your medical supplies. And a gun. Make sure you pack a heavy sedative. Chances are you’re going to need it.”

BOOK: Dying Wish: A Novel of the Sentinel Wars
10.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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