Shattered (Broken Trilogy Book 2) (7 page)

BOOK: Shattered (Broken Trilogy Book 2)
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After a long time on the floor, I finally stand. I know what I need to do.

Later, I try to act normal with everyone up on the hill, but I can feel Keith watching me. I know he knows something is bothering me. He tried to pry it out of me on the drive home, but I was too blown away by Cole’s idea about letting himself be taken by The American again to let him get it out of me.

Derek is my target tonight. He has a weak spot for me, and I intend to use it. I wait for the meteor shower to start, then slowly make my way over to where Derek is standing.

“Pretty neat, huh?” Derek whispers, as little bursts of light travel across the sky. “Amazing to think they’re two million years old.”

Here it goes.

“Derek, I have a problem.” His gaze drops to mine. “And I think only you can help me.”

“Oh?”

“Can we speak privately?”

He studies my face, seeing I am indeed struggling with something, then glances over at Keith. “Savi needs to go back to the house.”

“I can take her,” Keith says, rising out of his chair.

“It’s cool. I’ll take her. I need to use the bathroom anyway.” Keith’s eyes narrow on me again, so I muster up a smile and shrug.

Derek leads the way down the path as I follow behind, sorting what I want to ask in my mind. I stop him at the stairs, not wanting to go inside. I don’t trust anyone overhearing, and knowing the guys can lip read off the cameras, I am even more cautious.

Derek leans against the railing and tucks his gloved hands into his coat pockets. “What’s going on, Savannah?”

I rub my mitts together more out of nerves than the cold. “I know you and Cole have a stressful past, but I also know that when it comes down to it you would be there to help him out, right?”

He shrugs. “Yeah, I guess.”

“What if I told you I know something bad is going to happen to Cole, and only I could stop it? Would you help me?”

He rubs his chin, sensing he’s not going to like what I have to say. “I’m listening.”

“I came across something that wasn’t intended for my eyes, but…whatever, I read it.”

“Ah, shit,” he sighs, “what was it?”

“An email from my father to Frank. He wants to see me.” Derek stops moving. “Cole emailed him back, saying that the only way he’d let my father see me again is if he got some answers.” I pause and glance up at him. “Derek, I can get these answers. I think my father is being blackmailed by the people who kidnapped me. I need to see him and help him. We haven’t always had the greatest relationship, but he’s still my father. I need you to fly me to New York and get me to him.”

Derek’s face is unreadable. His gaze drops to the ground then he leans back, rests against the railing, and lets out a long breath. I hold my breath and wait, but he takes too long. So I decide to try my other concern,
one
thing Agent York and I did agree on. “I’m scared that if we don’t fix this soon, they might come after the house. Cole is planning on getting himself taken by The American again.” I step closer to Derek. “You of all people saw what happened to me while he was gone. I can’t let that happen again. So you either help me, or I’ll figure it out my way.”

He shakes his head. “Why haven’t you gone to Cole about this?”

“Seriously?” I roll my eyes. “Have you met Cole?”

A tiny smirk graces his face. “Point taken. I’m sure if he could wrap you in bubble wrap, he would.”

“I’m thinking more a foam padded room.”

Derek starts to pace in front of me. I can picture the wheels turning in his head.

“You know he will have me fired for helping you.”

“I won’t let that happen, you have my word.” I try to hide my smile. “Are you saying you’ll help me?”

“You haven’t left me a choice, have you? I say yes and get you there and back safely, or I say no and you leave and get yourself in a shit load of trouble. Either way, I’m fucked.”

I sag with relief. “Thank you, truly, Derek.”

“Fuck,” he hisses under his breath, “why couldn’t you have asked Keith?”

“He would have said no, and tied me to the chair till Cole comes home.”

“Smart man.” He starts walking down the porch stairs. “Come on, we should get back. I’ll make some calls tonight. Be ready to leave for ‘town’ tomorrow morning. Leave your bag packed inside your bedroom. I’ll grab it on my way downstairs, and we'll head out from there.”

“All right,” I nod. “Thank you again, Derek. I knew I could count on you,” I say, feeling my stomach twist into a painful knot. I don’t want to lie to Cole, and I certainly don’t want to leave him, but I will not stand by while he gives himself over to The American. This ends now.

 

***

 

I fold the letter and place it on Cole’s pillow, knowing I’ll get a few days’ head start before he sees it. Hopefully Keith will not want to tag along today. Poor Keith. I know he'll be upset, but hopefully in time he’ll understand too.

I fling my purse over my arm and head downstairs.

“Good morning,” Abigail says, handing me a cup of coffee. “I never got to ask you, how was your visit with Cole at Camp Green?”

I slide onto the stool, wondering where Derek is. “It was really nice to see him. After seeing what he does there, you can bet I’ll never cut it as a Green Beret.”

“Ha! Me either, dear.” She laughs, cracking two eggs into the frying pan.

She starts talking as I hear a hissing sound off to my left and see Derek, waving for me to follow.

He mouths, “Time to go.”

I feel uneasy as I get to my feet. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified about leaving the grounds…leaving this town without Cole. Wrapping my arms around Abigail from behind, I give her a big hug.

“I love you, Abigail.”

“Oh, sweetie,” she coos, covering my hands with hers, “I love you too.”

I don’t let go, and hold on an extra minute. “Please know I wouldn’t be who and where I am today if it wasn’t for you.”

She turns to look at me, but I back away, ducking my head. “I’ll be back later.”

I think she thinks I don’t want her to see I’m emotional, because she lets me leave without another word.

I’m almost to the door before Keith calls out my name.
Damn, almost made it!
I suck in a sharp breath and turn to look up at him as he trots up to me.

“Hey, I was wondering if you’d like to come with me to pick up Cole later on in the week. He’d love it.”

I feel my friggin’ eyes betray me as they go glossy. “Yeah, sure…that sounds, um, like a good plan.”

“Hey.” He comes closer, tilting his head to the side. I feel his eyes penetrating my defenses. This guy is good. “Everything all right?”

“Oh, yeah.” I hate to use this, and I’m sure as shit going to go to hell for saying it. “Just having a down day.” I shrug, alluding to my miscarriage, but to be truthful there hasn’t been a day I don’t think about our little something who could have been.
Ahh…not now, Savannah!

Keith’s face drops as he studies my face carefully. “Cole warned me, but I truly didn’t see it until now.”

“What? What are you talking about?” I’m thrown by his comment.

His lips press together as he once again studies my face long and hard. I can almost feel his eyes burning into my brain, probing the part that’s holding my lie at bay.

“Anything you want to tell me, Savannah?” His voice is low.

I swallow hard, feeling my forehead break out in a line of sweat. “No.”

Yeah, that was convincing…

Feeling terribly guilty, I slowly walk away from him, but I stop and turn to look back, chewing on the inside of my lip while my brain struggles to find the right words.

“Keith?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

I shrug attempting to play it cool. “Just—for everything.”

He takes a step toward me as I take one back. “Savannah—”

“Savi, you ready?” Derek asks, coming into the entryway. “I need to be at Christine’s in an hour, so I gotta go.” He nods at Keith. “Hey, man, we're heading to town. You need anything?”

“No,” he shakes his head, his eyes still on me. “I’m good.”

“Talk to you later, Keith,” I mumble.

“I hope so,” I hear him say as I close the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Five

 

 

The drive to town is painful. My hands are twisted on my lap as we come to the town's outer limits. My legs are jittery, my heart’s trying to escape the growing anxiety, and all the while I'm blinking away tears for Cole.

“We’ll park and transfer into Agent Stall's car. He’ll drive us to the airport,” Derek announces while we wait at a stoplight. He glances at me. “Now is the time if you’re having second thoughts, Savannah.”

“No,” I squeeze out, and watch as the stoplight turns to green. Little snowflakes dust the windshield, making me shiver. I hope I’m doing the right thing. I'm past changing my mind now, as I know I must prevent Cole from putting himself in danger in order to help me again.

Agent Stall is not overly friendly. He barely says two words the whole three-hour drive to the airport. I am handed an ID with the name Nicole Johnson and a printout of my airline ticket. We quickly board, taking our seats toward the front of the plane. It isn’t first class, but executive…not bad. I notice Derek needs the extra leg space. He stretches out, then pushes the call button and asks the flight attendant for an orange juice. He seems relaxed.

I, on the other hand, am having an internal anxiety attack. So many things are blowing through my brain. I’m terrified of the answers I’m headed toward.

Once we are up in the air and the seat belt sign is turned off, I hop up, nearly plowing over Derek to get to the bathroom. Inside the tiny room I lean over the sink and splash cold water over my face. “
I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.”
I close the lid to the toilet, take a seat, and run my hands through my hair. “Calm down, Savi.” I try to remember Dr. Roberts and his relaxing techniques…in through the nose, out through the mouth, count to thirty, breathe slowly again…then rubbing my sweaty hands over my jeans, I take a moment to think.

A loud knock makes me jump to my feet. Opening the door, I'm faced with an annoyed woman who eyes me with obvious hostility.

“Only two bathrooms for sixty passengers,” she mumbles as she shoves her son in ahead of her.

“Sorry,” I whisper, although I’m not. I’m sure she’d prefer me to freak out in the bathroom than in front of everyone, including her child. Rude woman.

“You okay?” Derek asks once I return to my seat and fumble with the belt.

“Sure.” I lean my head back and close my eyes.

Luckily, the layover in Salt Lake City is only thirty minutes, just enough time to find our gate and grab a coffee.

Four hours into the flight, I feel the plane start its descent. I clench the arm rests until my fingers turn white. Derek takes pity on me and attempts to distract me.

“Okay, so once we land, a friend of mine will meet us at baggage. From there we’ll go right to your father’s office. I have eyes on him currently, so if he leaves we will find where he is and change route.”

“We’re going there today?” The words fall off my tongue.

Derek turns in his seat to look at me straight on. “Savannah, we have a flight to catch tomorrow night. You have this one chance to get your information. I’m already putting you in danger by taking you off the Shadow grounds.” He rubs his face. “I’m seriously going to be stripped of my job for this.”

“Then why are you helping me?” I ask, needing to know.

He turns to face forward again, downing his juice and crushing the cup under his hand. “I have my reasons.”

“Which are?” I ask, being nosy, but I need the distraction, and honestly I want to know.

He clears his throat and shoves the crushed cup into the pouch hanging off the wall. “I fucked up when I was on the team. I was young and dumb.” He shrugs, but I can see what he did weighs on him. “So maybe this will show them I can be trusted, that I can get you back safely, and with answers.” He lets out a laugh. “Or maybe not, since this is insane.”

The captain’s voice blares over the speakers, announcing our arrival. Jeez, I hadn’t noticed we landed.

“If it means anything, Derek, thank you.”

“Yeah, sure thing.” He looks out the window, and I know our heart to heart is over.

 

***

 

Cole

 

Cole goes over his checklist, finding what time fifty-nine is scheduled to complete the blind navigation course in the woods. The candidates have to navigate through the woods with only a map. If they’re caught using their head lamp, they get a point taken off. It’s no surprise fifty-nine, Adam Roth, is at the head of the pack.

Since he is so close to finishing, Cole decides to meet Roth at the last checkpoint to talk to him about the possibility of joining the house. He’s on his way when he spots Keith pulling up to the main house. It’s dark, but he can see there’s something wrong when the other man jumps quickly from the car.

“Keith?” Cole shouts. Keith stops, then turns and begins to head in his direction.

Cole sees his father coming out of the main building to join them. Obviously his father knows something isn’t right either.

“What are you doing here?” Cole asks, once he’s close enough.

Keith points at the main office. “Let’s talk inside.”

Mark joins them as well. Keith clears his throat, looking pale and sweaty.

“Where are John and Paul?” he asks, seeming to gather himself.

“They’re still out in the field. What's going on?” Cole asks between clenched teeth.

“I don’t have all the details yet, but Derek took Savannah to town this morning and they haven’t returned.”

Cole's stomach drops as his head tries to process what was just said.

“What do you mean?” Daniel asks, crossing his arms. “Did you trace the SUV? They all have trackers, you know that.”

“I did, and it was parked outside Christina’s store. We checked, of course, and she said they didn’t come in but figured they were planning to after they did some errands. She didn't think about it till later, as she got busy. She did remember seeing a black truck drive by a couple of times. I got the plate number, and it’s registered to an Agent Michael Stall.”

“Did you get hold of Stall?” Mark asks, shaking his head.

Cole’s hands ball into fists at his sides—something’s off. Derek is an ass, but he wouldn’t hurt Savi.

“Yes, and after some threatening, it turns out Derek paid him to drive him and Savannah to the airport.”

“Airport?” Mark hisses, glancing at Cole. “Why the fucking airport?”

Keith glances at Cole and lets out a long breath. “I have a theory.” All eyes turn to Keith as he continues. “This morning Savannah was acting really strange. Abigail said Savannah was acting almost like she was saying goodbye. She did the same to me. I could tell she was lying about something. She’s a bad liar.” He pulls out a piece of paper from his back pocket. “I found this in her wastebasket in her room.” He hands it to Cole.

Cole quickly unfolds it and scans the words.
Fuck!

“What is it?” Mark moves to his side, trying to read the paper.

“She found the email from her father to Frank, and my reply.” Cole’s words are quiet. “Dad,” he looks to Daniel and feels all the blood rush from his face, “she’s walking into a trap.”

 

Cole,

I came to this house stripped of everything, and you built me into something. I have never felt whole, never felt a sense of belonging, never felt true love until I met you.

My leaving is to give you something you gave me—peace. There are so many lies that surround me. They need to be dealt with, and only I can find the answers. I’m tired of being broken. I’m ready to fix this. I will not let you hurt for me again. I know I can do this and I'll soon be back in your arms.

You will forever be my knight who stormed the castle wall and saved me from all the evil that held me prisoner.

I love you, Cole Logan.

Forever yours,

Savannah x

 

Cole sits on the edge of the bed, his hands shaking as he re-reads her letter for the tenth time, fighting back the nausea that’s pooling in the back of his throat.

“Oh, baby, you just walked into the lion’s den,” he mutters as he picks up his duffel bag.

“Ready when you are,” Mark calls out softly from the doorway.

 

***

 

Savannah

 

I watch the familiar scenery fly by. As we ride in the tinted Ford Explorer to my father’s office, my mind wanders. Well, I’ve wanted to know what this would feel like ever since I was taken to my own personal hell almost ten months ago. It doesn’t feel like home anymore; it feels cold and crowded. I suddenly miss the wide open space of the Montana mountains, my friends, and yes, my family. New York City isn’t right for me anymore. I have found peace and happiness—I’ve moved on.

The weight in my belly that’s been forming since I stepped on the plane is getting heavier as we drive closer to the office. My fingers catch and run along the chain to the tiny snowflake that hasn’t left my neck since Cole gave it to me. I’m so nervous my leg is bouncing wildly, making a thumping noise on the floor.

Derek’s phone rings, and I flinch. I watch his face when he reads the caller ID. He swallows hard as he answers the call.

“Logan.”

I hold my breath and watch Derek’s eyes squeeze shut.

“Yeah, one second.” He looks at me and holds out the phone. I don’t want to take it, I can’t, but…

“Cole?” My voice gives away how much I miss him.

“Savannah,” the worry is thick in his voice, “what the hell are you doing?”

“Ending this.”

“It’s not the way!” he nearly shouts.

My anger surfaces. “Right, and you getting taken by The American again is?”

Silence.

“I heard you talking at the camp, Cole. I can’t go through that again. It’s time I finish this. I love you more than anyone or anything, so it’s time I get the answers. I deserve it, but without anyone else putting themselves in danger for me.” He attempts to say something, but I cut him off. “I’ll be all right. I’m just going to figure out who’s blackmailing my father so I can find out who is actually behind my kidnapping.”

“No, Savannah, you don’t—”

“I’ll be home tomorrow night. I love you Cole.” I quickly hang up, turn off the phone, and hand it back to Derek, who is wide-eyed.

“Problem?” I ask, feeling a new sense of strength. I knew I could do this. I have to do this, for Cole and me to move on with our lives.

“Not at all.” Derek smirks briefly and goes back to looking out the window.

 

***

 

“Here.” Derek gives me a tiny cell phone that fits inside a small pocket in my dress. It looks like a remote I had for the Apple TV back in my old life. “Just in case we get separated, speed dial one is me, and two is Cole. You don't have to look, just feel where the buttons are.”

I nod and feel for the little buttons until I am familiar with how to press them. I'm still not sure what the hell I’m going to say when I see my father.

We are in a café across the road from my father’s office building. I’ve changed into a black Ponte sheath dress with heels and stockings. I have to look like I belong in the corporate world so Derek and I can walk in and not stand out. Derek’s connections got us in contact with a woman on the tenth floor. She’s going to meet us downstairs and walk us in so we don’t have to give a name to the front desk, and then we can bypass security. We don’t want anyone knowing I’m here.

“Put these on.” Derek hands me a pair of thick-rimmed glasses. I do, as Derek shrugs on a trench coat over his dark blue suit and then he helps me into mine.

“Ready?” he asks.

“Yeah…yes, I am.” I try to produce a brave a smile, but I’m a mixture of fear and, strangely, excitement.

We step outside, letting the freezing New York air swirl around us. Derek links arms with me and helps keep me from slipping on the black ice as we cross the street.

A woman with a friendly smile greets us at the door and speaks to us like we were old friends. Security eyes us but says nothing as the woman puts on a good show for them. I keep my head down, and my scarf wraps around most of my face. As soon as we step into the elevators, Derek thanks the woman and hands her an envelope. Hush money.

People shuffle in and out as we rise through the building. Finally we reach the tenth floor and she turns and leans up to my ear. I stiffen at her closeness and notice Derek reaches for something, but then stops when he sees she’s just whispering.

“October TMZ, top left corner. You’re not the only one making it in the media.” She gives my arm a small squeeze and disappears out the elevator doors.

I’m confused by her comment, but I memorize what she said so I can deal with it later. Derek looks at me, puzzled, and I shake my head, needing to prepare myself for what is ahead. Besides, we don’t have time to talk, as the doors soon open to the twenty-sixth floor.

BOOK: Shattered (Broken Trilogy Book 2)
6.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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