Read Your Eyes Don't Lie Online

Authors: Rachel Branton

Tags: #Romantic suspense

Your Eyes Don't Lie

BOOK: Your Eyes Don't Lie
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All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

Your Eyes Don’t Lie
by Rachel Branton

Published by White Star Press
P.O. Box 353
American Fork, Utah 84003

Copyright © 2014 Nunes Entertainment, LLC
Model image copyright © 2014 by Inka Style
Cover design copyright © 2014 by White Star Press

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded, reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Thank you for supporting the author’s rights.

ISBN 13: 978-1-939203-39-7
First electronic release February 2014. Last updated February 2014.

Book Description

Y
ears of living on the street and fending for herself have made Makay Greyson tough and resourceful, if a bit disillusioned. She’s come a long way from sleeping in parks and scavenging for food. Her entire focus is on providing a better life for her young brother, one without fear of loss and neglect.

That certainly doesn’t leave time for Harrison Matthews, who from their first meeting sends fire through her veins and upsets all her carefully laid plans.

Makay has done things she isn’t proud of to survive, and those choices now threaten the small amount of security she’s created—and any chance of a future with Harrison. They’ve been raised in two very different worlds, and the secrets they both hide can only lead to disaster.

There is only one chance to make it right, and one misstep could be fatal.

Your Eyes Don’t Lie is a story about facing fears, sacrificing for those you love, and about a girl who thinks she isn’t worth loving and a guy who knows she is.

To my father for all his editing and great suggestions—and especially for not making fun of me for writing another romance.

Chapter One

M
akay Greyson bent over the book in her lap, but she didn’t read the words. Her eyes kept running off the page to see if he was coming. This was always the most dangerous time. She never knew if she’d have to run, make up a story, or simply walk away with another month of rent.
Hands shoved in her pockets, she held her jacket tightly around her, shivering despite the warmth of the evening.

There he was, coming down the walking trail past three little girls kicking a bouncy ball on the grass. The trio was laughing hysterically, and Makay knew it was their way to feel free after spending the past month back in school. Their mothers sat together on a blanket nearby, two of them with babies. Seeing the girls and hearing the laughing made Makay’s stomach hurt. She’d known little girls like them, but she never remembered being one.

The man ignored the children, though his foot grazed the ball as it landed in his path. He looked just like his picture, an attractive, sixty-something man with gray hair that still had enough dark in it to be called distinguished. His brown slacks and striped brown shirt didn’t seem to be special, but she didn’t know enough about brands to be certain. He wore the cuffs of his sleeves turned up. Looking for a fight? She hoped not. The pistol she hid under her jacket was mainly for appearances.

Makay didn’t look up, but she followed his progress beneath her eyelashes. He was alone as far as she could tell. No one lingered at the edges of the park, staring in their direction. In fact, the park was almost deserted; it seemed most people in the town of Gilbert were heading home to get ready for dinner. Her stomach growled at the thought. She couldn’t remember when she had last eaten, but that would have to wait. Unfortunately, she still had a thirty minute drive to Phoenix to pick up Nate before she could even begin thinking about home.

She shifted her booted feet as the man sat beside her on the bench. Blaine Cooper was his name, but she didn’t really care. She looked at him now, saw him glance at her and then at the children as he reached for a fat white envelope in his pocket and laid it on the bench between them.

Makay reached for it, but his hand didn’t move away.

“How do I know this is it?” he said, still staring at the little girls. “That you won’t come back for more?” He paused before adding in a rush, “I can’t believe anyone with my blood would do something like this . . . this extortion. I work for what I get. I don’t steal from others. You’re nothing but a leech.”

Hot anger flared inside Makay. It was all she seemed to feel these days with anyone except Nate. “Don’t worry,
Daddy.
I won’t be back. This is a one-time deal. Your wife and children will never know about your affair with my mother—or about your current girlfriend.” She put venom into her voice. “For what it’s worth, I feel exactly the way you do. I can’t believe any
blood
related to me could be so detestable.” She snatched the fat envelope from under his hand and placed it between the pages of her book, snapping it shut. “For the record, I earned this every night I went to bed hungry.” And also for every tear she’d shed for a parent who had never wanted to know her, but she wouldn’t say that aloud.

Cooper moved suddenly and she tensed in expectation—it wouldn’t be the first time one of the marks had hit her—but he simply stood. This time his eyes fixed on her face. For a moment she thought he might say something that would show he wasn’t as calloused and indifferent as she believed, but the thought was fleeting, blotted out by the fury in his dark eyes.

“I won’t pay twice for a mistake I made almost twenty-five years ago,” he snarled, his pale face becoming blotchy. “If you contact me again, I won’t call the police. I’ll hire someone to deal with you.” He strode away, every line of his body taut with anger. He didn’t look back.

Makay jumped to her feet and walked in the opposite direction. On the whole it had gone rather well. She much preferred a mark’s anger to his sorrow and remorse. The outright rejection to nosy personal questions and answers she’d have to make up. Exact sums in the envelopes instead of extra bills that tried to atone for the sins her targets weren’t willing to make right.

Pushing thoughts of Blaine Cooper from her mind, Makay left the park, pausing only to count the money once in her blue Chrysler Sebring convertible, because it wouldn’t be the first time she’d been shorted. Thankfully, all five thousand dollars were there. She stopped by the bank in Phoenix to deposit some of the money at the ATM, and the rest she put under her seat on top of a manila folder that contained information about Blaine Cooper. She checked four times on her drive from the bank to Lily’s House, and no one appeared to be following her.

The wooden sign Lily’s husband, Mario Perez, had put up over the gate entry gleamed with new paint, as if welcoming her personally to Lily’s House. Makay sat in the car for several minutes just looking at the old place. She and Nate had moved out two years ago when he was four, but somehow it still felt like home.

Sighing, she hurried up the walk. Finding the front door ajar, she went through it and into the living room. Worn couches lined all the walls except the one taken up by a flat screen television. Four of the house’s teen inhabitants lounged there, but the television was off and school books were out. Lily had a firm rule about homework before television and for the most part the girls here wanted an education so they could one day support themselves. They certainly didn’t want to return to the families that had abused and abandoned them, or to the streets where many had barely survived.

Makay knew because she’d spent most of her teen years on the street, sleeping in parks or crashing at a friend’s. Sometimes she’d slipped inside a stranger’s garage. She’d showered early at school and kept her few extra clothes in her locker. There had been no Lily’s House then.

“Hey,” Makay greeted the girls. A sleeping bag, pillow, and a couple of suitcases next to one of the couches told Makay that Lily had once again accepted more girls than they had space for. Was the new girl seated on one of the couches? Makay didn’t stop to ask. She didn’t know the girls individually or want to know them. Their needs were deep and endless, and her focus had to be on Nate. She couldn’t handle any more than that right now.

Their mumbled replies were overrun by Lily’s happy voice as her gravid body appeared in the doorway separating the living room from the kitchen. “Makay, great! Nate’s been asking for you.” Lily Perez had blond hair swept up into a casual ponytail, revealing a long, graceful neck that belied her plumpness. She was twenty-three, the same age as Makay, and was expecting her second child. Lily always seemed young to Makay, though she’d been rescuing abused girls since she ran away from an oppressive home herself to marry at eighteen. Maybe it was because of her eternal optimism. “Tessa took him out to see Serenity. Will you be joining us for dinner?”

Makay was tempted, but she didn’t dare start depending on Lily or her sister Tessa too much. “No, but thanks. Look, I have something for you.” She pulled out a hundred dollar bill from the pocket of her jeans and brushed off the bit of lint that clung to it.

“Oh, no.” Lily pushed back the money, her blue eyes clouding. “I know you have to pay for tuition again. We’re doing fine.”

Makay backed away. “I have that covered. You had to remodel the bathrooms, and I know how much food those girls eat. Besides, I owe you for letting me stay here when I was trying to get custody of Nate.”

“You don’t owe me anything. Without you, Mario and I would have never gotten this place livable.” She laughed. “Do you remember? I think we went through like five gallons of bleach and twenty gallons of paint. Boy, what a mess it was. And then when I was on bed rest with Jonny, you helped so much. You have to remember that at least.”

“Not really.” What Makay remembered was that she’d stayed without paying rent or utilities. It was a debt and she didn’t want to owe anyone.

Lily shook her head. “You were probably too busy trying to get some sleep. If I remember, Nate was a rather cranky two-year-old when you moved in.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Still, Makay often found herself longing for the baby he’d been. He’d had every right to be cranky, losing both parents so early. First the alcoholic father they shared and then his mother—Makay’s stepmother—less than a year later. Makay planned to never tell him that his parents’ deaths had probably saved his life, or at least given him a fair chance of success. No child needed to know that sort of thing. Of course there was still a question in her mind whether or not she was the right person to raise him. Maybe she should have agreed to place him for adoption, but after she’d spent most of his first two years protecting him from his mother, they’d both been too attached to ever let each other go.

Makay’s tension eased as Lily slipped the money into her pocket. “Go on outside to the barn,” Lily said. “I’m helping a couple of the girls make dinner. I’m afraid they might burn the house down.”

Gratefully, Makay took her escape, going out the front door to avoid further chance of conversation with Lily. Rounding the big house, she let herself through the gate into the yard next door where Tessa and Gage Braxton had built their new home. The barn was out in the field behind their house, and that’s where Makay found Nate, Tessa, and also Jonny, Lily’s three-year-old son, petting Tessa’s horse, Serenity.

Nate looked up as she entered the barn, his narrow face coming alive. “Makay, I helped give Serenity a vitamin. Guess what, she’s going to have a baby!” His blond hair fell into his eyes as he spoke, reminding her that it was time for a haircut. He pushed it back impatiently and jumped up to hug her.

Every day when she picked her brother up from school he hugged her like that, as though the hours separating them had been too many and seeing her again was the best part of his day. It was this that kept Makay going when she didn’t think another step was possible.

She hugged him back, going down on one knee to be on his level. “How was your day?”

“It was cool.” His brown eyes seemed to grow two sizes. “We made this slime in science. It’s awesome! I brought it home in my backpack. ”

BOOK: Your Eyes Don't Lie
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