Bloody Vows (Lilah Love #5) by Lisa Renee Jones

CHAPTER ONE


    It’s Thanksgiving Eve, and for many, that’s a good time to put up a tree. To me, it’s a good time to stuff my face with chocolate, Cheetos, and strawberries while watching TV, preferably naked with Kane. That’s the plan. And it’s a good one. But first, comfy leggings, a warm sweater, an airport and a chopper out of the city and to the Hamptons. Because, in an odd twist of events, just one week after I stabbed Roger Griffin, my former profiling mentor turned serial killer, to death, we’re having Thanksgiving with my police chief brother. Logically, you’d think that’s because Kane and Andrew getting rid of Roger’s body together was a bonding experience, right?

    Wrong.

    They did whatever they did with the body and then they went back to hating each other, especially after Andrew saw the big rock Kane had put on my finger—that’s still on my finger, where it will stay. “Are you crazy?” he’d demanded and then scowled. “Never mind. You just stabbed a man twenty times. Yes. You are fucking crazy.”

    “Fucking?” I’d challenged. “Now you’re cursing like a sailor, Andrew. Shame on you.”

    He’d glared at me and then Kane before charging away to fight crime, but two days later, he’d still taken my call, and agreed to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. And Kane agreed to such an invitation for one reason and that reason is not me. He’s worried Andrew is flipping the fuck out over the dead body. He wants to assess him. Still, I say it’s the bonding thing. It’s going to happen. I feel it in my Lilah fucking Love bones. At least, in some alternate universe.

    Kane, looking just as much the hot Latin king of the oil world that he is in jeans and a sweater as he does his custom suits, catches my hand and we head toward our departure gate. An hour from now, we’ll be out of the city and in the Hamptons and that much closer to Thanksgiving Eve paradise. We make it all of two steps toward the doors leading outside and to our chopper, when my cellphone rings. I snake it from my favorite Chanel trench coat and grimace at the number. “It’s Director Murphy,” I say and decline the call. “I’m not taking it. I’m on vacation.”

    “Good decision,” Kane approves, but already my cell is ringing again.

    “Damn it.” I grimace, and my gaze lifts to the television above the waiting area.

    I catch Kane’s arm and drag him to a halt. “Kane,” I say, my voice strained.

    He glances down at me and then follows the lift of my chin, where a ghost of a man that should be dead is now on the TV. Pocher, our sworn enemy, a powerful man in the Society, or what some call the Deep State, is being interviewed by a newscaster. Pocher, who Kane’s man killed under the guise of the Umbrella Man killings.

    “Tell me that’s a rerun,” I say, my throat thick with ten flavors of anger just seeing that man’s face. “It has to be a rerun,” I add. “He’s dead. He’s been dead for seven weeks.”

    Kane's expression tightens and he motions to a member of the staff to turn up the volume, already guiding me toward the screen. My cell is ringing again and I’m still ignoring it.

    “The world is shocked right now,” the newscaster is saying. “We all thought you were dead.”

    “My brother is dead,” Pocher says. “He was staying at my house at the time of the attack. Everyone simply assumed it was me who was murdered.”

    “Then why not just tell us that?” the newscaster asks. “Why let us believe you were dead?”

    “An abundance of caution,” he states. “The person who killed my brother was assumed by authorities to have been the serial killer called the Umbrella Man.”

    “He’s dead,” the newscaster points out. “Any residual danger has been removed for weeks.”

    “While that is true, someone in my position is an easy target. My private security team has assured me I’m safe, thus why I’ve now resurfaced.”

    Pocher ordered the assassination of my mother. She’s dead. He’s alive “That bastard just won’t go away. He won’t die.” I glance at Kane. “That man made a deal with the devil. Maybe he is the devil.”