Home > Fallen Rose (Beauty and the Beast Trilogy #3)(7)

Fallen Rose (Beauty and the Beast Trilogy #3)(7)
Author: Amelia Wilde

He hesitates for only an instant. “Call you.”

I crouch down next to him so he can see my face. “If you touch Haley, I’ll kill you. No lock in the world can keep me out. No security firm can keep you protected. There’s nowhere you can run. I’ll find you, and I’ll gut you where you stand.”

One more kick. That’s all I allow myself. I stand up and aim for his ribs.

Rick curls into a ball, heaving, and I leave him there.

Winter air snaps into my face as I step out into the cold, already dialing. I swore I wouldn’t do this, not unless I had to, but we’re here now. We’re fucking here. The time has come.

My brother answers on the first ring. “I thought you’d never call.” There’s noise in the background. He’s at his club, or out somewhere.

“Hell must have frozen over.” I wrench open the door to the SUV and climb into the driver’s seat over the frantic protests of the pain.

“I’ll be back in a minute,” Lucian says to someone nearby, and the background chatter fades out. It sounds like he’s walking fast. “What’s going on?”

“War,” I tell him, my throat tight.

“This is Caroline, isn’t it?” He swears with creative aplomb. “I can’t believe you fucking whipped her. Of course she’ll react like an injured dog. All for a goddamn business deal.”

“It was more than that.” The words emerge before I can stop them. If it weren’t for the phone, I’d have both hands over my eyes.

He’s quiet. “Leo.”

There’s so much unspoken between us. So much history and abuse in our family. I don’t have time for any of it, not with Haley hanging in the balance. “Like I said, hell has frozen over. Because I’m reaching out to you, brother mine. I need your help.”

 

 

Chapter Five

 

 

Leo


Lucian arrives after forty agonizing minutes. He must have driven a hundred all the way from the city, and by the time he throws his car in park next to the SUV, I’m standing outside in the cold. The snow is coming faster now.

I can no longer sit in the car.

My brother unfolds himself from the front seat. Lucian always looks like he came from the office, his dark hair neat, his wool overcoat flawless. What gives him away as a Morelli and not a normal businessman is the gleam of violence in his dark eyes. “What the fuck is happening, Leo? If Caroline sent someone to your place—”

“There’s another Constantine.”

He comes to stand in front of me, his hands shoved into the pockets of his jacket. “No shit. They can’t stop breeding. There are probably hundreds by now.”

“This one’s mine, asshole. Haley’s mine. Haley—” I can’t get a fucking grip, but I have no choice. “Phillip Constantine’s daughter. I made a deal with her.”

Lucian’s face doesn’t change. “A deal.”

“Her body for thirty days in exchange for her father’s business deal.”

“Then what did you whip Caroline for?”

“It doesn’t matter.” Lucian doesn’t need to know about the revenge. “What matters is that she took Haley from my house. They have her at the compound. I have to get her out.” Old habit and new rage propel me toward him, make me bury my hands in his jacket and shove him backward, into his car. Lucian doesn’t knock my hands aside, only looks down at them, then back up at my face. “Do you have a way to get her out?”

“What happened to you?”

He’s not asking about Haley, not really. I know he’s not from his tone. He’s asking what made me like this. “We don’t have time for that discussion. Lucian—”

“Just—” He pushes my hands down and away from his jacket. “Christ. It’s cold as balls out here. Can you get into the fucking car? I’m trying to understand. So you’re pissed she reneged on the contract? There are other ways to pursue this.”

“I don’t give a fuck about the contact. This is about Haley.”

Realization dawns. “You care about her.”

It’s more than caring about her. It’s survival. She’s become the air I need to breathe. “Help me get her back or get the fuck out of here. I’m not getting in any fucking car until I have a plan.”

He arches one eyebrow. “Fine. Stand there, then, while I call Elaine.”

There’s only one Elaine I know of. “Elaine Constantine?” The fire and fury surges again. I’ve been on this breaking wheel all day, and there is no room between the low point and the high point. The peak is constant. It’s killing me. “Why the hell would you call her?”

“Because we’re together. I’m assuming by how unhinged you’re acting that you have something like what I have with Elaine. And you think Haley’s at the Constantine compound?”

He did not seem shocked enough when I announced Haley was mine. I see that now. But the thought of Lucian with a Constantine—I can’t imagine it. Mortal enemies. Both of them the children of warring families. Yet there he is, pressing a number on speed dial like he’s called it a thousand times. I’d ask him how long it’s been going on, but I don’t care. I can’t care about anything else. Lucian and Elaine. What the fuck, what the fuck. “I know she’s there.”

“Sweetheart,” he says, and I blink at him like a fool. I’ve never heard him say that to anyone without an acid tone, without it twisting into a cruel joke. “I need to get your mother out of her house for a while. Can you cause a bit of a scene?”

* * *

Half an hour later we’re at the nearest corner to the compound. The first one that’s not under their surveillance or ours. And I’m dying.

Sitting in the SUV is full-blown torture. Every muscle hurts and my back is a thousand fresh cuts. Phantom blood runs down to my waist. Soaks through my shirt. I don’t know what to call it. It’s not a hallucination. More of an echo. But it feels real.

“Just give her another couple of minutes, Leo. Jesus.”

“She could be dead in another couple of minutes.”

This is not my only fear. I can’t name the deeper one, the one at my core, to Lucian. I won’t. It’s enough to know that there are worse things than death. Caroline has done them to me.

Lucian scoffs. “Caroline’s not going to kill one of her own. Not even for being with you.”

“Is she not?” I level him with a glare. “Or are you just saying that because you don’t want her to kill Elaine? She’s more fucked up than you realize.”

The grin Lucian gives me is more bloodthirsty than any expression I’ve ever worn. I’m the Beast of Bishop’s Landing, but that reputation has drawn attention away from Lucian, who is the real psychopath of the family. It’s in his marrow. “Caroline won’t do a thing to Elaine when she finds out. She’ll attend our wedding with a smile on her face.” Lucian insisted on sitting in the SUV with me after he followed me here in his car, and now he turns in his seat and cranes his neck. “Okay. She’s leaving.”

According to him, Elaine called her mother pretending to have a meltdown. Elaine is known for being dramatic, for being wild, and it must have been convincing. There’s Caroline’s security team, going out ahead of her. And another car behind. Lucian starts a timer on his phone. When they’ve been gone for three minutes, we get out of the SUV and stroll for the gate.

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