Broken Queen

Page 42

“Probably afraid of getting caught.”
I see the timestamp in the corner of this image.
“Look at that,” I say, pointing at the bottom corner of the image.
“Not quite six years ago.”
“Are you doing the math?”
“Already have.”
“I want to see the man’s face.” But in all the photos, he’s obscured in some way almost as if it were done on purpose. Did her lover set her up?
Bastian shakes his head as we click through more and more images. “Those tattoos, though, I’ll send the file to Bruno. See what he can find.”
“Good idea. So Lucien was having his stepmother followed. Do you think he shared those with Dad?”
Bastian shrugs a shoulder. “Why else take the photos? Unless he wanted to blackmail her, but what would he have to gain?”
“I wonder if he even needed to share them once Emma was born. He’d suspect even if he wouldn’t know for certain after taking one look at Emma, I’m sure. He could have run DNA tests.”
“Let’s get those to Bruno and make sure Vittoria never sees them.”
“Agreed.” He removes the drive and drops it into his pocket.
“Ready to go?” I ask.
“Yeah.” Neither of us is looking forward to the next part of our day.
We ride down on the elevator and climb into our SUV. Bastian settles himself behind the steering wheel as my phone dings with a message. It’s Bruno.
“Bruno’s got something.”
Bastian glances at me but focuses on traffic.
“According to the financial reports Brady sent, there’s one name that stands out, Anders Construction. It’s apparently a shell company Bruno recognized. It’s owned by Dmitri Anders, a businessman with known ties to the Russian mafia who recently found himself in some trouble with the American authorities. The payments were made out of Russo Properties & Holdings and came at irregular intervals, but that made little sense. He’s following up with Brady and gathering more information on Anders.”
“Russian mob? No shit.”
“It would explain the soldiers who grabbed you. Based on what I heard, at least some were Russian.”
“I’d like to know where he is, fucking spineless bastard.”
“He’ll turn up.” I enter the directions to the first empty Russo property within a twenty-mile radius of the penthouse. There are three.
We sit in silence for a while. I know what’s coming. What’s on my brother’s mind.
“You shouldn’t have told her you’d let her go,” Bastian finally says as we merge into traffic.
“Moot point. We’re not.”
“We decide these things together, brother.”
I nod because he’s right. I study his profile as he drives, remembering how she was with him. How he held her hand, traced the empty ring finger of her right hand.
“The reasons we’re keeping her, Bastian,” I start. Bastian glances my way, then focuses on the road. “They’ve changed for me.”
“I’m not blind.”