Broken Queen

Page 50

“Hell, maybe it’ll shed some light on who Dmitri Anders is,” I add.
He pales.
“You know the name. We’ll come back to that. The payments,” Amadeo says.
“I told Lucien I knew he had set his sister up. I threatened to turn him in to the authorities or, at the very least, tell his father. He wasn’t aware that his father already knew and had already acted. All he knew was that there would be repercussions if Geno ever learned the truth.”
“And Lucien believed you that Geno didn’t know.”
The old man nods.
“Wiley, I’ll give you that. Weren’t you afraid one or both would find out you were playing both sides?”
He shrugs a shoulder. “Geno trusted me, and I knew I could manage Lucien.”
“With friends like you, you don’t need enemies. Is that the expression?” I ask.
He gives me a nasty look.
“Turns out you couldn’t manage Lucien, though,” Amadeo says. “What happened tonight?”
“He thought to put an end to our agreement.”
“To you blackmailing him, you mean, considering he figured out you’ve been playing him for years at the reading of the will.”
“I could always make the disappeared men reappear,” the old man says.
“You’re very talented then, Mr. Brady.”
“Lucien is an animal. Any man who can do to his sister what he had done to her is an animal.”
“A point we agree on.” Amadeo steps right up to him. “You’re not going to breathe a word of any of this to anyone. I don’t ever want Vittoria finding out or remembering.”
“She won’t remember. Dr. Tilbury’s methods are sound.”
“I hope you’re right. Where would Lucien have gone?”
He shakes his head. “I wasn’t exactly a confidant of his, but I do know if he’s smart, he’ll be running from Dmitri Anders. Unless, of course, he found some way to repay him. I’m sure Anders would take a different sort of payment.”
I bristle.
He grins. “Keep her safe. If her brother gets to her… Well, let’s just say you don’t want her brother to get to her.”
Ican’t keep my eyes open, but every time I drift off with that leatherbound book on my lap, I dream of Hannah. Hannah and Lucien. I’m running out of time. I need to devise a plan and find some way to get Emma, Hyacinth, and me out of here. I can’t leave Hyacinth behind. I won’t abandon her after all she’s done for us. And I’m sure if I did, the brothers would use her to bait me back. I have cash. I have access to my bank account. And I have the phone. But it’s all useless without a single contact on the outside.
Although, I do have one contact. Lucien. He can get us out and plant us firmly in Sonny Caballero’s control. Sonny hates Amadeo and Bastian, and I know in my gut that he would just use us to get what he wants from them. To hurt them. In that case, isn’t it better to stay here? To trust Amadeo and Bastian?
No. I can’t trust them. They’re not trustworthy, not when it comes to our freedom. They say they want to keep us safe, and while I believe they mean that, being a prisoner is not safe. Especially not when the men holding you have powerful enemies. Emma and I are pawns. We are, as Amadeo very clearly stated what feels like a decade ago, collateral damage. But are we expendable? There is something between the brothers and me. I feel it. I know they do, too. On some level, I do trust them. They won’t hurt us. But as long as we are here, we are not free.
I set the book aside and reach into my bag for the photo I took from the penthouse. The one of Mom and me I found in dad’s desk drawer. He used to have it on top but had put it away at some point. I don’t really remember when that happened.
I haven’t shown it to Emma. I don’t want to upset her. I look at the photo. It’s old, but it’s one of my favorites. She looks happy here. She’s beautiful. She was more than a decade younger than Dad. On the frame, it says “my girls” in fancy cursive lettering.
Curious about where it was taken, I slip it out of its frame. I had taken the whole thing so it wouldn’t bend in my bag. I set the frame aside and turn the photo over to read Portland, Oregon. I remember that trip. Mom had wanted to visit the town she’d been born in even though no relatives remained there. Under Portland is the date it was taken, but then, beneath that and written in black Sharpie, is a website link along with what looks like a password. It’s Dad’s writing but not his usual elegant style. These are block letters. Angry-looking block letters.