Black Jack (Elite Ops 4)

Page 11

Lilly turned quickly back to her mother, a question forming on her lips, a demand to know if her mother had seen the man speaking to her. If she knew him.
In the moment that the words would have slipped past her lips, she snapped her teeth quickly together. Her mother hadn’t seen him, or she would have already posed the same questions to Lilly.
Angelica suddenly paused, her gaze sharpening as though she sensed or saw something in Lilly’s face that concerned her or perhaps angered her.
“I believe it’s time we go.” Angelica moved quickly across the room despite the height of the heels she wore with her alabaster slacks and matching sleeveless blouse.
Lilly protested as her mother’s fingers curled gently around her arm and urged her toward the door. “Really, Mother, we don’t need to leave.”
She had to get her bearings, had to make sense of what was suddenly happening. What she was feeling.
She should never have had such a reaction to a man she couldn’t see, only hear. A man who seemed more familiar to her than her own body.
She followed her mother from the antiques shop, back to the busy tree-lined street. Pausing, Angelica Harrington made a quick call to the chauffeur, gave him their location, then turned to her daughter with a worried frown.
“I tried to do too much at once,” Angelica said, the apology in her voice pricking at Lilly’s conscience. “I should have allowed you to rest a little longer.”
“You’re going to have to get used to this, Mother,” Lilly informed her firmly as she let her gaze survey the busy street with narrowed eyes behind her dark sunglasses. “Just as I have to get used to myself.”
Lilly didn’t catch her mother’s look of consternation. The older woman watched her daughter as one might watch an alien, waiting, watching for any signs of danger. But together with the wariness there was also pain.
A mother’s dream had come true. The daughter she had thought she had lost forever had returned home. Her child lived and breathed. She was given the chance few parents who had lost children were given. A chance to say all the things she hadn’t taken the time to say before. A chance to kiss her daughter good night. A chance to see her smile. Hear her laughter.
Travis wondered if Lilly had learned to laugh again. He knew the few times he had managed to pull laughter from her it was like seeing sunshine for the first time.
He wondered if her mother saw sunshine when she saw her daughter’s smile, or heard her laughter. He wondered if she’d seen that smile or that laughter since her daughter had been home. God knew, Lilly deserved at least a few moments of happiness before the world went crazy on her again. And before her mother possibly lost her daughter all over.
One thing was certain, beneath the impatience and flashes of irritation Angelica Harrington’s heart was also breaking as she watched the young woman she had been told was her daughter.
There was no doubt Lilly was definitely Victoria Lillian Harrington. DNA proved it, her dental records proved it, but there were no fingerprints to back it up. Her fingerprints had been removed the day she signed on with the Elite Ops. With her return the blame had been lain on the fiery car crash.
Standing well out of her line of vision, he watched her closely, a smile tugging at his lips as she slid her sunglasses on and continued to watch the street with what he knew were eagle-sharp eyes.
She’d caught him following her several times throughout the afternoon. Each time she had stopped, arrowed in on him, and watched him with a familiarity he knew did nothing but confuse her.
He’d seen that confusion. He’d felt it. He’d nearly tasted it as he stood behind her and breathed in her scent.
She was fighting to make sense of the world she was in and the memories she had lost, but she was still game to fight for the answers.
She would be there tonight. There wasn’t a doubt in Travis’s mind that she wouldn’t find the bar in time to meet with him. He wondered if she would make it there alone, or if her shadow, the bodyguard her uncle had hired, would manage to follow her.
Lilly Belle, code-named Night Hawk, would never have allowed herself to be tracked to a meeting. She would have ensured she arrived alone, and if she didn’t, then she would ensure the one following her regretted it.
That was his Lilly. She could be merciless, but in being so, he’d watched, year by year, another piece of her soul erode.
Those wounds were still there, in her eyes, along with her confusion, her wariness.
“What do you think?”
Travis glanced over his shoulder at the towering former Russian who stood carefully back from the edge of the building.
Nik Steele watched Lilly and her mother, his icy blue eyes lasered in on them intently.
“I think we need to plan for when all hell breaks loose,” Travis grunted as a limo drew to a stop in front of the two women.
The chauffeur jumped out, and Travis couldn’t help the amused twitch of his lips. He had to admit, Wild Card made a hell of a chauffeur.