Black Jack (Elite Ops 4)

Page 94

He grinned, sliding a look at her from the corner of his eye. “I do stay within the law occasionally, my dear.”
Desmond grunted at the comment. “We would have lost the company if it hadn’t been for him. With your father’s death, and what we believed was your death, the family was in chaos for months.”
“It appears to me that the family is still in chaos,” she stated sadly.
Her uncle shook his head before lowering it for long moments. Finally, he heaved another sigh before moving to a nearby high-backed leather chair and taking a seat.
“Mr. Caine contacted me with the information that you had been found,” he stated as he leaned back. “He told me then that he had known of your existence for years and
had remained quiet. With your injuries, though, he was afraid you wouldn’t make it, and he wanted your family close if that were true.”
Lilly remained silent. That didn’t sound like the truth to her; it didn’t feel like the truth, though she had no doubt it was what he had told her family.
“Why are we here, Lord Harrington?” Travis finally asked. “You sent Lilly’s mother away and were rather intent on this meeting. I will assume there’s a reason for it.”
“Of course there is.” Desmond glared back at him irritably before turning back to Lilly. “Returning may not have been a good idea, child. Perhaps when Mr. Caine called I should have simply gone to the hospital alone and advised you to continue hiding.”
“Why would you do that?” she asked, wondering herself why her intuition hadn’t warned her to stay away.
“Because this family is more fucked up than any dysfunctional American family that you’ll find,” he stated roughly. “Jared rather surprised me, though. I didn’t expect him to disown you.”
“Perhaps he doesn’t like losing the additional inheritance,” Travis suggested.
Desmond shook his head. “Lilly’s money is in trust. Nothing could be done with it until you turned twenty-six—if you were still alive, that is. And upon Lilly’s death it wouldn’t go to Jared anyway. It would go to a charity chosen in Lilly’s name. Your brother’s trust was set up the same way.”
Yet another surprise.
“When was that decided?” Lilly asked. “Father told me nothing of this.”
“And he wouldn’t have until you were old enough to begin drawing from the fund,” he answered her. “Unfortunately, you ‘died’ before you reached the age that you could touch your inheritance.”
“What is the point of this, Uncle Desmond?” she asked.
“Someone tried to kill you six years ago, and then three times in the past six months. It’s hard to believe it isn’t personal, isn’t it, Lilly? And now you know there’s less reason to suspect your brother. So tell me I haven’t risen on your list of suspects.”
Lilly looked to Travis, then back to her uncle. “I don’t know who to suspect,” she finally stated, wondering what the hell was going on here.
“You were helping your father on that investigation,” Desmond said then. “You were working with him and MI5 before you disappeared.”
Now, she was shocked. Her father had made her swear to never reveal anything about the investigation. She stared back at Desmond silently, trying to figure out what he knew, and what he simply thought he knew.
“She has an excellent poker face.” Desmond nodded toward her. “She always did have.”
“What do you want, Harrington?” Travis sat forward now.
“I want my brother’s killer. And I want the person trying to kill my niece stopped,” he said, his voice soft. “I want the slow, steady embezzling of Harrington funds to stop, and I want my life back.”
“And I’m to facilitate this, how?” Travis asked.
“Better yet, why should you be drawn in?” Lilly rose to her feet, tipped her drink to her lips, and finished it in one hard swallow before moving slowly to the bar.
She needed a moment to think, to figure out what the hell was going on here.
“You argued with Mother when I left?” she asked as she moved past Isaac to pour herself another drink.
Desmond chuckled. “Oh yes, my dear. Your mother and I argued quite loudly and for well through the next day. When Ridgemore showed up, we argued quite a bit more. You know how it works. She screams until she gets what she wants, and if she doesn’t get what she wants, then she makes your life hell. Correct?”
Lilly poured herself another drink before turning back to him and leaning against the bar. “Mother never screamed at me. Not when Father was alive, anyway.”