Travis’s hand slid beneath his jacket, slowly.
Desmond’s hand gripped something at his side.
Lilly, using Travis’s body for cover, slid her hand to her back.
It happened quickly. Too quickly.
Nik stepped out. Travis drew his weapon, Isaac rolled to his back, and Lilly dropped to her knees.
She fired at her mother. Tears filled her eyes and ran down her cheeks as the bullet slammed into Angelica’s shoulder. It wasn’t a kill shot, but as everyone acted at once, two more bullets took her from Desmond’s and Isaac’s guns.
Nik and Travis made quick work of the others. Lilly stared into her mother’s eyes, watched as realization surged through the other woman.
Angelica dropped to her knees, blood soaking the cream color of her top, dripping to her slacks, as she held Lilly’s gaze. Held it. Hatred flooding it, twisting her expression.
“Fucking whore,” Angelica
wheezed as she slowly melted to the floor, her eyes losing that brilliant glitter, dimming, and slowly becoming lifeless.
Lilly crawled to her, lifted her head in her lap, and slowly brushed the hair back from her face as the gunfire eased and the smell of death began to invade the room.
There were other men there now. Elite Ops One. Black masks covered their faces, but Lilly knew who they were. She didn’t bother to look up. She watched her fingers touching her mother’s brow, her hairline. She looked composed and peaceful in death.
She looked innocent. She looked like the mother Lilly remembered.
“Good-bye, Mother,” she whispered as the tears continued to fall. “I loved you.”
She had lost everything. Everyone.
“Lilly.” Travis was behind her, easing down, his hands settling on her shoulders as she realized she was sobbing. “It’s over, baby.”
She shook her head.
“It’s okay, Lilly.” He sat beside her and eased her into his arms. “I have you, baby. It’s over.”
“I love you, Travis,” she whispered as she laid her head on his shoulder. “I love you.”
“I love you.” He laid his cheek against the top of her head.
“You’ll have to leave me now,” she whispered. “I know that.”
“Shhh,” he shushed her gently as he whispered. “Keep the memories inside, sweetheart. You don’t remember anything. Keep it that way.” He turned her face to him. “Keep it that way, and I’ll hold you forever.”
Forever? Could she truly have a forever now?
She felt the smile that touched her lips, felt the pain and loss as it eased from her heart.
“I’ll have you forever?”
“Forever,” he swore.
She turned her head to him, her lips touching his as she whispered. “Then I don’t remember a damned thing, Black Jack.”
He smiled against her kiss. “That’s the way, Night Hawk. Now, let me hold you forever.”