The Consequence of His Vengeance - Page 11

“Please take me home,” she whispered.

“Take you home?” Darius gave a sardonic laugh. “You’re an employee, not a guest. A temporary employee whose time is now done.” His lip curled. “Find your own way home.”


LETTY SHIVERED IN the darkest, coldest hours of the night as she walked to the Lexington Avenue subway station and got on the express train. It was past one in the morning, and she held her bag tightly in the mostly empty compartment, feeling vulnerable and alone.

Arriving at her stop in Brooklyn, she came numbly down the stairs from the elevated station and walked the blocks to her apartment. The streets were dark, the shops all closed. The February—no, it was March now; it was past midnight—wind was icy against her cheeks still raw with tears.

She’d thought it was a miracle when she saw Darius again. She’d thought he’d found out the truth of how she’d sacrificed herself, and he’d come back for her.

Telling him she loved him had felt so right. She’d honestly thought he might tell her the same thing.

How could she have been so wrong?

You disgust me.

She could still hear the contempt in his voice. Wiping her eyes hard, she shivered, trembling as she trudged toward her four-story apartment building.

While many of the nearby buildings were nice, well kept, with flower boxes, hers was an eyesore, with a rickety fire escape clinging to a crumbling brick facade. But the place was cheap, and the landlord had asked no personal questions, which was what she cared about. Plugging in a security code, Letty pushed open the door.

Inside, the temperature felt colder. Two of the foyer’s lights were burned out, leaving only a single bare lightbulb to illuminate the mailboxes and the old delivery menus littering the corners of the cracked tile floor.

Even in the middle of the night, noises echoed against the concrete stairwell, a Doppler tangle of tenants yelling, dogs barking, a baby crying. A sour smell came up from beneath the metal stairs as she wearily climbed three flights. She felt wretched, body and soul, torn between her body’s sweet ache from their lovemaking and her heart’s incandescent grief.

The fourth floor had worn, stained carpet and a bare lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. Going past the doors of her neighbors—some of whom she’d never met even after three years—she reached into her handbag, found her keys and unlocked the dead bolt. The door creaked as she pushed it open.

“Letty! You’re back!” Her father looked up eagerly from his easy chair. He’d waited up for her, wrapped in both a robe and a blanket over his flannel pajamas, since the thermostat didn’t work properly. Turning off the television, he looked up hopefully. “Well?”

As the door swung shut behind her, Letty stared at him in disbelief. Her handbag dropped to the floor.

“How could you?” she choked out.

“How could I get you and Darius back together so easily?” Her father beamed at her. “All I needed was a good excuse!”

Her voice caught on a sob. “Are you kidding?”

Howard frowned. “Are you and Darius not back together?”

“Of course we’re not! How could you send him a message, pretending to be me? Offering me for the night!”

“I was trying to help,” he said falteringly. “You’ve

loved him for so long but refused to contact him. Or he you. I thought...”

“What? That if you forced us together, we’d immediately fall back into each other’s arms?”

“Well, yes.”

As she stared at him, still trembling from the roller coaster of emotion of that night, anger rushed through her.

“You didn’t do it for me!” Reaching into her bag, she grabbed the cashier’s check and shoved it at him. “You did it for this!”

Her father’s hands shook as he grasped the cashier’s check. Seeing the amount, his eyes filled with visible relief. “Thank God.”

“How could you?” She wanted to shake her father and scream at him for what he’d done. “How could you sell me?”

“Sell you?” Her father looked up incredulously. “I didn’t sell you!” Struggling to untangle himself from his blanket, he rose from his chair and sat beside her on the sofa. “I figured the two of you would talk and soon realize how you’d been set up. I thought you’d both have a good laugh, and it would be easier for you each to get over your pride. Maybe he’d send money, maybe he wouldn’t.” His voice cracked. “But either way, you’d be together again. The two of you love each other.”

Tags: Jennie Lucas Billionaire Romance
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