Home > Damage Control (Dirty Money #2)(11)

Damage Control (Dirty Money #2)(11)
Author: Lisa Renee Jones

She’s blond. She has a brother. She was honest about her father and she has no plans to come back or be found, at least not now. Much like in a courtroom, I don’t let myself feel anything about these things, but rather stay focused on fact-finding that will help me, and her, later. “Was your father in some sort of trouble when he died?”

“There was a scandal about his work, and that, along with his death, destroyed us all,” she says. “I mean, my brother and I were too young to understand it then, but we knew what it did to our mother. Not to mention his suicide voided his life insurance, leaving us broke, struggling, and very alone.”

Which tells me she has no other family. “And then something changed,” I press, knowing somewhere in this story is the reason she likes Bentleys and knows expensive labels down to the estimated price.

“Only six months after my father died, a rich, good-looking man swept our mother off her feet, and he became her husband and the monster we knew as a stepfather and guardian to my brother when she died six years later. He’s the root of all this hell I’m in, right after my father, who left us to fall into that man’s life.”

I don’t miss the way she places no blame on her mother. “So the stepfather is a part of this hell you’re in?”

“Oh yes.” She swallows hard. “He’s dead but it seems like he’s trying to pull us into the grave with him.”

I don’t like how that sounds. “Tell me about your stepfather and why he was a monster.”

“I don’t know where to start.”

“Anywhere you want. Say what comes to mind.”

“He told us he worked as a consultant.”

“What kind of consultant?”

“A computer analyst. He was ‘solver of tech problems,’ he used to say.” She laughs without humor. “Who also owned two Porsche Carreras, while paying for our two-million-dollar house. Of course, neither me nor my brother knew the price tags for those until I hit high school and started putting two and two together.”

“And what did you find?”

“I knew something with him wasn’t right, but he hid his secrets well. That is, until he started teaching my brother to hack.”

I arch a brow. “Hack?”

“Yes. Hack. As in criminal activity he involved my brother in when he was only fourteen. I was furious when I found out. Turns out, he’d hacked a database to prove it could be done, and then created a firewall to prevent it.”

“After blackmailing those he’d hacked into paying for it.”

“Yes,” she concurs, “but like I said, I only know this because my brother got involved. He’s still involved. And when I say involved, I mean, working for a clandestine operation capable of bringing down a small country if they decided to do it. I’ve tried to get him out for years, but he’s addicted to the money and just the high of doing what he does.”

“This doesn’t tell me why you’re hiding and on the run.”

“I saw something I wish I hadn’t seen.”

“That makes you a liability,” I conclude.


“So your brother half-assed you a fake persona and sent you on your way?”

“He didn’t half-ass it,” she insists, but there is doubt vibrating in her voice.

“Why don’t you sound certain?”

“You just told me about the holes in my identity. I haven’t had time to digest what it means but I can’t believe my brother would risk my safety.”

“He’s who you talk to on the second phone.”

“Yes. He’s supposed to be fixing this mess.”


“I’m not telling you that. I’ve said all I can say.”

Which isn’t enough for me to find her if we disconnect this call. “I know the truth now. Come back or let me come to you.”

“If knowing the truth erased the need for distance, I would have never left. These people will ruin you, Shane.”

“The only enemy I can’t fight is the one I don’t know.”

“There is no fight if they never know you.”

“If you are in this fight, I’m in this fight.”

“I have this handled. It will be over soon and until then, I need a favor.”

“Anything as long as you ask me in person.”

“In my apartment,” she says, as if I haven’t spoken. “In the top drawer of my bathroom vanity, there’s a bracelet. It was my mother’s and it’s all I have left of her. Can you please hold it for me?”

“We’ll get it together. I’ll meet you at the apartment.”

“We both know you’ll stop me from leaving.”

“Even if I wanted to get the bracelet, I don’t have a key.”

“I’ll mail you a key to the apartment.”

“I don’t want you to fucking mail me a key. Bring it to me. Let me hold on to you, Emily. I’ll protect you.”

“Remember when I said I don’t need a hero?”

“But do you want one?”

“Who doesn’t want a hero?” She laughs. “Especially one like you.”

“Then let me—”

“You don’t need someone else to save from themselves. You have your brother. But thank you, Shane. For hearing me out. For being a friend. I know you will think this is crazy, since I lied to you, but you were fast becoming my best friend.”

Most Popular
» Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)
» Kill Switch (Devil's Night #3)
» Hold Me Today (Put A Ring On It #1)
» Spinning Silver
» Birthday Girl
» A Nordic King (Royal Romance #3)
» The Wild Heir (Royal Romance #2)
» The Swedish Prince (Royal Romance #1)
» Nothing Personal (Karina Halle)
» My Life in Shambles
» The Warrior Queen (The Hundredth Queen #4)
» The Rogue Queen (The Hundredth Queen #3)
billionaire.readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2024