One Week Later . . .

My head pounds in sync with the pounding on my front door. I begrudgingly climb out of my bed and glance at the clock, only to wince at the time. It’s two in the afternoon.


“Tristan, open the fuck up.”

At the commanding tone of my brother-in-law’s voice, I sigh in frustration. I don’t need this, and I sure as hell don’t want Finn Brisbane at my home.

I find a pair of loose-fitted shorts and throw them over my naked body. I’ve found in the past week that I can’t stand the feel of anything against my body too constricting while I’m sleeping. I don’t even sleep with anything more than a sheet covering me. Anything heavier makes me feel like I’m being held down, and I start having flashes of being chained by Dimitri.

Cringing, I swipe a hand through my damp hair from the sweat drenching my body. Another thing that I deal with waking up in cold sweats due to night terrors of reliving the horrors of my capture.

“I know you’re in there, asshole. Open the hell up,” Finn calls out again, banging on the door.

I clench my teeth and trek to the front door, kicking at the pizza boxes, old food cartons, beer, and empty liquor bottles. Delivery is a glorious thing. I haven’t had to step foot out of my place for nothing more than to sit on the back stoop.

I make it to the door, grip the doorknob and unlock it. With a twist, I throw it open and glare at the man standing on my porch. “What the fuck?”

“Don’t ‘what the fuck me’,” Finn sneers and pushes his way past me into the house and looks around.

I stare at the man who’s married to my youngest sister with a glare. He’s lucky Olivia loves him as much as she does. Otherwise, I might have to shoot him for barging in the way he has. “What do you want, Finn? I’m not in the mood.”

Finn brings his gaze to mine, scans over my body, and shakes his head. “It’s fuckin’ worse than I thought. Jesus, Tristan, I get you’ve been through hell and back, but enough is enough. You have family who loves you. My wife, for instance. Shit, she would do anything for you just like the others would. However, she knows what you’ve been through, at least marginally. And so does your own fuckin’ twin sister.”

“Don’t start on me with this bullshit,” I snarl, curling my lip in anger, my nostrils flaring, and I cross my arms over my once very built chest. Now I simply look skinny without muscles.

“I’ll do whatever the hell I need to do. My wife . . . your sister . . . is pregnant and is constantly stressing out over you. She had an appointment today, and the doctor nearly admitted her because her blood pressure is so damn high.”

I inwardly cringe at the thought of something happening to my baby sister and the babies she’s carrying.

“She thought she lost you, was grieving for you, and still is considering you’ve shut them all out,” Finn snarks, mimicking my stance.

“And—” I drawl out, not wanting to discuss this with Finn. I don’t want to talk about it with anyone, for that matter.

“Tristan, you need your family,” he breaths and shakes his head, dropping his arms. “And they need you. Félix is my best friend, and I’m telling you . . . your brother is hurting because he can’t help you.”

I don’t need Tristan to tell me this. I know my oldest brother and the fact he feels responsible for each of us. Not allowing him to help me would’ve hurt him.

“I’m not trying to be a dick to you, Tristan, but you need help. You need to let your brothers and sisters in,” Finn murmurs, calmer now.

“I can’t,” I grumble and turn away from him and lift both hands up to rake my hands through my hair. “They don’t need to know all that I’ve been through. No one does.”

Images fill my head, and I take a breath trying to shove them back.

“You’re right. No one has the right to know what you’ve been through. I’m sure from what the doctors say, it’s a hell of a lot worse than they told us.”

I pivot on my heel, frowning at Finn’s comment. “If you knew . . . it would haunt your nightmares.”

“The sight of my wife nearly drowned to death by my own damn brother already haunts my dreams. Shit, I dream of the bastard coming back from the dead only to do it again and again. This time though, he succeeds and doesn’t kill just Olivia but our babies as well.” Finn starts pacing, his hands balled into fists at his sides. “You wouldn’t believe the amount of security I keep wrapped around that woman at all times when I’m not with her.”

“I bet she enjoys that,” I mutter, remembering the fights she would have with Félix and Rémy when it came to her safety.

Finn grins at my comment and shrugs. “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. My men know to keep out of sight. Olivia believes she’s only got two guards on her at all times. Instead, she’s got five.”

Tags: E.C. Land Crime