Beneath These Scars (Page 73)

I released my grip and Haines jumped up, landing a blow to my cheek before I could react. All I could see as I swung at him was the blood dripping down Yve’s throat.

Rage, helplessness, and disbelief like I hadn’t felt since I was on the side of that mountain at eighteen slammed into me. The rope had been fraying, and I’d had seconds to grab it, but if I did I’d likely fall to my own death.

It had been an impossible choice—risk my own life, or my father would die. The man who’d verbally abused me all my life; the man I was never good enough for. I hesitated a second too long, and when I’d lunged for the rope, it had been too late.

I’d had to live with the regret of that moment haunting me for years. If I had to live with regret over Yve, I . . . Well, it wasn’t an option. I’d choose her life over mine every time.

Because I loved her.

I shoved Haines away from me and stood, holding my arms out. “I’m done. Don’t hurt her.”

He jumped to his feet. “You’re gonna die.”

Except if I was dead, I’d be leaving her at their mercy, and that would be a fate worse than death for Yve. So, Titan, what the fuck are you going to do? my brain taunted me.

So I did what came naturally to me—I went for the cheap shot.

Haines lunged at me, and I rammed my knee into his balls a dozen times harder than I had with Con Leahy. Fighting over the loss of Vanessa, trying to save face, was nothing compared to this.

Yve was worth more than my pride. She was worth everything.

Haines hit the ground again, and I landed a solid kick to his face. His nose crunched and his head lolled to the side.

Yve screamed.

I charged the woman, but it was too late. She’d sliced the knife across Yve’s throat and lifted the blood-coated blade, as if to stab it straight into Yve’s chest.

I dove at the woman, tackling her. Her head whacked the floor, and she didn’t move. Scrambling to my knees, I slid in front of Yve. Her eyes were still open and tears spilled down her cheeks. Terrified at the blood seeping from the cut on her neck, I ripped my shirt off and pressed it to her throat.

Yve laughed through her tears. “I’m not gonna die. It’s not deep enough. She’s a pansy-ass bitch.”

“Shut up, Yve.”

I lowered the shirt, then gripped the tape with both hands, tearing it apart to free her. The front door flew open and Jerome slid to a halt in the foyer. Gun drawn, he spied us both.

“Oh, thank God,” he said. “I heard the scream and—”

Haines—like the goddamn killer in a horror movie—surged up from the floor, wrapped both hands around Jerome’s legs, and yanked his feet out from under him. Jerome went down, his skull cracking against the tile, and the gun landed between Haines and me.

We both dove for it but I was faster—because I’m Lucas Fucking Titan and this was the fight of my life.

I didn’t hesitate this time. I pulled the trigger three times, aiming for Haines’s heart, and he never took another breath.

“I warned you,” the blonde screamed.

Fuck me. Why couldn’t they just stay down?

Again she had the knife to Yve. This time, pressing it into her side.

I lifted the gun and aimed. She ducked behind Yve, using her as a human shield.

“Shoot her, goddamn it,” Yve yelled.

The choice lay before me, but this time it wasn’t her life or mine.

“No fucking way. I’ll hit you.”

A maniacal laugh bounced through the room. “She’s gonna die either way.”

“I’m nobody’s victim,” Yve said, her words a vow.

Her left elbow flew backward, and she grabbed the blonde’s arm and twisted. The knife hit the floor, and the woman screamed. I was on her in less than a second, dragging both hands behind her back. She snapped her teeth like a feral dog, and Yve, gripping her side, spun.

“Where’s the goddamn duct tape?”

I saw it on the coffee table. “There. Behind you.”

Yve grabbed it, ripped off a piece, and slapped it over the woman’s mouth. Ripping off another section, she wound it around the woman’s arms, taping them together from just above the elbows and down to the wrists.

“We’ll see how she likes that.”

A moan from the foyer had both our heads turning.

“Jerome!”

I tossed the woman on the couch and we both ran to him. Blood pooled around his head on the floor, but he wasn’t dead.

I palmed my phone from my pocket and dialed Hennessy. He could probably get an ambulance here faster than 911.

He answered on the first ring.

“I need an ambulance. Texting you the address now. Make it fast.”

“No body bags?”

“Bring one of those too.” I hung up and texted the address I’d memorized in the agonizingly long ten minutes it had taken me to get here.

Yve was at Jerome’s side, wrapping the shirt I’d tossed at her around his head. She looked up at me, tears still spilling down her cheeks. “He’s gotta be okay.”

I would have told her anything to get her to stop crying. Gritting my teeth, I said, “He’s going to be fine.”

She blinked and nodded. “You came for me.” Her voice was small and hesitant.

“Always.”

MY NECK BURNED FROM THE superglue the ER doctor had used to close the cut Jennifer had given me, and my side twinged as the anesthetic wore off from the stitches it had taken to close the spot where she’d tried to gut me.

My instincts about her had been right. Crazy bitch. Hennessy had taken her into custody when he’d arrived on the heels of the ambulance—and the coroner.