Beneath These Scars (Page 75)

“Thank you.” I skipped the elevator and went for the stairs. By the time I reached the bottom—four floors—I realized I’d made a mistake. Hot. Damn. My side and neck burned.

I pushed open the heavy door, and Lucas was walking through the exit.

“Wait, damn it!” I huffed, leaning heavily on the wall.

Lucas spun and strode toward me. “What the hell are you doing?” he growled when he reached my side.

I wheezed out a breath. “I ran down. The stairs.”

He looked around. “We need to find a nurse. Make sure you didn’t tear open your stitches.”

I shook my head. “I’m fine.”


He squatted and lifted me into his arms. My hands went around his neck as I held on.

“Take me outside. I want air too.”

“You need—”

“You. I need you, Lucas,” I interrupted. “That’s all.”

His arms tightened around me. “I’m not—”

I slid one hand to the side of his face and forced him to look at me. “Do you care about me?” I asked. It was time to lay it all out.

“What the hell kind of question is that? And we’re taking this conversation somewhere more private.” He turned and carried me through the exit and down the sidewalk to a bench. It was after midnight, and the place was deserted. He lowered me and began to pace.

“It kind of hurts my neck to keep swinging my head back and forth, so if you could just hold still, that’d be great.”

Lucas froze. “Shit. I’m sorry.”

“See? You do care about me,” I said, forcing my tone to be lighter.

Lucas came toward the bench, towering over me in my seated position. “Of course I fucking care about you, Yve. I’m in love with you.”

The words sounded strange on his tongue, as if he’d never spoken them before—and suddenly I was confident he hadn’t.

“Good, because that makes it a lot less awkward for me to tell you that I’m in love with you too.”

He dropped to a crouch in front of me. “That’s not possible.”

I reached out and skimmed my thumb along the stubble shading his jaw. “Nothing’s impossible, Lucas,” I said, throwing his words back at him.

He covered my hand with his, holding it to his face as he shook his head. “I had a plan. Keep you in my bed, in my house, in my life, until you couldn’t remember what any other life was like.”

“You were going to trick me into staying?” I asked, my eyebrows shooting up.

Lucas’s frown deepened. “See, I’m not a good guy. I was going to do whatever it took to keep you, regardless of whether you wanted to be kept.”

I narrowed my eyes. “So if I were miserable, you would have forced me to stay?”

His brows dropped into a deep V. “I would’ve never allowed you to be miserable.”

A smile played about my lips. “But if I had been?”

He bowed his head, still not releasing my hand. “I would’ve let you go,” he murmured.

“Like the goddamn Beast, right down to the library.”

Lucas’s head snapped up, confusion creasing his forehead. “What the hell does that mean?”

“You’re clearly lacking in the Disney cartoon movie department. But it doesn’t matter. My point is you’re not the villain in this scenario, Lucas. You’re the hero—and I’m not leaving your side until I make you believe it.”

He reached out a hand to cup my cheek. “Then I’ll never believe it.”

I shook my head. “Stubborn man.”

“Smart man.”

“Then kiss me.”

“Demanding,” he said softly as he lowered his lips to mine.

“I learned from the best,” I said, but the words were lost in his kiss.

For the first time, he didn’t devour and conquer. Instead, Lucas kissed me softly, carefully, as if I was rare and precious—something only he had ever made me feel.

When our mouths finally broke free, Lucas pinned me with that gorgeous green stare again.

“You love me.” It wasn’t a question. But then again, from him, I didn’t expect it to be.


“Thank God.” And then he kissed me again. And again.

For the first time in my life, I was the girl who was going to get her happily ever after.

THE AFTERMATH OF SHOOTING AND killing someone was a lot messier than the blood you spilled. There was questioning, charges, lawyers, and a hell of a lot of paperwork. Yve and I spent nearly all of the next day at the police station. Hennessy tried to smooth things over as much as he could, but even he couldn’t change the facts.

I’d killed a man. It was a clear case of self-defense, but the formalities still had to be followed.

Through it all, I never let go of Yve’s hand. I didn’t know what exactly I’d done to make her love me, but I would figure it out so I could keep doing it for the rest of my life.

I would not lose her.

I’d Googled beast and library and Disney when we’d gone back inside the hospital last night, and had to be shushed by the nurse when I’d laughed so loudly that I’d nearly woken the entire unit.

Beauty and the Beast. And I was the Beast. It was fitting, I supposed. At least Yve wouldn’t be surprised when I really wouldn’t ever let her leave my castle. And if she tried, I’d distract her in the library.

I smiled, turning to stare at the woman beside me, and was startled when the door to the interrogation room flew open and a familiar woman stormed in, black hair swirling around her shoulders.