Beneath This Ink (Page 67)

“It’s not that. I have to tell you something.” Lord walked up just as I finished speaking.

“So this is the famous Vanessa Frost, in the flesh? I can see why Con wouldn’t let me meet you until he had you locked down. He was afraid you’d leave his ass for me.”

At any other time, I would’ve found the words funny and even charming, but right then I couldn’t process them. Con had sobered.

“Lord, take over with the boys. I need to talk to Vanessa.”

Lord’s joking demeanor evaporated. He was like a chameleon, taking on Con’s same expression. I couldn’t handle it.

“Whatever you need, man.”

Con reached down and wrapped a hand around my upper arm, helping me to my feet. “Let’s get you some air.”

I followed him down the back hall and out into the parking lot—where Lucas Titan was waiting, leaning against his car.

Con stilled mid-stride. “What the fuck?” He looked to me and then to Lucas. “What. The. Fuck?” he growled again.

Lucas didn’t flinch at Con’s tone. But I did.

“I gave her a ride. She wasn’t really in a condition to drive, Leahy. You might want to hear her out.”

I wanted to put a muzzle on Lucas. I wanted to find a corner, curl up into the fetal position, and not think about everything I’d learned today. I felt like my entire life—my sanity—was unraveling. Only Con’s strength held me up.

I didn’t know how to tell him. I should’ve fought Lucas when he’d taken me to Voodoo. I should never have given him directions to get here. I should’ve come up with a plan first. Should’ve come up with the right words to explain. Maybe if I’d given myself more time, I could’ve found words that would soften the blow.

Except there weren’t any.

So I just laid it out baldly. “I think I know who killed your parents.”

Con dropped his hold on my arm, and then immediately snatched it back up again and turned me to face him.

It was like looking at a stranger. “Who?” he bit out. “And how?”

I sank my teeth into my lip until I tasted the coppery tang of blood. “I don’t know who pulled the trigger, but I’m pretty sure I know who ordered it.”

He shook me, as if trying to rattle the information out of me quicker.

“Who, goddammit?”

His chest was rising and falling, his anger building and ready to burst like a thunderhead.

“Archer,” I whispered. “We think it was Archer.” I gestured to Lucas, taking the coward’s way out. “Tell him what you found.”

Con dropped my arm like I was diseased and turned on Lucas. My knees gave way and when Lucas lunged to grab me, Con blocked him, letting me fall to the pavement.

The back door of the warehouse flew open, and Lord stalked out.

Con barked, “Take her inside.”

Lord scooped me up, and I fought against his hold.

“Calm down. I don’t know what the hell is going on, but Con looks like he’s about to fucking detonate. You’re better off outside the blast radius.”

“No. I have to—”

Lord stopped trying to convince me, and his hold became unmovable. “Don’t matter what you want.”

The last thing I saw before the door slammed shut was Con pacing, hands jammed into his hair, as Lucas talked.

When the back door opened and footsteps echoed in the hallway, I expected to see Con in the doorway to the kitchen. But it was Lucas.

“Where is he?” I asked, shooting to my feet, my chair toppling over behind me.


I looked to Lord, who was leaning against the wall and rubbing a hand over his face. “He say where?”

Lucas’s attention was on me when he answered, “I think it’s safe to say he went after Archer. That’s where I’d go if I’d just learned who was responsible for killing my folks.”

My stomach sank to my toes.

Lord turned and punched the wall. “That’s what you just told him? Who killed Joy and Andre? Fuck.”

What would Con do? What he’d sworn that night at the lake house? Vigilante justice? An eye for an eye?

Jesus help us all.

“We have to stop him,” I whispered.

Lord’s gaze snapped to mine, and I realized that his eyes were lighter blue than Con’s. And they showed that he was pissed.

“This is all your fault,” he told me. “He never should’ve gotten involved with you. Told him it wasn’t worth the risk.”

So Lord seemed to know who Archer was. At least that was one thing I didn’t have to explain. But I did have to explain something else: “It’s not Archer I’m worried about protecting. It’s Con. If he… kills him… then he’s going to go to prison. I can’t let that happen.”

Lord’s anger cooled a few degrees. “Then we stop him. I’ll go to Chains. You go to Archer.”


“He’s going to get the gun,” Lord replied matter-of-factly.

“What gun?”

“One that someone pawned. He was supposed to turn it back over to Hennessy. The casing matched the murder scene.”

“And if he uses it to kill Archer…”

“Then you’re right; he’s definitely going to prison.”

I wanted to sink back into the chair, but instead I strode toward Lucas. “Let’s go.”

I spun the lock on the safe until it clicked and threw the handle. The door swung open. Reaching inside, I pulled out the gun. The one someone had used to killed Joy and Andre.