Beneath This Ink (Page 68)

My phone buzzed, and I ignored it. It was either Lord or Vanessa, neither of whom I wanted to talk to right about now. I was mapping out my plan for the evening.

Archer Bennett was going to confess all. And then I’d decide what to do with him.

A deadly calm had settled over me. A killing calm. One I hadn’t felt since my last mission in Afghanistan.

I grabbed a box of .38 special ammo off the shelf and slid a round into each chamber of the revolver. I’d only need one bullet, but I’d be a shit soldier if I went out with an almost empty gun.

I was back on my bike and roaring toward the foundation when I felt my phone vibrate over and over. A beat up 1970s Mercedes was still parked in the small lot. I only had one guess as to whose car it was.

Con’s bike was already in the parking lot when the Aston Martin screeched to a halt beside it.

Oh my God. What the hell were we going to walk in to? I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. If we went inside and saw Archer with a bullet hole anywhere in his body, I’d never be able to look at Con the same way again. Never.

Lord and Lucas might think Con’s actions were perfectly understandable, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t change everything.

Archer was sick. Quite possibly insane. But I couldn’t let Con kill him. Not because Archer deserved to live, but because it wasn’t up to Con to end his life.

I didn’t want his blood on Con’s hands. And I really didn’t want to face the moral dilemma of what you were supposed to do when your boyfriend killed your great uncle because your great uncle arranged to have your boyfriend’s parents murdered before he was your boyfriend.

I’d thought Archer’s approval was all I needed for Con and I to be together, but now Archer was going to be the reason Con and I were torn apart—but for a whole different reason.

I hurried into the building, Lucas on my heels.

“You need to stay back, Vanessa. This isn’t going to be—”

The sound of raised voices cut off his words, and I ran toward them.

“Vanessa!” Lucas yelled.

I slammed to a stop when I hit the threshold of Archer’s office. He was on his knees, and Con was standing over him. The barrel of the shiny, black revolver in Con’s hand was pressed against Archer’s temple.

If you’d expected Archer to be begging for mercy, you would’ve bet wrong.

He was irate.

And every insult that came out of his mouth was pushing Con closer to the edge. For a brief moment I wondered if this was the equivalent of suicide by cop. I wondered if Archer wanted Con to kill him.

If that was true, it was the coward’s way out.

“Don’t. Don’t do it. Please, Con. Don’t.” I was the only one in the room begging, it seemed.

“You shouldn’t be here.” Con’s words were calm and even—completely at odds with the fact that he was holding a gun to a man’s head.

He was someone else entirely right now. Con the soldier. Con the avenger. And I didn’t know him at all.

I had to try to talk him down; no one else was attempting to. “You shouldn’t be here either. But you are. So I am. Let’s both leave now, and we’ll figure this out. We’ll call your buddy Hennessy, and we’ll let him handle it.”

“And you’ll kiss this foundation goodbye if you get the cops involved.” Archer laughed maniacally. “You’re not as smart as I thought you were, Vanessa.”

Con dug the barrel into his temple. “Don’t talk to her. You’ll just piss me off.”

“Figures that trash like you would be reaching for something so far above yourself. You’ll never be good enough for her.”

“Shut up,” Con bit out, and a measure of his calm slid away.

“Leahy, drop the gun,” Lucas said from behind me. “It’s over. I called Hennessy. He’s coming to take Archer in.”

I was surprised by Lucas’s statement, but Con didn’t seem to care. “Then I guess I better hurry this up.”

The blood froze in my veins, and my knees gave way as Con’s finger squeezed the trigger.

I screamed as I dropped to the floor.

But there was no explosion of gunpowder and lead from the barrel. Just a single, metallic click.

Con tossed the gun to the ground next to Archer, where a puddle of acrid smelling liquid was soaking into the carpet.


Con didn’t even look at me as he stalked out of the room.

I should’ve killed him. Should’ve left the chambers loaded. But I knew I couldn’t do it.

I sat in an Adirondack chair under the pavilion at the lake house, listening to the waves lap against the dock.

Any time now I expected Hennessy to show up with handcuffs. I didn’t come here to hide. I came here to mourn.

Regardless of what happened to me, I believed that Joy and Andre would now get their justice. Rich pricks like Archer Bennett might get away with murder on a regular basis, but from what Lucas Titan had told me, Joy and Andre weren’t the only ones he’d put a hit out on. There was no way he’d continue to walk the streets a free man once his crimes became known.

Titan had also said he would let Vanessa choose how they told the police what they’d found, but at the end of the day, he’d make sure it happened.

So as much as I wanted to hate that son of a bitch, Titan—the one I presumed was Vanessa’s Chief Fuckwit—I had to respect him.

What I did hate, though, besides knowing that Joy and Andre had lost their lives for fucking money, was knowing that Vanessa was losing her chance at her dream. There was no way the Bennett Foundation would survive this. And that wasn’t fair to her.