Authors: Allie Everhart
Tags: #Romance, #Mystery, #New Adult, #Suspense, #Contemporary
|Promising You (The Jade Series #4)|
|Waltham Publishing, LLC (2014)|
|Tags:||Romance, Mystery, New Adult, Suspense, Contemporary|
By Allie Everhart
By Allie Everhart
Copyright © 2014 Allie Everhart
All rights reserved.
Published by Waltham Publishing, LLC
Cover Design by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations
This book is a work of fiction. The characters, things, and events are fictitious, and any similarities to real persons (live or dead), things, or events are coincidental and not intended by the author. Brand names of products mentioned in this book are used for reference only and the author acknowledges that any trademarks and product names are the property of their respective owners.
The author holds exclusive rights to this work and unauthorized duplication is prohibited. No part of this book is to be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author.
“Jade, you’re awake.” The man’s voice is familiar. He comes up next to me and I see it’s Dr. Cunningham, the doctor who took care of me after I fell and hit my head in the woods behind Garret’s house. “How are you feeling?”
I open my eyes more and realize that I have no idea where I am or how I got here. The room I’m in looks like a small office with plain white walls and short beige carpeting. Across from me is a large wooden desk and a wall of bookcases. I notice a strong leather smell and see that I’m lying on a dark brown leather couch.
“Where am I?” I ask the doctor.
“You’re just a few miles from Moorhurst. Your grandfather called me right after you passed out. Luckily I was still in town from seeing you earlier today.” He smiles. “We really need to stop meeting like this.”
“My grandfather?” I suddenly remember the scene outside the Student Services building on campus. An old man approached me, claiming to be the father of Royce Sinclair, my biological father who I learned about a few months ago. The man said his name was Arlin Sinclair and that he needed to talk to me. Two large men surrounded me and I knew that the old man wasn’t just there to talk. He was there to kill me. To finish the job his son was supposed to do.
I bolt up from the couch and pain shoots from my knee, forcing me to sit down again.
“What are you doing?” My sudden movement startles the doctor and he quickly rests my leg back on the couch. “You know it’s too soon to put weight on your knee like that.”
I grab hold of his lab coat. “Tell me where I am! Tell me exactly where I am!”
“I told you,” he says calmly. “We’re at your grandfather’s office.”
“I don’t have a grandfather! My grandparents are dead!” I’m panicking, searching the room for an exit. If the scene with Sinclair really happened, then why am I still here? I should be dead. He should’ve killed me by now.
grandparents are deceased.” Cunningham remains calm as he tries to hold me still with one hand while using the other to take something from his lab coat. “Your grandparents on your father’s side are very much alive. Now look right over here for me.”
He shines a bright light at my eye, making me squint. I push the light away. “I have to find out what’s going on.” I attempt to get up again but he remains seated next to me and won’t let me move.
“Jade, you have a serious concussion and you need to calm down. I believe your blackout was caused by stress. I want you to take some time to rest and relax this week.”
Relax? Does this guy not get that my life is in danger?
“Take me back to campus. Please! I need to see Garret. I need to get out of this place.”
“Your grandfather will be here any minute, and after he talks with you he’ll take you back.”
I grab Cunningham’s lab coat again and yank him toward me. “That man is trying to kill me! Don’t you get that? He wants me dead! He needs to bury the evidence of what his son did to my mom.”
After I say it I realize that I was never supposed to tell anyone that. Then again, Cunningham was there the day Royce Sinclair was killed by Garret’s dad. He was one of the doctors who took Garret away after he was shot. So maybe he already knows what happened. Still, I’m not sure if he knows the whole story or just part of it.
Dr. Cunningham removes my hands from his lab coat and sets them back at my side. “I can assure you that Arlin Sinclair is not trying to kill you.”
“Why are you here?” I ask, still completely confused.
“I told you. You passed out and Arlin called me. Listen, Jade, I want you to take some days to rest. Stay home from class for a couple days. And make sure someone stays with you overnight. Garret, or your friend, Harper.”
“How do you know about Harper? And why are you working for Sinclair? I thought you worked for the Kensingtons.”
“I work for a private medical clinic that treats a very select group of individuals.” He puts his hand on mine and looks me in the eye. “But you already know that, don’t you?”
“You also know that it’s best not to ask questions, correct?”
“Yes.” I decide to go along with whatever he’s saying. Maybe doing so will buy me a little more time before they kill me. But if they’re killing me, why is Dr. Cunningham worried about my concussion? And why did he just tell me to stay home from class? And have Garret stay with me overnight? Wait. What?
I’m slowly realizing that maybe I’m not going to be killed after all. But then why was Arlin Sinclair at Moorhurst today? And why did he kidnap me and take me here?
“Is she awake yet?” I tense up hearing his voice again.
“Yes, but she’s a little confused,” Cunningham says.
“Because of her head injury?” I glance back at the door and see the old man rushing over to me. “I thought you said she was okay!”
Cunningham stands up. “Yes. She is. What I meant is that she’s confused by the situation. The confusion is not due to her concussion. Forgive me for not being clearer.”
“I see. Well, I’ll speak with her. If you’re sure she’s okay, you can go now.”
“Jade, keep using the crutches,” Cunningham says. “Don’t try to walk on that knee. And call me right away if you have any of the head trauma symptoms on that sheet I gave Garret. Do you have any questions before I go?”
“Um, no. No questions.” I don’t want the doctor to leave me alone with the old man, but I don’t know what else to ask him. He exits out the door, shutting it so fast I can’t see what’s on the other side.
The old man walks over in front of the couch. “So, Jade, let’s try this again.” He holds his hand out and smiles. It’s a warm, friendly smile but I’m still leery of him so I don’t smile back. “I’m Arlin Sinclair. Your grandfather. It’s nice to finally meet you.”
I cautiously shake his hand as he takes a seat on the leather ottoman that’s in front of the couch. He doesn’t seem nearly as scary as he did earlier when he was wearing his long black coat and was accompanied by his two ominous henchmen.
He’s in his mid- to late-seventies, with a full head of thick white hair. His hair is a sharp contrast to his skin which has a deep, golden-brown tan like he just got back from vacation. His suit jacket is off, leaving him in a white dress shirt, blue striped tie, and black pants. He’s average height and has a bit of a paunch in front.
“Are you going to kill me?” I blurt it out and it sounds crazy, but when I’m nervous I tend to spit out whatever’s in my head. And if he truly is going to kill me, I want to know.
“No! Of course not.” He puts his hand on my arm and I snatch it away. “I want to help you. I have no intentions of doing you any harm.”
“But you kidnapped me.”
“I didn’t kidnap you. I’d hoped to talk to you at your school, but then you passed out. I called Dr. Cunningham and he told me to bring you here right away.”
“Who were those guys you had surrounding me?”
“They’re my security men. I was in Manhattan earlier and I always bring them with me when I go there. When we stopped at Moorhurst they didn’t want to wait in the car, so I told them they could wait outside. But I can see how they might’ve scared you.” He shakes his head. “I should’ve made them wait in the car.”
“But your son tried to killed me. Aren’t you here to finish the job?”
“No. That’s not at all what’s happening here.” He lets out a long sigh. “Let me start by saying that I’m sorry, Jade. For everything Royce put you through. I didn’t know what was going on until after my son’s death.”
“What do you mean? You didn’t know he was trying to kill me?”
“I didn’t even know you existed until Royce was gone.”
I don’t believe the old man. He has to be lying. “Your son raped my mother and left her on the side of the road to die. You’re saying you didn’t know about that? Yeah, right. I’m sure you were the one who helped him cover it up.”
“The story Royce told me was that he and your mother spent one night together and afterward she claimed it was a rape in order to get money from us. He said the rape story was completely false. And I believed him. As far as I knew he’d never forced himself on a woman. He had no criminal record. And you have to understand, we have people trying to extort money from us all the time. When it happened, Royce was married with a child on the way. He didn’t want this to destroy his marriage. So yes, I did help Royce back then, but I was relying on what he told me. If I’d known the truth, things would’ve been different.”
“Like how? You would’ve let the real story come out? Let your son go to prison?”
“I don’t know what I would’ve done. It was a long time ago. The point is that I didn’t know about you, Jade. Royce never told me your mother was pregnant.”
I still don’t believe the old man but I play along. “So when did you learn the truth?”
“After Royce died I was cleaning out his office and found the combination to his safe. When I opened the safe, I found a file that contained information about you and your mother as well as details from that night. I saw the original police reports. But until I saw that file I had no idea that’s what really happened.”
“What were you doing at Rockefeller Center that day you bumped into me? Were you following me?”
He nods. “Once I learned what really happened years ago, I was concerned for your safety. Even though Royce was gone, I didn’t know if he had people who might come after you. So I’ve been keeping watch on you.” He places his hand on mine. “When you were in New York, I purposely bumped into you because I wanted to see you. I assumed if I approached you and told you who I was you’d want nothing to do with me, given what Royce had done.”
I yank my hand back. “If you knew I didn’t want to see you, then why did you come to my school today?”
“Because I need to talk to you about some things. Do you have other questions before I begin?”
“Does anyone else know what he did? Did other people see what was in that file?”
“Luckily, no. If they did, you probably wouldn’t be here.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
He sighs. “At first I feared the organization knew. They hold on to secrets like this to make sure people follow orders. It’s blackmail basically, but they prefer to call it an incentive.”
He gets up and moves to a high-backed leather chair near the end of the couch. “I belong to a very elite organization that is composed of some extremely powerful men. My son, William, is also a member and so was Royce. I guess some people might call it a secret society although we don’t care for that term. Anyway, because the group is so exclusive and its functions are so top secret we have to find ways to keep our members from speaking out. This file I found would’ve been an excellent tool to blackmail, or incentivize, Royce into keeping quiet. Not that they would’ve ever needed it. Royce wasn’t the type to spill secrets, especially regarding this group.”