Home > Love's Cruel Redemption (The Ghost Bird #12)(14)

Love's Cruel Redemption (The Ghost Bird #12)(14)
Author: C.L. Stone

“We’re getting rid of that problem soon enough,” Gabriel said and waved his hand. “Let’s focus on the house. Let’s let Mr. Blackbourne worry about Hendricks. He’s the man with the plan anyway.”

“Is that what they’re doing now?” I asked.

“Yeah, something’s going on,” Gabriel said. “But let’s put us in charge of family shit.”

“But...shouldn’t we help Mr. Blackbourne?”

“If he needs us, he’ll tell us what to do,” Luke said.

“But family first,” Gabriel said. “And right now, we’ve got a housing problem.”

I wanted to help the others, including Nathan and Kota with Erica, but I considered what they were suggesting. Having our own place would eliminate a large amount of problems. “But if we get a house, what about when Dr. Green’s mother comes to visit? And what about...I mean what if Kota’s mom later wants to stop by where Kota lives?”

“Uncle is going to want to check out any house we buy,” Luke said.

Gabriel twisted his lips and picked at the masque on his face. “Should we all have two spots? Dr. Green’s mom doesn’t come by that often. He could keep his condo and just live there when she’s around.”

Suddenly there were noises coming from Victor’s bedroom. My heart bolted to life and I sat up, aware it could be security or the new maid. How would we explain all this?

The bathroom door opened and North appeared. He wore his usual dark clothing, T-shirt and jeans and boots. There were a few new bruises over his forearms. He was unshaven for more than a few days, which left his face scarier than usual.

Once I realized it was him, my heart relaxed, but only a little.

North lifted a dark eyebrow, gazing at the three of us in the tub. “I’d ask, but I’m sure I’d get a dumb answer.”

“Team meeting,” Gabriel said simply and started to peel off his mask.

“This isn’t a family meeting,” North said.

“I didn’t say family, I said team.” Gabriel jerked the masque off his face, only it came apart at his cheek. “Ow, god damn...” He refocused on North, looking weird with half of his face covered. “It’s team three caballeros. Or amigos.”

“I think he called us stooges,” Luke said with a smirk.

“Right,” Gabriel said. “For the three stooge-amigos.”

I grinned toothily at North, saying nothing. He started it.

North just rolled his eyes. He looked at Gabriel. “I thought I was supposed to pick some people up.”

“Sang’s here while Kota’s checking out another Hendricks stalker and other shit going on,” Gabriel said. “I got left here but now I want to stay.”

“Yeah, we’re on stay out of trouble duty,” Luke said. “Want to join us?” He looked at me. “What do you say?”

I couldn’t help thinking about Luke saying we needed to get back to how we were before. I imagined he meant moments like this. “I guess we can let another stooge in,” I said.

Gabriel and Luke busted out laughing, Gabriel ended up nearly choking, snorting from his nose.

North started to roll his eyes but stopped and shook his head, a smirk forming. “You’re all ridiculous. So, I don’t need to be here?”

“Actually, it’s good you’re here,” Luke said. “We were talking housing logistics.”

North paused and then an eyebrow went up. “For what?”

“Sang needs a house,” he said. He stood up partially and then stopped. “Wait, hang on. Sang, look that way.”

I did instantly, looking at the wall as Luke stood.

“Were you in there naked?” North asked, his deep voice edging on irritated.

“We’re all naked underneath our clothing,” Luke said and I sensed he reached for the robe I brought in. When I was sure he had it on, I turned my head.

North’s mouth was agape, and he looked over at me. “You, too?”

“I’ve got underwear on,” I said.

He pushed a couple of fingers against the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. “You all put a sock on the door next time.”

“It’s not that kind of meeting!” Gabriel said.

“Come on,” Luke said, tugging North toward the door. “I’ll fill you in on what happened this morning while we go get lunch.”

“You just had breakfast,” I said.

“I’m in the mood for pickles for some reason,” Luke said.

A Need for Confirmation


Kota called ahead, saying he needed to park at the restaurant and take the long way around so his mother didn’t see him coming back.

It was early afternoon by that time, and Nathan absentmindedly went about cleaning up the house while waiting on Kota to show up.

He needed backup in the house tonight, just in case Danielle and Marie were going to trick him. So he prepared his dad’s room with a laptop and double checked the cameras around his own house. He set up microphones in different spots as well.

His phone rang just as he was on a ladder checking out a camera angle in the living room. He put the camera back into position in the vent and changed the app over from the camera view to answer the call on the phone.

“Pretend you’re on the phone with me for a minute?” Silas whispered.

“How’s it going?” Nathan said, happy to play along with whatever situation Silas needed him for. He hugged the top of the ladder, ready to stay up if it this was going to be short.

Silas’s voice was distant for a moment. “Sure, yeah. It’s Sang. Sorry. Have to talk to her.” Shuffling footsteps. “Sorry,” he said more directly into the phone.

It was hard to imagine big, tall Silas trying to weasel out of anything, but apparently he needed to break free from someone. “Is this school or work?”

“Personal,” Silas said. “My father wants me to go with him on another job.”

“You don’t normally back out of those.”

“In Columbia.”

“Oh,” Nathan said. The capital of South Carolina was a good drive, a couple of hours away. “It’s not that far.”

“For two weeks.”

“Oh. ... Yeah, you probably want to back out.”

“I told him I had school, and that wasn’t good enough. He’s more serious than I thought about me taking over the family business. He said I should be going to trade school if anything.”

Nathan stepped down the ladder, landing on the carpet. He glanced around the room at the set up and testing he wasn’t quite done with, but he had a few hours, he guessed, before Danielle and Marie might show up. He leaned against the ladder as he spoke. “Okay, well, do you want to come over to get away?” He paused and then smirked. “And why am I Sang? Nathan isn’t good enough for him anymore?”

“If it isn’t her, he’s less...forgiving when I say I’m busy. Only she wasn’t answering her phone. She’s over with Kota, isn’t she?”

Nathan straightened in a jolt. “What?” He paused. “Wait...well, there was a thing this morning. She kind of ran out with Kota.” He didn’t want to explain it all now. “But she could have left without her phone.”

There was a loud, booming voice in the background on Silas’s end. Silas groaned. “Yeah. I’ve got to go over to her...Look, I can’t do it. There’s too much going on here.”

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