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Legacy of Lies (Empire of Lies #3)
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We’re in this together—lie for lie, truth for truth.
We’ve both been damaged by our pasts, both terrified of building a future…
Still, there’s a sliver of hope for the both of us—if one of us is willing to fold first.
He’s the king of lies, I’m the queen, and together we’re going to build one hell of a legacy…
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You really are hopeless.
You’re reading this book in your bedroom right now—coffee or tea in one hand, fully charged vibrator in the other. Wistfully defiant and shamelessly hopeful, you think that this final part of the story will be everything you want. Everything you need.
Despite the fact that I’ve shown you my hand for over two hundred pages and told you exactly what to expect, I can sense that you’re still waiting for the complete opposite to unfold.
You want me to soften, to be “fixed” with a series of conversations that drag on long enough for you to believe them. You want the open wounds of my past to be bandaged and sutured with the soft threads of sex, with the soothing balm of whispered, sexy promises.
And because all of the novels you’ve read before have trained you to believe that years of emotional terror can be healed with a few pages of passionate fucking, you think I’ll turn into a “hero” worthy of rooting for. Someone you won’t be ashamed to tell your other hopeless, romance-reading friends about.
Please know, right now, that none of that shit will happen. And that isn’t a spoiler.
I told you how this story was going to end when we first met.
I warned you from the very beginning…
Foolish, foolish girl…
I stare at the road ahead as Michael’s car crosses a bridge in the distance. The taillights flash faintly under the dark sky, and a hopeless part of me actually believes that he’ll come to his senses and hit the brakes. That within seconds, he’ll speed in reverse and apologize for leaving me here alone. That maybe—just maybe, he’ll come back to help pick up the emotional shrapnel from all of the bombshells he’s dropped.
“It’s your fucking father. You’ve been crying all these tears about him, but he’s not interested in seeing or hearing from you again…” “I never told you that I was a fucking hero…” “This is the end of us, Meredith…”
His words play in my mind, on an endless loop, and I can feel my heart breaking a bit more with each rewind.
Holding my ground, I stand in the middle of the road until I can’t see anything more, until my brain finally strangles my heart and forces me to see the truth.
Your husband is a murderer-for-hire, and your father hired him to kill you…Everything you know about both of them is a goddamn lie.
He’s gone, and we’re over.
I was insane enough to be willing to look over him kidnapping and holding me hostage in an abandoned mansion, more than willing to listen to whatever the hell burned him so badly in the past—to better understand him, but this?
This is the final play of our game, and I’ll never allow a rematch.
Ignoring the tears that are falling down my face, I pick up my duffle bag and walk toward the bed and breakfast’s entrance. By the time I make it onto the front porch, I stop and look over my shoulder.
This small town is completely quiet. There’s no one around, and Michael’s final instructions don’t seem to make much sense to me anymore.
“Eight o’clock check out. Cab to Naco. Pay in cash and show the Harriet passport. Check into the Rio Grande Hotel, and tell them you’re meeting someone named Benny…”
I decide not to check into the bed and breakfast at all. Instead, I ask them if they can help me get a cab to a different resort. One that’s far away from here.
Since Michael wants to walk out of my life, he no longer has any say in the decisions that I make.
The Meredith Foundation to open in Leonardo Thatchwood’s newly purchased building
Law & Order: SVU to air thinly-veiled episode about Meredith Thatchwood’s Disappearance
The Thatchwood Effect: Why Did We Sympathize with a Billionaire Heiress?
Breaking News: NYC College Student, Daughter of Former Mayor, Reported Missing
Former Mayor’s Award-Winning Daughter Reported Missing: Search Party to Start Today
I let out a long sigh after reading the last headline on my iPad.
It’s official now.
Meredith’s disappearance and “suspected murder” are old news to the mainstream media.
There’s a brand new missing woman to exploit, and her story is far more compelling, far more sick and twisted. Or, so they think. (They have no idea that she’s arranged her own fucking kidnapping, and Trevor is handling that job. I refused.)
In the few days since I’ve left Meredith in Mexico, she’s become old news to me as well. I’ve handled four people on my list—three on the same night, and I’m closer to being free from all the painful nights I’ve suffered in my life.
Sure, she’s crossed my mind a few times, and I can’t deny that I’ve taken multiple cold showers with her beautiful face and sexy body in mind, but that’s it. I may have also been tempted to call the resort or open my tracker app, to make sure that she’s okay, but that doesn’t count. I didn’t do it.