Fear Us Page 8

I remember thinking how she was too young.

Too innocent and undeserving.

Feeling helpless while she suffered twisted me inside out and ripped me apart. Every day, I worried that somehow simply caring for her wouldn’t be enough, and for the second time, I would lose the love of my life.

A year ago, I thought I was prepared to leave Keenan behind in my memories, but when I thought I was losing Kennedy, I sought him out. I reopened the wound for the sake of the life we created. For a moment, I believed he had the right to know even though it was his decision to leave. But when I couldn’t find him, and I began to realize he was gone forever, the wound healed differently.

I hated him for everything he forced me through for love. In the end, what hurt the most was he got to be the one to leave and I was left holding the shattered pieces.

When dinner was finished, I spooned her favorite meal of mac and cheese into a bowl with franks cut into small pieces.

“Kennedy, I made your favorite!”

I waited with a smile. In no time, she appeared at the gate and flashed a toothy grin. “Franks?” She shouted excitedly causing her r to sound like a w.

My cell rang just as I opened the gate. I sat her in the chair and pushed the bowl of mac and franks in front of her before picking up.

“Hey, Lake.”

“Don’t hey me. How did it go?”

I feigned irritation and sighed, “Do you know, the more you’re with him, the ruder you get?”

I would never have imagined the woman Lake Monroe is today was the same timid, naive girl who was bullied mercilessly by her now boyfriend.

Four years ago, no one knew the reason behind the deep hatred Keiran Masters felt for her. He had been the king of Bainbridge and had no problem using his power to ridicule and cripple her social life and self-esteem for ten years before it all changed for love.

Even though love had softened his rough edges, he could still be a scary motherfucker. I used to worry for Lake because people didn’t just change overnight, but so far, I haven’t seen signs she might be unhappy.

“Fess up and quit stalling. I can’t trust my future kids to some quack.” She began murmuring to someone in the background before I could respond. It must have been Keiran because I heard kissing followed by a loud slap and giggling.

“Do you two need some time alone?

“Huh? Oh, sorry. So did it go well?”

“I won’t really know for sure for another week. You know this.”

“But do you think you did well?”

“Lake, what is this about?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, why are you suddenly so interested in my grades?”

“Do I need a specific reason to be interested?”

My eyes narrowed although she couldn’t see me. Something was up. “Put Keiran on the phone.”

“I don’t understand why—”

“Lake,” I growled.

The next second a deep voice filtered through the phone. “What’s up?”

“You tell me. Lake’s fishing. What’s going on?”

I knew if there was anyone who wouldn’t insult my intelligence by beating around the bush or pretending, it would be Keiran.

“I’m going after him.”

Not even a few deep breaths could calm the turbulent storm in my head. I tried to tell myself it would be just like every other time. Keenan was never coming back. He promised me so the night he left.

“Keiran, don’t you think it’s time to give that up?”

“I found him, Sheldon.”

My pulse quickened, and my heart skipped a beat.

“You told me you would stop looking,” I snapped. Did he really find him? I had a million questions I wanted to ask, and yet I knew better than to give into the possibilities, but my heart had different ideas.

“I told you this was the last time,” he defended.

“And so you just happened to get lucky?” There must have been a million rocks Keenan had hidden under.

“He’s my fucking brother, Sheldon.” His voice dropped threatening, but then almost at the same moment, he added softly, “I probably would have never given up.”

“Why do you care so much? He hates you and don’t you remember what he tried to do to Lake?”

“It’s not something I’ll forget anytime soon. What’s your point?”

“He could be dangerous, Keiran. It’s been four years. We don’t know him anymore.”

“I’m not turning my back on my brother.”

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