Her Last Goodbye Page 56

“I’d love to stay like this forever.” Sweat broke out on his forehead. “But I can’t.”

“Nothing lasts forever.” Morgan hitched her legs around his waist and pulled him deeper. “Better to make the most of every moment.”

But she would remember every precious second and hold it tightly in her heart.

They moved together, instinct guiding their bodies. Tension built, ebbed, built again, until Morgan finally spiraled out of control. Her orgasm was a free fall that left her dizzy. Lance shuddered and collapsed on top of her.

Sweating and panting, she poked him in the ribs. “You’re crushing me.”

But inside, her heart felt full, as if he had filled its cracks.

“Sorry.” He rolled off her and onto his back, out of breath.

She rolled onto her side, throwing a leg over his and resting a hand on his powerful, bare chest. “Consider my world rocked.”

He put his hand over hers and squeezed gently. “I think my heart exploded.”

Her gaze went lower, to the thick angry scars on his thigh from where he’d been shot the previous year. He’d almost bled to death. For a second, she couldn’t bear to think about a world without him in it. “You almost died.” The words choked her, and a tear rolled down her cheek.

“But I didn’t.”

She squirmed lower on the bed and pressed her lips to it.

He tugged her back into his arms. “Life doesn’t come without risk.”

“I’m sorry.” She wiped her cheek. “I’m an emotional mess tonight.”

“You need sleep. It’s a wonder you’re still conscious. Close your eyes. Whatever happens in the morning, we’ll face it together.”

Exhausted and spent, she rested her head on his shoulder. His arm wrapped around her shoulders and held her close. Despite the uncertainty that lurked outside the door, here and now, in his arms, she felt safe and whole for the first time in years.

What she felt for Lance was as strong and simple and pure as a beam of sunlight cutting through storm clouds.

Was it love? It just might be.

She was certain about one thing. Anything bad that happened to her would be more bearable because of his presence. She was stronger with him than she was alone.

She lifted her head. His eyes were closed, and his chest rose and fell in a deep rhythm. She closed her own eyes. Thoughts of love shifted to Tim and Chelsea. The sheriff had said he would call them to let them know about the arrests of the Burns brothers. Morgan wondered how Chelsea was taking the news. Was she relieved? Did she believe it was over? Was she being comforted by her husband tonight?

Even in sleep, Morgan’s brain refused to let go of the inconsistencies of the case that she’d noted at the salvage yard.

A few hours later, she woke. Morning had broken. Pale sunshine filtered through the blinds, casting stripes of shadow and soft light across the bed.

Something wasn’t lining up so neatly in her mind.

She slid out of bed, donned the borrowed sweatpants and T-shirt, and tiptoed into the kitchen. She scanned the counters. No coffee machine. Why hadn’t she noticed the absence in her previous visits to Lance’s house? He didn’t drink coffee regularly, but surely he must have a machine somewhere in case of an emergency.

Like now.

Her head ached for caffeine. Yes. She was an addict.

She checked his cabinets but found no sign of coffee. She’d have to wait until he woke up. With a sigh, she gave up, took her files into the living room, and spread them across the coffee table.

The answer was in here somewhere.

Chapter Thirty-Nine

The bedroom was bright with daylight when Lance woke. He rolled over to find the bed next to him empty and cold. For a few seconds, he wondered if he’d dreamed making love with Morgan. But her scent on the pillow next to him assured him it had happened. The memory gave him a rush of lust, quickly doused with concern.

Where was she? Why wasn’t she in bed?

He stepped into his sweatpants and padded barefoot into the living room. Morgan sat on his couch, the case files spread across his coffee table. He glanced at the clock. Eight a.m. He’d slept maybe four hours.

“Did you sleep at all?” he asked. He was still groggy. She’d slept even less than he had over the past few days.

“I did. I’ve only been up about an hour.” Over the dark circles, her eyes were bright with interest. She wore his sweatpants and T-shirt, and her hair tumbled around her face in a tousled wave that made him want to scoop her up and take her back to bed. Even if it was just to make her sleep.

But he recognized the dog-on-a-scent look on her face. There was no way she was going back to bed. She was onto something.

He sat down next to her on the sofa. “What did you find?”

“At least one thing that doesn’t add up already.” She shuffled a few pages. “Chelsea escaped from her prison through a hole in the roof. I don’t remember seeing a hole in the roof of that trailer last night. Plus, Chelsea never mentioned a bloody mattress in the container.”

“Maybe the police will find a shipping container somewhere on the property. I hate to say it, but the Burns brothers could have had multiple places they held women.” Lance stood. “I need food. I can’t think straight. I’m making eggs. I can’t make you sleep, but you will eat. We have to go to the sheriff’s office today.”

“Oh, joy.”

“Hopefully, he’ll have some information about what they found at the scene overnight.”

“But will he share it with us?” Morgan asked.

“Stranger things have happened,” Lance said. “I’m hoping some of his attitude was for show. Secretly, he has to be at least relieved that we found Karen Mitchell, and hopefully, the Burns brothers also killed Sarah Bernard, kidnapped Chelsea Clark, and broke in to your house.”

“I’ll feel better if Chelsea’s DNA turns up in that trailer or somewhere else on the property.”

“Me too.” Lance went into the kitchen. He scrambled half a dozen eggs with olive oil, basil, and spinach, and then toasted four slices of the organic, gluten-free oat bread Morgan’s kids had refused to touch. He brewed a pot of strong green tea and piled the food onto two plates.

“Here.” He set a plate in front of Morgan.

She pushed it aside. “Thank you.”

Lance put the plate back in front of her. “Stop working and eat before you make yourself sick.”

“You’re right.” She leaned back and lifted the fork from the plate. “What’s the green stuff?”

“Spinach. You need the vitamins.” Did he sound exactly like Sharp? Yes. Yes, he did.

That was what happened when you cared about someone. And he definitely cared about Morgan.

He loved her. Was she ready to hear that?

Probably not.

She finished her food. Lance put the dirty plates in the sink and brought her a cup of green tea.

“Thanks.” She sipped without looking up from the page she was reading, then froze and looked up at him in horror. “You really don’t have coffee? I mean I looked for it earlier, but I assumed you’d have an emergency stash somewhere.”

“Sorry. Sharp purged my kitchen of everything he considered to be a ‘toxic’ substance over the summer. He practically needed a dumpster. I’m lucky I saved the whiskey.”

“I would never have parted with my coffee machine.”

“I can hardly argue with his lifestyle. It healed me.” Lance took his place on the couch next to her and drank his tea. She was right. It was a sad substitute when proper rest wasn’t an option. “We’ll stop for coffee on the way to the sheriff’s office.”

“Damned straight.”

“Hand me a few files. Let’s see if we’ve overlooked anything else.”

They passed files back and forth. A few hours later, Morgan said, “This can’t be right.”

He pressed his shoulder to hers. “What?”

She sifted through her mound of files. Opening one, she flipped through the pages of one of her meticulous files. Her fingertip slid down a page and stopped. She started reassembling her files. “We need to check with the sheriff.”

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