The Strange Case of Finley Jayne Page 23

On the opposite wall there was a large metal door. Finley turned her attention to it instead of the brain. She wanted to run away, but she couldn’t. Not until she’d uncovered every secret Lord Vincent had.

It was at that moment that she felt a calm settle over her. She knew at once that her darker nature was taking over, and she let it. It always seemed to come during times of high emotion or stress, and since it was better equipped to handle this sort of situation, she didn’t put up a fight.

A couple of deep breaths later and her nerves settled. Fear was replaced with determination, and a healthy dose of righteous anger. Instead of feeling sorry for the thing in the vat, she was angry for it. Instead of being afraid she was determined.

She turned the wheel on the front of the large metal door. There was a hissing sound, the release of steam. As she turned, gears clicked into place until finally there was a loud thud as the locking mechanism slid free. She pulled the lever to the side and the door slowly swung open.

A wave of cold struck her, fogging the air as it clashed with the warmth of the room. For a moment she couldn’t see, the stuff was so thick.

When it cleared she wished she hadn’t opened the door. This was obviously an ice chest, and standing in the middle of it, strapped to a board was the late Lady Vincent. She wore a simple robe—which her husband had obviously dressed her in out of a sense of modesty rather than warmth. This poor lady wasn’t in any condition to mind the cold.

Finley stared at the corpse, mouth grim. There was a large, unhealed slash across Lady Vincent’s forehead. She didn’t have to be a genius to know it went all the way around.

At least she knew now who the brain in the tank belonged to.

“You’re a very nosy girl, Miss Bennet.”


Finley swore under her breath—the kind of swearing that would have made her mother wash her mouth out with soap.

How could she not have heard him coming? He’d sneaked up on her like a cat on a deaf mouse.

She turned, and met the glittering gaze of Lord Vincent.

“So, what’s the plan?” she asked. “Are you going to attempt reanimating your wife?”

He arched a brow, gazing down that big nose of his at her. “That might cause some issue, considering the world knows her to be dead.”

Frowning, Finley glanced at the brain in the tank. It was bobbing furiously now. He kept the brain alive, so he must be planning on using it for something….

It was as though a giant hand of ice reached inside her and seized her heart. “Oh my God,” she rasped. “You’re going to put her brain in Phoebe’s head.”

It was a horrible assumption, one she hoped was wrong, but the second the accusation left her lips, Lord Vincent smiled an awful smile. “Nosy and smart. Never a good combination, my girl.”

Rage swelled up inside her. Who did he think he was, God? “I can’t let you do this. I won’t.” She clenched her fists at her sides.

More of that self-satisfied smirk. “And I won’t allow you to stop me.” Suddenly he had a pistol in his hand, pointed at her head. It was one of those six-shooters like the cowboys in America used. It was deadly, but at least it wasn’t one of his fancy inventions. “I know you’re fast, and much stronger than you ought to be, but even you aren’t faster than a bullet.”

Hadn’t she thought the same thing the other day? “You don’t know anything about me.”

“I know you destroyed my precious horses in a way even a circus strong man would not have been able to. I know you single-handedly fought off men armed with a pistol and knife.”

How did he know exactly what weapons they had? Neither she nor the other women involved had mentioned that—hadn’t wanted to bring more attention to her than necessary.

“You hired them to attack us.” Disbelief dripped from her words. “You could have killed your own fiancée.”

“They had strict orders not to harm Phoebe, but you and Lady Morton, not so much. Don’t look at me like that. I had to know what you were capable of. I had to know what I was up against so I could protect what I’ve worked so hard to achieve.”

“You’re bloody mad.”

“Perhaps. Have you ever been in love, Miss Bennet? No, of course not. You’re but a child. What do you know of love?” He sneered at her, but there was pity in his eyes, as well. “I loved my wife. I love her still. And now I have been given a chance to make everything right. I can make her forgive me.”

“You think she’s going to thank you for shoving her brain in someone else’s body?” He really was insane.

“It will be like having her own body back. Phoebe is the spitting image of Cassandra when she was young. Once I give life back to her, she’ll forgive me for taking it away from her in the first place.”

That was a surprise. Had he killed her? “Lady Morton said it was a carriage accident.”

“It was, much like the one you and Phoebe almost had. We were driving home in the snow, and the horses I’d built malfunctioned. We went over a small ravine. I survived. Cassandra did not.”

“That still sounds like an accident to me.” Not that she felt sorry for the lunatic, but he hadn’t been in control of the situation.

“If I had been more intelligent…” His voice cracked. “If I had done a better job, the horses would not have malfunctioned.”

She shrugged. “They malfunctioned at the park, too. What did you do wrong there?”

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