Kiss by Ted Dekker Read Free Book Online

Book: Kiss by Ted Dekker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ted Dekker
Tags: thriller, Suspense, Romance, Mystery, Adult, Ebook, book
could easily have been the villa of some Colombian drug lord.
    Shauna laid a hand across her roiling stomach. She hated this place and all the memories it housed.
    The security detail around her father was higher than usual, with the general elections less than a month away. And yet Wayne passed through without question.
    They entered the mansion through a side entrance that led to the McAllisters’ casual dining area, located off a sparkling stainless-steel kitchen. Shauna smelled barbeque mesquite and buttered potatoes, which only made her nauseated.
    She nodded at a cook she didn’t recognize and hurried her pace so as not to fall behind Wayne. He took her hand and paused before the door.
    “You okay?”
    She nodded, but she didn’t feel anything similar to okay.
    Shauna pushed the door open and stepped into the dining room.
    Landon, Patrice, and another woman sat at an oak pedestal table eating the last bites of their supper. Rudy sat by the window.
    The clinking of forks on plates came to an abrupt halt, and the room stilled to complete silence. As one they stared at her.
    Landon said something, but Shauna didn’t hear his words. She was only aware of Rudy.
    Her unstoppable brother, a fit and strong track-and-field champion, had been reduced to a twisted twig, contorted in a wheelchair contraption that looked expensive and custom-fitted to his shriveled body. The tilted chair put him in a reclining position and was jacked up on a frame like a monster truck on small wheels. A bag hung from a pole attached to the side of the chair, and a narrow plastic tube ran from it into Rudy’s abdomen.
    He must have weighed thirty pounds less than her last memory of him. His wild curls, light brown and thick, had been shaved, and large foam pads braced his fuzzy skull. A scar cut laterally through the new hair growth across the top of his head. “Rudy.” His name came out of her lips like a dying breath.
    Shauna felt too weak to stand. She groped for a side chair and gripped the back for support. Wayne took her elbow.
    “I’m so sorry,” he whispered. “I didn’t know.”
    Mind numb, she pulled her arm free.
    She couldn’t tear her eyes from Rudy’s shriveled form. Shauna knew then that she should have died in the river that night. She’d done this . . .
    Below his hairline, a dark bruise that had long since gone through its rain-bow stages nearly covered his forehead and right eye. His gray eyes—she caught her breath—his gray eyes were watching her.
    “Rudy?” And this time his name rode out of her mouth on hope.
    “He can see you, but I can’t say whether he recognizes you,” the woman next to Patrice said. Shauna glanced at the middle-aged woman with over-rouged cheeks and a nose too small for her wide face. She rested an equally small chin on her folded hands. “He is in what we call a minimally conscious state.”
    Shauna turned back to Rudy. Tears filled her eyes at this unbelievable sight.
    “What does minimally conscious mean?” Shauna asked.
    “That he’s got a couple more functioning brain cells than a vegetable,” Landon said.
    “Mr. McAllister,” the woman said gently. “He is aware.”
    Shauna looked at her father for the first time since coming into the house. Landon McAllister’s voice was as she always remembered it: deep and rich and clear and charismatic, a pied piper voice that anyone would follow. But his normally flashing eyes were flat today. The lines of his wide mouth turned down. A surface vein pulsated at his left temple the way it so often had in the weeks after her mother died.
    This man was broken, and Shauna’s heart overflowed with a new kind of grief.
    He did not hold her eyes for long. Again, he was the first to turn away.
    “How aware is he?” Shauna asked. She returned her attention to her brother’s eyes.
    “We really don’t know,” the guest said.
    “Amazing how little you people do know,” Landon muttered.
    Patrice spoke to Shauna for the first time, cool

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