Stand Close 3 (Stand Close New Adult Romance Series)

Stand Close 3 (Stand Close New Adult Romance Series) by Sabrina Lacey Read Free Book Online

Book: Stand Close 3 (Stand Close New Adult Romance Series) by Sabrina Lacey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sabrina Lacey
escape. This place is enormous, surely they won’t notice if I just sneak by the kitchen island that’s as big as my car and slip out the door. Glancing nervously back to them, I see out the window a backyard as large as a football field with a dark-bottomed pool its central focal point. Jacuzzi, too, of course, but what affects me is the slide embedded in boulders. An image of the boys playing there as children, gives me pause. I can just see Jack racing to beat Sean and gleefully winning every time. For a split second, a younger me joins them, eagerly calling to Jack, You’re not going to beat me this time! as I race to the top to dive in on my stomach, head first.
    My mind is so preoccupied with this fantasy that the wind is knocked out of me as thin arms embrace me, imprisoning my arms at my sides. “Rue! I’m so glad you came back. The moment you left, I felt terrible.” Apparently a couple pills spilled into her mouth. She holds me at arm’s length, her eyes a little drugged. I stare at her, thinking that I didn’t leave so much as have the door slammed in my face with a police call threat. Her lips flatten as she stares at my slackened jaw and wide eyes. “I shouldn’t have said those awful things!”
    “You were just being honest,” I admit, quietly.
    She releases me and walks away, almost talking to herself. “I was. But I’m just so pissed at Max I could just kill him, if he weren’t already dead. Did you know he killed himself after your mother died? He did it because of her.”
    I stare at her. Alec looks at me. “What?” I ask her, unable to understand how she would know that.
    She nods, staring out at the backyard with her back to us. “He left me a note. The motherfucker said he never loved me. What a fucking liar. He loved me! It just… faded over time. You’re lucky you never met him,” she spits over her shoulder, locking eyes with me. “He was a real sonofabitch, my husband.” She begins to weep. Alec goes to her and pulls her into his arms, casting a concerned glance my way. I nod to him that I’m okay. She looks very fragile crumbled there against him, so unlike I’ve ever known her to be from all of the interviews and photos.
    So my father killed himself after my mother died. And my mom would never see him. I have to admit that I can’t blame her. Right now, he’s not looking like someone I’d want to know, either. And yet, he left me this money. But really–if he truly cared, wouldn’t he have tried harder? What’s throwing money at a problem going to help it when your children are involved?
    “I’m going to do something with the money, Mrs. Stone,” I promise her, but she can’t hear me. Alec meets my eyes as he pets her head, smoothing down the frazzled hair. “Let’s get you upstairs, Connie.” His tone is soothing as he adds, “Rue and I will stay here until we hear more news.”
    She doesn’t seem to hear him, her body wracking with sobs, but she allows herself to be picked up and her arms go around his neck limply like noodles, her face buried in his shoulder.
    “I’ll be right back,” he tells me quietly as they pass.
    “Okay.” I watch until they’re gone, glad I didn’t leave.

Chapter Nine

Jack
    T he plane is shaking so violently that I know this is the end. I look to my brother who finally has a reason to be afraid of turbulence, and an accepting calm overcomes me. Sean’s reaching for the mask and failing to grab it. He looks over at me and I say his name.
    I want to say I love him.
    That I’m sorry.
    That I regret almost everything I’ve ever done. I want to tell him what a good brother he’s been. That more than a brother, he’s been a friend. He’s always been there, always loved me, even when I was being a complete fuckhead, doing things no one should love. His quiet foundation of peace and calm gave me the ability to tornado through my life. There was always a solid thing to grab onto when the wind got too rough. Him.
    I want to say

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