Authors: Ella Miles
Copyright © 2016 Ella Miles LLC
All rights reserved.
Editor: Jovana Shirley, Unforeseen Editing,
Cover Designer: © Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations,
a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
“Ma’am, can I get you anything to drink?” the stewardess says.
I open my eyes and then immediately yawn. I’ve been flying for over twenty-four hours with minimal sleep.
“Coffee,” I say. I have only about an hour left in this last flight. I need to start waking up.
“Here you go,” she says, handing me the coffee.
I take it and set the cup on the tray table in front of me that also has my new passport and the letter my father wrote to me.
I flip the passport open again and read the name Hannah Grove. I got the passport from the same abandoned building Killian got our previous fake ones from in Tokyo. It was risky. I didn’t know if Killian or the FBI would check there. Even if they do, I paid the man almost ten times the amount the FBI usually does to ensure loyalty to me and not them. They can’t know where I am or where I’m going. Although I know they will figure it out soon.
I told Killian I was going to turn myself in. When I got to the airport, I called the FBI and told them the same. I even bought a direct flight from Dublin to New York.
I just didn’t get on it.
I’d learned from Killian that the best way not to be found was to get good and lost. Change passports. Change planes. So, that’s what I did.
I’m not going to turn myself in. I’m going to Mexico. I’m going to end this. I’m not going to let Killian get hurt for my family. I’m not going to let him lose his job for me. I love him, and I know he loves me, but he can’t keep harboring a fugitive. He can’t keep protecting me and keep the job that is so important to him. I just hope the FBI will believe that Killian is loyal to them and not me.
I shake my head, thinking back to my conversation with Agent Hayes.
“Hello, this is Agent Hayes.”
I nervously hold the pay phone in my hand and take a deep breath. I have to tell him. I have to do this.
“This is Kinsley Felton.”
Agent Hayes sucks in a breath on the other end of the phone, but his voice is calm when he speaks, “Where are you?”
“I can’t tell you that. All you need to know is that I’m buying a flight back home. My flight gets in at eight tomorrow morning at LaGuardia Airport and then I have a connection to Las Vegas at nine. I’ll cooperate. I’ll do whatever you want.”
“Is Agent Byrne with you?”
“No. He’s been tracking me. I saw him in London, but he didn’t find me. He’s the reason I’m turning myself in. I can’t keep living my life, running from the law.”
“That’s good, Kinsley. Just get on that flight, we will meet you in New York and fly back with you to Las Vegas. Then we can talk. You aren’t in any trouble. We just want to talk.”
I know he is lying. He doesn’t just want to talk. He wants to arrest me and my grandfather. If only he knew how much bigger this is than just money laundering and tax evasion. It’s much bigger. And I’m the only one who can put a stop to it.
“I’ll be on the flight,” I say.
I sip on my coffee. I don’t know if Killian has a chance at staying in the FBI’s good graces, but at least he will be safe in the US and not here, trying to protect me. No one can protect me. As much as my father thought he could, no one can. My family is too involved. And, as much as I want to just abandon my family, I need to make things right. After I figure it out, then I can save Killian’s career by making him seem like the hero.
I unfold the letter my father wrote and begin reading it for the hundredth time.
My dearest princess,
If you are reading this, I am no longer with you, and I’m so sorry about that. There is nothing more I wanted than to spend forever with you, protecting you from what I now must tell you. I need you to know that, even when you read the last word on this page, I love you, princess. I love you more than everything else in my life even if I wasn’t always able to show you.
I don’t know how to tell you this, but I have to. I’m not a good person. Your grandfather is worse. Your great-grandfather might have been worse than him. We aren’t casino and hotel owners. Not at our hearts. We are criminals. We like greed and money above everything and will do anything to keep it.
By now, you might have found out that we are money launderers. We don’t pay our fair share of taxes. We have lied and cheated our investors out of money. And, while that is all true, it was just a cover for what we are really involved in.
I can’t believe I’m even going to tell you the worst of it because you will never forgive me after I do. You will hate me, and your hatred for me will be valid. I won’t be there to defend myself, but you deserve to know who your family is. You deserve to know the truth.
So, here it is. We are smugglers. It started off small. Drugs and guns in small amounts, but it quickly grew. We realized we could make more money doing that than we ever could running hotels and casinos. Then, we found reinvesting the money into our casinos and hotels would make us even more money and keep our real activities hidden.
But the smuggling of drugs and guns soon grew large, so large that we got even greedier. We wanted more. Always more and more. We never had enough.
So, we grew to smuggling jewels, diamonds, anything of value. And that satisfied us for a while until we found out what our partners really wanted, what they would pay top dollar for.
They wanted us to smuggle people.
Our immediate response should have been no, but we couldn’t say no because we were in too deep with these people. And, to be honest, we didn’t want to tell them no. We wanted the money and excitement that came with smuggling. So, it made no difference to us if we were smuggling drugs, guns, diamonds, or people. They were all the same to us.
I realize now that it was a mistake. But, at the time, it was just our next adventure, an adventure we passed down from generation to generation. From son to son.
I didn’t realize how wrong it was until I had you, and then my world changed. At first, I thought I could pass the company to you along with all of our illegal activities, but we quickly realized that wouldn’t be a possibility. You were too delicate to take over. You would have ruined everything we worked so hard to build.
So, instead, we thought we could pass it on to your husband. But we would have to choose your husband very carefully to ensure we could pass the company on to him.
Finding you a husband became our new mission. Tristan was horrible. We knew he was a druggie and couldn’t be trusted around drugs, so we set him up. Of course, that turned into a mess when you were caught with the drugs instead of him. But, in the end, it all worked out. He was gone from your life, and you gave us the deciding power to choose your next boyfriend and who your husband would be. It couldn’t have worked out better.
We let you date Eli because he was harmless, but we knew he would never work out.
And then I met Killian. Killian was perfect. Strong, decisive, and loyal. He would do anything I asked of him without a second thought. And I asked a lot of him.
He was strong enough to run the company and keep up with the illegal activities while still keeping you protected from them.
We thought we had found the perfect solution.
Except we hadn’t. I found out he was FBI. I was going to have to kill him, a man I had grown to love as a son. I was going to have to shoot him in cold blood.
Now, you need to know I’ve killed before, so it wouldn’t have been an unusual thing for me to do, but I’ve never killed someone I thought would one day be my family, someone my daughter would someday marry.
But I had no other choice. The day came when I had to kill him. I had the gun. I had Killian alone, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill him, but if I didn’t, we were all as good as dead. You were as good as dead. I couldn’t have that.
I had to protect you. That became my obsession. I would do anything to protect you.
So, I made the decision to sacrifice myself and your grandfather to keep you safe. I told Killian I would give him everything he needed to put us away in prison if he promised to keep you safe. He promised, and I believe him. Killian will keep his promise and keep you safe.
I haven’t told him everything yet, but I will. All he knows about is the money laundering. He’s gained my trust though, so I can now tell him the rest. Now, I can tell him everything, and he can help me nail these guys, but it will be at the cost of me and your grandfather going to jail. We deserve it though. And I would do it all again to keep you safe.
But, if for some reason I die before I get a chance to tell Killian everything, you have to tell him. You have to give him this letter. You have to let him protect you. Promise me, princess, that you will be safe. Your safety is the only thing that matters to me.
I included the address to our main smuggling facility in Mexico at the bottom of this letter. I’ve already laid the groundwork to make sure Killian will be accepted as my successor. He will be able to gain access, and then he can call in the FBI to arrest everyone that is involved in the smuggling.
I’m so sorry, princess. I hope that you can forgive me someday, but I don’t know if you will be able to. I’m sorry, but you will be safe.
All my love,
I wipe away a tear. I cry each time I read the damn letter.
I didn’t even know my father. I knew nothing about him at all. He wasn’t a nice, caring father. He was a criminal who ruined who knows how many people’s lives.
If he thought I was going to just let Killian come in and fix all my family’s problems, he was wrong. There is no way I’m going to let the man I love risk his life to protect me. Not when I know there is a real chance Killian could be killed if he tried to arrest any of these men. I can’t let him die while protecting me even if it is his job as an FBI agent. I won’t let him do that. Not on my account. Not when his cover has been blown.