Home > Sweet Reckoning (The Sweet Trilogy #3)(6)

Sweet Reckoning (The Sweet Trilogy #3)(6)
Author: Wendy Higgins

Just as the officer was putting away his pad of paper, another cop walked in and approached. He held out a plastic bag with a small, pink wad of cloth inside. It looked vaguely familiar.

“I think we figured out why our perp broke in,” said the cop. “Panty thief.”

Gah! My freaking underwear!

Patti gasped, and the interviewing officer sighed, shaking his head. “Well, you two gals sure put a hurtin’ on him. I don’t usually suggest that people fight intruders if they can avoid it, but I commend you both.”

“Thank you, officers,” Patti said.

After they left, we stood there in the silence staring at each other, her curly strawberry blond hair askew. I was glad we’d be moving soon, because our home was now tainted. Everything about the place felt violated and unsafe.

Where did you get the gun? I asked her, using my hands to sign in case any Dukes or enemy Neph were listening nearby.

Your dad.

Well, that figured. I was glad she had it, though.

Who sent this man? The second she finished signing the question, my stomach dropped, and I knew.

In slow letters I spelled out, Pharzuph.

The Duke of Lust, my boyfriend’s father, was behind this. He was checking to see if we’d followed through with the lie Dad had told them at the New Year summit seven months ago. Pharzuph wanted to know if I was still a virgin, a state of being that was unheard of for a Nephilim of my age. Only Pharzuph would have the ability to smell someone’s virginity in such a way. A disgusted shiver raked up my back. I shook it off and stood up straight.

All right Dukes, I thought. It’s on.








After I calmed myself and worked up enough nerve to return to my trashed room, I dialed Kaidan on video chat and told him everything. He might not have shown any emotional colors, but the murderous look on his face said it all. He rubbed his palms roughly over his eyes, then dug his fingers into his hair.

“They’re meeting in Vegas tonight. He must’ve sent someone before they even started. I want you out of there.”

“I know,” I said. “We’re going to a hotel. Not that we can hide for long, but at least we can make them work for it if they’re after me. I want to tell my dad, but I’m afraid to text him while he’s in the meeting.”

“Wait a bit and see if he contacts you.”

I nodded and chewed my lip.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“Yes, but he scared the crap out of me,” I admitted. “Then I just felt determined, and it sort of overrode my fear, so that was good.”

“Good. I’m glad you didn’t freeze up. And Patti is a rock star under pressure, yeah?” His words were light, but serious anger still clung to his features.

“Yes. She is.”

“What did Jay want?”

I told him the whole story about Jay and Veronica, but he didn’t seem surprised. Neph were used to seeing relationships crumble. In fact, they were the cause of many breakups.

“They’ll be all right, luv,” he said.

“Yeah,” I whispered.

My plan had been to stay up that night chatting with Kaidan—to make use of every second we had—but I felt skittish after the attack, like staying stationary was too dangerous.

“You should go,” Kaidan said, reading my mind.

I stared at him on the screen, his handsome face with slight worry lines between his eyes.

“I love you,” I said.

His head tilted and the worry line smoothed. “I love you, too.”

Those words, in that voice, from that mouth, did so many things to me.

I kissed my fingers and touched his cheek on the screen. He did the same, and with reluctance, we disconnected.

It didn’t take long for Patti and me to grab our emergency bags with all the essentials and get out of town. We stopped at a hotel one hour away.

We entertained ourselves playing Skip-Bo and Yahtzee. We were just starting to get sleepy when my phone rang. My heart banged against my ribs when I saw Dad’s number.


“Where are you?” His voice was low and quiet.

“Hotel in Georgia.”


“With P.”

“Separate. From here on out, you need to be together as seldom as possible.”

“Okay.” I looked at Patti, who sat across from me on the bed, watching me and taking shallow breaths as she waited for news. “Something happened tonight.”

“Go on.”

I told him about the attacker and his thwarted attempt to steal my underwear. Dad’s stewing silence was like a ticking bomb.

“Stay away from the apartment.” His raspy, violence-filled voice gave me the chills.

“Is anyone working the Atlanta area tonight?” I asked, referring to demons.

“No. Everyone’ll be heading out in the morning, but keep your eyes open. I’ll be in touch soon.”

I hung up and looked at Patti. “He wants us to separate tonight. I’ll come get you in the morning.”

Her chin quivered for one second before she cleared her throat and nodded. “Please be careful, Anna. I want you to take the gun.”

She reached for her bag, but I stopped her. “No. You keep it. I’ve been training with the knives and always have them on me.”

Patti hugged me hard, and I set off with a lump in my throat.

I drove without purpose or direction. When my phone rang I was happy to see Marna’s number.

“We’re in Atlanta. Where are you?” she asked.

I made a split-second decision and said, “I’ll come to you.” Normally I stayed in the outskirts of Atlanta and avoided the inner city because of Pharzuph and heavy whisperer counts, but the demons were in Vegas tonight, so the coast should be clear. We agreed on a hotel, and when I met the twins in the lobby an hour later I squeezed Marna around her thin shoulders. I planned to give Ginger a quick hug, if she’d let me, but to my surprise she held on when I tried to let go.

“Is Blake dead?” she asked in a dry voice.

“What? No!” I pulled back, and she closed her eyes, puffing up her chest. “I’m so sorry, Ginger. I didn’t mean to scare you.” I lowered my voice. “It was Flynn.”

The sisters looked simultaneously dejected and relieved by the news of whom we’d lost. Marna smoothed her flight attendant uniform down and let out a giant breath.

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