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The Skull Ruler (Skull 3) Penelope Sky 2022/8/5 16:54:45

I took a long drink of my scotch then joined him. I suspected Cassini told him what I’d done for her and that changed his mood. I rounded the truck then leaned against the side, my hands sliding into my pockets. “If you want the scotch back, I’m not giving it to you.”

He faced me, his arms across his chest. “I know better than to take a man’s booze away from him.”

“Good. We’ll both live to see tomorrow, then.”

The lights from his property gave us enough illumination for visibility, but everything in the background was black. Estates were spread out away from the city, surrounded by acres of land and vineyards. Case continued to stand there like he didn’t know what else to say. “Cassini told me what you did. You’re really going to let her go?”

“I’d let her go now if I could.”

“And you’re just going to let Lucian keep the diamond?”

I shrugged. “Maybe when I kill him, I’ll uncover it somehow. Cassini knows that house pretty well. She may be able to help me. He wouldn’t have stowed it inside a bank or something because I can get to that easily.”

“That’s still a big sacrifice.” He examined my face, trying to read my thoughts.

That was impossible. “I’ve got more money than I know what to do with.”

“But this is personal.”

“Keeping his wife and killing him is pretty personal too.”

Case continued to stare at me with scrutiny. “You didn’t tell her about Evan?”

“What did you do to him?”

“Almost killed him. It’ll take him a few weeks to recover, but don’t worry. He’ll walk again.”

Case didn’t react, but his eyes narrowed slightly in meaning. “He deserved it. But I also think Cassini deserves to know.”

“Not sure about that.”

“Because he told me something…something I’ve kept to myself.”

He stepped closer to me, as if Cassini could somehow overhear us. “What?”

“I’m not sure you want to know.”

“I’m her brother. I have to know.”

It was a sad story. The second Evan told me, I wanted to kill him. “Lucian had been stalking her for a while. Spotted her at a restaurant and became infatuated with her. So he paid Evan a hundred thousand euro to play a part in his scheme. The whole stunt they pulled was fictitious. It was all just to get Cassini to submit to Lucian.”

Case wasn’t restrictive in his reactions anymore. He stepped back, his nostrils flaring and his arms moving to his sides. He paced back and forth slightly, like he didn’t know what to do with this horrifying news.

Case paced for another minute before he came back to me. “You should have killed him.”

He shoved his palm into his face and slowly dragged it down, sighing with anguish. “All of that was a lie… I can’t believe it.”

“Now you understand why I haven’t said anything to Cassini.”

“And I’m not sure if I should.”

I stared at him and waited for his opinion.

“I don’t know if you should either,” he whispered. “It’ll just hurt her. But at the same time, she has the right to know the truth. Maybe when the dust is settled and she has her life back. But right now…it might be too raw for her.”

“And I think you should be the one to tell her.”

I smiled. “Make me the bad guy, huh?”

“No. Because then you can tell her that you nearly killed him afterward.”

“I don’t think she’s going to care about that once she knows the truth. She thinks she loved this guy. She already thinks she’s stupid for sacrificing herself for him. Imagine how she will feel when she realizes it was all staged?” I crossed my arms over my chest. “Knowing I hurt him badly is going to be the last thing on her mind, honestly.”

“Maybe. But when she calms down, she’ll be able to take it in.” He came to my side and leaned against the truck beside me. “You know what I think?”

“I don’t usually care about the opinions of other men.” I only cared about my opinion—because it was always right.

“You’re going to listen to it anyway. I think you aren’t helping Cassini because it’s the right thing to do. I think you’re bending over backward for my sister because she means something to you.” He turned his gaze and stared at my side profile. “She told me you want to go your separate ways when this is over. I just want to make sure that’s the case. I appreciate what you’re doing for her, and I actually respect you…but there’s no way in hell I want you to be with her. She deserves a nice guy, a nice house, and a nice life. She deserves something better than men like us. Do we understand each other?”