Moonlight Sins (de Vincent 1) - Page 74

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His stomach twisted. “What tests?”

Maddie jumped, startled when lightning struck close. “She knew that we, that me and you, were the true heirs. We were Lawrence’s only children.”

“You . . . you can’t be right.” Lucian shook his head, his stomach bottoming. “There’s no way—”

“It’s true, Lucian. Devlin and Gabe were not his kids. We were,” she said. “Mom told me. She told me that she had us all tested. She had the proof. It’s in a lockbox.”

“In the closet,” Julia whispered. “Holy crap, it’s under the floorboards.”

Maddie nodded. “You’ve been reading Mom’s diary, haven’t you? I don’t blame you. I like you, Julia. You’re . . . sweet, but I really wish you would’ve just brought me the diary. Then maybe none of this would’ve happened. Maybe you would’ve gotten to go home.”

Lucian stiffened. “You’re my sister.” He reached behind him, pressing his hand into Julia’s hip. He inched her backward, effectively keeping himself in between the girl he no longer knew and the woman he knew he was falling in love with. “But I won’t let you hurt Julia.”

“You don’t have a choice.” She rasped out a broken laugh. “We can’t have witnesses.”

Focused on her and the gun she clenched tightly in her pale hand, he continued edging Julia out of his sister’s view. He had to keep Maddie talking until he figured out how to end this. “Why did you not just come home and tell us the truth? If Lawrence was really our father, why not just say so? Why go through all of this?”

“Because what difference would it have made? Dev would’ve made sure the truth got buried and with our father still alive? He would’ve definitely covered it up. He always wanted Dev and Gabe. Never us. He had to go before I could find the papers.”

Did she have something to do with Lawrence’s death?

Julia suddenly tensed behind him. Movement out the corner of his eyes caught his attention.


He was home and on the roof, inching closer and closer to where they all stood.

“Why the paintings?” he asked, keeping Maddie focused on him.

She shrugged a shoulder. “I don’t know. I just wanted someone to see the truth. I just wanted to.”

Lucian shook his head. God, he didn’t even know this person standing in front of him. She was a ghost—a twisted ghost.

Gabe drew closer.

“So you killed Lawrence?” he asked, already knowing the answer. It made sense now. If Lawrence was still alive, it wouldn’t matter who the true heirs were. With him gone and proof that Lucian and Maddie were his children, the will could be contested.

Her plan was crazy.

And it wasn’t just the plan that proved to him that he never knew who she was. It was her relationship with their cousin. It was the fact that she had killed their mother, accident or not.

Maddie laughed hoarsely. “That was our plan. That was the only time Daniel was supposed to be here. We would kill him and then . . . then I could prove that we were his kids. That’s why I came back like I did. I needed people to not suspect me.”

She had fooled him, but not their brothers. Not them.

“But we didn’t kill him.” She laughed again, wiping at her face as a fresh wave of tears tracked down her face.

“Bullshit,” he said.

“You don’t have to believe that, Lucian, but I swear it wasn’t us. There’s a killer here, and it isn’t just me. I’m not the only one, but I’m gonna have to do it again.” She steadied the gun. “We can fix this, but she’s got to go. So does Dev.”

His heart stopped in his chest.

“You and I can fix this together.” She took a deep breath. “We can fix this. Like we used to. Remember? When we—”

It happened so fast.

But he still had time to warn his sister. He could’ve stopped Gabe. All of this could’ve ended different. But he kept Maddie’s focus on him.

And a little part of him died right there.

Gabe shot forward, shoving his shoulder into Maddie’s side. The gun fired, but the aim was off. The bullet shot off harmlessly into the sky. Both his brother and sister toppled to the side, toward the edge of the roof.

Lucian sprung forward, racing toward them as they fell backward. He reached their sides just as another streak of lightning lit up the sky. There was only a split second, but more than enough time to not lie to himself, to pretend he wasn’t making a choice between saving his twin sister and his brother.

He grabbed Gabe’s flailing arm, pulling him back as his sister screamed, the sound lost in the crashing thunder and then silenced by the ground below.

Chapter 32

Maddie hadn’t been lying.

He found the lockbox under the floorboards of the closet. The key attached to the diary opened the box, and inside it were paternity results.

DNA proving that Lucian and Maddie were, indeed, Lawrence’s biological children, and neither Gabe nor Dev were.

It had been a shock to all of them.

Hell, everything had been a shock, even though his brothers never trusted Maddie’s return. He should’ve listened to them.

The last twenty-four hours had been a blur.

Once Dev had woken up, he and Gabe got down to fixing things while Lucian got Julia off that rooftop and to his room to clean up and make sure she was okay.

Besides a few bruises and a set of mental images she’d probably never forget, Julia would be.

While Lucian was with her, one of the brothers had called Richard. Despite the time of night, the man had come and he did what he needed to do.

His brothers did what they needed to.

With Richard’s help, all evidence of their sister having returned home vanished. Everything in their home had been wiped clean of her presence. And the lake house Maddie had hidden away at, well, the lake house was no more.

Then Troy was called, and that night was rewritten. The official story was partly true, partly not. Daniel had broken in and had been threatening Julia and Lucian. Dev had saved the day, but not before Daniel admitted to having financial problems. Police came out. All of them were questioned. Julia, who was introduced to Troy as Lucian’s girlfriend, backed the story up.

More than one person, including Troy, openly speculated about Daniel’s potential involvement in Lawrence’s suspicious death, and none of them corrected it. Lucian knew that when they started digging into Daniel, they’d find financial issues, but they would find nothing regarding Maddie.

To the world, Maddie was still missing and no one would know the truth to what she had been responsible for. That was their burden to carry.

And besides, Lucian didn’t really believe what his sister claimed. Not when Maddie had proven she was a fraud and a murderer who was willing to kill again.

The sun was in high in the sky by the time the police had left and Lucian was finally alone with Julia. He couldn’t talk to her about any of it, and she seemed to sense that. Even after everything she’d been through, she offered blissful comfort with her body, and he took it—took it all, making love to her, slow and meticulously. He stayed with her until she fell asleep in his arms, until he knew he had to leave her to take care of one last thing with his brothers.

Lucian had pulled the blanket up, draping it over her shoulders. Kissing her cheek, he moved away from the bed and pulled on a pair of jeans. Weary to his very core, he grabbed the folder of papers and headed downstairs.

Dev and Gabe where in the study, both silent when he walked in. Neither looked up as he crossed the room. Bending down, he turned on the gas fireplace. Flames roared to life.

“Cold?” Gabe asked.

He didn’t respond as he opened up the file and pulled out the papers. “These are the paternity results. I’m getting rid of them.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Dev said.

He didn’t. He knew that. “These papers change nothing. Lawrence wasn’t my father.” He started to toss the papers into the flames. “He never will be.”

Dev stopped him, catching his arm. Their gazes met. “You could have everything.”

“I don’t want everything,” he said, meaning it. “I don’t want any of it. Never had. That hasn’t changed.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout de Vincent Romance