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Three is a War (Tangled Lies #3)
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Three means war.
I love two men, and I do the only thing I can. I fight.
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“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.
Love is a battle.
Love is a war.
Love is a growing up.”
James A. Baldwin
A heavy fog smothers my senses, trapping me in a netherworld between dreams and nightmares. Did I fall asleep? Am I awake? Why do I feel so uncomfortably warm and fuzzy?
I struggle to understand, my brain sluggish and not cooperating. Somewhere in the distance, the sound of a heartbeat whooshes a muffled rhythm.
Slowly, softly, my hearing clears. Then silence.
Something isn’t right. I was outside just a second ago, freezing my tits off. Wasn’t I in my car?
Think, Danni. Think.
I blink, and blink again. Why am I lying on my back staring at a ceiling I’ve never seen before?
Memories blur to the surface, each one spooling in a drunken ribbon of confusion. The car wouldn’t start. I climbed out to call a tow truck. Lost my balance. Ate the pavement. Then everything starts to warp—the buzzing in my ears, tunnel vision, disorientation. Shouldn’t I be in pain from the fall?
I lift my hands toward my face, and my fingers contort in front of me, familiar yet strange. A piece of medical tape peeks around the base of my thumb, and I turn my wrist, following it to a white bandage on my palm.
Only one hand is wrapped. Did I catch myself on the driveway? With one arm?
I was holding a coffee cup.
As if a switch is flipped in my head, my senses snap online, launching me into a coherent state of realization.
Cole or Trace left coffee on my doorstep.
The car engine wouldn’t turn over.
Oh my God, there was handwriting on the bottom of the cup.
It’s not over.
What’s not over? Cole’s secret job? The revenge attempts against him? Whatever it is, I’ve been pulled into it.
A jolt of adrenaline spikes through me, energizing every muscle in my body. I lurch into a sitting position, swaying with wooziness.
Where am I?
The large bed beneath me sits across from an open doorway that leads to a dark hallway. Sheer drapes cover two perpendicular walls of the bedroom, filtering what appears to be full-length windows and a gray sky. If the sun is setting, I’ve been unconscious for hours.
Panic rises, chopping my gasps. Whose house is this? How did I get here?
I force myself to go still, listening.
It’s so quiet the hairs lift on my nape, and every breath I take sounds like a hurricane. I need to get the hell out of here.
I need a weapon.
A round glass lamp sits on the side table. No clock or phone. But the massive bedroom reeks of wealth, from the opulent crown molding to the intricately carved wood-burning hearth.
My attention locks on the fireplace tools that hang on a stand. The wrought-iron poker looks heavy. And sharp enough to stab someone.
I shove a fleece blanket off my legs. I’m dressed in jeans, a sweater, and socks—everything I put on this morning. My knee-high cognac boots sit on the floor beside the bed.
No coat, which is where I stored my phone. Fuck.
Slipping off the bed, I yank on the boots and tiptoe toward the fireplace. Every step creaks the wood floors, shattering the stillness and chilling my spine in a cold sweat. I feel weak, unsteady, and slightly buzzed.
Someone delivered my favorite coffee to the back door of my house.
I was drugged.
It’s the only explanation for my blackout and transport to…wherever this is. Neither Cole nor Trace would do this to me, but their enemies would. The sort of enemies who get their throats cut in my house and leave devastating photos in my car.
My heart rate explodes as I run the final few feet to the fireplace and snatch the poker. It won’t stop a bullet, but it’s better than nothing.
Cole and Trace would go ballistic if they knew someone touched me, let alone sedated and kidnapped me. Is that what this is? A kidnapping? I’m not tied up or beaten, and the bedroom door is open. But I didn’t consent to this.
Full-body tremors lock my joints and quiver my chin. Why am I here?
Torture for information?
I lift my wrapped hand and peel off the bandage. A few minor scrapes redden my palm, nothing deep enough to warrant first-aid. If someone intends to harm me, why bother mending me at all?
None of this makes sense. I’m so out of my league and terrified it’s crippling. I need to do something before they come in to check on me.
The curtained windows loom at my back, pulling me in that direction. Maybe there’s an exterior door?
I step toward it, keeping an eye on the ominous hallway while fighting to silence the heaving of my breaths. Everything inside me wants to curl up and hide, but I keep moving until I reach the closest exterior wall.