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“Who is Natasha? What’s her last name?” She didn’t know who she was talking to, Chan or the ghost from earlier—the one who spoke in a feminine voice. But somebody had better answer her. And fast.
“It’s either Natasha Brian or Natasha Owen,” a voice spoke behind her just as she heard the sound of someone’s feet hitting the ground.
Chapter Eleven
It only took a flicker of a second for the male voice to become familiar and for his scent to find its way into Della’s memory bank.
She turned and faced Chase.
In the silence of a day that hadn’t fully woken up, they stared at each other. “Are you okay?” he finally asked, sounding and looking soulful, perhaps apologetic.
She guessed his expression and tone was about Chan. Like being hit with a switch, her resentment at him for not trying hard enough to save her cousin resurfaced. Then, as if the switch was suddenly reset, she found herself questioning the justice of those sentiments.
She recalled with clarity how much pain she’d endured at the second turn, and how Chase had endured it with her, just to offer her a better chance of survival. Then she recalled him telling her over and over again that he didn’t believe Chan would have survived, even with his help. Would she have endured that for someone, someone she hardly knew, if she didn’t think he would live? And knowingly let another innocent person die, someone she thought had a better chance?
She took in a sobering breath, pushed those feeling aside, and decided she would come back to think about that later.
“How did you know I was here?” she asked.
“I just got off the phone with Burnett.” He dropped one hand into his jeans pocket.
It’s either Natasha Brian or Natasha Owen. His earlier words tiptoed across her mind. Unfortunately, only first names were written on the back of her picture. “So, it was you that broke into the FRU storage unit?”
He nodded. “I didn’t want to waste any more time.”
“If they find out it was you, they won’t work with you or the council, or let you work with me on this.”
He frowned. “They won’t find out. I covered my tracks. And don’t think Burnett didn’t already chew my ass out for it.” He took a step closer.
In the golden hue of morning sunlight, his eyes looked crystal green. He kept his one hand in his pocket, making one shoulder lift slightly higher than the other.
Something about his posture looked less certain than before, slightly vulnerable. And the way he studied her made her wonder if it was because of her, perhaps because of what she’d said to him earlier.
I don’t love you, period. I go back and forth on even liking you. It wasn’t altogether a lie. Yet realizing how hard and hurtful her words had sounded, she regretted saying them.
Her shoulders tightened, feeling a crazy tension at his presence, and yet at the same time, his being here brought on some kind of inner peace. She recalled she’d felt it at the falls as well. Thoughts of the falls turned her mind to another subject.
“The vision … You saw it, or experienced it. Didn’t you?”
He exhaled as if he didn’t like admitting it. “Yeah, but I’ve never had anything like that happen. I wasn’t sure what it meant. It wasn’t until you said their names that I knew you’d been a part of it.”
“You were Liam?” she asked.
He nodded. “Yeah, whoever he is. I couldn’t find anything on him at all. And I went through all the files.” There was a touch of desperation in his tone that mirrored what she felt.
She recalled knowing certain things about Natasha during the vision. “When it was happening, did you learn anything about him, or know things?”
“Just his first name and that he was scared. And … that he … he would give Natasha all his blood to save her. He’s more concerned about her dying than worried about his own life. He’s in love with her.”
Hearing that sent an ache fluttering around Della’s chest like a trapped bird. Tears stung her sinuses and she looked down, away from his scrutiny. She recalled Liam insisting Natasha drink more of his blood. Della had sensed he’d cared about Natasha. But what did Natasha feel for Liam? Della couldn’t say for sure, but she had refused his blood.
Della’s vision grew wet at the thought of two people, possibly in love, trapped, and feeling so damn desperate. Remembering what Holiday and Kylie believed about them. That option hurt more.
She blinked back her water weakness and looked at Chase. For one second, she debated not telling him, but then realized he had a right to know.
“Holiday, she’s a ghost expert, and … she’s afraid that Natasha and Liam are already dead.”
“No,” Chase said adamantly, his light green eyes brightening with emotion. “If we don’t find them, they will be. I kept hearing this voice telling me to find Natasha.”
“Me, too,” Della said, finding it odd he’d heard the same voice, and for some reason it gave her more hope. But since Holiday was sort of the knowledgeable one in all things ghost, it didn’t take all her concern away. “It still scares me because she thinks—”
“I don’t care what she thinks. She’s wrong,” he insisted.
“I guess we have to believe that.” And standing there—only a few feet from him, agreeing with him, she had some kind of a weird epiphany. They, her and Chase, were supposed to do this. They were supposed to work this case together. But who decided that? Fate? The death angels? The ghost? And who the hell was she? How was all this connected?