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Della kept listening, but so far, he hadn’t said anything that proved to her that Natasha and Liam were dead.
“Until the other rogue spoke up today, we didn’t know it was happening here. He gave us the names of those responsible. At five this morning, we arrested three of them. We think this Damian Bond could be one of them as well.”
“So this is good news,” Della said. “We’re getting closer to finding them. Why are you—?”
“There’s more.” Burnett folded his hands on the desk. “We’re told that when the first arrests went down in Dallas, they sent word to their Houston partners and were told to eliminate the evidence.”
“Eliminate?” Della repeated. “They killed them?”
He nodded. “We’ve been informed of a mass grave. It’s in a junkyard where they destroy and bury cars.”
Just like that, Della remembered the noises she’d heard in the vision, the sounds of large equipment. Doubt started pulling at the threads of hope she held so tight to her heart.
“The FRU is still collecting the bodies, and we’ll take them in to be identified. I know you don’t want to believe this, but there’s a good chance Natasha and Liam are among the victims.”
Tears filled her eyes, but she didn’t care.
Find Natasha.
The voice whispered in Della’s head. Was the voice wrong? But what about the vision—the vision of the woman murdered by someone so like her father and uncle? Questions started bouncing off her sore, unraveling heart.
She wiped the tears from her eyes. “How long … before we know for sure?”
“It could take up to a week to confirm identities of all the dead.”
Della stood up. “Fine, but until you find Natasha’s and Liam’s bodies, I’m going to keep looking. And I won’t believe they’re dead until I see them on the morgue table myself.”
“Della, you need—”
“No!” Della said. “I’m going to keep looking.”
“Where? You’ve run out of leads.”
Call from Miao Hon. The words suddenly echoed inside her head. Not from memory, but obviously sent by the ghost.
But why? The answer came to her with clarity. The same reason she’d sent her the picture. Her aunt knew something that Della needed to know. And just maybe it would be the information she needed to find Natasha.
“No, I haven’t,” Della said. There was still the one she’d been avoiding.
She left Burnett, not looking back when he called her name. She flew off the office porch and headed to her cabin. She found the photograph in her nightstand drawer, and then she left. She took off and jumped the gate. She knew it would sound the alarm and Burnett would know it was her.
She didn’t care.
She needed to get to the one person she thought would understand how she felt. The person who could help her do what she had to do.
Chapter Thirty-three
Chase was on his front porch when she cleared the top of the trees. He had his phone in his hand, his gaze focused upward, as if watching for her.
“She’s here,” she heard him say as she moved in.
Probably Burnett, more than likely pissed she’d left without permission. Who was she kidding? He was definitely angry.
She didn’t care.
Chase ended the call and dropped the phone on one of his wicker patio chairs.
She landed on his front porch with a not-so-graceful thump.
She didn’t care.
He launched forward as if to catch her, but she’d already caught herself on the front porch rail.
He didn’t have a shirt on. He obviously hadn’t been expecting company.
She didn’t care.
The dampness on her face told her she was crying.
She didn’t care.
He looked at her with concern, tenderness.
And damn it, she cared. She cared about Chase. She knew he cared about her, too. How she’d come to this point, she didn’t know, but it wasn’t important right now.
“That was Burnett,” he said.
“He told you?” she asked, her emotions swirling inside her, almost making her dizzy.
“Only that you were upset about some news and had taken off. He started to explain, but I saw you and hung up. What’s wrong?”
“They think they’re dead.” Her sinuses stung and she had to swallow to keep more tears from falling.
“But we know they’re not,” he said and came closer. She could smell him, the outdoorsy scent of wind and some natural herbs.
When he reached for her, she took a step back. She had to tell him. Then she wanted him to chase off all her doubts, to convince her that her fears held no merit. “But some of what they said makes sense.”
“What makes sense?”
“Burnett said there was a rogue were gang setting up fights between them for entertainment. Remember they said they wanted them to become murderers?”
“I remember, but how does that—?”
She told him about the organization in Dallas, how the FRU wasn’t aware others were doing it, about how those doing the same thing in Houston were told to eliminate the evidence.
His eyes widened with her news. “But they could still be alive. That doesn’t mean they killed everyone.”
Her vision blurred a little more from the watery weakness. “They found a mass grave. It’s beneath a junkyard.” She swallowed again. “Remember the sound of equipment we heard? What if that’s what it was? What if…?”