Previously in: Claiming Lily
(MacKay International, #2)
~ Lily ~
Mid-April - Paris
"What are we going to do?" I whisper, tightening my hold on Finn's hand as we sit on the busy airport's hard plastic chairs, anxiously waiting for my cousin Peter and Aunt Kitty to arrive.
"You're going to come home with me, and we're going to help the FBI takedown Mayer once and for all," Finn says resolutely.
“Okay, and afterward?”
"I love you," he states firmly. Warmth fills me at his words. Looking into his amber eyes, they spark with the truth of what he's said, I smile.
"Make no mistake, princess, you are mine. And you'll continue to be mine," he growls, pulling me into a rough, passionate kiss, one that tells me exactly how he feels.
As he ends the kiss, I lick my swollen lips, grip the front of his shirt, and tell him, "And you're mine."
Finn grins widely. I melt into him, resting my head onto his shoulder. My emotions are a jumbled mess with everything that's happened to me in the last 21 days, but I know I want this man.
We sit silently, watching people rush by as we wait. And it's not long before I see Peter and Aunt Kitty jogging towards us.
"There they are," I exclaim, jumping up from my seat. Peter is pushing the overflowing trolley but stops suddenly to answer his phone.
Aunt Kitty reaches us and hugs me tightly, telling me, "I'm going to take you home to Vermont with me, sweetie, and Mark, and I will keep you safe until we deal with that asshole."
"Thank you, Auntie." I bite my lip, grip the strap on my new purse, and tell her the plans I had already made. "But I'm going to go with Finn."
“Oh! I see how it is. I completely approve.”
I let out a sigh of relief at Aunt Kitty's bright smile. We have just reconnected after several years, and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt her feelings.
"Remember, you are always welcome to stay with me," she says warmly.
“Thank you. I wish we could have spent more time together.” I tell her honestly. “You came all the way here to see me.”
“Next time, sweetie.”
Peter finally makes his way to us, his face a tight scowl that makes my heart start beating wildly.
"What's going on?" Finn demands.
"That was my FBI contact calling," Peter replies. "She wanted to check on Lily and to give me an update on their investigation."
Before he can tell us more, Trevor (Finn's secretary, and my newly discovered step-cousin) rejoins the group, and the conversation comes to a halt.
"I was able to get on an earlier flight to Newark and then onto a connecting flight to DC. I should be there at least an hour ahead of schedule," Trevor tells us, grabbing his duffle bag off the cart. He quickly moves several of Finn's belongings from his messenger bag to Finn's suitcase and hands me the E-reader. I take it happily and tuck it into my purse.
“Unless you need something, I should probably get through security and head to my gate.”
"Take care of my sister," Finn says firmly to Trevor.
My stomach twists into knots at the mention of his sister, Riley. We had met only yesterday over FaceTime, and I had liked her instantly as we bonded over our shared love of manicures. It is because Finn rescued me that she is now in danger from my kidnapping stepfather, James Mayer, who may or may not be here in Paris looking for me at this very moment.
"I will," Trevor promises, taking Finn's outstretched hand in a firm shake. Turning towards me, he gives me his bright blue-eyed smile, "It was a pleasure to finally meet you, Lily."
I pull away from Finn and hug my new step-cousin, his body jerks slightly before he gives me a light squeeze in return.
“You too, cuz,” I tell him truthfully.
The one good thing, aside from meeting Finn, to come out of what has happened to me in the last 21 days, being drugged, kidnapped, held in a Hong Kong brothel, is that I have been reunited with my aunt Kitty and have gained a new step-cousin in Trevor.
"Be careful, sweetie, and be sure to call your dad and me if you need anything," Aunt Kitty tells him, giving him a warm motherly hug. "Love you."
“I packed a few extra goodies for you and Riley in your bag,” she informs him with a bright smile.
“Thank you,” he says, his voice filled with amusement.
Peter grabs his hand next and pulls him into a manly hug, slapping his shoulder before releasing him.
“Later, bro,” Trevor mutters.
Seeing how close Peter and Trevor are, makes me realize how much I've missed in the lives of my father's side of the family since his death. Mainly to keep peace with my mother, who has always shown low-key hostility for any of my father's family.
Turning to leave, Trevor gives us all a final wave before being overtaken by the horde of travelers scurrying to make their flights.
“Lily is going to come with me.” Finn turns towards Peter, “Mayer doesn’t know about all of my holdings and will have a harder time tracking her, especially with a majority of his assets frozen.”
“I think that’s a good idea.” Peter surprises me by quickly agreeing to my man’s plan. Only an hour ago, my cousin wasn’t happy that I had started a relationship with his best friend.
"What aren't you telling us?" Finn asks, wrapping his arm around my waist —tucking me tightly against his body.
"The FBI has been monitoring his personal finances as well as the company's. They discovered yesterday that he made a payment, a deposit to a secure psychiatric clinic two days ago," Peter seethes, crossing his arms against his chest tightly.
“What?” We all wonder aloud.
"Yes. They also found a payment made into the personal investment account of some doctor," Peter grounds out, exhaling audibly. He continues, "Thankfully, the fucker isn't very good at covering his tracks."
"It makes sense," Aunt Kitty mutters, and we all turn towards her, looking for an explanation. "He has to silence Lily somehow and take control of her inheritance, and he can't if she's dead. But if she's alive, locked up in some looney bin, he could get durable power of attorney. Not to mention, discredit her tale of kidnapping and imprisonment."
I shiver at the thought of what my stepfather had planned for me.
I burrow further into Finn's warm strength. He drops a kiss onto the crown of my head and gives me a quick squeeze.
“Fucking bastard,” Peter grumbles under his breath. “Marriage. Lily could get married.”
“That’s ludicrous. This isn’t some ninety-nine-cent romance novel,” Aunt Kitty scoffs.
“It’s the only logical plan,” Peter argues back.
“You or I could just as easily get durable power of attorney before the asshole could,” Aunt Kitty counters.
“Yes, but Mayer could be prepared for that.” Peter runs his hands through his hair. “Marriage, he wouldn’t see coming.”
“Wait, how is marriage a plan?” I ask shakily, staring at Peter.
Has he gone completely insane? Only this morning, he hated the idea of Finn taking me on a date, and now he thinks we should get married? I'm not ready to get married! I need to graduate from college and begin my career first.
"If you married Finn, he would be your family, and Mayer and your mother would lose all control over you and your inheritance," Peter explains slowly like I'm an idiot.
"My mother is not involved," I snap at him, pulling away from Finn and crossing my arms against my chest. Why does everyone continue to suggest that my own mother would have something to do with my kidnapping?
I feel Finn’s large hand run along my back, soothing me with its warmth.
“We don’t know that,” Peter argues back. “I am just trying to protect you.”
“I’m an adult. They have no control over me anyways,” I growl.
"Don't be naïve. All Mayer has to do is bribe the right judge, and you'd be completely under his power," Peter scoffs loudly.
The world is spinning around me. I can't believe what they are saying. It's all too much. I don't want to accept what Peter says could be true, but a sudden chill runs through my body. I feel a tightness in my chest and my heart beats wildly. I turn towards Finn and look up at him, silently begging him to make it all okay. To stop the craziness that is swirling around me.
“What do you say, princess?” Finn snakes his arms around my waist and pulls me into his chest. “Will you marry me?”
Text © Rene Webb, 2020
Find out Lily's answer in FREEING LILY!