- Author: Hilary Davidson
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BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS
BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS
Copyright © 2014, 2021 Hilary Davidson
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, incidents, and events are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the author.
ISBN-13: 978-0989726399 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 978-0989726382 (eBook)
Cover design by Damonza.com
In loving memory of my grandmother,
Maude Elizabeth Dallas,
for teaching me that if you’re going to sin,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BOOKS BY HILARY DAVIDSON
It didn’t take Dominique Monaghan long to realize she wasn’t cut out for the life of a criminal. She’d knocked back her conscience in the small hours of Friday morning with a couple of pink pills, and the results were worse than a hangover. This is never going to work, she told herself, mentally running down a checklist of all the reasons her plans would fail. At the top was the essential unreliability of Gary Cowan. He’d been as hard to grasp as quicksand back when they were together, and she had no reason to believe that anything had altered his character in the three months since she’d left him. It wouldn’t be out of character for Gary to bail on their plans at the last minute. He wouldn’t even think twice. In spite of the countless blows to the head the man had suffered in his line of work, he was an unparalleled genius when it came to excuses. Lies rolled off his tongue with the soft sweetness of a lullaby.
He won’t show, Dominique told herself. Something will come up and he’ll bolt. He’ll figure out I haven’t forgiven him. He’ll smell a rat. Those thoughts soothed her. For all her maneuvering and plotting over the past month, since Gary had stepped up his attempts to win her back, she wasn’t sure she could go through with her scheme. Better if he didn’t show up and it all fell through, she reasoned. No harm, no foul, and Gary would never be the wiser. It didn’t matter if he never found out just how much she loathed him.
She had a mild panic attack when Gary buzzed up from the lobby. “Hey, babe, I’m downstairs.” His raspy voice was almost sweet. “I can’t wait to see you.”
“Sure,” she said, feeling as awkward as she sounded, cutting the connection before Gary could say another word. She hovered in her foyer, tugging tendrils of hair this way and that, and double-checking that there was no lipstick on her teeth. Her face was a perfect oval, with wide-set brown eyes, smooth skin the color of powdered cocoa, high cheekbones, and a full mouth. She was broad-shouldered and statuesque, the kind of girl who’d been told by strangers as a teenager that she should be a model. That dream had brought her from Chicago to New York at eighteen, only to be dismissed by bookers for the big agencies, who told her she was too athletic and too old, and mid-level agencies, who informed her apologetically that they already had a Black girl. She’d found a small agency to take her on and she’d worked steadily for a few years, but that career was over by the time she was twenty-seven. In the three years since, she’d worked—with far greater success—as a stylist on photo shoots. She didn’t need to look perfect anymore, but the internal pressure never lifted.
Vanity of vanities; all is vanity. For a moment, Dominique could have sworn her Nana was in her apartment with her. She shook off that sensation, pulled on her coat, and picked up her weekend bag. It was time.
When Dominique’s wobbly legs finally got her downstairs, some of Gary’s sweetness had already worn thin. He’d parked himself in the lone, threadbare chair in what passed for a lobby in her new building. His head was tipped back and his eyes were closed. His long legs were extended as if he were deliberately trying to trip anyone who happened by.
“You took so long I needed a nap,” he murmured, not opening his eyes. His complexion had faded over the past few weeks, leaving him a shade of yellow that suggested jaundice over St. Tropez tan. His sandy hair was shaggy, as if he couldn’t be bothered to get it cut. There were purple bags protruding under his eyes. Gary had sported plenty of shiners in his time, but this looked brutal to her. Even though she didn’t want to, Dominique felt the spindliest thread of sympathy tugging at her heart. Then she mentally kicked herself. Remember how he treated you. Remember what he did.
“If I wanted to string you along, I would’ve told you to drive up to your country house alone and wait for me,” she said.
He laughed, his face cracking in a broad smile. “I know you want to rake me over hot coals.” Gary opened his eyes. They were a startling shade of bottle green that made her shiver when they slid her way. Today was no exception. “I missed you,