Home>>read Beautifully Damaged free online

Beautifully Damaged(120)

By:L.A. Fiore

"Hello, Ember."

"Hi. You and dad are still coming up on Friday, right?"

"Absolutely." His tone changed, grew a bit harder, before he asked, "How are you feeling?"

"I'm good."

His response was almost inaudible, almost. "Bastard."

"I'm really okay."

"Doesn't make me any less angry, Ember."

"I love you, Uncle Josh."

"Ah, sweetie, I love you, too."

"I'm calling because I'm reading over the Stanwyck file and there doesn't seem to be an autopsy report. Is that odd?"

"That is odd."

"In fact, I haven't read anything that positively identifies the victims. Even though the bodies were found in the Stanwyck home, it wouldn't just be assumed it was them, would it?"

There was silence over the line for moment before he offered, "No."

I knew, based on his reply, that the wheels were turning. "What are you thinking?"

"That's a pretty blatant exclusion so it was either shoddy police work or..."

"...or what?"

"...or intentional."

"A cover up?"

"Maybe. I'd like to review that file while I'm visiting."

I knew my uncle was thinking more than he was saying, and planned to interrogate him in person, but at that moment I simply replied, "Okay."

After I hung up with my uncle I reviewed my mom's file but, if the Stanwyck file seemed light, this file was almost nonexistent. My mom was walking home from the bus stop, something anyone who knew her would know was her routine, when a car came out of nowhere. It's believed that she was dead on impact. There were eyewitness accounts but it happened so quickly that no one got a good look at the driver and only a passing glance at the car, a car Trace believed was his dad's.

I suppose what I didn't understand was why a man would keep the proof that could link him to a hit and run? Wouldn't the motivation be to put as much distance between himself and the crime as possible and not horde proof that could tie him to it? Unless of course, he wasn't hording proof but collecting it?

And it was right on the cusp of that revelation that I made another more glaring one. The cases were believed to be linked through Douglas but there was another, a person who was still alive, that tied the cases together. We were going to need to have a sit-down with Vivian.

I found Trace in the kitchen making dinner. He was standing at the counter chopping onions in that way of his that I found both incredibly skilled and wickedly sexy. How flipping out of my head was I for this man to actually find the sight of him chopping vegetables to be a turn on? He knew I was there which was evident when he looked at me from over his shoulder and smiled.

"Hello, sweetheart."

"Hi. What are you making?"

"Curried chicken."

"Something you learned to make from Mrs. Fletcher?"

It was surprise that flashed across his face before he answered, "Yes, you remember that?"

I walked to him and pressed a kiss on his back before I answered, "I remember everything when it comes to you."

His one hand snaked out and wrapped around my neck to pull me in for a kiss and then I heard as the knife hit the counter right before Trace's other hand reached around my waist and pulled me closer. Chelsea entered the kitchen just as I was about to wrap my arms around his neck.


Trace's lips lingered on mine before he pulled back so that I could see everything I was feeling looking back at me. I smiled, he grinned, before he pressed a kiss on my forehead and then he turned to Chelsea and offered, "Hi."

I wrapped my arms around his waist and pressed my face into his chest. God, I love this man.

Dinner was delicious. I never had Indian food before but I really loved the spices and the heat.

"Trace, this is delicious. Do you think I could learn how to make this or is it too complicated for my limited skills." I asked before I scooped up another mouthful.

"Yes, Ember, you could make this and you have more than a passing skill at cooking."

I looked up at him and grinned. "Will you teach me?"

He didn't answer right away as his expression turned tender and then he whispered, "I would love to."

"Me, too, I want to learn to cook, too."

Trace held my gaze a moment longer before he looked over at Chelsea. "Okay."

"Can I get my own apron and chef hat, maybe with my name on them?" Chelsea asked.

I smiled at her before I replied, "I think we can arrange that."

"Cool, and I want to learn how to make those cake-pops, they are so yummy."

Trace and I looked at each other before we both started laughing as he managed to say through his mirth, "You've corrupted us both, Ember."