Dangerous Lies (Lies #5) - Ella Miles
I always knew that falling in love was dangerous.
I could fall in love with the wrong person.
A man who could hurt me.
That was always my biggest fear—that I would fall in love with a man who would hurt me, a man I couldn’t escape. That I would love him even when I shouldn’t. That my love for him would kill me.
It turns out, I didn’t fall for the devil.
I fell for a good, compassionate man. A man with the biggest heart. A man who loves me as his equal. A man who loves my kids as his own.
I found a man who completes my heart—a man I want to spend the rest of my life with and beyond.
But falling in love with him was still dangerous.
And I don’t know if we can survive our love.
Beep, beep, beep.
An annoyingly high-pitched sound infiltrates the fog in my brain. I try to open my eyes, but my eyelids are too heavy. My legs feel numb, and my teeth chatter from the chill surging through my body.
Beep, beep, beep.
The sound continues, trying to pull me back to reality. I don’t know what happened, but I do know that I don’t want to return to reality. Whatever happened was bad. I may not have much of a heart left, but I have to protect it.
Stay asleep; life will be easier if you just sleep.
“Miss Dunn, can you open your eyes for me?” I hear a sweet voice say.
It’s a trap. I won’t open my eyes.
I feel a hand running through my hair, brushing it out of my face before it lands on my cheek.
“You should open your eyes now. It’s time,” her voice is still sweet, yet firmer now.
I shake my head gently back and forth. “I’m scared.”
Her hand moves down my body until she’s gripping my hand. “I know. I’m going to be right here holding your hand the whole time, though. You won’t have to face the truth alone.”
The truth—that means something terrible did happen. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I wasn’t supposed to be asleep when I gave birth. What happened?
“Open your eyes, sweetheart. Then we can talk. You still have time to decide.”
I’ve already made my decision. Nothing is going to change that.
“On the count of three,” she says.
I open my eyes before she gets to three. I don’t like doing what I’m told.
“There you are.” She smiles, still gripping my hand. “How are you feeling? Do you need more pain medicine?”
“I just need you to cut the crap and tell me what happened.”
Her lips thin, and her smile drops, but she nods.
“You gave birth to a beautiful, healthy boy.”
My eyes scan hers, waiting for her to say more. She said boy—singular.
“And the others?”
She shakes her head as a tear rolls down her cheek. “I’m so sorry. We lost them.”
There is no we.
She didn’t have triplets. I did.
I didn’t provide a good enough home for them. I didn’t eat healthily enough. Exercise enough. Take my vitamins. Reduce my anxiety. I didn’t do enough.
And now they are gone.
I want to scream, break things, explode into a million pieces.
My grief doesn’t allow it. My grief streams down my face in burning silent tears. Tears that pour down each cheek for each of the children I’ve lost.
My tears are the only external sign of my pain. Everything else I keep inside. The pain rages through my veins like branding fire until my heart can’t pump the agony through any longer. It flees from my body to go with my children. I no longer have a heart. A soul. A purpose.
I know the woman is hugging me, trying to comfort me, but I don’t feel her arms. I’m numb. I feel nothing anymore. I doubt I will ever feel anything ever again.
“The couple is here to adopt the boy,” she says. Those words get through the pain.
She waits; I don’t say anything.
“There is still time. You can still keep him. You’d make a great mother.”
“No, I’d make a terrible mother.” Even if I wouldn’t, I won’t bring a child into my world. He’d end up dead just like my other two children.
“Do you want to hold him before…?” she trails off.
I shake my head.
“Dear, I really think you’ll regret not meeting him before you give him up.”
My tears stop, and I push back out of her arms as the pain settles into my body. I might as well get used to it. This is my life now—an all-consuming