Kept Bride (The Secret Bride #2) - Alta Hensley Page 0,3

with that and their deaths for the rest of my life,” she adds.

“The man was sick!” I shout, but then lower my voice to add, “More than you can imagine. He kidnapped and had me locked in a cellar. Chained to a wall like a rabid dog. I watched as he killed that couple with zero remorse, and there was nothing I, or Ember, could do to stop it. There is absolutely no way Ember had anything to do with those deaths. Not at all. And I’m not going to sit here with my wife and allow this conversation to go in that direction. Are we clear?”

Rather than answering my demand of a question, Martinez asks, “If your father were to run and hide somewhere, where do you think he’d go? Other than this Scarecrow man, does he have any other family or friends?”

Ember shakes her head with a deep sadness in her eyes. “We had no one. We were alone. We only had each other.”

“And where do you both plan to go now? If we have any more questions.” Agent Martinez looks at us with zero emotion in his eyes. I want to punch the fucker. We just went through this awful ordeal, and he has the nerve to accuse us and question us.

“We’ll be heading home. New York.”

“I’d rather you stay in town,” Detective Jackson pipes in. “In case we have any further—”

“We’ll be flying out within the hour,” I interrupt. “Unless I need to call my lawyer, that is.”

Agent Martinez stands up, and Detective Jackson follows. Agent Martinez glances at Ember, then at me and says, “That’s all for now. I’ll be in contact if we have any further questions.”

“Mr. Martinez,” Ember calls to him as he begins to walk out of the room.

He turns to face her but doesn’t answer.

“Is it possible for me to have that photo of me as a child? I don’t have any photos. I don’t have anything.”

I am prepared to lunge for the man and rip the file with her photo right out of his hands if I have to, but luckily, he nods and hands it to her.

“Thank you,” she says as she stares down at the picture I’m sure she doesn’t truly even recognize.

My heart breaks for what Ember must be feeling. In a matter of hours, she has lost everything. She’s been told her mother, who she has feared her entire life, is dead. She’s also been told that the father she was forced to live with in captivity could now possibly be alive.

Her eyes remain on the photo as she says, “I’ve never been on a plane before.”

The number of firsts coming up for her are sure to be staggering. All I can do is try to help her muddle through them.

“Well, the good news is, my mother insisted on a private jet, so we won’t have to deal with all the crowds. It will be more comfortable too. We can have something to eat on the plane and get some sleep. You look tired.” I know I sure as hell am.

Finally breaking her gaze from the picture, she looks up at me with eyes that could tell a lifetime of horrific tales. “You called me your wife,” she says in a monotone voice with zero emotion on her face. A blank pallet that leaves me wondering what she’s thinking.

“Because you are,” I say.

I don’t have the mental bandwidth to dive into what our future looks like beyond getting on a plane and getting the hell out of here. I need distance from this nightmare before I can even think. I need clean clothes, shoes that fit, and a goddamn drink. I need normalcy. I fucking need a minute where I feel ordinary.

“I’m scared,” Ember admits, but I don’t need to hear the words to know that she is.

I pull her up out of the chair and embrace her tight. “We’re going to figure this all out. I don’t have all the answers now. I don’t know what happens next. But you and I will figure it out.”



“Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God,” an older woman who has the same facial bone structure as Christopher says as she walks toward us, stunned with her mouth wide open. “Oh. My. God.” She places her fingers on her lips as a floodgate of tears releases from her eyes. “You’re alive. You are really alive. You’re really here! Oh my God.”

“I’m alive,” Christopher says