The Lost (Echoes from the Past #9) - Irina Shapiro Page 0,1

sent Quinn an occasional email, and she always replied, feeling it her duty to maintain contact with her brother. According to their father, Brett had really turned his life around. He was doing well in school and seeing a girl Seth and Kathy heartily approved of. Quinn hadn’t seen Brett since just before Jo died and hoped he wouldn’t be in a hurry to return to the U.K. An occasional email was one thing; seeing him in person would be quite another. She wasn’t ready to take their relationship to the next level, not after what she’d suffered at his hands.

Thoughts of Jo always made Quinn sad. It’d been two and a half years since her twin had been killed in a hit-and-run accident outside her building in East London. No one had been charged, and the investigation had been closed soon after the funeral, since the police had found no evidence to lead them to the driver of the vehicle. Quinn and Gabe no longer spoke of Jo. In fact, no one mentioned her much at all, not even their birthparents, Sylvia and Seth. Jo’s nomadic existence and her lone-wolf nature had precluded her from forming lasting relationships, and the people who had tried to get close to her had paid for their attempts in spades.

But it still rankled that Jo’s death had been so meaningless. Had she died while on assignment in some war-torn country or even from an unexpected illness, Quinn would have had an easier time accepting the tragedy, but knowing that Jo had been mowed down while standing in the street and left there, mangled and bleeding, with only the distant stars for company as the life drained out of her, still had the power to devastate. What sort of person would hit a woman and just drive away, not stopping to help? What sort of monster went on with their life, going about their business and enjoying themselves as though nothing had happened, while Jo was gone, her life snuffed out at the age of thirty-two, all her potential squandered?

Quinn didn’t think she’d have ever forgiven Jo for what she’d done to hurt her, but some small part of her still missed the sister she’d never truly had a chance to know. She still mourned the relationship they might have enjoyed had they known each other since childhood rather than meeting only a year before Jo’s death. Jo’s adoptive sister, Karen, had offered Quinn a keepsake when she’d cleaned out Jo’s flat, but Quinn had refused, not trusting herself not to let a misplaced need for closure drive her to delve into Jo’s tortured psyche. She hadn’t taken a single thing, not even a photo. She had several on her mobile that she and Jo had taken when they’d finally met at the military hospital in Germany, and that was the way she wished to remember her, as the amazing long-lost sister she’d finally found, not the jealous, competitive, and cruel woman Jo had turned out to be.

Quinn sighed and closed the laptop. She had at least another half hour until Alex and Mia woke from their nap, and she was eager to begin reading a book she’d downloaded yesterday. She had laundry to do and dinner to start on, but the chores would wait. She had just settled in her favorite spot on the sofa with her Kindle when the doorbell rang. Quinn sprang to her feet and hurried to the door before the caller could wake the children by ringing the bell again.

“Rhys!” Quinn exclaimed, surprised to see him on her doorstep. Rhys wasn’t the type of person to just come round, not anymore. He always rang first. Not that he came over by himself very often. “This is a surprise.” The dark shadows beneath Rhys’s eyes and his pursed lips weren’t lost on her.

“Any chance of a coffee?” Rhys asked as he followed her into the kitchen.

“Of course.”

Rhys leaned against the worktop and crossed his arms, looking pensive.

“Are you all right?” Quinn asked.

“Just tired,” Rhys said. “Vanessa’s been having nightmares. I haven’t slept through the night in at least a week. I try to let Katya sleep,” Rhys explained. “She needs her rest.”

“So do you,” Quinn replied. Although nearing his mid-fifties, Rhys didn’t look a day over forty-five. Marriage and fatherhood agreed with him—most of the time, anyway. Quinn stood across from him, imitating his pose, and smiled. “Is there something you’re not telling me?”

Rhys’s tired smile said it all. “We’re