Tempting Fate (Goode Girls #4) - Kerrigan Byrne Page 0,2
smuggling gang who identified themselves as the Fauves.
Raphael was the suave and carnally handsome rake, and his elder brother, Gabriel, was a leviathan of a man who’d been so thoroughly disfigured he wore a mask in public.
When he went into public, which was almost never.
Apparently the Sauvageau brothers had been planning to leave behind their lives of crime, and because of it, their second in command, Marco Villanueve, had quite violently turned on them.
In the resulting fracas, Marco had mistaken Felicity for her twin and had taken her hostage to use her against Raphael, who’d fallen in love with Mercy.
“I… remember the gunshot,” she breathed, walking through the terror of the moment in her mind. “Mr. Sauvageau did stumble and fall beneath the press of the panicking mob. But then he swept down the stairs and grappled with my captor, who sliced through his mask. I know I fainted after that… but there were moments of semiconsciousness where I remember being carried by Mr. Sauvageau through the burning building and out to the canal. I hear his voice in distant memory. I see his— his face.” She broke off, struggling over a difficult swallow.
“Surely he could not have carried me so far if he’d been fatally wounded.”
His face. His face had been the most terrible memory of all.
The poor man had no nose, no hair, an eye socket so damaged it barely deserved the term, and so many slices and scars on his face, it made speaking visibly difficult.
The sight had been horrific.
And cumulated with all of the horrors of the night, it’d been what brought on the infernal episode that’d overtaken her, and pulled her back beneath consciousness.
God, she was so ashamed of herself.
“Have I gone mad?” she whispered, pressing a hand to her forehead. “Did I imagine things?”
“You remember correctly,” Titus said gently. “Mr. Sauvageau did indeed conduct you to safety. But people are capable of doing remarkable things in remarkable situations. Things that even seem inhuman or extraordinary. More often than not, pushing oneself like that when injured… it takes its toll.”
Felicity covered her mouth. “Titus. Do you… do you think he might have survived if he hadn’t expended the effort to save me?”
Titus bucked his hip away from the desk and settled two careful hands on her shoulders. “Dear Felicity…” He seemed to choose his words carefully. “Things would not have ended any differently for Gabriel Sauvageau regardless of the circumstances. It’s commendable what he did for you. I— I know he doesn’t— he wouldn’t— regret it.”
Troubled, Felicity bit her cuticle. “Do you know where he’s buried? At the very least I could pay my respects. Or make certain his headstone is properly done. Or perhaps plant something there in his memory.”
“I don’t. I could make inquiries.”
“I’d appreciate that very much,” she said woodenly. “I’ll let you return to your business.”
“Nora will come around for tea any moment, if you’d like to stay. She’d love to visit with you.” Titus gathered up his white coat and punched his arms into the sleeves, indicating that he was going to the surgical theater.
“Yes, I’ll— I’ll go upstairs and wait, with your permission.”
Titus and Nora Conleith resided in a lush penthouse above the hospital. Their home was one of Felicity’s favorite places in all the world.
“You know our home is always open to you.” Titus’s face softened as he gave her shoulders a fond squeeze before releasing them. “It can’t be easy, what with Mercy absconding with Raphael to the devil knows where, and your parents indefinitely retreating to the Riviera.”
At this, Felicity gasped. “Oh Lord. Does Raphael know about his brother?”
Titus’s lips tightened. “He and Mercy do know what became of him, yes.”
“Poor man must be heartbroken. I understand they were close.”
“I’ll write him my condolences when Mercy sends me a postcard from whatever port they next find themselves.”
“That would be kind of you.”
“Well…” Felicity’s restless hands adjusted her spectacles, plucked at her collar, at the cuffs of her sleeves, at the watch dangling from a broach over her breast. “Good afternoon, Titus.”
“Always a pleasure.” He lifted her hand to kiss it.
The news of Gabriel Sauvageau’s demise felt like a tragic end to an even more unfortunate life. He’d been so strong, so utterly large and impenetrable that it was almost impossible to imagine something so small as a bullet taking him down.
Though he’d been a smuggler and a criminal, even a man she’d once seen as a threat, he’d ultimately been her savior. After her assault, he’d