The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(66) by Lynsay Sands
“She’d been struggling with her guilt and shame for the two months since I’d last seen her, but when she found out she was pregnant, she knew it wasn’t her husband’s. They’d always used condoms. She and I hadn’t. She was sure it was my child, and couldn’t live with the knowledge that not only was she unfaithful, but she was now pregnant as a result. She couldn’t do that to her husband, so she . . .”
“Tried to kill herself,” Sherry said quietly.
Alexander nodded with shame. “I’d taken a beautiful, vibrant young woman and made a mess of her life. Both their lives. I had to fix it, of course. But it wasn’t as easy as that sounds. I erased what had happened between the two of us from her memory, put the thought in both their heads that perhaps they hadn’t always been as careful to use protection as they could have been—besides, protection is never one hundred percent—and that the child was his. But your mother had lived with the memory for two months, and a simple mind wipe doesn’t always prevent the memory from resurfacing. So, I stayed in their lives, befriending her husband and becoming his buddy.”
“Uncle Al,” she said, standing up again and crossing her arms.
“I was just Al then, and never intended to be Uncle Al,” he confessed apologetically. “I thought I might be able to leave once you were born and she saw you as their child, but the moment I saw you . . .”
There was stark emotion briefly in his eyes, and then he said, “I wanted to be a part of your life. So, I became good old Uncle Al, the family friend, on the fringes of your life but at least still able to see you a couple times a week.”
“Until my brother died,” Sherry said thickly.
Alexander nodded. “Until your brother died and your parents’ marriage fell apart. That wasn’t my fault,” he added quickly.
“I know,” she said quietly. “He blamed her for my brother’s death and she blamed him.”
“They couldn’t get past it,” he said sadly. “Your father eventually moved out and your mother filed for divorce.”
“And you started seeing me daily,” Sherry said. “Picking me up after school, taking me to ballet, gymnastics, or just playing baseball with me.”
“They were the best years of my life,” he said solemnly. “And the scariest.”
Her eyebrows rose. “Scariest?”
“You are mortal,” he said quietly. “So fragile. Your brother’s death drove that home to me. A fall, illness, fire, drowning, a car accident . . . anything could take you from me in a heartbeat. I became obsessed with keeping you safe. I was watching you even when you didn’t know I was watching you.” Alexander swallowed and admitted, “I even considered using my one turn on you. The only thing that stopped me was that it would mean having to tell you what I had done, how you’d come to be born, and I knew you’d hate me for it.”
Sherry merely ducked her head, unsure how to respond to that. Did she hate him? The truth was, she wasn’t at all sure how she felt anymore. Her emotions were in complete chaos. She was recalling her adoration of her wonderful Uncle Al, her sisterly love for her best buddy Lex, and the friendship she had with Zander, and then putting that next to her revulsion and rage at the thought of her mother being controlled and used like a blow-up sex doll. She wanted to hate the man before her for what he’d done to her mother . . . but her mind was arguing that he had tried to make amends for it. After the encounter at the hospital, he’d stuck around to ensure that everything was all right. Another man might not have done that, or another immortal.
Still, he’d nearly destroyed her mother. She’d nearly taken not only her own life but Sherry’s as well when she’d tried to kill herself—and he’d driven her to it with his selfish, arrogant, and uncaring use of her. On the other hand, if he hadn’t done it, she wouldn’t even exist.
Basil slid his arm around her back and pulled her closer, and Sherry glanced to him. He offered her a gentle smile and then turned to Alexander—her father, she acknowledged—and asked, “I presume it was you who approached her in the dressing room in London?”
“Yes,” Alexander said solemnly.
When he didn’t explain himself, Basil asked, “Why did you want her to think she’d encountered Leo? I presume it was to get her to leave Port Henry and come back to Toronto.”
“Yes,” he admitted. “Joan called me after the upset at the store and before your people got there to wipe minds and clean up the mess. Between what she said and what I know of Leonius Livius, I knew Sherry would have been taken into protection . . . and I knew . . .” He paused and then said with frustration, “I knew the hunters would realize that she’d had an immortal in her life for a lot of years and would want to find out who it was and why. I knew that eventually everything would come out if I didn’t get her away, and I just panicked.”
“How did you follow us to Port Henry?” Basil asked.
“I knew where the Enforcer house is, most immortals in the area do,” he added, and then continued, “I parked down the street and watched the gate from there with binoculars. When the SUV came out with Sherry, you, and the others in it, I followed you to Port Henry.”
“And watched the house there, and then followed us to London the next day?” Basil guessed.
Alexander nodded. “I didn’t know, though, that she was your life mate when I first approached her in the changing rooms and started to put the idea that she’d seen Leonius in her mind,” he assured Basil. “I read that in her thoughts as I was rearranging her memories, and once I realized it, I tried to undo the rearranging.” He grimaced and added, “I gather I made a bungle of the whole thing.”
Basil grunted in the affirmative, and Alexander—her father, she thought grimly—sighed unhappily.
“I’m sorry,” he said now. “I was just trying to look out for you, Sherry.”
“Were you?” she asked dubiously, her eyes narrowed.
“Yes,” he assured her. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since the day you were born.”
Sherry merely stared at him for a moment. She was recalling those phrasings she kept repeating when certain subjects came up. The one about Uncle Al had obviously been to protect him, to keep anyone from questioning her too deeply about an uncle who was no longer around. Probably even to explain it to her should she have questions about his absence. But what about the other two? The one about her broken engagement. And the one about not having time to date until her store was up and running?
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online