Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(91) by Susan Mallery
“I don’t mind,” Elissa told her. “I’m glad you’re going to take care of her. I know she’ll be safe with you.”
“Of course she will be. She’s your daughter, Elissa. I would give up my life for her.”
Elissa felt tears on her cheeks. Suddenly she and her parents were hugging. She opened her eyes and saw Dani sniffing and both Cal and Reid clearing their throats.
“Where’s Walker?” she asked.
Reid shrugged. “He said he had a couple of things to do, but that he would be back. He said not to worry.”
She didn’t know what that meant, but she smiled and nodded as if she did. She didn’t want anyone to know how much she missed him and wished he was with her. He’d saved her and Zoe. That should be enough.
But it wasn’t.
WALKER WAITED until the police officer in the emergency room had stepped out to grab some coffee and then he moved into Neil’s room.
Neil lay on the bed, his eyes closed. Two IVs connected to a single line that fed into his arm. Walker moved next to the bed and bent down so his face was close to Neil’s ear. Then he placed one hand on Neil’s chest and the other over the man’s mouth.
“How you feeling?” he asked, pressing against Neil’s nose just enough to let him know that breathing was a privilege, not a right. “Coming down from that shit yet? Is your skin crawling or do you still feel good?”
Neil opened his eyes wide. Panic tightened his face and his breathing increased, but he was smart enough not to struggle.
“I’m going to make this real simple,” Walker said quietly. “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Personally, I’m in favor of the hard way. Nod if you understand.”
“Is there any doubt in your mind that I could kill you if I wanted?”
Neil shook his head frantically.
“You want to live?”
“I’m going to send somebody in to see you. He’s a lawyer. A real expensive guy in a fancy suit who knows all about the law. He’s going to give you some papers to sign and you’re going to sign them. Do you understand?”
Neil nodded again.
“Good. Once the police release you, hopefully after some serious jail time, you’re going to leave Seattle and never come back. You’re going to leave Elissa and Zoe alone. You’ll never contact them again in any way. Is that clear?”
Neil nodded again.
“Just in case you think you can get out of our deal, I’ll remind you that prison is a scary place. You’re kinda skinny, Neil. Some big guy could make your life there real unpleasant. And I know plenty of big guys. You got that?”
Neil nodded so hard, he nearly banged his chin against his chest.
“I thought you’d see things my way,” Walker told him as he straightened, released Neil and left the room.
AFTER EVERYONE HAD GONE and Elissa got her pain medication, she drifted in and out of consciousness for a few hours. When she finally woke up, she saw a very dapper-looking man sitting beside her bed.
“Do I know you?” she asked groggily.
“We haven’t been formally introduced. I’m Jeremy Fitzwalter,” he said in a faintly British accent. “Walker Buchanan retained my firm to help you with your problem with Zoe’s father. I stopped by to give you some paperwork.”
He handed her a folder and smiled. “I think you’ll like what’s inside.”
She looked from him to the folder. She remembered talking to Walker about finding a better lawyer, but she hadn’t known he’d gone ahead with the plan. “I’m still a little out of it. Could you just tell me what it says?”
“Yes, of course. Under the circumstances, that makes the most sense.” He shrugged. “Zoe’s father has signed away all rights. He’s given up his rights of custody and visitation. In return, you will not seek him out for child support. He agrees not to contact you or Zoe, however if Zoe wishes to get in touch with him after she’s eighteen, that’s fine with him.”
Elissa rubbed her temple and wished her head didn’t feel quite so big. Her arm throbbed in time with her heartbeat and her stomach and chest felt as if they were one giant, pulsating bruise.
“Neil won’t be back,” she said, barely able to believe it. “You’re sure?”
“I’m positive. He has no hold over you anymore. He can never get custody of Zoe or even threaten to see her. He also asked me to tell you he apologizes for what happened. The drugs he took really messed him up.” Jeremy leaned closer. “You’re done with him, Ms. Towers. You’re free.”
Elissa wasn’t sure what to do with that information. She was still trying to figure out how it had all happened when her mother showed up with Zoe that evening.
“Mommy, Mommy, you have a cast!” Zoe ran over and touched the hardened plaster. “Does it hurt?”
“The cast doesn’t. My arm is a little sore. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want a hug.”
Her mother lifted Zoe onto the bed, where her five-year-old hugged her as if she would never let her go.
What a horrible experience for her daughter, Elissa thought. Would Zoe have nightmares from this? Should she take her to a counselor of some kind?
“How are you feeling?” she asked tentatively.
“Okay.” Zoe showed off a couple of her bruises. “But Mrs. Ford read me three stories and Grandma and me made cookies. We would have brought them, but Grandma says we should wait until you come home tomorrow. Only maybe we can stay with Grandma for a few days. Wouldn’t that be the best? I have princess sheets at Grandma’s house.”
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