Page 23 of Stealing the Bride

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“Lawson,” Vanna whimpers, and I hold my hands up.

“Shhh. It’s all right, babe.” She’s across the room from me, and all I want to do is take her in my arms.

“I didn’t want it to come to this.” Lilith points the gun at my chest and cocks the hammer back. “But now you’re getting in the way of my son's happiness, and that won’t do.”

“He doesn’t love her.”

“You two and your stupid ideas about love.” Lilith puts her hands on either side of the gun while she takes aim. “I don’t care if he loves her. If my boy wants Vanna, then he’s going to get her. Nick can have anything, and I won’t let you stand in the way!” she shouts, and just when she’s about to pull the trigger, someone runs into the room.

Nick’s face is bloodied and battered as he practically leaps on me, and the gun goes off at the same time. Screams fill the room as Nick and I fall to the ground, and I can feel warm blood rushing between us.

“Nicky!” Lilith screams and drops the gun.

Vanna is instantly at my side, rolling Nick off of me so she can check if I’m injured. That’s when we see Nick’s the one that’s been shot. Several of the maids from earlier are in the hall watching this happen, but no one is doing anything.

A siren sounds in the distance, and I can hear my brothers shouting my name from downstairs. Relief floods me as I turn to Vanna, and when I pull her into my arms, she passes out cold.

Chapter Seventeen


A scream rips from me as I startle awake, and even as disoriented as I am, I can tell I’m in a hospital by the sounds of machines beeping and the smell of antiseptic.

“Lawson,” I call out for him, and I can feel tears pour down my cheeks.

“It’s okay.” A small hand takes mine, and I know right away it’s not his. “Lawson is okay, everything is going to be okay.”

The woman beside me is so tender, and when I look into her eyes, they are as familiar as my own. “You’re his mom.”

“Yes.” She gives me a sweet smile before grabbing a tissue to wipe away my tears. I try to take it from her, but she’s not having it. “It’s all right, I’ve got you.”

“He’s okay? Really?” I try to get up but realize there is an IV in my arm.

“I promise you he’s fine. He’s talking to the police and wrapping a few things up.”

“Oh god. Are they going to arrest him? I’m sure Lilith has a team of lawyers spinning this.” Tears start to form in my eyes again.

“You love him, don’t you?” Lawson’s mom keeps on smiling, not answering my question. She doesn’t seem worried in the least, and it actually makes me relax.

“I do love him,” I say without hesitation.

“How is she?” An older man walks into the room, and he looks just like Lawson except with some gray in his hair.

“She’s perfect,” Lawson’s mom tells him. “Vanna, this is my husband, Frank.” I give him the best smile I can muster.

“Are you Jisa?” I recall Lawson telling me when we were at the lake house.

“I am. You can call me that for now.” What does she mean by for now? “How’s your head? When they examined you, they found a pretty big bruise.”

I reach back and touch the spot, and thankfully it’s not as tender as before. “It’s fine. Why am I here?”

“You passed out, so the ambulance took both you and Nick to the hospital.”

“Oh.” I gasp. “Is he…”

“Dead?” Frank supplies, and I nod.

“Don’t scare her.” Jisa smacks Frank's chest. “He’s alive.”

I worry my bottom lip between my teeth, not sure how I feel about that.

“They can’t get to you. I think the Chambers underestimated our family's reach. In our line of work, we know everyone, and their games won't work. Ari is already digging up piles of dirt on them. They’ll be going down for more than this.”

“Is this her?” Another man walks into the hospital room.

“Yes, but you can introduce yourself properly,” Jisa scolds him.

“Mack?” I guess before he can.

“Correct.” He walks to the other side of the bed. “How did Lawson land you? Did he kidnap you or something?” Mack teases.

Lawson told me Mack’s the joker in the family, but he’s also the one that is quickest to lose his temper. As I glance around the room, I realize this is the first time I’ve met them, but Lawson told me so many things about them it doesn’t feel that way.

“It’s really sweet you guys came to check on me.”

“Check on you?” Mack drops down into the chair beside the bed. “You’re like our sister now. Of course we’re going to be here. Is Mom annoying you yet?”