The Other Brother (Snow and Ash Book 3)

Free The Other Brother (Snow and Ash Book 3) by Heather Knight

Book: The Other Brother (Snow and Ash Book 3) by Heather Knight Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heather Knight
Tags: dark erotic romance
out of the room, still laughing.


    “I’m sorry I’m late, Patricia. I got carried away reading to Mrs. Wick.” I’m out of breath. I practically ran all the way back from the nursing home.
    “No worries. I’ve got everything ready,” she says and gestures to a tray. “I had them make his sandwich with focaccia bread. He’ll love it.”
    “Thank you.” Sunflowers. I smile and run my finger over the textured center. Asheville grows them for the nutrition in the seeds. The fact that they’re pretty is a bonus.
    “I’d better hurry or I’ll be late.” I fling off my coat and toss it onto the back of a chair. I kick off my boots and jam my feet into a pair of four-inch heels and reach for the tray.
    “What happened to you?” she asks.
    I follow her glance to the bruise just above my wrist. Kent gave it to me last night when he pinned my arms over my head. Just thinking about it sets my heart racing. I raise the tray and pretend great interest in its contents. “Just an accident.”
    Patricia spikes a brow, but she doesn’t pursue it.
    “Do I look okay?”
    Kent sent a message after breakfast with a list of things he wanted me to accomplish today. I don’t mind. I don’t know this territory and I don’t know this house or these people, so it’s nice to have a little direction. One of the items was to bring him lunch at precisely one thirty, and he asked me to don the dress I now wear. With a crisp bow at the waist and a flair skirt, it reminds me of something from the early 1960s. I never would have chosen it myself, but I love the caged netting that fills the three-inch gap between the neckline and the rest of the dress. But my hair. It’s so damn curly. It needs to be braided, badly.
    “Sit down for a sec.”
    I cast a glance at the mantel clock. “But it’s almost—”
    I do, and Patricia retrieves a few things from my dressing table. When she returns, she drags a brush through my thick snarls. “Honestly, Mrs. Barry, I think we need to do a hot oil treatment.”
    “What’s that?” Sounds like some dark-age torture.
    “Something my mother used to do when she was young.” She gathers my hair up in two twists on either side of my face and anchors them with bobby pins. Then she pinches my cheeks.
    “Ow!” I pull back and clutch my stinging flesh.
    “That’s the price you pay for beauty, Mrs. Barry. Now look.”
    She drags me in front of a mirror, where I find that she’s cleverly arranged my hair in a World War II–type style. Long in the back, twisted up on either side of my face, and thanks to her, pink cheeks. Since I’ve never tried to draw attention to myself, it’s better than any result I’d have gotten on my own. But Kent wants this, and I want to convince him I’m doing my best to not give him any more trouble. I’ve spent the last four years showing fear, and I want him to see I’m at least trying to get it under control.
    “Thanks. Now I’d better run!”
    She hands me the tray. “Shoulders back, chin up. Remember, you are not a servant.”
    “Thanks, Mom.” I scrunch my nose at her and set out.
    Like I said, his office is all the way on the other side of the mansion, and the Biltmore House is huge even for a mansion. I’m not accustomed to wearing high heels, and by the time I reach his clerk’s desk, my toes pinch so badly you’d think someone had smashed them with a sledgehammer. Sgt. Aguilar isn’t at his post. A quick glance at the clock tells me it’s just past one thirty. I take a deep breath to calm my flutters. I knock and open the door.
    Instantly, my heart sinks like concrete. There are five men clustered around Kent’s conference-room table, the shoulders of their uniforms loaded down with stripes and epaulets. I gasp. “I’m sorry! I thought…” I meet Nico’s eyes, and there’s just enough rebuke in them that my cheeks go nuclear.
    I take a step back and let out a puff of breath. “I’ll just leave this

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