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Guilty As Sin (Sin Trilogy#2)
Author:Meghan March

Guilty As Sin (Sin Trilogy#2)

Meghan March



Ten years ago

I RODE to the hospital with Aunt Jackie, shivering in my rain-soaked clothes as my stomach twisted into tighter and tighter knots. She wouldn’t tell me anything other than there had been an accident involving my parents and Lincoln’s father.

I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw Lincoln’s headlights shining behind us. As soon as Jackie had given us the news, part of me had wanted to run to him, to give and seek comfort, but what had happened earlier tonight had changed everything between us. Although, the closer we got to the hospital, the less some stupid fight and angry words seemed to matter.

There’s nothing like a possible tragedy to force you to wake up and realize what matters. Life is precious. Tomorrow carries no guarantee.

“What happened?” I felt like I’d asked the question a thousand times, but Jackie had only given me the bare minimum in details.

My aunt glanced over at me for a second before training her eyes back on the road. The windshield wipers worked overtime on their highest setting, but she still had to squint to see through the downpour.

“I don’t know. They wouldn’t tell me much over the phone.”

The knot in my stomach yanked tighter again, and I wrapped my arms around my middle as I shivered. “Why did they call you and not me?”

“I called you the entire way to your house, and it went straight to voice mail every time. They probably couldn’t get through to you either.”

“Oh my God. My phone was off,” I whispered. “Because . . .”

Jackie’s gaze cut to me again, but she didn’t say anything.

Guilt savaged me. I turned my phone off, and my parents were . . .

I shook harder. “I would know if something really, really bad happened, wouldn’t I? Shouldn’t I feel something? Know something? They have to be okay, don’t they?”

“Keep it together, Whit. We’re almost there.” Jackie’s voice, normally so strong and confident, sounded as ragged as mine.

I checked the sideview mirror again because it gave me something to do. Anything was better than dwelling on the horrible possibilities flipping through my brain.

I forced myself to focus on the headlights behind us. Lincoln’s headlights. He’d come to my house, even after he’d thrown me out of the cabin, and I didn’t know why. I thought he’d said everything he needed to say.

Not that any of it matters now. Because my parents and his father were in some kind of accident. Together.

Jackie guided the car into the parking lot of the Riscoff Memorial Hospital and took a spot about a hundred yards from the emergency entrance. Lincoln drove right up to the ER doors and jumped out. He stood beside his truck, staring in my direction.

As soon as Jackie shifted into park, I bolted out of the car and ran. Rain drenched my clothes, but I didn’t care.

I need to know.

“Whit, wait!” Jackie yelled, but I didn’t listen.

My brain buzzed with static and only one thought—find out what’s going on as quickly as possible.

Lincoln met me as the automatic doors slid open. He reached out and grabbed my hand, interlacing his fingers with mine. “I don’t give a shit what happened earlier. I’m not letting you face this alone. I don’t give a damn what anyone says, including you.”

All the anger I’d been harboring from our fight had already been obliterated by fear. My head bobbed a few times, but I couldn’t find any words to reply.

He squeezed my hand, and I found a tiny measure of calm in the riot of emotions pummeling me.

Together, we walked through the doors and into the emergency room lobby. Everything was so white and bright, at complete odds with the storm raging outside.

As soon as the woman at the triage desk saw us, her face paled. “Mr. Riscoff, your family just arrived. They’re waiting for you in a private room, sir.” Her gaze shifted to me, but it was clear she had no idea who I was.

“My parents were in the accident too. The Gables.”

Lincoln squeezed my hand again as Jackie slid to a halt behind me, her shoes squeaking on the wet floor.

The woman’s gaze cut from my face to Lincoln’s and back to mine. “Oh. Okay. Ah, if you would just have a seat—”

“My brother and his wife, Clayton and Shelly Gable,” Jackie snapped at her. “Where are they? I got a call that they were here.”

The woman nodded before reaching for her phone. “One moment, please. I’ll get someone to come help you right away.”

“Lincoln Bates Rutherford Riscoff. How dare you come in here with her? She’s not allowed to set foot in this place! I want her gone!” Lincoln’s mother shrieked from a doorway near the entrance to the emergency area. His brother, Harrison, clung to her arm.

“Mother, please calm down. You’re going to—”

Mrs. Riscoff’s face crumpled and she burst into sobs, and Harrison pulled her against his side.

Lincoln looked at me, torn. “I’m sorry, I have to—”

“Go.” My voice shook as I released his hand, hating that I immediately missed his strength.

Jackie slipped her arm around me.

“I’m sorry,” he said again before he strode toward his family.

The triage woman finally made her phone call. I tried to look at her instead of watching Lincoln, but of course, I failed.

Lincoln’s mother reached out and wrapped a hand around his arm, like she was securing him and making sure he wouldn’t come back to me. She tugged on him as Harrison led her into a room beside the emergency sign, and the door closed behind them.

“If you could please come with me. There’s a private room over here where—”

“Where are my parents? What happened to them?” I blurted out the questions because I couldn’t wait another second without knowing something.

“It’ll be a moment before the doctor can speak to you. Please come with me.” She led us to a doorway opposite the room where Lincoln and his family went.

Jackie and I waited, huddled together on a teal vinyl couch for what felt like countless hours. Finally, someone opened the door. A man in a white coat appeared. A doctor, I assumed.

“Where are my parents? Why won’t anyone tell me anything?” Whatever measure of calm I’d gained from Lincoln’s presence had dissipated, and now I needed answers before I lost my shit and started screaming like Mrs. Riscoff.

“You’re the Gable family? I’m Dr. Frances.”

“Please tell us something,” Jackie replied. “We’re both going out of our minds.”

He nodded solemnly. “Mr. and Mrs. Gable were involved in a car accident earlier this evening. We don’t have all the details about the incident, but—”

Static ramped up in my ears. I could see it on his face. I knew what he was going to say.

“Oh my God.” My voice broke on a sob. “No. No.”

His expression turned grim. “We did everything we could, but we were unable to resuscitate either of them. I am so very sorry for your losses.”

Pain and disbelief tore through me as tears blinded me. They can’t be gone. It’s not possible. My lungs seized, and I couldn’t breathe.

“No. No. No.”

Jackie’s arms wrapped tighter around me as she rocked me from side to side.

“This can’t be happening. This isn’t real. They’re not—”

“I’m so sorry, Whit.” Jackie’s voice cracked. “So sorry.”

“I’ll give you both some time, and when you’re ready, if you would like, I can take you back to say your good-byes.”

Good-byes? No.

Visions of their sheet-covered bodies invaded my brain, and I bolted for the trash can and dropped to my knees, dry heaving.

“I can’t do this.”

Jackie pulled my hair away from my face. “I’m so sorry, sweet girl. I’m so sorry.”

I stayed on my knees, watching my tears drip onto the black plastic trash bag, and wondered if anything would ever be right in my world again.