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|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(65) by Samantha Young|
“Logan,” I whispered, shrugging uncertainly. “I don’t even . . .”
His eyes roamed over me. “You look well.”
I leaned in closer at the sound of his voice. “I—”
“Where the fuck have you been, Shannon?” he hissed, the hardness in his eyes shoved aside momentarily to make room for the hurt.
It felt as if someone had just thrown a brick at my chest.
I smoothed a hand over my hair, and the motion drew Logan’s attention. His eyes narrowed. “You’re shaking.” He sat back, shocked and wounded. “Are you afraid of me?”
“Of course not,” I snapped, and then lowered my voice when I realized I’d drawn attention to us. “But I am afraid of what you think of me. I didn’t think you’d want me here. Mum, Dad, and Amanda said you wouldn’t either. They told me to stay away.”
“What are you talking about? They said you just took off and you haven’t been in touch.” Anger flared in his eyes like purple sparks. “Do you have any idea how goddamn relieved I was to hear from you? You’ve had us worried sick, Shannon.”
“No.” I shook my head in denial, my heart pounding. “Mum, Dad, and Amanda . . . they told me this was my fault, that you all thought it was my fault. They told me they’d never forgive me. I thought it was best to just . . . leave. For everyone’s sake.”
“They said what?”
I tensed at the surprise on his face. “You never thought that?”
“No,” he spat. “And you should have known better.”
“How? Logan, I put you in prison.”
“I put me in prison.” He thumped his fist against his chest. “I did. I’d do it over again if it meant getting to put that fucking animal in the hospital.”
Suddenly I was flooded by the memories of that day, of the following days and weeks . . . My chest felt tight and the flashbacks turned to hard lumps in my throat. Although the pain and humiliation of that day had diminished since striking up a relationship with Cole, it hadn’t completely disappeared. As evident by the way I was feeling upon seeing Logan for the first time. Tears burned in my eyes. “If I hadn’t been such an idiot. If I hadn’t been with him . . . if I hadn’t run to you, you—”
“Don’t.” Logan grabbed my hand. “If you hadn’t spent every day after you got out of the hospital avoiding me when I was out on bail, then I would have told you then what I’m telling you now—none of this is your fault. None of it.”
I started to cry, bowing my head so my hair would hide my tears from the strangers around me. “I’ve been a coward. I should have come sooner. I . . .” I stared up at him, curling my fingers tighter around his and begging him with my gaze to believe me. “I know our family has never been close, but when they turned their back on me I felt really alone and I just couldn’t face that they might be telling me the truth, that the one person . . . that you wouldn’t want me to be your sister anymore.”
“You’re a fucking idiot,” he said softly. “But fear makes us stupid.” His lips twisted and that hardness was back in his eyes. “Believe me. I’ve seen plenty of that in here.”
“Logan, I am so sorry. I never meant for any of this.”
He shook his head in the way he did whenever he was flabbergasted. “Shannon MacLeod, you are the kindest person I’ve ever known. You’re my blood. And someone thought he could hurt you. I don’t regret advising him otherwise.”
“There’s not a single day I haven’t thought about you.”
He glanced away and I caught the sadness in his eyes. Logan had always been a bit like Cole—hotheaded with a quick temper that died down as quickly as it flared. But that was the extent of any kind of “darkness” in him. Logan was light. He was protective and hardworking, but he also knew how to have a good time. He was a joker with constant humor in his eyes.
That was when I realized what was so different about him.
That spark of mischief, of easy humor . . . it was gone.
Guilt gnawed at me despite my best efforts to soak in his words of reassurance. “Do Mum and Dad visit you often?”
Logan turned back to me and nodded. “They visit twice a month. Amanda does too. The other two visits I keep open for friends.”
“You haven’t lost any, then?” That was something I’d worried about too.
“No. They understand why I did what I did. I have good friends, Shannon. And, believe it or not, Mum and Dad have really been there for me.”
I was confused and angry and yet thankful at the same time for that. “I’m glad.”
“I’ll be having a word with them, though, about how they treated you.”
His eyes flashed. “You were in the hospital because you were beaten and almost raped, and rather than being there for you, they chased you off. I mean, what the fuck have you been doing these last few months? Where have you been?”
Understanding lit up his eyes. “Running to Gran like always.”
“Except—” My lips trembled.
“She wasn’t there.” He squeezed my hand again. “Have you been alone all this time?”
“No.” I took a deep breath and told my brother everything. From being homeless and jobless to fate’s twisted sense of humor landing me a job at INKarnate, to meeting Rae and being taken into her weird but wonderful fold, to Cole, to the antagonism between us and why, to learning all I did from his family, to our relationship changing, to how supportive he’d been, to how I’d fallen for him, and how he was the one who convinced me to face Logan.
When I was done, Logan sat back in his chair, his brow puckered in contemplation.
“Say something,” I pleaded quietly. “I need you to believe I’m not making another mistake. You have to know after everything that I would never make that mistake again.”
Logan nodded. “He sounds like a decent guy and I’m glad you’ve had people around you.” He gave me his no-nonsense big-brother look, and warmth exploded in my chest at the familiar sight of it. “But I will have to meet him.”
“Of course,” I readily agreed.
He snorted. “You got a tattoo?”