Crowd of Lies (Kingsley Academy Book 2), page 1
Crowd of Lies
Kingsley Academy, Book Two
Lisa Helen Gray
Edited by Stephanie Farrant at Farrant Editing
Cover Design by Cassy Roop at Pink Ink Designs
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places and events are all products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business or establishments is purely coincidental.
Other books by Lisa Helen Gray
From the moment I learned of Ivy Monroe’s existence, I knew vengeance would finally be mine.
Someone had to pay for her mother’s sins, and she was the next best thing.
I hated her before I met her, wanted to shred the ground she walked on and make her wish she had never been born. I wanted to break her, piece by piece, until there was nothing left to scrape off the floor.
Then she stormed into my life, blowing up everything around me.
I forgot about my plan, my game.
I forgot about the promise I made to myself when I was just a kid, when my world was ripped apart: to destroy anything and everything her mother cared about.
I forgot it all.
Because I let her in. I let her into a place where only my mum and brothers and best friend were.
I took my eye off the ball. And now the sky is falling down on me, shattering my world into a thousand pieces.
I now have a new promise to fulfil.
To find out the truth and protect her.
Blood will be shed.
Lives will be ruined.
And I will get what I want.
I’m Kaiden Kingsley.
The music is thunderous as I make my way downstairs, louder than what it was forty minutes ago, when I went upstairs to send an email to the Kingsley Academy Education Board.
My mother, Nina, owns the Academy. She owns the Kingsley name; my dad choosing to take her name instead of his own. It was a power play on his part, and a clever one. My mum’s family were notorious for networking, and they were rich. Rich enough to own whatever their hearts desired.
Right now, I desire Ivy. I want to find her, drag her to the closest room and fuck her senseless. My need for her is so strong I don’t even care if people are in said room.
My gaze travels across the sea of people, drinking and dancing, when my gaze locks with Ethan’s. He grins, but then his eyebrows furrow as he glances over my shoulder. I turn but see no one behind me. Anyone who comes to one of our parties knows not to go upstairs. They know what we would do to them wouldn’t be worth it.
I head over to him, ignoring a few Academy students on my way. “What’s wrong?”
It’s Lucca, Ethan’s twin, who answers me. “You’re becoming a let-down, bro. Over already?”
“What are you going on about?” I grit out, my look slicing through him, still annoyed over the party.
“Where’s Ivy?” Ethan asks, not at all bothered with my mood. “She went upstairs to find you.”
“Ivy?” Grant asks, joining our huddle. We’ve been friends since we were born, but his actions of late are beginning to worry me. He’s always had a darkness about him—it comes from being raised by a loveless father—but recently it’s been different. Having Ivy here is fucking with his head. Though he does seem to be better than when she first arrived, over a month ago.
Still, he needs to be watched.
“Yeah, you seen her?”
“What are you going on about, Ethan?” I bite out, agitated about everyone being inside our home. I just want it to be us, Ivy and Grant. I don’t want all these leeches here.
“Like I said, she was here and we sent her upstairs to find you. Did you not see her?” Ethan asks.
I look to Grant, raising my eyebrow in question. “The only person I’ve seen is Dad. He rushed out of his office fifteen minutes or so ago, looking thunderous over something.”
“I didn’t see Dad,” Lucca comments, sharing a secretive look with Ethan.
I ignore them, pointedly staring at Grant. He looks sheepish, glancing to the door.
“She ran out of here thirty minutes ago, looking like she’d seen a ghost. I thought it was because she was pissed about Danielle.”
That can’t be right. She would have come to me before leaving. Since the night of the fire, her walls have come down and she’s let me in. We’ve grown closer throughout the week, and it’s not just me who’s become addicted. She’s nothing like I expected.
Something doesn’t feel right, though, so I head outside, leaving my brothers and Grant to follow me. Our housekeeper, Lenore, always hires men to blend in and guard the house, in case we step out, so I know nothing will happen with us all gone. I may have asked the twins to get Danielle here without being too obvious, but a party isn’t something I’m in the mood for.
Nova is running out of her house like it’s on fire, and an overwhelming feeling that something bad is about to happen, creeps up my spine.
“Where’s Ivy?” I yell out to her.
She jumps, clutching her chest. “Have you seen her?” she asks, hope flashing in her eyes.
She’s been crying, which means she’s probably had another argument with Ivy. I’m kind of surprised, though, since Ivy said they were getting along better. Another thing that doesn’t add up.
“What’s going on, Nova?”
“I-I—it’s private family stuff. I need to go look for her.”
My jaw hardens as I walk towards her, and she takes a step back, looking scared, unable to meet my eyes. The twins notice too and watch her warily.
I love Nova, think of her like an aunt, like a mother really, but I can also tell when she’s lying. She might be a damn good lawyer, but she isn’t a defence attorney. She deals with land and other crap, so lying isn’t her strong suit, not when
My phone rings in my back pocket, and I pull it out to see an unknown caller ringing me. “Yeah?”
“Don’t hang up,” Rhys, whose voice I instantly recognise, rushes out, and I look back down at the phone, wondering if I’m hallucinating.
“Please tell me you have a good reason for calling me, Rhys.” Our beef with the Remington’s is long lasting, but for us, it’s not about some old feud that happened many generations ago. It’s personal. It’s an act of disobedience, neither side wanting to submit to the other.
And we’ll never submit. I’d rather die than have a Remington tell me what to do.
“I do. I do,” he rushes out, and for the first time I notice he sounds nervous, not cocky and so sure of himself.
The guys pay close attention when they hear who I’m talking to. They gather closer, listening intently to the one-sided conversation.
“Spit it out,” I snap harshly.
“Carter called me from his bike. Man, it’s bad. You need to get to the hospital. I told the paramedics to take them to Farley Hospital.”
I laugh, seriously thinking the guy is high. “Why the fuck would I care?”
“Because he had Ivy on the back of his bike.”
My back straightens, and I feel the blood rushing from my face. “Talk! And start from the beginning.” I look over at Nova, who’s glancing down at the phone clutched in her hand, her face pale. “Nova, hand Grant your keys. He’s driving us to Farley Hospital.”
She looks up, white as a sheet. “It’s Ivy, isn’t it?” she asks, passing the keys in her hand to Grant.
Why doesn’t she sound surprised? What the fuck is going on? I’ve never been scared in my life, not even when my mum overdosed and was rushed into hospital. Right now, I’m fucking petrified of what Rhys is about to tell me.
“He said someone was trying to kill them, and told me where they were. By the time I got there, they were loading them into an ambulance.”
“Who was trying to kill them? And why the fuck was Ivy with him? If this is some fucking sick game you’re playing and it got Ivy hurt, I’ll slit your throat first, then make my way through your entire family,” I growl as we get into the car, causing Nova to whimper.
“It’s not, I swear. And I don’t fucking know. I’m doing you a fucking favour here. He didn’t say. Just fucking get here.”
I end the call as Grant pulls off, glancing at me through the rear-view mirror. “What’s going on?”
I run down everything Rhys said, noticing how tense the twins get either side of me, their hands clenched on their knees.
“Nova, you want to explain why Ivy was with Carter Remington?”
“You’ll need to ask Ivy,” she whispers.
A phone rings in the car, and Nova jumps, reaching for her bag. I notice she doesn’t answer the phone in her hand but the one she pulls from her bag.
“Sam,” she cries. “Are you with her? I don’t know. Oh my god. Please, no! This is all my fault.”
I share a look with Grant in the rear-view mirror, both of us confused as we wait for her to get off the phone. “Nova?”
A small sob escapes her. “It’s Ivy.”
My heart stops at those words, and I break out in a cold sweat.
“Sam said she wasn’t breathing when they brought her in.”
I punch the back of the driver’s seat to let out the anger and fear bubbling inside of me. When that doesn’t work, I lean over Ethan and punch my fist through the window, shattering the glass into a thousand pieces.
“Calm down,” Grant yells from the front.
“Fucking drive. And fast,” I bite out, gripping the ends of my hair.
Blood seeps from my knuckles and trickles through my fingers, but I don’t care.
I’ll fucking kill Carter for getting her hurt. He’s gone too far by going after her. When we gate-crashed his party, I told him she was off limits. We’d gone there to throw punches, but when I saw him hovering over her, trying to work his slimy charm, I felt like I was the one who’d been hit in the gut.
He clearly didn’t get my meaning.
He will though.
*** *** ***
When we reach the hospital, I don’t bother to wait for Grant to park. I push Ethan out of the car before jumping out myself and rushing through the hospital doors.
I know from experience that if you’re brought in by ambulance, you are treated on the first floor, so that’s where I start searching, not caring if I look like a wild animal.
The second I lock eyes on Carter, rage boils through my veins. I rush up to him, grip him by the T-shirt he’s wearing, and slam him against the wall. A picture frame falls down, smashing on the floor.
“What the fuck did you do? What did you get her into? I’ll fucking kill you,” I roar, pulling my fist back.
He laughs when I punch him in the jaw, spitting out blood. His gaze hardens, and he pushes me back. “You should be thanking me. It wasn’t me they were trying to kill. It was her.”
“What?” I ask, stepping back.
“Yeah. I was heading to a mate’s house when I saw her getting run off the road by a black Mercedes with blacked out windows. When it spun back to finish the job, I stopped and got her on the back of my bike. It didn’t stop until we crashed.”
For the first time, I take a good look at him, noticing the road rash and head injury. His clothes are torn up. My stomach sinks. If he’s this bad, with his experience in how to land and what to do during a crash, then I dread to think what Ivy looks like when she has no fucking clue what to do.
“Where’s the driver?” I can’t even think of anyone we know who has that car, but my head isn’t thinking straight right now.
He shrugs, running a hand over his face. “According to guy who stopped to help, some man stole her bag and took off.”
I turn to the sounds of my brothers coming down the corridor, my gaze zeroing in on Nova, who’s whispering something to Sam, a man she’s hated since he cheated on her.
That tingling sensation, a feeling that tells me something big is about to happen, runs down my spine, and I know, without a doubt, Nova has the answers.
“Is she okay?” Ethan and Lucca ask, their gaze narrowing in on Carter.
“Hey, I fucking helped her,” he snaps, holding his hands up. He moves away, giving us privacy. I look away when a nurse starts fussing over him, trying to get him back into his room.
“I’m going to look for her,” I tell the twins, just as Sam steps up.
“No, you aren’t, son.”
“I’m not your fucking son,” I grit out, pushing past him. He grips my arm, pulling me back.
“They’re trying to save her life in there. They’ll come out with news once they can.”
I push at his chest, knocking him into Grant. “Do you really think you can use now to worm your way inside her life? You can’t play dad now. You don’t get that chance.”
Sam laughs in my face. “You have no idea. I don’t want her near you. She isn’t safe.”
I rear back before punching him in the face. He staggers into the wall, and Nova screams, going to his aid. “Kai!”
“I’d never hurt her.”
He wipes blood away from his lip, glaring at me. “You think I don’t know what you planned to do to her?”
“That was before,” I tell him, stepping back in shame.
He’s right though, Ivy wasn’t safe around me before. I was going to ruin her, break her. But then it changed. I can’t even pinpoint the monumental moment that killed all my plans, but something, at some time, did. I no longer hate her. I don’t fuck her like I hate her.
“Miss Monroe?” a nurse calls, and Nova turns to the door the woman stepped out of.
“Is she okay?”
The nurse watches us warily, picking up on the tension before turning back to
I spin around and punch the wall, bowing my head as I tune everyone out.
I’ll kill whoever did this.
A hand on my shoulder has me spinning around. Ethan.
“Woah, Kai, hold the punches. She’s fine. She has a collapsed lung, a broken arm and a few broken ribs.”
“What else?” I ask, resting my hands on my bent knees as I slide down the wall, relief filling me.
She’s okay. She’s breathing.
“She has a mild head injury, but nothing serious. She’s still out cold, but Sam and Nova have gone in.”
“Guys? What are you doing here?” Selina asks, casting Carter a wary glance when she sees him leaning against the wall, his cousin Rhys next to him. I watch as she drops the sleeve of her dressing gown, covering her burnt arm. “Did you lot succeed in killing one or the other? Is Ivy here? I was just going to get some decent food.”
When no one laughs at her attempt of a joke, she looks around at all our weary expressions. Ethan is the one to step forward.
“Selina, it’s Ivy. She was in an accident.”
Her accusing eyes come to me. “What did you do?” she snaps, and I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the chest. Ethan said accident, but it didn’t matter. She still assumed it was me. “Where is she?”
“Calm down,” Ethan warns her, stepping closer.
“Get away from me! Where is she? She told me what you guys did to her, what you’ve said, and I didn’t say anything because she didn’t want me to. I thought you were past it. I thought you were together,” she yells, drawing attention from other visitors and nurses.
“Calm her the fuck down,” I bark at Ethan, ignoring her insults.
“Calm down? Are you for real? Where is she?”
“Selina, why don’t you go back to your room?” Carter speaks up.
“Don’t fucking talk to her,” Lucca snaps.
Carter pushes off the wall. “Or what, Kingsley?”
“Watch it,” I warn him. “I’m still thirsty for blood.”
Sam steps out of the room, completely ignoring me. “Selina,” he murmurs, and she rushes over to him.
LISA HELEN GRAY SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Landon (A Next Generation Carter Brother Novel Book 3)Crowd of Lies (Kingsley Academy Book 2)Soul of my Soul (Take a Chance Book 1)Wrong Crowd (Kingsley Academy Book 1)MasonMaverick (Carter Brothers Book 5)Max (A Carter Brother series Book 4)If I Could I'd Wish It All Away (I Wish Book 1)
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