USA Today Bestselling Author
Kill them all
It was always me and Daddy, but now I have another family to protect.
From the day my father didn’t come home, my life changed irrevocably. From my earliest memories, I’d always known what I would do. Daddy hunted the monsters and when I was old enough, he let me help.
Under his tutelage, I trained, studied, and learned. I was his apprentice, his partner, and eventually, I grew up enough to strike out on my own. It was always the two of us. Sometimes we shared targets, but more often, he had his and I had mine.
I always thought we had no secrets, but my hunt uncovers more and more questions.
Then I met Rick, Fletcher, and eventually Cash. Rick shattered the loneliness around me and for him, I broke Daddy’s rules. Fletcher burrowed into my heart with his quirky mannerisms and vulnerability, and for him, I threw the rules out entirely. And Cash?
His relentless, damn near fearless pursuit turned everything I knew upside down all the while he filled in a hole in my defenses. For him, we’ve rewritten the rules entirely. They are my apprentices, my support, my team, and very quickly, they have become my partners in both life and business.
Most of all, they are mine.
I won’t stop hunting for those who took Daddy while I continue his work. But I won’t do it alone. And I won’t let anyone take Rick, Fletcher, or Cash from me.
Don’t touch what’s mine. They will fight for me and I will kill for them.
LAST WORD is a full length dark adult romance and psychological thriller with suspenseful themes. Any trigger warnings will be included in the foreword. Some situations may be uncomfortable for readers. This is a reverse harem novel, meaning the main character has more than one love interest. This is the fourth and final book in the series.
This is it, the final book, the one where we learn all the answers. If you haven’t read the other books in this series, STOP, go back and read them. This book continues where the last one left off after a prologue starring Cash. A most interesting prologue to say the least.
This should have been a joyous homecoming, instead all Rick, Fletcher and Cash saw was Thackery’s coldness and Vienna’s pain.
This is a favorite scene.
The dining room was already set. I’d taken a few minutes to add an extra place setting while they were upstairs.
Vienna’s lost expression as she followed on Thackery’s heels tugged at my heart. I wanted to wrap her up in my arms and let her know that everything was going to be okay, but comfort wouldn’t be welcome in any form right now. Not under the watchful gaze of her father.
As soon as she looked up and saw the platter in my hands her face brightened.
“Daddy, this is Rick. He’s the one I told you about that saved me in an alley.” Her lips twisted up for a fraction of a second before lifting in a too bright smile again. “He’s a master in the kitchen. You wouldn’t believe the meals he’s created for us.” Her voice rose as her hands fluttered over the back of her chair before she pulled it out.
Cash stepped up behind her with a hand on her hip, guiding her to her seat as he pushed in her chair. He didn’t usually show such manners, but he seemed to understand, maybe better than Fletcher and me, how unsettled Vienna was.
I was glad he was trying, in his way, to soothe her.
The head of the table was usually my spot, but I took a side chair so Thackery could sit there. This was his house after all.
He seemed to understand we were deferring to him as he settled in the stiff, formal chair.
Fletcher came waltzing in with a glass filled to the brim as he moved to his seat. While everyone unfolded their napkins, I served the food to make it as pleasing to the eye as possible.
“Mr. Drew,” I started, hoping a bit of polite conversation would dispel some of the tense air. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Vienna has only sung your praises, so I know how much it must mean to her to have you home.”
Even if she hadn’t told us specific stories in the beginning, the affection in her voice when she mentioned him and the profound grief when she discussed his loss told me all I needed to know. This man was important to her.
That made him important to me.
Without responding, he studied the food in front of him as though he wasn’t certain of it. My culinary choices weren’t for everyone, but our little family seemed to enjoy it.
“If that’s a little too rich,” I continued, mentally kicking myself. Cash said he’d been in a cell. We had no idea on what condition he’d been kept in beyond how gaunt he’d appeared upon arrival.
Gaunt and filthy.
The food might upset his stomach.
“Actually, it might be. I can fix you something a little simpler if you’d like. Toast. Eggs. Basic fare and probably not as tasty, but I wouldn’t want to make you ill.”
The man lifted his gaze from the plate to fix it on me. The thorny exterior seemed to intensify and the air shifted again. I didn’t retreat from that measured stare though. While there had been a warmth and curiosity to Vienna’s eyes when she looked at me the same way— none of which appeared in her father’s— I understood what he wanted to see.
Was I genuine?
I wouldn’t shy away from him. Vienna was my whole world. Though room for Fletcher had been found and Cash had begun to make himself at home. I would make room for this bristly, unfriendly man because it would make her happy.
He didn’t have to like me. I could accept that.
Yet, he offered no rejection or acceptance. In fact, he offered nothing at all. Instead, he cut a look at Vienna. “Are they staying here?”
“Yes,” she said, lifting her chin and it was the first time a waver of uncertainty had filtered out of her voice. I frowned. That sound wasn’t Vienna at all. She leaned forward. “Rick is an amazing cook, Daddy. He’s right, you probably do need something a little blander. I’d say we should call one of the doct—”
“No.” One word, cutting her off with a sharp shake of his head.
“I know, we don’t know if we can trust them.” She dropped her hands to her lap and sighed. “But you can trust Rick and Cash and Fletcher—”
Cash hadn’t taken a seat yet and it wasn’t until Thackery Drew asked those two words that our former guest’s posture registered with me. He had a hand planted firmly on the back of Vienna’s chair and a second one on the back of Fletcher’s.
“Baby Girl, no. These men are your guests. If you want them here…” He pushed back his chair and rose. While his tone didn’t change significantly in volume, the disappointment registered. “I seem to have been gone longer than I realized.”
“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” Cash demanded as the older man turned on his heel. The question crashed through the bubble of pressure squeezing the air out of the room. It lanced through it, rupturing the false sense of peace with a very real anger.
“Cash,” Vienna murmured, it was almost a plea. She was on her feet, but Cash shifted all of his weight. He wasn’t just backing her up anymore, he was getting between father and daughter.
Most of the time, he was too heavy-handed in his responses.
Most of the time.
The hurt in Vienna’s eyes though, held me prisoner for all of a split second. Then I set the serving platter down to free up my hands.
“I’ll leave you to play house,” Thackery continued without a glance at Cash. It was as though he’d weighed, measured, and dismissed him. Or maybe he hadn’t even bothered. He wasn’t looking at me or Fletcher either as he left the table and went to the hall closet.
Inside was a panel I’d never seen and a small rack of keys.
“Daddy,” Vienna attempted again, circling Cash and heading for her father. Fortunately, Cash didn’t try to stop her but the riot of emotion vibrating off of him was damn near as thorny and uncomfortable as the wall around Thackery.
“I’ll be fine,” her father said, pausing as he pulled on a jacket to look down at her. “You have enough to deal with here. I’ll use one of the other houses for now.”
“You just got here…”
Crushed. His decision to leave crushed her. Jaw tightening, I tried to keep my glare in check. Still, I kept a wary eye on her father. This man had the power to hurt her.
Was hurting her…
From my periphery, I caught Fletcher tossing back all of the wine before he rose to his feet. His attention was firmly on Vienna. Good. He could get her out of here if Cash and I had to deal with Thackery.
“And you seem to have moved on quite well,” Thackery continued. “This—” He gave a wave to the table. “This is not for me.”
“It can be for you.” Strength that had been missing threaded through Vienna’s voice. “Having someone to come home to after a job is nice. Comforting. Welcomed.”
She stopped in front of him as he gripped the keys in a tight fist. It was the only sign he was bothered by our presence at all. Otherwise, his harsh words and unimpressed stare said he didn’t approve but couldn’t care less.
“Please don’t leave, Daddy,” she whispered.
I almost raised my hand to clutch my breaking heart. This, her sorrow at her father turning away from her, was not okay.
Heather Long, Blake Blessing. Last Word (Kindle Locations 254-312).
As this story unfolds, we learn more about Cash’s dad, Fletcher’s family and even more about Vienna. We see a lot more of ‘Ratio’ and Dae, a new entity joins the fray.
We also know at this point her Uncle David has been behind this and so much more.
Some very startling truths are unveiled involving Vienna’s friend Mart. I found myself laughing and crying as well as holding my breath as some things finally come to light.
Truly a worthy ending for this unusual and captivating crew!
5 Contented Purrs for Heather and Blake!
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USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.
When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
She attended ten different schools growing up, so books became her constant friend. Escaping into books of all different genres made life fun and exciting. Blake was also raised on music and still blasts it through the house and car at every opportunity.
She has a weird sense of humor and a penchant for chocolate milk. It only makes sense she would one day go on to write her own stories.