Read RISE - Part Two (The RISE Series Book 2) by Deborah Bladon online for free (2024)


First Original Edition, August 2015

Copyright © 2015 by Deborah Bladon

ISBN: 9781926440309

Cover Design by Wolf & Eagle Media

This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and situations either are the product of the author's imagination or are used factiously.

All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written consent from the author.

Also by Deborah Bladon

The Obsessed Series

The Exposed Series

The Pulse Series

The VAIN Series

The RUIN Series



The GONE Series


The Trace Series


The Ember Series


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Thank You

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About the Author

Chapter 1

I've long had a fear that one day I'll be in line at the bank and it will be robbed at gunpoint by masked bandits. It's an irrational anxiety. My logical mind knows that the likelihood of it happening is akin to the chance that I'll win a million dollars on one of those lottery scratch tickets I always buy on the last Friday of each month.

Even though I know that I'll be able to walk into the bank and walk out with little fanfare, I always hold tightly to my smartphone. My fingers are at the ready to dial 911 if I notice anyone acting more suspiciously than being disappointed that the loan for their mortgage wasn't approved. I feel confident that I'd be able to discreetly make the call as soon as I notice a gun. That misplaced belief has always stemmed from the fact that I've never actually seen a firearm other than on television or in the movies. Guns haven't been a part of my life, until now.

As I stand in the lobby of Landon Beckett's apartment building I see the first flash of a gun barrel just seconds before another cuts into my line of sight. My eyes dart from Landon's father's shocked face, to the two men in suits who brusquely pushed their way closer to the elevator doors just a few minutes ago. The fact that they are both speaking calmly, as they wave their guns in the air, does little to still the instant commotion that has engulfed the space.

The woman and two young men, who arrived just moments before I stood up from my seat in the lobby, are all clinging to each other. The sallow expression on the face of the more burly of the two men pushes me to take three steps back. He's either going to unload the contents of his stomach right here on the polished marble floors or he's going to faint.

I can't deal with either possibility so I inch backwards wanting desperately to catch Landon's gaze but he's focused solely on his father. His left hand is clasped tightly around his father's forearm while his right hand is pointed at the floor just outside the elevator's doors.

He's whispering something to his father. His words are lost in chaos. The two men with guns drawn are repeating in similar monotone voices that they are detectives with the police department. No one moves an inch and in that instant I feel a flurry of emotions race over me.

I want to pull Landon from the elevator and onto the safety of the Manhattan sidewalk outside this building. I need to understand how his father, who the world believed died more than a decade ago, ended up in the same elevator as him. I crave the knowledge that he didn't keep this from me. I lived a lifetime of half-truths in my relationship with Ansel Rinaldi. I won't willingly stay in any relationship, casual or not, if its foundation is layered in dishonesty.

Frederick Beckett nods as his hand moves through the air swiftly before it lands on top of Landon's. He pats the fingers of his son's hand softly before he reaches up to scoop his long fingers around Landon's neck. His eyes close as he leans forward, resting his lips against his eldest son's forehead.

Landon freezes briefly before he steps back, his expression stoic and impassive. He motions towards the two detectives and as they step into the small space, his eyes catch mine. He doesn't say anything. There are no words that could fill the physical distance that separates us. Instead, he steps towards me, pushing past the detectives, ignoring the pleas of his father to help him and as I wrap my arms around his waist, he clings to me tightly. The tremor that is racing through his body and the sound of his labored breathing answers virtually every question I have.


"I have to go with them." He gestures towards where the two detectives are standing next to a non-descript black sedan. It's the same car they ushered Frederick into after they read him his rights and handcuffed him. "I need to make a statement."

A small, and intensely curious, crowd has gathered across the street behind a hastily thrown up police barricade. The flashing lights of the NYPD cars that had pulled up as we all exited the building has drawn onlookers who are busily taking pictures and tossing out questions about who has been arrested and what crime they've committed.

I didn't hear the mention of the charges against Frederick as Landon pulled me out of earshot of the elevator. He hadn't asked why I was there. There weren't any words beyond his breathless urging to tell him that I was okay. He hated that I saw that, he said. He wanted to protect me from all of it until he had a chance to sit down and absorb what had just happened.

I pull back not more than a touch so I can look up at him. Sweat has gathered on his upper lip. His eyes are bloodshot and swollen. I don't need him to tell me that he's been crying. The evidence is there, not only on his face but also in the way his shoulders slouch forward. The strength that he naturally carries within him has disappeared. This man, standing before me, looks like he's been to hell and back. As I stare up and into his face, I'm struck with the realization that if I hadn't come back looking for my keys, I never would have witnessed that brief moment of tenderness as Landon leaned into his father's embrace before he signaled for the police to arrest him.

"I can get you a taxi to take you home." He nods towards the steady stream of cars that have slowed to a snail's pace as they move along the street in front of his building. "I can do that right now."

"I can't," I say without thought before I pull in a deep breath. "I can't go home. I left my keys in your apartment."

He scratches the back of his head before pulling his hand through his hair. "You left them? You left your keys here?"

I glance down at the sidewalk. I feel faintly embarrassed that something trivial pulled me back into his building so late at night. "I came back to get them. I tried to call you."

His eyes fall to where my smartphone is nestled snuggly in my palm. I'm still holding tightly to it as though it's a life preserver keeping me afloat in an ocean of uncertainty. He clears his throat running his hand along his neck as he does. "There are police all over my place, Tess. I don't want you to go back up there. I'll get the doorman to run up to get your keys."

I'm grateful that in
the midst of what has to be one of the most emotional nights of his life, he's thinking of my feelings. I don't need the buffer of the rude doorman though. "I can go get them. It's not a big deal."

His eyes scan my face. I can't tell what, if anything, he's hoping to find in my expression. I feel as though I stepped into a suspended reality that I don't belong in. Landon Beckett is my lover. Our connection hasn't moved beyond a few stolen moments in his bed, and a brief sharing of the heartbreak of our pasts.

I wasn't supposed to see him standing next to his father when those elevator doors opened. It's not my place to demand that he explain exactly how long he's known that his dad didn't drown during that fishing trip when he was a teenager. Right now, the only thing I truly want is my apartment keys so I can go home, rest in the silence of my bedroom, and hope that sleep finds me quickly.

"Mr. Beckett?"

Landon's head follows the sound of the voice as he looks to the left at one of the detectives who had drawn their weapons just as the elevator doors opened. I turn towards the man too and realize that in all of my infinite and naïve wisdom, I had labeled him as another overworked and exhausted businessman who had stopped for a few drinks after leaving the office. I couldn't have known when he and his partner had approached me from behind in the lobby of Landon's building, while I waited patiently for the elevator that everything would change so dramatically.

"Yes?" Landon asks tentatively. "What do you need?"

"I take it you don't want to ride in the same car as your father?" He jerks his head to the side towards the black sedan.

I glance down at the shaded windows of the car. Even though I saw Frederick as he stood in the elevator, I crave another glimpse of him. It may be genuine curiosity, or perhaps it's just reassurance that my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. I just wish I hadn't looked away as quickly as I did. The resemblance between Landon and Frederick is unmistakable and even if their births weren't separated by a generation, there would be absolutely no question that they are father and son.

"I want nothing to do with the man." Landon's gaze moves from me to the policeman. "Can I come in tomorrow morning and give my statement?"

"We need it tonight." He gestures towards a marked police car that is blocking the crosswalk. "I'll have that officer bring you downtown. I appreciate you doing this, Sir."

I don't wait for Landon to say another word. I grab hold of his hand, cradle it in my mine and look up into his face. "I'll get my keys and go home. You'll call me tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow," he repeats back before he brushes his lips softly across mine.

I stand silently in place until he's in the police car and it pulls away from the curb to fall in traffic behind the sedan that contains the long lost Frederick Beckett.

Chapter 2


The unexpected sound of someone saying my name causes me to involuntarily reach for the edge of my desk to steady my stance. I don't mind the occasional surprise, but today everything that falls even slightly out of my daily routine feels like a life-altering bombshell.

I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from saying something I'd quickly regret to the barista at the café down the street when I ordered a cup of herbal tea on my way to my office this morning. She decided that today would be the day she'd introduce her own blend of loose tea leaves. I'm all for adventure but the concoction she brewed up tasted more like old trash than a calming breakfast beverage.

My day didn't get any better when I picked up a copy of every newspaper on display at the bodega outside my building. The man working there took it upon himself to share his opinion on the outcome of an apparently important baseball game last night. I stared at him blankly, unsure whether he mistook me for a big sports fan or whether he was trying, in a very obtuse way, to pick me up. I had my answer when I turned to walk away and he asked for my number. I cursed under my breath, not because I was offended by his interest but because I'd inadvertently given him a five dollar tip when I didn't wait for my change.

"Tess," Lilly says my name louder this time. "What's wrong with you? You look like you've seen a ghost."

Technically it was a dead man, but I'm not an expert on past life semantics.

"It wasn't a ghost," I pause before I qualify the statement. "I mean, you just surprised me. I didn't know you were coming to my office."

"I left you a message." Her hand waves above my desk towards where my smartphone is resting on the stack of already read newspapers. "Are you planning on painting?"

As brilliant as Lilly Parker is, there are moments when I can't connect the words that leave her mouth and reality. "Painting? Who said anything about painting?"

"That's a lot of newspapers." She skims her index finger over the paper that's at the top of the pile. "People only have that many papers if they're going to paint. I'm glad you're doing it."

"Doing what?" I shake my head hoping that it will dislodge something that will help me understand the conversation I'm obviously taking part in.

"Painting," she enunciates the word so slowly that it sounds as though it was four syllables. "I always hated the color of your office. You should paint the walls a pale shade of green."

Now that we've established that my best friend thinks I'm a horrible interior designer, I feel the need to stop her before she unwittingly offends my wardrobe choice. I saw the way her gaze lingered on the navy blue t-shirt, faded jeans and nude stilettos that I'm wearing when she first walked into my office. I brought along a grey blazer in the off chance that I'd actually have a client meeting today. I have nothing professional on my plate and for that I'm thankful.

I had one goal when I got out of bed after a restless few hours of sleep. It was a fact finding mission on Frederick Beckett. I half-expected to see his name splashed across the front page of the local papers. At the very least I expected a small story about his return from the dead, tucked somewhere in the depth of at least one of the papers between the human interest stories and the obituaries.

I'd found nothing, which I attributed to the fact that he wasn't taken into custody until the wee hours of this morning. That made sense in my mind, until I browsed my favorite sites online for breaking news and came up empty handed.

"You seem preoccupied," Lilly plops herself into one of the chairs in front of my desk. "Did something happen? You saw him, didn't you?"

"Who?" I try to level my tone. There's no way that Lilly knows anything about what happened at Landon's building last night. After all the wine she had to drink, she was likely out cold the moment her head hit the pillow.

"Ansel," she says with a familiarity that irks me. "You've seen him, haven't you?"

I scrub my hands over my face. Last night, the possibility of seeing Ansel Rinaldi seemed tangible and overwhelming. Once I saw Landon's father in that elevator, any thought I may have had about the possibility of running into my ex-boyfriend again disappeared. I actually forgot that he's here, in New York City, in a hotel just a few blocks from my office.

"No." I shake my head from side-to-side. "I haven’t."

"I thought he might contact you." She adjusts the tailored pencil skirt she's wearing as she crosses her legs. "From what you told me last night, you two were really serious at one time."

I can sense a question burrowed beneath the context of her comment but I don't push. I want to be alone when Landon calls me and since it's already near two in the afternoon, I'm anxious for Lilly to leave. I've been expecting his call since I balanced my smartphone on the edge of the counter in my washroom while I took a shower early this morning. I haven't let it out of my sight all day.

"I'm sorry I didn't return your call," I half-lie. If I had listened to the voicemail message she left me after I noticed her missed call, I may actually be sorry. I hadn't done that. I just ignored the call knowing that I'd catch up with her via text or another call later in the day. "Is there something you need to tell me?"

She nods quickly. "I can't cook for you and Landon tonight."
"You can't?" I shoot the words back hoping that my voice doesn't contain the same surprise as I feel inside. If I'm being honest, it had slipped my mind that she offered to make dinner tonight. I'm grateful that she's the one cancelling on me. I always feel a pang of guilt whenever I have to tell her that I need to break our plans. I know the time we spend together is as important to her as it is to me.

"I forgot I have a big meeting at work tonight." She pulls on the end of her ponytail with her left hand. "We planned it months ago and I forgot to put it into the calendar on my phone."

The admission is surprising. She rarely forgets anything.

"It's not a big deal, Lilly. We can do dinner another night."

She places both hands on the armrests of the chair to push herself up. "I thought it would be fun to have you and Landon over for dinner after your trip to California. You can tell me all about the plane ride."

I nod without looking at her. I can tell from the lilt in her voice that there's a playful glint in her eyes. Judging by what happened last night, Landon won't be at the controls when the Foster jet takes me to Los Angeles. He's got more than enough to deal with right here in Manhattan.

Chapter 3


That's the second time today that I've been startled by the sound of an unexpected voice. The difference is this time, it pulls on something in my heart that I don't want it to.

"Ansel," I whisper his name beneath my breath as I turn to look at where he's standing next to me.

He looks exactly as he always has. His shoulder length blonde hair is pulled into a messy bun on the back of his head. His vibrant blue eyes are still rimmed by dark lashes and brows. He may have more growth of stubble on his jaw than he normally does, but there's no mistaking that it's him.

"You look beautiful, Tess," he says with a growl as he leans towards me.

My body instinctively reacts by pulling back. The unexplainable electrical charge that I felt course through me from the mere touch of his fingers on my skin when we first met, disappeared years ago. It was replaced with a comfortable familiarity that eventually descended into emptiness.

Read RISE - Part Two (The RISE Series Book 2) by Deborah Bladon online for free (2024)
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