Unlocking Lies (Keys to Love Series, Book Three)(5)

By: Kennedy Layne

Lance leaned against the side of his truck before rubbing a hand over his face in an attempt to delay his answer. This couldn’t be good.

“Dad figured he’d told you enough bad news in one phone call, so he might have left off a few details.”

“Like what?” Jace didn’t like returning to town blind in one eye. He liked being prepared, and not being handled. Leaving the service hadn’t changed that part of his personality. “Spit it out, for Christ’s sake. I’m already coming home to find my younger brothers living on their own broken-down farms and playing house with their dream girls. Is anyone pregnant yet?”

Jace didn’t have to explain that he was talking about Brynn Mercer and Reese Woodward. Granted, he could understand Lance and Brynn getting back together. They’d been an item for most of their high school tenure. That wasn’t much of a stretch, but the fact that Noah was involved with Reese Woodward was blowing Jace’s mind. What the hell had they put in the water since he was last here? It had to be poisoned.

Reese had come to town seeking answers about Sophia’s disappearance, somehow connecting Sophia to Emma before anyone else did. It came to light that Reese and Sophia were cousins. Honestly, Jace wasn’t sure he wanted to know all the particulars now that he was home. At this point, he was thinking it might have been smarter for him to have delayed his homecoming and let all this crazy just blow over. Lance’s next statement confirmed it.

“Whitney Bell was abducted from her dad’s house just a couple of weeks ago.” Lance shook his head in regret. “The police have fairly convincing evidence that she’s dead.”

Jace let that bit of news sink in as he reconciled past events with current.

He definitely should have delayed his homecoming. Hell, maybe he could sneak out of town before anyone else noticed he was here. Oh, that’s right. It was a little too late for that.

“You’re telling me that the person who abducted Emma twelve years ago and murdered Sophia Morton eleven years ago is the same individual who killed Whitney Bell a couple of weeks ago?” Jace briefly thought about getting in his truck and driving out of town anyway. The only thing that stopped him was the vision of his dad standing on the front porch in his barbeque apron. “That is some crazy shit, brother.”

“You want to know what’s even crazier yet?”

Not really, but Jace had never been able to put a muzzle on Lance in the past. He doubted he could do so now.

“We have an active serial killer in Blyth Lake, and he’s dragging—either by happenstance or with intent—all of us Kendalls into the middle of this investigation.” Lance shot Jace a look of warning. “Watch your back, brother. We got a homicidal maniac itching to do some kind of harm to those we love.”


Shae Irwin gripped the steering wheel of her Jeep Grand Cherokee for the umpteenth time. Maybe she should start the engine, turn her SUV around, and head back the way she’d come. It wasn’t like her presence here in Blyth Lake would change anything for anyone.

“Stop being a coward,” Shae muttered to herself, glancing in the rearview mirror. Instantly, she wished she hadn’t done that. Her bloodshot eyes only reminded her that she hadn’t been sleeping too well lately. “Get a grip, Shae.”

Without giving herself time to second guess her decision, she took the keys from the ignition and grabbed her purse from the passenger side seat. It was time she faced her demons instead of remaining on the same old road that led anywhere but home.

Yes, Blyth Lake was her hometown. It didn’t matter that she and her parents had turned tail and run away after Emma’s disappearance. They’d even lost touch with neighbors and old friends that the family had for years…quite on purpose. Anything to wipe out the painful memories of their loss.

Shae stared at the front entrance of Tiny’s Cavern before glancing down Main Street. Nothing here had changed in the twelve years she’d been gone. Most of the old businesses that lined both sides of the street were still here, unlike most of the rest of middle America. The town council controlled what business came to town and who received a license to operate in most of the county. They’d even tied up the water rights and kept the big chain stores out of town. But a few of the established storefronts had been swapped out for newer ones. No longer was renting videos a thing, nor was having a small credit union   in demand when one could do everything at the main bank.

The past was vanishing little by little, and they’d all allowed it to slip away one piece at a time. Hell, they even had a local High-Speed Internet Service Provider here in town, right across from the same old Ben Franklin Pharmacy.