Jay handed her a set of keys as he palmed another key ring in his hand. “It’s about damn time you moved in here. Wyatt’s been a bear to work for this past month.”
Ah, that’s why he was willing to help. “You didn’t even want me marrying him.” Well, she didn’t know it for certain, but he’d definitely been wary after they’d gotten married so quickly.
He shrugged, completely unapologetic as they strode toward the line of six SUVs currently being guarded by another Red Stone employee. No one was going to plant bombs on their watch. “I knew how tight you two were but I wasn’t sure what your end game was. After what happened a year ago when he couldn’t get in touch with you I knew things were serious for him, but—”
“Wait, what? What happened a year ago?” She had no clue what he was talking about.
Jay looked at her then, his green eyes suddenly going blank. He pressed the keyfob, unlocking the closest vehicle. “I’ll follow you, but I know where you live so if we get separated I’ll just meet you there.”
She pressed the keyfob he’d given her. “Are you serious? You’re just going to ignore my question?”
He shrugged and headed toward his SUV. By the set line of his jaw she knew he wouldn’t be talking right now, but she planned to get it out of him later. Nothing had happened between her and Wyatt a year ago. Sure, they’d been friends and their communication had turned more frequent right around then, but she’d never been out of contact. Maybe he was mistaken? No…he was referring to something very specific and she would find out what it was.
As she started to slide into the driver’s seat, the sound of screeching tires had her jumping back out of the vehicle and drawing her weapon from her ankle holster.
Jay was out and by her side in seconds, his own custom-made SIG drawn. “Shit,” he muttered.
“What?” A dark blue extended cab truck was pulling down the drive.
“That’s Keibler. Wyatt said to let him in the gates. I just heard it on the radio.” He tapped his earpiece.
Clearly Jay was still staying on top of things even if it was his day off. “Wyatt is letting him on the premises?” she asked dumbly, knowing Jay wasn’t mistaken. “What the fuck is he thinking?” It wasn’t a question so much as an accusation. What was he thinking? “Did the guys at the gate at least check him for weapons? Check his vehicle?” All the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. She knew she couldn’t stay objective on the protective team, but she hated having to stand back and be completely out of the loop. As soon as possible she was getting her earpiece back and at least staying informed.
“Yes to all of the above.” Jay looked just as pissed as her, which made her feel better. This was a stupid move on Wyatt’s part. He didn’t need to be anywhere near Keibler until they figured things out.
“Where’s Wyatt?” She asked.
“Still on a phone conference call. He wants Keibler to wait out here.” Jay’s voice was tight.
She kept her weapon out as Keibler parked a few feet away from them. The guards from the front door were moving toward the vehicle, spreading out as they walked. One of the guards from the front gate was headed their way too, flanking the vehicle. Everyone had weapons drawn too. She had to rein in her anger as she spoke to Jay because it wasn’t directed at him. “Will you keep him here while I go have a word with Wyatt?” Okay, she was barely checking her annoyance through her gritted teeth. She wasn’t part of the team anymore so she hoped he didn’t take her question the wrong way.
He nodded. “Yeah. Keep his ass inside.”
Relief punched through her that Jay was as angry as her. What the hell could Wyatt possibly be thinking? Sheathing her gun once she reached the front door, she barely refrained from slamming it as she hurried across the marble entryway. They hadn’t done enough research on him yet to know how far Keibler’s reach was. Or what his end game was other than to kill Wyatt. Keibler might not be guilty as far as the law was concerned, but he had to be involved in the attempts on Wyatt’s life. The man’s date had tried to poison Wyatt.
As Iris turned at the end of the first hall, a new rush of annoyance popped inside her when she saw Wyatt striding toward her. “Why are letting that man on your property?” she practically shouted, her voice echoing.
Still wearing the same pants and shirt from earlier, he looked darkly handsome as he approached. The man would look good in anything. He looked tense as he stopped in front of her, but his expression was soft. “Iris, he’s here because—”
They both froze as something that sounded like glass shattering and a sonic boom or… “Oh my God.” Heart pounding out of control, she sprinted back the way she’d come with Wyatt right next to her. She’d heard her fair share of gunfire and bombs before, but there was no way that was what she’d just heard.
Or she really prayed it wasn’t.
It felt as if an eternity passed by the time they reached the front door, but in reality only seconds had passed. Before she opened the front door she withdrew her SIG and she was thankful to see Wyatt had his own weapon in hand.
Bypassing her then blocking her, he opened the door and peeked out, weapon held tight. She wanted to go first, but knew now wasn’t the time for that kind of bullshit. If he wanted to take lead, she had to let him. The sound of multiple car alarms wailing outside already told her she wasn’t going to like what she saw, but Wyatt’s sucked in breath confirmed it. “Jay’s down,” he growled before racing outside.
Shit. She wanted to stop him, to tackle him to the ground in case there were more threats waiting outside, but she knew it wouldn’t help. Following after him, her stomach dropped as she saw the carnage. Blood and body parts were strewn across the driveway, the glass in Keibler’s truck and two of the SUVs were blown out and there was a black crater where she’d last seen Keibler standing. Two men were on the ground either unconscious or dead and one guard was racing up from the guardhouse on his radio, shouting something. Behind her she could hear more security spilling out of the house as she sprinted toward Jay.
He was lying near the grass behind an open door of one of the SUVs. The glass hadn’t blown out of that one though, so that was a good sign. Still, she had no clue how big the bomb that had gone off was so she didn’t know if he’d been in the blast zone or not. He had a bloody gash on his right temple. A dozen questions raced through her mind, but they’d figure out what the hell had happened after they got everyone to the hospital. Wyatt was crouched down next to Jay, checking his pulse, but Iris could see the rise and fall of his chest. He was breathing. She just prayed he didn’t have brain damage.
Iris pulled out her cell and dialed the police. As the call connected she heard Ellie screaming as she ran toward them. “Don’t let her see Jay like this,” Iris ordered. She had no clue if Wyatt knew about their relationship and it didn’t matter. No way could they let Ellie see him unconscious with God only knew what kind of injuries.
As he hurried to stop Ellie, Iris cringed as the blonde woman clawed and fought him. Wyatt managed to haul her back inside as the operator came on the line. “911, what is the nature of your emergency?”
“I’m reporting a bombing,” Iris said grimly. And whoever the hell had done this would pay.
Wyatt handed cups of coffee to Ellie and Iris who sat next to each other in the waiting room of Mercy Hospital. Even though he’d had to take two security personnel with him, he’d needed to stretch his legs and get out of this damn room where they weren’t receiving any answers. He wanted to pace, but forced himself to sit down next to Iris and be patient. After spending hours at the police station, they’d been doing nothing but waiting for news on Jay’s condition for the last six hours. Two men from Red Stone Security had died in the blast so there was no idle talking in the room. A grim blanket had settled over everyone as they waited for word. Wyatt could feel the desperation in the air for that news to be positive. Damn it, what was taking the doctors so long?
Wyatt scrubbed a hand over his face and closed his eyes as he leaned back against the wall. It was his fault that two good men were dead and that Jay was in the hospital. One of his oldest, best friends might die because he’d been stupid enough to believe Mark Keibler’s plea to talk to him in person. The man had sounded desperate and…scared. Normally Wyatt was so good at reading people, but because of his stupidity—he opened his eyes at the feel of Iris’s hand grasping his thigh. She lightly squeezed, her expression searching.
She tilted her head toward the two doors of the waiting room. “Take a short walk with me?”
“Yeah.” As they stood to leave, so did two of Red Stone’s team but Iris waved them off.
She might not be team leader anymore, but they clearly listened to her because the men sat back down.
“We’re not going far,” she murmured to the men before sliding her arm through his.
Men and women wearing different colored scrubs strode through the hallway he and Iris entered. There was a steady hum of voices and other typical hospital sounds. But it was the antiseptic, sterile smell that always got to him. Iris pulled him to a stop only a few feet past the doorway. Against a bare wall, they were out of the way of foot traffic, though they had no privacy. She hadn’t been kidding about not taking him far.
Her expression tender, she pulled him into a gentle hug, resting her head against his chest as she linked her fingers together behind his back. “What happened isn’t your fault,” she said softly.
He tightened his embrace around her, soaking up the feel of her. She was such a solid presence in his life he wondered how the hell he’d ever lived without her. While he appreciated her words, she was wrong. Nothing she said would change that. “Yes, it was.”
Sighing, she looked up at him. “So you could have predicted Keibler would bring an untraceable explosive device and accidentally blow himself up instead of you?”