That was what the cops had told them happened. The Red Stone team had checked Keibler and his vehicle for every possible weapon, including explosives, but whatever he’d had on him hadn’t been detected. And innocent men had paid the price. “I shouldn’t have agreed to speak to him. Not at home. I should have insisted he tell me what was going on over the phone.” Guilt lanced through him as he replayed the last part of their phone conversation over and over in his head.
“We’ve got to talk, Christiansen. Not later, but right fucking now. I’ll be at your place in a few minutes. I don’t give a shit about our past, you’re going to listen to what I have to say.” Then Keibler had hung up.
Wyatt shouldn’t have let him through the gates. He should have just come to Keibler.
“You tried and he hung up on you.” Iris’s voice cut through his thoughts.
That was true, but it didn’t matter now. He wouldn’t try to pacify himself with anything when he’d been arrogant enough to allow the man onto his property. Wyatt had felt safe, secure in the fact that he was an expert at reading people. But Mark Keibler had been mentally unstable, much more so than he’d imagined.
“You’re not perfect, Wyatt. You don’t own some magic fucking crystal ball and you can’t control everything,” she snapped, her grip on him tightening. “I’m not going to let you blame yourself. That monster is dead and you can’t play the what-if game in your head—and I know that’s exactly what you’re doing now. That guilt will eat you up alive if you let it. The men who died were good men. Honorable men. When they signed up to work for Red Stone they knew the risks. Their families are going to be taken care of and they’re going to be mourned by everyone at Red Stone. I just…I hate that look in your eyes.” Her own eyes filled with tears and Wyatt felt even worse.
He knew she hadn’t known the men on a personal level, but they were Red Stone employees and he’d seen firsthand that they viewed everyone as family. He pulled her back into another tight embrace and buried his face against her hair.
Closing his eyes, he inhaled her sweet scent. He loved this woman so damn much and if she hadn’t come to find him because she’d been so angry, she could be lying in a hospital room right now. Or worse. His throat clenched tight, making it difficult to drag air into his lungs. He hadn’t even allowed that thought to fully develop until now and he wanted it torn from his brain. Not only was he suffering from guilt over the deaths of innocent men, he felt such deep shame because he’d been relieved that Iris hadn’t been one of the victims. People were dead and he’d felt goddamn relief that his wife was alive.
He wasn’t sure how much time passed but Iris finally pulled away, though she kept her arms loosely wrapped around him. “When you were getting coffee Harrison called…Sato Tora’s dead.”
Shock slammed into him. The assassin hired to kill him was dead? “How? When?”
“Suffocated early this morning at the hospital. Interpol is pissed, but there was a bomb threat—along with simple smoke bombs, though the cops didn’t know that at the time—at the hospital in the NICU. They don’t know who killed her, but they’re running all security footage trying to find anything they can.”
“The police really dropped the ball,” he muttered.
Iris’s lips pulled into a thin line. “Oh yeah. Heads are going to roll.”
The woman hadn’t been at the hospital they were at now, but one in Coral Gables. “Why are we just finding out about it now?” He wasn’t sorry she was dead, but Wyatt had been hoping she’d give up the name of whoever had hired her.
Iris’s expression darkened. “Don’t get me started.”
Wyatt frowned as he digested the news. “So Sato and Keibler are both dead.”
“Yeah.” There was a note of unease in Iris’s voice.
It matched the disquiet humming through him. The police had found incriminating evidence at Keibler’s condo. Nothing overwhelming, but enough to push the police to close the case. Keibler’s laptop had been left on with access to an email that showed conversations outlining the plan to kill Wyatt. Sato had originally wanted to poison Wyatt, which they already knew. When that hadn’t worked out she’d had him invite her to the meeting at Forest’s mansion. And there was also a burner phone at his place that had multiple calls to the phone Sato had on her when she was arrested. “It’s all too neat.”
Iris’s jaw twitched once. “Yeah. Harrison thinks so too. But…all the emails are traced back to an IP address at Keibler’s office at Thorton Enterprises. The forensic analysts were pretty damn certain.”
“I just can’t see Keibler being that sloppy.” The man had supposedly gone to the trouble of hiring an assassin, then he’d accidentally blown himself up? And left the evidence of his involvement with a killer on his laptop for anyone to find…Wyatt couldn’t buy it.
“Which is why Red Stone is still ripping apart his background, Thorton’s background and anyone else you’ve done business with in the last year. They’re going to find something.”
He started to respond when he spotted Jay’s doctor hurrying down the hallway. “Let’s go,” he murmured, motioning with his chin toward the man.
They headed back into the waiting room with the doctor moments behind them. Everyone stood, the tension in the small room impossibly thick.
Dr. Warren cleared his throat, a habit the man seemed to have, as he looked at all of them. “Mr. Wentworth is going to be okay. He has a concussion, a few stitches on his head and some broken ribs but he’s going to pull through. He’s awake now and asking to see Ellie. Normally I wouldn’t allow visitors—”
His blonde assistant practically shoved Wyatt back as she hurried to stand directly in front of the doctor. “I’m Ellie.”
Dr. Warren fingered his stethoscope for a moment, then sighed. “He’s not very coherent and—”
“I don’t care. If he’s awake enough to ask for me I want to see him.” The note of desperation in her voice punched even harder at Wyatt’s guilt.
He’d had an idea that Jay was interested in Ellie, but hadn’t realized they were obviously involved.
As soon as they were gone, Iris turned to face him, her expression lighter. “I’m not sure if you’ll get to see him, but if they let you in, give Jay my best. I’ll be back by to see him in the morning if they’ll allow visitors.”
Wyatt frowned as her words registered. “Where are you going?”
She glanced at her watch, but he knew it was well past midnight. “I need to pick some stuff up at my place and by the time I grab it all and get back to your house—our house—you’ll be back. Before you argue, I’m going to take someone with me.”
“Just wait so I can help.” He wasn’t sure what she was getting but she’d said ‘our house’. That was all he cared about.
She shook her head. “I know you want to see Jay and who knows how long Ellie will be in there. By the time we get out of here it’ll be a whole production of your security team having to shadow you to my place. It makes more sense for you to go straight home.”
“No. I’ll send someone to get your stuff in a few hours.” He’d compromise on a lot of things, but this wasn’t one of them. After almost losing her, he couldn’t let her out of his sight. Not now. On the most primal level he had to be near her, to protect her.
“Wyatt…” Though she started to argue, she must have seen something in his expression because she stopped. “Fine. You can send someone.”
His eyes narrowed. “You’re being very agreeable.”
“After today…I don’t want to argue. I can deal with a little over protectiveness.”
Good because he couldn’t even pretend to be okay with letting her go. Not now.
Twenty minutes later, Ellie returned to the waiting room. With all her makeup gone from crying so much, her eyes puffy, she looked exhausted but also relieved. Definitely a good sign.
“He wants to see you,” Ellie said softly before giving Wyatt a bear hug.
He was surprised by the sudden show of affection, but returned it before heading to see his friend. As he left, he looked over his shoulder at Iris who was still sitting. “You better be here when I get back.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” she promised, her expression serious.
Something niggled at his gut, but he nodded and left. She’d said she wouldn’t leave and he had to trust her. They couldn’t spend their marriage second-guessing each other.
Wyatt walked into the waiting room feeling a hundred times lighter. Jay was going to be all right and he didn’t hate him. Wyatt had been fearful that because of his mistake Jay wouldn’t want anything to do with him. The thought of losing his friend shredded him.
He didn’t make friends easily because half the time he wondered what angle someone was working. Wyatt wished he wasn’t so cynical, but life had taught him to be. And since he’d become successful, he’d had to be even more careful who he trusted. Jay was different though. They’d worked missions together when the other man had been a SEAL and Wyatt had been Force Recon in the Marines. Being in firefights alongside someone else wasn’t something easily forgotten. Especially since Jay had saved his ass more than once. Not only was he paying his medical bills, but Wyatt was going to send him on a long paid vacation once he was fully healed. The man definitely deserved it.
The second he stepped inside the waiting room everything around him funneled out. Iris wasn’t there. Vincent was on the phone with someone, his expression dark and when those pale blue eyes met Wyatt’s, he knew something had happened to her.
Ignoring everyone else he covered the distance between him and Vincent. “Where the fuck is she?”
“Hold on,” Vincent murmured into the phone before holding it away from his ear. “We don’t know but we’re going to find her.” There was a deadly promise in his words.