“And she interrupted him.”


Jack shook his head and took another sip of the nasty coffee for the sugar rush. “If this is true, then we’re going to need to start cross- referencing… Hey, look at that.”

His partner averted his gaze across the parking lot, toward the building. “Is that a light?”

It was muted, but a dull glow was coming from room 103. Like it was coming from the bathroom.

“Shit.” Jack shoved the coffee cup back into the holder. Some of the liquid sloshed over but he ignored it. He pulled his gun from his shoulder holster.

Andrew did the same and nodded at him as he opened the passenger door. Jack followed suit and opened his own door.

Their boots crunched over the gravel as they half-crouched, half-ran across the parking lot. He kept his eyes trained on the curtains—which hadn’t moved—until they sat behind an old Cadillac.

“You go in front. I’m going around back. Wait ten seconds before knocking,” Andrew whispered.

Jack nodded and glanced at his watch. His partner scanned the area before sprinting down the side of the building, then disappearing around the corner. Looking around, Jack was relieved to see the parking lot devoid of people. There were quite a few cars, but hopefully everyone was in for the night.

A quick look at his watch told him it was time to move. Keeping his gun out in front of him, he stayed low until his back was against the stone wall of the motel.

He knocked once, but stayed out of the way of the door. “Police. Open up.”


He knocked again, this time louder. “Police.”

This time he heard movement, but still no answer. He lifted his foot, ready to kick the door in, when he heard a shot. “Shit.”

There wasn’t enough time to run around back.

Kicking in doors was television bullshit. He shot the doorknob off. The door swung open. Using caution, he swept the room with his gun. Empty.

The back window was open, and the dingy curtain fluttered in the breeze. His radio buzzed.

“Jack, where the hell are you?”

Keeping his weapon ready, he answered with his free hand. “I’m in the room. Did you hear that shot?”

“Yeah I heard it. Bastard clipped me,” he groaned before the radio cut off.

His partner’s words sprung him into action, but before he charged through the back window, he needed to know his head wasn’t getting blown off.

“Do you have a visual?”

“He ran into the woods back here.”

Jack stepped onto the small wooden table underneath the window and hoisted himself through. As soon as his feet hit the ground, he buzzed the station. “Officer down. I need backup now. Repeat. Officer down.”

Squatting, he checked his partner’s pulse.

Andrew swatted his hand away. “I’m fine, man. Just get me out of here. We’re like sitting ducks.”

He hated moving him, but his friend was right.

Behind the motel, thick woods stretched for about a mile and other than the lights from some of the rooms, there was limited visibility. As he talked to the dispatcher he continued talking to his partner.

“Can you walk?”

Still leaning against the wall, Andrew pushed against it. “I think so.”

Unwilling to put his weapon up, Jack used one arm to lift him and together they hobbled back around the building. Sirens sounded in the distance.

As Jack helped him to lean against one of the cars in the parking lot, he inspected the wound.

“Looks like it went all the way through.” He ripped his jacket off, then took off his shirt. “I’m going to wrap this around the wound to control some of the bleeding.”

Andrew groaned as Jack tightened the shirt.

“Hurts like a son of a bitch, but I’ll live… Listen, I know who shot me.”

Jack froze as ice flooded his veins. “What?”

“I don’t  know him, but it was the same guy from the sketch. Damn it, this hurts.” He clutched his shoulder but thankfully didn’t lose consciousness.

An ambulance, a fire-truck and two squad cars rumbled into the parking lot, one behind the other.

“Sit tight.”

Jack ran into the middle of the lot and waved them over. When he was back by his partner’s side, he continued. “Are you sure about who you saw?”

He nodded. “Yes. It’s him.” He fell forward and grasped his forehead. “Feel…dizzy.”

“Don’t say anything else. Save your strength.”

Jack helped steady his partner as the EMTs rolled a gurney over to them. One of the EMTs strapped an oxygen mask over his partner’s face as they hoisted him into the back of the waiting vehicle.

As the ambulance pulled out of the parking lot, Jack cursed to himself. This guy had just shot a cop. He was already escalating his attacks but this was different. Jack jogged over to one of the idling squad cars. They needed to put out an APB on this guy and fast. After he made the call he headed back to the motel room. This guy had left in a hurry which meant he might have gotten sloppy.

Izzy opened her eyes and shot straight up in bed.

Her heart pounded erratically against her ribcage as she looked at the indentation in the bed next to her. Light streamed underneath her bedroom door.

The sight immediately soothed her.

With everything going on, she’d been extra jumpy the past couple days and couldn’t seem to shake that feeling that she was constantly being watched. In her head she knew it was because of the creepy phone call and the guy who’d tried to run her off the road, but being near Adam was the only thing that seemed to calm her.

A quick glance at the digital clock on her nightstand told her it was six. She’d be getting up in an hour or two anyway. Might as well get out of bed now. She picked up a discarded T-shirt from the floor and slipped it over her head. Her bedroom door squeaked when she opened it. She walked the few feet down the short hallway to the living room.

Adam looked over from the couch as she stepped into the room. His features immediately softened when they made eye contact. “What are you doing up?” His words were almost a whisper.

She shrugged as she walked over to the couch and sat next to him. “Couldn’t sleep.”

“Me neither. Check this out.” He pointed toward the television screen with the remote control.

The Asian reporter’s voice grew louder as Adam increased the volume. “Deputies are investigating a series of attacks in the Coconut Bay area. The wanted man’s identity is still unknown, but police have issued a composite sketch…”

She leaned forward on the couch, as if she could somehow hear better. When Adam shifted, she nearly jumped out of her skin.

He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “I put on coffee a while ago. You want some?”

“That’d be great.” She gave him a brief smile then returned her attention to the screen. She couldn’t believe they’d used her drawing. Maybe that meant they were closing in on the maniac.

After five minutes of listening to the same thing over and over, she switched to another news channel, hoping they’d have something more recent.

The male reporter on this channel had much more interesting things to say. “It hasn’t been confirmed, but a source inside Coconut Bay Hospital tells us a police officer has been wounded and is currently in intensive care…”

“Adam, get in here.”

A few moments later he walked in carrying two steaming mugs. “Here.” He handed her one as he sat next to her.

“Thanks.” She held on to her drink and shifted so that she was snuggled up against his side.

“This is probably the biggest thing to happen here in decades,” Adam said.

“I know, right.”

After ten minutes of listening to the same report, it was obvious they weren’t going to release the name of the injured officer. They probably didn’t have the name in the first place.

The department wouldn’t release it until the family was notified. Izzy sneaked a glance at Adam’s face only to find him looking at her.

“What?” she asked.

His expression was hooded. “Nothing.”

She bit her bottom lip and broke his gaze. She continued to stare at the screen, but only saw blurry shapes and figures. His heated stare was so potent, she could feel her face warming up.

“Izzy.” Adam’s deep voice broke into her thoughts.

She turned to look at him again. “Yeah?”

“Do you want to talk about what I asked last night?” His face revealed nothing as he spoke.

Izzy cleared her throat. Did she want to talk about him asking her to move to Savannah? No.

Definitely not. But she knew they had to. “What exactly do you want from me?”

“I think that much should be obvious.” His voice was dry.

She nudged him with her elbow. “I’m serious. I know we just started…this.” She spread out her hands in a helpless gesture. “Whatever this is. I guess I want to know what you want from me.”

“Everything.” His answer was automatic.

“You want…everything?” What did that even mean?

“I want to see your face when I wake up every morning and that scares the hell out of me, Izzy. I don’t know where this is headed, but I know I’ve never felt about anyone what I feel for you and I want to give this a chance to go somewhere.” His deep voice and words enveloped her.

She searched for the right words. “I’ve never felt like this about anyone either, but…do you need an answer right this instant?”

Something flared in his eyes. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but for a brief moment, he had this vulnerable, puppy dog look in his green eyes.

Then it was gone so fast she wasn’t sure if maybe she imagined it.

“No.” He broke eye contact and picked up his coffee mug. “I’m going to hit the shower.” Her heart dropped at the abrupt dismissal until he turned around with a primal, almost hungry expression. “You can join me if you like.” The words were hoarse and totally unexpected.