“Lee!” He didn’t move.
“He’s breathing,” Jude said. “But I don’t know for how much longer.” His fingers curled over the side of the door, and he yanked.
The door broke loose and fell to the ground.
Erin crawled inside the car. “Lee! It’s okay. Help’s coming!” Still alive. Finally, she’d reached someone in time.
He flinched and gave a moan.
“It’s okay,” she said again. Voices floated to her. The EMTs. They were running down the ravine now, having the same trouble with the thick mud. But they’d get him out. They’d be able to save him. They could stop the bleeding.
Because his shirt was drenched with blood.
Too much blood. And it trickled from his forehead. From the gash that went too deep.
She swallowed. “You’ll be all right.” Lie.
His eyes opened. “T-Tommy?” Rusty, weak.
“What?” Erin swallowed, fighting to stay calm. “Lee, who—”
“L-love y-you, s-son…” His eyes fell closed. His breath came out in a soft rush.
“His heart’s stopped!” Jude’s snarl. He stepped back and yelled, “Get your asses over here, now! He needs help!”
“Lee?” Her whisper.
Then Jude’s arms were around her and he hauled her back. A woman in a blue EMT uniform pushed by her, followed immediately by two men.
But Lee still wasn’t moving.
Story of her life.
And Lee’s death.
Erin watched the swirl of red lights fade away. The EMTs had gotten Lee’s heart started again, but they’d been grim about his chances for survival.
“How the hell did you two even know he was down there?” Antonio’s fierce voice. He’d arrived on the scene less than ten minutes ago.
Erin shook her head. The ambulance had vanished around a curve. “We…saw the car when we were passing through.”
She’d called 911 on her cell phone. Antonio wouldn’t be able to prove her story wasn’t legit. Provided, of course, that Jude backed her up.
Antonio grunted. “Uh-huh. What, the two of you decided to go for an early morning drive on this shit-forsaken road?”
“Something like that,” Jude murmured.
Thank you. He wasn’t going to tell Antonio about her dream. Good. The fewer people who knew, the better.
When am I gonna die, Erin? You know, right? You can see everything.
When am I gonna die? She’d been a freak show when she lived with her mother’s people.
The voices from her past needed to learn how to shut the hell up sometimes.
“Um…” Antonio scratched his chin. “These damn winding roads. Recipe for fucking disaster, especially with the rains we had.”
Erin stiffened. No, no, that wasn’t right.
Her father had been able to see all sorts of deaths. Those easy passings that came in sleep. Those tearful last moments surrounded by family and friends.
Erin only saw the brutal deaths. Those caused by the hand of another. Blood-soaked.
“I think you better check the scene.” Not an accident. No way. Not if she’d dreamed it.
“Why?” His gaze snapped to her. “What do you know, Jerome?”
She held his stare. “Check the scene.” If she was right, and Erin knew she was, there would be signs. Skid marks on the road. Paint from another vehicle on Lee’s car. Something.
Lee had been forced off the road. Left to die.
Not an accident. Not some bad slip of fate.
The man had enemies, everyone knew that. But Antonio would have to find out just who hated the lawyer enough to kill him.
Antonio raised one dark eyebrow. “Rumor is…you and old Lee got into one hell of an argument in front of Judge Went yesterday.”
Erin tensed. Word traveled too fast in this town. “We’re lawyers. That’s we do. Argue. ”
Now what was that supposed to mean?
“Just strikes me as odd. First the perp you’re after winds up slashed and smiling, and now the attorney who pissed you off in court is barely breathing.”
Her own breath caught. “You think I’m involved in this?”
“She was with me,” Jude said, voice dark and menacing. “All night.”
Antonio’s eyes widened, just a bit. But the guy didn’t look intimidated. More like impressed. His gaze darted over her.
“Like that, huh? Hunter, you work fast.”
Her face flamed. “You’re an asshole, Antonio.”
He lifted a brow. “Got to question things, ma’am, especially considering the report that landed on my desk right before I got the call about this accident.”
Jude stepped toward him. “The blood from her house?”
“Uh-huh. It was a match, just like you thought.”
She glanced back and forth between the two men. “A match?” Oh, this wasn’t going to be good. She didn’t need the fist knotting in her gut to tell her that. Damn, damn, damn.
“The blood on your walls belonged to Bobby Burrows.”
Her eyes closed.
“Now why the hell would the stalker—you said you had a stalker after you—kill old Bobby and leave his blood dripping onto your pretty hardwood floors?”
“Because he’s a sick freak!” And he was giving Bobby to me as a present.
She’d gotten enough of his presents to know his routine. If someone pissed her off, if someone hurt her, he stepped in.
I keep you safe, when you don’t even know it.
Bile rose in her throat. She had argued with Lee. Antonio had that part right. Had the stalker asshole been there, watching?
And she hadn’t even known it?
And, oh, hell, had he gone after Lee, too? Because of her?
“Has to be a reason the guy killed Bobby,” Antonio continued. “This shit’s never random.”
No, it wasn’t. She opened her eyes to find the captain watching her.
“Think you might know that reason, Jerome?”
Her lips parted.
“Back off, Tony.” Jude shook his head and stepped forward. “This isn’t the time for this conversation and you know it. I’ll come to the station, check the report—”
“It’s her story I want,” Antonio said. “There’s a murderer out there, ADA. One who seems to have killed for you.”
Not the first time, either.
“There something else about this case you need to tell me?”
Jude glanced at her.
Erin shook her head. They were starting to attract attention. The other cops who’d arrived on the scene were eyeing them with outright curiosity, and, once the news about Bobby’s blood leaked—and it would leak—she’d be kissing her new life good-bye.
And she’d barely had time to unpack.
He’d found her too fast.
Or maybe he’d never lost her. Goosebumps rose on her arms.
Antonio’s eyes tightened to slits. “I want to know everything about this bastard, you got me?”
“Fucking ease up, Tony.” Jude’s hands fisted. “Don’t push this now. We’ll both come to the station, but not now.”
Not when they had such an eager audience.
Antonio gave a grim nod and spun on his heel, calling out to the uniforms, “Rake the scene! Every damn inch.”
After a beat of time, Jude turned to face her. “More secrets, huh, sweetheart?”
Her heart almost broke, but her chin lifted. “We can’t be sure that jerk after me had anything to do with Lee’s accident.”
But her instincts said he did. “Lee’s a defense attorney. Victims, criminals—they can all get pissed at him.”
“Pissed enough to try killing him?”
Or maybe her Romeo was out there, grinning his ass off. “Let’s get out of here.” She couldn’t stand out there with the cops and the wreckage any longer. She marched away, or tried to in the muck and mud, not waiting for him.
“Erin! Erin, shit!” The rustle of his clothes and the slog of his footsteps behind her. He grabbed her arm. “Wait.”
His hold jerked her toward him and Erin glared up at his face. “Not now, hunter.”
“Yeah, you keep saying that.” His nose nearly brushed against hers as he brought his face in close. “Newsflash, sweetheart, the asshole after you killed a man. This isn’t some game!”
“I never thought it was!”
“I’m gonna bring the bastard down, but everything you know about him, every single thing that has happened to you because of him—I have to know.”
Erin exhaled on a hard breath and knew there was no choice. “Okay.”
How would he look at her, she wondered, when he learned the truth?
At least I had one night with him.
One wild night.
Just how many secrets was the woman keeping?
Jude sat at his desk, eyes on the computer screen before him, but not really seeing the damned thing.
The woman was fire in his hands. The hottest, sexiest thing in bed he’d ever seen.
And she was dangerous. So dangerous.
Because she’d been lying to him.
The woman had a freaking twisted killer on her trail. One the cops couldn’t catch or stop, so yeah, maybe she had a reason for the skittishness he saw.
But there was more. He knew it.
“So, stayed at the girlfriend’s last night, huh?” Zane asked as he strode into Jude’s office. The guy always made himself right at home. Boundaries didn’t exist so much for Zane.
Jude grunted and rubbed a hand over his bleary eyes. He’d stayed at the crash site, keeping an eye on the uniforms and the crime scene guys, and sure enough, they’d found black paint on the side of Lee Givens’s car.
He’d been forced off the road. No doubt in Jude’s mind.
But was the hit tied to Erin?
“Don’t blame ya.” Zane crossed his arms and leaned back against the window frame. “That’s one hot woman.”
Jude’s hand dropped. “Don’t.” A snarl built in his throat. Zane played free and easy with the women in the city, Other and human.
But Erin was off limits.
“Oooh…” Zane smiled. “Sore spot, huh?”
Jude considered planting his fist in the demon’s face. Not like it would do permanent damage, and wiping that smug-ass grin off Zane’s face would sure make him feel better.
“You found out yet just what she is?”
A woman. That’s what she was. Zane was a good hunter, but he could also be one Grade A Asshole.
“I think I’ll stop by the courthouse later. Get a good look at her.” Zane nodded. “I’ll see what she is.”
Right. Jude just bet the guy would “get a good look” at her. “She doesn’t use glamour.” Glamour was the magic demons used to hide their true selves from the world.
Demons really did look a lot like humans. The only physical difference was generally their eyes. A demon’s real eyes were pitch black—not just the iris, but the whole eye, even the sclera. When it came to demons, there was never any waiting until you saw the “whites of their eyes.”
Only darkness was in their eyes.
Glamour hid that darkness. The magic let the demons blend right in with everyone else.
Sure, the ancient demons were rumored to have a few more…obvious physical differences. But Jude had never encountered one of the horned and tailed bastards that some whispered about late at night. He figured they weren’t real.
Hard to tell in this world, though.
“You don’t know, Donovan.” Zane shrugged. “Let me get a look at her, I’ll know.”
Erin was a hybrid. He knew that. She’d said her father was psychic. Not a demon, just psychic.
But she’d been lying. Shadows had appeared in her golden eyes.
Tonight, he’d get the truth from her.
“You turn up anything on her background yet?” he asked the demon.
The smile dimmed. “You know I hate doing the grunt work.”
True. Zane liked to be out on the streets, kicking the shit out of the deserving. “Yeah, but I got seniority.” Life could be a bitch.
“Asshole.” Zane shook his head. “Her mom abandoned her, dropped her off on her father’s doorstep when she was fifteen.”
Jude tensed. Abandoned? Not really the shifter way. Even the damn coyotes kept their kids close.
Why would her mother leave her?
Fifteen. Right at puberty. The time of the first shift.
“The dad took her in, but he passed away during her first year of college.”
Talk about getting a hard punch in the face. Abandoned by one, and death took the other. “Any other family?”
“Not that I can tell. But with the mom? Could be.”
Jude’s fingers tapped against the desk top. “Track the mom, see what you can find out.” A shifter mother? And a shifter stalker. No way could he overlook that lead.
Jude frowned. “Where’s Dee?” He hadn’t seen her all morning.
“Pak called her on a vamp case.” Zane looked down at his watch. “Right now, I’d say she’s…oh, cutting the head off some poor undead asshole.”
Probably. Dee did love her work. And if she was hunting during the day, she had the advantage.
Vamps were weak during the day. Almost human.