Authors: Sloane Kennedy
“Did Mateo do this?” Jonas asked her.
She nodded but the effort cost her. She coughed up another round of blood before she managed to say, “Elliot told him where we were. I tried to get away but I only made it to the barn.” She paused as she coughed up more blood.
“He had a knife. Jack…Jack kicked the door down and went after him. I think he got him because Mateo dropped the knife and took off. Devlin, is Jack okay?”
“He’s fine honey, he’s right here.”
She nodded her head. “Senator-”
“Dad,” Peter corrected.
She smiled and closed her eyes as tears slipped down her face. Her voice became more strained as she said, “Dad, would you keep an eye on Jonas for me? Make sure he goes to art school, okay?” Jonas sobbed as Peter squeezed her hand and nodded.
“I will sweetheart, I promise.”
Casey turned to Devlin. “Devlin, please don’t let them get my son,” she whispered.
Devlin choked back a sob as he shook his head violently. “I won’t Casey. I swear I won’t. But you have to hang on, okay because you’re gonna be fine.”
“I love you Devlin. I’m so sorry I lied…”
“Shhhh” Devlin whispered ignored the blood on her lips and kissed her. As he spoke his mouth hovered just inches above hers. “I love you too and it’s all going to be okay. Isabel is safe and we’re all going to be a family…even that damn dog” he choked out. She tried to laugh but ended up spitting up more blood instead.
“I can hear the sirens” Peter said quickly. Devlin nodded but never took his eyes off her even when she couldn’t keep them open any longer.
“Casey, please don’t do this. Casey!”
She heard his pleading but was helpless to avoid the darkness that finally claimed her.
Devlin studied the horse from the window of his office. The animal was pacing back and forth in the small paddock next to the barn that he’d had constructed. He was glad the horse hadn’t suffered any more damage to his legs but Jack hadn’t settled into his new home as easily as Devlin had hoped. His house in the Hampton’s hadn’t really been designed for horses but he’d made sure that the barn that was built was state of the art and workers were busy working on the fencing that would give the horse more space to roam the property. He felt Sampson lean hard against his leg and he automatically dropped a hand onto the big dog’s head and wondered when he’d become such a softy. He heard footsteps behind him but he didn’t turn his eyes away from Jack and his incessant pacing.
“He misses the donkeys, doesn’t he?”
Arms slipped around his waist from behind. He covered her hands with one of his.
“Yep, I told you he would. Judy and Dot.” When she came around to face him he framed her face with her hands and kissed her. She immediately opened for him and lifted up on her toes to bring her body in closer contact with his.
“I love you Casey.”
“I love you so much Devlin.” He held her against him for a long time. He’d been so close to losing this…losing her. Her heart had stopped once in the ambulance and once again in the Flight for Life helicopter that had transported her to a hospital that could deal with the extensive damage that had been done. He, Jonas and Peter had waited for hours in the waiting room as she was operated on and as each hour went by while she was on life support he felt a piece of him die. He’d been too immobilized with fear to leave her side but Peter had been a busy man in the time she was admitted to the ICU. Mateo had been arrested within an hour of the attack after he sought help for a broken arm at a hospital south of Ashland. After the charges had been filed in Wisconsin for attempted murder he was extradited to Chicago where he was charged with the murder of Jonas’ friend Carrie.
But Peter was just getting started and was able to discover that Elliot and Caroline Dane had tracked Casey to Chicago using her fingerprints. As a child Casey had been part of a community project to fingerprint kids so that in the event of an abduction they could be identified. Elliot used a contact in the FBI to run her prints against the prints in various police departments throughout the country and a hit had come back for her arrest in Chicago. The Danes had contacted Mateo when his name came up on Casey’s booking form as the man who posted bond. They’d sat on the information until they needed it to discredit Casey in court and then later to silence her for good. Peter used his own powerful connections to have Elliot and Caroline arrested for solicitation of murder. Elliot was also charged with multiple counts of rape and would never see the outside of a prison cell again. Caroline had tried for a plea deal in which she would testify against her husband but Peter made sure that was nixed too. By the time Casey had awoken from a medically induced coma a week after the attack, all three of her tormenters were sitting in jail cells awaiting trial.
“Where are the kids?” Devlin asked her.
She snuggled against him for a moment and then drew back. “They’re helping your parents make a cake for Jonas’ going away party.” A sad smile drifted across her mouth.
“We’re going to visit him a lot, okay? Paris isn’t that long of a flight when you have your own plane and besides…that’s where we met, remember?” Casey laughed when she remembered the story they had told at the hospital dinner.
“We have to leave soon if we want to get to the airport in time to meet my father and Rena’s flight.”
“B right there. Gotta make a call first though.” When she looked at him questioningly he gave her a quick kiss and reached for his cell phone.
“I have to figure out how to get those damn donkeys here.”