After Alex Polecheck’s police officer husband, Sam, is stabbed in cold blood, she vows to see the murderer brought to justice. Peter, Sam’s best friend, and fellow police officer, seems to be the only member of the Police Department interested in catching the killer.
Peter sets out on a perilous hunt for the killer, while trying to protect Alex, who appears to be next on the murderer’s list.
The mystery begins to unravel when Peter finds a connection between the murder of Sam and two other law enforcement officers, who were all part of an internet crime taskforce. Peter and Alex find themselves alone in the battle for justice and truth when they discover members of the local police department cannot be trusted. Will Peter piece together the puzzle before Alex is silenced? While battling to protect Alex, will he be able to continue to conceal his love for her?
His blood seeped through her fingers. Alex pressed her shaky hands to the wound on Sam’s stomach, but the blood wouldn’t stop. “Please stop. God, please make it stop,” she begged.
She didn’t know what had happened or exactly how long he’d been there. Everything was fine when she’d stepped into the shower minutes earlier, but when she wrapped the oversize towel around her the house was unusually quiet.
As she dressed, she yelled for Sam. He didn’t answer. She checked every room. No sign of him. A rush of damp cool air swept by her as she entered the bedroom for a second pass. She glanced at the patio door. It was ajar. Beyond the door, Sam lay in a curled heap in their backyard. She ran to him. His left hand clutched his abdomen, and his right gripped around the handle of his 9mm police issued Glock.
Blood poured from his wound, coated his hand, and ran down his arm. His hand loosened and drifted to the ground. Instinctively Alex pressed her hand to his wound. It didn’t curb the bleeding. Her hand was now coated as well.
Sam shifted his gaze to Alex. “Call 911, I’ve been stabbed,” his voice not much more than a whisper.
Alex sprang to her feet and ran back into the house. Her bloody fingers trembled as they fumbled over the phone’s numeric keypad. She somehow managed to make the call. The dispatcher answered, but Alex’s erratic breathing prevented her from finding a voice. Tears ran down her cheeks. She sucked in a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself. Her voice squeaked as she told the dispatcher her husband had been stabbed.
Alex dropped the phone receiver and ran back to Sam. She knelt next to him and propped his head on her thighs. While she cradled his cold face between her hands she swayed back and forth as she held his gaze.
“Stay with me, Sam, don’t leave me. Stay with me, I love you.”
He stared up at her with his bright green eyes. “I love you too.” His eyes darkened. He labored for breath. “Listen to me, Alex, only trust Peter. Tell him…tell him that…” he gurgled. Blood misted from his mouth and coated his lips.
Alex heard sirens in the distance, then closer. But it was too late. Sam was gone.
Tears burned her eyes as she continued to kneel in the damp grass. His head still rested on her lap.
She lifted her gaze to find Peter, Sam’s partner, squatting in front of her. He must have heard the 911 call over his radio.
She watched as Peter placed his hands on Sam’s shoulders and gently slid him off her lap.
He rose to his feet, pulling her up with him. She stared into his warm brown eyes. He looked as confused as she felt. Wrapping his arms around her he pulled her to him as she sobbed into his chest. He guided her away from Sam so the EMTs had room to work. Though they attempted to revive him, Alex knew there was nothing they could do for him. She had seen the unmistakable transition in his eyes.
Alex struggled to stop her tears, and put her thoughts in order. It seemed to take forever.
She lifted her head from Peter’s chest and stepped back. His gaze held hers. Her throat constricted. She knew what she wanted to ask but sound escaped her. She swallowed hard and fought for a voice. “What happened here? I don’t understand. Who would do this to Sam?” she asked Peter, Sam’s partner and best friend dating as far back as grade school.
Peter’s watery gaze never left hers. She stared up at him, waiting. The pain in his eyes was unmistakable. He suffered as well. He’d just lost his best friend.
He cleared his throat. “I don’t know.”
Peter glanced toward the EMTs. Alex looked in that same direction to find that they’d loaded Sam onto a gurney and covered him up. She could no longer see his precious face. She watched through cloudy eyes as the EMTs wheeled the gurney through the yard and around the corner of the house. A crater the size of the Grand Canyon filled her chest. Her knees grew weak. Peter grabbed her and held her up. She was sure she would have fallen if he hadn’t.
Alex glanced around her backyard to find several of Sam’s fellow police officers milling around her property. One of the officers was taking photographs, one was writing something on a piece of paper attached to a metal clipboard, and two were inspecting the patio and sliding glass doors leading to their bedroom. They’d begun dusting the door for prints.
She could hear the officers whispering but couldn’t make out what they were saying. Whenever she caught a glimpse of their gaze, their eyes read disbelief.
Alex stared into space. “This can’t be happening. Tell me this isn’t happening. This is small town Wisconsin. We read about this sort of thing, not live it,” she murmured.
Peter squeezed her hand.
Valerie is a writer of romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction novels. She lives in beautiful Door County Wisconsin with her husband and one very spoiled cat. She loves to read, write, and spend time at her cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She’s lived her life surrounded by men, three brothers, a husband, and a male Siamese cat who required his own instruction manual. Keeping up with all the men in her life has turned her into a successful hunter and fisherwoman.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Additionally, she was a finalist in the 2011 Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Novellas Need Love, Too! Contest.
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