Eden Braverman hoisted the laundry basket on her hip.
“I’m so glad you’re home.” She looked into the green eyes of the man who was her entire world. “Did you mean it when you said you were done with the DOD?”
Wolfe leaned on his elbow and fluffed his pillow. “The Department of Defense is in Wolfe Holmes’ rearview mirror.”
She dropped the basket and walked back to the bed she left just minutes before. He fell back on the bed and extended his arms. She fell across his broad chest and ran her fingers over the prominent freckles that dotted across his nose. They weren’t as pronounced as they could be since he still had a tan from his trip. The kiss she planted said more.
She used his shoulders to push herself up. “Nope. Gotta do laundry.” She smiled and winked at him. “But, I’ll be back.”
She dumped the first load into the washer, then paused. Was that a gunshot? She stopped and methodically pulled her weapon from the small hand safe on the top shelf.
“Wolfe?” Her throat was dry with anticipation.
She hugged the wall and moved toward the bedroom. The cacophony of multiple shots repeated the sounds she heard minutes before. Then, she saw a dark-masked figure as he backed out of the bedroom.
“Stop.” Her voice was loud and clear.
The intruder began firing before he turned completely around, then stopped. He faced her. “There you are.” A bullet hit the wall directly behind her.
Eden bent over and ran back to the laundry room. Damn. Her phone was on the bedside table. She fired down the hall and broke a window. Hopefully, someone would hear the crash of glass.
“You’re dead. Just as dead as that weasel in the bed.”
That was the last thing she heard besides the slamming of the door.
The sight of Wolfe covered with blood and motionless told Eden everything. As an RN, she saw the ramifications of gunshots too many times. She ran to him, checked his pulse, grabbed the phone, dialed 911, and immediately started CPR.
“Please.” She pushed her hands down on his chest as hard as she could.
The phone was on speaker when 911 answered.
Eden was already breathless. “Yes, I need an ambulance at 2143 Fairgate Way. Multiple gunshots to the chest and abdomen. Notify Chief Detective Harry…”. She continued CPR without any response. “Come on, Honey. Please.”
She turned back to the 911 operator, winded, and continued. “Harry Stasson.” The tears started to flow. “One. Two. Three…” The algorithm for CPR rang in her head. “Tell him It’s Wolfe.”
“What’s your name?”
She couldn’t catch her breath, but she couldn’t stop.
Eden ran to the door and let the paramedics in, then ran back to her beloved Wolfe and restarted CPR.
A familiar hand gently touched her shoulder.
“We’ll take over, Eden.”
She looked into the eyes of the senior paramedic. It was Joe, someone she worked with for years. “No. I need…
Joe pulled her to her feet while the second paramedic took over CPR. “Let us.”
He went back to the bed, checked for signs of life, hooked up the defibrillator, and the only activity she saw was the looping lines caused by chest compressions. Other than that, it was just a flat line across the monitor.
“Continue CPR.” Joe took over for the young paramedic whom Eden didn’t know.
The younger paramedic started an IV. Joe understood meds, CPR, and defibrillation weren’t doing the job they needed to do. There was no response. He called the hospital, gave an update, and sent the EKG reading.
Eden didn’t need to hear what she already knew.
“I have 20:16,” Joe answered.
Eden slowly walked back to the bed and collapsed over the bloody body of the only man that she loved and who loved her back.
The next four days were a blur. The ‘I’m so sorry’ and ‘If there’s anything we can do’ were met with small nods, pasted smiles, and tears. Oh, the tears. Eden didn’t think she had that many tears in her.
The funeral home was packed with everyone who was anyone in Dallas. The Fairgates were one of the most prominent families in Dallas, so even people who didn’t like the Fairgates showed up for the funeral. Wolfe hated that about the rich and powerful.
Eden eyed Wolfe’s half-brother, Jarod Fairgate with red, swollen eyes. She knew he was as devastated as she was. Even though Wolfe and Jarod were only half-brothers, you would never know it. They were best friends.
The end of an agonizing day came after four hours of well-wishing and pats on the arm. Eden’s Aunt Gretchen came to her rescue, as she always did.
“Come on, girl, the limo is waiting to take us to the cemetery.”
Eden just nodded and followed her out.
Eden walked over the uneven ground toward the fresh plot that now held her world. The night sky was overcast with approaching rain. Any other time she would be relishing in the idea that Dallas finally was getting some rain. Not now. Eden didn’t care about anything just finding out who murdered her fiancé.
“Braverman, why are you still alive?”
Eden whipped around to find a shadow of a figure and an extended arm.
The first bullet screeched past her left ear, but the second impacted her right shoulder. The blood sprayed across her face as she crawled behind Wolfe’s gravestone. He was still protecting her.
She pulled out her gun and returned fire. There was no comeback just a slight echo in her ear. She ran her hand over the stone. “Thanks, Babe. You saved me again.”
For whatever reason, the gunman turned and left. He had to know she wasn’t dead.
Harry Stasson, Chief of Police and Eden’s ex-partner in her private investigation business saw the caller ID. “Hey, Braverman.”
“Harry, I’m shot.”
He pulled his long legs out from under his desk and instinctively grabbed his weapon. “Where are you?”
“The cemetery.” There was a split second of quiet. She added, “Oh, you might want to get an ambulance here.”
Harry’s deep baritone was distinctive, but she was still groggy.
She went for her gun and grabbed only cloth from her hospital gown.
“Harry. Don’t do that.” She attempted to get up but fell back. The pain in her chest reminded her of her predicament. “I still carry a gun.” She looked around the area to find her clothes. “Well, it’s here somewhere.”
Harry grinned. The space between his two front teeth was prominent and somehow endearing. It was his trademark. He pulled her weapon out of his pocket.
“You mean this.”
She grabbed at it and caught only air. “Come on.”
His demeanor changed dramatically. He had that “cop look.”
“What?” She asked.
“Braverman, someone tried to kill you a couple of hours ago.” He pulled up a chair and engulfed her hand in his. “I’m not gonna let you die.” He took a deep breath. “Not on my watch.”
Eden leaned back against the pillow and started to cry. She wanted that hand to be Wolfe’s, but he was dead.
“Braverman.” A statement that didn’t need any response or further talk. Harry just sat there, gently holding her hand.
Eric Alexander, a doctor that Eden knew well walked in.
“You were lucky, Eden.”
She looked at the bulky dressing on her right shoulder. “Lucky?”
“Two inches to the left and it would have severed your pulmonary artery. So, yeah, lucky.”
“Can I go?” Her attempt to get up failed again.
“I think that answered that question,” Harry said.
She looked at the two men and tried one more time to sit up and this time she made it.
“See, I’m up.” She swung her legs off the bed.
“Get your ass back to bed.” Her Aunt Gretchen took over the room. “You aren’t going anywhere but to room 426.
“But nothing. You’re staying even if I have to tie you down.”
Gretchen looked at Harry. “And you, my kind friend, get out there and find the bastard who did this.”
Harry stood, towering over everyone else in the room. “Yes, Ma’am.” He took Eden’s weapon out of his pocket. “And this baby is coming with me.”