Dying Assassin Preview
“Someone’s pulling in the driveway,” I called out to Spencer, too lazy to get up myself. Plus, I was rubbing our piglet, Gilbert’s, stomach and he was making happy noises.
“Did you guys order me anything?” Spencer asked as he peered out the window. I exchanged a glance with Luc and shook my head. We hadn’t ordered anything since Dean’s snazzy cane. Spence headed for the front door, and I turned my attention back to Gilbert.
“I have a package for a Spencer Fallon?” the delivery guy asked.
“I’m him,” Spencer replied, taking the electronic signature thingy and scribbling his name. He gave the box a funny look as the delivery guy left and knelt down by it. Turning to look at us again, he said, “This is weird.”
“It smells familiar,” Dean said, standing up, and walked towards Spencer as he pulled off the tape. “Like when I used to work demolitions… Spencer, no!”
The change in Dean’s tone caused me to jump and look back to Spencer who was pulling the lip of the box open. Dean sprinted for him, dropping his cane and diving to tackle Spencer. Luc and I got the idea. I grabbed Gilbert and ran for the office, Luc right behind me. We only got about two steps when the explosion went off, throwing us off our feet. I turned at the last second to keep from squishing Gilbert as Luc fell to the side of me.
Both of us turned in slow motion to look back towards the front door. It, along with most of the foyer, wasn’t there anymore. We jumped to our feet as quick as rabbits. Luc went straight for Spencer and Dean while I went to put Gilbert in his pen in the dining room where it was safe. My ears were ringing so loudly that when I made it back to them, Luc was shouting something and I couldn’t hear him. Then I saw how bad everything was.
There was blood everywhere. Spencer had huge gashes on his legs and midsection. Dean looked as if most of his back was sliced off him. Still not knowing what Luc was saying, I stepped over them to get supplies from the kitchen. I went into the pantry and grabbed the stack of clean kitchen towels, then the bigger first-aid kit from the utility room.
When I got back, Luc had already moved Dean off Spencer and removed his shirt. He was holding it to Spencer’s stomach as he pointed at me, then at Dean. That, I understood. Kneeling next to Dean, who was lying face down, I pulled out the piece of wood stuck in his shoulder and pressed one of the towels down on the wound.
“Shit, shit, shit!” Luc said, and I realized he was yelling even though it sounded faint to me. I was glad at least my hearing was returning.
“I’m going to call Max and get his doctor here,” I screamed at him.
“He’s on the East Coast, how will that help us?” Luc shouted back.
“We can’t take them to a human hospital, and someone could have heard the blast,” I answered, pulling my cell out of my pocket. “I’m open to suggestions, Luc.”
“Yeah, I’ve got no fucking clue,” he said, nodding at me to make the call. I pulled up my phone book on my cell with one hand while keeping pressure on the biggest of Dean’s wounds with the other.
“Hello? Hello is anyone there?” I yelled when I couldn’t hear the ringing anymore. “It’s Ryder Jenkins, I need Max. It’s an emergency, and I can barely hear.”
“Ryder, what’s wrong?” Max bellowed on the other end of the line.
“Someone sent Spencer a package, it was a bomb,” I replied. “Luc and I are okay, besides some ringing in the ears, but they’re hurt bad, Max. We don’t know if anyone heard the explosion. We could have humans here any minute. What do we do?”
“Are they conscious?”
“No, they’re both out, but alive.”
“I’ve got a friend with a jet. With flight time, the doc should be there in four hours,” Max said. “Get them to a guest room and clean up evidence that there were people in the explosion. Call the human authorities and tell them no one was hurt. Make up some story, Ryder. If they come and you weren’t the ones to call them, they’ll be suspicious.”
“Thanks, Max,” I answered as we hung up. I relayed what he said to Luc, and we got to moving them. Once we had them in the guest room upstairs in the back, I made a decision. “I’ll handle the police, you stay with them.”
“Why me?” he asked, trying to clean them up enough to see where the wounds were.
“You’ve had vet training, and it’s more medical than anything I have,” I answered, thinking it was logical.
“Fair enough, but start cleaning before you call,” he replied. I was glad we’d brought up the first-aid kit and towels already. Racing back downstairs, I started wiping down the walls. Then I looked around and realized it looked too clean. Taking a few pieces of burnt wood, I rubbed it against the walls I’d just wiped. I smiled at how it looked, realizing I wasn’t just a cute face sometimes.
“Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?” the operator asked when she answered.
“Hi, this is Ryder Jenkins,” I yelled into the phone, then gave her my address. “We had a package delivered to the house, and it exploded. I wasn’t hurt, but I’m pretty sure this is when you call the police.”
“Was anyone hurt or there besides you, Mr. Jenkins?”
“No, ma’am,” I answered, relaying the story Luc and I had worked out. “I started tearing open the tape, but it was stuck. I went to the kitchen to grab a knife and left the box at the door because it was heavy. It exploded when I was in there.”
“We’ll send units out immediately,” she replied, relaying the address and giving out some codes over the radio. “Do you need any medical attention?”
“No, my ears are ringing, but it’s already going away.” We said our goodbyes and hung up. I went back to finishing my cleaning, making sure to stick all the bloodied paper towels I used into the grill outside. Just as I heard sirens getting close, I finished up. Quickly I rubbed some more burnt wood on the walls then went to wash the blood off me.
“Mr. Jenkins?” someone called out from what had been the front door.
“I’m here,” I said, coming out of the downstairs bathroom.
“Is anyone else here or hurt, sir?” one of the policemen asked me.
“No, my partners are in Rapid City doing some shopping,” I answered. “I called to let them know what was going on. They’re coming home as soon as possible. Please, come into the kitchen.”
“What the hell happened here?” he asked as he stepped over all the debris.
“We had a delivery,” I replied, shaking my head. “There wasn’t a return address, and it was addressed to my partner.”
“You opened someone else’s mail?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at me.
“Do you open your wife’s mail or take packages for her?” I answered, giving him the same look right back.
“Good point,” he chuckled. “I’m Deputy Wilcowski, by the way. This is Officer Reynolds.” The deputy was a big guy, probably played lots of football in high school, if not college. Officer Reynolds was more medium height and weight. I found himself staring at Deputy Wilcowski because, not only was he attractive, but he had kind eyes, which was rare.
“I’m sorry, nice to meet you both. Please forgive my manners,” I said, trying to smile as I shook their hands. “I’m not thinking straight right now. After it happened, I sat in the kitchen for a while before I even realized I should call you.”
“Shock works that way,” the deputy replied gently as we all took seats at the kitchen table. “Now, start from the beginning and tell me what happened.”
“I heard someone pulling up the drive,” I started to say then took a deep breath. I didn’t like lying to the police, though I understood why it was a necessary evil. “We got a medium size package for Spencer Fallon, my partner. It was maybe twelve inches by eighteen inches wide, a box. I signed for it, and he left it in the doorway. I started to pull back the tape, but I couldn’t get it all, so I went back to the kitchen to get a knife.”
“Why not take the box with you?” the officer asked, taking notes.
“I went to pick up it, but it was heavy,” I answered. “I figured maybe once I got it open either I could take it out and bring it out of the doorway, or maybe it was parts. Honestly, I figured it was for the car Dean has been rebuilding.”
“Then why wasn’t it addressed to Dean?” he asked. Damn, he was sharp.
“Good point.” I shrugged, not having to work hard to play dumb on that one. “I guess I wasn’t really paying attention. I remember Dean said he ordered something for the car, but it could have been from the mechanics in town.”
“Okay, so you went to get a knife,” the deputy said, guiding me back to the story.
“I got about four feet into the kitchen when it exploded,” I replied, shivering. “It knocked me off my feet, and I’m just getting the ringing in my ears to stop. I can’t imagine what it would have done to me if I’d still been kneeling next to it.”
I was having the hardest time not tearing up then. Telling the story reminded me that two of them men I loved were upstairs in bad shape. But then I realized if my story had been true, I could get away with crying.
“Do you or Mr. Fallon have any enemies?” the deputy asked, being incredibly nice about all this; he really was a sweet guy.
“Not that I know of, everyone’s been great since we moved here,” I answered honestly. We talked some more, they asked questions, I answered and vice versa. The deputy seemed embarrassed that they couldn’t be much more help than tracking down the package through the shipping company.
“I’m pretty sure this is the first explosion Brookings has ever had,” he said, wiping his hands on his pants as he stood. “Since it wasn’t the United States Postal Service, I don’t have to get the Feds involved, and I’d prefer not to.”
“Um, I guess let’s see what your search comes up with,” I answered as I led them to the door. Or the hole in the front of the house that used to be the door, I guess. “I’ll ask Spencer when he gets home, but I don’t really have a clue what to do. If you don’t think the Feds are needed, I see no reason not to trust you.”
“I have no problem calling them in if we hit a dead end,” the deputy said, nodding in agreement. “But if we call them in before they’re needed, it normally just turns into a pissing match and that helps no one.”
“Then do what you think is best. I appreciate you coming out here and checking into this,” I said. “Wish I’d gotten to meet the local law enforcement some other way.”
“Fair enough,” the officer chuckled as he left and walked to the car.
“Are you okay to be alone, Mr. Jenkins?” Deputy Wilcowski asked, taking my arm and staring into my eyes. I saw the genuine concern for my safety. “We can stay until your men get home if that would make you feel better.”
“I’m okay, really,” I replied, patting his hand. “I just want to go lay down for a bit. This is a lot to take in.”
“All right, but if you need anything else, you’ll call?”
“I promise. Thanks again, deputy,” I said as he started to walk away. I waved goodbye after they got in their cruiser and headed down the driveway. As soon as they were out of sight, I raced up the stairs to where Luc and the guys were.
“We good?” he asked as I reached him. I nodded and went back to cleaning Dean’s back and wounds. “You’re going to have to stitch up that gash. It’s healing, but it needs help.”
“Tell me what to do,” I said, not liking the idea of sewing up his side.
“See how I did it to this wound here?” Luc replied, pointing to Spencer’s stomach. I looked over and saw the one he’d finished as he was working on another one. “Doesn’t have to be pretty, just keep the wound closed until it can heal on its own. Don’t worry about scars; I don’t have any from the night I almost died, so I’m assuming werewolves don’t get them.”
“Good point,” I answered, feeling better knowing that detail. He handed me some fishing line and a very large needle. He saw that I wasn’t loving this idea and gave me a quick kiss.
“They can’t feel it, Ryder, and they need the help,” he said gently. I nodded, knowing he was right, but I simply didn’t like the idea of sticking the fat needle into Dean. Sucking it up, I threaded the needle, cut off what I needed, and got to work. Several minutes later, I was done.
“What about all the blood they lost? Don’t we need to replace some of it?” I asked, looking from Dean to Luc.
“Yeah, I don’t know about that.” He sighed, rubbing his eyes and face with a clean towel. “I know our blood is clean, but do werewolves have different types? I guess the doc will have to answer that for us. I’m not a fan of the idea of that jackass being here again.”
“Beggars can’t be choosers, Luc,” I said, rubbing his back. We hugged for a few minutes, both of us shaking from the constant adrenaline that our bodies had been pumping. Then we went back to cleaning up our men and doing whatever busywork we could before the doc got here.
* * * *
Several hours later, we had Spencer and Dean cleaned up and most of the debris from the explosion bagged as well. Right now though, Luc and I were pacing around downstairs as the doctor named Doc took care of our guys. I’d done everything I could think of to stay distracted—played with Gilbert, started making dinner, and rewashed the walls of the hallway and foyer.
“They’re both going to be fine in a few days,” Doc said as he came down the stairs. “I gave them both a couple of pints of blood to replace what they lost. Also, I pumped them full of sedatives. Let them sleep through as much of the healing and pain as they can.”
“When should we expect them back up?” Luc asked.
“The effects of the medication will last a while.” The doc checked his watch. “I estimate another eight to ten hours, but they might just eat and pass back out,” he answered as he pulled out some bottles from his bag. “These are very strong painkillers, since our bodies metabolize everything so quickly.”
“How often should we give them to Spence and Dean?” I asked as I reached for the bottles.
“Let’s not have the ex-drug addict be in charge of the pills, shall we?” Doc snickered as he pulled them back from me and to Luc.
“Get the fuck out of our house,” Luc growled, snatching the bottles. “I don’t know what problem you have with us, but you can’t speak to Ryder like that.”
“Luc, it’s fine, I understand,” I said, putting my hand on his arm. “The doc is right, even if he’s callous and ill-mannered. But you should know I’ve been clean for almost five months and only thought about even taking drugs once.”
“Then you beat the odds, congratulations,” the doctor answered gently. “You’re right, that was callous. And I don’t have a problem with any of you. I’m not a fan of being shipped out when another pack needs me. On top of which, my daughter should be going into labor any day now, and I didn’t want to leave her.”
“I’m sorry you got pulled into this and dragged away from where you’re needed,” Luc replied, rolling his neck and calming down. “We wouldn’t have called you if the situation weren’t dire. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and kind of went on instinct. We needed help.”
“I understand that,” Doc answered, putting his hand on Luc’s shoulder. “You did a great job, you need to know that. They would have healed just fine with what you did. I just sped up the recovery time by giving them the blood and drugs. Even being worried about my daughter, I wouldn’t turn right around and leave if I wasn’t completely confident they would be just fine.”
“We appreciate that, Doc,” I said, smiling up at him. “Is this your first grandchild?”
“It is,” he replied, getting this wide shit-eating grin on his face. “My daughter was pregnant a few years ago but lost the baby in the first trimester. Unfortunately shifters have a higher rate of miscarriage than humans do. Needless to say we were all devastated, but they decided to try again and this time everything seems fine.”
“Boy or girl?” Luc asked as we led him to the door. Luc had gone and picked up the doc and had to drive him back to the airport.
“A boy, they’ve named him Francis,” he answered.
“Best of luck, Doc, our thoughts will be with you,” I said, shaking his hand and saying our goodbyes. He smiled at me then left with Luc. I went upstairs to be with my men, needing to see for myself that they were on the mend. Spencer was on his back, while Dean was sleeping on his stomach. Both looking peaceful and pain free. I crawled into the bed and lay down between them, hoping they could feel I was there with them and that it might help.