The siren bawled as Lee Sharpe, grinning like a demon, loomed over my gurney. “Who stabbed you, Maisie?”
Sweat trickled down the hard planes of his face. He was in full SWAT battle rattle—balaclava down around his neck, ProTech Tac 6 full-coverage vest, combat shirt, tactical pants and a Sig Sauer .45. Delta helmet and rifle handed off before he got in the ambulance.
I tried to look as pathetic as possible from beneath the oxygen non-rebreather strapped on my face. Which wasn’t too tough. The hilt of a five-inch SOG Seal Strike knife stuck out of my thigh, wrapped and packed courtesy of the newbie paramedic who Lee had kicked to the front of the bus with the driver.
“Don’t…know…” I lied.
He looked away and ran a hand through his hair. “Christ.”
The heavy plastic gear cases and oxygen tanks clattered and shook as the ambulance took a tire-squealing turn. Strapped down, I still slid beneath the canvas straps, sucking in a breath through my teeth. The blade in my leg felt like a branding iron.
Hank’s Law Number Thirteen: Anyone can endure expected pain.
Frowning, Lee leaned in close. “Maisie?” He snapped his fingers in front of me. “Maisie? Can you hear me?”
“Yeah.” What’s wrong?
The heart monitor beeps started pinging double-time.
“Maisie?” He eased the mask off my face and bent low, eyes searching mine.
I swallowed. “Lee?”
He kissed me.
Not hard, not soft. Just bizarrely familiar.
Before I could move my head away, he left me with a flick of his tongue across my upper lip.
“You kissed me!”
He replaced the oxygen mask over my nose and mouth. “You’re delirious, babe. You don’t even know who stabbed you.”
You opportunistic sonuva–
He leaned back on the squad bench. “Don’t remember, my ass–”
A metallic roar ripped through the ambulance. Lee went airborne, slamming into the front partition. Canisters of oxygen snapped from their moorings, clanging into the gurney and the doors. Tools and boxes shot out of the cabinets. A heavy plastic case jumped the security rail and landed, crushing my legs and smashing the knife.
The ambulance convulsed and stopped dead. The siren kept wailing. I ran out of breath and quit shrieking.
Warm wet spread across my thigh.
My arms and legs were strapped down. I couldn’t get the case off. “Lee!” I twisted my head frantically, trying to get a look at him.
He was slumped on the floor. Equipment littered around him.
He blinked awake, eyes unfocused.
I shivered. “Help me.”
He rolled onto all fours and used the wall to pull himself upright. He staggered over.
“Kit…” My voice was a whisper to my own ears. “Move it.”
Trying to keep his feet, he lifted the heavy plastic case off my leg. The knife had gone sideways, the packing around it soaked bright red with blood.
My body was ice cold. I panted from the chill.
Lee squinted and shook his head. Hand over hand, he applied pressure at my groin and yelled at the front of the ‘bus. “Medic! Get back here!” He stared at me, pupils dilated with concussion. “Talk to me, Maisie.”
I opened my mouth but no sound came out. I felt floaty and light.
He swayed and yelled at the EMTs again.
A steady stream of blood trickled down Lee’s ear onto his shoulder.
Funny really, him trying to stop my bleeding when he had his own to worry ab–