Excerpt from Distortion (Book 2 of the Moonlighters Series) by Terri Blackstock
Juliet Cole watched her husband through the windshield, wishing he’d stop brooding. His jaw popped as he stood at the gas pump, scowling at the dollar amount of the fuel going into the U-Haul truck. She couldn’t say she blamed him for his foul mood tonight. This was the fourth time in the last year that Bob had taken the day off from his practice to help her sister Holly move, and it had been a long day. A white Camaro pulled up between her silver Caravan and the U-Haul truck Bob was about to return, the gas station’s lights illuminating him. The man inside looked toward Bob, then turned to peer at Juliet. Did she know him? Just in case, she lifted her fingers in a wave. The man looked away and pulled on through.
Bob put the gas pump back into its cradle. He grabbed the receipt, then climbed back into the box truck. He pulled out without a word, expecting her to follow. Maybe when the truck was returned and he was back in her van, she could coax him into a better mood.
Though the parking lot was empty, she pulled between the white lines of a parking space, facing the depository box forty feet away. Bob drove the truck to the empty space among the other rental trucks, off to her left at the back of the lot. He jumped down from his seat and slammed the door. Then he trudged across the asphalt to put the key in the night depository.
Another car pulled into the lot, drove just past the building and did a U-turn, putting the driver on the side of the depository box. He stopped in front of the box, obstructing Juliet’s view of Bob. The car’s interior light didn’t come on; the man didn’t get out of the car. Juliet stiffened, her hand on the door. Was he talking to Bob?
A blast as quick as a balloon pop jolted her. She strained to see. Her car sat at an angle to the box, her headlights aimed to the left, barely illuminating the driver. He had turned sideways, his back to her, and was leaning out the window closest to Bob. Another blast, then another, shook her breathless. As he turned back to the steering wheel, she saw the quick outline of a gun.
Dread choked her. Tires squealed and the car screeched off, leaving thick darkness in its wake. Then she saw him … a hump on the ground.
“Bob!” She fumbled for the door handle, finally found it, unlocked it, and threw it open. She stumbled out of the van. “Bob!” she screamed. “Oh, God, please don’t ...” She went toward him, walking at first, then running.
As she fell to her knees beside him, Juliet gasped at the blood pooling around his head. He wasn’t moving. Screams shredded her throat. Her phone—where was her phone?
Trembling, she lifted his head, warm liquid coating her fingers. Blood? No ... please, God... The exit wound—she tried to apply pressure, but the wound was too big. She groped for a pulse, couldn’t find one.
“Help! Somebody please ...!”
No one came. Her phone. Was it in her purse in the van? She carefully laid his head back down, then forced herself to abandon him and stumbled back to the van. She grabbed her purse with bloody hands and groped for her phone. She pulled it out, trying to punch in the numbers as she ran back to him. It took three tries to get the number right, but she finally hit Call.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“Help!” she said, breathless. “My husband’s been shot!”
The maddeningly calm dispatcher demanded to know an address. Juliet had no idea. “The U-Haul place. He’s bleeding!” she cried. “Hurry, please!”
“Ma’am, I need an address. Which U-Haul store?”
“The U-Haul store … on Highway 57.” She looked around for a sign or some kind of landmark. “Across from RK’s Plumbing Supplies, near the KFC. Please hurry!”
She screamed again for help from someone, anyone on the street, but her cries were ignored. Cars drove by on the highway, their drivers oblivious. Silhouettes passed in the street light, indifferent pedestrians ignoring her screams as her husband’s life slowly bled away.
More about Terri Blackstock:
Terri Blackstock has sold over six million books worldwide and is a New York Times bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, Restoration, and Moonlighters.
Learn more at www.terriblackstock.com.
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