Home > Say You're Sorry (Romantic Suspense #22)(3)

Say You're Sorry (Romantic Suspense #22)(3)
Karen Rose

But the man hadn’t tried to take her bag. He tried to take me. She closed her eyes and tried not to throw up, vaguely hearing Trish on the phone with 911. Safe. They were safe. It would be all right.

Trish sank to her knees and wrapped her arms around Daisy’s shoulders, rocking her gently. “Shh, honey. Shh. It’ll be all right. Don’t cry.”

It was then that Daisy realized she was sobbing. And that a small crowd had gathered. And that Trish’s hand was in her coat pocket. “What are you doing?”

Trish pulled Daisy’s phone free. “Calling Rafe. The cops are on their way, but having Rafe here will make it easier on you. Here, unlock your phone and I’ll call.” Voice halting, Trish made the call to Daisy’s landlord, who was as much a brother to her as Jacob.

But unlike Jacob, Rafe was also a cop. He’ll know what to do.

Trish’s arms were around her again, carefully rocking her. “Did you scratch him?”

Still crying, Daisy tried to remember. “I don’t think so. I don’t know. Maybe?” She pulled back enough to look down at her hands, still clenched into fists. But dangling from her left fist was a silver chain and something was pinching her palm. Carefully she opened her fist and sucked in a breath.

It was a locket. A heart-shaped locket. Silver and engraved. Her bewildered gaze lifted to Trish’s. Trish closed Daisy’s fingers over the locket, trapping it in her fist again.

“We’ll show it to Rafe when he gets here,” Trish whispered.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 9:55 P.M.

Frowning at the ringing of his cell phone, Gideon Reynolds paused the episode of Fixer Upper he’d DVRed. He wanted to groan as he reached for his phone on the end table. He was tired and didn’t want to go back into work. Because it would be work calling. Hardly anyone else he knew actually used a phone for calling anymore.

His frown became one of worry when he saw the caller ID. Rafe Sokolov. His best friend always texted, never called. And never this late. “What’s wrong?” Gideon asked, forgoing a greeting.

“Maybe nothing but probably something,” Rafe replied. “You know my new tenant? Daisy Dawson?”

Gideon sighed. “Rafe, no. Just no.” Rafe’s mother had been trying to fix him up with “cute little Daisy” for months. He’d been avoiding the Sokolovs’ Sunday dinners because he was tired of Irina Sokolov’s unrelenting matchmaking. She’d been trying to find him the perfect mate for more than ten years.

Part of him loved her for it because it meant she cared. Most of him wished she’d just stop. “Tell your mother—”

“This isn’t a setup,” Rafe interrupted tersely.

Gideon sat up straighter. “What happened to Miss Dawson?”

“She was attacked tonight, down on J Street.”

Gideon grimaced in dread. Rafe was a homicide detective. “Is she . . . okay?”

“Yeah. She fought him off. Her and her little rat-dog.”

Gideon was confused. “I’m glad she’s okay, but her assault isn’t my jurisdiction. It’s not usually yours, either.” Rafe had joined SacPD when they’d graduated from college and had been a homicide detective for a few years. Gideon had taken a different law enforcement path, heading off to Quantico and the FBI. His specialization in linguistics meant that more than half of his work was done from his office.

His recent assignment to Sacramento meant coming home—as close to “home” as he was likely to ever get. “What’s going on?” he asked. Because something obviously was.

“She grabbed a chain from the guy’s neck right before she kneed him in the nuts.”

Gideon’s wince was instinctive. “Ouch. Good for her. Did he get away?”

“Yes,” Rafe said, disgust in his tone. “He had a gun. Tried to drag her away.”

“God. She’s got to be shaken up. But—and I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, man—what does this have to do with me?”

“The chain she grabbed came with a locket. Silver, heart shaped. Engraved.”

Gideon stopped breathing for a moment, then sucked in a harsh breath. A shiver of foreboding prickled over his skin. “What kind of engraving?”

“Two children kneeling under an olive tree—”

“All under the wings of an angel,” Gideon finished in a whisper. He swallowed back the bile that burned his throat. “With a burning sword.”

Rafe let the silence hang a beat or two. “Yes. The only other time I’ve seen that design was on your skin, Gid.”

Gideon stared at the TV screen, the frame frozen. Just as he was.

“Gideon?” Rafe’s voice was quiet. “You still there?”

Gideon pushed out the breath he’d been holding. “Yeah. Was there a name on the back of the locket?”

Rafe hesitated, his reticence palpable even through the phone. “Miriam.”

Gideon lurched to his feet in terrified shock, his heart in his throat. No. It couldn’t be. Someone would have told me. “Where are you?”

“At UC Davis Medical.”

He shook his head to clear it. To focus. His Miriam was okay. She has to be. “Why are you at the hospital? I thought you said the Dawson woman was okay.”

“She wasn’t seriously injured, but he bruised her throat trying to shut her up.” Rafe sounded . . . brittle. Clearly rattled. Gideon wouldn’t be surprised to find the entire Sokolov clan at the ER. They’d taken the woman under their collective wing since she’d moved into the apartment in Rafe’s old Victorian.

Just as they’d done for Gideon when he’d been a lost, scared teenager. He was suddenly fiercely glad the young woman had the family of Russian immigrants at her back.

“We’re getting her checked out to be sure she’s okay,” Rafe went on. “When the doctor’s finished, I’ll take her to the station to get her statement while it’s fresh in her mind. Then my parents are taking her to their house for the night. Mom’s going to keep an eye on her tonight because her attacker cracked her head on a brick wall. The doctor didn’t think there was any concussion, but you know how Mom worries.”

“I know,” Gideon murmured. He’d been on the receiving end of Irina’s worry many times. It had always made him feel like one of her brood.

Rafe cleared his throat. “I’d like you to come down to the station to look at the locket and tell me about it.”

No. No. No.

“I know it’s not easy for you,” Rafe said quietly. “I really need your help, though. He told Daisy that she’d beg his forgiveness. That ‘they all do.’”

Fuck. “You think he’s a serial offender?”

“Maybe. Will you come to the station?”

“I’ll be there in thirty minutes.” Gideon disconnected and stared at his phone for several painful beats of his heart. Then he hit a name on his favorites list. And waited while it rang. It went to voice mail. As it usually did.

He disconnected and redialed, which he rarely did. This time it was picked up on the second ring. “What, Gideon?”

His breath rushed from his lungs at the sound of her voice. Oh God. Abject relief had his knees buckling. He locked them, remaining upright as he focused on steadying his racing pulse.

“What’s wrong? Gideon? Hello?”

Gideon’s stomach hurt, just thinking about how to frame his question.

His sister blew out an annoyed sigh. “For God’s sake, Gideon. It’s after midnight here. I hope this is important because you woke me up. Tell me what you called for and let me go back to sleep.”

“I’m sorry. It is important.” He rubbed his left pec through his shirt, remembering how much it had hurt to get the tattoo all those years ago. But he’d been stoic and hadn’t complained once. The girls had gotten off easy, he’d thought at the time, clenching his teeth as the artist’s needle had marked his skin. They’d just gotten the lockets. How wrong he’d been. None of them had gotten off easy. “Do you have your locket?”

There was a shocked silence. “What?”

“Your locket. Where is it?”

“In my safe-deposit box,” she ground out, “where it’s always been.”

Gideon swallowed hard. “Where’s . . . where is hers?” he asked hoarsely.

Another taut silence. “In the box with mine. Why? What’s this about?”

“A woman was attacked in Sacramento tonight. Her attacker wore one of the lockets around his neck. She pulled it off him during the attack. It has ‘Miriam’ engraved on the back. I thought . . . it might be yours.” Nothing. Silence. He couldn’t even hear her breathe. “Mercy?” he whispered.

Mercy’s answer was what he’d expected. “I . . . can’t, Gideon.” Her voice broke. “I just . . . can’t.”

“I understand,” he said. “I needed to know if you’d gotten rid of it. Either of them.”

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