Home > Bone Deep (Widow's Island #9)

Bone Deep (Widow's Island #9)
Author: Kendra Elliot

 


1

“Dr. Powers! Can you come out here?”

Henry Powers frowned at the alarmed tone in his nurse Julie’s voice. The two of them had stayed late at the island’s urgent care clinic, patching up a pair of ten-year-old twins who had taken a tumble down a cliff face after daring each other to scale it. One boy had two broken fingers, and both were covered from head to toe in abrasions. The other twin had three loose teeth and had been jealous and sulking that his brother was the first to break a bone.

Their mother had rolled her eyes at the rivalry.

The family had left ten minutes ago, and Julie was at the front desk, typing up their notes. Henry wondered if the twins had returned with a new issue, creating the urgency in Julie’s voice. In the third exam room, Henry threw the last of the bloody gauze in the biohazard bin and then tossed in his gloves.

I hope I didn’t miss something on one of the boys.

He’d worried about head injuries, but surprisingly, the twins’ heads had been abrasion-free. The loose teeth were the only injuries Henry had found above the neck.

Henry headed down the hall to the waiting area, crossing his fingers this wouldn’t take another hour. His fiancée, Cate, was barbecuing salmon at home, and he was starved.

“What—” Henry broke off as he stepped into the office and stared at a pistol aimed at his face.

“You the doctor?” asked the man holding the gun, its barrel three feet from Henry’s eyes. The man wore a black mask, only his mouth and eyes visible.

“There are no narcotics here,” Henry said calmly as his heart tried to beat its way up his throat.

Two masked men were in the office. Julie sat in the chair near her computer, the second man behind her with a gun pressing against the back of her head. Her eyes were wide, and she appeared calm, but suppressed anger sparked in her glare.

The two men were tall and in shape. Both were dressed in camouflage pants, black T-shirts, and heavy boots. But desperation hovered around them. Their eyes were visibly bloodshot, and dirt caked their boots and pants.

Stay calm.

“We’re not here for drugs,” said the one with the gun on Henry. His heavy, thick eyebrows filled most of the mask’s eyeholes. “We need you to come with us. Grab an emergency kit.”

“What’s the emergency?” Henry asked, refusing to jump at the command and tamping down an urge to grab or knock Eyebrows’ weapon out of his hand. Henry had a sense that the men were far out of their comfort zone holding weapons on him and Julie.

How can I get them to leave?

“Just do it!” ordered Eyebrows, tightening his grip on his pistol. “Bring supplies for a gunshot wound,” he added.

“Gunshot?” repeated Henry. Apprehension crept up his spine, and he wondered if the men had already shot someone. “If someone’s been shot, you need to go to a hospital. An emergency kit isn’t going to be enough.”

“I told you we should take the nurse instead,” snapped his companion. He had a rough smoker’s voice. “We can control her better.” He took a handful of Julie’s long hair and tipped her head back, moving the gun to her temple. Julie’s fingers whitened, gripping her chair’s armrests.

Alarm shot through Henry. “I’ll put together a kit,” he said rapidly. “But the more details you give me, the better I can prepare. Where were they shot?”

The smoker pulled Julie’s head back farther and trained his weapon on Henry. “That’s none of your fucking business.”

Henry’s gaze bounced from one gun’s muzzle to the other, two black holes staring at him.

Better on me than aimed at Julie.

“He means where was he shot on his body, you idiot,” said Eyebrows. “Right here,” he told Henry, touching near his waistband. “Two days ago.”

In the gut. Intestines. Bacteria. Infection.

“What is his condition now?” asked Henry. “Did the bullet go all the way through?”

“He’s got a fever,” said the smoker. “He won’t eat or drink, and there’s an exit wound on his back, so I assume it went through. The bleeding’s mostly stopped, though.”

Worry accented the smoker’s words, but when he mentioned the bleeding, his tone lifted, and he held Henry’s gaze, as if hoping Henry would agree that was a positive sign.

Give them hope.

“That’s a step in the right direction,” Henry said. “But he really needs to be in a hospital.”

“No,” stated Eyebrows.

“But what if—” the smoker began in a pleading tone as he looked at Eyebrows.

“No hospital.”

The smoker stopped talking, but his mouth formed a hard line.

Dissension between them. Smoker is the one to press.

“You’re describing a fatal wound,” Henry said, looking from one man to the other. “It probably went through an intestine, which is full of bacteria. He’ll probably die if you don’t get him to a hospital.”

“Scott—”

“Shut up!” Eyebrows snapped at the smoker.

Eyebrows lifted his weapon an inch, refocusing on Henry. “If he dies, you die.” He moved his weapon to point at Julie, holding Henry’s gaze. “But I have no problem killing her right now. I suggest you start packing.”

Julie’s dark eyes flashed as they met Henry’s, her hair still in the smoker’s grip.

Henry nodded. “I’ll pack.”

Not good.

 

 

2

Cate pulled into the clinic parking space next to Henry’s truck, noting that Julie’s little car was also present. She sighed. Henry had hired more help, but it seemed like he was always the doctor on duty when patients made them stay late. Her calls and texts to his phone had gone unanswered, so she knew he was swamped with patients.

Cate grabbed the two containers of salmon and green beans that held enough food for five people. She’d brought him dinner at the clinic many times and knew to bring extra. She shut her vehicle door and headed toward the back entrance, glad Henry had installed good lighting. It was late, and the sun had set hours ago. She went up the steps and opened the door.

A medical-facility odor greeted her. A combination of disinfectant and bandages. She closed the door and started down the hall, passing empty exam rooms. The building was eerily quiet. “Henry?” she called.

She heard thumping ahead. Curious, Cate strode into the office and nearly dropped the dinner.

“Julie!”

The nurse’s arms and legs were bound to her chair with duct tape, and another piece covered her mouth. Julie’s eyes were wide, and she tried to speak behind the tape. Cate tossed her food onto a counter. “Are you okay?” Cate peeled back a tiny corner of the tape on Julie’s face and then paused, meeting her gaze. “This might hurt.”

Julie’s words were indecipherable, but Cate was pretty sure she said, “Fucking get it off!”

The nurse screwed her eyes shut as Cate slowly removed the tape.

Where’s Henry?

Cate’s heart pounded from the adrenaline flooding her system.

“They took Henry!” Julie blurted out. “Two men with guns!”

Henry. No.

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