Deadly fallout, p.1
Deadly Fallout, p.1Part #10 of Red Stone Security series by Katie Reus
Red Stone Security Series
Copyright © 2014 Katie Reus
Cover Art by Sweet ‘N Spicy Designs
Copy editor JRT Editing
Digital Formatting by Author E.M.S.
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the author.
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Ten books in and the Red Stone Security series is still going strong because of you, my wonderful readers. Thank you.
Zoe Hansen slipped her earbuds into her ears, the soft classical music drowning out the typical hospital sounds as she stepped out of the elevator. It was four in the morning and time for her required break from the ER rush since she was working a double.
Normally she took her breaks with friends, but this morning, she actually needed some alone time. One of her fellow surgeons had been harassing her lately. Subtle stuff at first; innuendos in front of co-workers, trying to make it sound like they were a couple.
First of all, the guy was married so there was no way in hell she’d ever date or sleep with him. And second, he was twenty years older than her and definitely not her type. The age thing actually didn’t bother her much, it was his douchey personality and God complex.
But tonight things had gotten even weirder. He’d sent her two dozen red roses and made a point to ask her about them in front of some of her co-workers. It had been incredibly embarrassing and unprofessional. She needed to decompress and go over her options because she wasn’t letting this crap continue any longer.
As soon as her shift was over, she was talking to someone in the HR department. She understood the annoying politics of the hospital and that she shouldn’t ‘make waves’ but she’d never put up with anyone’s crap and wasn’t about to start now. Especially not with this kind of creepy behavior.
When she reached a room she knew was often unused, she ducked inside. After checking the bathroom to make sure it really was empty, she flipped the lights off, letting the illumination from outside the two big windows guide her. Sighing in relief, she eyed the bed and the bench by the window. If she got in the bed she’d pass out and her break was too short for a real nap. Heading to the window, she stretched out on the padded cushion and leaned her head back against the wall. Since she was petite she didn’t have to scrunch her legs too much.
Before she closed her eyes, she set her phone alarm to go off in twenty-five minutes. The buzzing would jar her awake if for some reason she dozed off.
“Finally, peace,” she murmured to the empty room. The bright city lights of Miami weren’t even a distraction as she let her eyes close. She’d had so many back-to-back surgeries yesterday and early this morning that nothing could distract her now.
Sweet rest edged her consciousness as the soft music helped calm her frayed nerves. When she felt her phone buzzing in her pocket, she shifted against the seat. Had she actually fallen asleep? Opening her eyes, she fished into her pocket and looked at her screen—and sighed. Only a couple minutes had passed but there was an emergency. Of course. That’s what she got for trying to sneak away for a few minutes.
As she swung her legs off the bench, a slight movement in the shadows on the other side of the bed made her freeze. Heart pounding, she pulled her earbuds out. Holding her breath, she paused, listening and watching.
A curtain had been pulled back from the uncovered bed, but she could swear she saw movement. Or maybe it was her imagination going crazy because she’d been so tense lately. She’d felt as if she was being watched, possibly even followed.
Shit. Blood rushed in her ears. “Who’s there?” she demanded, glad her voice came out strong. This floor wasn’t as busy as the ER but it wasn’t devoid of people. It was too damn dark to see behind the curtain. With no light from the bathroom behind it, it was like a dark abyss.
When Braddock Klein stepped out of the shadows, ice flooded her veins. Him being here after his weird behavior lately was not good. “I’m glad you could sneak away so we could spend time together,” he murmured, his voice low and probably what he thought of as seductive.
Sneak away? Her heart rate kicked up again, the staccato beat going overtime. “What are you talking about?” She kept her voice even as she took a step away from the bench. She tried to keep her movements small, not wanting to give away that she was trying to make it to the door.
He was in street clothes, dark slacks and a business casual Polo shirt. He was tall and dark-haired, with a distinguished face. In his fifties, he was a handsome-looking man in a country club, preppy sort of way. Or he would be if it wasn’t for the fact that he was clearly deranged.
“I know you come up here sometimes,” he said, moving to the end of the bed and effectively blocking her escape.
Almost no one knew she used this room for downtime so he had to have been watching her closely. Zoe took a step away from him and toward a rolling cart. It was in the opposite direction of the door, but she needed a weapon if things escalated. Because the look in his eyes was creepy as hell and she wasn’t ignoring her instincts.
“Why are you here?” Her voice shook.
His head tilted to the side a fraction and he looked at her as if her question was stupid. “You know why. I don’t understand why you keep playing so hard to get. Everyone here already thinks we’re a couple.”
“You’re married,” she said, even though that wasn’t remotely the point. She just wanted to get his focus back on reality.
Klein made a weird tsking sound and stepped closer, rounding the bed now. “You’re mine, Zoe,” he growled, his face turning feral as he lunged for her.
Zoe dove for the rolling cart and grabbed a metal bedpan on the bottom shelf. She’d barely grasped it in her fingers when Klein tackled her to the bed, his big body pinning her face-down. The pan fell to the floor with a clatter.
She slammed her head back, trying to break his nose, but he twisted to the side, avoiding what would have been a hard blow.
“Bitch,” he snarled.
She let a scream rip free as she tried to scramble over the bed. The door was so close, just within her grasp. Her feet hit the floor but before she’d taken two steps he tackled her again, slamming her against the wall and cutting short her cries for help.
The pain jarring her entire body barely registered as he hissed in her ear, his breath hot as it rushed over her skin. “You’re going to learn your place.” His thick arm wrapped around her neck as he tugged her back against him.
Struggling to breathe, she clutched his arm as he lifted her off the ground. Oh God, she couldn’t breathe!
His hand clawed at her crotch over her scrubs. Tears stung her eyes at the violation. She kicked back with one of her feet, barely c
The door opened and lights flooded the room.
Instantly he dropped her. Without thinking Zoe sprinted for the door. A female janitor looked at her in surprise as she rounded the small entryway. The cleaning cart blocked Zoe. On instinct, she turned back toward Klein, ready to defend herself. But he just stood there, adjusting his shirt, tucking it into his pants. Except for his ruffled hair, he looked completely unaffected.
“Is everything okay?” the woman asked.
Zoe shook her head. “No. Come on.” She shoved at the cart and forced the woman back into the hall. She didn’t care how rude she was being, she needed to get the hell out of the room and away from him. As they spilled out into the hallway, she pointed toward the elevators. “Get off this floor now.” She didn’t have time to explain herself to the woman and Zoe wanted her out of harm’s way.
As the woman hurried in the other direction, Zoe raced for the nearest nurses’ station to get help. She risked a glance over her shoulder as she ran and saw Klein strolling out of the room. He was smoothing his dark hair into place, his movements unhurried.
Fear battled with outrage inside her when he winked—actually winked—and turned away from her, heading toward the elevators as if he didn’t have a care in the world.
Seven months later
“You about out of here?”
Zoe looked up at the sound of her new boss, Gerard Fernandez’s voice. “Yes. Seriously, I can’t believe I didn’t know how great private practice could be.” After leaving the public hospital months ago she hadn’t realized what a toll the hours and stress had been taking on her personal life. Now she left work every day between five and six, could actually take days off and had her own office. She grabbed her jacket off the back of her leather rolling chair and slipped it on as she rounded the desk.
A grin tugged at his mouth. “You’re preaching to the choir. Come on, we’re the last two here. I’ll walk you to your car.”
“You don’t have to.” Gerard knew what had happened to her at the hospital and Klein’s subsequent threats, but that wasn’t why he was walking her to her car. He walked every woman who worked at his family practice to her car when they got off work. He was like a throwback to a different era. Just one of those truly good men she was glad to call her friend.
He simply snorted. “That line’s getting old, Hansen. Besides, isn’t he…getting back in town soon?”
Throat tight, Zoe nodded and found her voice. Her gaze automatically went to the wall calendar, as if she didn’t know the exact day that freak show Braddock Klein was returning from his six month Medicine Without Borders stint overseas. “Yeah.”
“You told your family yet?” he asked as she turned her lights off and stepped out into the hall with him.
Zoe scowled. “Remind me again why I told you about all this?”
He just snorted again because they both knew the answer. After Klein’s attack, the whole thing had turned into a he-said, she-said type of situation. And since the psycho had been—unbeknownst to her—laying the groundwork at work so that everyone thought she was in some type of relationship with him, her work life had basically imploded. Apparently it was much easier for her co-workers to believe that she was just some slut hooking up with a married doctor and had then decided to press charges against him for ‘fill in the blank’. She’d heard all the rumors after everything had gone down and they’d all horrified her. He’d refused to leave his wife for her, so she’d decided to cry would-be rape. It shouldn’t shock her so much that people she’d worked with hadn’t seen the truth, but it did. At least she’d been able to get a temporary restraining order against him—unfortunately permanent ones were almost impossible to get.
Of course hindsight sucked. There were signs that something had been wrong with Klein, but it had all been little stuff. Unfortunately it all added up to a grade A psychopath who’d become insanely focused on her.
And now said psychopath was returning to the States in a week. “I’m scared,” she finally said into the quiet as they strode down the hallway that led to the door that emptied into the waiting room. They always left out the front door after dark because there was better lighting.
“You’ve taken all the right precautions, but you need to tell your family,” he said as they strode through the small waiting room and into the lobby.
It was already dark outside, the lights from the parking lot bright through the wall of windows. “I know. I will.” But she hated the thought of worrying them. Her brother was now blissfully engaged, her two sisters had busy lives and big families, and her mom would just worry. It didn’t matter that she and her mom butted heads more often than not, Zoe didn’t like upsetting her mom. And Klein had left the country months ago so there’d been no reason to make her mom worry needlessly. Especially when there was nothing she could do about it.
Gerard shook his head and made a disapproving sound, likely because he’d heard this before. She really was going to tell them, it was just…hell, if she said it out loud, it became real. This whole, horrible situation became real. Not to mention that if she admitted it, it almost made her feel weak. Like she was admitting that she’d become a victim in this mess.
Sighing, she nudged the glass door open with her hip and shoved her hands in her jacket pockets. Her phone and keys were in one and the pepper spray she always carried now was in the other. She’d actually gotten a concealed weapon permit but simply couldn’t carry a gun around. It felt too weird. The chilly December air rolled over her, reminding her that she still needed to buy Christmas presents for her huge family. Of course her put-together sisters would have already done their shopping months ago. Not Zoe, she saved everything until the last minute. It worked for her.
Gerard began locking up the exterior glass door. She knew from watching him do it a hundred times that he would set the alarm remotely once the building was locked up tight. Instinctively, she scanned the parking lot—and froze when she saw Klein leaning against the back of her two-door car. No. Her throat tightened as fear scraped across her skin.
“Gerard,” she rasped out, wondering if she’d lost her mind and was now seeing things.
She heard the snicking of the deadbolt sliding into place before he said, “What’s…” Suddenly Gerard was standing in front of her, moving incredibly fast as he started striding across the parking lot with determination.
That was the only thing that moved her into action; seeing her boss taking action. Because the truth was, the sight of Klein terrified her. She’d always been so sure of who she was and what she wanted to do with her life. From the time she’d been a kid she’d wanted to be a doctor and no matter what, with everything else going on in her life, the hospital had always been her safe haven. She’d loved it there—and he’d taken that feeling of security from her.
Gripping her pepper spray tight, she pulled her hand out of her pocket and hurried to catch up with Gerard. Her boots clicked softly against the pavement as she fell in step with him, her stride unwavering. There was no way she was letting this monster steal the new job she’d made here. She wouldn’t let him force her to move jobs or move away out of fear.
Klein pushed up from her car, a smug look on his face as he eyed her. For a brief moment, when he glanced at Gerard, Zoe could see his mask slip a fraction. His expression was one of barely concealed rage, as if the monster inside him was clawing to get free, but just as quickly, it was gone, replaced by a charming-looking middle-aged man.
“You’re on private property. Leave before I call the police,” Gerard said, his voice clipped.
Damn, he got right to the point. Right now Zoe was grateful she’d bared her soul to the man.
Klein’s eyes narrowed a fraction, but he didn’t move any closer to them. Zoe remained where she was, about fifteen feet away from him, her legs simply refusing to work any longer. It didn’t matter how angry she was, or how many times she’d played out this s
That was scary.
“Are you fucking her too?” Klein asked abruptly, his gaze narrowing on Gerard.
Damn it, no. She didn’t want this psycho’s attention on her friend and boss. Anger detonated inside her, shoving her fear out of the way. “Well, ‘too’ would imply that I’ve fucked you and we both know I haven’t. And never will.”
Aaaand, that did it. Klein’s attention was back on her, that laser-like intensity unnerving. But she stood her ground. She refused to cower in front of him, not when she knew he craved it. He took a menacing step in their direction. Zoe tensed, her grip on her pepper spray tightening.
Gerard jerked a thumb behind him. “Our security cameras send an automatic dump to an external server every few minutes. So you being here has been recorded. Even if you decide to be stupid and try to attack us then break in and erase the history, you’ll never be able to cover anything up. So why don’t you get the hell out of here and never come back? Because if I see you again, you won’t get a warning.” There was something deadly and serious about Gerard’s voice. A tone Zoe had never heard before.
Klein’s entire body drew taut as he went impossibly still, his dark eyes intent on her until just as suddenly, he relaxed and let out an eerie laugh. “Just wanted to stop by and see you, Zoe. Now that I’m back in town, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of each other.” Turning away from them, he headed across the parking lot, his gait steady and unhurried.
Just like when she’d seen him leaving that hospital room months ago.
Deadly Fallout by Katie Reus / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes