A Merciful Secret(122)

By: Kendra Elliot


Mercy stared at the limp body, dimly aware of figures rushing at her from several angles. He’d fallen face-up, the handle of her knife sticking out of his chest.

Did I do that?

No. I gave that knife to Salome.

Gabriel had fired a shot before he fell. Am I hit again? She studied her chest and arms. No holes. A knife was still clutched in her grip.

Christian dropped to his knees beside her, and Salome was a split second behind him. “Are you okay?” they both shouted at her.

She pushed away their searching hands. They were touching her leg, pulling at her pants, and shaking her shoulders. But she ignored them, straining to see where Truman had been a brief moment before. Gabriel’s shot hadn’t hit her, but Truman had also been in his line of fire.

Truman?

“Mercy, can you hear me?” Christian grabbed her head and turned her face to him, cutting off her search for Truman.

She snarled, swinging her knife in his direction. He whipped his hands away, tumbling backward into the snow. “Where’s Truman?” she screamed as she flung her body to the right, not caring about the burning pain in her leg, fighting to see where Truman had been standing. “Where’s Truman?” she shrieked again.

“Right here.”

Suddenly he was with her, gathering her into his arms. Hyperventilating, she buried her face in his neck. He’s okay. The fragile hold she’d had on her emotions crumbled, and she sagged against him. More than anything she simply wanted to sleep with his arms around her. He pulled back and shook her. “Stay awake,” he commanded, his eyes deadly serious.

“Get pressure on that,” he ordered Christian. “Help me get my coat on her,” he told Salome. Everyone was silent as they frantically followed his directions.

Too silent.

“It’s bad,” she stated. Truman wouldn’t meet her gaze as he zipped her into his coat.

“You got him,” she whispered to Truman. “I thought he’d hit you.”

“I didn’t shoot him. Someone else shot first.”

Mercy swiveled to look at Christian, and her heart broke at the bleak expression on his face. He wouldn’t look up, focused on her leg. Salome met her gaze and laid a hand on Christian’s shoulder. “You had no choice,” she told him.

He was pale, and wet tracks covered his cheeks. He killed his brother. For me.

Mercy’s lungs wouldn’t work. “Christian . . .”

Christian gave her a sickly smile as he tightened the wrap on her thigh. “I guess I had it in me after all.”

“That’s not funny.” The weight of what he had done made Mercy’s brain want to shut down.

“He would have killed you,” Christian stated.

Salome nodded in agreement. “And he wouldn’t have stopped with just you.”

“You got him too,” Mercy told her, remembering the knife handle in Gabriel’s chest.

The woman shrugged. She would kill to protect her daughter.

Mercy abruptly jerked straight up. “The girls!” She dug for her radio, her fingers uncoordinated. I’m freezing. Lack of blood to keep me warm. The realization didn’t bother her. I’m not important. The girls and Truman are important.

Truman took the radio, and she was relieved to hear Kaylie’s voice as Truman told her to come back in.

Mercy closed her eyes. My people are safe. She was dimly aware of Truman shaking her again, ordering her to open her eyes, but she was too tired. I’m just going to nap for a little bit.

“Damn you, Mercy! Open your eyes!”

She smiled, her lids too heavy to cooperate.

It feels good to have people who care.





FORTY-ONE

One week later

One week out of surgery and Truman wanted to strangle Mercy. She was the worst patient ever. After two days she’d stopped her pain medication even though she still had pain in her leg. Now she wanted to drive up to her cabin. He had told Mercy he wouldn’t drive her, so she’d sworn she’d drive herself.

Driving was still out of the question, whether she was on painkillers or not.

After she scared the crap out of him by passing out that day, Truman and Christian had loaded her into the back of the Lexus, and Truman had stayed in back next to her, unwilling to leave her side. Kaylie and Morrigan had cried on the drive, terrified Mercy would die, and with extreme calm Salome did her best to comfort them.