Safe with Me (With Me in Seattle, #5)

Written By: Kristen Proby

Safe with Me (With Me in Seattle, #5)

Kristen Proby





This novel is dedicated to my own hero, my husband, Sgt. Alvin Proby. I love you, soldier.





Prologue


“Why do we have to go to daddy’s house?” Maddie asks from the back seat of my SUV, her small arms crossed over her chest, holding her dolly tightly against her and her face scrunched in a scowl.

“Because it’s Thanksgiving,” I reply patiently. “Your daddy wants to see you for the holiday.”

“I don’t want to go,” Josie joins in, mirroring her twin sister’s pose, and I sigh deeply, scrubbing my hands over my face as I wait for the light to turn green.

“It’s only until Saturday,” I remind them while doing my best to ignore the pit in my stomach. I don’t want them to go either. Their dad only sees them on holidays or their birthday, if he shows up at all. Of course they don’t want to go stay with him.

They don’t know him.

As I pull up to Jeff’s small house in a suburb of Chicago, three men hurry out his front door and jump into a dark SUV parked in the circular driveway. Just before they pull off, one of the men glances back at us.

I cut the engine and frown as I watch the vehicle take off at a fast clip down the street. My flags are red and flying all over the place in my head.

I glance back at the girls. “Stay here for a second while I go make sure your dad is ready for you, okay?”

They both just frown at me, their dark brown eyes looking all forlorn and sad, and I frown back at them. “Stop being sad. Your dad loves you guys. You’ll have fun.”

They just shrug as I step out of the car and walk up to his front door. I glance over my shoulder, curious who was in that SUV. They could be co-workers of Jeff’s, but if that’s the case, I’m not leaving the girls with him.

Jeff is an undercover cop, and the people he works with are unsavory to say the least.

I knock on the door, but there is no answer, and the house is still. I knock again and sigh deeply. If he’s standing the girls up, again, I will kick his ass.

When there is still no answer, I try the knob and frown when the door opens easily. This is not Jeff’s usual M.O. He always locks the doors, even when he’s home.

“Jeff?” I call out as I walk inside, but there is no answer and the smell of something hot and metallic fills my nostrils.

I move into the living room and stop dead in my tracks. Jeff is lying on the floor, his eyes wide open, mouth gaping and a trickle of blood seeps from the single gunshot wound in his forehead.

Oh dear God.

My first thought is to run to him, to make sure he’s okay, but I wasn’t a cop’s wife for five years for nothing, and I have my babies in the car.

I run back to the car, start the engine, throw it in gear and peel out of the driveway, heading in the opposite direction the SUV went in earlier.

Jeff is dead!

“Mommy, I thought we were going to daddy’s house,” Maddie has turned in her seat, trying to see out the rear window.

“Sit down, Mads,” I order more harshly than I should, my eyes also pinned behind us.

I have to call the police.

“Where is daddy?” Josie asks, both girls are watching me carefully, and I know my shaking hands and sharp voice are scaring them, so I do my best to look and sound calm.

I’m sure it’s not working.

“He had something come up with work,” I lie and check the rearview for the hundredth time.

“Okay,” Maddie replies and hugs her dolly close.

Shit, what am I going to do?

I pull into a gas station, grab my phone and step out of the car so the girls can’t hear my conversation.

Jeff’s partner answers on the second ring.

“Why are you calling this number?”

“Jeff’s dead,” I respond immediately. “I just found him in his house. I’m calling 911, but wanted to give you a heads up first.”

“Sonofabitch,” he mutters. “Did you witness anything?”

“I saw them leaving the house, but no, I didn’t see them shoot him. I didn’t even think to get the license plate number of the car. It’s a dark SUV.”

“That’s no help, Bryn.” His voice is sad and frustrated. Sully worked with Jeff for more than ten years.

“I know, I’m sorry. I didn’t touch anything.”

“I’ll call it in. We will need an official statement. You know the drill.”

I nod and then realize he can’t see me. I’m shaking. It’s hard to breathe.

“I think I’m going to leave town, Sul.”

He sighs and clears his throat. “Where are you going?”

“Home. Seattle. My family is there. My cousin’s brother-in-law is a cop with Seattle PD. Matt Montgomery. Can I give my statement to him?”

“I’m gonna need to get your statement before you leave. You know I can’t let you go without it.” It sounds like he’s pulling his phone away from his face. “Bryn, hold on.”

I pace by the car as I wait for Sully to come back. Jesus, is this really happening? Do I have time to go home and get some of the girls’ things? I’ve wanted to move back to Seattle for years, but never dreamed it would be under these circumstances.