Walker / STOLEN
I had another dream.
I’m in the closet. Again, hiding like always. I hear a baby.
And he is here. I can hear him shouting. Yelling. Swearing. He’s angry . . . but he’s always angry.
I hear somebody giggling this time—this is new . . . I don’t remember this. She’s giggling, and I hear her talking about a princess.
I wait until it’s quiet, because I need to get some food. I think the baby is hungry, too.
Then there are sirens. And I think there’s blood. I hear the baby again, but these screams are different. . . .
Leaning back away from the computer, Shay Morgan closed her eyes and sighed. The dream was already fading away, the threads of it escaping her grasp even as she tried to hold on.
Even as she tried to put the terror into words. The pain.
Moments passed and the dream lost some of that vivid, powerful punch. But still, she was shaken. Sickness gripped her and in the back of her mind, she could hear a pitiful, broken scream.
Shifting her attention to the screen, she started to read back over what she’d written.
“You’re going to hold down the fort, right?”
The man bent over the desk didn’t look up at first.
Lorna Winter sighed and leaned her shoulder against the doorjamb.
Her brother looked up, eyes a little clouded. Lack of sleep, lack of caffeine, or just general crankiness could account for the dark scowl he sent her way. He hadn’t exactly been a ray of sunshine the past few months.
“What?” he asked, reaching for the cup of coffee sitting in front of him.
It must have been empty because he gave it a look of such disgust, one might think it had kicked him in the face.
“You’re going to take care of things here, right?”
He frowned. “I am? Why?”
“Because . . . I told you yesterday I needed the day off,” she reminded him.
His frown deepened, then abruptly, his face went as smooth as glass. “Right. The hospital.” He bent back over the computer as though it had him hypnotized. If she didn’t know better, she’d think that catalog for Baker and Taylor held the secrets to the entire universe, the way he stared at the screen.
“You know, if you want, you can go pick Shay up,” she offered.
Elliot just grunted.
“Is that a yes or a no?”
For a long moment, he didn’t move. Neither did she. She knew her brother. She knew his moods, she knew his quirks . . . and she knew when he was hurting. Right now, he was hurting, even if he never admitted it. Finally, he slid her a look from under his lashes. “Shay doesn’t need me to pick her up, Lorna. We broke up months ago, remember?”
She just watched him and waited.
He stared back at her. “It’s over, sis. Deal with it. I have.”
Then he focused his attention back on the monitor and started making notes. Knowing she wasn’t going to get anything else out of him, she sighed and turned around.
Dealt with it, my ass, she thought darkly.
The man hadn’t dated since he’d broken things off with Shay and she’d seen the look on his face when they heard about Shay’s accident. She’d been completely shocked that he hadn’t gone tearing down to Anchorage to be with her.
Hell, every damn time the phone rang, he’d practically attacked it. Yeah. He had dealt with it just fine.
But she couldn’t make him see reality until he was ready to see it, she knew.
Of course, it might help if Shay would open her eyes and see what she was missing. The two of them were giving her a headache, damn it.
Excerpted from Stolen by Shiloh Walker. Copyright © 2012 by Shiloh Walker. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.