Fatal Intent - Jamie Jeffries



Jamie Jeffries

Title: Fatal Intent

Edited By: Big Sister Edits

Cover Art and Design by Erin Dameron-Hill, EDHGraphics

2015 by Jamie Jeffries

Mad for Romance Publishing

P.O. Box 740472

Arvada, CO 80006-0472


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Printed in the United States of America

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Alex picked up the phone on her desk without looking at caller ID, still jotting down notes from her last call. She brought it to her ear and answered, “Dodge Desert Times, Alex Ward speaking.” She hadn’t reached the part where she would say ‘how may I help you?’ before her boyfriend’s voice interrupted her.

“Alex, thank God I caught you. Can you get over here quick? I’ve got the boys, and I need to get to the hospital.”

The strain in his voice alerted her to his urgency. “I can be there in ten. Is this…?” She didn’t know how to phrase her next question. Is your mother finally dying? Is this it? He’d understand, of course, if she did say those things, but she would hate herself. He didn’t need the stress of being questioned if this was the final crisis in a long chain of them.

It didn’t matter anyway. He hadn’t heard the beginning of the question, because he’d hung up as soon as she said ‘ten’. She’d better move it.

“Dad, Dylan needs me, sounds like an emergency. I’m taking off for the night.”

Paul Ward answered from behind his closed door. “Got it. Call me.”

Alex threw herself into her aging Nissan Sentra, shoved the key into the ignition and slammed the car into gear. She made it to Dylan’s house eight minutes after he’d hung up.

She had no sooner climbed out of the car and slammed the door shut before Dylan flew down the steps of his front porch. “Thanks Alex, I’ll call you,” he said as he ran by, landing a quick kiss on her cheek in the process. In only a moment, he was in his pickup and racing down the street.

Alex stared after the vehicle, then shrugged and went inside the house, where Dylan’s adopted sons, his half-brothers Juan and Davi sat solemnly at the kitchen table doing schoolwork. “Hi, guys!”

“Alex!” Davi, six years old and the more demonstrative of the two boys, jumped out of his chair and ran to hug her. Juan, who’d just had his ninth birthday, looked up and smiled.

“Hi, Alex. Thank you for coming to watch us.” For the hundredth time since she’d gotten to know the boys, her heart twisted at the child’s assumption of responsibility. A kid this age shouldn’t have a care in the world, but Juan had looked out for his little brother in the foster home they both lived in for several months before Dylan got custody straightened out, and it seemed the habit was permanent.

“Hi, Juan. You know I love you guys, right? You don’t have to thank me. Do you know what’s going on? Dylan didn’t have time to tell me.” Juan glanced at Davi, who’d gone back to his school project, and Alex got it. “Did he need to go see his mom?”

Juan nodded, and paled a little. So this was a crisis with Maria, then. For everyone’s sake, Alex prayed it was THE crisis. The stage-four breast cancer that had metastasized and taken Maria’s mind before it leveled out and cruelly left her body alive for so many months was about to do its final damage. Davi didn’t really understand, and Juan only understood that his mom was going to go to Heaven soon.

By the time Dylan had gained custody, it was too late for these little boys to receive a goodbye from a mother they remembered only as a sick woman. She hadn’t spoken or given any indication that she knew anyone for months. Everyone but Davi prayed for a release for her. It was no kind of a life. Still, Alex knew that when the end did come, it was going to be rough for Dylan for a while, and she would