Man Down (Rookie Rebels #3) - Kate Meader



Gunnar: Remember when we’d look at each other and you’d ask without saying a word: is this crazy? And I’d tell you silently: probably but do it anyway.

That’s how I feel every time I send one of these texts to you.

I’m waiting for the dots. I’m waiting for those dumb emojis you’d add to every sentence, even though you’d laugh at me because I never understood what half of them meant. Still don’t.

Born old. That’s what you said about me when we met. Born old but I think I’m going to die young.

I can’t do this without you, Kel.

I can’t do this without any of you.

The cell service here sucks. Half the time the messages don’t go through and when they do, I wonder: is this crazy?

Probably. But I’ll keep doing it anyway.

I’ll keep sending because if I stop then it’s over. We’re over which means … I don’t want to go there.

How about I tell you what I did today? I’ll take your silence as encouragement :)

I chopped wood.

Don’t laugh. Honestly. There’s a mountain of logs out back of the cabin, enough to get me through winter. I’ve turned into one of those weird survivalists, the kind of nut jobs we used to laugh at, complete with small-animals-a-nesting facial hair and a wild-eyed look that would scare off grizzlies. Now I’m guessing all those crazies have their reasons because here I am. Chopping wood in the middle of Nowhere, New Hampshire.

Kurt says hi. Actually, that’s a bold-faced lie. My brother would summon the men in white coats if he had any idea of the state I’m in. He already thinks it’s bad enough I won’t stay with them at the lodge. How can I tell him I can’t look at his beautiful kids? That every time I hear my niece and nephews’ laughter I want to smash something.

How can I tell him I’m currently in a complicated texting relationship with my dead wife?

Gunnar: Dante Moretti called today. Remember him? The Beast, Italian badass, amazing cook. Used to be the scouting manager in LA but now he’s the General Manager in Chicago. Guy’s a trailblazer, one of the good ones. I let it go to voicemail so I don’t have to talk to him. I don’t talk to anyone but you.

You would put your doctor hat on and tell me it’s unhealthy. I can see that elegant eyebrow arching as high as your hairline, see it as clear as if you were standing right in front of me. You’ve got to go back, Gunnar. You’ve got to move on.

I have moved on, or as far as this forest. The world’s not big enough to disappear into. People will always find you. Moretti wants to talk about bringing me onto the Rebels. All their legends have retired and they’re rebuilding.

Perfect timing, you would say. Rebuild a team, rebuild a life.

Sounds like Moretti’s looking for babysitters. That’s not for me.

Gunnar: Happy anniversary, Kel. Ten years! Who would’ve thought it? You didn’t think much of me when we met. Too many pucks to the head, were your exact words. (I laugh now but I didn’t then!) We made it work, didn’t we?

Gunnar: Harper Chase called, hot-shit CEO, the Rebel Queen herself. Must be scraping the barrel in Chicago. Tommy’s being a dick but then that’s what agents do. He sees “potential” in my comeback story, aka dollar signs. I think you’d have a good laugh at that.

Gunnar: I wish I could hear your voice again. I wish we had another day, just you, me, Janie, and Danny. I wish I’d taken your advice and let that asshole pass me sooner on that road. I wish a lot of things.

Gunnar: It’s been a few days. Maybe a week? I’ve lost track of time. Just lost track.

Kelly: Hello! Sorry, but I think you might have the wrong number?


Gunnar Bond opened the drawer and stared at the phone he’d locked away yesterday morning. For two years, it had been a lifeline, a tether between his precious old world and sharp new reality. Now the link was broken. Kelly was gone and the message from the stranger confirmed it.

Recycled. The fuckers had recycled her number.

He should have paid to keep it. A while back he’d asked Kurt—or Kurt had offered, he couldn’t remember—to take over some household stuff. Paying bills, selling the house in LA, putting everything in storage. His brother must have changed his wireless account from a family plan to a single man plan because that’s