1. Claw

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August 17 2.08 A.M.

No one likes unexpected late night phone calls. That goes double if you're dating a cop. I'd only been asleep for an hour when the phone blared into life on my night stand, sending me scrambling upright, pulse pounding.

I wasn't sure I wasn't still dreaming as I tried to connect my brain and my body and reach for the phone. I'd worked until midnight as usual, come home exhausted, and fallen straight into bed. Into the kind of deep sleep that leaves you muzzy headed and confused if it's interrupted.

The number on the screen was unfamiliar. That was enough to send my adrenaline levels soaring. There were only two people likely to call me out of the blue at this time of night. My Aunt Bug, the only family I had. Or my boyfriend, Dan, checking to see I'd made it home from work safely.

If it wasn't either of them then it was trouble or a wrong number.

I prayed it was a wrong number but somehow, even as I started to say my name, I knew it wasn't.

"Ms. Keenan?" The female voice on the other end of the line was level and vaguely familiar.

"Yes," I managed. My mouth was suddenly dry.

"This is Sergeant Oshiro, from the North Precinct."

North Precinct. Seattle P.D. Where Dan worked. I swallowed. "Yes," I said again. Please be okay, please be okay, please be okay.

"Ms. Keenan, you need to come to Seattle Northern. Officer Gibson—"

"Is he alive?" I demanded.

"Yes. But he's been hurt. You need to come."

It was raining when I got to the hospital. It had been raining most of the day, after an unusually dry August, the chill settling in, a reminder that summer was dying fast. The wind cut through the hoodie I'd thrown over the T-shirt I'd worn to bed. I'd shoved on jeans and the first pair of shoes I could find and scraped my dark hair back into a messy bun in the car.

The wind made me shiver. No. I would've been shivering anyway. The wind just made it harder to pretend I wasn't. I stared up at the red and white emergency sign and shivered again. The glow of the neon turned the water puddling on the concrete outside the entrance red.

Blood red.

Please be okay, please be okay, please be okay.

This was the moment I'd tried to convince myself would never happen. Ever since Dan announced he wanted to join the police after college. I knew I couldn't change his mind. He rarely turned away from a path once he'd chosen it.

I liked that about him.

I liked everything about him.

Or loved, really.

I'd told myself I could handle it, dating a cop. That I could cope if he got hurt.

I guess I was about to find out if that was true.

The doors slid open with a protesting whine and I walked through the doors, hunching against the cold and whatever waited for me inside. Sergeant Oshiro hadn't been able to tell me any details and I'd been in too much of a hurry to get here to try and call the hospital on my way.

Find Dan. That was the first thing. I blinked against suddenly stinging eyes and looked around for someone who could tell me something. There were a few rows of chairs filled with people in various states from bored to panicked looking, nursing bandaged appendages or holding ice to heads or soothing crying kids. Beyond the crowd of waiting-to-be-treated was a desk with a guy in scrubs behind it, entering something into a computer.

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