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Bestselling Novel “First Night of Summer” Excerpt- Chapter Six
Not a split second lapsed between realization and reaction. There was never fear or hesitation, only a primal urge to protect his family. A threat cannot be posed if it does not exist, and he fully intended to eliminate the threat completely.
He raced to the window and noticed that both beds were empty. That was what training at speeds well beyond the sound barrier did. It honed an ability to think and work at the same time, in the blink of an eye, blending thoughts and actions into instinct.
The man in black must have known what was going to happen. He dropped the girl from his arms and simultaneously sprang in the opposite direction. The window was open, but not enough to accommodate the violent exit.
The child’s body hit the floor, followed by a crashing of glass. Like it was nothing more than a soap bubble, the window shattered, taking half the frame with it. The masked man fell to the lawn in a storm of debris.
Isaac was in hot pursuit, about to jump out the mangled opening. But the body, which he recognized as Josie’s, was in the way. Where is Caroline? He put his palms on the windowsill, broken glass lacerating them, and looked out. Not three feet away was the intruder. As quickly as he had flown through the window, he got to his feet and ran. And there, lying motionless on the rain-soaked lawn, Isaac found the answer to his question.
Shards of glass covered Caroline’s body. The bastard had landed right on top of her, smashing jagged pieces between their bodies.
Isaac was prepared to hurl himself out the window and give chase. Backing down was not in his nature. He had killed before and knew he was capable of doing it again. And this time, he really wanted to. He was about to do so when the bedroom lights turned on.
“What’s going on in here?” Sarah demanded. She stood in the doorway, wearing a pair of his boxers and a baggy shirt. “I heard glass—”
“Call nine one one!” he barked.
“Josie!” Her face was stricken with horror as she rushed forward. “What the hell happened?”
“Call the police. Now! Someone tried to kidnap them. She’s fine,” he said, meaning Josie.
In fact, he didn’t know for certain that she was fine. He had, however, noticed the strip of tape over her mouth. Dead people didn’t scream, so he assumed the best. She was alive but knocked out or drugged. There was no time to stop and see.
Sarah was frantic. Her eyes searched the room for Caroline. “Where’s Caroline? Where is she?”
“She’s out the window.” He watched the masked man run away. “Now please, honey. Get the phone, call nine one one, and come back.”
With his hands still on the windowsill, disregarding the little cuts and stabs, he vaulted through the open space. He landed over Caroline with one foot planted on either side of her. The blades of grass were soft. The fragments of glass, however, were not. They drove into his feet like nails, but he put the pain aside. His focus was too solitary to allow interference.
The bedroom lights lit the small patch of lawn where she laid, and he knelt. Outside of their island, the night consumed everything. He was about to run after the son of a bitch who had just disappeared behind the Howard’s home, but he stopped short. Caroline’s white sleeping shirt was stained crimson all around the neckline and chest. Had Sarah not flipped on the lights, he never would have seen it. She was hurt badly.
He heard Sarah’s feet pound down the hall and into the kitchen. In a few seconds, she was giving the operator an address and explaining the situation.
In the back of his mind, Isaac thought, I should go after him. But he couldn’t force himself to leave his little girl. Even if I catch him, what good would it do if Caroline bleeds to death? His world had shrunk to a tiny space in the great big mountain night. Outside of that, nothing mattered. Everything else was diminished. He could faintly hear Sarah asking Josie to wake up and the distant sound of an engine revving to life.
Caroline wore a pair of cotton pajama pants with different-colored hearts. The fabric was pulled up around her knees and exposed several scratches. A bead of blood ran down one calf. It was nothing compared to the stain growing around the collar of her shirt.
Moving someone who had just suffered a trauma injury was the last thing you were supposed to do. But Isaac had no choice. The way she was laying, he couldn’t see where all the blood was coming from. He gingerly rolled her flat and almost vomited at what he saw.
The side of her neck was completely sliced open. Blood literally poured from the flesh. The flow was constant and unrelenting. The gruesomeness of the laceration was not the cause for Isaac’s sickness. He had seen much worse. The gut-wrenching heave came from a sobering realization that she might be broken beyond repair. The cut was too deep, too wide, and in the wrong spot. A pool of red was already spread beneath her. The essence of her life slowly covered the green grass. He clenched his teeth and shut off emotions. His baby was dying. He had to do something.