"What's going on?"
Adam's jaw tensed. "Grant McKenna was shot, out duck hunting this morning about an hour out of the city."
"Senator McKenna?" "Yes."
Jack frowned at the news. It wasn't the first time he'd heard about an accidental shooting. Every year there were cases of both stray and self-inflicted pellets, where hunters were shot—sometimes even killed—with their own weapons. It was one of the reasons Adam had gotten involved in the area's hunter education programs, promoting safe hunting outside his job as a game warden. But this surprised Jack. He knew the senator was not only an excellent marksman but also a stickler about safety.
"Is he going to be okay?" Jack asked.
"He's in critical condition and en route to the hospital." Adam's gaze shifted past him. "But there's something else, Jack. They don't believe this was an accident."
"What do you mean?"
Adam hesitated. "He was hunting with his boys, one of his grandsons, and Aubrey Grayson."
"Wait a minute..." Jack's fists clenched as he leaned back against his car. "Bree?"
"You were the only one she let call her that, but yeah...I thought that might get your attention."
"What was she doing there? I thought she was living in Houston."
"She is, but she still comes down here at least once a year to go hunting with the senator's family. According to Senator McKenna's son, there were six of them who went out. They got there early to set everything up, and the senator went with Aubrey to watch the sunrise before the hunting started, where he was shot." Adam glanced at his phone. "Officers first on the scene tried to talk with him, but he was pretty out of it. They're life flighting him back here and have a team of surgeons waiting, but we're not going to know anything for a while."
"What does Bree say? I'm guessing she was a witness?"
"All we know at this point is that the senator took a bullet to his side, and Aubrey..." Adam hesitated. "She's missing, Jack."
"Missing?" His brother's words felt like a punch in the gut. "Wait a minute... Why would she be missing?" "That's what we're trying to find out."
"So you have no idea where she is right now?" Jack asked.
Adam shook his head. "Unfortunately, no. We're thinking abduction." "How long has she been missing?"
Adam glanced at his watch. "They found the senator twenty minutes ago."
Which meant if she'd been abducted, she could be anywhere along the coastline or even miles inland. Jack frowned. They needed something else. A clear insight into the motivation behind the attack. The most logical explanation was that this was related to the senator, but they couldn't make any assumptions yet.
"What can I do to help?" Jack asked.
"I figured you'd ask that. I could use your help. You know both Bree and the terrain around here as well as I do."
"Of course. What's the plan?" He didn't hesitate with his response. He'd find a way to work around his current case with the FBI, because there was no way he was walking away from helping to find Bree.
"You can come with me now," Adam said. "I've called in the search and rescue team, and they're organizing a grid search near the spot where she was taken. We can join them there."
"Then let's go."
Jack slipped into the car next to his brother, remembering every detail about one of the last times he'd seen Bree. They'd left campus and gone cycling along the coast, something they'd been doing together for years. But on that day, somehow the sunlight brought out the highlights in her reddish-brown hair more than usual, and her laugh had him wanting to kiss her.
Which at the moment seemed crazy.
They'd known each other since they were both eleven years old and had gone to the same junior high and high school together. They'd always been comfortable hanging out, but while they were close, they were never more than friends. Until one day in college, everything changed for him, and he found himself wanting more than just a friendship with her.
But there was a problem. Three months earlier, Bree had started dating Adam, and not only had Jack suddenly realized he was in love with her, he was lost to know how he fit into the picture anymore. He ended up transferring to the University of Texas at Dallas in order to pursue a degree in criminology. Career-wise, it was a smart move. But relationship-wise, in trying to guard his heart, he'd misjudged the situation.
He thought Bree and his brother would eventually end up married, but six months after he left for Dallas, they broke things off and went their separate ways. Jack never said anything to anyone about how he felt about Bree, and now, all these years later, too much time had been lost, as far as he was concerned. Turning back the clock at this point wasn't possible, even if he wanted to.
He shifted his thoughts from the past and back to the situation they were dealing with as Adam sped down the highway. Any feelings he'd once had for Bree didn't matter at this moment. Finding her alive did.
"Is there anything else we know at this point?" he asked.
This excerpt ends on page 19 of the paperback edition.
Monday we begin the book The Crow's Call by Wanda E. Brunstetter.