“Aftershocks” — Excerpted from TERMINAL HUNTER (Underground, Book #3):
If he thought dealing with Carrissa was heart-wrenching and difficult, Rick knew his next stop had the potential to rip his heart straight out of his chest. He fidgeted nervously as the hydrolift moved up. As it came to a stop on the Trauma floor of Mount Sinai Hospital, Rick ran his hand through his hair and blew out an anxious breath. God, he wasn’t sure he could do this. He didn’t know if he could face her, or what he could say to her…
The cop standing guard at the door snapped alert as he neared. “Name and business.”
“Commander Richard Carinson. I’m a friend.”
The guard consulted the computer pad in his hands, and nodded. “Go on in. Fifteen minutes.”
Rick swallowed and opened the door, his stomach knotted with tension. The room’s occupant was sitting by the window, her eyes fixed on the sun setting over the city. She didn’t even seem aware he was there.
She jumped, as if startled by even that quietly spoken query. As she turned, he caught the flash of fear in her haunted eyes. Then, as she realized who he was, she relaxed visibly. It was one more reminder of what she’d been through; bold, brave Jean would never be the same again.
“Hello, Rick.” Her voice was toneless as she turned back toward the window. “Can’t say I expected to see you here.”
Pain rose, but he tamped it under control. “What the hell’s this?”
Her head lowered. “Nothing. I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?”
She jerked out a shrug. “I have good days, and bad ones. The doctors say I’m getting better. But I still feel like a train wreck, on the inside.”
He moved to crouch beside her chair, looking at her somberly. “I don’t have any answers for you, Jean. I wish to God that we’d got there sooner. I wish you’d told me what was going down; I still wish you would. I wish I could go and strangle Horner and Tolson to death, for letting it happen.”
“If wishes were pennies…”