What on earth? Caitlyn O’Toole looked down to see a bloody hand holding a badge sticking out from under her SUV. There was a man under her Jeep.
A bleeding man.
She squatted down to get a better look and immediately recognized the coppery smell of blood in the air. Bright red splatters covered her white shoes and made her blue hospital scrubs look black in the dim light from the parking garage. Bending lower, Caitlyn peered under the running board.
“Mac?” Devlin “Mac” McDougal, her brother Tom’s partner at the FBI, stared at her, blue eyes filled with pain.
“What are you doing here? Where’s Tom? Have you been shot? Let me help you get to the emergency room. You’ve lost a lot of blood.” That was an understatement. There was a pool of it in front of him.
“Undercover. Can’t blow it.” His voice was weak and his eyes closed with the strain from talking.
“And can’t go to the hospital because someone will have to report a gunshot wound.” She’d done two of those reports tonight during her shift in the ER. He nodded weakly.
“Let me call Tom.”
“Can’t put him in danger. Please. Help. Me.” Sky blue eyes entreated her from the shadows under her car. Footsteps thundered from the floor above her almost in time to the rapid beating of her heart. The squeal of sneakers on cement echoed in the cavernous emptiness of the parking garage.
“They’re. Coming. Will. Finish. Me. Off.” He tried to move, but hissed in pain. His breathing was rapid and shallow.
“Who’s coming?” she asked, watching as blood spurted between the fingers he had held to his side.
Caitlyn looked around for one of the security guards. Not an officer in sight. She had to do something. She couldn’t just leave him here to die. “Come on, you’ll have to help me. I can’t get you in the back by myself.” She’d call her brother, Jim, to ask him for help. By the looks of Mac’s injury, she was going to need all the help she could get.
Mac rolled slowly out from under the Jeep, leaving a trail of blood in his wake. She’d better do something about that too.
It wasn’t until he had stumbled and groaned his way to his feet that she remembered how big her brother’s friend really was. She was close to six feet tall, and he topped her by at least another four inches. And solid. Boy he was solid. She could feel the muscles in his arms and torso as she slipped her shoulder under his arm to support him until she could get the door open.
“Here, get in the back and lay down. I’ll put the blanket over you. Try to stay as still as possible.” Caitlyn grabbed the beach blanket out of the back and flipped it over him messily. It didn’t cover him all the way. Damn.
Slipping off her light jacket, Caitlyn tossed it over the seat, draping it over his head in the process, effectively covering him but hopefully not suffocating him. She grabbed a towel off the front seat and used it to mop up the blood on the floor the best she could. The nurse in her winced at wiping up blood with her bare hands but she didn’t have time to find gloves.
Rolling the bloody towel into a ball, she tossed it in back on top of the lump that was her passenger. The more stuff back there, the better he’d be hidden.
Caitlyn’s blood pumped with excitement and adrenaline. This was just like the spy games she used to play with her brothers when she was a kid. Looking around the garage she didn’t see anyone watching her but even as she tossed her purse into the passenger seat, she heard the sound of running feet coming from around the corner.
Panic churned in her gut, urging her to peel out of the lot as fast as she could drive but Caitlyn kept her foot light on the gas pedal. She didn’t want to do anything out of the ordinary. Nodding politely to the security guard on duty at the gate, she pulled out slowly and cautiously. It wasn’t until she hit the straightaway that she leaned on the gas and tried to make up time in the night-darkened streets.
Her mind moved as fast as the buildings whizzing by her. She’d need a bag of IV fluid, some sutures, a probe, some antibiotics, and plenty of trauma dressings. She thought she had everything but the IV fluid and antibiotics at home. Time to call in a few favors.
With one hand on the wheel, Caitlyn reached into her purse and fumbled around, trying to find her cell phone.
“Stupid things. Why do they make them so small you can’t even find them?” Upending the purse, she dumped its contents out on the seat until she found her phone.
“Don’t tell anyone.” Mac’s voice came from the back seat, deep and raspy with pain.
“I’m just going to get some help from my brother, Jim. You remember him, don’t you?”
“No one. Can’t let anyone else know.” She looked through the rearview mirror and could see his hand on the door handle. Caitlyn just knew he’d try to jump out if she didn’t agree to keep quiet. He’d rather kill himself than let her get help.
“You aren’t making this very easy.” She waited for him to say something else but he remained quiet, his hand still on the door handle. Stubborn man. “Fine, I won’t tell him but I still need to call him so he can get me some supplies from the clinic.”
“Don’t tell him.” Mac’s face was ghastly white in the glow of the passing streetlights.
“I’ll make up something. Don’t worry.” What, she didn’t know but she’d think of something. She needed those supplies.