“Apparently Gia’s nervous system is reacting to the arsenic at a higher level than expected from her test. Dr. Murphy recommends the blood transfusion she was hoping wasn’t necessary, and she wants to do it now, not later at the safe house. Any of us here would do it, but she’s A positive and hard to match. Liam’s O negative, the universal donor.”
I lower the phone. “Gia needs a blood transfusion.”
“I’ll do it,” Liam says, before I can even ask.
“I heard again,” Tellar says. “The van we’re in is large enough to do it on the road, but that means we need you here with us.”
I curse, and think a moment, then lean forward between the seats to tell Liam, “We’re going in the front door of the JW Marriott Essex House near Central Park and out the back, but try to lose the tail before we do.”
“Got it,” he says, cutting hard to the right, forcing Amy and me to hold on to steady ourselves.
“That’s five blocks from us,” Tellar says, still listening in. “We’re dropping Derek at the corner to grab a cab and get out of this, and then we’ll head straight there. I’ll text when we arrive.”
He ends the call and Liam continues a wicked cycle of lane changes, dodging pedestrians and turns, that has Coco laughing with approval. “A few more radical moves like that one and no one will keep up.”
Digging my phone out of my pocket, I offer it to Coco. “I believe they’re using this to track us. When we get to the hotel, I’ll carry you in to keep up the show that you’re Gia. Once we’re inside, you need to get a nice room. Order food and a movie, whatever floats your boat.” I pull cash from my pocket and hand it to her. “That should allow you to go shopping afterwards.”
She grins. “I do enjoy it when Tellar calls. What do you want me to do if the phone rings?”
“And when I leave?”
“Destroy it. They’ll call Liam if they want me.”
The phone buzzes with a text and she glances down at it. “Tellar’s at the hotel.”
“And so are we in about sixty seconds,” Liam calls out, turning onto the street. “I’m going around to get Amy. Make sure Tellar knows Coco’s the first one exiting on the other side.”
As Liam stops at the hotel door two doormen greet us almost instantly, and I murmur an explanation about my sick wife who I need to carry inside, drawing out the conversation long enough to let Liam get to Amy. The instant he has her out of the vehicle, I scoop up Coco and dash for the door another attendant holds open for me.
“We owe you, Coco,” I say, setting her down. Then I’m on the heels of Liam and Amy, traveling the long expanse of the hotel past shops and elevators, my hand under my jacket, resting on my weapon. Tellar appears in the exit doorway and Liam hands Amy off to him, quickly following behind them. At the exit I hesitate an instant, scanning for trouble I don’t see, and then in several long strides I enter the silver van behind Tellar.
Tellar dashes for the driver’s seat and Liam, who’s sitting in the front row seat with Amy, motions me forward. “I have the door,” Liam says as the van launches into motion. “You go to Gia.”
Quickly moving past the empty second row, I find Dr. Murphy squatting beside Gia, who lies across the long back seat with blankets piled on top of her, trembling, her eyes closed. “How is she?” I whisper, kneeling beside her.
“The arsenic continues to attack her nervous system. She’s fine for a while, and then in pain.”
“And you think the blood transfusion will solve that?”
“It’s going to help push the toxins out of her body.”
“Won’t it push the medication out of her system, too?”
“Yes, but Tellar grabbed another bag of meds before he left. Don’t ask me how he managed it. I’m just glad he did.”
“Why is she shivering?”
“Nerves, shock, and the IV fluids can do that to some people.” She turns on her heels. “I’m going to get Liam’s part of this done. Shout if she needs me.”
“Thank you, doc, for everything—for taking care of Gia, and for what you’ve done for Amy.”
She squeezes my arm and moves away, while I move closer to Gia, caressing her cold cheek. Her lashes flutter, then lift, and seeing the awareness in those blue eyes is heaven. “Hey,” I say softly, covering her hand with mine.
“How are you?”
She wets her dry lips. “Cold.”
“I know, sweetheart,” I say, stroking her hair. “Liam’s giving blood for you now. The transfusion will help you feel better, and by the time it’s over we’ll be in the Hamptons, where you’ll be able to rest more comfortably.”
“Do you still hate him?”
“He’s not making that easy. He keeps helping and doing all the right things.”
“Such an asshole,” she murmurs weakly.
“Exactly,” I say, wondering how she can possibly joke in this condition. “Do you remember anything about what happened?”
“You. Saving me. Jared? He’s missing?”
“Yes. He left me a message and said you were with him in the subway, running from someone.”
Her lashes lower and she shakes her head. “No . . . that doesn’t feel right.”