Bad Boy's Bridesmaid(252)By: Sosie Frost
“Don’t do this.” She forced me onto my hands and knees. “Get up, damn it!”
No. She was wasting time. She had to get out. I swore. So did she.
“Maddox, I’m pregnant.”
That word was more of a blinding shock than the strike of the metal tool against my head. I blinked. Grit and ash ground into my eyes. I drew a breath to speak but only coughed.
And she and my baby were trapped.
This wasn’t happening. I had to get her out. I couldn’t die, worthless and pathetic, on the floor of a burning barn. It wasn’t a surge of strength that forced me to move. It was terrified adrenaline.
I finally had my family—Josie, a baby, everything I ever wanted.
And it was on the brink of ruin.
She yelled. I forced my arms forward, sliding against the uneven floor. She ground her way at my side, clawing ahead and reaching the door before me. She couldn’t kick it open. It stuck in the frame.
One of us had to force it. I swore a breathless groan and struggled to my feet. The air choked me, driving through my lungs like each breath slashed with knives. I couldn’t see. It didn’t matter. I knew where to aim.
I slammed into the door.
I retreated a step. Two. Three. The world sucked away the oxygen and replaced it with agonized heat.
No time left.
I crashed my body into the wood, and nearly shattered my shoulder. It worked. The door swung open in shards. I fell to the ground.
I turned, reaching to help her.
I never made it.
Arms grabbed us, dragging us from the barn just as the walls groaned and shuddered. The entire structure burned through, blackened and charred in minutes. Josie screamed as the frame collapsed, falling upon itself in blast of heat, ash, soot, and destruction.
Men twisted me from her, and the flashing lights surrounding me weren’t the reds of an ambulance. They blasted me in blue.
Chief Craig rolled me onto my back. EMTs tried to stick an oxygen mask over my face, but he ordered them away. He slammed a knee between my shoulder blades and whipped handcuffs onto my wrists. Pain exploded through me, but I couldn’t do a damn thing.
“Andrew Maddox, you’re under arrest for arson and the attempted murder of Josie Davis and Nolan Rhys.” He dug his knee into me. “And this time, I got you for good, you son of a bitch.”
I said nothing.
The world darkened, and my thoughts focused on Josie.
She was pregnant.
At least I had one thought to comfort me when I went to jail.
Except I had a bad feeling I wasn’t leaving Saint Christie’s police station alive.
Chapter Twenty One – Josie
The EMTs fought me. I struggled to escape from the ambulance.
They held me down without a problem. I’d sucked in too much smoke, and my head turned foggy and pained.
I knew Frank and Kathy, the husband-and-wife EMT team. Kathy shined a light in my eyes, and Frank tucked the oxygen mask over my nose and mouth.
“There you go. Just like Matt.” He chuckled.
“Maddox.” I coughed, and my vision blurred with a dark halo.
“Don’t worry.” Kathy silenced me with a soft cluck of her tongue. “Chief Craig has him. He won’t hurt you anymore.”
They had it all wrong. I yanked off the oxygen. No wonder Granddad hated the damn thing so much. The cough stole my breath. I tried to tell them, but my throat was coated in acrid ash.
Shouting echoed over the yard. Kathy and Frank forced me to lie down.
Something was wrong. He was hurt. I struggled again, but this time they didn’t have to hold me down. I felt too heavy to move. Kathy tucked a blanket over my body and took my vitals as my blood pressure spiked.
She leaned over me, brushing my face. “Josie, how do you feel? Are you hurt?”
Only one thing mattered. I squeezed her hand and forced the words out.
And then I collapsed.
It was the second time I woke in the hospital after a fire.
The first time was terrifying because I had no idea what had happened. The second was worse. I feared the devil I knew because I saw the chaos he caused before. He wasn’t done with us yet, and I dreaded what was to come.
The IVs dripped and machines beeped. They had me on oxygen. It did dry my throat—Granddad was right. I batted the tubes away.
My room was just outside the nurses’ station. I caught their attention as I woke up. I wasn’t particularly fond of Suzie Adams in high school, but at least she’d dropped the attitude now that she was an adult. Putting on thirty pounds also helped the former cheer-captain gain a bit of humility.
“You’re awake.” Suzie checked the machines. “You’re so lucky. No burns, no damage from the smoke.”