Chapter 3

"There’s nothing here," John said tossing yet another file down into a stack.

Evangeline glanced up at him, but didn’t linger. She didn’t want him to see her looking at him. Instead of speaking, she opened another file and tried to remember the circumstances of the case. She and John had been going through files for the last hour. None of her past cases produced any clues to potential suspects in her shooting.

And it had been a shooting, the lab had confirmed after testing the remains of what had been a composite bullet. An almost undetectable amount of gunpowder had been found on the pieces of plastic.

Evangeline started when John placed his hand on her shoulder. She’d been so deeply in thought that she hadn’t noticed him move.

"Take it easy. It’s just me," he whispered from behind her, near her ear. "Are you finding anything?"

"No," she said. John’s scent filled her nostrils. All man and soap. Just John. It reminded her of how he’d woken her that morning. Remembering it probably wasn’t healthy right now, but she couldn’t stop herself.


She felt him nuzzle her neck and Evangeline smiled in her sleep. How she’d missed this. She turned her head to allow him better access to her neck and he took full advantage of it. This was the best dream she’d ever had. When she could stand it no longer, she turned to him and offered him her mouth. It was an invitation he obviously couldn’t refuse. For long moments, she gave into the dream – the kiss. Then she ran her fingers through his hair and felt a sharp pain in her injured arm. In that moment, Evangeline realized she wasn’t dreaming. She opened her eyes to a smiling John.

"Good Morning," he’d said.

"Good Morning," she’d said back turning her head. Evangeline was afraid to ask what he was doing. She might just like the answer.

John had run a finger down her cheek and upon reaching her chin tilted her face back to his.

"You are still the woman I want."

"John, I’m not having this conversation with you. We tried; it didn’t work. We both need to move on," she said, willing herself not to give in. As much as she loved him, she couldn’t continue to put her life on hold. It hurt too much. She gestured to the space between them, before saying, "This isn’t helping either of us."

"I don’t know about that. I just want to be close to you."


"Okay, I’ll give you space, but I’m not giving up on us." John had gotten up from where he was leaning on the bed and walked out of the bedroom.


"Hey, where are you?" John asked when Evangeline didn’t elaborate on her answer.

"Oh, sorry. I was thinking about something else." Like how I can’t get you off my mind or out of my heart. Just as it appeared John was about to speak, Amy, Evangeline’s secretary, knocked on the open door.

"Evangeline, I have the rest of the files you asked for."

"Thanks Amy."

"If you don’t mind, can I ask what you’re looking for?"

Evangeline glanced back at John. Getting his go ahead, she answered Amy’s question.

"Night before last, someone took a shot at me. We’re trying to find out if any of my past clients might be holding a grudge of some kind."

"Why would they? You’ve won all their cases. Have you thought about looking in our letter file?"

"Amy, I didn’t think about that. That’s a great idea," Evangeline said. She looked at John and seeing the confused look on his face, she explained, "The letter file that Amy just referred to is just that. It contains any mail I’ve received from anyone other than my clients. Some of the letters have been threatening, but nothing that we thought would result in anything."

Evangeline watched as John went into cop mode. It only took a matter of seconds. Not only did he distance himself from her, his whole demeanor changed. It was like he’d gotten an electrical charge. He was on the scent of a would-be killer and he wouldn’t let up until he found him. She knew to stay out of his way right now.

"Where’s the file? I need to look at all the threatening letters. Maybe there’s something there that will put us on the right track."

Amy glanced at Evangeline and at her nod went to get the file. With Amy gone, John looked at Evangeline before speaking.

"Why didn’t you mention the letter file earlier?"

"I didn’t think it’d be important."

"Everything is important, as long as someone is after you. We’re not taking any chances where you’re concerned."

"Thanks, John. I really appreciate the time and effort you are personally taking, but you can’t save the world. I’m not yours to save anymore."

"That’s where you’re wrong." The determined look on John’s face made Evangeline angry. John wanted to save the world and all she wanted was for him to love her. During the months they’d been apart, she’d dated sparingly. Evangeline knew the love she felt for John wasn’t lessening and she so needed it to. Why can’t I just write him off and let it go? I love him, more than even I realized.


"Look at these," John said, thrusting some letters under her nose. Evangeline looked up at him from the files she was reviewing. "What do you know about these people?"

Evangeline looked at the three letters individually. The first, she dismissed; it was from the father of a young boy that had been killed in a shoot out. Evangeline had defended the teenager arrested. She had believed that he wasn’t involved in the shooting. The deceased boy’s father had sent the letter at the beginning of the trial, but had later apologized when the police had found the actual shooter.

The second letter was also from a father, Raymond P. Jones. This one was a little more complicated. His daughter, Melissa, had been killed a little over a year before. Evangeline’s client was the girl’s boyfriend, Jason Stuart. He’d been accused of murdering her, because all the circumstantial evidence led to him, but it was only circumstantial. The prosecution couldn’t place the boy at the scene or find a murder weapon. It hadn’t been difficult to get the kid off. He never should have been prosecuted based on the evidence the DA’s office had in the first place. Mr. Jones had taken a personal affront to the fact she had gotten the charges dropped. He’d written her a few letters, but she hadn’t thought anything of them. Being a defense attorney, she occasionally got hate mail and she didn’t expect that to change.

The third letter was troubling. Alexander King had been arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon which he said he didn’t commit. He’d asked Evangeline to represent him and she’d declined. She had already represented someone else in the same case and felt it would be conflict of interest. If memory served her correctly, he’d been convicted. Evangeline had no sense of the case history, but she remembered only receiving one letter from him. The threats had been a little scary, almost eerie, and she hadn’t understood why he blamed her. She had dismissed it when no other letters had followed.

"John, these two might be something," Evangeline said handing him the second and third letters.

She told him the stories behind each letter and watched John go back over them. Evangeline was about to ask him what he was thinking, when he started dialing a number on his cell phone.

"Stokes? This is McBain. . . yeah. . . I need you to run background checks on Raymond P. Jones and Alexander King. Get everything you can find. I’ll check back with you later. Thanks."

"John, what are you thinking?"

"I’m thinking that one of these guys wants you dead and I’m not going to let it happen."

Instead of responding, Evangeline restacked the files she’d finished. Five files left and she’d be done. By the time she reached for the fifth file, she couldn’t stand it. John had been staring at her for the last 10 minutes and it was irritating.

"What?" she exclaimed.

"What are you asking?"

"What do you want?"

Instead of answering, his eyebrows raised and he smirked at her.

"Okay, I’ll rephrase the question. Why were you looking at me a moment ago?"

"You’re beautiful." Evangeline was really trying to push past the feeling in the pit of her stomach that kept telling her to cut John a little slack. She couldn’t afford to.


"You asked, I answered. You about done?"

"Yeah, just let me stack these and I’ll let Amy know we’re done."

"Okay. How about we order in and maybe watch a movie tonight?"

"What are you doing?" she asked with a raised eyebrow. He was making it harder and harder for her to avoid thinking of him as more than her protector.

"We got to eat."

"John, this is a business arrangement. You’re on the job. Why would we have a date of sorts?"

"This is personal and you know it," John said. "How’s the arm?"

"It hurts." She hadn’t realized she was favoring it until he mentioned it.

"Let’s hurry up and get out of here. You need to lie down. I should have had the files sent to your house." Great, so now he wanted to take responsibility for her arm hurting? He was an idiot.

"John, I’m a big girl. I can handle a little pain. My arm will be fine after I’ve had something to eat and taken a painkiller. You don’t have to worry about me."

"Fat chance of that."

Evangeline gathered the files and went to Amy’s office; she felt rather than saw John follow her. He was serious about keeping her safe. Earlier, she’d made another comment about getting an independent bodyguard, but John had shot down the idea right away. Independence was something she valued and John didn’t trust her to follow the bodyguard’s orders should something happen. The fact that she let him get away with it still boggled her mind.


John stood leaning against the doorframe watching Evangeline. She was more fascinating that he remembered. One thing was for sure. She kept him on his toes. Boy, did he miss her. Evangeline was everything he wanted in a woman, but wasn’t sure he deserved. The fact that she’d stayed with him as long as she had, had been a source of constant confusion. A woman like Evangeline could have any man she wanted, but she’d chosen him.

John had to do everything in his power to get this woman back. When John had kissed her that morning, he felt at home. He missed that feeling. John hadn’t fully appreciated who she was to him, until after he’d lost her. He was a fool and he knew it, but he planned to make it right and soon.