Friday, November 1st, 1:30 a.m.
Damien Collins kept up a brisk pace as he drove along the highway. He was headed to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston to see Pearl Tyler. Iva Lawrence had called him an hour ago and told him about Bridget Walsh setting the stable on fire while Pearl was inside. The news had horrified him. But what was even more unsettling was that his rival Quinn Nightshade had rescued Pearl and was also going to the hospital to be with her. That meant another confrontation with Quinn, who surely would boast about saving Pearl and how this would bring them even closer. But he wasn’t going to give up. Like he had told Pearl earlier that night, a lot can happen in three months. He was feverishly praying that in those three months Pearl would change her mind about leaving Haven and he could slip that ring on her finger without any hesitation.
St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, Lewiston
Two Hours Later
Quinn Nightshade sat inside a patient room inside the emergency room, waiting for Pearl Tyler. She was undergoing a sonogram. She had been a little nervous upon getting to the hospital and he had reassured her everything would be fine.
The police were called en route to the hospital about Bridget Walsh’s attempted murder of Pearl. What she and Quinn didn’t know is that they had already been at the hospital, having learned of her murder attempt on Pearl’s ex-husband Duncan.
The Lewiston Diner
“Good God, what a night,” Detective Jim Morgan remarked to his partner, Detective Dennis Elliott after taking a bite of his hamburger. “Duncan Tyler wakes up and remembers who tries to kill him, which ends up being the very same woman you suggested may have done it.”
“Bridget Walsh. His ex-lover, who is now being sought for trying to kill Duncan’s ex-wife,” Detective Elliott added. “Hopefully our guys will be able to pick her up before she manages to get out of Maine.” He shook his head. “She must have been filled with so much rage against the Tylers.”
“The parents were completely shocked after Duncan said it was Bridget. They really liked her even though she was sleeping with their married son,” Detective Morgan said.
“Duncan’s parents are blinded by class and money. Well, I think they’ve learned tonight that class and money doesn’t amount to a hill of beans,” Detective Elliott thoughtfully mused.
Duncan Tyler’s hospital room
Duncan lay in his bed, unable to sleep despite the medicine he was given to help him rest. All he could do was flashback to when he told his parents and the two detectives what happened the night Bridget Walsh came to his motel room…
“Well, well, I didn’t think you would actually show up here. This isn’t a good time—now or never. So goodbye.”
He tried to shut the door but Bridget reached behind her pants pocket and pulled out a lead pipe. His eyes widened in terror.
“My God…what in the hell do you think you’re doing? I’m going to call the police!” He tried to shut the door but the lead pipe slammed down hard on his hand. Duncan cried out and clutched his hand in severe pain.
She barged her way into his motel room and started beating him. He raised his hands in front of his face desperately trying to shield himself from her deadly blows but she continued to beat him. The last thing he remembered was her talking. Her voice was full of hatred.
“Now you know what happens when you dump me and treat me like trash. I think you’ve learned your lesson…”
That’s when he lost consciousness and woke up in the hospital and told his parents and the two detectives everything. He prayed that the police would find Bridget. She had to pay for what she did.
Just then, Nurse Sarah Cunningham entered his room. “Hello,” Duncan greeted her.
“Hello. You must be having trouble sleeping. Would you like a stronger dose of Ambien?” she asked.
“No. I’ve done enough sleeping for a while. I’d like to stay awake in case Bridget gets caught so I can hear it for myself.”
Upon hearing Bridget’s name, Sarah’s eyes widened a bit. “Oh God—there’s something else I need to tell you about Bridget.”
“What is it?” he asked, becoming apprehensive.
Sarah sat down on the edge of his bed. “I was on a break with another one of the nurses who’s working in the E.R. They brought in your ex-wife tonight.”
Duncan rapidly sat up and grabbed Sarah’s hands. “Pearl is in the emergency room? What happened? And what does Bridget have to do with her…” His apprehension turned to utter dread and his stomach started to churn a little. “Oh no—Bridget didn’t try to hurt Pearl did she?”
Sarah sadly nodded. “She trapped Pearl in a stable at some farm and set it on fire. But Pearl is fine. She was rescued before the stable completely went up in flames.”
Duncan let out a huge sigh of relief. “Thank God. Do you think you could arrange for me to see her?” he asked Sarah.
“Oh, I don’t know about that. You’ll have to ask Doctor Warren. Now, I want you to try and get some rest.” Sarah stood up and smiled at him. “I’ll be here if you need anything.”
Duncan watched her leave. He stared up at the cream-colored ceiling. “I don’t think I’m going to get any sleep tonight, now that I know about Pearl. I have to see her. Maybe this will be the catalyst that finally reunites us for good.”
Pearl Tyler’s room, fifteen minutes later
Quinn saw the technician wheel Pearl into the room. She had a big grin on her face and Quinn immediately knew she got good news about her baby.
“She’s just fine,” Pearl said, patting her stomach affectionately.
“I knew everything would be okay.” Quinn bent down and kissed her and helped her out of the wheelchair and back into her bed. He covered her up with the blanket and sat down next to her.
“I want you to get some rest Pearl,” the technician told her. “I’m going to send the results of these sonograms to Doctor Harvey. He may still want you to stay here for a little while longer for observation.”
“Okay…thanks,” Pearl replied happily.
The technician left and Pearl turned towards Quinn. “Bridget is going to be in for a shock when she learns that my baby and I are still alive and healthy. I sure hope she’s caught soon.”
“Don’t worry sweetheart, she can’t hide for long.” Quinn leaned back in the chair and gazed up at the ceiling. He could feel his eyes tearing up. Despite Pearl and her baby getting a clean bill of health, she shouldn’t even be here. She should be back at the farm, sleeping soundly, and being excited for their trip out tomorrow.
“Quinn, are you okay?” Pearl asked with concern.
He turned his head back to Pearl. She saw his watery brown eyes and the look of regret on his face. She reached over and reassuringly patted his knee. “Everything is going to be fine. Please don’t get upset.”
“I know you and the baby are okay but Bridget is still out there, and I can’t help but think if maybe I didn’t sleep with her, this nightmare wouldn’t have happened.”
“Quinn, what happened tonight was not your fault. I hate to say this, but Bridget would have probably come after me even if you two hadn’t had sex. That’s how twisted she is. She was filled with hate and revenge before she met you. Don’t blame yourself.”
“I’m so glad you understand,” Quinn gratefully replied. He leaned over and kissed her again. “You’re probably the only one that will.” He stood up and stretched. “I think I’m going to take a walk. I want you to get some rest. I’ll be back in a little while.”
Pearl nodded and patted her stomach again. “We’ll be here.”
Quinn left her and began to walk down the hall, the sounds of nurses and doctors chattering amongst themselves and beeping droning from machines and monitors in the patients’ rooms. He headed for the automatic doors that led to the outside. Maybe a nice, juicy rare burger at that diner across the street will help ease my nerves, he thought.
He had no sooner stepped out into the cool night when Damien Collins appeared. Quinn saw him and his nervousness shot up even more.
Damien eyed his rival with a cool, almost reptilian gaze. “How is she?” he asked Quinn, trying with all his might to stay cordial.
Quinn ignored the subtle frosty tone. “She’s great. She and her baby didn’t suffer any affects from the fire.”
“Thank God. I was so worried driving up here.” He ran his hands through his dark brown hair. “Why in the hell would Bridget do this? Oh, if I only hadn’t told her where Pearl was when I met her in Bigelow, none of this would have happened.”
Quinn raised his eyebrows, startled. So it’s not all my fault, he said to himself, getting riled up. Damien was the one that led her here. “You saw Bridget and you told her where Pearl was?” he asked, his voice rising with anger.
“I didn’t know it was Bridget at the time. She lied and called herself Becky Wentworth. It was only after I talked to Pearl she told me that Becky was really Bridget,” Damien replied, becoming defensive and his voice rising in turn with Quinn’s. He took a deep breath and leaned back against the building in attempt to calm himself down. “That woman is a real piece of work. She even came onto me. I didn’t take the bait though. I told her I was in a relationship.” He stared back at Quinn with a knowing look on his face.
“Well good for you,” Quinn spat out with contempt. He turned away from Damien. The last thing he needed was for that furball to find out he slept with Bridget. He knew he would lord that tawdry piece of information over him like a person torturing a dog by holding a piece of steak above its head.
“You seem upset Quinn,” Damien said in a teasing and condescendingly playful tone. “Is there something you’d like to tell me?”
Quinn spun around to face his enemy, brown eyes ablaze with fury. “Of course I’m bloody upset you idiot! The woman I love and her baby were nearly murdered tonight by a psychotic bitch whose still on the loose and you have the nerve to stand there like some grinning fool who wants to play twenty questions! What the hell is wrong with you?”
Damien held his ground against Quinn’s tirade. “You can stand there and rant and rave. I’m going in to see Pearl.” He turned and headed for the entrance to the ER, but Quinn abruptly grabbed his arm. “Leave her alone. She’s resting.”
“Don’t tell me what to do. She’s not yours and she never will be as long as I’m around.” Damien’s eyes icily fixated on Quinn’s face and he yanked himself free.
Quinn let out a sardonic chuckle. “My dear Damien, thanks to tonight, Pearl will be mine sooner than you think. She’s extremely grateful to me for rescuing her from that fire and saving not only her, but her unborn daughter’s life. Nothing is going to keep us apart. Bridget tried and failed, and you will too.”
Damien’s dark brown eyes narrowed. “What do you mean, Bridget tried and failed?”
Shit, you’ve said too much. Keep your cool Quinn and he won’t find out. “Damien, stop being daft. I’m talking about her trying to kill Pearl by setting the fire at the Lawrences. What else did you think I meant?”
“There’s something you’re not telling me. Did you meet Bridget?” Damien asked with suspicion.
You can tell him yes without mentioning everything else. “I did. I met her at the grocery store in Harmony. I guess she was staying at that motel down there. She was nothing special.” Quinn kept his eyes fixed on Damien’s, silently praying he wouldn’t pick up on his nervousness.
He didn’t. “Well, we can at least agree on that. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see Pearl.” Damien turned around and disappeared through the double doors.
As soon as he was out of sight, Quinn took a deep breath. He was home free. But then he realized that there was a chance Pearl would tell Damien what happened between them. His stomach lurched a little. No, it’s okay. Damien can huff and puff all he wants. Pearl didn’t care so there’s no reason for me to worry about his reaction. Smiling with satisfaction, he put his fears behind him and started for the diner.
Damien stood over Pearl with a look of love on his face, watching her as she rested in her bed. Her eyes were closed and her right hand lay protectively on top of her stomach. He bent down and kissed her on the forehead ever so softly. He sat down in the chair beside her, his brown eyes refusing to look away from her.
A few seconds passed and then Pearl opened her eyes. She turned and when she saw Damien, she grinned. “Hello stranger,” she murmured.
“Hello Red,” he quietly replied. He covered her free hand with his and gently squeezed it. “How are you?”
“I’m doing just fine.” She patted her stomach. “My little girl is fine too.” She frowned slightly. “I’m sure you heard what happened tonight.”
Damien nodded gravely. “Iva called and told me. I thought I was going to need medical attention myself because I almost dropped to the floor. I can’t believe Bridget would go so far as to try and kill you and your baby.”
“I was so terrified. I didn’t think I was going to survive. If it wasn’t for Quinn…” Upon mentioning his enemy’s name, she stopped. “Have you seen him?”
“Yes.” His voice was tight and so was the expression on his handsome face. “I know I should be extremely grateful that he saved you, but…”
“But you wish it was you that saved me instead,” Pearl finished for him.
“I shouldn’t be so childish. But this is just one more thing he can gloat about.” Damien sighed and stared down at the tan and white speckled floor.
“Well, you saved me first when you found me after my car accident. He can’t take that away from you,” Pearl reminded him.
That brought a smile to his face, and he stood up, leaned down and planted a warm kiss on her lips. “No, he most definitely can’t.” He grimaced again. “Pearl, I don’t understand—why would Bridget try to kill you and your baby? I know she was upset about Duncan leaving her, but this is really extreme. It doesn’t make sense.”
It was then that Pearl realized Damien knew nothing about Quinn’s ill-fated tryst with Bridget. She wondered if she should keep silent and not tell him. The last thing she should do was to poke open the hornet’s nest that was his rivalry with the vampire hybrid yet again, but it was bound to come out sooner or later.
Pearl slowly sat up in her bed and looked directly at Damien. “Bridget’s attempt to get rid of me really wasn’t about Duncan. It—it was about Quinn.”
His head snapped up to meet hers. “Quinn? What does he have to do with it?”
“The night before this happened, Quinn met Bridget while he was grocery shopping.”
“He told me that part,” Damien interrupted.
“Yes, but what he didn’t tell you was that later, they ended up sleeping together.” Pearl gazed intensely at him, bracing for his reaction. But there was nothing but complete and utter silence as his mouth dropped open in what she could only guess was shock.
“Jesus Christ,” Damien muttered under his breath. Then he narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips in a fit of anger. “You see Pearl? That is the real Quinn. He claims to love you so much but deep down he’s nothing but a snake. If he really felt the way he said, he wouldn’t have touched Bridget.”
“You can’t blame him for sleeping with Bridget Damien,” Pearl quickly countered.
“The hell I can,” he retorted. “And I don’t bloody know why you’re taking up for him.”
“Because I was the one that made it happen.”
Damien was in disbelief. “You can’t be serious.”
Pearl rapidly nodded. “I am serious. That night, he came to me and I knew he wanted to be intimate. I told him we couldn’t because of the baby. I told him he needed to give up on me and find someone else. I didn’t think it would be Bridger and I definitely didn’t think it would be the same night, but it happened. He’s lonely and desperately wants to be loved Damien, just like you.” She gazed at him knowingly. “Bridget was ready, willing and able to give what he wanted. He told her he was in love with me. She threw herself at him deliberately. But when he decided he didn’t want to continue their fling, she became crazy. In her insane little mind, she blamed me. She thought I was the one that stood between her and Quinn and she felt the only way to get rid of me was to end my life.”
“Bridget came onto me too and I didn’t give into her,” Damien answered back, very defensively. “And you know why? Because I love you and I would never betray you like that.”
“I know you love me Damien. But I think after everything that’s happened tonight, you need to end this feud with Quinn. You blame him for me almost dying—well, he blames himself. There’s no need to keep adding fuel to the fire.” Damien stared at her in disbelief again and she realized what she had just said. “Okay, after tonight that wasn’t the best expression to use. But you know what I mean.”
“I don’t want to talk about Quinn or Bridget anymore. I only care about you and your baby girl. And I’m going to stay here until they release you.” He bent down and kissed her again, this time a little more roughly, as if proving his point. When he was finished, he sat back down beside her.
Pearl turned to look at him. “I’m glad you’re here. I hope you believe me.”
“I do believe you.” He took her hand in his again and began to caress her creamy skin. Satisfied, Pearl moved her head back onto the pillow and closed her eyes, enjoying Damien’s velvety touch. “That feels wonderful. I think that might help me go to sleep.”
“Good. From here on out I want you to have nothing but rest and pleasant dreams,” Damien told her huskily. But I still won’t let Quinn slide for almost getting you killed. He will pay for this. I swear on all the full moons for the rest of my life, he will pay.
Coming up next:
- Jude gets the shock of his life when Christoph shows up on his doorstep.
- Jude blasts his father for his wicked ways and blames him for his mother’s mental condition.
- A restless Astrid takes a walk and finds Bridget’s body.
- Damien confronts Quinn over his fling with Bridget.
- Damien is disheartened when Pearl tells him she wants Quinn to stay with her at the hospital.