Susan turned, looked toward the play area, and called out. "Hank! Hank, honey, we’re going."
There was no answer.
"Hank. Hank. Where are you?" Susan raced outside. The play area was empty.
"Hank!" She screamed. Terror grabbed her body and squeezed tight.
There was no sign of Hank or the dog. Not a sound. It was deadly quiet.
Mitch heard her screams. He raced past Susan toward play area. and was right beside her. The kid had to be around.
How could he have let a little boy disappear? Some cop he was. It was beginning to look like Maria was right when she said he was a lousy cop as well as a lousy lover
"It’s okay, Susan. He’s around here. If anything had happened, we would have heard Wolf bark."
"Maybe he shot Wolf before he had a chance to bark. Maybe he’s shot Hank. Hank!" Susan screamed.
"We would have heard the shot. Or we’d see Wolf. He’s not going to lug a dead dog anywhere. Besides, he’s not after Hank. He’s after you. He would keep Hank alive to get to you."
"Hank! Where are you, honey? Don’t play games with Mommy. Please honey." She raced down the outside of the motel. Her eyes brimmed with tears
Mitch matched her stride. "Hank! Hank, where are you boy? Wolf! Here boy."
"He’s found us, and he’s got Hank. I’m sure I heard someone last night." Susan’s voice rose to a high pitch.
"No. There was no one there last night. He wouldn’t have found us — you, yet. There hasn’t been time and I haven’t given out any information. It will take him a couple of days to catch up. Trust me."
"Right, I should trust the guy who let a murder occur in front of me. Hank! Hank, please honey! Answer Mommy! Oh God, please let him be alright. He was in the play area a minute ago. I shouldn’t have left him alone. I should have been in there with him. It’s my fault. If anything’s happened to him, it’s my fault. I can’t even take care of my own son."
“You’re a great mother. We’ll find him.” Mitch strode around the motel building. The kid had to be here. Maybe he was playing hide and seek. There was no way the Iceman would have found them yet. No way. He wasn’t that good. Was he?
Susan followed after Mitch. "Hank! Wolf! Hank! Where are you?"
"Hank! Hank, where are you?" Mitch yelled.
It seemed like an eternity, but in about five minutes they had circled the motel twice, with no sign of Hank or Wolf.
"He’s gone. He’s been kidnapped. I know it." Susan ran her fingers through her hair, tears streamed down her cheeks.
Mitch pushed Susan in the direction of the cafe. "Look, I’m going to check out that grove of trees over there. Why don’t you go back to the cafe and ask if they’ve seen him, or if they’ve seen anything suspicious?"
If he found anything in those trees, he didn’t want Susan with him.
"Are you sure?"
"Uh huh, positive. He and Wolf may have gone back there. You know, maybe they were hungry again. I’ll also ask the motel clerk if he’s seen anything."
Susan started running toward the cafe. "Please, please God, let him be there."
Mitch heard her praying as he headed for the grove of trees. He was doing a little praying of his own. He walked slowly through the trees, looking for any sign a boy and a dog might have been there. He believed they had just wandered off. Where would a boy and his dog go? He glanced back at the cafe to see if Susan had found them...
Part of him was looking for Hank and the dog; the other part was still reeling from that kiss. The result from that kiss was screwing up his ability to concentrate. He’d done it partly to throw her off balance, but also because he desperately wanted to kiss her. He’d wanted to do it from the first, when she ran into him at the bottom of the stairs. He still remembered his reaction to her lips when she was lying on top of him, her lips millimeters from his. The memory of her haunted him, even when she wasn’t there.
But it had backfired. That kiss had thrown him totally off balance. He didn’t want anything to do with her. He didn’t want any relationship with any woman, particularly this one. And after that kiss, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to just walk away from her.
She had responded to his kiss, almost without hesitation, which had surprised him. He’d actually expected to get his face slapped. When she hadn’t and he found her receptive, her body warm and sensual moving against his, white heat roared through his body.
He enjoyed her kiss and her body. It was a new feeling he hadn’t experienced before. He had never felt anything like this with Maria. He had pushed himself away and turned his back on her. He couldn’t let her see how she affected him.
He finished checking the small grove of trees and breathed a sigh of relief. Not that he’d really expected to find anything, but you never knew. There was still no sign of Hank, Mitch was starting to get worried. He didn’t figure the Iceman could have found them yet, but... he headed back to the motel.
"Mitch, I found him! He’s here! I’ve found him!" Susan shouted and waved from the front of the cafe.
"Where was he?" Mitch loped across the clearing to her.
Inside he found Susan on her knees, hugging Hank. She was laughing and crying as she touched Hank’s face and rumpled his hair. Wolf sat quietly at Hank’s side, panting and drooling, his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth.
"They were in the cafe, just like you said. Honey don’t ever do that again. Mommy was so scared." Susan kissed Hank on his cheeks, forehead, and mouth and hugged him tightly.
"Wolfie wanted something to drink tho I went in and athked the lady for some water. They were really nice and gave me a big bowl and everything."
"That was nice of you and them, but you should have told me where you were going, honey." Susan kissed Hank on the top of his head as she stood up.
"I didn’t want to bother you and Mr. Pellagrino. You were fighting. And there wath a man watching uth. I got thcared."
"We weren’t fighting. We were just having a discussion, but it’s okay to interrupt. You bother Mommy anytime, promise? Promise me you’ll always tell me where you are. Promise?"
“What do you mean a man?” Susan suddenly realized what Hank had said. Her face froze as terror crept back across like a dark shadow.
“He wath watching uth from the treeth.”
“Who was it? The Iceman?” Susan stared at Mitch. Her voice climbed up an octave.
“No. I’m sure it wasn’t.” Mitch watched her pull Hank tightly against her.
“Then who? Is there someone else on my trail?”
“Probably just a coincidence.”
“You think? I mean you really don’t think it was someone watching us?” Susan stared at him, waiting for his response.
“I really don’t think so. Come on, let’s blow this place.” Mitch tried to sound convincing. Was there another guy? Did the Iceman have a partner? What if they had been found already?