* * *
Amber’s ringtone woke her from a sound sleep. She was instantly aware of Tuck’s naked body wrapped around her, the faint sandalwood scent of his sheets and the sound of a fan whirring above the big bed. The phone rang again.
She pushed up on her elbow and groped for the bedside table. Tuck groaned and moved beside her. A moment later, the room was flooded with light. Her phone rang a third time as she blinked to adjust her eyes.
“Did you find it?” he asked.
“Yes. It’s here.” She fumbled with her cell as she answered, clumsy with sleep. “Hello?”
“Amber Bowen?” The woman’s voice was crisp.
“Yes. It’s me.”
“This is Brandy Perkins calling. I’m a nurse at Memorial Hospital.”
Amber sat straight up. “Hi, Yes.” She had met Brandy a number of times. “Is something wrong?”
“Can you come into Maternity right away?”
“Yes, of course.” Amber swung her legs to the side of the bed. “Is Jade all right?”
Tuck sat up beside her.
“Her blood pressure has taken an unexpected spike.”
Tuck’s hand cradled her bare shoulder, his voice deep and soft. “Something wrong?”
“The baby has gone into distress, and we’re performing an emergency C-section.”
“I’m on my way.” Amber rose from the bed as she ended the call.
Tuck’s voice was sharper, more alert. “What’s wrong?”
“I need to get to the hospital. It’s Jade.” Amber tracked down her panties, stepping into them and locating her bra.
He rocked to his feet. “I’ll drive you.”
“No. That’s okay. I’ve got my car.”
“You’re upset. You shouldn’t drive yourself.” He was dressing as he spoke.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be.”
“So I want to take my car.”
Her dress on, she headed for the bedroom door. Her shoes were still down in the library. She was pretty sure she remembered the way back.
Tuck followed. “What happened?”
“It’s her blood pressure. The baby’s in distress and they have to do an emergency Caesarean. I knew there was a chance, but things were looking so good. I didn’t expect...”
She knew Jade’s condition could be life threatening, for both Jade and the baby. But she hadn’t wanted to face that possibility. She’d been too optimistic, too cavalier about the potential danger.
She should have paid more attention to how Jade was feeling. Maybe if she’d spent more time at the hospital instead of throwing a party and sleeping with Tuck. What if she’d left her phone in her purse downstairs and didn’t hear it ring? What if the battery had died overnight?
“Jade’s already at the hospital?” Tuck asked as they took the stairs.
“She’s been there for two weeks.”
“Why didn’t you say something?”
Amber’s personal life was another thing she was keeping separate. Tuck had barely even met Jade.
“Tell me something that big was going on in your life.”
“Why?” She entered the library.
Luckily, the lights were still on, and she quickly located her shoes.
“Oh, I don’t know,” said Tuck. “Because we see each other every day.”
“Only because we work together.”
She marched toward the living room. Her car keys were in her purse. She was maybe thirty minutes from the hospital, twenty-five if traffic was light, which it ought to be at 3:00 a.m.
“Right,” said Tuck, a strange tone in his voice. “We work together. That’s all.”
She paused to take in his expression. “I have to go to my sister right now.”
“I’ll drive you.”
“No, you won’t. Good night, Tuck.”
She didn’t even know how to respond to that. She left through the front door, taking the long driveway past the brick entry pillars and onto the street.
Traffic was blessedly light and she was able to find a good parking spot at the hospital. She rushed through the lobby, going directly to Jade’s room. She knew her sister wouldn’t be there, but she hoped the nurses could give her some information.
Brandy was at the nurse’s station.
“How is she?” Amber asked, realizing she was winded.