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Laura's League: Lesbian Adventure Club, #12

Laura's League: Lesbian Adventure Club, #12

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Laura's League: Lesbian Adventure Club, #12

Length:
158 pages
9 hours
Released:
Aug 22, 2019
ISBN:
9781932014549
Format:
Book

Description

Kate and Claudia have a weekend of couple-affirming activities planned for the crew. But three days prior, a life-changing event forces everyone to affirm something much bigger.

Lesbian Adventure Club, Book 12

Approximate word count: 39,000

Released:
Aug 22, 2019
ISBN:
9781932014549
Format:
Book

About the author


Related to Laura's League

Titles In This Series (26)

Book Preview

Laura's League - Rosalyn Wraight

18

Prologue

Claudia lay on my chest, and her hand rested on my belly. With my arm around her, I pulled her a bit closer as I tried to spy the moon—even a star would do—through our porch’s glass ceiling. Nothing. Not a goddamn thing but darkness.

Are you sure we should be here? Susan asked from her spot on the other end of the porch.

Of course, you should be here, Claudia answered without hesitation. It’s a Lesbian Adventure Club day. Of course, you should be here. We all should be here.

I just don’t want to make anything worse, she responded.

Me, either, Alison said.

Claudia repeated, "We all should be here."

Then maybe we shouldn’t be lying together as couples, Janice suggested.

For that one, Claudia did not have a response at the ready. I didn’t either, but I knew I was precisely where I needed to be. I withdrew my attention from the celestial ceiling and kissed her forehead.

Let’s just see how it goes, she finally said. We’ll know what to do.

Quiet overtook the room, and yet, I sensed great activity, as though the churning of minds became a tactile thing.

In an ominous whisper, Alison asked, Things aren’t going to change, are they?

No.

No.

No way.

If they do, it will be for the better.

I didn’t have a response for that one either. Things had already changed, and I loathed it. But we’d need time before it became obvious whether we happened upon a nasty bump in the road or truly went off the edge of a cliff.

Being here like this ensures they won’t change, Claudia said and then repeated, "We all should be here."

"But that’s the problem: We all can’t be here."

A thick silence oozed over us.

She took to stroking my arm, and I focused on the sensation.

After a moment, she inquired, Anybody know what time it is?

Ten to nine, Maggie told her.

Twenty minutes until she gets here, she distractedly said.

Twenty minutes: the blink of an eye and an eternity; desired and dreaded; real-world ticking in a place that proved surreal.

I pulled her closer, and we bided the passage of time.

Chapter 1

He pulled the car to the curb and turned off the engine.

I glanced to the house, and I honestly thought I was going to be sick. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to scream. I wanted to do anything—anything—but what I was about to do.

His words replayed in my mind: Kate, this is Captain Greeley. Laura’s been shot.

Unbeknownst to me, Laura listed me as her emergency contact. Sitting in front of her house, knowing what Captain Greeley and I were there to do—I knew why. I could not fathom why she figured I could do it, but I knew what she needed me to do.

Without a word, we opened our doors and exited the blue sedan, its dashboard police light having been turned off right before we made the turn onto their country lane.

Desperate, I tried to steel myself. I summoned things inside I wasn’t even sure I possessed.

When we stood in front of the door, he took a deep breath and knocked. I, too, breathed deeply, loathing the next moments of life.

Soon, the door opened, and a smiling Holly stood there. In a split second, her eyes darted from me to the captain and back again. In that same split-second, I watched her smile turn to ashen horror, and then, she slammed the door. She knew. In an instant, she recognized her worst fear.

Instinctively, Captain Greeley grabbed the doorknob only to find it locked. Holly, we need to talk to you, he bellowed.

Dead silence came, and he jiggled the doorknob. He appraised the doorframe, and I figured what he aimed to do.

I know where a key is, I said just in time.

I barreled to the side of the garage to fetch the key hidden in the clothesline pipe and raced back.

Wasting no time, he let us in.

Half a dozen fruitless times, we called out to her. Then we searched every room, all to no avail.

Her studio! I shrieked and hurried to the back door.

We tore up the path, and again, he encountered a locked door. As he pounded and called for her, I slipped around to the windowed side of the studio.

And there I saw her.

In the alcove by the front door, she sat on a stool at her easel, brush in hand, painting—as though it was an ordinary day, a Wednesday afternoon like any other. I could only see the back of her, the side of her face, and neither gave me a sense of her frame of mind. Shock? Avoidance? Or had something inside her come undone?

Holly! I yelled through the large window. Please let us in. It’s important.

She did nothing but continue painting.

This was so not how I envisioned telling her, but I saw little choice. As loudly as I could, I shouted, Holly, Laura’s been hurt. She needs you.

Still, she didn’t respond, and short of busting through the window, I didn’t know what the hell to do.

Then, it dawned on me.

Holly, she’s not dead! When I saw her paintbrush stop in mid-stroke, I continued, hoping to hell what I was about to say was still the truth, I swear she’s not dead. I swear!

She remained motionless.

Check your gut, Holly! She’s still in the world, and she needs you.

She hesitated for a moment, and then she slowly turned to me. If there were at all a way to perfectly blend relief and torment, the artist did so.

Holly, let me in. Let Captain Greeley and me in.

Seeming nearly disoriented, she began to move toward the door. When I had no doubt that was where she headed, I made a beeline.

The door flung open, and what I saw on her face, I hoped I’d never see again. It made me wince.

She would have called to tell me, she said, her voice cracking. What happened to her that she couldn’t tell me herself?

She got shot, I said, knowing no other way to say it. She’s at the hospital.

No. she whispered. Please, no.

I sensed she was about go under with the tidal wave of emotion that hit her, and so I grabbed her just as her knees buckled. She glommed onto me, and while I expected tears, she did nothing but shake. To her very core, she shook. I wanted to lie, assure her of something completely uncertain, let her believe it really was nothing more than an ordinary day. I held onto her for a moment, and then I said, Holly, we need to get you to the hospital.

She squeezed me so tightly I could barely breathe. Swear to me you’re not trying to trick me. Swear to me she’s still alive.

I wouldn’t trick you, Holly. I swear. When she loosened her hold, I said, Claudia’s going to meet us at the hospital. She’s going to call Noelle. Noelle will call your mom and dad. You’re not alone. We’ll do this with you.

As if in slow motion, she moved away from me and clutched the captain’s arm. What happened, George? Was it her?

"Her?" He seemed confused by the question. It was him—him. A domestic disturbance. She wasn’t even supposed to be there. She was on her way to court. She heard Jessop call for backup and took it upon herself to— He put his hands on her shoulders. In a steely voice, he said, It’s not good, Holly. She didn’t have her vest on. She got it in the gut. He pulled her into his arms. We need to pray. We need to be strong. We need to hope to hell she’s as stubborn now as she’s ever been.

When he pulled back, a glazed look overtook Holly’s face. She nodded and never stopped.

Let’s get you to the hospital, he said and began towing her.

Trying hard to be practical as Laura had obviously expected me to be, I asked, Holly, do you need anything? Purse? Cell phone?

Completely dazed and still mechanically nodding, she said not a word.

I’ll find them for you and meet you at the car.

With that, I tore off to the house and hunted until I had what I figured Claudia would not leave home without. By the time I made it out front, the captain was closing the back door of his car, with Holly inside.

I slid into the back seat, sitting in the middle, right next to her. I placed her things on the seat beside me, and then I looked at her.

She seemed as though a shell—something empty, something that deafeningly echoed that emptiness, making her fragile enough to shatter into oblivion right there. I had no clue what to do for her. I clutched her hand, and she squeezed back so hard that it hurt. She put her head on my shoulder, and I felt her whole body trembling.

In a matter of five eternal minutes, Captain Greeley and his red light got us to St. Mike’s. He screeched to a halt outside the Emergency entrance and instantly exited to get the car door for us.

My first step outside the vehicle proved jolting. A small group of people descended like vultures on vulnerable prey.

One shouted, Kate, can you tell us anything?

Another shouted, Is McCallister dead?

Suddenly, I hated reporters as much as Laura always claimed to.

Captain Greeley yelled at them about respect while he physically pushed them away from the car.

Another loudly defied him, Kate, do you know if McCallister’s dead?

Stifling both anger and fear, I grabbed Holly’s hand and told her not to listen to them, that they didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. I tugged her up the walkway and through the automatic door.

Seconds later, the captain joined us and marched with great authority to the reception desk. In a booming voice, he informed, We’re here about Detective Laura McCallister. She’s one of mine.

Immediately, the woman informed, She’s on her way to surgery. Fourth floor. There’s a waiting room left of the elevator.

We turned in the direction she pointed, and in so doing, a frothing sea of blue uniforms swallowed us. Captain Greeley shouted an update and then ordered, If you’re on the clock, get back on those streets!

Through the subsequent grumbling, a familiar, much-needed voice emerged.

Holly! Claudia called and ran to her.

The two embraced for a long moment, and Claudia’s glassy eyes peered into mine.

She’ll be okay. Just hang on, I heard Claudia whisper to Holly before Captain Greeley slid his arm around them both with the suggestion that we get upstairs as quickly as possible.

Silently, we hurried to the end of the hall to wait for the elevator.

Several moments later, we entered the waiting room. Captain Greeley said he’d try to get an update, and Claudia took Holly to the couch and sat with her. I simply stood there, not knowing what the hell to do. I wanted to pace—Jesus, I wanted to pace—but I knew I needed to keep my anxiety to myself, lest it proved contagious.

Suddenly, Noelle burst into the room. She looked no better than Holly. She was as white as the proverbial ghost, except for her eyes, already bloodshot from crying. Holly launched at her

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