Betrayed (Whiskey Nights #4)

By: Suzannah Daniels



She looked down the length of her body as she shifted the baby higher on her hip. “Sorry if I don’t meet your dress requirements, but Joseph hasn’t slept well in days. He’s been sick, and I’m tired, and the last thing I need right now is for you to pass judgment on me.”

“I wasn’t passing judgment—merely making an observation.”

The baby coughed, slobbering as he tried to chew on his fist.

“You have to promise me you’ll take good care of him.” Tears welled in her eyes as she hugged her baby and kissed his temple. “Mommy will get you as soon as she can,” she cooed to him.

I glanced at the cop who was now in discussions with an employee from the drugstore, a slender, elderly man with a balding head dressed in a button-up and slacks. From the look of his clothing, he was most likely a manager or maybe the owner. His name tag read Frank.

“Promise me, Paxton,” Jess said again.

“You know I know nothing about kids, right?” I asked, thinking she must be desperate if she wanted me to actually take her child.

“He has formula and baby food in his diaper bag. All you have to do is feed him and change his diaper until I can get out of jail.”

“Why are you being arrested?”

She pressed her lips together.

“Why, Jess?” I prompted.

“Shoplifting.”

“Why in the hell would you steal something? Why didn’t you think about the baby before you did something so asinine?”

“I don’t need this right now,” she spat out between clenched teeth. “The only thing I need from you is for you to take care of Joseph until I can get out of jail. He needs some medicine for his fever,” she said, handing me a scrap of paper with the name and dosage of the medicine. “Do you think you could buy some for him?”

I stared at the paper in disbelief. She really wanted me to do this.

“Please,” she pleaded.

Damn, what choice did I have? I nodded.

“And make sure you give him that exact dosage,” she said, pointing at the line where she had written it down.

“All right.” I shoved the piece of paper in my pocket as she handed me the keys to her car.

“That’s my car over there.” She pointed to an older model silver Ford that sported numerous dents. “The car seat’s in the back.”

I took the keys from her. “When do you expect to get out of jail?”

She looked down, licking her lips. “He said I could post bail after I’m processed.”

“Hallelujah,” I whispered. “How long will that take?”

“He said if I couldn’t afford bail, I could talk to the judge on Monday about lowering it.”

“Monday! You do know this is Friday, right?”

“There’s nothing I can do about it, Pax.” Exhaling loudly, she glanced at the cop as she lowered her voice, “Do you really think you would be my first choice of people to take care of my baby?”

“I would certainly hope not.”

“Exactly.” She pushed loose tendrils of hair away from her face. “If you’ll just do this for me, I’ll never ask you for anything again.”

“How much is your bail?”

“I don’t know yet, but no matter how much it is, it’s more than I have. So there’s nothing for me to do but wait until Monday.”

Joseph coughed again, and Jessica rubbed his back in an attempt to soothe him.

“Okay, folks,” the officer said, approaching us. “Let’s get this show on the road. I’ve dallied too long already.”

“I’ll get the car seat.”

I strode to her car and opened the back door, paying careful attention to the way the seat was fastened, so that I could replicate the process in my own car. Once I had secured it in my back seat, I rejoined them.

“Where are you taking her?” I asked the officer.

He pointed down the street. “The jail is a couple of miles that way on the right.”

“How long will it take them to process her?”

He shrugged, his badge catching the late afternoon sun. “Depends on how busy they are. A few hours. She’ll call you when she’s ready to be bailed out.”

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