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12th of Never

It's finally time! Detective Lindsay Boxer is in labor—while two killers are on the loose.

Lindsay Boxer's beautiful baby is born! But after only a week at home with her new daughter, Lindsay is forced to return to work to face two of the biggest cases of her career.

A rising star football player for the San Francisco 49ers is the prime suspect in a grisly murder. At the same time, Lindsay is confronted with the strangest story she's ever heard: An eccentric English professor has been having vivid nightmares about a violent murder and he's convinced is real. Lindsay doesn't believe him, but then a shooting is called in—and it fits the professor's description to the last detail.

Lindsay doesn't have much time to stop a terrifying future from unfolding. But all the crimes in the world seem like nothing when Lindsay is suddenly faced with the possibility of the most devastating loss of her life.


Chapter 6

JULIE HAD BEEN wailing since we left the hospital, hardly stopping before revving her engine and howling again. It had been going on for weeks and I was mystified and a little alarmed.

What was wrong? What was she trying to tell us?

It was just about 8:00 p.m. when Joe settled me into the big rocker in Julie’s room. I reached up and Joe handed me our screaming little bundle of distress. I tried to nurse her again, but as usual, she refused me.

What was I doing wrong?

I said, “Please don’t cry, baby girl. Everything is okay. Actually, everything is perfect.”

She took in another breath and cried even harder. As much as her first cry felt like a hug around my heart, now her cries felt like my heart was being squeezed in a vise.

“What is it, darling? Are you hot, cold, wet?”

She was dry.

“Joe, she’s hungry. Okay, she might nurse a little bit if we wait her out. But listen, she clearly prefers the bottle.”

“Be back in a sec,” Joe said.

I rocked my daughter. Even with her fists waving and her little face as pink as a rose, she was a spectacular, fully formed human being made from love. I was in awe of her perfection. And more than anything, I wanted her to feel good.

I jounced her in my arms and sang a nonsense song that I made up as I went along. “Ju-lee, you’re breaking my heart. What can I do for my bay-bee?”

I fished an old Irish lullaby from the vault of long-buried memories, and then hauled out a couple of nursery rhymes. Mice ran up a clock, cradles rocked, but nothing worked.

Joe appeared, like a genie, with a warm bottle of formula. I tested a drop on the back of my hand, and then I tried the bottle on Julie. And—thank you, God—she began to suck.

I was elated. Euphoric. Ecstatic. Julie was eating. Joe and I watched our daughter pulling at the bottle with intense attention, and when a few ounces had gone down and she turned away from the bottle, Joe said, “I’ll take her, Blondie. You go to bed.”

He put Julie over his shoulder and burped her like a pro.

“I love you, Julie Anne Molinari,” Joe said to our baby.

“You’ve told her twenty eleven times today. She knows it,” I said, standing up and kissing my husband.

“She can’t hear it too much. This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”

“I believe that. But I think something is bothering you,” I said.

“God. I can’t sneak anything past you, Blondie. Even when you’re dog-tired. Even when you shouldn’t notice anything but Julie’s fingers and toes.”

I felt the first frisson of alarm.

“Is something going on? Tell me now.”

Joe sighed. “How can I put this delicately? I got fired.”

What? Come on. Don’t kid with me about this.”

I was searching his eyes, looking for the joke.

“Really,” Joe said. He looked embarrassed. Honest to God. I’d never seen this look on his face before.

“I got axed. It’s being chalked up to cutbacks due to the financial deficit. Naturally, freelancers are the first to go. Don’t worry, Linds. I know things about homeland security very few people know. As soon as the word gets out, I’ll get calls.”

My mouth was dry. My heart was thudding almost audibly.

I make a cop’s salary. It isn’t bad money, but it wouldn’t support our airy three-bedroom apartment on Lake Street, which Joe had rented when he was working for the government as deputy director of Homeland Security.

When he was making a ton.

“How much money do we have?”

“We’ll be fine for quite a few months. I’ll find a job before we run dry. We’ll be fine, Lindsay,” he said. “I’m not going to disappoint my two fabulous girls.”

“We love you, Joe,” I said.

Our little daughter started to cry.

Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson

Read by January LaVoy

January LaVoy is a New York-based voice, stage, and television actress. She has performed on and Off-Broadway, and appeared extensively in regional theatres across the country. She is best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz on the long-running ABC daytime drama One Life to Live.

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