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“Put the child down slowly and move away,” one of the officers ordered.

Tyler caught Camila’s triumphant smile and had to hand it to the manipulative bitch. She was very convincing.

“I’m not kidnapping him,” Tyler said, holding onto Noah more tightly. “I called you guys. Noah was taken from his mother two hours ago after she was attacked in front of their home. This woman has no legal rights to him.”

Officer Zack Dalton, the newest trainer at Alpha Dog, stepped past the others. “It’s cool, I know him.”

Coming up behind him, he patted Tyler down. “Got any weapons, Best?”

“A knife on my right calf. You got an ambulance out there?”

“We do.”

Once Tyler was completely disarmed, Dalton held out his arms. “Why don’t you hand him over to me. I’ll run him out to the ambo.”

“Don’t let her anywhere near him,” Tyler said.

Dalton nodded.

Tyler handed Noah off reluctantly, tears pricking his eyes as the child whispered softly, “Tywer.”

“On your knees,” another officer said, stepping forward with cuffs in his hand.

Tyler dropped and put his hands behind his head, watching Dalton carry Noah out the door and out of sight.

Chapter Thirty-One

DANI WOKE UP to the sensation of tap-dancing elves stomping on her brain. She could barely open her eyes, as a white light burned every time she tried.

“Can someone”—God, why was she so thirsty?—“get the light?”

“Oh, she’s awake. George! She’s awake.”

Dani opened her eyes this time and was able to take in her surroundings groggily. “What happened?”

“You were attacked. You have a concussion and a few broken ribs, but the doctors told us you’re going to be fine.”

Flashes of memory came back to her. Pain . . . a hateful voice . . . Noah’s crying.

“Noah . . . Where’s Noah?”

“He’s in the pediatric ward. He’s fine. Your friend Megan is with him.”

Dani tried to sit up and winced.

“Honey, don’t move. You’re pretty banged up,” her dad said.

“But I want to see my son.”

“You will, as soon as he wakes up,” said her dad, patting her shoulder.

Relaxing slightly, she asked, “Where’s Tyler? Why isn’t he here?”

She might have been out of it, but she didn’t miss the look that passed between her parents.

“Mom?” she prodded.

“Tyler’s at the police station, baby.”

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