An Unexpected Distraction (Judge # 3) by Catherine Bybee

Jax grasped Andrew’s hand with her free one. “It’s a flesh wound. I’ll be fine.”

He swallowed . . . hard. “Any chance I can talk you into changing jobs?”

“Good chance this week. Not sure about next.”

Andrew sat beside her as James placed a massive bandage on her leg.

Andrew pressed his lips close to her ear. “I love you.”

She squeezed his hand. “I love you, too.”

Much as Jax didn’t want to bring media attention to any relationship between Addison and herself, it wasn’t something she could control.

They both spent the night in the hospital, mainly because of the drugs the Hungarian had given them. A few stitches and antibiotics accompanied by a killer headache rounded out her physical trauma.

That and the image of the man she’d shot.

She’d woken in the night, the sounds of gunshots in her head. Andrew reached over from the chair he was sleeping in and took her hand.

“I’m sorry I woke you up,” Jax whispered.

“Bad dreams?”

Much as she hated to admit it. “Yeah.”

“We’ll use those phone numbers the social worker gave us.”

She wasn’t going to suggest otherwise. Closing her eyes made her see the man in a pool of blood.

“He wasn’t after the files. He wanted to take out the team.”

“You don’t have to go over this tonight.”

She rolled her head to the side and smiled against her pillow. “I know. But . . . I told him he’d be hunted for the rest of his life, and he said he already was. Someone was forcing him. We need to find out who that is.”

“You need to get some sleep.”

She closed her eyes. “Okay.”

Jax sat in the wheelchair she would be forced to use when she exited the hospital. Beside her, Addison Philips did the same.

They both asked to have a moment alone before rolling out the door to the media that was waiting.

“My father always knew,” Addison told her. “He didn’t know who, according to my mother, but . . . he looked the other way. She wanted a baby, and he loved my mother.”

“Their secret almost got you killed.”

“I could say the same to you. Only it sounds as if your father pushed you away at an early age to avoid anyone finding out.”

“It was me looking for the truth that led the Hungarian to you. I’m sorry for that.”

“It’s not your fault,” Addison said.

“What do you want the media to know?”

According to Jax’s coworkers and Andrew, the media was spinning it with a story saying, “A millionaire heiress in a battle for her estate and a private investigator who bears a striking resemblance to her were kidnapped and held for ransom. A private security team closely tied to the investigator are working with the London police to determine if the deceased assailant acted alone or with others. Both victims will be under tight security until possible threats can be flushed out and eliminated.”

“Secrets are only useful when they’re hidden. If I had known I had a sister in your line of work, maybe I would have had an eye over my shoulder. Or at least an alarm on my front door.”

Jax smiled. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”

“You don’t have to. Your friend James might have mentioned it.”

It was good to laugh. “I’ll be sure and get you the family rate.”

Addison’s gaze moved to the window of the hospital room they were sitting in. Outside, their families were waiting.

“Where do you and I go from here?” Addison asked.

“I’d like the opportunity to know you.”

“I’m so happy to hear you say that. I’ve never had a sister.”

Jax thought of Claire. “I have. It’s everything it should be.”

“And our parents?”

Jax cringed. “I think family reunions will have to wait. My mother just learned of you.”

“That has to hurt.”

“She’s strong.”

Addison reached forward, clasped her hand. “Tea next week?”

Jax grinned. “What do you think about martinis?”


“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride.”

Jax was all tears when Cooper and Claire sealed the deal with a kiss to end all kisses.