Chapter 1 Ambush
Jen McDowell and Jonah Magliozzi were partners on the Atlanta police force. They were more than partners. They responded to an anonymous call about homeless persons living in an abandoned house. The caller said it looked like they were starting fires and thought they might be cooking meth. No one responded to their knock on the front door, and the door was nailed shut. She and Jonah decided to split up and circle the house to find another entrance. Halfway round the house, Jen found an outside stairway leading down to a basement door. The door appeared to be ajar. She radioed Jonah and told him she was going to check the door.
Halfway down the steps, an IED on her right side exploded, mangling both her legs below the knees. Her body armor and helmet protected most of her upper torso and head. Shrapnel torn up her right thigh except where her sidearm was holstered. Most of her right arm was spared, because she was talking on the radio with her right hand by her mouth. A piece of shrapnel tore through both cheeks, taking out a few teeth. Another piece of shrapnel struck her in the neck, missing the carotid artery by a fraction of an inch.
Jen screamed loud enough to wake herself up. Her boyfriend, Dr. Curtis ‘Doc’ Betts, rolled over and encased her in his strong arms; so tight Jen could feel his heartbeat against her bare back. “It’s okay,” he said. “You’re safe. You’re home in bed with us. It’s okay. You’re having a nightmare.” Jen felt safer. Her breathing started to return to normal. “Another nightmare?” Doc asked.
“No,” Jen answered. The same one. Sorry to wake you.” Jen looked to her left at her other boyfriend, Jonah. He had just rolled over and was facing away from her. Jen lay in Doc’s embrace wide awake but feeling safe. She listened as Doc’s breathing returned to a slower rhythm that told her he was asleep once more.