Ruby Hill (Entangled Ever After)
filled her nostrils even after the world went dark. For several long seconds, she lingered.
    Then, after a long, wrenching breath, it was over.

Chapter Seven
    The moment Corbin lost sight of Ashley was the longest of his life. He didn’t spare the broken wooden staircase a second glance as he tore his way to the top. There, he found Ashley in a heap on the floor. Corbin stared in disbelief, praying what he saw was another figment of his overactive imagination. But in his heart, he knew otherwise. Corbin dropped to his knees, yelling for paramedics. No pulse. Dammit, Ashley . He bent over her and began CPR.
    A man stood idly in the corner—the same man Corbin had seen from the floor. Why don’t you run, you bastard ? He hadn’t touched Ashley—he hadn’t been out of Corbin’s sight long enough to hurt her. But he didn’t flee. Corbin focused on chest compressions, his ire growing more intent with every attempt to bring Ashley back to life. Who did this bastard think he was? He just stood, watching, a slow smirk spreading over his face.
    C’mon, Ash. One…two…three….
    Corbin’s subconscious racked up details. Ratty pajamas. Gray hair. Scraggly and wild-eyed, the man looked every bit the resident of Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum. Only the hospital had shed its patients years ago.
    If this guy was here acting on a grudge, it had deep roots.
    The paramedics were taking too long. Ashley wasn’t responding. Corbin was caught between saving her and beating the shit out of the man who had somehow done this, but there was no real contest.
    There was no way to win.
    She was deathly pale. Her lips were blue. Crimson stained her shirt where his hand had started bleeding again.
    He was losing her.
    “I need the paramedics!” he yelled again, praying someone was there to hear him.
    No reply. No shouts from below. No slamming doors. Nothing.
    One fat droplet fell on her ashen face, then another. Tears. He choked them back. But inexplicably, the knot in his chest eased.
    She’ll be okay.
    Corbin looked up. Into the eyes of his brother, who stood just a foot away. He appeared exactly as he had the day he died.
    “Malone!” The shout came from the entry floor below. Joe. Finally.
    “Up here!”
    Cash. Cash was in front of him.
    “How the hell did you get up there, Malone?” A breathless Joe.
    “The stairs.”
    A profane onslaught of words suggested Joe didn’t intend to test the stairs. “Paramedics are on their way. Can you get her down here?”
    “Negative. Get your ass up here, Joe. Your perp is waiting for bracelets.”
    Another tirade of profanity beat Joe up the stairs. A paramedic followed close behind.
    Ashley took a slow, shuddering breath.
    She was alive.
    Only then did Corbin realize Cash was gone.
    While the paramedics tended to Ashley—who was fully awake and insisting she was fine—Corbin stood watch over the patrol car with its passenger cuffed in the back. Now, out of the moment, the man looked as normal as any filthy, bedraggled fellow had a right to look. But Corbin couldn’t equate this with an everyday arrest.
    Hugging a paper cup of coffee, Joe approached the front of the car, looking as if he hadn’t slept in days. He set his drink on the hood and rubbed his face with both hands. “We ID’d that print,” he said.
    Corbin glanced to the back seat where the man sat in utter calm. “Who is he?”
    “Floyd Stanley. I forget how many points matched up, but the prints were statistically identical. Clear as day.” Joe dropped a photo on the hood. The picture was old, but there was no denying the resemblance. It was a slightly younger version of the same man, or his twin. But the fingerprint spoke volumes.
    So did Joe’s tone.
    Corbin put his hands on his hips. “You don’t sound happy. What’s the problem?”
    “Floyd Stanley was arrested in the 1950s for a series of murders. He played the crazy card and ended up here, in Ruby Hill. That’s

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