Cold Touch – Extra Sensory Agents

cold_touch_L

Book 2 July 2011

Since being gifted–or cursed–with her ability to touch a lifeless body and relive the victim’s final moments, Olivia Wainwright has died a hundred deaths. She hears the screams, tastes the fear; feels the excruciating pain–and every glimpse into this darkness draws her deeper into danger.

Now, though, she’s met a man who offers a glimmer of light. Savannah Detective Gabe Cooper might look like a sexy good-old-boy, but his laid-back attitude hides a sharp mind and a protective heart. He doesn’t believe in psychics–until he meets Olivia and sees firsthand how her dark gift ravages her spirit.

As their bond deepens, Olivia will have to choose between her cold gift and the warmth Gabe provides. But her past is catching up with her, and Gabe can’t refuse when she needs his help solving a crime that’s haunted her for over a decade…her own murder.

Book 2
July 2011

REVIEWS
“Parrish doesn’t do things by halves: the chemistry is hot, the bad guy is truly evil and the paranormal aspects are dark and haunting. Her full commitment to both romance and suspense heightens the impact and sweeps the reader along the twisty path to a satisfying climax.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“This is truly a compelling and gut-wrenching tale. Parrish skillfully weaves paranormal elements into a taut murder mystery. Very rarely do you find an author who masters suspense, paranormal, character development, romantic conflict and resolution with such grace and ease. Parrish is top notch and this is a must-read for paranormal and suspense fans. 4 1/2 stars” – Romantic Times Magazine

“Fresh, exciting, truly thrilling romantic suspense…The Extrasensory Agents series delivers outstanding paranormal intrigue from a sharp, creative new voice in the genre.” -Lara Adrian, New York Times Bestselling author of The Midnight Breed series

EXCERPT
Prologue

Twelve Years Ago

“He’s gonna kill you.”

The boy’s voice shook with both sadness and fear. And with those four whispered words, Olivia Wainwright’s faint hope of survival disappeared.

The boy. Jack. Was he a victim, too? She wasn’t sure. She only knew that during the three terrifying days she’d been tied-up in this hot, miserable barn, his sharp, angular face was the only one she’d seen. She’d caught brief glimpses of him in the shadows when he shuffled in to bring her water, or sometimes a handful of stale nuts that she suspected he wasn’t supposed to share. Once, he’d even come close enough to loosen the ropes on her wrists and ankles a little, so at least she had some circulation again.

But he hadn’t let her go. No matter how much she’d begged.

He was a couple of years younger than her, twelve or thirteen, maybe. Skinny, pale, with sunken cheeks and deep-set eyes. While he was free to go in and out, she suspected he was a victim, too-of abuse, at the very least. The kid looked beaten down, his spirit crushed, all memories of happiness long gone.

Olivia began to shake, long shudders making her bound legs quiver and her stomach heave. She’d eaten almost nothing for days, yet thought she’d be sick.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. She’d tried so hard to be strong, to think positively. Her parents loved her, and they had a lot of money. Of course they’d pay the ransom. She’d told herself it would all be okay. But it wouldn’t be okay. Not ever again.

“When?” she finally asked, dread making the word hard to push from her mouth.

“Once he makes sure they paid the ransom money.”

“If they’re paying the money, why is he going to kill me?” she asked, the words sounding so strange in her ears. God, she was fifteen years old, the very idea that she would be asking questions about her own murder had never once crossed her mind.

Four days ago she’d been a slightly spoiled, happy teenager looking forward to getting her driver’s license and wondering how much begging it would take to get her over-indulgent parents to buy her a Jeep.

Now she was wondering how many minutes she had left on this earth. She could hear a clock ticking away in her mind, each tick marking one less second of her life.

“He don’t want any witnesses.” Jack leaned back against the old plank-board wall and slid down it, like he couldn’t hold himself up anymore. He sat hunched on the backs of his bent legs, watching her. A shaft of moonlight bursting through a broken slat high up in the barn wall shone a spotlight on his bony face. Tear-tracks had cleared a path through the grime on his bruised cheeks and his lips-swollen, bloodied-quivered. “He’s afraid you can identify him.”

“I can’t! I never even saw his face.”

That was true. She’d never gotten a glimpse of the man who’d grabbed her from her own bedroom. Liv had awakened from a sound sleep to find a pillow slapped over her face, a hateful male voice hissing at her not to scream or he’d shoot her and her sister, whose room was right next door. Their parents’ room was on the other side of the huge house and Liv didn’t doubt that the man would be able to make good on his threat before anyone could get to them.

A minute later, any chance of screaming had been taken from her. He’d hit her hard enough to knock her out. By the time she’d awakened, she was already inside this old abandoned barn. Jack was the only living soul she’d seen or heard since.

“I’m sorry.”

“Let me go,” she urged.

He shook his head, repeating, “I’m sorry.”

“Please, Jack. You can’t let this happen.”

“There’s nothin’ I can do.”

“Just untie me and give me a chance to run away.”

“He’ll find you,” he said. “Then he’ll kill us both.” His voice was low, his tone sounding almost robotic. Like he’d heard the threat so many times it had become ingrained in his head.

“When did he take you?” she asked, suddenly certain this boy was a captive as well.

“Take me?” Jack stared at her, his brown eyes flat and lifeless. “Whaddya mean?”

“He kidnapped you, too. Didn’t he?”

“Dunno.” Jack slowly shook his head. “I’ve been with him forever.”

“Is he your father?” she persisted.

Jack didn’t respond, though whether it was because he didn’t know or didn’t want to say, she couldn’t be sure.

“Do you have a mother?

“Don’t remember.”

“Look, whoever he is, you have to get away from him. We have to get away.” She tried to scoot closer, though her legs-numb from being bound-didn’t want to cooperate. She managed no more than a few inches before falling onto her side, remnants of dry, dirty old hay scratching her cheek. “Come with me. Untie me and we’ll both run.”

If she could run on her barely functional legs.

She thrust that worry away. If it meant saving her life, hell, she’d crawl.

“I can’t,” he replied, looking down at her from a few feet away. His hand rose, like he wanted to reach out and touch her, to help her sit up. Then he dropped it back onto his lap, as if he was used to having his hand slapped if he ever dared to raise it.

“Yes, you can! My parents will help you. They’ll be so grateful.”

“I can’t.”

Again that robotic voice. Like the kid was brainwashed. If he’d been a prisoner for so long he didn’t even remember any other life, she supposed he probably had been.

He reached into the pocket of his tattered jeans, pulling out two small pills. “Here,” he said. “I swiped ‘em from the floor in his room, he musta dropped ‘em. I think they’ll make you sleep, so maybe it won’t hurt.”

A sob rose from deep inside her, catching in the middle of her throat, choking and desperate. “How will he do it?”

The boy sniffled. “I dunno.”

“Not a knife,” she cried, panic rising fast. “Oh, please God, don’t let him cut me.”

She hated knives. In every horror movie she’d ever seen, it was the gleam of light shining on the sharp, silvery edge of a blade that made her throw her hands over her eyes or just turn off the TV.

“He don’t use a knife, not usually,” Jack said.

His consoling reply didn’t distract her from the implication: She wouldn’t be the first person to die at her kidnapper’s hands. He’d killed before. And this boy had witnessed those killings.

“Don’t let this happen, Jack, please.” Tears poured out of her eyes and she twisted and struggled against the ropes. “Don’t let him hurt me.”

“Take the pills,” he said, his tears streaming as hard as hers. “Just take ‘em.”

“You should have brought the whole bottle,” she said, hearing her own bitterness and desperation.

“If I could get to a whole bottle, I woulda swallowed ‘em myself, a long time ago.”

That haunted voice suddenly sounded so adult, so broken. The voice of someone who’d considered suicide every day of his young life. What horrors must he have endured to embrace the thought of death so easily?

It was his sheer hopelessness that made her realize she hadn’t given up hope. She was terrified out of her mind and didn’t want to die, didn’t want to feel the pain of death-oh God, not a knife-but she wasn’t ready to give up, either. No matter what she’d said, if he had a bottle of pills in his hand, she didn’t think she would swallow them, not even now with death bearing down on her like a car heading for a cliff.

She wanted to live.

“Where you at, boy?” a voice bellowed from outside.

Jack leapt to his feet, his sadness disappearing as utter terror swept over him. That terror leapt from his body into hers, and Olivia struggled harder against the ropes. Like an animal caught in a trap, she could almost smell her own extermination barreling toward her.

She tried to keep her head. Tried to think.

If her captor didn’t know the boy had warned her, maybe he’d let his guard down. Maybe she could get him to untie her, maybe she could run….

Or maybe she really was about to die.

“Please,” she whispered, knowing Jack wanted to help her. But his fear won out; he didn’t even seem to hear her plea. He had already begun to climb over the side wall of the stall, falling into the next one with a muffled grunt.

No sooner had he gone than the barn door flew open with a crash. Heavy footsteps approached, ominous and violent like the powerful thudding of her heart.

Through the worn slats, she could see Jack lying in the next stall, motionless, watching her. She pleaded with her eyes, but he didn’t respond in any way. It seemed as though the real boy had retreated somewhere deep inside a safe place in his mind, and only the shell of a human being remained.

Her kidnapper reached the entrance to the stall. Still lying on her side, Olivia first saw his ugly, thick-soled boots. She slowly looked up, noted faded jeans pulled tight over thick, squat legs, but before she could tilt her head back to see the rest, something heavy and scratchy-a horse blanket, she suspected-landed on her face, obscuring her vision.

Confusion made her whimper and her heart, already racing, tripped in her chest. She trembled with fear, yes. But there was something more.

Hope.

He didn’t want her to see him. Which meant he might have changed his mind. Maybe he knew she couldn’t identify him and he was going to let her go.

“Up you go, girl,” he said, grabbing her by the back of her hair and yanking her to her feet, holding the small blanket in place. He pressed in behind her, and she almost gagged. The cloth over her head wasn’t thick enough to block the sweaty reek of his body or his sour breath-the same smells she’d forever associate with being startled awake in the night.

Forever? Please God let there be more than just tonight.

“Looks like your Mama and Daddy aren’t sick’a you yet. They’re paying over a lot of money to get you back.”

“You’re going to let me go?” she managed to whisper, hope blossoming.

“Sure I am, sugar,” he said with a hoarse, ugly laugh.

Olivia forced herself to ignore that mean laugh and allowed relief and happiness to flood through her. She breathed deeply, then mumbled, “Thank God. Oh, thank you God.”

Ignoring her, he kicked at her bare feet so she’d start moving. She stumbled on numb legs, and he had to support her as they trudged out of the stall-her shuffling because of the rope. His grip on her hair, and a thick arm around her waist kept her upright as they walked outside into the hot Georgia night.

At least, she thought she was still in Georgia. It smelled like home, anyway. Not even the musky odor of the fabric and her attacker’s stench could block the scent of the night air, damp and thick and ripe like the woods outside of Savannah after the rain.

Maybe she was still in Savannah. Close to her own house, close to her family. Minutes away from her father’s strong arms and her mother’s loving kiss.

Despite everything-her fears, the boy’s claims-she was going to see them again.

Suddenly, he stopped. “Where you been at?”

A furtive movement came from nearby. Jack had apparently scurried out of his hiding place. “Watchin’ the road.”

Suddenly, Olivia was overwhelmed with anger at the boy, fury that he’d scared her, even more that he hadn’t helped her escape. Over the past few days, there had been any number of times when he could have released her, but he hadn’t done it.

Then, remembering the blank, dazed expression, the robotic voice, she forced the anger away. He was a little kid who’d been in this monster’s grip for a whole lot longer than three days. She couldn’t imagine what he had endured. Once she got home, she was going to do what she could for him. Help him get free, find out who his people were. She had to, otherwise that blank, haunted stare and bruised face would torment her for the rest of her life.

“Good. I’m gonna need your help in a lil while. Once I take care of this, I want you to get some plastic and roll her up good and tight to bury her. You know what to do.”

And just like that, her fantasy popped. He wasn’t hauling her outside to let her go. Jack had been right all along. Olivia shuddered, her weak legs giving out beneath her as the world began to spin and the faces of her parents and little sister flashed in her mind.

“Get me my hunting knife.”

Her every muscle went rigid with terror. A scream rose in her throat and burst from her mouth. He clapped a hand over it, shoving the fabric between her split lips. “Shut up, girl or it’ll go worse for ya.” Then, to the boy, he snapped, “Well? Get goin!”

“Knife’s broke,” Jack mumbled. “I was usin’ it to tighten up the hinges on the barn door and the blade snapped.”

Her kidnapper moved suddenly, the hand releasing her mouth. A sudden thwack said he’d back-handed the boy. Jack didn’t cry out, didn’t stagger away, as far as she could hear.

“What am I supposed to do now?” the man snapped.

Jack cleared his throat. For a second, she thought he had worked up the courage to beg for her freedom, that he would try, however futilely, to stand up for her.

Instead, in that same brain-washed voice, he made another suggestion. And her last hope died.

“Why don’t you drown her?”

Chapter 1

Present Day

Pulling into the gravel parking lot of a burned-out honky-tonk on Ogeechee Road, Detective Gabe Cooper eyed his watch, then the temperature gauge on the dash of his unmarked sedan. Six twenty-five a.m., eighty-two degrees. Humidity about eighty percent.

It was gonna be a hell of a day. Or a day in hell. With any summer in Savannah, there wasn’t much difference, and this August heat-wave had already been one for the record books. Not just for the high temps, but also for the crime rate. Because with heat came anger. With anger, violence. And, more than anybody on the Savannah-Chatham Metro P.D. would like to admit, that violence ended in death. Which was why he was here, outside what had once been Fast Eddie’s Bar and was now one giant hunk of burnt.

Killing the engine, Gabe pushed his dark sunglasses firmly over his eyes, then glanced out the window at a car that had just pulled in beside him. His partner, Ty Wallace, had gotten the call on his way in to the Central Precinct, too, and had detoured to meet him on the scene.

Theirs weren’t the only vehicles present. The fire department had reportedly gotten the call at around three a.m., and it had taken crews from two stations to beat the flames into submission. Now, the smoldering ruins of a once troublesome hangout were ringed by a handful of trucks, a squad car, a Fire Chief vehicle, and a crime scene van that said forensics was already on the job. From up the block, an early-bird crew from one of the local news stations ogled everything, hungry for a story to lead-off the seven a.m. broadcast.

Fortunately, the few sad, ramshackle houses nearby remained quiet, either abandoned, or their occupants were sound asleep, tired-out after the middle-of-the-night fire excitement. The only close neighbors likely to be attracted to the action now would be watching from the afterlife: The North Laurel Grove Cemetery cast its shadow of eerie-genteel southern death over the entire area from directly across the street.

From what he’d heard on dispatch, the initial call had sounded like just another random fire, possibly an arson case. The kind where some roughneck got mad about being cut off, then flicked a match on a tank of propane and roared away into the night. Then they’d found the body.

Too early to say who it was, how they’d died, or who’d lit the match. But things had definitely gotten a lot more sticky

Stepping out of the car, he braced himself against an assault of pure heat against his air-conditioned skin. A sheen of sweat immediately broke out on his brow. The scorched air was sharp in his nose, the smoky embers leaving a haze that rose to meet the one falling from the humid sky. But even that didn’t quite cover up the smell of old paper and damp cellar that seemed to permeate the state in August.

The keening screech of a million cicadas deafened him for a moment. Oblivious to man’s drama, the insects drowned out the chatter of the onsite responders, and the rumble of a city waking up to another steamy morning.

Summertime in Georgia. You had to love it ’cause you’d just go crazy hating it. Never having lived anywhere else-he’d been raised on a farm less than a hundred miles from here and had gone to community college, and then SSU right here in Savannah-he didn’t know how he’d react if a summer day didn’t include sweat and haze and hot air in his lungs. And bugs…Lord knows, you couldn’t forget the bugs.

“Beats some northern city with ten feet of snow in the winter,” he reminded himself. Besides, while Savannah might have cockroaches as big as his hand, he wouldn’t trade them for dog-sized rats in someplace like New York.

Eyeing the smoke still rising from the charred, blackened remains, he found himself hoping this was an open-and-shut kind of case-arson as revenge, owner caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. He didn’t know if his boiling brain was ready for much more than that this early, especially with no coffee.

“Hey there, partner,” said Ty, who’d hopped out of his car with his typical jaunty air. His freshly-shaved bald head gleamed and his light-colored suit was crisp and fresh. As usual, the guy looked like he’d stepped off the cover of GQ.

Gabe, on the other hand, could maybe pose for Field & Stream on his very best day. A suit and tie kinda guy he wasn’t, though, of course, he’d made the tie concession since earning his shield three years ago.

“Lucky us-getting to work in the great outdoors this fine morning,” his partner added. “One of the best parts of the job, isn’t it?”

“Cheery s.o.b.,” Gabe muttered, knowing the man was trying to get a laugh out of him.

“Broughtcha somethin’,” Ty said, lifting his hand to reveal a large, plastic cup containing some beige, Slurpee-like confection, topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, that wouldn’t be consumed by any self-respecting coffee drinker.

He grimaced. “No thank you.”

“That’s mine.” Ty placed the drink on the car roof and bending back inside. When he stood, he held a foam cup, the steam rising out of the tiny sippy-hole at the top.

Ahh. Perfect. His partner might have peacock genes, but he did know Gabe well. Didn’t matter if the heat index was two-below-molten-lava, he needed his coffee hot and dark to start the day. “Thanks. You’re forgiven for sticking me with the report on the liquor store holdup so you could go out with that tranny you met at the race track.”

Always good-humored, Ty grinned. “She was all woman, partner. Just big and fierce.”

Gabe knew that, he’d just been giving his partner shit. Ty was purely straight-the younger man loved women, probably a little too much, considering how many different ones seemed to drift in and out of his life. Gabe had been warning him that one day he was either gonna get the Bobbitt treatment, or else he’d fall crazy in love, for real, with a woman who wouldn’t let him touch a hair on her head.

Watching him take a sip, Ty gave him a sly look and asked, “So, whaddya say? Is it strong enough to float an anvil?”

Gabe chuckled. One thing he had to say for his young partner, he sure was tenacious. Ty had picked up some book of southern expressions and was forever trying them out. He had moved here from Florida, which any Georgian would tell you was about as much a part of the true “deep south” as New York City. Tired of losing the argument that south of the Mason-Dixon line meant southern-which it didn’t-the man was blasted determined to fit in like a born-and-bred Georgian. One colloquialism at a time.

“Y’all just about got that ‘un right,” Gabe said with a grin, letting his own deep south accent, which he usually kept under control, slip out. “But remember, it’s pronounced ‘tuh’ not ‘to.'”

The younger man saluted. “Got it.”

Leaving their cars, the two of them approached the scene, and were greeted by a sweating firefighter wearing about forty pounds of gear. The red-faced man eyed Ty’s frou-frou drink, and, without a second’s hesitation, his partner wordlessly handed it over. “For you.”

Pain in the ass clothes-and-women hound or not, Ty was one hell of a nice guy. In the year that they’d been partnered up, Gabe had come to not only respect him, but to like him more than just about anybody else he knew. Of course, that didn’t stop him from giving the rookie detective shit just as often as he felt like it.

“Thanks,” the firefighter said, sounding truly grateful. His soot-smeared hand shook a little with visible exhaustion as he lifted the icy drink to his mouth and gulped.

“So whadda we got?” Gabe asked after the exhausted firefighter had sipped deeply.

“Remains were found hidden inside a wall. Looks like they’d been there a long time.”

Taken by surprise, since he’d expected an arson victim who’d gotten trapped by the flames or smoke mere hours ago, Gabe frowned. “How long?”

“Skeleton long,” the main replied with a shrug.

Meaning years. Talk about a cold case turned very hot.

“The body musta been wrapped up in plastic or something, which pretty-much melted under the flames. But there wasn’t much corpse left to melt from what I could see. Just bones.”

“You found the remains yourself?” Ty asked, jotting a few notes in a small notebook.

“Uh huh,” the firefighter said. Offering his name and badge number, he added, “We were walking down the site, just to check for any hot spots. Didn’t think there were any victims-the owner lives nearby and came in right away. Said the bar had been closed for an hour and nobody shoulda been here.”

Gabe glanced around the parking lot, spying a dejected-looking older man with long, graying hair. His loose shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops said he’d dressed and gotten here in a hurry. “He the owner?”

“Yeah, that’s him, Fast Eddie himself. He’s been wailing ’bout some cracker who was hassling a waitress the other night.”

Gabe couldn’t prevent a tiny, reflexive stiffening of his spine at the casual, derogatory slang. Pure product of his upbringing, he knew. He was long past being bothered about the fact that he’d been labeled a cracker, a redneck, or just white trash bastard as a kid, having grown up on a dirt-poor farm with his racist asshole of a grandfather.

Huh. He couldn’t even imagine what the old man would say if he knew Gabe’s new partner was a black man. If Gabe had actually spoken to his only living relative once in the past seven years, he might be tempted to call him up, just to tell him that.

“Fast Eddie suspects the guy came back tonight and set the blaze for revenge,” the firefighter added.

Maybe. But judging by what they’d heard so far, this “cracker” probably hadn’t been the one who’d left a plastic-wrapped skeleton on-site, unless he had a twisted sense of humor and a liking for dramatic calling cards. “Okay, we’ll talk to him, get a description of the guy.”

The firefighter finished the drink Ty had given him, mumbling, “Thanks man. I owe you one.”

“No problem.”

“Next one’s on me, I swear,” he said with a grin. But it quickly faded. “Hell of a thing, finding something like that. Never seen anything like it. Who’d expect to stumble over a bunch of old bones stuffed inside a wall?”

The big man looked shaken. Working homicide, dealing with bodies had become an unpleasant habit for Gabe, but this guy might never have seen human remains before. Firefighters often went into their field to save lives, while cops like Gabe eventually got used to the fact that they spent more time helping victims after crimes were committed than before.

The old saying said an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure. But in this day and age, with budgets stretched so thin states were sending IOU’s instead of tax refunds, cops were badly out-manned and often out-equipped. Playing solve instead of prevent seemed to be the name of the game everywhere, including Savannah.

“Where exactly did you find ‘em?” Gabe asked.

“The masonry was still intact in the corner of what was once a storage room-fortunately, not the liquor storage room, or we might not’a found anything at all. We got this wicked bitch under control right before she made contact with about fifty cases of beer, and dozens of bottles of Jack, Johnnie and Wild Turkey.”

That would have been bad. Real bad. The dead over at Laurel Grove cemetery might have been rattled out of their graves if that room had gone up.

“Looks like the body had been wedged up against the wall, between two studs, then closed in with drywall. Once the wall came down, the bones did, too.”

“You’d think they’d have noticed the smell,” Ty muttered.

Maybe. But in a bar filled with the smell of beer and sweaty bodies, maybe a nasty odor coming from a packed storage room wouldn’t have stood out too much.

Thanking the firefighter, Gabe nodded to a man who’d just exited the ruin. Wright, one of the crime scene investigators. Good. In fact, he was probably the best. Wright wasn’t a grandstander, nor a typical science geek. He was friendly, though methodical and thorough, never missing a thing. Every cop in homicide hoped he’d be the one they drew on a case.

“Mornin’ detectives,” he said, heading straight to his van and talking over his shoulder. “I don’t have anything yet.”

“You’re losing your touch then, figured you’d have the vic’s name and driver’s license number by now,” Ty said with a grin.

Wright, usually good-natured, didn’t laugh in response. Instead, he shook his head in disgust. “This poor kid was too young to have one.”

A kid.

“Damn,” Ty mumbled, rubbing a hand against his jaw.

Wright reached into the van and hauled out a sizable equipment case-he’d apparently gotten here just ahead of them and hadn’t done much more than walk into the building and take a look. “He’s been there a long time-years probably. Judging by the size of the skeleton, I’d say he was around ten, maybe twelve when he died. Somewhere in that range.”

Gabe steeled himself against the instinctive mental rebellion that went with the idea of a little kid being murdered and stuffed into a wall and focused on doing his job: finding out who’d done it. “Male?”

“Pretty sure, not 100% yet because of the soot and the melted plastic, but it looks that way. Coroner’ll be able to confirm it.”

“Any sign of trauma?”

Wright shrugged. “Like I said, I can’t see much yet. The skull is intact, so’s the ribcage. If there was any remaining flesh or organ matter, the fire burned it away, along with whatever clothes he’d been wearing.” He shrugged. “Just have to wait and see what the coroner can find regarding cause of death. I sure hope he can find something.”

“You’n me both,” said Gabe, preparing mentally to walk into the ruins to see the crime scene for himself. In any old murder case, finding evidence after a number of years was tough. But after a fire? Talk about finding your needle in a stack’a needles.

Whether the bar had actually been the place of the murder was still very much in question, though he tended to doubt it. What would a young kid be doing inside a rowdy hangout? More likely the boy had run afoul of somebody connected with the place, somebody who’d done a little creative construction work to hide evidence of his crime.

He glanced across the parking lot toward the owner, noting Ty was doing the same thing.

“Think we’re gonna need to talk to him,” Gabe murmured.

“Uh huh.” Ty frowned, any evidence of earlier humor having evaporated with the knowledge that they were dealing with the murder of a child. The worst case scenario for any cop, as far as Gabe was concerned. Though he’d worn the uniform for a few years in Florida, Ty’s detective badge was pretty new, so this could very well be his first case involving a kid. Sucked to be him today.

And even though he’d been on the job long enough to have seen a few cases he’d rather never have known about, frankly, it sucked to be Gabe today, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>