Calculated in Death - J. D. Robb Page 0,2

did. We did.”

She leaned into Whitestone when he put an arm around her waist. “We didn’t touch her,” Whitestone said. “I stepped over, closer, but I could see . . . I could tell she was dead.”

“Brad wanted me to go inside, where it’s warm, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t wait inside knowing she was out here, in the cold. The police came so fast.”

“Mr. Whitestone, I’m going to want a list of your partners, and of the people working on the building.”

“Of course.”

“If you’d give that and your contact information to my partner, you can go home. We’ll be in touch.”

“We can go?” Alva asked her.

“For now. I’d like your permission to go inside the unit, the building.”

“Sure. Anything you need. I have keys and codes,” he began.

“I’ve got a master. If there’s any trouble, I’ll let you know.”

“Lieutenant?” Alva called her again as Eve turned to go. “When I met you, before, I thought what you did was glamorous. In a way. Like the Icove case, and how it’s going to be a major vid. It seemed exciting. But it’s not.” Alva’s gaze swept back toward the stairs. “It’s hard and it’s sad.”

“It’s the job,” Eve said simply, and walked back toward the steps. “We’ll wait to canvass until morning,” she told Officer Turney. “Nobody’s going to tell us much if we wake them up at this hour. The building’s vacant, not just the unit. See that the wits get where they need to go. What’s your house, Turney?”

“We’re out of the one-three-six.”

“And your CO?”

“Sergeant Gonzales, sir.”

“If you want in on the canvass, I’ll clear it with your CO. Be here at oh-seven-thirty.”

“Yes, sir!” She all but snapped a salute.

Mildly amused, Eve walked down the stairs, cleared the locks and codes, and entered the lower unit.

“Lights on full,” she ordered, pleased when they flashed on.

The living area—she assumed as it wasn’t yet furnished—provided a generous space. The walls—what was painted—glowed like freshly toasted bread, and the floors—what wasn’t covered with tarps—gleamed in a rich dark finish. Materials, supplies, all stacked neatly in corners, provided evidence of ongoing work.

Tidy, and efficient, probably down to the final details.

So why was one tarp bunched, unlike the others, exposing a wide area of that gleaming floor?

“Like someone slipped on it, or wrestled on it,” she said as she walked over, let her recorder scan the width, the length before she bent to straighten it.

“Lots of paint splatters, but . . .”

She crouched, took out her flashlight and shined it over the tarp. “That sure looks like blood to me. Just a few drops.”

She opened her kit, took a small sample before marking the spot for the sweepers.

She moved away, into a wide galley-style kitchen, more gleaming and glowing under protective tarps and seals.

By the time she’d done the first pass-through—master bedroom and bath, second bedroom or office and bath—Peabody came in.

“I started runs on the wits,” Peabody began. “The woman’s loaded. Not Roarke loaded, but she can afford that coat and those really mag boots.”

“Yeah, it showed.”

“He’s doing just fine, too. Second-generation money, but he’s earning his own. He’s got a D&D, but it’s ten years back. Her deal is speeding. She’s got a shitload of speeding tickets, mostly to and from her place in the Hamptons.”

“You know how it is when you want to get to the Hamptons. What do you see, Peabody?”

“Really good work, attention to detail, money well spent, and deep enough pockets to be able to spend it on really good work and attention to detail. And . . .” Unwinding a couple feet of her mile of scarf, Peabody stepped over to Eve’s marker. “What might be blood on this tarp.”

“The tarp was bunched up, like a rug when you take a skid on it. All the others are laid out fairly smoothly.”

“Accidents happen in construction. Blood gets spilled. But.”

“Yeah, but. Blood on a tarp and a body outside the door. Her lip’s split, and there’s dried blood on it. Not a lot of blood, so somebody might not even notice any dripped on the tarp, especially when the tarp bunched up.”

“They brought her in here?” Forehead furrowed, Peabody looked back at the door. “I didn’t see any signs of forced entry, but I’ll check again.”

“They didn’t force it. Maybe picked it, but that takes time. More likely they had the code, or a damn good reader.”

“Putting all that into the mix, it’s not a simple mugging gone bad.”

“No. He’s not smart. The killer. If he’s strong