Deadly Dreams - By Kylie Brant Page 0,1
He slipped his shield inside his jacket. “I’m on my way to a possible crime scene. My captain passed along a request from the chief inspector of the detective bureau that I extend you an invite to ride along. In an unofficial capacity, of course.”
A chill broke out over her skin, chasing away the remnants of heat that still lingered from the nightmare. “Why would he do that?”
McGuire lifted a dark brow. “I figured you’d know.”
She shoved her heavy mass of hair from her face and shook her head. Risa hadn’t looked up any old friends from the force since coming home four months ago. Had avoided news like the plague. That hadn’t been difficult given her mother’s penchant for watching only game shows and inspirational broadcasting.
“Apparently your employer, Adam Raiker, spoke to Chief Inspector Wessels about it.” His midnight gaze did a fast once-over, clearly wondering what it was about the woman in faded yoga pants and an ancient Penn State T-shirt that would catch the attention of the head of the detectives. “So I was told to stop and ask if you’re interested. I’m asking.”
She swallowed, just managed to avoid shrinking away from the door. “No.”
He nodded, clearly not disappointed. “Sorry to wake you.” Turning, he began down the stairs, leaving her to stare after him, fingers clutching the doorjamb.
Raiker. Damn him, her boss wouldn’t leave her in peace. Wouldn’t accept what she’d already accepted herself. Guilt, well earned, had rendered her useless. To him. To his forensics consulting company. And certainly to this detective.
The small house didn’t have a driveway or garage. McGuire was halfway to the street where he’d left his ride, a discreet black Crown Vic. He moved like an athlete, his stride quick and effortless. She had the impression she’d already been forgotten as he mentally shifted gears to his first priority, his response to the call out.
“What’s the crime?” For a moment she was frozen, hardly believing the question had come from her. This part of her life was over. Had been for months.
But still she waited, breath held, until he hesitated, half turned to call over his shoulder, “Possible homicide. A burned corpse was found about fifteen minutes ago.”
The air clogged in her lungs. Blood stopped chugging through her veins. Organs froze in suspended animation. The figure in the dream danced in her mind again, the engulfing flames spearing skyward.
But those dreams had become meaningless. Hadn’t they?
Oxygen returned in a rush. “Wait!”
McGuire had reached the car now. And he made no attempt to mask his irritation. “For what?”
“Give me five minutes.”
His response followed her as she turned away to dash toward the bathroom. “You’ve already used three.” So she paused only to brush her teeth, drag a comb through her hair, and shove her bare feet into sneakers. Then she headed out again, snatching her coat and purse in one practiced move as she passed the closet. Risa took a moment to lock the door behind her before jogging down the steps toward his vehicle, already regretting her decision.
She didn’t do this anymore. Couldn’t do it anymore.
Which didn’t explain why her legs kept moving in the direction of the car.
She’d barely slid inside the vehicle before he was pulling away from the curb. Shooting the detective a quick look, she pulled the door shut and reached for the seat belt. “What’s the location?”
“Body was found in a wooded area in the northern part of the city,” he said in a clipped tone.
“So you’re from the Northeast Detective Division? Or the homicide unit?” She busied herself buttoning her navy jacket. It had occurred to her that the day was likely to be long and chilly. The temps had been unseasonably cool for May.
It was what he didn’t say that caught her attention. “If you’re homicide, the call must have sounded fairly certain that there was foul play involved. Or else the crime bears some resemblance to one you’re already working. Which is it?”
Dawn was spilling soft pastels across the horizon, but the interior of the car was still shadowy. Even so, she would have to be blind to miss the mutinous jut to his jaw. “What’s your story, anyway?”
His attitude managed to slice through her self-doubt and land her squarely in familiar territory. She was well acquainted with suspicious cops. They would be the one element of her job she wouldn’t miss if she left it for good. When she left it.
“I assume Inspector Wessels told you whatever he wanted you to know.”