Strong, Sleek and Sinful - By Lorie O'Clare Page 0,1

about? You think snooping around on porn sites will help you nail some online predator?”

“You never know. But I think possibly creating a trap might draw our perp out from behind his Internet shield.” Perry moved the pictures around with his finger, making it easier to see all of them. “We create a fictitious teenager, start chatting online, and get ourselves lured in. Our perp is here in town, Rad. And quite possibly he’s the same man who killed Maura Reynolds last October. We documented proof on that case that she was talking to someone online who claimed to be a teenage boy. She’d arranged to meet him the night she disappeared.”

“And if you catch a sixteen-year-old boy what are you going to do?”

“It won’t happen like that. There are things you say, ways that you talk to a predator, and of course ways to behave online that attract a sexual predator.”

“So suddenly you’re an expert on online sexual predators.” Rad lunged forward in his chair aggressively enough that it almost snapped him into a stand. “You don’t have any experience tracking an online stalker. Don’t insult me and pretend that you do. Unless of course there’s something you need to tell me.” He raised one thick, shaggy brow, silently challenging Perry.

“I know how to cruise the Internet at least as well as anyone else in this department, maybe better than some of your married cops.”

“You want to bet on that?”

“I have four nieces, all teenagers.”

“Not the same as having your own,” Rad rebuked.

Perry ignored him, sick of hearing how he didn’t know kids just because he didn’t have any. “And I know the sites where the teenagers hang out online. It’s like learning which is the in mall to go to. Any teenager will tell you there are Web sites that they check out daily and others they wouldn’t be caught dead going to.”

Rad stacked the pictures and shoved them across his desk toward Perry. “In your downtime if you want to follow children around online, feel free. I’m not taking you and your partner off your beat so you can glue yourself to a computer.” Rad stood slowly, pushing his chair back and straightening his large frame. He stood well over six feet and was in pretty good shape for going on fifty. A bad knee forced him to work behind a desk, and Perry respected the man for sticking it out and working his way to chief of police instead of throwing in the towel like so many did when injured badly enough on the job that it got them yanked off the streets. He pressed his fist against the top of his desk when he came around to face Perry. “Take some advice from an old man,” Rad began. “Chill out on this for a while. You’re one hell of a good cop. But you don’t have any proof at all that the teenager who died last fall and our teenager last night almost meeting a stranger off-line are in any way connected.”

Perry reminded himself he wouldn’t snap when the Chief rejected his proposal. “When Charlie Wright brought his daughter into the station last night, I saw myself with one of my nieces. For all I know, Sally Wright might know Dani or Diane. They’re about the same age. I felt his rage, the desire burning in his blood to take out the asshole who almost snagged his daughter.”

“There’s often rage in victims,” Rad said, stacking the photos and handing them to Perry. “You aren’t going to find a connection between these Web sites and a father and daughter who had a close call. You don’t have any proof.”

Perry didn’t want the photos. It was all he could do not to let his frustration boil over to anger from Rad’s indifference that the possibility existed they had a serious problem. “The only way you gather proof is to investigate,” Perry growled, his teeth clenching together in his effort to keep his emotions under wrap. “If we’ve got a sexual predator feeding off young girls, we need to investigate and find out. I will not allow some creep to feed his fetish on innocent children. My nieces are online all the time chatting with their friends. I’m not going to have some asshole pretending to be a boy their age and luring them into a trap like this.” He stabbed his finger into the pages Rad still held in his hand.

“And the last thing I’m going to