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Authors: Mary Burton

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BOOK: I'm Watching You
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My God, had Jordan shot Harold? Had she lured her husband to the shelter
and killed him as some kind of message to Lindsay?
I can
handle Harold.

If convicted, Jordan could spend the next thirty years in jail for
ridding the earth of human slime. The need to protect Jordan overrode
Lindsay's responsibility to tell Zack what she knew.

"Sure, who doesn't know Harold? He's in all the
newspapers. He's defending some drug dealer."

"Have you ever met him in person?"

"Sure. We crossed paths at different fund-raisers. Two weeks ago,
as a matter of fact, at the Race for the Cure gala at the Virginia
Museum."

Blue eyes narrowed. "That's it? You've never spoken to
him any other time?"

She didn't look away.
"Nope."

His gaze held hers as if he were waiting for her to say more. When she
didn't, he frowned. "You're not telling me everything."

Uncomfortable, she leaned forward. "Are you some kind of
psychic?"

"I know you."

She noticed his ring finger. The absence of a wedding band wasn't
a surprise. Because of his undercover work, he'd rarely worn it when they
were married. "You
knew
me, Zack."

His face hardened. "I know when you're holding back
information, Lindsay."

She stiffened. "As I remember, you were good at hiding
things."

His jaw clenched slightly, but otherwise he looked unaffected by her
comment. "Lindsay, I'm here to investigate a murder, not rehash our
marriage. We'll save that gem for another day. Right now, I want to know
if Harold Turner had a connection to the shelter."

"You're right. Harping on ancient history is foolish."
She shifted in her seat. "He's never been here before, if
that's what you're asking."

"I'm going to need to see your files."

She had started a file on Jordan. Only a few notes, but it was enough to
prove a connection. She wasn't going to make it easy for Zack to arrest
Jordan. "My files are confidential. If you want to know what's in
them, you're going to have to get a court order."

"Consider it done." He studied her with more intensity.
"Why not just tell me all that you know?"

"You know why. The women who come through my doors or who talk to
me are frightened, battered, and often humiliated. Some go on to better lives.
Some go back to their husbands. Either way, they know I'll guard their
privacy. They count on me. I can't betray their trust unless the court
orders me to."

"Did Jordan Turner ever visit the shelter?"

"No."

"You ever meet her?"

She folded her hands in front of her. "She was at the fund-raiser
two weeks ago. We spoke briefly." She sipped her coffee. "How was
Harold killed?"

"Not ready to release that yet."

"Harold had a lot of enemies. He'd sell anyone out for a
buck."

"Then why was he murdered behind the shelter?"

"I don't know."

"Any of your residents have a drug problem?"

"No. We test all who want to stay here. They're
clean."

Always one to play his cards close to his vest, Zack simply nodded.
"I think his body was positioned behind the shelter for a reason."

Jordan
. "Just because Turner's body was
found behind the shelter doesn't mean his death had anything to do with
me."

"I've never put much stock in coincidence." He ran his
hand down his tie as he leaned back in his chair. "Where were you last
night and this morning?"

His proprietary tone
rankled
her nerves. He
didn't have any rights to her time now. "I was home asleep. And I
overslept this morning."

He lifted an eyebrow, amused. "As I remember it, you rose at five
every morning come hell or high water."

"A power outage knocked out all of electricity in my row of town
houses. My alarm didn't go off."

"I also never remember you sleeping through the night."

"I did last night."

"Can you prove you were home last night?"

He didn't trust her and that hurt more than it should. "Do I
have to?"

"It would be nice."

Very few knew Lindsay had taken on Nicole Piper as a roommate. Her former
college roommate had shown up two weeks ago on Lindsay's doorstep begging
for a place to stay. Nicole had left her abusive husband and was hiding from
him. Lindsay had taken her in without question. If Zack knew she had a
roommate, he'd start checking into Nicole's past. And that could
tip off Nicole's husband as to her whereabouts.

"Sorry, I can't prove anything. I was home alone.
You'll just have to take my word for it."

He studied her and then deliberately glanced around the office.
"How many women does the shelter serve each year?"

She rolled with the change of topic. "We saw about a hundred women
last year."

"Impressive." He scratched a few words in his notebook.

"Sadly, business is booming."

He nodded thoughtfully as if remembering that afternoon in Byrd Park
when she'd confided her own horrific past to him. She'd told him of
her mother's murder, of her father's suicide, and of her running
away. He, better than anyone, understood her drive to protect the women and
children under her care.

"I want a list of everyone who was here last night," Zack
said. "I want to see records of all the women who've been through
the doors since you opened."

"Only when the warrant arrives."

He looked annoyed. "You always have to be so stubborn."

With an effort, Lindsay kept her tone light. "It's what I do
best."

His lips flattened as he rose. "Thanks for the coffee."

She stood.
"Always happy to help."

At five ten, she stood eye to eye with most men. Zack had a good six
inches on her. "Is it all right if I leave the shelter? I received a call
from Mercy Hospital to counsel a battered woman. The doctor is trying to delay
her, but he won't be able to hold her more than an hour, which leaves me
about twenty minutes."

He seemed to gauge the truth of her words. "Keep your cell phone
on this time. I want to be able to reach you easily."

"It's always on."

"Not this morning."

He had tried to call.

"As I said, there was a power outage in my town house complex.
I'm sure you can verify it with maintenance. And I put my phone in the
charger as soon as I arrived here."

Zack studied Lindsay again as if trying to pry into her brain.

Lindsay folded her arms over her chest, matching his glare.

"I'll be back this afternoon or tomorrow at the latest with
the warrant."

Thanks to Harold's murder, she would have to deal with all the
agonizing baggage she shared with Zack and had done her best to ignore this
past year. "I can't wait."

Chapter
Five

Monday, July 7, 11:02
A.M
.

On the way to the hospital, Lindsay called Jordan
Turner twice. The first time she got her voice mail. She didn't bother to
leave a message. What was she going to say? Mrs. Turner, did you murder your
husband?

Thanks to light midday traffic, Lindsay made good time driving downtown.
Still, the Mercy Hospital parking deck was crammed with cars, forcing her to
drive to the bottom level, where she found an open spot in a darkened corner.

She shut off the car engine, waited until it shuttered off, got out, and
locked the car. Her sandals clicked against concrete as she moved along the
line of parked cars. A horn honked, the sound echoing from the level above. A
car door closed.

She'd parked on this deck a thousand times before, always cautious
but never afraid. However, today, the hairs on the back of her neck prickled.
She scanned the rows of parked cars around her. The air-conditioning system
whirred overhead and condensation dripped from the ductwork.

The deck appeared deserted. On a deck below, a car horn honked again.
There was no need to be nervous yet her nerves tightened, as if someone were
close.

Watching.

She tightened her hold on her purse. "Is anyone there?"

No answer.

It wasn't like her to be so jumpy. Crossing quickly to the
elevator, she punched the button, careful to keep her back to the doors. She
dug in her purse fishing for her mace and cursed when she couldn't find
it in all the clutter. When the elevator doors
whooshed
open, she rushed into the empty car. Her heart pounded in her chest.

As the doors closed, a nearby car door slammed shut, the sound echoing
from an unseen corner.

Lindsay punched level four, the lobby level. She dragged a shaking hand
through her hair. "Get a grip."

Within seconds the elevator doors opened to the muted sounds of gurneys
rolling past, carts clattering, and telephones ringing. The smell of antiseptic
cleaner blended with the bright hospital lights. Her nerves settled and the
parking garage was forgotten.

She walked up to the
nurses
station and smiled
at the familiar face behind the counter.
"Hey,
Jennifer."

Jennifer Watkins glanced up from a chart and grinned. Red hair scraped
back in a tight bun accentuated green eyes that sparked behind wire-rimmed
glasses.
"What's shaking, Lindsay?"

"I missed you at yoga on Friday night." She didn't
want to talk about the murder. It would be headlines soon enough.

"I know. I'm sorry I missed your class. It had been a long
day and I was beat."

Lindsay taught yoga at a small studio near her town house. She'd
gained a reputation as a patient but exacting instructor. "You'll
be better for it if you make the time."

"I know, I know. If anyone needs yoga, baby, it's me.
I'm about as flexible as a piece of plywood."

Lindsay smiled. "You carry too much stress in your shoulders, but
if you keep at it, your body will open."

Jennifer held up her hands in mock surrender. "Okay, okay, I
promise to be there Wednesday night."

"Good. Hey, I'm here to see Sam."

"He's just finishing up rounds. He should be passing by in
just a second."

"Great."

Jennifer leaned forward. "I hear you and Sam had a date last
week."

Color rose in Lindsay's face. Jennifer knew everyone and their
business. Hospital staff jokingly called her "Jenni-dot-net."
"I wouldn't call it a date at all." The idea that Jennifer
and likely now everyone else was calling her evening with Sam a date
didn't sit well.

Jennifer wagged thin eyebrows. "What would you call it?"

Lindsay shoved fingers through her hair.
"A
friendly night out."

"Friendly?" A smile twitched the edges of Jennifer's
full lips, made her eyes spark. "I've seen the way Sam looks at
you."

Since Lindsay was a child, she'd been careful to keep her private
life private. Her home life shamed her and she didn't want anyone to know
about it. But the days of hiding a violent home life had long passed and there
was no need to keep secrets. Yet the habit of hiding persisted.

Her evening out with Sam wasn't shameful or dark, just fun, and it
had been exactly as she'd described it--friendly.
"Movies.
Dinner at a burger joint.
Home by
nine.
Very pleasant."

Jennifer looked disappointed. "That can't be it."

"It is."

"Ah, come on, there must be more details," Jennifer said.

"Nope.
Sorry."

Sam's voice drifted down the hallway as he gave orders to a nurse.

Lindsay
sighed
her relief.

Jennifer laughed. "The cavalry has arrived."

"See you around. I've got to run." Lindsay tossed
Jennifer a grin and hurried down the hallway toward Sam.

Sam stood in front of a curtained cubicle wearing his green scrubs, a
patient's chart in hand. An inch taller than her, Sam was trim but not
muscular. He looked like a tennis player who belonged at a country club. Blond
hair curled at the edges above his ears. Horn-rimmed glasses accentuated
intelligent brown eyes.

"Sam."

He peered over his glasses and smiled warmly as he closed the chart.
"I was beginning to think you'd forgotten me."

Her smile came easily. "Sorry, we had some trouble at the
shelter."

Worry creased his forehead. "What?"

She lowered her voice and leaned close to him. "This is not for
anyone else to hear right now, but Harold Turner's body was found in the
shelter's alley this morning."

"What?!"
His voice raised in shock.

Lindsay glanced around and noticed several nurses staring at them.
"I don't have many more details than that. The cops were at the
shelter this morning interviewing me. In fact, they'll be there for
days."

"No one else was hurt?"

"We're all fine."

He let out a long breath. "Damn. Harold Turner. His wife came
through here two months ago with a sprained arm and bruised ribs."

"I know. She cornered me at a charity party two weeks ago and told
me about her marriage. I offered her a bed at Sanctuary but she refused."

Sam shook his head. "Sanctuary is a big step down from a mansion
on River Road."

"Yeah."
I can handle
Harold
. Jordan's words replayed in Lindsay's head. "I
can't imagine her sleeping in a bunk bed or sharing kitchen
duties."

"I'd say your morning ranks high on the stress meter."

"You've no idea."

Sam laid his hand on her shoulder. "You look like hell."

Lindsay couldn't help but smile as she leaned into him. "You
know how to make a girl feel good."

He grinned. "It's a talent."

She rubbed the back of her neck.

Sam studied her closely. "What gives with your neck?"

"I fell asleep on my couch last night. I must have slept
crooked."

Sam captured her elbow in his hand. "Exam room three is
open."

"I don't need to be checked out. And I need to see that
woman you called me about."

"You've got a minute or two to spare."

Aware Jennifer hadn't missed a second of their exchange, she
hesitated. "Sam, we are quickly becoming grist for the rumor mill."

He didn't look worried. "Since when do you care what people
think?"

She glanced at the nurses. Their eyes gleamed with laughter.
"Let's just say I've been gossiped about enough in my life. I
don't like it."

"It's harmless." He pushed her toward the exam room
and nodded toward the table. "Sit."

She stood stock straight. "I just need to talk to that woman and
get back to the office. I've got cops crawling all over the
shelter."

"For a moment, take the advice you give your yoga students and the
women you counsel. Sit. Take a deep breath."

He was right. She'd been running on adrenaline since she'd
been startled awake. She climbed up on the table as he closed the curtains
behind them.

He moved behind her and began to massage the muscles around her neck.
"My God, you're tense. It's a wonder you haven't
collapsed yet. Your schedule is more insane than an intern's."

"I'm fine." His gentle touch soothed but didn't
excite, like Zack's, which was a good thing. Excitement was overrated.

"So you're the doctor now?"

"I know my own body." She took several deep breaths.

His fingers worked up the back of her neck. God, it felt good. She
closed her eyes. She could let her defenses down, if only for just a moment.
"I'm so tired of holding it together all the time."

"You want to talk about it?" He leaned a little closer. His
breath felt warm on her cheek. "I've been told I'm easy to
talk to."

"Maybe another time."

Sam's fingers stilled and she feared this would turn into a
tug-of-war. When she'd first met Zack, he hadn't been content until
he'd known everything about her present and past. To her surprise, Sam
leaned forward and kissed her lightly on the side of her neck. "Have
dinner with me tonight."

Awkwardness replaced worry. Nearly thirty and she still turned
knock-kneed when a man got romantic. "Uh, Sam, we've been through
this. I'll be working late tonight."

"So we'll have breakfast at the diner. We'll grab
coffee." When she hesitated, he added, "It wouldn't kill you
to live a little."

Something she'd done very little of since she and Zack had
separated. "I suppose not."

"That's a yes?"

She nodded. "Yes to dinner
tomorrow
night."

"What time?"

"Six."

"Done.
I'll pick you up at the shelter."

"Better make that my town house. The cops sealed the area
off."

"Will do."

Sam's cell phone vibrated on his hip. Groaning, he yanked it off
and flipped it open. "Dr. Begley."

Immediately, his light expression darkened. He glanced at Lindsay and
cupped his hand over the phone. "I've got to take this, Lindsay.
See you tomorrow night?"

"Right."
Lindsay slid off the table,
thankful for the interruption.

He managed a strained smile.

"Where is that woman you told me about?" she whispered.

"Number six." Already he was turning from her.

"Thanks." She scooted around the curtain.

"Yes, damn it, I'm still here." Sam's angry
whisper caught her attention and made her stop.

In the few months she'd known Sam, he'd never uttered a
harsh word. He seemed to be the nicest guy on the planet.

"I told you I'd do it and I will," Sam said.
"I've got to go."

Lindsay hurried down the hallway toward room six, surprised that there
was something more to Dr. Sam Begley than just his quick smile and great
bedside manner.

BOOK: I'm Watching You
7.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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