I laughed, a small, awkward sound. “You’re kidding, right? Didn’t Sheila tell you about our cases? We have the most lame, unexciting files on the planet. No one is killing anyone over anything Broward was working on. We deal with corporate documents, real estate transactions, civil litigations.” I shook my head emphatically. “Whatever happened to Broward couldn’t have had anything to do with a client.” At least, not a CDB client.
“Hmmm.” He wrote something down. Hmmm? What does that mean?
“At least no clients that I am aware of.” I rushed out the words, anxious to speak before my conscience took a convenient vacation.
He set down his pen. “What do you mean by that?”
“Just, ah, if there were other clients, ones I wasn’t aware of, maybe they had something to do with it.” I was sounding like a complete idiot, a fact I was sure he was picking up on.
He flipped back a page, looking at the notes he had scribbled down. “You just said that you were familiar with all of his cases and clients. So, in theory, there shouldn’t be any clients that you aren’t aware of.”
Shit. This was it, time to put up or shut up. I took a deep breath and told him about the conversation I had overheard two days before. He sat quietly, his pen placed beside his notebook, and listened. When I was done, he tilted his head and looked at me.
“I’m not understanding where you are going with this, Ms. Campbell.”
Was the guy daft? “Broward pretty much stated that he was providing some type of services to the Magianos. Then he’s killed one night later!” My voice had left the calm and rational level and was now in full-blown hysterical female mode.
“And you think the Magianos are...” He lifted his chin and met my teary eyes head-on.
Was this a damn current events quiz? “The Al Capone of this generation? The most powerful crime syndicate in the Southern U.S.?” I leaned forward, smacking my hand on the table, eliciting a frown from the detective.
“First of all, Ms. Campbell, we don’t know that the ‘Magianos’ that Mr. Broward mentioned is the same family that you are referring to.”
I tried to remind myself this was an officer of the law and not someone I could flick off at will. “He’s dead. He didn’t stumble over a gun and get shot licking stamps! How can you not think that the Magianos had something to do with this!”
“Ms. Campbell, lower your voice. You haven’t even explored the possibility that you misheard Mr. Broward. He was on the phone. You were outside his office, with the door closed. You could easily have misunderstood what he said.” His voice was firm, his gaze direct, and I looked at him helplessly, my hysteria close to returning.
I opened and closed my mouth, trying to put intelligent words into action. I didn’t get a chance; he returned pen to paper and went to his next question.
“Are you aware of any upset clients, or anyone who disliked Mr. Broward?
“Other than the possible Magianos?” I asked sarcastically.
“Yes. Answer the question.”
“No. No one that I can think of. Broward is...” I paused briefly, closing my eyes. “Was a likable guy. I’m sure you will find that out by speaking to all of the staff.”
He nodded. Then he set down his notebook and looked at me.
“Ms. Campbell, where were you last night, between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.?
“Last night?” I was suddenly tense.
“Yes. Are you aware of what you did last night?”
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “Yes. Broward dismissed everyone early. I went home, changed and met my friends for drinks at nine. We stayed at the bar until about eleven.”
“I will need to speak with your friends and verify this.”
I sat back and folded my arms. “Are you verifying all of the staff’s alibis?”
Parks paused and looked at me appraisingly. “Alibi is probably too strong a word, at this point. But to answer your question, no. Not all of the staff.”
* * *
THE AIR HAD gotten hot in Brad’s office. He sighed. “Broward doesn’t, or didn’t, like me for a few reasons. The main one, and what I assume you are hinting at, is that I once slept with his wife.”
The man cocked an eyebrow at him, but didn’t move otherwise. “You seem awfully cavalier about that—sleeping with another man’s wife.”
Brad shrugged. “I sleep with a lot of women. I regret that specific experience, because he was my business partner, and because it complicated an already strained relationship.”
“He was...irritated by me. By my large income and what he considered to be lack of work ethic.”
“Did you dislike him?”
“You already asked that. No.”
“Hmmm.” The detective wrote something down.
“Where were you last night, Mr. De Luca?”
“When did you arrive home?”
“After work. I am unsure of the exact time.”
“Take a guess.” The irritated voice of the man had turned harder.
“I would guess six or seven.”
“And you stayed in your home all evening?”
“Until about eleven.”
“Where did you go at eleven?”
“Do I need to re-create my entire evening for you? I was told the time of death was before 10:00 p.m.”
“Hugo Clarke. Am I done here?”
“Just answer the question, Mr. De Luca. Where did you go at eleven?”
“To pick up a female friend, and no, I will not reveal her name.” He stared at the detective, a tic beginning in his cheek.
“Are you aware of any of Mr. Broward’s current projects?”
“That’s it.” Brad leaned back in his chair. “I’m not going to answer any more questions without a lawyer present.”
Wilkes snorted, then laughed softly, shaking his head. “I thought you were a lawyer.”
Brad said nothing, just stared at him over the desk.
“Fine.” The detective snapped the notebook shut and stood, scraping his chair backward. He snapped his fingers and pointed at Brad, a stern look on his face. “I’ll see you soon,” he promised.
Brad smiled and lifted his chin in response, but did not stand. Wilkes turned and stalked out of the office, and Brad watched him leave through the heavy glass. He frowned, then opened his center drawer and pulled out a cell phone that he kept in the back, behind paper clips and Post-its. He dialed a number and waited, listening to the ring in his ear.