* * *

“DETECTIVE.” BRAD SHOOK Detective Wilkes’s hand and sat on the edge of his desk, arms crossed. “I have a meeting shortly. I will only be able to give you a few minutes. Any luck finding Kent’s killer?”

“We’re working on that.” The man looked at Brad appraisingly. “Diligently.”

“Last time we spoke, I believe I informed you that I would not answer questions without my attorney present.”

“Humor me.”

Brad said nothing, just met the detective’s eyes.

“We have discovered large amounts of funds deposited into Mr. Broward’s bank account over the last three years.”

“CDB does very well, I would expect Kent to have a healthy bank account.” Brad crossed his arms and looked down at his watch.

“Not from the firm. From other accounts, foreign, untraceable accounts. Do you know where those income streams would have originated, or why?”

“Are you asking Clarke these questions?”

“No.”

Brad spread his arms, exasperated. “Then why me? Why assume I know anything about Kent and his money, his clients? I don’t have anything to do with Kent or his business. And as you so clearly pointed out, he despised me!”

“Clarke doesn’t have ties to organized crimes.” Wilkes’s eyes glittered triumphantly, as if he had found the cure to cancer.

Brad turned, walking behind his desk. “My family has nothing to do with me, or my business. Don’t drag unrelated items into this discussion. If you want to investigate my family, go right ahead. You will have my full cooperation. For now, get out—unless you have something to arrest me for.”

There was a knock on the door, and then Carol Featherston appeared. “Mr. De Luca, we need to leave for court.”

Brad nodded and turned to the detective. “Thank you for your time, Mr. Wilkes. Carol will see you out.” Without waiting for a response, he turned and walked out, shoulders relaxed, but his hands in fists in his pockets.

Twenty-Seven

Detective Parks sucked; it was official. Either he had no concept of how to return a call, or he had no intention on following up on the Magiano lead. Either way, as I had decided on my return jog home, I would leave him one final voice mail, telling him about the Genovese connection, and then I would be done with it. No follow-up calls, no reading the papers, no digging through Broward’s stuff. I completed the task, speaking clearly and slowly into the phone, laying out everything I knew in one, concise, forty-seven-second voice mail. Then I hung up, pressing the end call button with reluctance.

Ending that call felt so final, as if I had taken a step off a cliff and couldn’t stop my descent. Giving up on Broward felt traitorous, as if I were weak and running from his killer. But I needed to be smart. I had passed on the information to Parks. Now I needed to get back to the land of the living.

* * *

I THREW LISA Strong’s instructions out the window and decided to go to the office. After reorganizing my jewelry box and flipping through every television station I had, I was going stir-crazy and actually contemplating cleaning, a sure sign that dementia was only a few steps away. I threw on a pullover and grabbed my keys, my mind skipping ahead to the half-finished documents that were currently wasting real estate on my desk.

I walked into the CDB offices at 5:00 p.m., hoping to get into my office and into my work without being seen. Once I knocked out the half-finished items, I could sneak back out. I wasn’t sure how tomorrow would play out, or if our cases would get transferred, and I wanted to get a few tasks wrapped up while I had the chance.

Lights were on in the other two wings, but all was dark on our side of the building. Every cop show I had seen prepared me for crime-scene tape and black fingerprint powder, but the halls and offices looked normal, ordinary. I was almost disappointed by the lack of drama. I left the lights off and went straight to my office, unlocking the door, the click sounding loud in the silent halls. Going inside, I pulled the door behind me, leaving it ajar so I would be able to exit in a quiet fashion.

Starting up the computer, I skimmed over the open files on my desk. About an hour of work. Just enough to distract me, without committing me to this office all night long. My computer chimed, loading the desktop, and I leaned over, typing in my credentials and logging on.

I quickly became engrossed, finishing the open files and reorganizing the folders without even noticing. I was starting on a fresh case when the voice came.

“Julia.”

I jumped, my breath catching, and straightened, looking at the door to my darkened office. A huge silhouette filled the doorway, and quiet masculinity crept into my small office. Brad.

“What are you doing?” His voice was dark and still. Definite.

“Nothing. Working.”

He walked toward me, his hands in his pockets, the expensive suit hanging perfectly on his large, muscular frame. His eyes, dark and intense, picked up the light from my monitor and glowed blue in the darkness.

“On what?”

“Filing, typing. Why? Does it matter?” His authoritative tone irritated me, and I pushed away from my desk and folded my arms, my eyes narrowed into a stern look. His tie loosened, a day’s worth of growth on his chin, he looked like the perfect late-night distraction. Too bad it was only—I snuck a look at my computer’s display—6:30 p.m.

“You aren’t supposed to be here.”

“Says who? This is my office.”

“Says the office email that you received.” His voice commanding, he continued moving forward until we stood inches apart. For no good reason, I was suddenly pissed, mad at his invasion of my office, a space he seemed to control and command whenever he damn well pleased.

I looked up at him, feeling ridiculously short in my tennis shoes. He was close enough that his scent invaded me, and my insides quivered traitorously. “Oh, now you want me to follow the rules!” I lifted my chin, meeting his stern eyes, but my response was weakened, standing this close to the damn stern sexiness of him.

We stayed there for a moment, our eyes locked on each other. He looked exhausted, and his eyes finally broke from mine and traveled down my body, his mouth twitching slightly as he took in my tank top and running pants. When his eyes returned to mine, they were almost pained, twin fires flicking hot and cold. “I hate how you make me feel,” he whispered, his voice tight.

I recoiled from the intensity in his voice. “What does that mean?”

He grabbed my neck, sliding one hand back and grabbing my ponytail, pulling it hard and tilting my face to him. I growled, low in my throat, and glared at him. I struggled against him, but he held me easily. “Take your f**king hands off me,” I said.

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