He tugs his cell phone from his pocket, returning to the living area to face the window, and I force myself to sit down on the edge of the couch. Though I listen closely, hoping to understand his conversation with David, I can’t.

Finally, he ends the call and sits next to me, dragging my legs over his lap. “David says there’s a bail adjustment hearing set for Ava this Friday. They’ll likely ask all available witnesses to testify.”


I rest my elbows on the leather arm behind me. “What’s a bail adjustment hearing?”

“Her counsel is asking to have the bond reduced, and this format allows them a little more room for testimony than a standard bail hearing.”

“She could get out?”

“Let’s hope not.”

My heart sinks. “So yes.”

“They held her the first time. Hopefully they’ll have the ammunition to hold her this time. We should learn more at the police station tomorrow.”

“Does that mean we should have talked to the detective tonight?”

“No. David wants to be with us. They haven’t told him enough for him to feel comfortable with where the conversation is heading. He also stressed that this is an election year, which means the DA is in reelection mode.”

“Which is motivation to solve the case and get a conviction.”

“Yes. It is.”

I wait, expecting him to say more and when he doesn’t, reality slowly comes to me, turning my stomach as it does. “A conviction at all costs—even a fall guy.”

“I’d like to think the DA is more ethical than that.”

His phone beeps and he answers it, once again listening intently. “Just call me when you reach him,” is all he says before he sets his phone on the coffee table. “Jacob can’t get ahold of Blake. He’ll call us when he does. He’s also trying to reach Mark for us since the bastard won’t return my calls.”

“So we’re in limbo, waiting for answers.”

“Yes, but at least we do it together.” He drags me to him and I snuggle against the hard lines of his body, my head resting on his chest, my mind counting the beat of his heart. Together, I repeat in my mind. I close my eyes and repeat those words over and over.

Two

Blinking awake, I find myself captured in Chris’s beautiful green-eyed stare, slowly becoming aware of my back against the couch cushion, and the intimate way our jean-clad legs twine together. “Hey,” I murmur, trailing fingers over the sexy stubble shadowing his jawline.

“Hey.”

“I could really get used to waking up next to you every day.”

He closes his hand over my fingers and kisses them. “I hope you already are.”

My lips curve. “I want more practice. Lots more. How long did we sleep?”

“About twelve hours.”

“What?” I jerk upward onto my elbow, swiping the messy dark brown veil of hair from my eyes to squint against the sunlight beaming through the wall of windows. “How is it even possible that it’s daylight and we never made it to bed? We still have our clothes on.”

“I took our shoes off about three hours ago, when you woke up and went to the bathroom.”

“I went to the bathroom?”

He laughs. “Yes. I planned to move to the bedroom when you got back, but apparently I fell asleep.”

“I don’t remember any of that. Did I sleep through any call-backs from Blake or Mark, too?”

“No calls from anyone.” He reaches to the coffee table and double-checks his phone before setting it back down. “Nope. Nothing.”

“Why hasn’t Blake called you?”

“I’m guessing he has nothing new to tell us and didn’t want to wake us up for no reason. It’s only eight in the morning.”

“I suppose that makes sense—but Mark’s ignoring us doesn’t. We’ve been trying to reach him for days now. I was really hoping he’d give us some insight on how the police are handling the case before this afternoon.” I half climb over Chris to grab my purse from the coffee table.

“Knee, baby,” he grumbles, grabbing my leg. “Knee.”

“Oops, sorry,” I say and quickly snatch my phone, checking the caller ID as I settle back beside him. “No one called me, either. Hmmm. The only two full-time staff members left at the gallery are Amanda and Ralph. Maybe I can catch Ralph, and he can tell us what is going on with Mark.” I start to punch in the gallery’s number but hesitate, worried about what I’ll say if he asks questions when he calls back. If he calls back. No one seems to want to talk to us right now. “How much do you think the gallery staff knows about what’s going on?”

“I talked to David and Blake right before we left Paris, and both confirmed that nothing outside of Ricco and Mary’s arrest has gone public.”

“I thought this kind of thing always made the press.”

“The police can seal the file in the public relations department, and apparently they’ve done that here. David says the DA doesn’t want an unsolved missing person’s case with the word ‘murder’ floating around, until they have a certain conviction.”

Murder. My heart twists and I quickly shove the word aside before it starts messing with my mind, too. “I wonder what Mark has told the staff, if anything. I guess I’ll leave a message for Ralph and hope that by the time he gets in, we hear something more from Blake or Mark.”

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