Sherwood stood tall and rocked back on his heels. “I had a nice chat with your partner in crime.”
She hated the plea in that question. Sherwood would use it against her.
“Yes, Connor. Charming, conniving, conflicted Connor. He’s trying to make a deal.”
Josie wouldn’t let this man convince her that Connor wasn’t doing everything in his power to help her. “I’d expect no less.”
“So you know him and don’t even care that he’s still a criminal?”
“I know him and I believe he’s trying to change. That he will change for the good.”
“Amazing.” Sherwood paced in front of the old desk. “I’ve decided to bring him out here to our little party.”
She swallowed, prayed that Connor would get away. “No need for that, right? I mean, if he confesses, you’re free and clear. I hope you’ve built a good case against him. Covered all of your tracks.” She settled back against her chair, willing herself to stay calm. “Exactly how long have you been Armond’s silent partner, anyway?”
Sherwood whirled and pounced, his fingers digging into her shoulders as he lifted her out of the chair. “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
She stared at him, the courage of a last resort giving her strength. “I think I do know what I’m talking about. I think each time Connor got too close, you pulled him back just enough to make it look like he wasn’t doing his job. I think you insisted he back off after the Benoit fiasco last year because he was very close to finding out the truth—that you’re the one who’s been working with Armond for years now.”
She shrugged away from his grasp. “It was almost the perfect cover. Until I showed up.”
“Until Connor Randall showed up,” Sherwood replied. “Did he ever tell you how he got that fancy loft apartment?”
She had to admit to herself she’d wondered about Connor’s explanation regarding the loft, but she wouldn’t give Sherwood the satisfaction of knowing that. “His mother left it. But I’m not worried about that.”
“Oh, you should be,” Sherwood retorted, his hand moving over his close-shaved hair. “But I won’t spoil the surprise. I’ll wait and let him explain all of this to you himself.”
Josie held a breath. “You won’t find him.”
“I don’t have to find him,” Sherwood replied. “He’s agreed to meet me and...he doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll have to turn himself in and come with me if he ever wants to see you alive again.”
Before he left for the Carousel Gardens in City Park, Connor tried to open the coin. He’d realized after looking at the slender pin that held the coin to the necklace that this silver-dollar-size gold coin was similar to the coins spies used back in the day before electronics took over. It was an old-school piece and probably worth a lot of money on its own merit.
But whatever was inside might be worth more than gold. The coin was big enough to hold a wealth of information on a tiny SIM card or thumb drive. Connor easily manipulated the pin by turning it until the coin clicked open. He didn’t have time to look at the information, but he did find what he’d expected.
A little flat black card that should fit in a smartphone or a computer. Armond had pretended he didn’t know or care about electronics, but he’d been smart enough to hide this information on a small electronic device. This little inch-square file could tell the tale on all of Armond’s operations, including the identity of his very silent and now very scared partner. Information that would probably point to Joseph Sherwood as being the person everyone had been looking for—right there in plain sight for years now.
When Connor thought back over his time with Armond, he could see it all now. Each time he’d bring a solid report to the FBI, Sherwood would somehow decide it wasn’t enough. Or evidence would suddenly go missing so Connor had no proof of his observations. Not enough probable cause or not enough to get a search warrant, so many tiny rules that always caused the FBI to back off. Sherwood had been going behind him with each assessment, changing facts and destroying evidence.