“I don’t get these guys. They should be happy for the help. My brother Ryan always is.”
“Is he still working up the coast in Crestview?”
Officer Griego peered through the window waving the menu and knocked on the door.
Eric scooted his chair back and opened the door. “C’mon in.”
She thrust the menu at him. “It’s pretty basic.”
“That’s what we like—basic.” He tossed the menu to Christina.
Wrinkling her nose, she ran the tip of her finger down the glossy page. “I’ll take the California on sourdough, but...”
“No mayo and extra pickles.” Eric finished for her.
She tilted her head, her shiny, dark ponytail slipping over her shoulder. “That predictable, huh?”
Warmth spread through his chest. He hadn’t meant to finish her sentence, didn’t want her to know how much he remembered.
“Well, you always were kind of picky.”
Rita was standing at the door hanging on their every word, wide-eyed.
Eric glanced at the menu and handed it back to her saying, “The Italian, fries and a drink—something with caffeine.”
“I’ll give your order to Sergeant Hammond. It usually takes about forty-five minutes.”
Eric reached into his pocket for some cash and handed her two twenties. “Thanks, Rita and thank the sarge for us, too.”
“You’re welcome. Anything else I can do for you?”
Christina gave her one of her sweet smiles that seemed to have gotten even sweeter. “We’re good. Thanks so much for your help.”
Rita practically bowed out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Eric jerked his thumb at the door. “What do you think she expects out of all this? It’s not like you can give her a recommendation for homicide.”
“Maybe she thinks you can pull some strings with your brother.”
“Sean? Rita’s in the same department. She should know by now Detective Sean Brody is not a quid pro quo kinda guy. He expects everyone to work hard to get ahead.” He leveled a finger at Christina. “Besides, it’s you she idolizes.”
“I think she just wants to learn. The men in the department probably aren’t very encouraging and maybe she doesn’t have any role models here.”
“You didn’t need any role models.”
“I was a special case. Didn’t you always tell me that?”
Drawing his chair toward the desk, he hunched forward. “What drove you up that tree, Christina?”
“I told you—a hunch.”
“One of those hunches? Did you feel anything?”
She squeezed her eyes closed and massaged her left temple. “Incredible evil.”
“Did you tell the P.D. here?”
She gave a short laugh, almost a bark. “Are you kidding? I want to be taken seriously, not written off as a crackpot.”
“The Bureau has used psychics before.”
“I’d hardly call myself a psychic, and honestly, the Bureau may use them but most don’t respect them. Greavy sure doesn’t.”
“Like I told you before, it’s a talent you should try to develop.”
She hugged herself. “I don’t know if I want to develop it. Besides, in this case, I didn’t get much at all, just a feeling.”
“Up to you.” Eric checked his watch. “Let’s get started before lunch gets here.”
“Umm, do you want to wheel around here? I’ll take you through the first San Francisco murder.”
He walked his chair to her side of the desk and at once her scent overwhelmed him. The familiar musky perfume wrapped its tendrils around him, but the essence of Christina had a stronger impact on him.
He couldn’t put his finger on it. He never could and it had haunted him ever since the day he cut her loose.
She dragged a file folder between them on the desk and flipped it open. She spread a stack of photos in front of him, and green, leafy, verdant forest blurred together.
“Was it another running trail?”
“Hiking, just across the bay.”
He thumbed through the photos. “Victim?”
“Liz Fielding, late forties, single. Some trouble in her past but clean for at least five years.”
“What kind of trouble?”
“Some drugs, petty theft, a little hooking.”
“What about the other two?”
“Haven’t dug up anything like that yet, but the investigation is still young.”
He plucked out the pictures of the body. She’d been positioned like his male victim in San Diego—stretched out on her back, hands positioned over her stomach, the tarot slipped between her fingers. He traced a finger over her disheveled clothes.