“I take it your little private-room interrogation didn’t go well?” Jack asked, his gaze curious. “Ms. Ebony didn’t fall for your many charms?’

“Hardly.” Lucky scanned the lot, making sure they were really alone before he started talking about something that could get his reluctant informant in trouble with her boss. He remembered her mention of a little girl, and he didn’t want to be the one who cost her the job.

“Ebony freaked out and bolted, but she did give me some new info before she took off. Here’s the big news. Sarah Morgan was sleeping with Bodean.”

“Shit, that’s disgusting.”

“I know. I know.” Lucky tried not to heave at the thought. Bodean was a skinny guy with nasty teeth and a rapidly increasing bald spot. Sarah was a pretty girl with green eyes and blond hair. Her crowning assets were a pair of store-bought D-cups earned with two years of tips—according to her mother. Apparently, she was very goal-oriented. “Bodean is a troll, but she was screwing him and someone else on the side. Well, I think it was one other someone. Ebony wasn’t clear on that point.”

“Who’s the other guy?”

“I don’t know. That’s when she shut up and took off like a deer in open season.” Lucky shook his head, clenching his fists in frustration at being so close to good intel. “All I know is that the thought of crossing whoever he is scared Ebony shitless. She said he was the kind of person who got even and implied that’s what happened to Sarah.”

“Do you think she was telling the truth?”

“I don’t think she’s a good enough actress to fake that kind of scared.”

“So, what next? We’ve done background checks on the girls and the other employees.” Jack fished his keys out of his pocket, using them as a pointer when he spoke again. “Maybe dig deeper into Bodean’s finances, see if the money leads us to someone.”

“Good idea. I’ll keep visiting, but I think we need a woman to try to get the girls to talk. They all clam up like I still smell like a cop.”

“Maybe someone from Roanoke PD would like a side job? Be willing to go undercover? I could ask around and see.”

“Yeah, that might work. A woman in the same line of work would be able to get them to spill. If Ebony is right, then Sarah might be in real trouble.” Lucky paused, thinking through the different scenarios that might play out from this night’s information-gathering. “Any cop needs to play it solid. Those girls would sniff out a fake a mile away.”

“You got someone else in mind?” Jack asked.

“No.” He rubbed a hand over his eyes. They were gritty and tired from too many nights at the Jolly Gent and long days on the farm. “I’ll sleep on it. I need to hit the sack.”

“Okay, I’m going to head home to Kayla.” Jack peered down at his watch, a smile twisting up the corner of his mouth. “She should still be up.”

“Whatever. I’m going to a lonely bed in Elliott House.” At Jack’s quizzical look, he said, “I got roped into house-sitting. Teague doesn’t want the house empty when he’s in DC so much. He asked me to stay for a while.”

“I thought you were going to stay with Beck.”

Lucky thought of their childhood friend. Dr. Beckett Sutherland frequently had overnight guests and his condo had crappy soundproofing. Not a great combination when you needed to crash and weren’t currently getting any.

“No, Beck has too many visitors as it is.” Lucky dug into his pocket for his keys, shaking his head at his temporary state of homelessness. “The only other alternative to house-sitting was moving back in with my folks at the farm.”

“Oh, hell no,” Jack said.

“Yeah. So, I’ll bunk down in Teague’s old room and hang out with the generations of dead Elliotts haunting the halls. It’ll be like living in a morgue but with a huge flat-screen.”

“Do you ever think about her?” Jack asked. He didn’t even have to explain whom he meant. They both knew the woman in question. That was the problem with having your best friend also be your first cousin and know everything about you since the day you were born. There was nowhere to hide when those drunken confessions came back to visit.

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