“No, but you can tell me what the fuck you’re here for.”


“Blake,” I hissed.

He ignored me, staring the man down in the way he so often did when it came to people he didn’t care for.

“I’m here to discuss the very curious results of the Massachusetts governor’s election.”

“What business is that of the FBI?”

The detective paused, a tight smile pulling at his lips. “When the results indicate voter machine tampering, it becomes the FBI’s business. We’d appreciate your cooperation.”

Blake’s jaw locked, resulting in a twitch. He glowered a moment, and my heart dropped into my stomach, threatening the meager amount of breakfast I’d managed this morning.

The man’s stare passed between us. “Mind if I come in?”

Blake didn’t respond, but stood away from the door enough for the other man to enter. Evans looked to be in his early forties. He was taller than I was, but short next to Blake. His eyes were shrewdly narrow as he scanned our yet-to-be decorated home.

“Can I get you coffee?” I twisted my fingers together, unable to hide my anxiety about his presence. Voter tampering? What the hell had Daniel gotten himself into now?

Evans offered a smile that did little to ease my nerves. “That’d be great. You’re Erica Hathaway?”

“Erica Landon,” Blake corrected. “She’s my wife.”

“Right. Congratulations.”

“Can we cut the shit? Why are you here?”

Evans casually tucked his hands into his pockets. “Is there a reason why you’re being so contentious, Mr. Landon? I’m simply here to ask questions.”

“I haven’t had overwhelmingly positive experiences with the FBI.”

“I’m aware.” Evans’s tone was low and full of meaning.

Blake cocked his head. “Are you?”

“I wouldn’t be here otherwise, and I think you know that.”

Blake exhaled. “So much for sealing the records.”

“Your reputation precedes you.”

“All I know is that you’re in my house, and you still haven’t given me a good reason why.”

“Do you mind if I sit?”

Again, Blake didn’t reply, and Evans made his way to the couch. I brought him his coffee and perched at the edge of the adjacent chair.

He took a sip from his cup and looked over at me. “I understand you just returned from your honeymoon. I assume you are aware of the election results?”

“Fitzgerald won . . . by a landslide,” I said.

“That’s true.”

“What’s so curious about the results?” I asked.

“Well . . . up until a few hours before the polling places closed, he was falling behind.”

“That’s not especially unusual,” Blake said.

“It is when his votes in several districts exceeded the number of registered voters in those areas and pushed the election in his favor.”

“Why would he do that?” The words fell out of my mouth, my disbelief obliterating any filter I should have had around this man who clearly wasn’t here to make friends.

Evans shifted his stony stare from Blake to me, warming slightly. “That’s what we’re trying to find out. What’s clear is that if Fitzgerald is behind this, he most certainly had help. Expert help.”

He glanced up at Blake, the look in his eye communicating something that perhaps only he and Blake knew now. No doubt it had to do with Blake’s rumored history as a computer hacker. He’d gotten into hot water years ago. But why would Evans be bringing this to him? Did he think Blake helped Daniel pull off election fraud?

My stomach roiled. I gripped the edge of the couch cushion as the blood drained from my face.

“Are you okay, Mrs. Landon? You don’t look well.”

I stood weakly. “I’m fine.”

“You should go.” Blake took a quick step toward Evans.

Evans rose on cue. “Sure. But you’ll be coming with me. Mrs. Landon, you as well.”

“Like hell. You can leave her out of this,” Blake shot back, anger brewing behind his eyes.

Evans took a step toward him. “Mr. Landon, you’re suspected of rigging the governor’s election to tip in the favor of your wife’s estranged father. We have questions, and we’d appreciate your cooperation.”

Oh my God, no. I couldn’t breathe. Bile rose in my throat. This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t possibly be happening . . .

“On what grounds?”

“You have motive. You have the resources to pull this off. And last, but certainly not least, you have the skills to do so.”

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