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“My father is not involved with my campaign—”

“I’m not going to argue with you, and I’m going to save you valuable suck-up time because there are a couple hundred people here waiting for you to kiss their asses. You’re got our union endorsement from its president. Take it, add it to your campaign materials, and go about your business. Just like I’ll go about mine.”

“Give me a chance. That’s all I’m asking.”

Tom looked into her eyes and did not like what he felt. At all. “You’ve got what you wanted. Leave me out of this shitshow.”

“I’m going to win you over.”

His eyes went up and down her. “I’m not interested in any of your attributes, professional or otherwise. If Brent wants to lock the union in, that’s up to him as its president and I won’t stand in his way. He is going to be held accountable, however, and this is a lesson he’s only going to have to learn once. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to stay focused on my job.”

Tom walked off, confident that not only would she let him go, she wouldn’t send him anything.

He was almost through the lobby and out the revolving doors when his phone went off. As he checked who was calling, he gritted his teeth and let it go to voicemail.

In his current mood, he couldn’t deal with his mother. He just didn’t have the patience for her telling him that it was raining and there was thunder and he needed to drive carefully and asking when was he going to be home and off the roads.

Like he was sixteen with a learner’s permit.

Outside, the storms were whipping sheets of rain round and bending treetops, and the weather suited his mood. Jogging through the fury, he was jumping into his SUV when his cell went off again.

It felt good to slam the door shut.

His mother was largely a flincher and a worrier, and it was times like this that he understood Anne shutting the door on the drama. But his sister’s boundary setting meant he got the full, undiluted brunt of the anxiety.

Taking out the phone, he—

Frowning, he accepted the call from Captain Baker. “Chip. What’s up.”

“Emilio Chavez OD’d a half hour ago. He was found by Remy LaSalle and taken by ambulance to University. I thought you’d want to know.”

Tom closed his eyes. “Shit.”

Chapter 24

As Danny ran through the rain to the entrance of the University Hospital ER, he knew where he was going before the receptionist and the triage nurses pointed him toward the “Staff Only” door next to the check-in area. A buzzing noise sounded out as he got in range, and when he punched the bar, the heavy steel panel swung free.

On the other side, he strode around to the patient bays. He didn’t need to ask where Chavez was. Moose and the others were standing in a cluster about halfway down, and as he came up to them, the grim faces were too familiar.

“How we doing?” he asked Moose.

The big man nodded off to the side, and Danny went with him, stepping away from the crew.

“They Narcan’d him.” Moose lowered his voice. “LaSalle found a needle with heroin residue in it and disappeared the evidence. They’re telling everyone it was a reaction to prescription meds, but that’s a lie.”

Remy LaSalle was a police officer and a good guy. Looked like the department was going to owe him. “Any other paraphernalia?”

“They didn’t look very hard, if you know what I mean.”

“How’d LaSalle know to go there?” Danny patted around for his cigarettes, but then stopped himself because lighting up was a no-go. “Did someone call him?”

“They were going to play some pickup ball.”

“If that was the plan, why’d Chavez be doing H?”

“I don’t know. LaSalle said Chavez called him like an hour before and told him to come by, the door would be open. LaSalle didn’t think much of it until he got there, and . . . yeah, he was just off duty, so he had the Narcan with him because he came in a squad car that had a dose in the trunk. If it hadn’t been for that coincidence, we’d be making funeral arrangements right now.”

“Where’s his mom? She on her way?”

“Yeah. I called her.”

Danny looked at the closed door of the bay. There was a break in the interior curtains that had been pulled, and he could see a sliver of Chavez’s face, so pale, the eyes closed. His body was so big and muscular, it made the hospital bed seem like something a child would put in a dollhouse.

“Did you call the chief?” he asked.

“Captain Baker did.”

“Is he coming?”

“Yeah, so you might want to leave, right now.”

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