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Her Last Word

Her Last Word

Page 31

“Until now.” Novak shook his head. “Hayward is facing the death penalty, and Kaitlin shows up to plead his case?”

The urge to defend Kaitlin was quick and unexpected. “Kaitlin is sober now and wants to make this right. Regardless of her motives, this is the first break in this case in fourteen years. I’d like to take a run at this.”

“Hayward couldn’t have killed Jennifer Ralston,” Ricker said.

“No.”

Novak shut his file as his expression radiated frustration. “The media is going to love this one.”

“He’s right,” Ricker said.

“Ricker, when did you worry about the press?” Adler asked.

Early in their careers, they’d had this conversation several times over a beer. What came first, the case or the career? Neither wanted to be the guy who put politics above a case.

Annoyed, Ricker shoved his hand in his pocket. “If Hayward can’t hold up his end, I’m going to make it my personal mission to bury him.”

“You’ll have to get in line behind me,” Adler said.

A muscle pulsed in Ricker’s jaw. “And Kaitlin Roe can be present if she stays behind the yellow crime scene tape.”

“Understood.”

“I’ll call Blackstone and work out the details,” Ricker said.

Adler left Ricker and Novak, knowing this was a fragile victory. If Hayward were manipulating them, this was going to cost him political capital that he’d planned to use to help Logan. Not to mention, it would cost Ricker more, who’d stuck his neck out for him.

Quinn came up on his flank as he moved through the bullpen. When she read his expression she smiled. “So, it’s still Let’s Make a Deal?”

“It is.”

“Good.”

He checked his watch. “Saint Mathew’s is having an alumni fund-raiser starting right about now.”

“And we care why?”

“Because Blackstone is supposed to be there.”

“It won’t look too good if we just show up.”

“If an alumnus shows, it wouldn’t raise a brow.”

She cocked her head. “Well, my mama and daddy couldn’t afford private school.”

He shrugged. “Mine could.”

“You’re a Saint M.’s kid?”

“I am.”

She laughed as she followed him to his car. “Jesus, Adler. You always gave off the rich-boy vibe, but I figured it was an act.”

He slid behind the wheel. “Maybe you’ll make some new friends.”

She clicked her seat belt. “Not likely.”

It took less than twenty minutes to drive to the school and find street parking a block away.

Out of the car, Quinn tugged up the collar of her shirt. “Do I look preppy enough?”

“You’re a natural.”

The parking lot was already full, and he could hear Irish music drifting from the sculpture garden. He dreaded events like this. His parents had dragged him to his fair share.

He adjusted his tie and buttoned his jacket, and they climbed the front steps and strode toward a table.

His grin froze when he recognized his ex-wife sitting at the table. Their divorce had been her idea, but he hadn’t contested it. She’d thought she was marrying a future governor or senator, not a career cop. “Veronica.”

Her smile instantly warmed and she rose, touching her now-pregnant belly with her left hand, which sported a diamond-studded wedding band. “John, how are you?”

He thought about all the times they’d talked about having children. When the time came to get pregnant, she’d asked him about leaving the police department and starting a “real” career. He’d found a reason not to quit, and she’d found a reason not to get pregnant. This went on for several years until a year ago, when she’d asked him for a divorce. “I’m great. How are you?”

She laughed. “I’m married.”

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