Her Last Word

Page 28


“No.” His former partner wasn’t making this easy, but then again Logan hadn’t deserved what happened to him. “I always said you were destined for great things.”
He glanced at his prosthetic as if it were an unwelcome visitor. “Right.”
Adler caught Logan’s eye and leaned forward. Several cars came and went. “Your wife left you?”
“Yep. Couldn’t handle all this. I’m not the pretty face I was before the explosion.”
“You never had a pretty face,” Adler said, grinning.
Logan shot him a look of annoyance, not sure how to take the remark.
“Come up to Ashland. Move in with me. I’m renovating the place, and you’re welcome.”
“I don’t want your pity.”
“Good, because I’m fresh out. I do have a first-floor room, and after you install the handicap bars in the bathroom shower, you should be good to go.”
Logan arched a brow. “Me install the bars?”
“You’re good with carpentry work.”
“Do I have to buy them as well?”
“I’ll order them today.”
A crooked smile rushed past the anger. “You make it sound so tempting.”
“Telling it like it is. The first-floor bedroom, bathroom, and shower are set up so you can roll right in. The kitchen is a work in progress. New cabinets come next week and then countertops, but there’s a temporary sink, stove, and refrigerator. Also, I have a nice yard looking onto the train tracks.”
“I’m kind of fond of trains.” Logan grinned slightly.
“You’ll see a lot of them in Ashland.”
“And then what?” Logan asked, turning serious again.
“You keep coming here. You keep working.”
“And then?”
“And then you get back to being a cop,” Adler said.
“I don’t have two legs, remember?”
Adler tapped his index finger against his own temple. “Does this still work, or are you unable to think any more?”
“I think too much.”
“Join the club.” Adler focused on the metal leg feeding into the Nike tennis shoe. “You’ll make it work.” He scratched under his chin. “Besides, you know the old saying. Chicks dig scars.”
Logan laughed. “Bullshit.”
Adler was silent for a moment, then when he trusted his voice, said, “This kind of shit weeds out the pussies.”
Logan sighed. “Fuck me. I’ll do it.”
Logan rubbed the calluses on his palm. “So what’re you working on these days?”
“Homicide. Stabbing. Hell of a case.” Seeing Logan’s interest pique, he steered the conversation toward the Ralston murder, which he recapped in detail.
Logan shifted in his chair. “A shitload of planning.”
A thought occurred to him. “You’re taking classes at the university while on disability?”
“Ever heard of a teacher named Kaitlin Roe?”
“No.” Logan dug his phone from his pocket and pulled up a site dedicated to rating professors. He typed in Kaitlin’s name and pulled up her profile.
Adler studied the image. Her blond hair was swept in front of her face, effectively hiding half her features. White teeth flashed as if the camera had caught her laughing. A collection of bracelets hung from a slim wrist as she appeared to brush a wisp of hair from her face.
“She’s hot,” Logan said.
Adler rubbed his neck. He’d noticed. “What’s it say about her?”
Logan scrolled through the comments. “Hates it when people are late to her class. Grades hard. Fair. Will organize extra Saturday study sessions if the class needs it. You have a hard-on for her?” A slight grin teased the edges of his mouth.
He’d thought about her a lot. She wasn’t anything like his ex-wife or the women he’d dated since. Intense with a fierce drive, she wasn’t afraid to shake up the status quo to get what she wanted. She also had a tight ass he thought about too damn much. “Her name came up in this murder investigation.”
“I remember her now. And Gina Mason. How do the Mason case and the Ralston case relate?”
“I’m not sure yet. My priority has been Thursday night’s stabbing. I spent the better part of the night going through the victim’s financials and background. Bottom line is, Quinn and I don’t have time to read the full Gina Mason case file.”
“Keep talking.”
“I need someone to go through it. How about you?”
“Me?” He laughed, but his eyes sharpened with interest.
“You were a good cop, Detective, and you still are.”
“I don’t know.”
“Is that a no? Are you saying you’re too busy chasing university skirt and doing homework to help?”
“Screw you.”
“Detective Logan, I could use the help.”
“What’s the rush?”
“That stabbing I mentioned. She was one of Kaitlin’s interview subjects. And a former witness in the Gina Mason case. There is also a prisoner, Randy Hayward, in the city jail who says he’ll trade what he knows about Gina for a reduced sentence on a murder charge he’s facing.”
Logan’s shoulders relaxed. “I can do this.”
Adler reached in his pocket and pulled out his keys. He removed a second house key and handed it to Logan. “Pack your stuff and move in. The case file is at our house.”
Logan reached for the key and fisted his fingers around it. “You sure about this?”
“The room on the first floor is yours. And if you ever thank me, I’ll punch you.”
“Take your best shot.”
Adler clamped his hand on Logan’s shoulder. “Get your ass in gear.”
Logan grinned like a schoolboy. “I’m not going to cramp your style when you make a move on Kaitlin Roe, am I?”
“Doubt that’ll happen.” Adler laughed. “And no one gets in my way when I make a move.”
As Kaitlin walked around the classroom and listened in on the student interviews, her phone vibrated.
She pulled it from her pocket and spotted Erika Crowley’s name.
I’m ready to be interviewed, but it has to be today. Come to my house. Now before I lose my nerve.
Kaitlin was surprised to see the text from Erika. The way they’d left it, she hadn’t thought she had a chance at another interview. If Erika knew something, Kaitlin needed to hear it. Given that Randy might tell his own version of what happened, it felt more important than ever to talk to Erika. The more facts she had, the easier it would be to sort Randy’s facts from fiction.
Kaitlin glanced toward the clock on the wall and then to the students. She read Erika’s text again.
With a sense of urgency, she moved to her desk and grabbed her knapsack, already calculating the time and distance between here and Erika’s house. This time of day, she’d miss any traffic and make the trip in twenty minutes.
“Guys, I’ve had an emergency come up,” she said. “We’re going to have to end the session now.”
“But we aren’t finished,” one student said.
“He was starting to crack,” another joked.
“Sometimes a reporter or public relations professional has no control over the time.” Which was true. Sometimes a reporter had time to warm up to the interviewee, and other times it all changed on a dime.