Lacey couldn’t breathe.
Jack watched Lacey on her cell. He’d been eavesdropping on her phone conversation and could tell she was worried about a friend. Who were Chris and Kelly? Hell, he didn’t know her friends at all except for the reporter at the end of the room. He hardly knew anything about Lacey Campbell and that needed to change. But every time they were together something freaky happened. They were going in the right direction last night until her overprotective bodyguard decided to spout off, and Jack had lost his cool.
Yeah, he owned a condo in Mount Junction. So what? He skied. His sister skied too. Melody probably used the place ten times as much as he did. Their father had bought it years ago for family ski trips, but Brody had twisted it into a black mark against him.
Now the new murders were being tied to old cases in Mount Junction. He shot a sideways glance at Brody. He was following Lacey’s phone call intently. Brody probably knew who she was talking about. He probably knew every finite detail about her that Jack craved to know. Like what’s her favorite ice cream? What kind of music does she listen to?
As he watched, Callahan grabbed her cell and started speaking. Lacey wobbled and started to collapse. Jack leaped from his chair, lunging for her. The detective grabbed her arms before she hit the floor, but her cell phone slipped out of his hands and shattered. Pieces of phone and the battery skidded across the floor as Jack grabbed her around the shoulders and knees, lifting her effortlessly. Brody had leaped at the same time but was an instant too late. He reached out to take her, but Jack stopped him with a cold glare.
“Stop it. Put me down.” Her quiet voice concerned Jack even more.
“What happened?” Jack looked at Callahan, who’d moved to the lobby desk and was snapping out orders at the officer. “What’d you say to her?”
“Nothing.” Callahan finished his instructions and barely glanced at Jack. “She’s got a friend missing who’s probably been nabbed by our man.” Callahan turned his back and started punching his cell phone.
Jack nearly dropped her. “What? Who?” He let Lacey’s legs slide down to the floor and turned her firmly to face him. He tilted her chin up, searching her eyes. “What’s happened? Who’s gone?”
Her face was white. Lack of sleep and shock showed in the dark half-moons under her eyes. “It’s Kelly. She’s missing. That was her husband. He can’t find her and she’s been gone since last night.” Her eyes filled. “Kelly testified in the trial but it didn’t mean much. All she could tell them was how she found me,” she whispered.
“Found you? Found you when?” Jack shook her shoulders. Lacey’s eyes weren’t focusing quite right.
“After.” She didn’t elaborate.
“Kelly was the gymnast who found Lacey after Suzanne was nabbed,” Brody answered quietly. He was picking up the pieces of cell phone, deftly reassembling it, wisely not putting his hands on Lacey in front of Jack.
“This other girl was there that night?” Another DeCosta witness was gone?
“Kelly didn’t see anything. Just Lacey on the ground. Bleeding,” Brody added.
Lacey had told him. Her broken leg, her beat-up face, bleeding.
Looking about for support, Jack saw the anger in Brody’s eyes as he glared from the reassembled phone to Lacey’s white face. Brody had come to the same conclusion: Lacey was truly in deep danger. Brody looked ready to haul Lacey down the hall and lock her in a cell.
Good. Maybe she’d listen if both of them got on her case.
Jack’s gaze widened. Fuck. He’d just aligned himself with the competition. Of course, at this stage he’d align himself with a terrorist if it meant keeping her safe.
Callahan caught Jack’s eye and jerked his head.
Jack sat Lacey in a chair and kneeled before her, rubbing her icy hands. “I’ll be right back. I need to talk to Callahan.” She nodded silently as he stood, and Michael sat in the chair next to her, seamlessly taking over. Jack couldn’t worry about the reporter now. If he couldn’t be her warden, Brody seemed an acceptable alternative.
“What’s going on?” Jack didn’t like the look on Callahan’s face.
Callahan moved the two of them down the hall, out of hearing range of Michael and Lacey. “I was just about to show her something I’d gotten off the janitor kid when she fell apart.” Callahan pulled a clear plastic bag out of his pocket and handed it to Jack. “I don’t think this is a good time to show it to her. She’s had enough shock.”
Jack smoothed the small bag, trying to read the card and small envelope through the plastic. The envelope simply said “Lacey” on the front in block lettering. A delicate bouquet of blue and yellow flowers decorated the card, reminding him of the colors in her kitchen.
“Thinking of you…” was imprinted below the flowers. He frowned and maneuvered the card open inside the bag and read: “I have a special party planned for you and me. In two days, we will commiserate over his anniversary, together.”
Jack’s lips thinned and his knuckles blanched white as he gripped the plastic. “His anniversary? Whose anniversary is he talking about?”
“In two days is the anniversary of DeCosta’s conviction,” Callahan stated.
“You got this from Sean?”
“Yeah, Sean claims he was waiting outside her home because he was worried about her. The attack up at the school really upset him. In the interview he kept going on and on about how Dr. Campbell was in danger.” Callahan shook his head, eyes grim. “He got seriously agitated when I told him Frank Stevenson wasn’t in jail anymore. Was a struggle to calm him down again.”