Home > What I've Done (Morgan Dane #4)(13)

What I've Done (Morgan Dane #4)(13)
Author: Melinda Leigh

Morgan went into her own office to hang up her coat and stow her tote. She brewed a cup of coffee in the small machine on her credenza. When she entered the kitchen, Sharp was busy at the blender.

“What are you thinking?” He reached for her cup. “Caffeine will only make you feel worse.”

She curled her fingers protectively around her cup and held it closer.

Sharp raised his eyebrows. “Do you want to get better faster?”

Yes, but enough to give up my coffee?

“Fine.” Morgan sulked and loosened her grip.

He turned to the blender. Its whir drowned out most of his short lecture on anti-inflammatory compounds and vitamins. He poured the pale-orange smoothie into four glasses and handed her one.

“What’s in it?” She sniffed it.

“It’s easiest just to drink it.” Lance walked into the kitchen. He’d changed from his suit into his usual attire: tactical cargos and a plain black T-shirt. “You know there’s no point trying to stop him once he goes into full mother mode.”

They gathered in Sharp’s office. Eliza paced. Sharp gestured for Morgan to sit behind his desk. She eased gratefully into the chair. Her head swam, her belly flip-flopped, and her efforts to concentrate just made her feel worse.

“Haley didn’t do this,” Eliza said. “She wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

“And we’ll try to prove that. But tomorrow’s hearing will strictly be about bail, though the strength of the prosecutor’s case will impact the judge’s decision on bail.” Morgan sipped her shake. “I’ll need to mitigate the strength of the evidence and heinous nature of the murder.” She paused. “Tell me about Haley. Has she ever been in trouble with the law?”

“No.” Eliza shook her head. “She’s never even had a speeding ticket.”

“Where does she live?” Morgan asked.

“With me.” Eliza gave them a Grey’s Hollow address.

Morgan wrote the address on her file. “Carranza Road. Why does that sound familiar?”

“It’s off Route 47 in the foothills of the Adirondacks,” Eliza said. “Haley had her own apartment, but after I moved to Grey’s Hollow last summer, I convinced her to move in with me. I travel quite a bit, and Haley house-sits for me. There’s plenty of room, and she gets to save the money she would pay in rent.”

“That’s good.” With additional questions, Morgan filled in Haley’s background with basic personal information. “One thing we haven’t discussed is money. A solid defense will be expensive. We’ll need expert witnesses and many investigative hours. I know it sounds intrusive, but what is your financial situation?”

“I have money,” Eliza said. “I can pay.”

“My hours are on the house.” Sharp crossed his arms over his chest.

“No. I insist on paying your usual rate.” Eliza lifted her chin. “I haven’t contacted you once over the past twenty-five years.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Sharp frowned at the reminder, and regret filled his eyes. No matter how much time had passed, he clearly had feelings for this woman.

“It does to me.” Eliza opened her purse and pulled out a checkbook and pen. “I won’t take advantage of Ted’s death. Or our past. You’ll need a retainer.” She wrote a check.

“Thank you.” Morgan accepted it and glanced at the amount. Ten thousand dollars.

“Is that enough to start?” Eliza asked.

“Yes.” Morgan wouldn’t have turned down the case if the check had been written for ten dollars. “But it won’t be nearly enough for bail.”

Eliza put her checkbook back in her purse, then hesitated. “I never liked wearing makeup. It always looked awful on my pale skin. Ten years ago, I started a line of all neutral-toned cosmetics called Wild.”

“The stores in the mall?” Morgan was impressed. Wild kiosks and boutique-style stores seemed to be popping up everywhere.

“Yes. I started out selling online, but we branched into retail locations about eight years ago. There are currently forty-six stores. So far, we’re only in the Northeast, but we’re branching out into Seattle this year.”

“I don’t care how much money you have. I won’t take any of it.” Sharp stood square, his arms still folded over his chest, his posture determined.

“We’ll see.” Eliza sighed. She looked as stubborn as Sharp.

Morgan rubbed her forehead. “The last time I defended someone accused of murder, bail was set at a million dollars. This crime is just as violent. A million will be the lowest amount we should expect. It could go higher. You would have to produce ten percent of the bond. Can you do that?”

“Yes,” Eliza said without hesitation.

“Good.” In that case, all Morgan had to do was talk the judge into granting bail for a woman accused of a heinous murder.

She asked Eliza a few more questions to round out her knowledge of Haley’s life. There was nothing in her background that would suggest she was dangerous or a flight risk. It was the murder itself—and the strength of the evidence—that would present the hardest hurdles to overcome.

Haley would be unavailable during the jail intake. The process would take the rest of the day. The next opportunity Morgan would have to speak with her would be just before the bail hearing, and that would only happen if Haley’s place on the court docket allowed ample time. If they did get the opportunity, they would only be allowed a few minutes of relative privacy.

“Is there anything else I can do?” Eliza asked.

Morgan gave her the contact information for a bail bond service. “They’ll tell you what paperwork you’ll need to expedite the process tomorrow morning. If bail is set, it will take all day to get Haley released.”

Eliza paled. “If?”

“Yes,” Morgan said. “Unfortunately, there’s a chance that the judge will insist she remain in custody.”

Eliza’s hands trembled. She’d lost her husband and raised her daughter alone. She was tough. Yet Morgan knew, one widowed single mother to another, that a conviction for Haley would break Eliza.

“Thank you for trying.” Eliza stood.

“I’ll see you out.” Sharp followed her from the room.

Morgan leaned back in the chair and closed her eyes for a few seconds. Every beat of her heart felt like the strike of a tiny hammer to her temple on the spot where McFarland’s fist had landed. She wanted to lay her head down and not lift it for a week.

“Are you OK?” Lance asked.

Opening her eyes, she shifted forward to rest her elbows on the desk. “Yes.”

“Liar.” He rounded the desk to gently knead her shoulders.

“That feels good.” Morgan sighed. She could feel the impact of McFarland’s punch through her entire neck. Rolling a shoulder, she used her phone to check her email.

“Anything from the prosecutor’s office?” Lance’s thumb pressed a tight knot at the base of her neck.

“No, but I have the arrest warrant and the initial police report from the sheriff’s office. We can get started. The police interviewed eleven witnesses. Some employees of the club, a few random witnesses, three of Noah’s friends, and the girl that Haley had gone out with that night.” She turned her head to give him better access. “Esposito doesn’t like to rush the discovery process. I don’t expect to receive much from him until after the arraignment.”

The ADA would comply with the legal requirement to provide Morgan with all evidence in the case, but he’d hold back as long as possible. The less she knew, the less prepared she’d be for the hearing tomorrow.

“He’s such a jackass,” Lance said.

Her phone vibrated with an incoming text from her sister.

Lance leaned over her shoulder and read the message out loud. “‘Check social media.’”

She opened a social media app where she never posted but maintained an account simply to see what clients and others did. As soon as she logged on, a GIF appeared in her feed. She’d been tagged. “Morgan Dane gets what she deserves.”

   
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