Home > What I've Done (Morgan Dane #4)(5)

What I've Done (Morgan Dane #4)(5)
Author: Melinda Leigh

“She’s going to have a black eye tomorrow.” Esposito looked around and pointed at a young clerk carrying a box of files. “Go find an ice pack.”

The clerk nodded and scurried away. With an uncomfortable cough, Esposito dropped the hand holding Morgan’s chin.

Lance turned his attention back to Morgan. How badly was she hurt? “How hard did he hit you?”

“I’m OK,” Morgan said. But her pretty blue eyes were wide-open with shock. The blotch blooming beside her eye seemed to be darkening.

The mark made Lance wish McFarland would break free of the deputies. He wanted to teach him a lesson about the collision of fists and faces. His love for Morgan was absolute. The desire to protect her blotted out the refinements of civilization and left Lance stripped down to his primal instincts.

The deputies hauled McFarland to his feet and dragged him off, still cursing and resisting.

“Can you sit up by yourself?” Esposito asked.

When Morgan nodded, he removed his hand from her back and stood. “Don’t rush to get up.”

Lance scanned her face, reassessing. Beyond the red mark, he didn’t like the vacant, doe in the headlights look in her eyes. “You should get checked out by a doctor.”

“It was only one punch.” Morgan blinked hard and stared up at the ADA. “Thank you. If you hadn’t stepped in . . .”

Esposito flushed, tugged on his lapels, and smoothed his hair with one swipe of a thick hand.

His chin dipped in a curt nod. “As I said before, your client is a dirtball.”

“Former client. He’ll have to find another attorney.” Morgan folded her long legs under her body. Lance held her hand and elbow and helped her stand. She wobbled, and he wrapped a steadying arm around her. And because he couldn’t help himself, he pulled her closer and pressed a kiss to her hair.

Lance’s relationship with Morgan wasn’t a secret, but they kept their interactions professional in professional settings, mostly because Morgan insisted. Lance didn’t give a rat’s ass about other people’s opinions. But then, as a PI, his reputation wasn’t as critical as hers was as an attorney. But today, the only thing that mattered was that she was all right.

The clerk returned with a cold pack and handed it to Morgan. She thanked him and pressed it to the side of her face. Her flinch sent a fresh wave of hot anger through Lance’s veins.

Esposito bent to pick up Morgan’s tote bag and coat. He handed both to Lance. “Feel better, Ms. Dane.” With a quick nod to Lance, Esposito walked away.

Morgan gave a statement to a deputy and agreed to make herself available for further questioning at a later date. Lance took her arm and led her toward the exit.

She repositioned the cold pack. Her hand trembled. “I’m not sure which was more shocking—the fact that my client punched me, or that Esposito came to my rescue. McFarland was getting ready to kick me in the head. Esposito body-slammed him.”

Lance glanced over his shoulder at the retreating back of the ADA. “I wouldn’t have expected it.”

“Me either. He considers all defense attorneys bottom-feeders. Usually he treats me with complete disdain.”

They stepped outside. The cold air wrapped around them, and Morgan shivered. Lance tucked her huge bag under his arm and held her coat open for her. Lowering the ice pack, she slid her arms into her coat and wrapped it tightly around her body. Lance tucked her against him, and they walked to his Jeep. He opened and closed her door before rounding the vehicle and sliding behind the wheel.

She fastened her seat belt, then dug through her bag. “Can you stop at the Minimart? I’m out of Tylenol.”

“Sure.” He drove to the convenience store, and they went inside.

Morgan took a box of pain relievers from the shelf, then ducked down the next aisle for a bag of Peanut M&M’s. She paid at the register, and they left the store. Walking toward the Jeep, she shoved the medicine into her tote. She wobbled, one hand reaching out as if to balance herself. Lance reached for her as her knees buckled. She pitched forward, her face rushing toward the blacktop.

Lance lunged, catching her shoulders and easing her to the ground. Supporting her upper body with one arm, he turned her chin toward him. “Morgan?”

Her eyes fluttered open. She blinked hard. “What happened?”

“You fainted.” Worried, Lance tilted her face to get a better look at her eyes. They looked normal, but he wasn’t a doctor. She needed to see one of those ASAP. He wouldn’t take no for an answer this time. She had three little girls who depended on her.

She frowned. “I don’t faint.” Her voice was indignant.

Lance shifted his body to pick her up.

“Wait.” Morgan grabbed her tote. Then she snagged her candy from the asphalt where it had fallen.

“Seriously?” He scooped her into his arms.

“My blood sugar must be low. I don’t need to be carried,” she protested. “You can put me down.”

“So you can hit your head again?” Lance hefted her higher in his arms and headed toward his Jeep. “I don’t think so. We’re going to the ER.”

She didn’t protest, which told him she felt much worse than she wanted to admit.

Chapter Five

Sharp froze. Her use of his first name brought the memories rushing back. No one had called him Lincoln in ages. His parents were both dead, he was an only child, and he hadn’t spoken to his ex-wife in many years. But Eliza had also known him before he’d become a cop, before he’d acquired his nickname.

“Eliza?” Even with the evidence right in front of him, he couldn’t believe she was here.

“I was afraid you might not remember me.” She blew a piece of hair away from her eyes. “It’s been a long time.”

“I remember you,” he said.

Don’t just stand there, idiot.

He hurried down the steps and stood awkwardly in front of her, unsure how to greet her. He settled on a quick hug. They were old friends after all, no matter what else had transpired between them. “How are you?”

Twenty-five years before, her husband, Officer Ted Powell, had died, leaving Eliza to raise their baby, Haley, alone. The memory of Ted’s death was etched permanently into Sharp’s brain. Nor would he ever forget the way she’d accepted the folded flag, the fog crawling over the cemetery, or her three involuntary flinches as the honor guard sent off the twenty-one-gun salute. To this day, Sharp hated the sound of bagpipes.

The community and the Scarlet Falls PD had come together to support Eliza. But less than a year after her husband’s death, she had moved to New York City, wanting a fresh start.

Maybe she’d also wanted to put some distance between her and Sharp.

“I need your help.” Her voice broke. “I don’t know who else to call.”

The desperate edge in her voice put Sharp on alert and wiped away his nostalgia. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s Haley.” Eliza’s breath hitched. “She needs a lawyer.”

In his mind, Sharp saw an infant in a pink blanket, but Haley would be an adult now.

A garbage truck rumbled down the street, and two cars pulled into the small parking lot of the real estate agency next door. Sensing Eliza’s story would require privacy, he steered her up the front steps.

“Let’s go inside.” He held the door open for her.

In the foyer, he gestured toward his office. The largest room in the unit, it had once been a living room and accommodated a couch in addition to the usual office furniture.

Clearly agitated, Eliza paced.

“Haley called me this morning. She was nearly hysterical, almost incoherent.” Eliza’s eyes misted. She paused to collect herself. “She told me she was at the sheriff’s station, and they wouldn’t let her leave. They think she killed someone named Noah.”

“She’s at the Randolph County Sheriff’s Station?” Sharp asked, confused.

“Yes.”

“Why was Haley in town?”

“We live in Grey’s Hollow.” Eliza’s eyes flickered away from his for a moment, then she got back to business. “Right after she called, two deputies showed up on my doorstep with a search warrant. They went through Haley’s room and took her computer.”

   
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