Home > What I've Done (Morgan Dane #4)(6)

What I've Done (Morgan Dane #4)(6)
Author: Melinda Leigh

Sharp swallowed the fact that she’d never let him know she was back. Then he focused on her needs. “What did the warrant say?”

Eliza took a folded piece of paper from her purse. “They gave me a copy and a receipt for Haley’s computer.”

Sharp read the warrant. The police were looking for evidence in the murder of Noah Carter. The probable cause affidavit wasn’t attached, so he didn’t know how much evidence the police had on Haley. “They only took her computer, so that means they didn’t find any other evidence.”

“I don’t even know who Noah Carter is.” Eliza’s voice broke.

“Me either. A missing woman case has dominated the news,” Sharp said. The sheriff’s department had been looking for twenty-five-year-old Shannon Yates since she’d been reported missing the previous Tuesday. Her car had been found Saturday afternoon, and the sheriff’s department suspected that foul play had occurred. “But there was another story about a young man being stabbed. Is that the case?”

“I don’t know.” Eliza whirled and paced back toward him. “By the time I got that little bit of information out of Haley, someone in the background was yelling that her time was up. I told her not to say anything else. That I would get her a lawyer. And she hung up.”

“Did you go to the station?” Sharp went behind his desk. He opened his computer and pulled up the local news station website.

She nodded. “Yes. As soon as the deputies left my house. I couldn’t get past the front desk.”

“What time was this?” Sharp asked, scrolling.

Eliza looked at her watch. “About an hour ago. I called a couple of local lawyers, but they don’t handle criminal defense. Then I remembered seeing you on the news last fall after that big murder case. You were working with a lawyer. A woman. She seemed very smart.”

“She is,” Sharp said. “If anyone can help Haley, it’s Morgan Dane.”

“Haley’s health is fragile. About seven years ago, in her freshman year of college, she was very sick. She lost weight. She was weak and had bouts of dizziness. The doctors originally thought it might have been a tumor.” Eliza gulped and closed her eyes for a few seconds. “I was terrified.”

“I can only imagine,” Sharp said.

“We were relieved when she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease. Her adrenal glands don’t function properly. She needs to take medication every day or she can suffer dehydration, hypoglycemia, and dangerous drops in blood pressure, which is why her near incoherency this morning is particularly alarming. Haley always carries extra medication, but the police would have taken her purse.”

“Did you explain this at the sheriff’s office?”

“Yes. The deputy at the desk said he would tell the sheriff.”

“How long can she go without her medication before she’s in serious trouble?” Sharp asked, looking up from his computer.

“Normally, a few days without medication would make her tired and possibly dizzy, and she would feel better once she resumed taking the replacement hormones. But stress compounds the problem. Your adrenal glands respond to stress by producing extra cortisol. But Haley’s body can’t do that, and she must take extra medication when she’s stressed. The short answer is, I don’t know.”

Sharp found the story he’d been looking for and skimmed it. “Noah Carter was stabbed to death in his home Friday night. A woman is being questioned as a person of interest in the case.”

Eliza paled. “Haley couldn’t possibly have done that.”

“The best thing we can do is get Morgan over there.” Sharp pulled out his cell and speed-dialed Morgan. After three rings, the call flipped to voice mail. He left a brief message, then tried Lance’s number. He didn’t answer either. Sharp sent Lance a text.

“We should get a call back quickly. Unless she’s in court, Morgan usually answers her phone. She’ll check her messages as soon as the hearing is over.”

“It was a zoo in the sheriff’s station. Several news vans were outside.”

“The search for Shannon Yates is ongoing,” Sharp said.

“I know,” Eliza said. “I’m afraid Haley has been forgotten.”

“They’re not going to forget a murder suspect. It will still be a major case.”

“But if she’s in custody, then she’s no longer a threat. The sheriff’s office will put her on the back burner and focus on the search for the missing woman.” Eliza’s voice tightened.

She was right. The sheriff had a limited number of deputies. They would concentrate their efforts where they could affect the outcome of the case.

“OK. Let’s go to the station. Maybe I can get someone’s attention.” Sharp knew many of the deputies, including the one who had stepped in to act as sheriff after the previous one had died back in November.

“Thank you.” Eliza turned toward the door. The hand on her purse strap was clenched tightly enough to raise the tendons on the back of her hand. “I can’t lose her.”

“You won’t.” Sharp couldn’t let that happen. It didn’t matter how many years had passed since Ted’s death. Some promises never expired.

July 1993

Sharp climbed out of his patrol car in the lot alongside the deli. Sweat dripped down his back before he’d closed the car door. The sun had gone down an hour before, but the sweltering heat had barely broken. The night air was thick and charged with the possibility of a thunderstorm. July humidity, his stiff uniform, and his duty belt were an uncomfortable combination.

Also on night shift, Ted Powell drove up in his black-and-white, parked next to him, and got out of the vehicle. Sweat beaded on his upper lip. Nasty smells emanated from the open dumpster as they walked past it.

“What do you want to drink?” Sharp led the way around the corner of the brick building. He opened the glass front door, and they stepped inside. The scent of hot dogs filled his nose. In front of them, a small group of customers stood in line at the register.

Ted pivoted left, toward the ORDER HERE sign suspended from the ceiling over the sandwich counter. “You want food?”

“No, thanks.” Sharp had packed his dinner. “The chemicals in deli meat will kill you.”

“The baby has been awake for days.” Ted rubbed an eye. “I need sustenance.”

Sharp swallowed a small bite of envy. His own marital problems weren’t his best friend’s fault. He and Kristy had only been married for six months. Things would smooth out. “Good thing that little girl of yours is adorable.”

One thing Sharp liked about working second shift was that by the time he got home, Kristy was asleep. And by the time he woke in the morning, she had left for work. He was avoiding her, which was a bad sign. They were still newlyweds. He should want to go home to his wife.

But she was pressuring him to quit the force. She couldn’t sleep knowing that he might not come home. She had nightmares.

Being married to a cop wasn’t easy. Not everyone could handle it.

“She is adorable, isn’t she?” Smiling, Ted adjusted his belt under the small paunch he’d developed since they’d graduated from the academy together two years before. “Eliza put me on a diet. I’m starving. I’m getting an all-meat sub with a side of meat.”

“If you went running with me, you wouldn’t have that gut,” Sharp said as he veered right toward the cold cases in the back of the store.

“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.” Ted had many great qualities. Athleticism wasn’t one of them. “Grab me a Coke,” he called over his shoulder.

“That’ll kill you too,” Sharp said.

“Stop nagging.” Ted laughed. “I already have a wife.”

Sharp walked down the junk food aisle and stopped in front of a refrigerator case. He selected a Coke, then moved two doors down and grabbed a bottle of unsweetened iced tea for himself.

A woman screamed from the front of the store, the sound high-pitched and terrified.

Sharp froze, his hand automatically going to his sidearm.

“Hands up!” a man shouted. Someone started sobbing.

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