Copyright © 2005; Margaret Falk. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher.

Published by Breakaway Media

Tucson, Arizona (USA)



First published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., mass market edition / 2005

Published in Germany by Blanvalet, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group GmbH, Munich, mass market edition / 2005


To the memory of my father:

A stray breeze on a hot day

 The sun gentle on my face



Francis X. Entwistle showed up in Laura Cardinal’s bedroom at three in the morning, looking world-weary.

“Don’t get up, Lorie. Just wanted to give you a heads-up. A bad one’s coming.”

Frank’s complexion was pale and there were shadows under his eyes. In life, his face had been dull red from the high blood pressure that had killed him. A bottle of Tanqueray gin sat on the window table and the tumbler in Frank’s hand was about a quarter full. Laura didn’t own any tumblers and she didn’t drink gin.

Laura wasn’t entirely surprised that her old mentor was sitting in the straight-backed Mexican chair in her bedroom four months after his wife had buried him. Maybe because she knew she was dreaming. Or maybe because he was her last link to her parents, and she didn’t want him to be gone for good. Frank Entwistle leaned forward, the nightlight from the bathroom illuminating the scroll of white hair above his side part. “You’re gonna have to pay attention and keep on paying attention.”

He stopped to scratch the tip of his nose. Laura Cardinal realized the absurdity of the situation: Sitting in her bed at three in the morning, watching a dead homicide cop scratching his nose.

“I’m talking about the kind of thing, you aren’t careful, could come back around and bite you in the ass. The key word here is vigilance.”

She wanted him to clarify what he meant by that, but he was starting to fade.

He held his glass up in a salute. “Watch your back, kiddo.”

When she caught the case the next day, there was no doubt in Laura’s mind that it was the one Frank Entwistle had alluded to.

It was the weekend, and she was at her little house on the guest ranch where she lived rent-free. The owner, a friend from high school, liked the idea of having a criminal investigator from the Arizona Department of Public Safety living on his property.

The dream about Frank Entwistle remained with her, vivid and unsettling. It didn’t feel like a dream. When she got up this morning, she sleepwalked into the bathroom. In the dim glow of the nightlight, she saw a ring on the table left by a sweating glass. Instantly she was wide awake, her heart rate going through the roof, until she realized the real culprit was Tom Lightfoot. Tom never remembered to use a coaster.

It was Tom who had been on her mind all morning, Tom who had preoccupied her since he left two days ago on a packing trip to New Mexico.

This was because of the note stuck to the refrigerator: “Maybe we should live together - T”

Not “Love, T,” she noticed. The word “love” scared her anyway, so she wouldn’t hold that against him. What she did hold against him was the fact that he had blindsided her, leaving that note on her refrigerator and then creeping out of town. She couldn’t reach him in the back country. She couldn’t say they’d only been together two and a half months, that his house was just over the hill, that just because he spent every night with her anyway, he shouldn’t think he could move in. Living together was a whole different proposition from sleeping together. The last man she had lived with had been her husband, and that had not turned out well.

What bothered Laura most, though, was the part of her that leaped at the thought.

Restless, she went outside to water, the day already hot enough she had to run the hose awhile to avoid scalding the plants. Her mobile rang and she retreated into the shade with the phone.

It was Jerry Grimes, her sergeant. “You busy?”

“What’s up?” Knowing that whatever plans she had for a quiet weekend were about to be blown out of the water.

“Bisbee PD has asked for an assist on a homicide.”

As she listened, Laura forgot about Tom’s note. Frank Entwistle had warned her it would be bad, and it was. A fourteen-year-old girl had been found dead in a small town south of here.

“Mike’s talked to the chief down there, and we all agree,” Jerry said. “You’re the lead investigator on this. So

Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату