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Книга Sense Of Evil. Содержание - 16

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Rafe shook his head. “Maybe we missed something. Or maybe there was nothing there to miss. Maybe she was as good at keeping secrets as Jamie was. As Tricia was.”

“Regarding Tricia, there were no regular withdrawals from her bank account in the last few months,” Mallory noted. “But that isn’t to say she might not have sold some of her sketches or paintings for cash. A couple of her friends mentioned that she’d sold things to them. She could have paid Jamie without leaving any trace of the money.”

“Yeah,” Isabel said, “but how did she find Jamie? I mean, how did she know the services were available? I doubt Jamie advertised in some bondage magazine.”

“Word of mouth?” Rafe suggested. “A referral from another client? All these women had something to lose in the sense of not wanting their… extracurricular activities to be made public. Jamie could have been pretty sure of their silence.”

“Still, she would have wanted to have control-” Isabel broke off with a frown, then continued. “Wait a minute. The photos we have show Jamie unmasked. What if that’s the reason Emily took those particular photos? Because they were the only ones that showed Jamie’s face?”

Finishing her supposition, Rafe said, “What if Jamie was always masked when she met clients? Except for the client she trusted, the one in the photographs?”

Mallory said, “According to all that info you guys got from Quantico on the S amp;M scene, that actually makes sense. For the submissive to not know who was dominating her-or him, I guess-could be an important part of the experience. For some of them, it might even be necessary that they not know the identity of their… mistress.”

“We have got to find that box,” Isabel said. “And I want to talk to Emily again first thing tomorrow. The patrol’s still watching her, right?”

Rafe nodded. “When she’s out of the house, they follow; when she’s home, as she was last time I checked, I have a squad car parked across the street from her house. If anybody asks, they’re under orders to say they’re making sure none of the media bothers the family.”

“Good cover story,” Isabel said.

“And plausible. Since Jamie was the first victim, the family really has had to put up with a lot of media attention. Allison and Tricia didn’t have family in Hastings, so nobody can really know if those families are being watched as well.”

“Hey,” Ginny said suddenly, “did you guys take a good look at these doodles?”

“I was just looking at the time and place of the appointment,” Hollis admitted, unwilling to explain that images often blurred or faded oddly when she looked at them, particularly those drawn two-dimensionally on paper.

“What’d we miss?” Rafe asked his young officer.

Ginny hesitated, then pushed the note across the table to him. “Look at that doodle on the right. The two circles connected with a sort of chain.”

Rafe had to look for a moment before he realized what he was seeing. “Jesus. Handcuffs.”

“It’s about time you got off,” Ally told Travis. “I didn’t have to hang around the police station waiting for you, you know. I do have other offers.”

He grinned at her. “Then why didn’t you accept any of them?”

“You’re getting too goddamned cocky, I’ll tell you that much. Here I am, wandering around downtown on a Sunday evening when the only other women out are brave, and needless to say brunette, hookers-”

“I think those are other reporters, Ally. Hastings doesn’t have hookers.”

“You sure about that?”

Recalling a certain trip to a certain house when he was about sixteen, Travis felt his face heat up. “Well, not streetwalkers, anyway.”

“Don’t tell me, let me guess. Your old man took you to a cathouse for your first sexual experience.”

“He did not.” Travis sighed. “My brother did.”

Ally slid off the hood of his car, laughing. “You should send her flowers on every anniversary, pal. She done you proud.”

“Thank you. I think.” He pulled her close for a long kiss, then said, “Dammit, Ally, it really bothers me that you’re wandering around town alone, never mind after dark, especially since Cheryl Bayne disappeared. It’s been nearly a week since the last murder; we know we’re running out of time. Every other woman in town is jumpy as hell, and you’re breezing around like nothing can touch you.”

“I’m not blond.”

“We don’t know he’s just after blondes. Cheryl Bayne wasn’t-isn’t-blond. Besides, the other times, he went after brunettes and redheads.”

“Other times?”

He grimaced. “You didn’t hear me say that.”

“Look, I promise I won’t report a word until you say it’s okay. Scout’s honor.”

He stared at the fingers she held up. “That’s a peace sign, Ally.”

“Well, I was never a scout. But that doesn’t mean you can’t trust me to keep quiet-until I get the word it’s okay to report.”

He took her arm and escorted her around to the passenger side of his car. “I say we pick up a bag of tacos and head for my place.”

“Tacos at this hour? God, you have a cast-iron stomach, don’t you? Besides, didn’t I see a pizza delivery to the station a couple of hours ago? The poor guy was staggering under the weight of those pizza boxes.”

“One of the feds offered to buy,” Travis said. “Naturally, we took her up on the offer.”

“And you’re still hungry?”

“Well, that was a couple of hours ago.”

“But tacos? On top of pizza?”

“It’s Sunday night in Hastings, Ally; we don’t have a lot of choices here.”

She sighed and got into his car, waiting until he was behind the wheel to say, “Okay, but only on the condition that you fill me in on the investigation so far.”

“Ally-”

“Look, either you trust me by now or you don’t. If you don’t, please be kind enough to drop me off at the inn.”

“So that’s it? I talk or it’s over?”

“Come on, Travis, give me a break. We’re not lovers, we just roll around in the sheets together and have a good time. It’s fun and we both enjoy it, but I haven’t heard a suggestion that we start picking out china patterns. You’re not going to take me home to Mama, and we both know as soon as this maniac is captured or killed, I’m outta here. Right?”

“Right,” he said grudgingly.

“So don’t get all indignant with me now. I’m having a good time with you, and that’s cool, but I also have a job to do. Either I get what I need from you, or I start looking someplace else.”

“At least you’re up front about it,” he muttered.

“I am nothing if not totally honest,” she said, lying without a blink.

He eyed her for a moment and then started the car. “Ally, I swear, if you air one single word-or even tell your producer-before I give the okay, I’ll figure out a way to throw your ass in jail. Got it?”

“Got it. No problem. So who’s Jane Doe, and how did she die?”

“Hope Tessneer, and she was strangled. She lived in another town about thirty miles away.”

“And turned up dead here because…?”

“Beats me. I think the chief and the feds know more than they’re saying, but they ain’t sharing. At least, not with me.”

Accurately reading the tone of his voice, she said, “They’ve brought somebody else into the investigation?”

“Into the inner circle, anyway.” He shrugged, trying hard for indifference. “Ginny McBrayer seems to be in their confidence, or at least of the two agents. Figures. You females always stick together.”

“Please don’t make me call you a sexist pig,” Ally requested dryly.

“I’m not. And that’s not what I mean. Women talk to each other in ways men just don’t. That’s all.”

Ally looked at him with faint respect. “We do, actually. I’m surprised you noticed.”

“I keep telling you I’m not an idiot.” He sent her a glance, smiling oddly. “You really should pay attention, Ally.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Yeah, I guess I really should at that. Where’re we going, Travis?”

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