One widow, one killer--who will die first?
Gutsy, grieving Anna is determined to find who murdered her husband. Hampered by agonizing loneliness, her obsessive-compulsive mother, and her over-controlling father, she defies convention and the law to investigate on her own. When she runs up against a handsome police detective who’s determined to save Anna from herself, she has to step up her rogue search for the killer before time, and dwindling leads, runs out.
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While growing up, going to libraries felt like an adventure filled with mystery and wonder to Debra. The hushed tones invoked secrets, and the dusty, sometimes moldy scent of paper smelled like perfume. Leaving the library with just a single book never happened. Years later, her love of reading turned to passion for writing. Debra’s an award-winning artist who lives in southern Arizona where the average summer temperatures are truly hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.
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She let out a heavy sigh. “I live in Scottsdale.”
He nodded and turned north. He knew the way to the affluent city, and truthfully, he wasn’t surprised she lived there. Lee remembered what had happened to City of Phoenix Assistant Prosecutor Greg Eddington a year ago. He’d seen pictures of the prosecutor and his wife in the online newspaper shortly after his car crash. He’d had a promising career ahead of him. The crash was suspicious, but the highway patrol had no leads. There was an investigation, although he didn’t hear where it went—if anywhere.
Lee looked over at Greg’s widow. She kept her head turned away from him, staring out into the darkness. He wondered what she was doing tonight on a dangerous street normally occupied by prostitutes and strung-out losers. She said she wanted information. Now Lee was curious about what she would’ve asked that crackhead if she hadn’t been arrested. She was right. She probably wouldn’t have another chance to ask him any questions, but maybe Lee could for her.
“What’s your address?”
“East Gainey Ranch Road.” She finally turned to look at him. “Do you know where that is?”
“I do.” Lee glanced at her. “I started out as a patrol officer in Scottsdale about ten years ago.”
She nodded, then fell back into the quietness she’d been in for the past twenty minutes, resuming her staring out the window as if she would miss something important if she stopped looking. He headed east. Another fifteen minutes later, he pulled onto her wide street. He’d forgotten how huge the houses were on her cul-de-sac—and expensive.
“Second house on the right,” she said, just above a whisper.
The single-story, sprawling ranch-style house had stacked stone accents along the lower half of its exterior and sat back a good distance from the street. Lee stopped at the sidewalk in front of the curved driveway and killed the engine. Just as he reached for his door handle, she spoke up.
“The porch light is off.”
“Do you remember turning it on before you left?” he asked.
“I’m sure I did.” She turned and stared at him.
“The light bulb could’ve burned out.”
“I’ll walk up with you.” He got out and went around to her door, but she’d already opened it and was starting to get out. He followed her only a few steps up the driveway before she stopped.
“I’m positive I closed the courtyard gate,” she told him.
Lee could see the short wrought-iron gate standing ajar. Putting that together with the missing light, his internal alarm rang loudly. He took Mrs. Eddington’s elbow and moved her back to his car. Once inside, he backed up far enough that they weren’t in view of the front window any longer in case a perp heard his car drive up. He took out his cell phone.
“I’m calling this in, Mrs. Eddington.” Her eyes were wide, but she didn’t argue with him. He touched 911 and waited for only a moment before hearing a woman’s voice.
“Scottsdale police, fire, what is your emergency?”
“This is Phoenix Police Detective Lee Adams. I need officers at 3546 East Gainey Ranch Road for a possible burglary in progress. I have the homeowner safe in my private car—a 2010 black Buick, parked next door.”
“Yes, Detective. Right away. Do you want to stay on the line?”
“No, it’s not necessary. Thank you.” Lee pressed End but held on to the phone.
“You think I have a burglar?”
“I don’t know, but telling that to the dispatcher will get help faster than saying we have suspicious circumstances.”
Mrs. Eddington relaxed and sat back. “Oh, you don’t really think this is all that serious?”
Lee leaned over the steering wheel, keeping his eyes on the dark house. “I don’t like to take chances.”
“But sometimes taking chances is a necessary evil,” she said quietly.
“Like what you did tonight?”
She didn’t respond.
It took another couple of minutes before Lee saw two cars with their headlights off slowly roll around the corner. When the streetlight hit them, he could see that they were patrol units. They stopped parallel but across the street from him.
“Stay here,” Lee told her. “I’ll explain what’s happened.” He paused before getting out. “Do you have dogs in the backyard?”
“No, no dogs. I’m alone.”
He gazed at the woman for several moments after that admission. His heart tugged knowing she didn’t have someone to go home to. He knew what that felt like.
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