Audrey always felt a sense of relief when she walked out of the prison. That was momentary because then they headed toward the parking lot, where the dread was somehow worse. She and Thane McMurtry had talked pleasantly on their way through the security checkpoints and as they walked out to the lot.
Thane had no way of knowing just how much Audrey appreciated his presence. It helped distract her from the time she’d seen a mother pushing a little boy into a car as he called out for his daddy. The scene had torn at Audrey’s heart. What made it worse was when she’d realized it was the family of a man she’d prosecuted for armed robbery.
The memory still haunted her.
The accused had taken a plea bargain but still had four years to go before he’d be out on the street again.
What would happen to his boy in the meantime?
That was the question Audrey couldn’t answer. And even though she knew better, she still felt responsible.
“This is where I must leave you,” McMurtry said a moment later. “I’m up that way.” He turned. “Give my regards to Jim.”
Audrey frowned as Thane disappeared. In her mind, the parking lot was worse than the prison because at least when she was inside, she didn’t risk seeing something like that.
Had the little boy’s mother known Audrey was the prosecutor on her husband’s case? Was that why she’d rushed to get her boy into the car?
She tried not to speed to her car but found herself slipping and increasing her speed. Whenever she did, she forced herself to slow down. She arched her back and looked straight ahead. Even at her diminutive height of five-foot-four-inches, she owned every last inch.
She was opening the door and trying to slip inside as quickly as possible when somebody called out her name.
She grimaced as she slipped her briefcase onto the driver’s seat, leaving the door open.
That was when she recognized the voice.
She hid another grimace as she turned to face him and put what she hoped was a pleasant smile on her face. It disappeared the moment she saw him.
“Audrey, do you have a second?” Stephen was pale. The cocky man who usually walked all over her actually looked like he’d been brought down a peg or two.
Had he recently lost a case?
She didn’t think he currently had an active trial.
“What is it?” Audrey didn’t like the breathlessness in her voice, but there was nothing she could do about it. She took a silent gulp as she studied the man.
Stephen didn’t appear to notice.
“Did you hear?”
“The boss’s daughter.”
“What?” Audrey asked, a sinking in her chest as she recognized the expression on Stephen’s face.
It could only mean one thing…
“She was just found. Murdered.”