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CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT: nearly dark

It was nearly dark when she got home. She went straight upstairs without turning on any lights and thought about her water bill as she poured herself a hot bath. The accident at the Stop and Go seemed like it had happened years ago, but it had been less than a week and all the driving still made her back hurt. Before she lowered her aching body into the water, she checked her phone for a call from Lisette. Nothing, and straight to voicemail when she tried again. She’d have to head over to Rockview first thing in the morning.

There were also, noticeably, no calls from Luke. He would have seen her missed call from earlier and heard her angry message. Still, it wasn’t unusual for him to be late, especially if he’d caught a difficult case toward the end of his shift.

As she eased back in the water, she let her mind slip between obsessing over Ginger Blackwell’s possible connection to June Spencer and Isabelle Coleman, and the fact that the chief had royally screwed her for no good reason. It was all too much. These were the very scenarios that wine was made for, and she wished she had some left. Maybe Luke would bring some with him, as an apology. She could drink it down fast while she railed at him for not disclosing his true relationship with Denise and their secret meeting about some painting.

An hour later she lay in a nest of pillows on top of her bed, wearing only a T-shirt—one of Ray’s old college T-shirts that she had taken with her when she left him—perusing the Blackwell file again. She reread the DA’s report, which offered nothing other than “no substantial evidence” supporting Ginger’s claims that she’d been abducted, unlawfully imprisoned or sexually assaulted. The DA himself had signed off on it. Josie searched for the name of the investigator assigned to review the evidence against Ginger.

“No fucking way,” she mumbled to herself. “Jimmy ‘Frisk’ Lampson?”

James Lampson had been a Denton police officer when Josie was in high school. Back then he’d been on patrol, and kids at the high school had nicknamed him Frisk because he liked to pull over teenage girls, make them get out of their cars and frisk them for no reason. It went on for a couple of years before someone’s parents finally complained. He got a slap on the wrist at first, but once Chief Harris took command he was out on his ass looking for a new job. Last she’d heard he was doing private security at the hospital.

Josie hadn’t known until she saw his name on the Blackwell report that he’d taken a job with the DA’s office. She had no idea how he’d ended up with the cushy investigator job there, but she could guess; his son was good friends with the DA’s son—both of whom had played for Denton East’s football team and both of whom had had reputations for sleeping with girls, dumping them and starting vicious rumors about them. She had no idea where those guys were now, but their fathers were still handling cases in Alcott County, and badly by the looks of it.

She thought of June still sitting in a holding cell at Denton’s police department while the DA decided what to do with her. They were actively violating her due process rights. She should already be in a psych unit. Why was the DA’s office dragging its feet? She wondered if Frisk was somehow involved and meddling in June’s case the way he likely had with Ginger’s and, if so, why?

Her cell phone startled her, sending the pages of Lampson’s report flying across her bed. The ringtone sounded like bells chiming. Not Luke. Not Lisette. Not Ray. Someone who didn’t call her often. The number was vaguely familiar, and as she answered she heard the tearful voice of Luke’s sister.

“Carrieann?” Josie said, her heart in her mouth. There was only one reason that Luke’s sister would be calling. She felt a cotton ball lodged in her throat. “Is he alive?” she choked out.

“Luke’s been shot,” Carrieann sobbed. “He’s been… shot.”

She had an image of Luke lying helpless on the side of the interstate somewhere, bleeding out and unable to call for help.

“Is he alive?” she asked again.

There was a sound like Carrieann wiping her nose and then she said, “Barely. He’s in surgery now.”

“Where? Where is he now?”

“At Geisinger. He lost so much blood. They had to life-flight him

there for emergency surgery. Oh God.”

That was an hour away. Josie could make it in half that time. “I’ll meet you there,” she said, and hung up.

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Written by Amazing Thing Admin

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CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN: Trinity Payne

CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE: Carrieann Creighton