The In Death Collection 06-10 (8 page)

BOOK: The In Death Collection 06-10
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“What were you doing there?”

“I’ve already told you that.”

“Tell me again. For the record.”

He hissed out a breath, poured water from pitcher to glass with a steady hand. In flat tones he repeated everything he’d told Eve the night before.

“Will Ms. Morrell verify your appointment with her?”

“I have no reason to believe otherwise.”

“Maybe you can explain to me why the security cameras caught you in the lobby, walking to the elevators, getting in, and yet there is no visual record of you exiting the building by that route at the time you claim to have left. Or, for that matter, any other time that day.”

“I can’t explain it.” He folded his perfectly manicured hands again and stared her down. “Perhaps you didn’t look carefully enough.”

Eve had reviewed the tape six times through the night. Now, she pulled up a chair and sat. “How often have you visited the Luxury Towers?”

“It was my first visit there.”

“Your first,” she said with a nod. “You’ve had no occasion to visit Brennen there before?”

“I had no occasion to visit Brennen there at any time, as I was unaware he lived there.”

He answered well, she thought, carefully, like a man who’d skimmed his way through Interview before. She spared a glance at Roarke, who sat silently. Summerset’s official record would be clear as a baby’s, she imagined. Roarke would have seen to it.

“Why would you leave by an unsecured exit on the day of his death?”

“I did not leave by an unsecured exit. I left the way I came in.”

“The record shows otherwise. It clearly shows you coming in. There is no record of you exiting the elevator on the level where you claim Ms. Morrell lives.”

Summerset waved one of his thin hands. “That’s ridiculous.”

“Peabody, please engage and display evidence disc one-BH, section twelve for subject’s examination.”

“Yes, sir.” Peabody slipped the disc into a Play slot. The monitor in the wall flickered on.

“Note the time display at the bottom right of the recording,” Eve continued as she watched Summerset walk in and through the attractive lobby of the Luxury Tower. “Stop disc,” she ordered when the elevator doors shut behind him. “Continue play, section twenty-two. Note time display,” she repeated, “and the security label that identifies this area as the twelfth floor of the Luxury Towers. That is the floor in question?”

“Yes.” Summerset’s brows drew together as he watched the recording. The elevator doors did not open, he did not walk out. A cool line of sweat dribbled down his spine as time passed. “You’ve doctored the disc. You tampered with it to implicate me.”

Insulting son of a bitch. “Oh, sure. Peabody’ll tell you I spend half my time on a case screwing with the evidence to suit myself.” Temper just beginning to brew, Eve rose again, leaned on the table. “Trouble with that theory, pal, is this is the original, straight out of the security room. I worked with a copy. I’ve never had my hands on the original. Peabody collected the security discs.”

“She’s a cop.” Summerset sneered it. “She’d do what you ordered her to do.”

“So now it’s a conspiracy. Peabody, hear that? You and I tampered with the evidence just to make Summerset’s life tough for him.”

“You’d like nothing better than to put me in a cage.”

“At this particular moment, you couldn’t be more right.” She turned away then, until she was certain her rapidly rising temper wouldn’t rule her head. “Peabody, disengage disc. You knew Thomas Brennen in Dublin. What was your relationship?”

“He was simply one of many young men and women I knew.”

“And Shawn Conroy?”

“Again, he was one of many young people I knew in Dublin.”

“When was the last time you were in the Green Shamrock?”

“I have never, to my knowledge, patronized that establishment.”

“And I suppose you weren’t aware that Shawn Conroy worked there.”

“I was not. I wasn’t aware that Shawn had left Ireland.”

She hooked her thumbs in her pockets, waited a beat. “And naturally, you haven’t seen or spoken to Shawn Conroy in a dozen years.”

“That’s correct, Lieutenant.”

“You knew both victims, you were on the site of the first murder on the day of Brennen’s death, you have, thus far, offered no alibi that can be substantiated for the time of either murder, yet you want me to believe there is no connection?”

His eyes locked coldly on hers. “I don’t expect you to believe anything but what you choose to believe.”

“You’re not helping yourself.” Furious, she snagged the token she’d found on Shawn Conroy’s nightstand from her pocket, tossed it on the table. “What’s the significance of this?”

“I have no idea.”

“Are you Catholic?”

“What? No.” Pure bafflement replaced the chill in his eyes. “Unitarian. Mildly.”

“How much do you know about electronics?”

“I beg your pardon?”

No choice
was all she could think, and refused to look at Roarke. “What are your duties for your employer?”

“They’re varied.”

“And in these various duties, do you have occasion to send and receive transmissions?”

“Naturally.”

“And you’re aware that your employer has very sophisticated communication equipment.”

“The finest communication equipment on- or off-planet.” There was a lilt of pride in his voice.

“And you’re very familiar with it.”

“I am.”

“Familiar enough, knowledgeable enough, to cloak or jam in- or outgoing transmissions?”

“Of course I—” He caught himself, set his teeth. “However, I would have no reason to do so.”

“Do you like riddles, Summerset?”

“On occasion.”

“And would you consider yourself a patient man?”

He lifted his eyebrows. “I would.”

She nodded and, as her stomach fisted, turned away. Here was the thought, the worry, the grief that had kept her wakeful most of the night. “Your daughter was murdered when she was a teenager.”

She heard no sound behind her now, not even breath. But if pain had weight, the air grew heavy with it. “Your current employer was indirectly responsible for her death.”

“He was—” Summerset cleared his throat. Beneath the table his hands had fisted on his knees. “He was not responsible.”

“She was tortured, she was raped, she was murdered to
teach Roarke a lesson, to hurt him. She was no more than a tool, is that correct?”

He couldn’t speak for a moment, simply couldn’t squeeze the words past the grief that had so suddenly dug claws into his throat. “She was murdered by monsters who preyed on innocence.” He took one breath, long and deep. “You, Lieutenant, should understand such things.”

When she turned back her eyes were blank. But she was cold, horribly cold, because she did understand such things all too well. “Are you patient enough, Summerset, are you clever enough and patient enough to have waited all these years? To have established the relationship, the trust, with your employer, to have gained unconditional access to his personal and professional dealings, and then, using that relationship, that trust, that access, attempt to connect him to murder?”

Summerset’s chair dug into the aged linoleum as he shoved back from the table and sprang to his feet. “You dare speak to me of using. You dare? When you’d use an innocent young girl in this filthy business? And you would stand there and point your finger at the man whose ring you wear and say that he was responsible for the horrors she endured? They were children.
Children.
I’d gladly spend the rest of my life in a cage if it makes him see you for what you are.”

“Summerset.” Roarke stayed seated, but laid a hand on Summerset’s arm. His eyes were flat and cool as they met Eve’s. “He needs a moment.”

“Fine. This interview is broken at this time at the request of the subject’s representative. Record off.”

“Sit down,” Roarke murmured, keeping his hand on Summerset’s arm. “Please.”

“They’re the same, you see.” Summerset’s voice trembled with emotion as he lowered himself into a chair.
“With their badges and their bullying and their empty hearts. Cops are all the same.”

“We’ll have to see,” Roarke said, watching his wife. “Lieutenant, I’d like to speak with you, off the record, and without your aide.”

“I won’t have it,” Summerset fired up.

“It’s my choice. If you’d excuse us, Peabody.” Roarke smiled politely, gestured toward the door.

Eve stood where she was, kept her eyes on Roarke’s. “Wait outside, Peabody. Secure the door.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Engage soundproofing.” When she was alone with Roarke and Summerset, Eve kept her balled hands in her pockets. “You’ve decided to tell me,” she said coldly. “Did you think I didn’t realize you knew more than you were saying? Do you think I’m a fucking idiot?”

Roarke read the hurt behind the temper and bit back a sigh. “I’m sorry.”

“You would apologize to her?” Summerset snapped. “After what she—”

“Just shut the hell up,” Eve ordered, turning on him with teeth bared. “How do I know I didn’t have it just right? The equipment to jam transmissions, to bypass CompuGuard, is right there in the house. Who knows about it but the three of us? The first victim was an old personal friend of Roarke’s, the second another old friend who was killed in one of Roarke’s properties. You know everything he owns, everything he does and how he does it. It’s been almost twenty years, but that isn’t so long for you to wait for payback, to avenge your daughter. How do I know you’re not willing to sacrifice everything to destroy him?”

“Because he’s what I have left. Because he loved her. Because he’s mine.” This time when Summerset picked up his glass, water sloshed to the rim and over onto the table.

“Eve.” Roarke spoke softly even as he felt his heart,
and his loyalties, dragged in opposite directions by angry hands. “Please sit down, and listen.”

“I can listen fine standing.”

“Suit yourself.” Wearily Roarke pressed his fingers to his eyes. The woman fate had handed his heart to was rarely easy. “I told you about Marlena. She was like a sister to me after Summerset took me in. But I wasn’t a child,” he continued, eyeing Summerset with amused affection. “Or innocent.”

“Beaten half to death,” Summerset muttered.

“I’d been careless.” Roarke shrugged. “In any case, I stayed with them, worked with them.”

“Running grifts,” she said tightly. “Picking pockets.”

“Surviving.” Roarke nearly smiled again. “I won’t apologize for that. I told you that Marlena . . . she was still a child, really, but she had feelings for me I’d been unaware of. And she came to my room one night, full of love and generosity. I was cruel to her. I didn’t know how to handle the situation so I was clumsy and cruel. I thought I was doing the right thing, the decent thing. I couldn’t touch her in the way she thought she wanted. She was so innocent and so . . . sweet. I hurt her, and instead of going back to her own room and hating me for a while as I’d hoped—as I’d thought she would—she went out. Men who were looking for me, men I was arrogant enough to believe I could deal with on my own ground, found her, took her.”

Because a part of him still mourned, and always would, he paused a moment. When he continued his voice was quieter, his eyes darker. “I would have traded my life for hers. I would have done anything they asked to spare her one moment’s fear or pain. But there was nothing to be done. Nothing I was allowed to do. They tossed her on the doorstep after they’d done with her.”

“She was so small.” Summerset’s voice was barely a whisper. “She looked like a doll, all broken and torn. They
killed my baby. Butchered her.” Now his eyes, bright and bitter, met Eve’s. “The cops did nothing. They turned their backs. Marlena was the daughter of an undesirable. There were no witnesses, they said, no evidence. They knew who had done it, because the word was everywhere on the street. But they did nothing.”

“The men who had killed her were powerful,” Roarke continued. “In that area of Dublin, cops turned a blind eye and deaf ear to certain activities. It took me a great deal of time to gain enough power and enough skill to go up against them. It took me more time to track down the six men who had had a part in Marlena’s death.”

“But you did track them down, and you killed them. I know that.” And she’d found it possible to live with that. “What does this have to do with Brennen and Conroy?” Her heart stuttered a moment. “They were involved? They were involved with Marlena’s death?”

“No. But each of them fed me information at different times. Information that helped me find a certain man in a certain place. And when I found the men, two of the men who had raped and tortured and murdered Marlena, I killed them. Slowly. Painfully. The first,” he said with his eyes locked on Eve’s, “I gutted.”

The color drained out of her face. “You disemboweled him.”

“It seemed fitting. It took a gutless bastard to do what was done to a young helpless girl. I found the second man through some data I bought from Shawn. When I had him I opened him up, one vein at a time, and let him bleed to death.”

BOOK: The In Death Collection 06-10
2.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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