One Night Standoff - By Delores Fossen Page 0,1

window. “Did someone in a black pickup follow you here?”

Lenora’s eyes widened, and she practically ran across the room to look out.

No truck.

“Sorry,” he mumbled. “It was there a few seconds ago. Guess I was wrong about it.” Funny, though, his LEO alarm was usually a hundred percent.

Lenora was breathing through her mouth now, and her eyes were still wide. Her gaze darted around the parking lot and street. “You thought I was being followed?”

“Were you?”

“Maybe.” Her bottom lip trembled. “I’d hoped it was my imagination. I’m not sleeping well, and the nightmares are getting worse.”

Yeah. He knew all about those nightmares. A woman, Jill Lang, was dead. Gunned down right in front of both of them. She’d been Lenora’s best friend. And a witness in Clayton’s protective custody.

He didn’t expect the nightmares to end anytime soon.

Clayton could practically feel Lenora’s worry, and even though she’d given him the brush-off two months ago, he reached out and touched her arm. Well, the sleeve of her wet raincoat, anyway. He hoped it was a sympathetic gesture without getting too close.

“Jill’s killer was caught,” Clayton reminded her. And even though the man had yet to go to trial, he would be convicted of murder. No doubt about that, since there was a mountain of evidence against him, including Clayton’s and Lenora’s own eyewitness accounts.

But maybe this wasn’t about Jill’s killer.

“I know about the break-ins at your house in Eagle Pass,” Clayton told her.

Lenora pulled her shoulders back, and she shook her head. “How? Why?”

Both good questions. He didn’t exactly have good answers, though, and it sounded a little creepy to admit that he’d kept tabs on her. But he had. Too bad Clayton didn’t know exactly why he’d done it. He’d had short-term relationships before that he’d dismissed without a second thought.

So why hadn’t he been able to do that with Lenora?

Because there was something that wasn’t quite right about this. Something he couldn’t put his finger on.

She pushed her hair from her face and glanced at Harlan again. “Could we go somewhere private and talk?” she asked Clayton.

Maybe Harlan was making her nervous. He had that effect on people. But from Clayton’s assessment, Lenora had been nervous before she even came into the room.

Clayton set his coffee on his desk and grabbed his jacket. “There’s a diner across the street,” he said, already walking toward the door. “Call me if something comes up,” he added to Harlan.

“Tell me about these break-ins,” Clayton insisted as soon as they were out of the office.

Lenora gave a weary sigh. “The first one happened last week—as I’m sure you read in the report. I wasn’t there, but the person destroyed an antique panel that I’d been restoring.”

Property damage. Much better than damaging her body, but he could tell from her tone that it still hurt. Clayton didn’t know a lot about Lenora’s job in stained-glass restoration, but he remembered her saying that she often worked with expensive antiques.

“What about the second break-in?” He stopped just outside the building and looked around. Lenora did, too. There was no sign of that black truck, so he took her by arm and led her across the street.

“You already know.” She sounded upset, or something, that he’d read the police reports, but Clayton didn’t intend to apologize for that.

“I still consider you my business,” he clarified.

She blinked. “Why? Because my friend was killed on your watch? If so, that wasn’t your fault.”

The question threw him. Yeah, that was part of it—that a woman in his protective custody had died. In fact, that should have been all of it. But there were feelings buried beneath this, and maybe Lenora’s blink meant it wasn’t all business for her, either.

She looked away, mumbled something he didn’t catch. “Back to the break-ins. Again, I wasn’t there for the second one. In fact, I’ve been living at one of those extended-stay hotels since the first break-in.” Lenora paused. “The intruder left threatening messages scrawled on my bedroom wall.”

Clayton cursed. That hadn’t been in the initial report he’d read from the Eagle Pass P.D., but Clayton knew this was an escalation. If Lenora had been there—

But he cut off that bad thought.

Maybe their one-night stand had made her want to keep some distance between them. But she was here now, and though she hadn’t said it specifically, she appeared to be asking for his help.

Which she would get.

And Clayton assured himself that it had nothing to do with the night he’d spent with her. Or Copyright 2016 - 2024