Home > Bones Don't Lie (Morgan Dane #3)(8)

Bones Don't Lie (Morgan Dane #3)(8)
Author: Melinda Leigh

“Probably.” She put the candy back in her bag, opened the protein bar, and took a bite. “It tastes like dust.”

Sharp sighed. “You need the protein.”

As usual, Sharp was right. By the time they reached the office, her headache had subsided. He parked and waited for her to get into her van and lock the doors before he disappeared inside the building.

Morgan drove away from the tiny business district of Scarlet Falls. A few minutes later, a pair of headlights in her rearview mirror caught her attention. The vehicle was too far away to make out the type of vehicle, especially in the dark. She made two turns. The car remained behind her, never getting close enough for her to see it clearly. She stopped at a red light and waited for the car to catch up. But it hung back instead. When the light turned green, she drove through the dark town, suspicion prickling between her shoulder blades.

It was after nine o’clock. Scarlet Falls rolled up the streets and sidewalks at eight.

The headlights were still there when she drove past the country road that led to her grandfather’s house on the Scarlet River. Morgan dug her phone from her tote. She’d call her sister, Stella, a detective with the SFPD, and ask to meet her somewhere. The car behind her was probably a coincidence. Just someone headed in the same direction. But Morgan wasn’t taking any chances.

Not with Tyler on the loose.

She was scrolling for her sister’s number when the headlights disappeared. Morgan blew out a breath.

You’re paranoid.

She turned the car around and went home. But as she climbed out of her minivan, a cold breeze wrapped around her. She shivered, the hairs on the back of her neck rising, as if someone was watching.

She scanned the grass and trees but saw no one. The front yard was lit up like the Meadowlands. There were no big shrubs to hide behind. The dogs were at the window, barking.

She jogged up the front steps and didn’t take a deep breath until she was inside the house. Other than the dogs snuffling around her legs, the house was quiet. The girls would have gone to bed hours ago. Morgan closed and locked the door.

“Hey.” Her sister, Stella, walked out of the kitchen. Stella scanned Morgan’s face. “What’s wrong?”

Morgan told her about Tyler. “I probably imagined feeling someone watching me. The news about Tyler being out of jail has me on edge.”

Snoozer, her French bulldog, begged for attention, but rescue dog Rocket brushed past Morgan’s legs and went to the front window. Her white-and-tan markings and docked tail were bulldog like, but the mutt’s lean body was some other breed altogether. A low growl rumbled from her chest, and the fur on the back of the dog’s neck rose.

“What is it, girl?” Morgan knelt beside the dog and rested a hand on her back. The dog stiffened and barked. Morgan stroked her head.

Stella pulled her cell phone from her pocket. “The dog senses something. I’m going to have a patrol unit check the neighborhood.”

Morgan rubbed the dog’s shoulder. “Good girl.”

Climbing to her feet, she dumped her coat on a chair and went into the kitchen. Both dogs followed at her heels. Her grandfather sat in his wheelchair at the table, a glass of milk and a piece of banana bread on a plate in front of him. His broken leg was encased in a plaster cast and elevated. He was trying to work an unbent wire coat hanger into the top of the cast.

“The doctor said you shouldn’t do that.” Morgan took the hanger. “You could scratch yourself and get an infection.”

“It itches.” Grandpa sulked.

She bent down and kissed his cheek. “I know. And I know you’re bored out of your mind too. Two more weeks. Then the cast comes off, and you can put some weight on that leg.”

Her heart clenched when she thought about how they’d almost lost him during surgery.

“I’ll get through it.” He reached up and patted her arm. “What was up with the dog?”

Morgan repeated her story about Tyler and the car as she opened the fridge and poured a glass of milk. “I’m glad Rocket is here. The alarm system will tell us if someone is breaking into the house, but that dog will let us know if someone is outside thinking about breaking into the house.”

Grandpa tossed the dog a piece of banana bread. She caught it in the air, her big jaws snapping like an alligator’s.

Grandpa frowned. “Damn this leg. I’m not as useful as I could be.”

Morgan smiled. A retired NYPD detective, Grandpa had broken his leg protecting her and her daughter. “You did just fine.”

“Tell me about the rest of your day.”

Morgan started with her afternoon at the courthouse with Eric and moved on to the scene at Grey Lake.

“So you trumped the new ADA, showed up Bryce Walters again, and ratted the sheriff out for coercing confessions from suspects?”

“Yes.” Morgan sipped her milk, suddenly wishing it was wine. “It’s been a full day.”

“Nice way to make friends and influence people.” Grandpa shook his head. “How is Lance?”

“I don’t know.” Morgan checked her phone. “He’s with his mother now.”

“That has to be rough.”


And he hadn’t called her.

Stella appeared in the doorway. “The patrol unit didn’t find anything. They’re going to do another drive-by later tonight.”

“Thanks,” Morgan said.

“I could stay,” Stella offered.

“You were here all day. Go home to Mac. We have the alarm, the dog, and I’ll break out my handgun tonight.” But as sexist as it felt, Morgan wished Lance was there.

“OK.” Stella took her keys from her pocket. “Mac doesn’t teach any classes tomorrow. He’ll be here at eight to help Grandpa get washed and dressed.”

Morgan took the dogs out with her to walk Stella to her car. The dogs did their business while she watched her sister get into her car and drive away. A police car cruised past, and she went inside. She checked the windows and doors and set the alarm before walking back to her bedroom and opening her gun safe. She took her Glock out and set it high on her armoire.

Then she brushed her teeth, put on her pajamas, and prepared to not sleep. Once again, her family was in danger.

Chapter Six

Lance hesitated, his key an inch from the lock on his mother’s door. Once he went inside, there was no going back. No taking back the words he would need to say. No resetting his mother’s recovery train on its rails.

But he didn’t have a choice.

He unlocked and opened the door.

“Lance? Is that you?” his mother called from the back of the house.

He made his way through the tidy house back to her office. His mom had succumbed to anxiety, depression, and hoarding after her husband’s disappearance. At one point in Lance’s youth, clutter had filled the house, leaving them narrow pathways to move from room to room.

She sat behind her L-shaped desk. A former computer science professor, she now taught online and performed freelance website design, security, and maintenance. Three monitors and a laptop stared back at her. A cat rubbed on Lance’s calves. The other feline ignored him from the windowsill.

There was something different about his mom. Her eyes looked . . . She was wearing makeup.

Lance covered his shock with a cough into his fist. He hadn’t seen his mother wear makeup in . . . never?

She waved him toward her. “Come here. I want you to meet someone.”

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