Chasing daybreak, p.23
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       Chasing Daybreak, p.23

           Ranae Glass
 

  We tried to put everything back as it was, even taping the key back to the underside of the desk. Everything, that was, except the small, red book I tucked in my back pocket.

  “It’s not going to matter,” Shane said darkly. “The next vamp that walks into that room is going to know someone was in there.”

  I shrugged. “Nothing we can do about that.”

  We nodded to the secretary as we left the upscale office and made our way back to the car. My stomach growled the minute I got behind the wheel.

  “You finally ready to eat something?”

  “Yeah, nothing with milk though,” I answered with a frown.

  “Understood. Tacos?”

  “Chinese?”

  “Subs?”

  “Pizza?”

  I paused, considering my options. We looked at each other and said in unison, “Cheeseburgers.”

  I laughed, and a tension I hadn’t known I was carrying melted from my shoulders. I turned the key and looked over my shoulder to back out. Catching a glimpse of Shane’s black box on the backseat made the tension quickly return.

  We drove through and headed home to enjoy our bag of greasy burgers. Thankfully, there were no unexpected packages on the porch, so we went straight through to the kitchen to sit at the table. Just as I took a huge bite of my burger, the phone rang.

  Shane grabbed the receiver and answered. “Stone PI.” He listened to the voice on the other end, and then held out the phone. “It’s for you. It’s the station.”

  I frowned, swallowed, and took the receiver. “This is Isabel Stone.”

  “Ms. Stone, this is Detective Mertz. Can you tell me where you were last night at approximately midnight?”

  “At a late business meeting.”

  Her tone sharpened. “Can you tell me who was present at that meeting?”

  “What is this about, exactly?”

  “I have a suspect here who claims he was with you at the time in question.”

  My mind reeled. Surely, it wasn’t Xavier. Who else…?

  “I was with Patrick Stevens. I was meeting a prospective client. He came along to look after me, what with all the things going on here.” My answer was semi-honest, at least.

  “I see. And you are certain that he was with you?”

  “Absolutely.” But I’d answered too quickly. I hadn’t actually seen Patrick that night. I’d heard a bike and assumed it was him, but what if it hadn’t been? “Can you tell me what he was accused of?”

  “Assault. Jarrod Decker, an employee at Mr. Stevens’ motorcycle shop, was beaten up pretty badly last night. Thank you for your time,” the detective said and hung up abruptly.

  “What was that about?” Shane asked as I handed him back the phone, and he returned it to the hook.

  “I may have just been set up as an alibi,” I said with a frown.

  Would my childhood friend have really beaten up the guy who was stealing money from him? Totally possible. Would he use me to set up an alibi? I wouldn’t put it past him, honestly. Who was I kidding? I knew all too well what kind of person Patrick had become. Part of me wanted to call him, to yell at him for using me like that. But hadn’t I used him as well? What had I been thinking going to him for help?

  There was nothing I could do about it now, so I filed it away. I might make my share of mistakes, but I never made the same one twice.

  To Shane’s credit, he said nothing.

  Determined to change the subject, I pulled the red book out of my pocket and set it on the table in front of me. Wiping my hands down my jeans first, I opened it and read the first page. Then the next. And the next. My queasy stomach returned.

  “It’s a log book. Girl’s names and a list of their clients on each page. There must be fifty girls named in here.”

  “And the clients?” Shane asked.

  “No names, just phone numbers. No more than six per girl.” I kept flipping. “Ah, here we go, Lisa. Five phone numbers and a running total at the bottom. Cash earned, maybe?”

  I handed the book to Shane.

  “It’s counting down from fifty thousand, but it never hits zero, it just stops, see?” He pointed to the numbers at the bottom.

  Sure enough.

  “So the debt wasn’t paid?”

  He shrugged and flipped a few more pages. “Looks that way.”

  “But she was still using the credit card.”

  “Maybe it was some kind of advance pay?”

  I bit my bottom lip. “Maybe.”

  “What are you thinking?”

  “Do you think your friend Richard can get a reverse directory on these numbers?”

  “He might consider it beneath him, actually.”

  “Well, give him a call.”

  “What are you going to do?” Shane asked as I dumped the rest of my burger in the trash.

  “I’ve gotta go do my hair. We have a party to go to in a few hours.” I smiled half-heartedly and headed upstairs.

 
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