Something About You Page 78

Jack got up from the couch. Odd that she’d ever found him hard to read—because right then she had absolutely no problem seeing how much he disliked this idea.

“You know as well as I do that a man exiting the hotel wearing a gray hooded T-shirt around the time of the murder means nothing by itself,” Jack said. “You are the one who can tie that person to the murder. The only one. And the killer knows that. So what you’re really suggesting is that we give Mandy Robards’s murderer extra incentive to get you out of the picture.”

“I’m suggesting we motivate the murderer to make a move that we will be prepared for.”

“Cut the crap—you want me to use you as bait. You want me to provoke this guy into attacking you again.”

“I think it’s an option we need to think about, yes.”

“No.”

“You said you would consider everything before you answered.”

“It’s been considered.” Jack stared her right in the eyes. “And I will spend the next twenty years sleeping on your floor before I ever willingly put you in danger.”

Hearing that, Cameron got up from the couch and walked over. “After this weekend, I probably wouldn’t make you sleep on the floor, you know.”

But Jack wasn’t in the mood for teasing. He moved away from her, over by the window. “I’m serious about this, Cameron.”

“With you covering me, and a team of FBI agents who we’d set up in advance, don’t you think I’d be safe? If you came to me as a prosecutor, this is exactly the type of operation I’d approve. Particularly with such a high-profile crime.”

“If I came to you as a prosecutor, you would ask me about the risks. And I would tell you that no one, including me, can ever guarantee safety in an operation like this. I can take those risks with other people. But not with you.”

His words hung in the air between them. Cameron finally spoke first.

“I agreed that you’re in charge. So if you don’t think this is a good idea, I’ll drop it. For now,” she added. She knew he wanted to be all moody and broody right then, but too bad—she wasn’t going to let him. “I can’t promise I won’t bring this up again in the future, though. I can be kind of fussy about these things when I want to be.”

She caught the glimmer of amusement in Jack’s eyes.

“When did you ever actually agree that I was in charge?” he asked. “I think I missed that.”

“It was more of an implied consent. I didn’t reject the concept the two times you brought it up.”

He shook his head. “You are such a lawyer.” He looked out the window and sighed. “I do think it’s a good idea, Cameron. And I want this to be over just as much as you do.” He turned back to the window, gazing out as he thought things through. He ran his hand over his mouth. “I don’t know, maybe if we could find a look-alike . . . some female agent who looks like you, who I could station in this house in your place . . .”

He turned around. “Maybe if—” He stopped suddenly, presumably seeing the look on her face. “What? What’s wrong?”

It was the thing he’d done right then. When he’d run his hand over his mouth.

It struck Cameron—the piece she’d been missing all this time about the night of Mandy Robards’s murder. There’d been something in that moment when she’d seen the killer through the peephole as he’d left Mandy’s room, something she’d never been able to put her finger on.

It was the way his blazer had pulled tight across his shoulders as he’d reached forward to push open the stairwell door. There’d been a faint imprint underneath his blazer, the same kind she’d just seen underneath Jack’s blazer when he had reached up to rub his mouth.

Cameron stared at Jack in surprise.

“I don’t know if this means anything . . . but I’m pretty sure the guy who killed Mandy Robards was wearing a gun the night he strangled her.”

Twenty-seven

IT TOOK JACK a moment to process what Cameron had just said.

“A gun? What makes you think that?”

Cameron gestured to his shoulders. “There was a bulge under his blazer—I think he was wearing a shoulder harness. Working with FBI agents, I’ve probably seen it hundreds of times before but never consciously paid any attention to it. But when you moved your arms and rubbed your face like that, it looked kind of bulky right under your shoulders there . . .” She trailed off, as if unsure how to describe it.

“You could see my gun printing.”

She nodded. “Yes.”

“And you’re sure you saw the same thing with the guy who left Mandy Robards’s room?”

“Yes. I always felt like there was something I was missing, I just couldn’t figure it out,” Cameron said. “Does that mean anything, that he was wearing a gun?”

Jack’s mind worked through this new development. They knew so little about the killer, everything meant something. And this piece of information could mean a lot. “I certainly find it interesting that he suffocated Mandy Robards when he had a gun on him.”

“Guns make noise.”

“Yes, they do. Although a professional could’ve brought a silencer to take care of that. I’m thinking more than ever now that this murder wasn’t something that was planned.”

“A jealous boyfriend, perhaps? Maybe he confronted Mandy about Senator Hodges and it escalated,” Cameron suggested.

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