One False Move Page 21

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A longer hesitation. “Yes.”

“What did she tell you about it?”

“Wait a second. I thought you were trying to help Horace.”

“I am.”

“So why are you asking about that poor woman?” Mabel sounded slightly put out. “She died more than twenty years ago.”

“It’s a little complicated.”

“I bet it is.” He heard her take a deep breath. “I want the truth now. You’re looking for her too, aren’t you? For Anita?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Why?”

Good question. But when you stripped it bare, the answer was pretty simple. “For Brenda.”

“Finding Anita ain’t gonna help that girl.”

“You tell her that.”

She chuckled without humor. “Brenda can be headstrong,” Mabel said.

“I think it runs in the family.”

“Guess it does at that,” she said.

“Please tell me what you remember.”

“Not much to it, I guess. She came to work, and the poor woman was lying there like a broken rag doll. That’s all I know.”

“Anita never said anything else about it?”

“No.”

“Did she seem shaken up?”

“Of course. She worked for Elizabeth Bradford for almost six years.”

“No, I mean beyond the shock of finding the body.”

“I don’t think so. But she never talked about it. Even when the reporters called, Anita just hung up the phone.”

Myron computed this information, sorted in through his brain cells, came up with zippo. “Mrs. Edwards, did your brother ever mention a lawyer named Thomas Kincaid?”

She thought a moment. “No, I don’t think so.”

“Were you aware of him seeking legal advice on anything?”

“No.”

They said their good-byes, and then he hung up. The phone was barely disconnected when it rang again. “Hello?”

“Got something strange here, Myron.”

It was Lisa from the phone company.

“What’s up?”

“You asked me to put a tracer on the phone in Brenda Slaughter’s dorm.”

“Right.”

“Someone beat me to it.”

Myron nearly slammed on the brake. “What?”

“There’s already a tap on her phone.”

“For how long?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can you trace it back? See who put it on?”

“Nope. And the number is blocked out.”

“What does that mean?”

“I can’t read anything on it. I can’t get a trace or even look at old bills on the computer. My guess is, someone in law enforcement is behind it. I can poke around, but I doubt I’ll come up with anything.”

“Please try, Lisa. And thanks.”

He hung up. A missing father, threatening phone calls, a possible car tail, and now a phone tap: Myron was starting to get nervous here. Why would someone—someone with authority—have a tap on Brenda’s phone? Was that person part of the group making the threatening phone calls? Were they tapping her phone to track down her father or—

Hold the phone.

Hadn’t one of the threatening calls told Brenda to call her mother? Why? Why would someone have said that? More important, if Brenda had obeyed the call—and if she had indeed known where her mother was hiding—the people behind the trace would have been able to find Anita too. Was that what this was really all about?

Was someone looking for Horace … or Anita?

“We have a problem,” Myron told her.

They sat in the car. Brenda turned toward him and waited.

“Your phone is bugged,” he said.

“What?”

“Someone has been listening in to your calls. You’re also being tailed by someone.”

“But—” Brenda stopped, shrugged. “Why? To find my father?”

“That’s the best bet, yes. Someone is anxious to get to Horace. They’ve already attacked your aunt. You might be next on their list.”

“So you think I’m in danger.”

“Yes.”

She watched his face. “And you have a suggested course of action.”

“I do,” he said.

“I’m listening.”

“First, I’d like to have your dorm room swept for bugs.”

“I have no problem with that.”

“Second, you have to get out of your dorm room. You’re not safe there.”

She considered this for a moment. “I can stay with a friend. Cheryl Sutton. She’s the other captain of the Dolphins.”

Myron shook his head. “These people know you. They’ve been following you, listening to your phone calls.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning they probably know who your friends are.”

“Including Ms. Sutton.”

“Yes.”

“And you think they’ll look for me there?”

“It’s a possibility.”

Brenda shook her head and faced forward. “This is spooky.”

“There’s more.”

He told her about the Bradford family and about her mother finding the body.

“So what does that mean?” Brenda asked when he finished.

“Probably nothing,” Myron said. “But you wanted me to tell you everything, right?”

“Right.” She leaned back and chewed at her lower lip. After some time had passed, she asked, “So where do you think I should stay?”

“Do you remember my mentioning my friend Win?”

“The guy who owns Lock-Horne Securities?”

“His family does, right. I’m supposed to go to his place tonight to discuss a business problem. I think you should come too. You can stay at his apartment.”

“You want me to stay with him?”

“Just for tonight. Win has safe houses all over. We’ll find you someplace.”

She made a face. “A preppy Mainliner who knows about safe houses?”

“Win,” Myron said, “is more than he appears.”

She crossed her arms under her chest. “I don’t want to act like a jackass and hand you that phony crap about how I’m not going to let this interfere with my life. I know you’re helping me, and I want to cooperate.”

“Good.”

“But,” she added, “this league means a lot to me. So does my team. I’m not going to just walk away from that.”

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