through.” “You’ve been through a lot, too. Your parents died and your brother won’t even see you? Sounds selfish. Really selfish to me.” “He…it was okay. I didn’t mind. I understood. He’d been through so much. I handled everything for their funeral.” Michael was silent for two seconds, his gaze penetrating. “I bet you handled everything.” Jamie lifted her chin. “I managed.” He was silent for another ten seconds. Jamie could nearly hear the wheels and gears working in his brain. “Why haven’t you seen him? Why does he hide from you?” Jamie licked at her lips. “He likes to be alone. He doesn’t want people talking to him or staring at him. It’s always been that way. Ever since he came back. His face…his face wasn’t right. His jaw was broken…” Her voiced cracked. “And he had burn scars and cuts that never went away. Even with all his plastic surgery. He didn’t like people staring.” “But he’s an adult now.” “I don’t know if that matters. As soon as he finished high school, he left.” “Your parents let him leave?” “They didn’t try to stop him. They pretty much let him do whatever made him happy. He’d been through hell. He couldn’t tell us what, but at night—” Jamie closed her lips. “Nightmares. Screams?” She nodded. “Do you think he’s still struggling with that?” “I think he would come home if he wasn’t.” Jamie finally looked away from those green eyes. Why was she telling him this? “Maybe it’d be good for him to face some of this. Put it in his past.” “He did so much therapy. Physical and mental, emotional. But he wasn’t stupid.” Michael blinked. “Of course not. I didn’t say that.” “He was smart. Chris was the sharpest kid in school. Just because he got bad grades didn’t mean he was stupid. He could have gotten a scholarship to college—he was so smart. Or a scholarship for his art. His paintings are amazing! He always helped me with my homework because everything was a breeze for him. He was just bored.” Michael stared at her. Her rant had obviously surprised him. He’d been working to pry answers from her, and now she was running off at the mouth. Jamie blinked hard. She wanted Michael to know how intelligent Chris was. She didn’t want him to think Chris was some psycho hermit in a hut, in the forest, planning to blow up buildings. Her brother wasn’t like that. He was good and sharp and couldn’t help it if he felt things very deeply. He needed to be away from crowds. He needed peace. Cities were too fast for him. He’d needed to live where he could move at his own pace, working where his talent was appreciated but not in an office with cubicles. Chris lived and breathed through computers. He freelanced. His clients never met him face-to-face. He only interacted with others through cyberspace. Or so he’d told her. Jamie didn’t know exactly what her brother did. They stuck to generalities when they talked. No specifics. She’d learned a long time ago not to ask questions. “After I left yesterday, you made a phone call to Eastern Oregon. Is that where he is?” Michael asked. Jamie stared and heat flushed her face, her spine straightening. How in the hell did he do that? “Isn’t that illegal?” she choked out, her words tripping. “How can you get away with that?” What else could this man find out about her? Or Chris? Michael shrugged crossing his arms. “It’s my job.” “I seriously doubt breaking the law is part of your job . That’s outrageous…snooping into other people’s private business. And my brother and I are not part of your job .” He looked at the ceiling and blew out a deep breath. “No, you’re not. But I’ve been dealing with a missing brother for twenty years, and this is the first solid lead. I’m going to dig and rip at it until I’ve exhausted every bit of it.” He brought his gaze to hers, dark green eyes hard and cold as granite.