Crimson Eve

Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins Read Free Book Online

Book: Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brandilyn Collins
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Hillcrest Motel Inn, and the Mark IV Motor Inn. Highway 95 curved to the right. Carla checked cross streets. Which one to take? On impulse she turned right on Third Street and found herself on Highway 8, headed west toward Pullman, just across the Washington border. She checked her rearview mirror. Was anybody following her? Thornby might have friends in Moscow . . .
    Fresh fear washed over Carla. Every minute could count. She had to get off the streets.
    Businesses grouped on her right — a Jack-in-the-Box, a car dealership, a Wendy’s. Ahead she saw the sign for a Super 8 Motel, and her heart lurched. Carla veered right onto a street running by the motel, turned left into the parking lot. She cruised the lot, hoping to see that it circled the building.
    It didn’t.
    Now what? The minutes closed in, Carla’s pulse hammering. She was no longer on dark roads. These were well-lit town streets, her white car screaming to be spotted.
    She continued west on Highway 8, passing up the Palouse Inn, a McDonald’s, a Shucks Auto Supply. Frustration nearly closed her throat. Carla pressed a fist against the steering wheel. How much farther before she hit the west side of town? The last thing she wanted to do was turn around.
    There — past the 76 gas station, across a side street from a long strip mall. A sign for University Inn, a Best Western.
    Carla swerved right, then left into the motel parking lot. It was a long squat brown building, two floors. No walk-out sliding doors on the first-floor rooms — only windows. Good. She couldn’t take stairs with her ankle, and a sliding ground-floor door in her room would be terrifying.
    She rolled through the lot. It encircled the building, but even at the rear, she would feel too exposed to leave her car. She hesitated, then pulled back onto the side road, turning left, then left again on a dark road that ran behind the motel. She hit a cross street and found herself facing the strip mall. She checked both directions. Turn left, and in one block she’d be back on Highway 8. She turned right, then spotted a turn on her left, leading to a long delivery area running along the back of the strip mall. The area was dark and narrow, dumpsters hulking at its sides. She saw one large light pole, but no light coming from it.

    Carla turned into the area.
    There — on her right. Some small white building. Housing a generator of some sort? Carla headed toward it and saw she could drive all the way around it. Behind that building, on unlit asphalt with no person in sight, she found the hiding place for her car.
    It would be a long, lonely walk to the lobby of the motel. With her throbbing ankle, Carla wondered if she could make it at all.
    Wait. She should make sure the motel had a vacancy first. Put her suitcase in the room, then hide her car.
    As the digital clock in her car flicked to 10:28, Carla pulled up in front of the Best Western. Gathering her nerve to step into light, hoping no friend of David Thornby watched her every move, she opened her car door and began her limp into the lobby.

ELEVEN
    Ten-thirty. Tony had sixteen and a half hours.
    He’d checked the houses of Carla’s friends and found nothing. Then he began a patrol of every street, like a grid search at a crime scene. If Carla’s car was parked anywhere in Kanner Lake, he’d find it.
    As he turned a corner, his cell phone for “Barry” went off. He snatched it off the passenger seat. “Yeah.”
    “Roy here. I spotted her car.”
    Roy was an Idaho state trooper, working the night shift.
    Tony’s mouth curled. His net was working already. “Where?”
    “Heading south on Highway 95, just north of Moscow.”
    “Just now?”
    “About twenty minutes ago.”
    “Twenty — ! What took you so long to phone?”
    “I got pulled off on a call. I am on duty, you know.”
    Tony gritted his teeth. Twenty minutes — wasted . “Any idea where she went from there?”
    “No. She could have pulled off in Moscow, headed west from

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