dead before he bent and rifled through the corpse’s pockets. He removed the keys to the Honda, the guy’s wallet, and the roll of cash he’d handed over earlier in payment for services rendered. He stuffed the money into his pocket. He was breathing heavily from exertion and adrenaline but he still had work to do. He’d made the kid dig his own grave--not out of cruelty, as he once would have, but out of sheer necessity. But had he really needed to kill him? The question snuck up on him. Of course he had , he chided himself. The fact that he even gave the matter a second thought was evidence that he was getting soft. And getting soft was an excellent way to get caught. No, eliminating the messenger was unavoidable. The kid could tie him to Leonard Connelly. And while reaching out to his son was a risk Wynn had had no choice but to take, there was no reason to be reckless about it. It took him nearly an hour to shovel dirt over the dead man and fill the hole. He paused every few minutes to catch his breath, leaning heavily against the shovel. By the time he finished, the weak autumn sun was setting and he was wet with perspiration and chilled from the cool evening air. Wynn wanted nothing more than to hobble into the house and crawl into his bed. But there was work still to be done. Thanks to the kid’s laziness, he needed to drive the Civic that he’d stolen from the ferry parking lot into the tractor shed, away from curious eyes. He needed to start a fire and burn the wallet and its contents. He needed to take his medications and eat a meal. The familiar rush that invariably came with taking a life had already dissipated, leaving him drained and weary. He sighed and trudged toward the car, cursing the fact that his messenger hadn’t wanted to walk up the hill. Now he had to figure out how to deal with the stolen car.
10 “ R eally ?” Naya eyed Sasha as if she thought the suggestion to walk to the retirement center was an elaborate joke. “Yes, really. Come on—it’s not even a mile. It’ll be good for both of us. And the weather’s perfect for a brisk fall walk.” That was true—it was one of those glorious autumn days with abundant sunshine, crisp air, and not a cloud in sight. Naya shifted her gaze to the large window behind her desk and shrugged. “It does look like a nice day,” she conceded. Sasha beamed at her. “Great. Grab your coat.” She wrapped her scarf around her throat and hoisted her bag up onto her shoulder then followed Naya out of the office and down the stairs with a small smile. By the time Naya realized their route took them straight up Forbes, and the steep hill that was the bane of every high school cross-country runner in the city, it would be too late for her to dig in her heels. It would be an onward and upward situation. As they stepped out onto the pavement, Naya turned and smirked at Sasha over her shoulder. “I know about the hill, Mac.” A bubble of laughter rose in Sasha’s throat. “Oh. I’m glad to know you’re undaunted.” “Of course I’m undaunted.” Naya’s gaze landed on Sasha’s feet. “I’m not the one wearing ridiculous shoes.” “You’re pronouncing adorable wrong,” Sasha informed her as she turned her foot to show off the stacked four-inch heel. “Aren’t these cute?” Naya changed the subject. “Hey, I think I know how that Wynn guy found Leo.” Sasha stopped at the corner and pressed the button to activate the ‘Walk’ sign. “Really? Already?” “Yep. Well, I think so, at least.” She paused to let the suspense build. The light changed, and Sasha stepped out into the street. “Tell me already.” “Well, here’s my thinking. If this Wynn guy knows Leo’s dad, the most he would know about Leo is his mom’s name and his approximate age, right?” Sasha shifted the bag on her arm and considered the premise. “Probably.” “So I started by searching for information about her.” “Her? Leo’s