We finally exited off 1&9 and eventually pulled
into a packed parking lot. At one end of the lot a
dark-colored, two-story building easily half a block
long blended into the blackness of the night. The
only defining feature of the bar was a green and purple
neon sign dangling above the door. The Purple Monkey.
Alexandra rolled slowly up and down the rows of vehicles,
and finally found a sliver of a space just large enough
to wedge the motorcycle into.
I crawled off the back of the machine and shook my
legs out, boots crunching on the gravel spread across
the ground. Alex unzipped her jacket and asked, "Butt
"Need a little help waking it up?" The dimple
deepened in her cheek and her black eyes locked on
mine. My thighs still hummed from the vibration of
the motorcycle engine, and the banked-by-sheer-will
fire inside my belly flamed.
"It couldn't hurt," I said softly, my heart
starting to thud. Body heat radiated from Alex as
she stood in front of me, close, but not yet touching.
"I don't make out in the parking lot with just
anyone," she said, her voice a throaty whisper.
I was being sucked into a vortex I couldn't get out
of if I wanted to. Complex thoughts gave way to very
simple feelings, and I struggled for control. I still
had a job to do, hot and bothered or not.
Alex's hands settled on my hips, her fingers catching
my belt loops, slowly pulling me to her. The heat
of her thighs radiated through my jeans, and I slid
my hands inside her jacket, feeling taut muscle beneath
her white tank top.
Alex's hands slid around my waist and down, gently
kneading, and I groaned.
Pent up desire is like a leak in a hot radiator. You
can try and tamp it down, hold it back, seal it in,
but no matter what, the fire inside insidiously manages
to finds its way thorough the smallest of cracks,
the tiniest of breaches. My cracks and breaches were
widening by the millisecond.
I kissed her. The kiss moved from chaste to nearly
X-rated in no more than two gasping breaths. Alex
groaned and her hands tightened on my butt, pulling
me harder into her. She finally dragged herself away,
both of us gasping.
"Jesus. If we don't stop now, I'm going take
you right here on my bike." Her ragged breath
and wicked smile suggested she might just try.
With great effort I held my screaming libido back.
Two sets of couples strolled toward the bar entrance,
their gazes unabashedly locked on us. Bad, bad idea,
I thought, my insides twisting with regret and pent
up need. All we needed was for the cops to cruise
by and nab us for lewd behavior. I set my jaw and
took a step back, my eyes boring into hers. "I
will take a rain check."
Before Alex could answer, I darted in for one more
quick kiss, then grabbed her hand and hauled her toward
the bar before either one of us could change our minds.
I was finished and cleaning my Glock when the range
door opened and Lead Agent in Charge Weatherspoon
walked in. "Hey." I nodded to him.
"McKenna, you have a couple of Minneapolis detectives
asking for you upstairs."
I finished loading my magazine with ammo, and chambered
a round. "Martinez and Peterson?"
"No. I haven't met them before."
I dropped the magazine back into my hand, shoved another
bullet in, and slammed it back into the gun. "They
tell you what they want?"
"Nope. But they look mighty serious."
Standing with a sigh, I slid my weapon into my shoulder
holster and snapped it in. "Maybe it's about
Weatherspoon shrugged, and we headed up to the lobby.
While we were in the elevator, I checked my cell.
Reception in the basement was often spotty. Four missed
calls from Martinez and three from Harry. I wondered
what was so urgent.
The elevator doors slid open to reveal two men I assumed
were the MPD detectives. One was lean and brunette,
while the other was stockier and blond.
Weatherspoon and I stepped off the elevator, and I
approached the men while Weatherspoon continued on
toward his office.
The blond said, "Agent Cailin McKenna?"
I nodded as he introduced himself as Detective Hutch
Ronson and his partner as Detective DeCamp.
"What can I do for you?"
DeCamp stepped closer to me, while Ronson moved to
the side. DeCamp said, "We have a few questions
for you. Wondered if you might come down to the precinct
and answer them."
I stared at them blankly. "About what?"
Ronson said grimly, "The death of Elisa Knight."
My mouth dropped open, and I snapped it shut so hard
my teeth clacked together. "What are you talking
DeCamp said, "Early this morning a jogger found
the body of Elisa Knight on the west bank of the Mississippi
not far from the Stone Arch Bridge."
"You've got to be kidding." My voice sounded
strangled. I forced myself to breathe.
DeCamp replied, his voice polite. "No, Ma'am,
I'm not. Are you willing to come on down to the station
and talk with us?"
Twenty-five minutes later I found myself on the wrong
side of one way glass in a very small, very bleak
1st Precinct interrogation room. DeCamp and Ronson
faced me across a scarred table that looked like it
just barely limped out of World War II.
Ronson was saying, "
know that you are not
being charged with anything, and that we just want
to ask some questions. You can stop at any time."
Still in shock, I waved my hand. My brain was frozen
and my voice hoarse. "Yeah. Okay. I have nothing
to hide." God, wasn't that what all criminals
A manila file folder lay atop a yellow legal pad in
front of DeCamp. He slid the folder off the pad of
paper and opened it. "When was the last time
you saw Ms. Knight?"
"I think it was day before last." My insides
were roiling. I was pissed at Eli, but I'd never kill
her, as much as I may have wanted to.
"At the Great Lakes Advertising Agency."
Ronson leaned forward on his elbows, his sleeves rolled
up. "What time was it you saw her?"
I considered the question. "I think it was sometime
around five. Maybe closer to four-thirty."
"How long did you talk to her?"
God, it had felt like an hour, but was probably not
more than a few minutes in all. "I'm not sure,
maybe ten minutes."
"What did you do after you left the agency?"
DeCamp spoke without looking up from the file folder.
I wondered what was in it. Couldn't be anything good.
"Well, I drove home, and fell asleep on the couch."
DeCamp finally peered up at me. "Do you have
anyone who could verify that?"
My forehead crinkled as I thought. I hadn't called
Alex, and Alison wasn't home when I arrived. I didn't
remember seeing my neighbor Agnes outside either.
My stomach clenched as I said, "I don't suppose
I do. My partner Alex came home later in the evening.
I'm not sure what time."
Ronson's eyebrow twitched slightly at the word 'partner.'
He asked, "What exactly is your relationship
to Ms. Knight?"
Now I'd find out for sure if either detective had
a problem with gay folk. "We'd been in a four
and a half year relationship. We split a couple of
DeCamp asked, "Why did you break up?"
I looked at him and said as levelly I as could, "She
cheated on me, and I kicked her out."
Nice. Nothing like handing them a Scorned Lover Motive.
DeCamp continued. "Did you remain in contact
after the break up?"
"No. I hadn't seen her for almost two years when
she showed up in New Jersey while I was working a
case out there."
Ronson sat back in his chair. "Why did she show
Oh God. I really didn't want to get into this. Especially
with two lawmen. I breathed deeply, feeling my heart
hammer inside my ribs. "I had an accident, was
in the hospital, and she heard about it. Decided she
wanted to get back together with me. I told her no.
When I came back home, she started sending me cards.
Flowers. Left a number of messages on my machine,
all saying how much she wanted to get back together."
DeCamp's eyebrows arched. "Sounds like she was
"Yeah, I think she is. Or was." I still
couldn't wrap my head around the fact that Elisa was
dead. I was waiting for my insides to hurt, to feel
like it did the day I kicked her out, but it wasn't
happening, yet, anyway. "We're pretty sure she
slashed, or had someone else slash Alex's tires about
a week and a half ago."
"Did you report it?" DeCamp asked.
"Alex did that day."
DeCamp nodded and made a note on the legal pad. "Did
you ever confront her about what she was doing?"
"A few times. I thought she'd get the message
to butt out, but it didn't seem to be working."
Ronson leaned forward again. "What other things
did she do?"
I briefly described the incident at the hospital,
and waking up with no memory in her penthouse, leaving
out the unnecessary details.
"Why didn't you get a restraining order?"
"I guess I thought I could handle it." I
shrugged. It wouldn't be easy explaining the ins and
outs of a lesbian relationship gone wrong to those
who would need to know.
Ronson slid the legal pad his way, and scanned the
top page. He made a show of licking his finger, flipped
the page. "You talked to Ms. Knight the evening
of the 5th. A witness says you and Ms. Knight had
words. Said you threatened to kill her."
His words took my breath away, although I suspected
it was coming. "I-I did threaten her, but just
to scare her off. I wouldn't do actually do it. I'm
a cop, for chrissake." I paused and sucked in
air. "Maybe this would be a good time to ask
for a lawyer." My heart was doing a painful two-step.
Ronson said, "No, no need for that yet. We aren't
charging you with anything, Agent McKenna. We just
want to hear your side of things."
Isn't that what cops always wanted? Your side of things?
Yep, right before they slapped you in the slammer.
But I had done nothing wrong. I sat up straight and
stretched my neck to one side and then the other,
and made a decision. I'd know later if it was a regrettable
one or not. "Night before last when I talked
to her, it wasn't pretty. I confronted her about how
I wound up at her place with no memory, and I think
most of the employees of Great Lakes saw it."
DeCamp nodded. "Yeah, that's about what we've
heard." He looked back down at the file folder
and pulled out a sheaf of papers that were stapled
together. He flipped a few pages over, and paused,
his eyes moving down the sheet. Then he looked back
up at me, his eyes burning into mine.
"Were you aware that Ms. Knight has a life insurance
policy in excess of $750,000?"
I shook my head, and almost whistled. We'd never taken
out life insurance while we were together.
DeCamp sighed. "Were you aware that the primary
beneficiary on the policy is you, Agent McKenna?"