Something About You
Page 10

 Julie James

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Cameron hesitated, momentarily caught off guard by the suddenness with which Jack had gone into attack mode.
He shoved the photo even closer. “Come on, Cameron—is there any possibility it was this man?”
Cameron felt an odd flip in her stomach, hearing Jack say her first name. They’d once, very briefly, been on a first-name basis before. She brushed this off and focused on the photo he held before her. Really, she didn’t even need to look. Senator Hodges was not only a shorter man, but if she had to guess—and apparently she did—she’d say he weighed at least two hundred and fifty pounds. She might not have gotten the best look through her peephole, but she knew enough to know one thing.
“It’s not him,” she said.
“You’re sure?” Jack asked.
“I’m sure.”
Jack stepped away from her. “Then Senator Hodges owes you one hell of a thank you. Because your word is the only thing keeping him from being arrested for murder.”
A silence fell over the room. “Doesn’t he have some sort of alibi?” Cameron asked.
Jack remained silent. That clearly fell into the I’m-not-answering-no-stinking-questions category.
“I’ll take that as a no,” Cameron said. “How about if instead of questions, I just see if I can fill in the blanks? So this escort who’s been sleeping with Senator Hodges, the married senior senator from Illinois—”
“Who just happened to be appointed the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee,” Wilkins threw in. When he caught the look of death Jack shot him, he shrugged. “What? I don’t have your issues with her. Besides, I heard what Davis said—we’re supposed to share, remember?”
Much glowering ensued.
“So this escort decides to get the senator on tape and use it as blackmail,” Cameron continued. “He meets her tonight, they do the deed—many times—I’m still going with the Viagra theory on that, by the way—and the senator leaves. Twenty minutes later, our mystery man shows up. There’s a struggle, and he kills the woman. And since there’s no sign of forced entry, we can assume the girl knew the murderer and let him into the room. How am I doing so far?”
Wilkins nodded, impressed. “Not bad.”
“What I think,” Jack told her, “is that you’ve had a long night, and we don’t want to take up any more of your time. The FBI appreciates your cooperation, Ms. Lynde. We’ll be in touch if there’s anything further we need.”
Cameron watched as he turned and headed toward the door, apparently with the mistaken impression that there was nothing left for them to discuss.
“Actually, I do have another question, Agent Pallas,” she said.
He looked back at her. “What might that be?”
“Can I finally get out of this hotel room?”
WHEN AGENT WILKINS suggested that he and Jack drive her home from the hotel, Cameron reluctantly accepted. As much as she was eager to put some distance between herself and Jack, she didn’t want him to think that his attitude was getting to her.
Sitting in the back of Wilkins’s car—at least she assumed it was Wilkins’s car since he was the one driving and she couldn’t picture Jack owning a Lexus—she rested her head against the cool leather seat and looked out the window. She’d been stuck in that hotel room for so long that the brightness of the daylight had been jarring and surreal when she’d first stepped outside. It was nearly noon, which meant she now was going on almost thirty hours without sleep. She doubted even Starbucks had a fix for that.
Fighting the lulling motion of the car, she turned away from the window. With her head against the backseat, she observed the man sitting in front of her through half-lidded eyes.
Jack Pallas.
She might have laughed at the irony of the situation, if she wasn’t so damned tired. And also, as a general rule, she found it prudent to refrain from strangely laughing to oneself while sitting in a car with two FBI agents—one of whom already distrusted her with an intensity that was palpable.
Not that Cameron was surprised Jack still felt that way. She recalled all too well the look on his face when she’d told him they weren’t going to file charges in the Martino case.
It had been three years ago, late on a Friday afternoon. Earlier in the day, she had been called into a meeting with her boss, Silas Briggs, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He’d told her that he wanted to talk about the Martino case, and she assumed they were going to discuss the charges she planned to pursue against the various members of Martino’s organization. What Silas told her instead came as a shock.
“I’ve decided against filing charges,” he declared. He said it as soon as she sat down, as if wanting to get through the conversation quickly.
“Against Martino’s men, or Martino himself?” Cameron asked, assuming at first that Silas meant he’d made an immunity deal with somebody—or several somebodies—in exchange for their testimony.
“Against everybody,” Silas said matter-of-factly.
Cameron sat back in her chair, needing a moment to process this. “You don’t want to file any charges?”
“I realize that you’re surprised by this.”
That was the understatement of the year. “The FBI has been working on this case for over two years. With all the information Agent Pallas gathered while undercover, we have enough evidence to put Martino away for the rest of his life. Why wouldn’t we prosecute?”