“Did you get any names?” He leaned back in his chair and studied my face.
Get a grip, Mac. “No. I didn’t follow up with him, since I’m no longer on the investigation. I figured the guy would contact you.” I met his eyes, keeping a firm frown plastered on, and concentrated on thinking angry thoughts. Pissed. I’m just pissed. Nothing to see here, Vasquez. I’m not lying to you to cover my ass, not obstructing an ongoing investigation.
Lieutenant Vasquez frowned at me. “Well, if you hear anything else from him I need to know. And get me a description ASAP. Write it up. If he’s not with law enforcement, he’s a suspect. Could be he’s some private investigator one of the vic’s families hired, but if that’s the case he should be sharing information with us.” Vasquez motioned toward the door and picked up his phone, dismissing me.
When I got back to my desk, it took every bit of willpower I could muster to sit down as if nothing had happened. Vasquez couldn’t know I had any interest in Aidan outside of the professional. My job would be at stake. Moreover, it would be embarrassing as hell. I forced myself to finish writing my report, and then started in on the additional paperwork related to the goblin execution, fighting tears and rage every step of the way. I called Aggie in between endless forms hoping he’d have more info on Amanda’s case, but he didn’t pick up, so I left him a curt voice mail.
I tried to concentrate on my reports, but my flittering thoughts made focusing difficult. Why did he lie to me? If the OWEA didn’t send him, then who? Could he be involved with the killer? Could he be the killer? Kimmy’s reaction flashed in my mind. She was startled when she saw Aidan. Because she’d seen him before?
By the time I finished my paperwork and was ready to head out, it was late afternoon. I still hadn’t heard from Aidan, and I hadn’t bothered to call him either. I needed to sort through this before I saw him again.
If I saw him again.
My heart twinged, making me even more irate. Damned liar made me care about him. I had to work this out on my own, and find the killer. Then I’d deal with Aidan.
Provided, of course, he wasn’t the killer.
“Detective McLoughlin?” an unfamiliar voice asked from behind me.
I started, almost dripping water from the paper cup I’d just filled from the cooler. But my back was to the man, whoever he was, so he probably hadn’t noticed. Squaring my shoulders, I turned to face him.
He was tall, over six feet, which made him a lot taller than me. He wore a fed suit and had a fed hairstyle—neatly trimmed and combed backward with some sort of product gunked on to keep it in place. His hair was brown, as were his eyes, and he was handsome in an obvious sort of way.
I kept my cop face firmly pasted on and put my free hand on my hip. Very deliberately, I took a sip of my water.
“Kiera McLoughlin?” His eyes narrowed and he clenched his jaw, clearly annoyed.
“I’m Mac. Who are you?” It was rude, but I’d had my fill of the OWEA today, and this guy reeked of belonging to them. The fact that Aidan wasn’t really with the agency notwithstanding.
He frowned at me. “I’m Bradley Greaves.” He pulled his badge out of his inside jacket pocket and held the leather case open so I could see his identification. It looked just like the one Aidan flashed me the night I met him. “I’m an agent with the OWEA. I need to talk to you about the man you say has been impersonating an agent.”
“I’ve already told my lieutenant what I know.” I turned to walk back to my desk and hoped that Agent Greaves was as human as he appeared. Some otherworlders—vampires and lycanthropes especially—had very good hearing. And anyone with hearing like that would know my heart was beating so fast it was amazing the organ hadn’t thumped its way out of my chest.
“Detective,” Greaves said, raising his voice slightly in warning. “We’re going to have this discussion, and we’re doing it now.”
I spun back around to face him. “Last I checked you don’t have any authority over me, Agent Greaves.”
“He doesn’t, but I do.” I mentally cringed at the voice behind me, but kept my face carefully neutral. That voice I knew. Unfortunately.
“Really? Internal Affairs feels the need to poke their nose in this?” I asked without turning around.
“We’ve been asked to,” he said icily.
“Thank you for coming, Mason,” Greaves said, voice dripping with satisfaction. “I’ve taken the liberty of securing us an interview room so we can speak freely.”
Mason Sanderson sat at the end of the rectangular table while Agent Greaves took his place opposite me. Mason didn’t look happy, though I couldn’t think of a time when I’d seen him with a cheerful expression. A freak squad veteran, he’d moved to the Internal Affairs division when Lieutenant Vasquez took over the squad. His chiseled face and dark eyes would have been handsome on another man, quite handsome. But I could never get around the hard edges of his expression and the seriousness of his demeanor. I needed humor in a man. Like Aidan with his sardonic smile and light, teasing attitude.
Greaves pulled me from my thoughts with a question, but I’d missed it so I just stared at him. He stared back, pen in hand, hovering over a legal pad.
“Just walk us through how you met the man impersonating an agent and all of your contact with him,” Mason said.
“Sure. I met him when I left Rebecca Anderson’s house.”
“The second possible victim you know of in your jurisdiction?” Greaves asked.
“Yes. He was at my house, in my dining room, when I got home.”
“This was Sunday night?”
“Yes.” I couldn’t keep the touch of impatience out of my tone.
“And you didn’t find it odd that a law enforcement officer would break into your home?” Greaves raised an eyebrow at me.
“Of course it was odd, but he had proper identification and he seemed to have knowledge of the case.” What else had he lied to me about? What else was he hiding? I needed time to think, to get my mind around what was going on.
Greaves snorted. “So you assumed that a man, who had already broken into your home, who had full knowledge about at least two murders, was on the up and up just because he had a convincing badge? What kind of cop are you?”
“Hey—” I leaned forward until I hit the table with my chest. Shit, could Aidan be the killer? No—why wouldn’t he have killed me by now? Plus, he hadn’t thralled me. Had he?
I would have picked up on that. I would know if I were being manipulated.
“Watch your tone, Greaves,” Mason cut in, raising a hand in warning.
“Come on, Mason. This guy’s probably a serial killer and she’s been playing nice with him, feeding him information about a police investigation.” Greaves grabbed the table as if he wanted to pull it from the ground and throw it at the wall in frustration. Then he took a deep breath and released his grip, once again the composed OWEA agent.
“You have no idea what you’re talking about.” I kept my voice even, just barely. “I’m not part of the investigation anymore. What could I possibly have to share?” I considered, for a brief moment, coming clean about the full extent of my relationship with Aidan. It was probably my best bet for having a career once all of this came to light, and almost certainly the right thing for me to do. As a cop. But I wasn’t just a cop, and dammit, if Aidan was a bad guy in all this, I was going to be the one to bring him down.
“What did he look like?” Greaves leaned back in his chair, bringing his notepad and pen with him.
I shrugged. “Dark hair, dark blue eyes.”
“I guess…what the hell does that have to do with anything?” My heart sped up and I could feel sweat building on the back of my neck and between my breasts. They didn’t know about Aidan and me. They couldn’t. If they had I’d already be in a lot more trouble than an interview, and there was no way Vasquez would have let me out of his office without more than a small talking-to if he knew. I kept my face blank, but my heart didn’t listen.
“You screwing this guy, Detective? Is that why you didn’t check up on him? Didn’t care to know what your honey was really up to?” The sneer on Greaves face made me want to scream until his eardrums exploded, but I didn’t react. Any reaction and he’d have me.
“That’s enough, Greaves,” Mason warned. “You’ll keep your questions to the topics we discussed or you’ll leave without questioning Detective McLoughlin further.”
Greaves leaned across the table and pointed his finger at my chest. “You should have known he wasn’t OWEA; running his name by our office would have taken a few minutes. Don’t pretend you haven’t been doing your own side investigation. You’ve been spotted at one of the victim’s houses—”
“Amanda Franklin! That was her name. She wasn’t some nameless victim.” I’d lost the battle to keep my emotion from my voice, but at that point I didn’t care. “She was a damn good detective. And you’re right. I should have realized Aidan Byrne—or whatever the hell his name really is—wasn’t OWEA the second I noticed he didn’t have a giant stick shoved up his ass!”
“Why you bi—” Greaves jumped from his chair and Mason stood as well.
“Sit down, Greaves,” Mason ordered, and his tone, though full of warning, was low.
I had half stood when Greaves did, and I sat back down when he did, too. Mason remained standing, arms crossed.
“You were given permission to interview Detective McLoughlin, Agent Greaves. You were not granted leave to interrogate her like some sort of criminal or attack her personally. This interview is over. If you want to talk to the detective again, you can do so through me or Lieutenant Vasquez.”
Greaves opened his mouth to argue and Mason slammed his hand on the desk, palm down. Greaves jumped a bit in his chair and closed his mouth.