No Place to Run(5)

By: Marion Faith Laird


“Aren’t you going to dust for prints?” Lorie sounded disappointed. More, still frightened.

Matt looked back at Lorie. “On my way to the unit now for the kit. Be right back.”

He headed out the door to Unit 5 and took a moment to radio in a report. “Dispatch, this is MacGregor. Looks like a B and E at the library. I’m processing the scene now.”

“Ten-four, Unit 5.”

Snagging the fingerprint kit, Matt headed back toward the library. Detouring by the bathroom window, he scanned the vicinity for footprints. Nothing showed on the concrete. Little chips of metal scraped when the window had been jimmied were the sole physical evidence.

Matt frowned. The perp knew enough to be careful. That boded ill for the investigation. Very ill, indeed.





TWO

When Matt returned to the library office, Jen and Lorie were tampering with the scene.

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” Their mad scramble through papers made the answer obvious. He had to stop them before they accidentally destroyed more evidence.

“Trying to find the note.” Lorie sounded as though she were attempting to cover fear with defiance. Somehow he had to convince her he wasn’t the enemy.

Her voice had that California crispness which years of watching television had led him to expect. She didn’t sound like an Arkansan anymore. Matt wondered how long it would take her to get her accent back. Not that anybody local had an accent.... It was people in other areas.

Matt smiled at the thought, and Lorie returned it, this time minus the fear. Hello. Really great smile... Looking into her eyes like this, he hadn’t expected to feel a bolt of attraction. Judging from the surprised expression on her face, he hadn’t been the only one.

“Is this it?” Jen reached behind the potted sago palm in the corner. “Ouch. I always forget how scratchy that thing is.”

She stood up, bringing a sheet of paper with her. Glancing at it, Jen blanched. “Oh. No. This isn’t it.”

“What did you find?” Lorie sounded hopeful.

“It isn’t important.” Jen crumpled it up and started to stuff it into a pocket.

Matt held out his hand. He kept it extended, giving her one of his looks until she put the now-wrinkled printout into his outstretched palm.

The paper was an invoice for new books. Only Jen’s attempt to hide it made it suspicious. One more thing to add to his list of questions for later. After a cursory inspection, he handed it back. Jen squashed it into her pocket.

“I’ll need you two to clear out while I dust the office.”

Jen chuckled. “Wish you’d sweep while you’re here.”

“Jen, come on.” Instead of sounding amused, Lorie’s voice held a tremor.

Matt encompassed them both in a look as they moved away from the desks. “Don’t leave the library. I’ll call you when I’m done.”

Lorie practically shoved Jen out the door and left him to his solitary task. Outside, people moved around. Library business as usual.

Matt frowned as he dusted the in-box on the head librarian’s desk. Why would anybody threaten someone like Lorie Narramore? She seemed an unlikely target. Of course, you could never tell. Anyone could have secrets.

Matt finished gathering the prints, concentrating on the job at hand so fully that Lorie’s sigh startled him. He looked up to find her at the door.

“Sorry this is taking so long.”

Her answering smile was wan. “It takes as much time as it takes.”

Matt grinned, trying to make her feel better. “Most civilians don’t get that.”

“I’m not most civilians.”

Why did she look so sad when she said that? There was more to Lorie Narramore than met the eye. Although, despite trying not to notice, he liked the parts that did meet the eye.

“I’ll need to print you and Jen, too, to eliminate yours.”

Fear flashed in Lorie’s eyes. Hmm. Why?

After a moment, Lorie nodded. “All right. I guess I’d forgotten that part.”

Forgotten? Interesting.

“No need to be afraid. It doesn’t hurt, you know.”

“I know. It’s just... Never mind.”

She knew? Matt looked into her eyes more deeply, as if he’d be able to see what was troubling her. She looked as though she felt...guilty.

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