Jacinda stood back as the two detectives spoke quietly to Amanda and Mr. Azaire. Amanda’s father wasn’t quite what Jac had expected, he didn’t seem like he owned multi-million-dollar corporations. She chastised herself for the direction of her thoughts, she knew better than to stereotype people. He had handled the news better than Jac imagine she would have. He’d taken a few moments to console and comfort his remaining child and then had calmly asked for details.
Amanda turned and looked at her for a moment, before saying something to her father and walking towards her. Jac just prayed that the young woman wouldn’t touch her. Grieving emotions were just as hard for her to block out as violent ones. She studied the teary eyes looking at her and clasped her hands in front of her. “I’m so sorry, Mandy, this wasn’t what I wanted to...”
Amanda hugged her arms around her own ribs. She stopped a foot away from her. “I know.” She wiped away a tear rolling down her cheek. “The detectives told us it wasn’t brutal or,” she took a shaky breath, “inhumane.” She sniffled. “I don’t know how they can say her being murdered isn’t inhumane…”
Not knowing what to say to that Jac simply shook her head.
“You did find her though. Without you we could have been left here wondering.”
“She’s right, Miss Brown.”
They both turned to look at Amanda’s father. He was still steady and holding it together. Then again, you didn’t build an empire not knowing when and when not to show emotion. He walked over and tucked his daughter under his arm.
“I’d like you to continue your investigations, Miss Brown.” He glanced towards the other two men. “The detectives have just been telling me that Lanie’s murder is not an isolated incident and they haven’t been able to find anything to lead them to resolution.” He paused for a moment and looked at Amanda. “Both of my daughters came to you and trusted you, so I do as well.”
Jacinda glanced over at the two men and noted the surprised look on both of their faces. “I don’t really…”
The composed tycoon placed a hand on her shoulder. “I insist.”
She was swamped with the horrifying grief the man hid so well. Inside he was shaking and weeping for a child he obviously adored and was stunned she had been taken from him.
“Please,” he said quietly as he dropped his hand from her.
She knew that was probably a word or tone this man rarely used. “I can see if I can be of help to the police, Mr. Azaire.”
He nodded briefly. “I will pay for your time.” He looked at the detectives for a moment before turning back to her. “I will also speak to the department head to clear this for you.” He studied her for a moment longer and then turned back to the other men. “Now if you’ll excuse us, we have arrangements to make.”
She held Amanda’s gaze for a moment and nodded to her. “I’ll do what I can. Please call me if you need anything.”
Mandy gave her a shaky smile before she turned to follow her father from the room.
Brent hissed out a breath. “I think we’ve been dismissed.” Jac glanced the other detective and knew by the expression on his face that she wasn’t a welcome addition to their team.
Jac sat in Detective Merritt’s car while they stood outside talking. Clearly neither were pleased she had been tossed into their domain. She felt numb. How was she going to maintain her own sanity while searching for a killer?
When detective Merritt climbed in the car, he glanced over at her. She turned and looked out the window. “I don’t do people,” she spoke quietly.
He gave her a blank look. “Well, you’re in luck, I do.”
Reid hovered over the Captain’s desk as the man spoke into the phone. Glancing up he saw Brent was, as usual, not too concerned about the latest development. They couldn’t possibly expect him to work with some random investigator on something as important as this case. If he was looking for stolen property, sure let her help, because it irked him to work on menial tasks like that. What qualifications did she have?
The Captain hung up the phone and let out a long breath he’d been holding before he looked up at him. “That was the Mayor, and before him was the top judge we have in our local judicial system.” He stood up and leaned on the desk. “William Azaire rubs elbows with all the major influential people and my hands are tied.”
Reid huffed out a breath. “Tied? So we’re supposed to open our office and offer some investigator a warm welcome?” The Captain nodded. “What can she possibly find that we haven’t been able to?” He turned to see Brent stand finally. “She doesn’t even want to do this, so she’ll probably fill her days looking like she’s trying and getting in the way.”
Brent put his hands in his pockets and shrugged. “It wouldn’t hurt to have a new perspective on it…”
Reid’s head jerked around to look at his partner. “A new perspective? On which part? That the victims are dead?”
Brent shrugged again.
The Captain stepped around the desk. “I don’t particularly like it either, but because we’ve got nothing I can’t barter with the Mayor and say we don’t need help.” He grimaced. “We don’t have a choice.”