Paper Bullets

Paper Bullets by Annie Reed

Book: Paper Bullets by Annie Reed Read Free Book Online
Authors: Annie Reed
Tags: Fiction
or Ryan alone until they had another viable suspect.
    A body found in a burning car was going to make the local news. The involvement of a long-time local attorney might make it headline material. The cops were going to want to wrap this case as quickly as possible, and if that meant building a case on circumstantial evidence, so be it.
    Ryan was going to need my help. But there was one more reason I couldn’t drop this even though Norton wanted me to.
    As I stood there watching the river flow beneath me, I finally let myself shed tears for the woman who’d replaced me in Ryan’s life. The woman who’d been trying to build a relationship with my daughter for my ex-husband’s sake.
    I couldn’t drop this case because of Melody.
    Whether I hated her or not, she deserved better than to die the way she had. Hell, she’d deserved better than the way I’d treated her on occasion.
    I hadn’t known her well in life, but the one thing I could do for her in death was make sure the right person went to prison for her murder.

    CHAPTER 14
    NORTON CALLED ME at seven-thirty the next morning.
    I was still asleep when my cell phone dong-donged at me. Samantha had programmed the iconic two notes from Law & Order on my cell for Norton’s ringtone. She’d said it was either that or the two notes from Jaws . Either one would have fit, but neither ringtone was particularly demanding. I’d been up until after three, the hamster on the wheel in my head refusing to stop chasing my discordant thoughts around my brain, and it took me a minute to realize Norton was trying to reach me.
    Had he heard something about Ryan? I’d tried to call Ryan on the way to the police station last night, but the call had gone straight through to voicemail. There’d been no messages on my phone after I’d left the police station, and none on my answering machine at home.
    I struggled awake and managed to croak out something that might have been hello.
    There was a slight pause. “Abby? Did I wake you?”
    Norton sounded as awake as he always did. Of course, trial lawyers, whether civil or criminal, lived with constant stress. They either coped or went insane. Norton had probably learned long ago how to turn off his thoughts enough to go to sleep at a semi-reasonable hour.
    “‘s okay.” I rubbed my hand over my face, trying to rub the remnants of sleep away. “Have you heard from Ryan? I couldn’t reach him last night.”
    “He’s being represented by Patrick Rosen. I talked to Pat before I called you. He said Ryan’s a mess.”
    Patrick Rosen was one of Ryan’s partners in their law practice. He was also a top flight criminal defense attorney, almost as good as Norton. I went cold inside at the thought that Ryan needed that kind of representation.
    “So he’s a suspect?” I asked.
    “Not officially. So far the police aren’t naming any suspects. They questioned him like they questioned you, although I imagine Pat didn’t let Ryan talk as much as I let you talk.”
    I knew that was smart from a legal standpoint. I’d been in shock, but I’d still been able to think. Ryan was a good lawyer, but even the best lawyer can’t think like a lawyer when their world has been shattered. Ryan had always been good about keeping his cool, but I’d seen him come unglued at the hospital when Samantha nearly died.
    “Pat thinks, as do I, that you and Ryan should keep contact between you to a minimum, at least until the police focus the investigation elsewhere,” Norton said. “Pat said Ryan seemed to agree with that. Anything vital, you can handle it through me.”
    Okay. So I couldn’t talk to Ryan. My instinct was to rebel against that. It was an old hot button issue I’d had with my mother— you can’t tell me what to do, I’m a grown woman! —that I apparently hadn’t outgrown. But if Ryan agreed and the lawyers thought it best, I’d take their advice.
    “What about Samantha?” I asked. “What if she wants

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