Sacred Sins

Sacred Sins by Nora Roberts Page B

Book: Sacred Sins by Nora Roberts Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nora Roberts
shock, or at the very least, annoy her. “Privileged information.” She plucked her briefcase up from beside her desk and headed for the door. “Coming?”
    He had an urge to slip the amethyst in his pocket. Annoyed, he set it down carefully and followed her out.
    Ed stood beside the secretary's desk, sipping tea. His face was nearly as red as his hair.
    “Mrs. Halderman,” she said to Tess, sending Ed a sympathetic look. “I managed to nudge her along before she devoured him.”
    “I'm terribly sorry, Ed.” But Tess's eyes glistened. “Would you like to sit down a minute?”
    “No.” He sent his partner a warning look. “One word, Paris.”
    “Not me.” All innocence, Ben walked to the door and held it open. As Ed walked by, Ben fell into step beside him. “You are a big one, though, aren't you?”
    “Keep it up.”

    M ONSIGNOR Timothy Logan didn't look like Ben's childhood conception of a priest. Instead of a cassock, he wore a tweed jacket over a pale yellow turtleneck. He had the big, broad face of an Irishman, and dark red hair just beginning to go wiry with gray. His office wasn't like the hushed quiet of a rectory with its somehow sanctified fragrances and old dark woods. Instead it smelled of pipe tobacco and dust, like the den of an ordinary man.
    There were no pictures of the saints or the Savior on the walls, no ceramic statues of the Virgin with her sad, understanding face. There were books, dozens and dozens of them, some on theology, some on psychiatry, and several more on fishing. Instead of a crucifix there was a mounted silver bass.
    On a stand rested an old Bible with a carved cover; a newer, though more well-used one was open on the desk. A rosary with fat wooden beads lay beside it.
    “It's a pleasure to meet you, Monsignor Logan.” Tess held out her hand in a colleague-to-colleague manner that made Ben uncomfortable. The man was a priest, tweed or not, and priests were to be revered, even feared a little, and respected. God's proxies, he remembered his mother saying. They handled the sacraments, forgave sins, and absolved the dying.
    One had come to Josh after he was already dead. There had been words of comfort, sympathy, and kindness for the family, but no absolution. Suicide. The most mortal of the mortal sins.
    “And you, Dr. Court.” Logan had a clear, booming voice that could easily have filled a cathedral. Yet there was an edge to it, a toughness that made Ben think of an umpire calling strike three. “I attended the lecture you gave on dementia. I wasn't able to speak to you afterward and tell you I thought you were brilliant.”
    “Thank you. Monsignor, Detectives Paris and Jackson—they're heading the investigation team.”
    Ben accepted the handshake and felt foolish for expecting, even for an instant, something more than flesh and blood.
    “Please be comfortable.” He gestured to chairs. “I have your profile and report on my desk, Dr. Court.” He swung around it with the free, easy strides of a man on a golf course. “I read them this morning, and found them both disturbing and intuitive.”
    “You agree?”
    “Yes, with the information from the investigator's report, I would have drawn up a reflecting profile. The religious aspects are undeniable. Of course, religious allusions and delusions are common in schizophrenia.”
    “Joan of Arc heard voices,” Ben murmured.
    Logan smiled and folded his broad, capable hands. “As did any number of the saints and martyrs. Some might say fasting for forty days might have anyone hearing voices. Others might say they were chosen. In this case we can all agree we're not dealing with a saint, but a very disturbed mind.”
    “No argument there,” Ed murmured, his notebook in hand. He remembered feeling a little… well, spiritual, after a three-day fast.
    “As a doctor, and a priest, I look on the act of murder as a sin against God, and as an act of extreme mental aberration. However, we have to deal

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