Jericho and she had been behind a closed door for much too long.
“Do we look guilty of...something?” Laurel asked him as she opened the door.
He didn’t answer, other than emit a soft grunt, which let her know they did indeed look guilty.
They went into the family room, and yes, both Levi and Iris were still there. Levi was at the window, keeping watch, but he glanced in her direction, giving her one of those Crockett snarls. He was like Jericho in so many ways. Just slightly less intense. But he made sure she got some of that intensity.
Except her expression was one of apprehension. She stood, facing Jericho. “Are you sure this marriage is the only way?” Iris asked.
“It’s the fastest way,” Jericho assured her. “If all goes well, I’ll have custody of Maddox in a day or two, and then we can focus fully on dealing with Laurel’s legal issues. We’re already working on that, but Herschel has a lot of judges and important people in his pocket.”
“Maybe a lot of hired guns, too,” Laurel added.
Iris questioned. Despite the truce Iris had offered, it was clear it was going to take a while for the woman to fully trust Laurel. “Even now you doubt him.”
Laurel looked her straight in the eye. “No. I don’t. I know what he is, but there are other suspects. Theo and his mother. Plus, it might be someone who’s upset about the business deals that fell through when I broke off my engagement with Theo.”
Obviously, Iris wasn’t buying any of that. And she might be right. Her father was certainly the top suspect for the attacks, and that’s the main reason Laurel didn’t want to exclude the others. Someone, like Theo, could be using this to get revenge on her while her father would get the blame.
“I don’t like this.” Iris shook her head, looked at Jericho. “If you’re her husband and if it comes up that she knows something about Herschel murdering your father, then you can’t testify against her.”
Oh, so that was the reason Iris was worrying. Well, one reason, anyway. The bad blood was playing into this, too.
“As my husband, Jericho can’t be forced to testify. But if Jericho found anything, I’m sure he would testify even if it meant putting me behind bars.” That kiss had made her weak in the knees, but she wasn’t delusional. “I promise you, though, I had nothing to do with your husband’s murder.”
Iris’s chin came up. “But you never tried to have your father convicted of it, either.”
“True. I looked, but I didn’t look hard enough.” Because she’d known that her father would get back at her through her mother.
And he had.
“Mom,” Levi said, “it’s okay. Jericho knows what he’s doing.” However, despite the lack of bite in his voice, Levi didn’t sound any more convinced than Iris looked.
Jericho’s phone buzzed, and she saw Dexter’s name on the screen. Laurel hoped the deputy wasn’t calling with another round of bad news. Jericho went into the kitchen to take the call, and Laurel followed him. This time, he put the call on speaker. Probably because he didn’t want any more close contact with her. After what had just happened in the bedroom, that wasn’t a bad idea.
“Jericho, we’ve got a problem,” Dexter greeted. “There were just two cops here from the Dallas PD, and they were looking for Laurel and you. I told them I didn’t know where you were.”
“Thanks.” Jericho paused. “What else did they say?” he asked, because he no doubt heard the hesitation in his deputy’s voice.
“I tried to buy you some time. Said I’d need a day or two to find you. But they didn’t believe that. They left, but they said they’d be back. They’re giving you six hours to turn over Laurel, or they’ll swear out a warrant for your arrest. And for me and all the other deputies. They said they’d get the Texas Rangers in here to take over the whole sheriff’s office.”
Jericho said a single word of