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"No!" At his outburst, Mickey clutched at his ribs.

Hunt's expression dark, he turned to his employee. "That's not the worst idea I've ever heard, Mick."

"And where's she supposed to go?"

"How about back home? How about to her regular life?"

Mickey, very slowly, shook his head. "She's not going to have a regular life until this is over, Wyatt. Juhle and Russo think it's her. You told me that yourself."

"I also told you they're a long way from a warrant."

"That could change in a heartbeat. And besides, it's not just them."

"It's not?"

Alicia took the opportunity to break in. "Mickey thinks that whoever really did this might . . . might want to kill me too."

Hunt's mouth twitched in derision. "And why would they want to do this?"

"If she's the main suspect," Mickey said, "and then she kills herself, or it's made to look like she kills herself, the investigation goes away."

Hunt took a beat. "I've always said you've got a good imagination, Mick."

"This guy's already killed two people. Why wouldn't he kill somebody else if it would end it? You don't think that could happen?"

"A lot of things could happen, Mick. Do I think there's a likelihood?" He turned his gaze from one of them to the other. "No."

"Yeah? Well, I don't want to bet on likelihoods. Any likelihood at all is too much. You want to bet Alicia's life that something like that won't happen? We just can't do that."

Hunt blew out a heavy breath.

"Look," Mickey went on. "We took this job, among other reasons, to investigate this murder, now these murders, and try our d.a.m.nedest to keep Alicia out of jail-"

"That's not why we took this job."

"Yes, it is, Wyatt. It is exactly. It's what I promised her before I even came to you about the rewards."

This unexpected information didn't make Hunt any happier. "It might have been nice to let me know about that a little sooner."

Mickey started to shrug, but the pain stopped him. "It's what I did, Wyatt. It seemed like the right thing. Alicia did not do this. Either of these."

Hunt's glance at Alicia made it clear that he wasn't close to sold on this story. He came back at Mickey. "So what do you propose we do, as opposed to what we've already been doing trying to investigate these murders?"

"Well, first," Mickey said without hesitation, "for her own safety, she stays here." He held up his good hand. "Look, there's no warrant out on her. Devin and Russo haven't even asked her to check in with them. So she's just hard to find, visiting a friend, however you want to spin it, if it comes up at all."

"What if they get a warrant? Or the Grand Jury gives 'em an indictment?"

"You told me that won't happen at least until they get the other DNA. And even with the DNA, where's the case against Alicia?" Mickey looked over at her, seemingly took strength from her expression of grat.i.tude. "And if they come back with a warrant or indictment, then we ask Gina to come ab

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