"I can't? Why not?"
"Just because . . . because you can't. I didn't."
"That's what Mickey says too."
"Well, Mickey's right. You ought to believe him, if not me."
"It's not a question of believing."
"It's not? What is it, then?"
"It's opportunity, motive, access to the murder weapon, or weapons."
A brittle, small laugh escaped into the s.p.a.ce between them. "Oh, so I'm a suspect in two murders now? Dominic and Nancy, I suppose."
"While we're at it," Hunt said, "maybe three."
"Sure, why not?" she snapped out, then shook her head in a very convincing show of disgust. "Please."
But Hunt wasn't in any kind of conciliatory mood. "You want to step back and let me in? Then we can continue this discussion."
She backed away from the door, pulling it along with her. Hunt stepped over the threshold, threw a quick glance first over her shoulder down the hallway to the right, then over to his left. "Okay," he said, reaching for the doork.n.o.b and closing it behind them.
"Who's the third murder victim?" she asked.
"We'll get to that," Hunt said. "Meanwhile, what I'd like you to do is go down to the TV room and sit there for a minute and wait for me. I'll be right with you."
"Has someone else been killed?" she asked. "If somebody was killed last night, I was with Mickey the whole time. I couldn't have killed anybody."
"Maybe not," Hunt said. He pointed. "TV room. Please."
She crossed her arms and stared at his face with ill-disguised hostility for a couple of seconds, then let out a frustrated and angry guttural sound and turned back down the hallway, disappearing where Hunt had asked her to go.
As soon as she'd gone, Hunt went to his bedroom, where, with a mixture of chagrin and relief, he saw that his rug had apparently not been disturbed. Nevertheless, he crossed to the corner of it, pulled it up, and lifted out the board that covered his safe. He twirled the combination wheel, which turned easily, signifying that it was locked. But, wanting to be sure, he dialed the combination and opened it again, saw his second gun where he'd left it earlier, and then closed and made sure he'd locked it up one more time before he stood and reversed his actions with the board and the rug.
As soon as he appeared in the doorway to the television room, she looked up. Scrunched over as though she had a stomachache, her elbows on her knees and her hands clasped in front of her, she appeared suddenly small, waiflike. And all the more beautiful for her apparent vulnerability-her doe eyes threatening to overflow, the color high on her cheeks.
For a moment, even in his highly skeptical, antagonistic state, Hunt felt something akin to awe at the power she could wield over men, if only she knew.
But of course she knew, he thought. How could she not know?
"Has someone else died?" she asked. "Please tell me no one else has died."
Taking her very seriously i
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