She couldn't stop shaking as she stared at the
gun--her own Smith & Wesson--in a carefully labeled plastic
bag. The weapon was Crown evidence--she wouldn't see it again for
On second thought, make that ever.
better sit down, Kelly."
"What?" RCMP officer Kelly Doherty looked from
the .38 to the familiar face of her commanding officer, Staff Sergeant
That brief thought of her future, of there being
moments, days, years following this one, made her so damn weary.
All she wanted was to curl up on the rain-dampened ground and be
left alone. But Springer hadn't left her side since he'd arrived
at the Thunder Bar M forty minutes ago.
"Let me take you to your car. You need to get
off your feet."
If Kelly hadn't already understood the gravity
of the situation, the Staff Sergeant's consideration and gentle
tone would've tipped her off.
"I'm fine," she tried to protest, but large, well-muscled
Springer put a hand to her elbow and courteously led the way to
her patrol car. She noted her driver side door was still open, from
that moment when she'd leapt out--galvanized by the sight of Danny
Mizzoni holding a gun to her sister's head.
Springer settled her in the passenger side of
the car, then checked his watch. "Backup from Calgary should be
Kelly leaned back on the headrest and closed her
eyes briefly. Sitting wasn't such a bad idea. Her trembling was
getting worse. Springer must have noticed, too, because he found
a blanket and settled it over her lap.
"Thanks." She knew this moment of calm wouldn't
last long. Once the officers from Ident and the Major Crimes Unit
arrived, there would be hours, if not days, worth of work to be
done. She'd seen it before.
Homicides were rare in the rustic mountain community
of Canmore Alberta, but two and a half years ago a young girl, Jilly
Beckett, had been deliberately shot dead on this very property.
Kelly had worked on that case.
But she wouldn't be working on this one.
"Someone from MAP will be here shortly, too."
Springer patted her shoulder.
The representative from the Member Assistance
Program would guide her through the next few hours. She would be
suspended from duty of course. There would be an investigation.
Springer had already notified her of her rights. At some point she
would need to hire a lawyer.
Anxiety set off another spasm of trembling. Kelly
filled her lungs with air, then groped for the badge she'd always
worn so proudly. Being a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
meant carrying on a tradition of honor. A tradition she was no longer
"I suppose you'll want this," she said, fumbling
with the catch.
"Not now, Kelly." Springer put a hand on her shoulder
and squeezed. "Not now."
The wail of approaching sirens crescendoed with
the rumbling of tires on gravel, as the squad cars from Calgary
arrived. Kelly watched them stream onto Thunder Bar M land. They
parked in a long line behind the ambulance, where the paramedics
were standing by the open back doors and watching calmly, knowing
it would still be some time before the coroner gave them permission
to move the body.
Car doors and voices slammed into the afternoon
quiet. Springer's hand tightened on her shoulder. She would soon
be taken to the station, while these men and woman worked at recording
the details of the crime scene, collecting and cataloguing every
shred of potential evidence.
How Dylan must hate this, she thought, having
his land overrun with police and emergency workers. She wondered
about her sister, Cathleen, and hoped she was recovering from the
shock of having Danny Mizzoni's gun held to her head. Dylan and
Cathleen were out by the creek now. Sharon, Danny's wife--widow--and
two kids, were in the kitchen with Danny's brother.
Thinking of those innocent bystanders, Kelly couldn't
hold back a groan. Their pain, their anger, she could only imagine.
Oh, what had she done?
The body was still prone on the top step of the
verandah. Her shot had struck Danny square in the chest. Death had
been close to instantaneous.
"You did exactly what you were supposed to do."
Springer had crouched beside her. He was talking like a coach, preparing
her for the last game of the season. "You followed procedure every
step of the way. Don't worry, Kelly. You're young, you'll get over
this. Everything's going to work out fine."
The arrival of the team from Calgary had transformed
the quiet crime scene into a bustling center of activity. Kelly
watched the photographer check the lighting before taking some stills
of the body. Someone else leaned over to examine the bullet wound
in the victim's chest.
So much blood.
Kelly looked away. A woman approached her from
one of the parked police cars. Mid thirties, dark short hair, tentative
smile. Probably with Member Assistance. Springer obviously thought
so too. He let go of Kelly's shoulder and stood.
"Staff Sergeant Springer," he said, stepping forward
to meet the new arrival.
"Corporal Webster," said the woman.
Kelly glanced back at the body. One of the Ident
men was making a chalk outline of his position on the rotting wood
porch. From the corner of her eye, Kelly noticed movement from the
back of the house.
The victim's brother, also the editor of the Canmore
Leader, was coming to check things out. He'd been en route to
Calgary when Dylan had called him on Sharon's instructions. As a
result, he'd made it here even before the squad cars from Canmore.
Now the broodily handsome man circled the busy police officers,
his body visibly tense, his expression grim.
he switched directions to face her. Kelly didn't allow herself to
shift her gaze or even blink. She felt his condemnation, the current
of loathing traveling from man to woman the way electrical energy
had passed from the clouds to the earth in the storm earlier.
As the moment between them stretched, she fought
back the instinct to tell him she was sorry. No matter what words
she chose, they would come out sounding trite.
Besides, apologies for homicides were rarely accepted.
END OF EXCERPT. LIKE IT? ORDER