Eve was dead.
The words kept drumming in Catherine Ling’s mind as she walked up the gateway to the terminal. No matter how many times she told herself it was true, she still couldn’t believe it. Not Eve Duncan. Not her friend, the woman who had helped to save her son.
“Agent Ling?” A sandy-haired young man was running after Catherine as she headed for baggage. “I’m Brad Linden.” He showed her his CIA credentials. “Agent Venable sent me to pick you up and take you to the memorial service.”
“Then go get your car while I pick up my bag.” Catherine Ling didn’t stop as she strode ahead of him. “And why the hell didn’t Venable come and get me himself? I need to have a few choice words with him.”
“He’s at the service. It’s going on right now. He didn’t want to show disrespect. I’m afraid you’re a little late.”
“Because no one told me that Eve—” She broke off. He was gazing at her warily, and she knew she must be radiating all the ferocity and sadness she was feeling. There was no use ripping at Venable’s errand boy because Venable had left her in ignorance of Eve’s death or the search when she was kidnapped several days ago. He would only try to make excuses for the inexcusable. Yes, she had been undercover in the jungles of Colombia, but that didn’t mean that she wouldn’t have somehow extricated herself and come home to help find Eve. Venable should have gotten word to her. No, she’d had to find out in Miami when she’d retrieved her own computer and been hit in the gut with the news story in USA Today. “Just have that car out front and get me to that memorial service ASAP, Linden.”
While she was waiting for her bag, she scanned the story in USA Today again. What did she expect to find? She had practically memorized the damn story on the flight from Miami. She supposed that she was trying to find an answer when there was no answer. The actual story of Eve’s kidnapping and murder was fairly cut-and-dried. The murderer had obviously been unbalanced and ignited explosives at a ghost town in Colorado, where he had been holding Eve captive. Since the details were sparse, they had concentrated on Eve Duncan herself. Her background, her accomplishments, quotes from famous law-enforcement officials who had used her services. All were very worth reading, Catherine thought bitterly. It wasn’t often that the media got a chance to spotlight a genuinely good person. Eve had been an illegitimate child born in the slums who had given birth herself at sixteen to a little girl, Bonnie. The child had changed her life. Eve had finished her education and straightened out her mother, who was on drugs. Then the world had come crashing down when her Bonnie, seven years old, had been kidnapped and killed. Yet Eve hadn’t let it destroy her. She had gone back to school and studied forensic sculpting. Since then, she had become perhaps the most skilled forensic sculptor in the world. She had brought closure to thousands of families whose children would never have been identified without her help.
Never let a good deed go unpunished, Catherine thought. That old adage was too true in Eve’s case.
And, dammit, she was misting up again. She closed her computer and jammed it in her carry-on bag. She grabbed her phone and tried Joe Quinn again. Voice mail. She’d called him from the Miami Airport as soon as she’d read the story about Eve’s memorial service being held today. It had gone to voice mail then, too. She’d left a message, but he hadn’t called back. Maybe he didn’t want to talk to her, she thought. Why should he? He had loved Eve with every ounce of his being, and he thought Catherine hadn’t even cared enough to try to find her when that monster, Doane, had kidnapped her.
I cared, Joe. God, how I care. I would have come.
She wanted to kill Venable.
She might do it if he didn’t have an explanation that she could tolerate.
And she wanted to release the tears that she had been forcing back since she’d read that damn news story. Her friend was dead, and, somehow, she felt as if it was her fault, that if she’d known, she might have been able to stop it. Lord, her eyes were stinging.
Not here. Not now.
When she was alone with her thoughts and memories of Eve and had gotten through this memorial service.
Not even a funeral because that crazy bastard had blown them both to bits.
She wished with all her heart
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