Justice Delayed(15)

By: Patricia Bradley

“She does only have a mild concussion, but the cut on her head required five stitches,” Treece said.

“Yeah, big waste of time.” He winked at Treece. “I could’ve sewn that up.”

Andi made a face at him and made a beeline for the door.

He hurried ahead of her. “Stay here and I’ll get the car.”

A few minutes later, Treece was in the backseat, and he had Andi buckled in before he walked around to the driver’s side. His heart sank when he slid behind the wheel and saw her reading the Commercial Appeal he’d left on the console.

Jimmy Shelton to Be Executed Sunday.

She looked up from the newspaper, her eyes wide. “Seeing this in black and white . . .” She ducked her head. “The DA notified Mom and Dad, but they told her they wouldn’t be there.”

Will blew out a breath. “It’s all I can think of—that he’ll die, and I can’t stop it.”

Andi leaned against the seat. “He confessed, Will.”

“A confession his attorney tried to have suppressed because it was coerced.” But it wasn’t the right time to discuss her sister’s murder, and he kept quiet for the rest of the drive home.

Two cars other than Brad’s sat out front. “Crime scene guys,” he said when Andi questioned him. After he parked behind the house, he helped her out of the car while Treece got out of the backseat.

His heart dipped at the dark half circles under her eyes, and even though her grip was firm, frailty radiated from her slender frame. If he had his way, he’d scoop her up in his arms again and carry her inside, but she insisted on walking. At least she clung to his arm as they climbed the stairs.

“Where’s Mrs. Casey?” he asked once she was settled on the sofa in Treece’s apartment.

“Went to see her daughter in Nashville this afternoon, thank goodness.” Andi leaned her head back and then quickly moved it. “Ouch. The feeling is back. Where’s Brad? I want answers, since you won’t give me any.”

“Look, try to go easy on him,” Will said. “He worries about you.”

Resignation settled on her face. “I know, but I’m not some orchid that’s going to wilt every time I bump my knee.”

“It wasn’t your knee you bumped,” Brad said as he came into Treece’s apartment. “It was your head because some burglar broke into your place. You could have been killed.”

She swallowed hard and seemed to be on the verge of tears.

“Did the crime scene techs find anything?” Will asked.

“No. Andi must have surprised the intruder early. The only evidence he was even in her apartment was the open window. And the attack.” Brad sat in the chair across from Andi. “Are you really okay?”

His best friend’s voice was gruff, but Will knew Brad cared deeply about his sister. It was just that Andi Hollister could get into more trouble than any woman he knew, and her brother often operated out of fear for her.

When Brad saw her number on Lacey Wilson’s cell phone, his face had reflected the worry that latched on to Will. While Brad might think it was a suicide, he knew, just like Will, it was too early to rule out murder.

“Yeah.” She touched the back of her head and winced. “Hate to admit you were right about getting checked out. Now tell me who was murdered.”

“Or committed suicide. They’re finished with your apartment. Why don’t we go next door and talk?” Brad said.

“No,” Andi said and nodded toward a salad on Treece’s bar. “I missed supper, and I’m hungry. Besides, I’ll end up telling Treece whatever we discuss as soon as you leave anyway.” She raised her eyebrows. “I bet you two haven’t eaten either. You can have some of my pizza.”

“Not me.” Will shook his head. His stomach burned from the barbecue they’d wolfed down on the way over.

“Me either,” Brad said. “We’ll talk while you eat. Have you recalled what the intruder said to you?”

Andi allowed Will to help her from the sofa.

“Thanks,” she murmured. “No. The doc said I might and I might not. All I remember is how insistent the man was that I had something that belonged to him. Either I didn’t hear what it was or I just don’t remember. Now, who is the murder victim?”