Lone Witness(7)

By: Rachel Dylan

The most interesting find in his research was that Sophie came from money—serious money that went back generations. Her father was also a highly respected businessman in the community with a thriving commercial real estate company.

His phone rang and he answered. “Cooper here.”

“Hey, it’s Landon. I’m calling you back.”

“Are you alone?” He had to ask Landon something and wanted to make sure his fiancée wasn’t around.

“Yeah, in the car on my way home.”

“Listen, I got a new client, and it’s actually Sophie Dawson.”

“Kate’s Sophie?” Landon asked.

“Yes, which is why I wanted to talk to you, to make sure you didn’t see the file I created for new matters on our shared site and say anything to Kate.”

“What’s going on with Sophie?”

He filled Landon in on everything he knew as he kept his eyes on Sophie’s vehicle, which was about four cars ahead of him.

“Sounds like Sophie may actually need the security,” Landon said. “I know sometimes we deal with situations where family or business contacts overreact, but you can’t mess around with the gangs. Especially if this is the gang leader’s brother we’re talking about. This is bad news. I don’t like any of it.”

“I agree.”

“Do you need any help from me?” Landon asked.

“Not at the moment, but I wanted to make sure you were up to speed. I don’t know the timetable yet of the trial or whether there’s going to be a plea deal or what. For now, I’m just keeping my eyes on her, and we’ll take it one step at a time.”

“Whatever you need, just let me know.”

“I’m so glad you’re part of our team now, Landon.”

“Me too. It’s like I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”

Landon had merged his own private investigator business with K&R Security less than a year ago. He had gone through a rough patch after his last army deployment and leaving the military, but was now back on track, thanks in large part to his fiancée. Cooper was so thankful to have his friend back.

“I’ll keep you posted. Will you do me a favor and let Noah know what’s going on?”

“Roger that.”

Cooper ended the call and kept his eyes on Sophie’s black Ford Escape. For being so wealthy, it didn’t appear that she was flaunting it. She could’ve been driving a luxury vehicle.

He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to come from that kind of money—or any money, for that matter. His parents had barely been able to put food on the table, though a lot of that was because of his father’s transgressions. Being raised by an abusive alcoholic had taken its toll on Cooper. He knew it. He didn’t need a shrink to explain that to him. No amount of therapy would cure him of his past.

His dad had gotten clean about five years ago, and Cooper was thankful for that. But the damage had been done. And it was irreversible.

Lord, I don’t want to think about this right now.

It was a prayer he felt like he’d uttered a million times.

Deputy Chief ADA Patrick Hunt walked into the courtroom, ready for what he hoped would be a run-of-the-mill preliminary hearing. Unfortunately, so far he was learning that absolutely nothing about the Wade case was run-of-the-mill. Starting with the fact that his only witness to a double homicide was a senior ADA. What were the chances of that? It was going to make his job infinitely trickier.

He’d been called in from Dekalb, the neighboring county, so the defense couldn’t argue conflict of interest. And once he found out who the defense attorney was, boy, was he glad Keith had asked him to step in.

Ashley Murphy represented the worst of the worst. Gangs, rapists, drug lords, and other violent criminals. He had no idea how she could sleep at night. Ice ran through her veins.

He was facing off against Ashley today. It wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last. He could only imagine what the gang was paying her. It was a hefty sum, that was for sure, because Ashley didn’t come cheap. She wasn’t representing defendants out of the goodness of her heart, but the desire to pad her pocketbook.