Divine Justice

Free Divine Justice by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

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Authors: Cheryl Kaye Tardif
    "You thought he was having an affair?"
    The woman's gaze hardened. "I was sure of it. Then one night last week he was in his office and I walked in with his evening tea. You would've thought I'd caught him with another woman, the way he jumped out of his chair."
    "What was he doing when you walked in?"
    "Sleeping in his chair. With the TV on. That wasn't like him, not one bit. My Monty is a night owl. He'd stay up until well past midnight every night."
    "What time did you bring him the tea?"
    "Seven o'clock. That's our nightly ritual." Marilyn's eyes locked on hers. "But every night for the last three weeks, I found him sleeping in his office. And he refused his tea."
    Natassia mulled over the woman's words. Winkler's regular routine had changed right around the same time as the suspicious payphone calls.
    Something's definitely off in the Winkler world of Oz.
    Natassia glanced at Jasi. Her partner gave a bob of her head, so she continued.
    "Did your husband have any health problems?"
    "Monty had osteoarthritis in his back, hips and knees. Some days he could barely get out of bed, much less make it through the day. One of his friends told him he was moving like an old man."
    "Was he on any medication?"
    "Tylenol 3. Two every night. He's been doing that for years, but ever since he changed , I have no idea what he's been taking. He stopped asking me to pick up his prescription. I suppose he could have gotten it himself."
    "How was he sleeping at night?"
    "That's the odd thing. He was sleeping better than he'd been in years. He told me that." She closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead. "I'm sorry, but I'm very tired."
    "I know this isn't easy," Natassia said. "Thank you."
    "We need to see your husband's office before we go," Jasi said, rising to her feet. To Natassia, she added, "Matthew is sending an evidence team over in about an hour. They'll catalog everything in Mr. Winkler's office and bring us anything they think is useful to the investigation."
    "What kind of things?" Marilyn asked in a weary voice.
    "We'll need to look at your husband's computer, laptop, data-com―basically anything that might give us a lead or reveal the identity of your husband's killer."
    "Monty always carries his data-communicator with him." Marilyn flinched. "Did you find it?"
    Jasi glanced at her partner. "No."
    "Well, take whatever you need."
    "Why don't you go rest?" Natassia suggested. "We can let ourselves out when we're done." Her foot accidentally brushed up against the briefcase. "Interesting design."
    Marilyn blinked. "The Winkler family crest."
    "Did Monty usually take this to work with him?"
    "Oh, that's not Monty's. It's James'."
    At that very second, the bald man appeared.
    "James," Marilyn said with a gasp. "I'm so sorry. I didn't make proper introductions before. Agent McLellan and Agent Prushenko, this is James Winkler, my brother-in-law. Monty's younger brother."
    Natassia studied James with careful consideration. He looked nothing like his brother. Not only was James tall, bald and reed thin, his skin sagged with an unhealthy gray glow.
    "I don't know what I'd do without him," Marilyn said, smiling at James. "Show the agents Monty's office, dear. I have some things to take care of."
    James nodded once, his gaze resting for a moment on Natassia's pendant before drifting toward her face. He led them from the room, his back rigid, almost angry.
    What's gotten under his skin?
    "He's awfully quiet," she whispered to Jasi.
    "Maybe he can't speak."
    "Do you think he's mute?"
    James whipped around. The look he gave her silenced any further conversation. All the guy needed was a riding crop to complete the image of Icabod Crane― after his run-in with the Headless Horseman.
    He escorted them to a formidable oak door and paused, one skeletal hand on the knob.
    "Thank you, James," she said.
    But he was already walking away.
    She glanced at Jasi. "A man of few words."
    "Makes me wonder why he's hanging around his brother's widow.

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