The Final Line

Free The Final Line by Kendall McKenna

Book: The Final Line by Kendall McKenna Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kendall McKenna
Tags: gay romance, military
and handed back their IDs.
    As Pierce led them deeper into the jail, the lighting dimmed dramatically to a level that made Corey think of emergency lighting. He realized the brightest source was the ambient glare of multiple computer monitors.
    They reached a blue door with a wide, inset window. Deputy Pierce signaled to someone on the other side and Corey heard the whirring and clicks of an electronic lock disengaging. He looked at Sean and found him watching the process with open interest. When he noticed Corey watching him, Sean gave him a small, encouraging smile.
    Deputy Pierce held the door open and as they passed through into the sallyport, he said, “Mr. Chandler, we can’t let you talk to the prisoner. You’ll have to wait in Sergeant Lopez’ office.”
    “That’s fine,” Sean said emphatically. “I don’t even know the guy. I just gave a friend a ride.”
    Prisoner intake wasn’t what Corey had expected. Movies, television, and past experience had prepared him for large holding cells of metal bars. Instead, he was surprised to find the walls lined with small cells made of ballistic plastic. Each cell had a single bench and a commode.
    Corey spotted Nygaard immediately. He was in the nearest holding cell, seated on the bench and slouched back against the wall. Nygaard was wearing a white skivvy shirt and pale blue scrub pants. It looked like there were thin, white slippers on his feet.
    “They took his clothes as evidence,” Pierce said when he noticed Corey looking.
    Nygaard spotted him right then, his expression changing to hopeful and pleading. He stood and pressed his palms to the clear containment wall. Corey gritted his teeth and looked away.
    Sergeant Manny Lopez was a tall, paunchy man in his early 40s. His grip was firm when they shook hands and Corey introduced Sean. He offered both Sean and Corey seats in his office.
    “Can you tell me what happened?” Corey asked.
    “I can tell you what the detectives told me and what the arrest reports say,” Lopez answered. “The suspect was at home with his girlfriend of three months, Maritza Arroyo, and her younger sister, Luisa. He’d been drinking steadily since late morning. As tends to happen, the drunker he got, the more belligerent he became.”
    That was part of the reason Corey preferred to drink alone. He hadn’t been an angry or hostile drunk before deployment but he wasn’t quite as sure about things now as he used to be.
    Sergeant Lopez continued, “The victim’s sister says the suspect kept starting arguments with the two of them. He deliberately provoked them and reacted physically to their angry reactions. The suspect ended up in a bedroom, lying on a bed and continuing to drink directly from a bottle.”
    Jesus. How many times had Corey done that very thing? The difference was, he made sure he was alone. He swallowed hard and didn’t dare look at Sean.
    “The victim allegedly entered the bedroom to take away the alcohol and to try to convince the suspect to sober up, or at least go to sleep.” Lopez referred to a large stack of papers on his desk. “The witness statement says the suspect exploded into a violent rage and began hitting the victim. Her sister tried to intervene, at which point the suspect physically picked her up and forcibly removed her from the apartment. He locked her out, so she began to shout loudly and pound on the door. Minutes later she heard her sister screaming for her life inside the apartment.”
    “Oh God,” Sean whispered.
    Corey’s heart stopped when he looked over at Sean. Expression pained, Sean appeared to have tears in his eyes. The realization that Sean was a civilian slammed into Corey with hurricane force. He wasn’t accustomed to blood and violence like Corey and Sergeant Lopez were.
    It took all of Corey’s Marine discipline not to reach out and touch Sean. He wanted to put an arm around him in comfort. He’d settle for just taking his hand but he didn’t dare do it in the middle of

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