Today's Reading

"Someone killed Owen Eaton. Proprietor of the Clearing House in Lake Winnipesaukee. Same day you disappeared."

"I know who Owen Eaton is."

"Of course, you do. He was your competition. And everyone knows how much you hated the guy. Oh, and your truck was left behind at the crime scene. Where Eaton's head was bashed in. In his office. Where you'd just visited him. So, yeah, questioning." He did that air quotes thing with his fingers I hated.

I kicked out my boots and settled in. "I'm here now. Ask away."

Turley didn't have anything. I knew he didn't. If I'd stayed disappeared this long I wasn't waltzing into the Ashton Police Department and handing my ass over. Unless I confessed to knowingly evading arrest, he had nothing.

"We found out who really killed Owen Eaton," Turley admitted when I didn't take the bait. "Two men. Andre and Dmitry Volkov. Seems they'd been hiding out at Gillette Gorge. One of the blinds up there. Their shack caught fire. Tried driving away. Couldn't see in the smoke and fog. Drove over a cliff." Whistling softly, Turley smacked one hand against the other. He paused, trying to look cool, avoiding direct eye contact, an interrogation technique. No big thing. Try and catch me off guard. Turley dragged a nonchalant finger through the donut aftermath. "Last year? Didn't you claim you had a run-in with a couple hunters out by the Gorge?"

I shook my head. "Different guys."

"I'm sure." Turley turned to face me. "When moose season started in October, a hunter found their truck on a glacial shelf. Took a few weeks but forensics retrieved the remains, DNA linked them to the Eaton murder." He caught my eye. "You don't seem too surprised by any of this."

"Should I be? Who were they?"

"A couple troublemakers. Brothers, cousins. Unclear. Did time though. Assorted criminal activity. In Russia. State Department got involved. It's a mess."

I swatted my hat and stood to go. "Glad it all worked out."

Turley hopped up, or as much as a man that size could hop, hand on cuffs. "Where do you think you're going?"

"You said you found the guys who killed Owen Eaton?"

"We did. But that doesn't explain where you have been for the past ten months. There's an APB out for your capture."

"Was."

"Was what?"

"There was an APB. There's not now. I'm not wanted for anything, am I?"

"I've got some questions. Grab some pine, bub."

"Did you just call me 'bub'?"

"Ten months, Jay. Ten months. Vanished. Gone. Without a trace. No contact with anyone. Including your son." He knew that would hurt. And it did. Not talking to Aiden for almost a year was the hardest thing I'd ever done. He held up both hands, showcasing all ten of his porky links, mouthing the word "ten" to hammer the point home.

"I can count without using fingers, Turley. What do you want me to say? Sorry I didn't know you were looking for me? I was out of state, man. You got the real killers. Where's the crime? Being a bad dad? Yeah, I'm guilty. But you can't arrest me for that."

"For not paying your child support, I can."

"My ex and I have a verbal agreement. And I doubt Jenny would pursue it."

"You must be real proud of that."

I bit the inside of my cheek. Losing my temper wouldn't help. My lack of contact with Jenny and my boy shamed me to the core. I'd always stayed up to date on my child support payments. No matter how bad finances got, no matter how well off my ex now was—I'd always pay for my child.

"Did you call to congratulate her on their new baby? A girl. In case you were wondering."

"I wasn't."

...

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Today's Reading

"Someone killed Owen Eaton. Proprietor of the Clearing House in Lake Winnipesaukee. Same day you disappeared."

"I know who Owen Eaton is."

"Of course, you do. He was your competition. And everyone knows how much you hated the guy. Oh, and your truck was left behind at the crime scene. Where Eaton's head was bashed in. In his office. Where you'd just visited him. So, yeah, questioning." He did that air quotes thing with his fingers I hated.

I kicked out my boots and settled in. "I'm here now. Ask away."

Turley didn't have anything. I knew he didn't. If I'd stayed disappeared this long I wasn't waltzing into the Ashton Police Department and handing my ass over. Unless I confessed to knowingly evading arrest, he had nothing.

"We found out who really killed Owen Eaton," Turley admitted when I didn't take the bait. "Two men. Andre and Dmitry Volkov. Seems they'd been hiding out at Gillette Gorge. One of the blinds up there. Their shack caught fire. Tried driving away. Couldn't see in the smoke and fog. Drove over a cliff." Whistling softly, Turley smacked one hand against the other. He paused, trying to look cool, avoiding direct eye contact, an interrogation technique. No big thing. Try and catch me off guard. Turley dragged a nonchalant finger through the donut aftermath. "Last year? Didn't you claim you had a run-in with a couple hunters out by the Gorge?"

I shook my head. "Different guys."

"I'm sure." Turley turned to face me. "When moose season started in October, a hunter found their truck on a glacial shelf. Took a few weeks but forensics retrieved the remains, DNA linked them to the Eaton murder." He caught my eye. "You don't seem too surprised by any of this."

"Should I be? Who were they?"

"A couple troublemakers. Brothers, cousins. Unclear. Did time though. Assorted criminal activity. In Russia. State Department got involved. It's a mess."

I swatted my hat and stood to go. "Glad it all worked out."

Turley hopped up, or as much as a man that size could hop, hand on cuffs. "Where do you think you're going?"

"You said you found the guys who killed Owen Eaton?"

"We did. But that doesn't explain where you have been for the past ten months. There's an APB out for your capture."

"Was."

"Was what?"

"There was an APB. There's not now. I'm not wanted for anything, am I?"

"I've got some questions. Grab some pine, bub."

"Did you just call me 'bub'?"

"Ten months, Jay. Ten months. Vanished. Gone. Without a trace. No contact with anyone. Including your son." He knew that would hurt. And it did. Not talking to Aiden for almost a year was the hardest thing I'd ever done. He held up both hands, showcasing all ten of his porky links, mouthing the word "ten" to hammer the point home.

"I can count without using fingers, Turley. What do you want me to say? Sorry I didn't know you were looking for me? I was out of state, man. You got the real killers. Where's the crime? Being a bad dad? Yeah, I'm guilty. But you can't arrest me for that."

"For not paying your child support, I can."

"My ex and I have a verbal agreement. And I doubt Jenny would pursue it."

"You must be real proud of that."

I bit the inside of my cheek. Losing my temper wouldn't help. My lack of contact with Jenny and my boy shamed me to the core. I'd always stayed up to date on my child support payments. No matter how bad finances got, no matter how well off my ex now was—I'd always pay for my child.

"Did you call to congratulate her on their new baby? A girl. In case you were wondering."

"I wasn't."

...

Join the Library's Online Book Clubs and start receiving chapters from popular books in your daily email. Every day, Monday through Friday, we'll send you a portion of a book that takes only five minutes to read. Each Monday we begin a new book and by Friday you will have the chance to read 2 or 3 chapters, enough to know if it's a book you want to finish. You can read a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, romance, business, teen and mystery books. Just give us your email address and five minutes a day, and we'll give you an exciting world of reading.

What our readers think...