She is a fan of all things paranormal and magical, and her dreams include raising a garden full of fairies, riding a unicorn, and taming the pet dragon she adopted at a local Convention.
She loves to spend time with her grown children and two grand-babies, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive with her convertible top down—even when it rains—and play music at full volume so she can sing along.
Desperation clawed at his throat. “But the video—”
“Coercion. Editing skills. Bad lighting, a good actress with a similar look—that video is not enough when the rest of the evidence points directly at you.”
James’ heart thundered in his chest. “I didn’t hurt Emma.”
Peters stood. “Then help us find her. Look, I know there’s something you’re not telling me. Now’s the time for you to share whatever information you’re holding back, otherwise, you’ll be answering for more serious charges than outing a secret.”
James pinned his focus on the wall behind the detective, too stunned to move. His father stood, grunting with the effort, and pointed at James. “That’s enough. Don’t say another word.” He directed his next words at the detective. “My son is done talking to cops without a lawyer.”
Peters raised his brows, but didn’t seem all that surprised. “Does that mean you’re finished cooperating with the case?”
“It means.” Richard’s commanding tone was a voice James hadn’t heard in years. “The next time you have questions, make an appointment.”
“Okay then.” Detective Peters flipped his notebook closed and slid it into his jacket pocket. “Guess that will do for now.” He stood, offering a friendly hand, which neither of the other men accepted. Peters let his arm drop to his side and started for the door. “James, we’re considering you a person of interest in Emma’s disappearance. It would be best for everyone involved—especially you—if you don’t leave the state.”
He nodded in acknowledgement, numbness flowing into his limbs as his father ushered the detective out and locked the door behind him. Then Richard returned to his James, draping his arm across James’ shoulders in a show of support. “Don’t worry, Son. We’ll get this sorted out.”
James embraced his father, trying not to think about how awkward the practice had become since the man had almost doubled in size over the last few years. “I don’t know, Pops. From the way he talks, I wonder if the only way to get me out of this mess would be to find Emma and bring her back.”
“So let’s do that, then.” Richard released James, wheezing with effort as he returned to his chair.
James scrubbed his hands into his dusty hair, causing white tile powder to rain on his eyelashes. “It’s not that easy.”
Richard dropped into his recliner, clearly relieved to be sitting again. “I’m only going to ask this once, and I promise I’ll believe you, as long as I can see that you’re telling the truth.” He leaned a thick elbow on the arm of his chair, tipping the entire frame to one side. “Did you do something to that girl? Do you know where she is?”