Bringing Maddie Home - Page 34

“I have,” he agreed. “I wanted to tell you, but I made a promise to her.”

He realized suddenly that Duane’s eyes, currently slitted with temper, were nearly the same color as Maddie’s. Not a comfortable moment to notice.

But Duane pushed himself upright in an abrupt movement. “Goddamn. Maddie’s home.”

Exhilaration rose in Colin, making him want to go back to grinning. “I told you I thought she was alive.”

The lieutenant scrubbed his hand over the disheveled spikes of his gray hair. “You knew she was when you said that.”

“I’d just found her the day before.”

“Unbelievable.” He sagged into a chair. “Helen said she has some memory problems.” His voice expressed uncertainty.

“More than problems. She has amnesia. When she escaped, she didn’t remember her own name. Where home was. Who her parents were. All she knew was that somebody had tried to kill her.”

“Maybe it was a ransom deal.”

They’d talked about this before, and Colin knew Duane didn’t believe that explanation any more than he did.

“It was a pretty bad head injury. She’s got a hell of a scar. There was a lot of blood, and a concussion severe enough to cause the memory loss. She could have been snatched without being harmed at all. No.” He shook his head. “My best guess is, her abductor tossed her in the trunk of his car thinking she was dead, or would be by the time he got wherever he was going with her.”

Duane’s eyes met Colin’s. “I got to tell you, I really thought she was dead. I figured you were deluded when you said that, about her being alive.”

“I might have, too, if I hadn’t talked to her the night before.”

“Damn,” he said again. After a moment of sitting there looking as if he had been poleaxed, Duane suddenly swiveled in his seat to stare at the bulletin board with the photos of faces Colin wouldn’t let himself forget. “You already took her picture down.”

“First thing this morning.” Colin couldn’t keep himself from smiling. He didn’t know when anything had last given him more satisfaction than the one small act—pulling the pin from that picture, leaving a blank space where it had been, carrying the photograph to his desk and putting it in a drawer. One victory. He wouldn’t have admitted to anyone that he intended to keep the photo close.

“I didn’t hear Helen’s message until this morning. I didn’t believe it until I called her back. That’s when I found out my good buddy Captain McAllister had brought Maddie home without letting a soul know what he was up to.”

“We’re doing this her way.” His voice had hardened. Duane needed to know that they were going to keep doing this Maddie’s way.

Nell’s way.

“She’s having lunch today with your sister.”

“I know.” Duane looked baffled. “Helen says Maddie claims not to remember me.”

“She doesn’t remember much at all, Duane. When she saw photos of her parents online, they looked familiar, that’s all. I don’t remember there being a picture of you in the news.” No surprise there—their not-so-esteemed leader Bystrom seized every opportunity to speak for the department. In that case, he’d played up his friendship with the Dubeaus, although Colin had never known how real that friendship was.

Duane grunted. “I don’t pay attention to crap like that.”

“No,” Colin said in amusement. “Not your style.”

Shaking his head, the older man stood. “Who knew? I guess miracles do happen. I don’t have to dig up the goddamn park after all.”

Colin laughed. “No.” He sobered quick enough, though. “Anything new on those bones?”

“With the ground frozen solid? Hell, no.”

“I saw Palmer this morning.” Andy Palmer was the unfortunate detective who had been shot by a fellow officer when all he was trying to do was buy diapers on his way home.

“Yeah, he got the go-ahead to come back to work. He’s not a happy camper.”

Colin raised an eyebrow. “I’m not real happy about him being shot, either.”

“Stupid kid should’ve been fired.”

“The kid was still baby-pea green. He shouldn’t have been out on his own at all. The incident wasn’t his fault.”

Duane grunted again. “Just don’t stick me with him until I’ve forgotten his name.”

The glass in the door rattled when he left.

Smiling again, Colin glanced at the time on his computer monitor. Was Nell still at the high school? He wondered what she’d learned. At least she should be safe enough there.

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