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Look at What the Hangman Brung

Sasha Lovett
Sasha Lovett

"You shouldn't be drinking."

Sasha glared at Gustav Macklin over the rim of her glass. "I'm paying. So I'm drinking."

"I'm not stopping you." He held up his hands defensively. "I'm just saying. Thought you'd told me you'd quit."

"I never said that." In fact, she had. Two weeks ago, when the paychecks were scarce and liquor was a luxury she couldn't afford. Mandatory cold turkey had seemed like a brilliant idea. She'd waited it out for four days, hating every moment of it. And then the money came in-not much.

But enough.

A gust of cool air whipped across her back, signifying someone entering the Tricky Mister. Setting down the glass that had once held a gin and tonic, she turned around, absently smoothing fingers through her dark hair.

She knew she did not make for an impressive sight. At twenty-three years of age, standing five foot four, weighing one-twenty soaking wet, she looked more like a college student-a college freshman, even-than a detective. The holes in the knees of her jeans, the frayed cuffs of her sweater did not help. She did not look like the kind of person who got taken seriously.

Squaring her jaw, Sasha rose from the bar stool, leaning against the counter to prevent any swaying. 'I'm fine,' she reminded herself, silently. 'Three drinks does NOT make me drunk.'

"Detective." Officer Carr was in his late fifties. He had a shock of snow-white hair, a drooping moustache, and a kindly grandfather's face. He always seemed to look pityingly at Sasha, as though she were a puppy someone had left out in the rain.

"Officer." She tilted her head back in some effort to look lofty, when he stood a good eight inches taller than her.

"New case is in." He held out a folder. Sasha took it and set it down on the bar counter. "We're going to be partnering you up with someone. More efficient than you working solo. They're due to come around here any minute now."

"I work fine solo," Sasha protested, tapping the bar and signaling Gustav to pour her another without turning around.

"You got shot last time you went sol

Sasha Lovett
Sasha Lovett

"You got shot last time you went solo," Officer Carr reminded her.

"I got grazed-"

"Lovett." Carr cut her off gently, like a parent with an impatient child. "You're not a team player. We all know that. But we can't trust you on your own."

Sasha felt a scowl creeping onto her face. She hastily banked the expression and turned back towards the bar.

Officer Carr set down a folder beside her. "Do your homework. Be nice to your partner."

Sasha did not reply. Carr turned and walked away. Downing the three fingers of gin Gustav set down in front of her, she opened the folder and began to page through it.

Edmund Harris, age fifty-eight. Murder, staged as a suicide. He'd been found in his bedroom, hung. Written on the wall in red paint were the words, LOOK AT WHAT THE HANGMAN BRUNG.

She paged further into the case. He was a wealthy man, a bachelor who entertained the finest company, smoked Cuban cigars, drank single-malt Scotch...dated much younger women...worked for a multi-million dollar corporation called Phoenix.

Feeling the cold air at her back again, she looked up. Must be her new partner.


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