Dead Heat
gave us that information.”
    “It’s deductive reasoning,” Ryan said. “Maybe not many people knew about the hardware storefront. They could have learned real quick that Sanchez is in custody. We snatched him before eight this morning. If he was poisoned he could have been poisoned anytime today.”
    “Not if it was anaphylaxis,” Lucy said. “A severe allergic reaction is going to show up within minutes. Thirty, tops.”
    “We don’t know if that’s what it was,” Donnelly said.
    “He would have felt something, known he was having a reaction,” Lucy said. “None of the guards noticed anything? Heard anything?”
    “Maybe,” Sean suggested, “it wasn’t a food allergy, but a more deadly poison.”
    “We have everything bagged and tagged and I’ll flag the allergy for the ME,” Donnelly said. Whether he was irritated with Sean for his comments, or just frustrated with the situation, Sean couldn’t tell. “I have my team running deep backgrounds on every guard on duty tonight, everyone who had access to his meal. Because it was after hours, the food was brought in, not made on-site.” He rubbed his face. “Dammit. He was cooperating!”
    “Maybe it was natural,” Rollins suggested.
    “Twenty-nine-year-old healthy adult male dying spontaneously of natural causes on the eve of turning state’s evidence against a notorious criminal?” Donnelly pointed to Lucy and Ryan. “I need a complete time line from the minute we took custody of Sanchez until he died. You weren’t alone with Sanchez, Quiroz, but Kincaid was. I need to know who talked to him, who was in the room, anyone who might have had an opportunity to slip him something. We cover all the bases here. It may have been in his food, it may have happened earlier. I’m not ruling out suicide, either.”
    “Guilt,” Lucy said. “He might have had second thoughts about turning on his brother. Realized he’d dug a hole and thought killing himself was the only way he wouldn’t talk.”
    “I’m getting a lot of heat over this, as should be expected. If it was someone else losing a key witness, I’d be giving them shit, too.”
    “You need to put a guard on Mirabelle Borez,” Ryan said. “If Sanchez was targeted because of the threat of him spilling his guts, then she may be in danger.”
    Donnelly pointed at Nicole, and she left the room. “Done.” He handed Lucy a file. “This is everything on Sanchez from the sweep this morning until his death. I need you to double-check my facts and the time line, and include your own. I want every minute of his day documented.” He glanced from Lucy to Sean. “Sorry to ruin your date night.”
    “Every night is date night,” Sean said.
    Donnelly nodded. The subtle exchange was between him and Sean. Lucy didn’t see it, but Brad got it. Lucy was off-limits.
    How Lucy could be so clueless that men found her attractive, Sean would never understand.
    “I’ll bring in the coffee,” Sean said.
    “There’s coffee here,” Donnelly said.
    “I’m sure it’s not edible,” Sean said. “There’s a Starbucks down the street. My treat.”
    Lucy smiled at him. That was all the thanks he needed.
    *   *   *
    It was well after midnight when Jaime got word that his brother was dead.
    He sat in the back of a bar off an alley with no name, a place he’d hidden before when the heat got too hot. It was a place where people killed and people died, but no cops ever walked through the door. The bodies were moved and dumped, far away, so this place became a sanctuary, of sorts. Unless you were one of the dead.
    But Pablo, the owner, was getting jumpy. Because the 39th Street store had been taken down by the feds. The feds had arrested Pablo’s brother-in-law. He was afraid they could track Pablo down here, and Pablo didn’t want the cops anywhere near him. George and Mirabelle were in prison.
    Correction: Mirabelle was in prison. George was at the morgue.
    Jaime drained another shot of cheap tequila.

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