thedangers angle?”What are you doing messing aroundhere? She

thedangers involved? You know she’s a cop.””What have you done with her?” My low, menacing tone istotally lost on him.

He looks me straight in the eye and says, “You know whereshe is.” What’s his angle?”What are you doing messing aroundhere? She needs your help.” He holds out his arms, palms down,as if his words need a push to get through to me.My adrenaline-pumped body is wary of words.And him.”Your concern for her is very touching, Nevar. But what didyou do to her after you lured her into your dirty little tryst in themountains, huh?”First he looks dumbfounded, then his face lights up like hejust sent himself a news flash.

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“Who told you I went with her to themountains?””You did.” I toss the cue from hand to hand, ready to spearhis trap shut.”I didn’t do any such thing.” He takes off his jacket and dropsit on the table railing.

I zip up the last few inches on my jacket eventhough I’m getting hot under the collar.”You’ve killed her, haven’tyou? You have, or you wouldn’tsee any percentage in denying the two of you called this morning.”He grabs hold of the rail and extends his arms like he’s doingpush ups off the table. I seize the remote.He just stares at me likehe’s not sure which planet he’s on. Then he bows his head, andwith his gaze locked on the shadow he’s casting on the playingsurface, he says, “Let’s see if I’m getting this straight: You thinkChanlee and I phoned you this morning, and after informing you Iwas with her in the mountains, I proceeded to kill her and obliterateher body–no doubt after I violated it enough times tosatisfy mydepraved lust. But I had to do it all like Superman on speed in orderto rush back here to do the same to you.

” He shakes his head indisbelief. “And that makes sense to you?”Ten ThousandSuspects RayandaArts185″Nothing you do makes sense.” So why is it myself I’mdoubting? I’d like to say it’s because something about that call thismorning keeps echoing in my head like an itccan’t reach. But it’smore than that.

Hell, whenever I’m around him, reality takes on astrange hue, like I’m stranded inside the infrared end of thespectrum. And what do I see? The color of his hair and the outlineofhis chest muscles sculpted by a snug T-shirt. Or maybe it’s evenmore primitive than that. Like the scent of him.

The scent of apredator closing in on the prey.This box in my hand is the safest way out of here. Aftersnickering at my attempts to figure the thing out, he says, “Yourversion of the truth has a hole in it small enough to be overlookedby someone who doesn’t want to see it, but big enoughnevertheless to turn the phone call, the mountains, her torture andmurder and my depravity into fantasy. I was in court all morning,and a judge and jury of your peers can attest to that fact.””And Isuppose Kenny is a fantasy too?!””He could be if you didn’t know where he is. But you do,Bambi.

“”I what?!” I lean so far forward I lose my balance and have topush myself back off the table. Fruk, he’scompletely loony tunes,yet he’s whipping my butt. Because I’m letting him get to me. Theydon’t call him The Snowman for sucking lemons. There isn’t a maninside that facade. There’s only white powder.”You’re the key to Kenny’s disappearance.

You have to knowthat much by now.” He grits his teeth, grabs the hair on top of hishead with both hands and turns around on his heels. “Who knewyouwere going to the mountains last Tuesday?””Besides you and all your goons?””Dammitall, Rane, how could you let her get into theirhands?” The dismay in his voice increases with the volume, just asmy anger stalls in the face of my increasing confusion about wherehe’s coming from. “Now the risk to you is twofold.””I can take care of myself.

“”Damned right. But not your friends, evidently.””She’s no fool. She doesn’t have to consult any damnedbook full of legal mumbo-jumbo to know the difference betweenright and 


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