years she’d stayed away from Staunton, avoiding her hometown and missing her
parents, to not have to do the very thing she was about to do. Emma took a deep
breath and steered her car onto the street that housed the Staunton Police
Department. She had no other choice. There was only one man who could help her
figure this out.
in front of the station, ignoring all the little pieces of glass that rained
off her as she ran up the steps and pulled open the heavy front door. The
entire station fell silent as she strode to the front desk, leaving a trail of
leaves and little bits of broken glass behind her.
need to see Detective Adam Marshall. It’s an emergency.” She looked around
the lobby. “I don’t even know what time it is. Is he even here?”
still here.” The officer behind the desk reached for the phone. “What
happened, miss? Do you need a medic?”
I’m fine. I mean, I’m not, but I am. Can you just get Detective Marshall for
He set the
phone back on the receiver. “Just wait right here and I’ll get him.”
worry.” Emma crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m not going
up at the sound of the voice and tap on his office door. “What’s up,
is a—woman—at the desk demanding to see you. She says it’s an emergency.”
narrowed his eyes at the young uniformed officer. The other man had a tendency
toward the dramatic, but he’d proven himself in the field. At the moment, he
looked really concerned. “Are you not sure if she is a woman?”
Murphy shook his head. “It’s not that. You, um, have to see for
Adam pushed his chair back from his desk and stood up. “Show me what you
followed him out to the lobby desk but froze when he saw the woman standing
there. Sticks and leaves tangled in her shoulder-length brown waves. Dirt and
dried blood smudged her face, a tear in her jeans bared a scraped knee, and her
light blue fleece jacket had a variety of colorful stains on it. He hadn’t seen
her in so long he might not have recognized her under all the debris, except
he’d know that woman anywhere.
He walked a little closer. “What happened?” What he really wanted to
ask was What are you doing here?
need to talk.” She glanced around at all the people staring at them.
“In private.” Emma leaned in a little, lowering her voice, as though
it would matter. “It’s about a crime.”
toward the way he’d come. “We can talk in my office.” To Murphy he
said, “Please get Ms. Thomas a bottle of water.”
sir.” Officer Murphy disappeared in the direction of the break room, and
Adam led Emma to his office.
were inside and the door was closed, Emma collapsed into one of the chairs,
shaking. Tears ran down her face, leaving streaks in the dirt as they trailed
to her chin and dropped onto the front of her jacket.
perched awkwardly on the edge of his desk, a box of tissues extended to her.
Emma grabbed a couple and wiped at her eyes, then blew her nose.
sorry. I’m so not a crier.” She threw the tissues in the trash can. Her
hands shook noticeably.
remembered that about her. “It’s the adrenaline dump. Nothing to apologize
for.” A knock sounded on the door. “Come in!” Adam called.
Murphy walked in and handed the bottle of water to Emma. “Do you need
anything else, miss?”
her head, and Adam gave him a nod of dismissal.
are you going to tell me what happened?” Adam finally asked. And maybe
why you specifically asked for me out of all the cops in this precinct.
and wrung her hands in her lap. “Yes. I just—I need a minute to gather my
did you know I’d even be here?”
shrugged. “I didn’t. I just hoped you would be.”