Read Still Online

Authors: Angela Ford

Tags: #mystery suspense, #mystery and crime short stories, #mystery action suspense thriller, #mystery and intrigue, #mystery and murder, #mystery amateur female sleuth, #mystery action and adventure, #mystery and lies

Still

 

 

Still

 

Angela Ford

 

 

 

Copyright © Angela Ford
2014

Smashwords
Edition

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to
any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is
purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created
from the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes Thank you for
downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property
of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for
commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book,
please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their
favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

 

Dedicated to My Readers – You Keep Me
Smiling!

Look for other books by Angela
Ford

Closure, Forbidden, Unforgettable Kiss,
Blind Tasting, The Christmas Wreath,

Surrender, Spellbound
Cinderella, Sunset Kisses, Time to Love

 

Cover Design by Tanya Watt


 

 

 

Chapter One

 

On a warm dark
summer night Brianna stood, motionless, in the park where the
murder had taken place. There wasn’t a single visible star in that
pitch-black sky above her. Brianna veered off the lighted pathway
and waited in the still of the night. The darkened shadows of trees
surrounded her. Not a single consideration of fear crossed her
mind. In fact, she felt nothing since Lisa’s death. The murder she
had become obsessed to solve. She held her breath as she heard the
sound of nearby footsteps.
Was it him?

At
twenty-eight, Constable Brianna Wilson was part of the Special
Victims Unit. She had been with the police force for over five
years. Her inspector told her she had let her sister’s death become
personal. He advised her to take the time she needed to grieve her
loss and let the homicide department do their job. She couldn’t let
it go. She was determined to find Lisa’s killer. She owed it to her
sister. She owed it to their mother.

She hadn’t
talked to Pete since the night Lisa was murdered. She wished she
stayed home with her sister that night. If she had, she would have
stopped Lisa from going to meet a man she had only spoken to
online. Brianna had talked to Lisa several times about Internet
predators and the dangers of chatting online with strangers. She
dealt with these issues daily on her job.
Why did my sister take
the risk of meeting him face-to-face?
So many questions raced
through Brianna’s mind as she waited.

Footsteps
echoed in the dark. She knew it wasn’t the sound of an animal.
Sadly, she hoped it was him. Despite the darkness and how unsafe it
was to be there, she waited with her Smith & Wesson .40 caliber
pistol in her hand. Her finger rested on the trigger. She knew
protocol was to have backup. She had let it become personal.
Homicide hadn’t been able to track the so-called predator Brianna
found on her sister’s tablet. Brianna lured him using herself as
bait.

Brianna
swallowed hard as the sound of footsteps came inches away from her.
She’d been waiting twenty minutes or so. He was late. Her eyes had
adjusted to the night’s darkness enough to determine shadowed
figures. She felt his presence, so close she smelled whiskey from
his breath. Slowly she moved one foot to balance her stance. Before
she grounded her foot, she felt a sharp point at her back and heard
his rough voice whisper, “It’s your turn.” The coldness in his tone
should have sent a shiver up her spine. It didn’t. In one quick
sudden movement, her elbow jabbed him and dug in between his ribs.
Her reaction had stunned him long enough for her to turn and point
her pistol at him. Brianna could see his shadowed position but not
his face clearly.

“Brianna?” The
tone in his voice was no longer cold, no longer confident. It
startled her that he knew her name. She tried hard to focus on his
face, but the shadow before her turned away. Before she could say
anything, he ripped a branch off the tree and tossed it between
them. Then he was gone. She only heard footsteps move faster.

“How do you
know my name?” she yelled, but there was no reply. “Shit!” She
cursed when she stumbled. She freed herself from the branch and
headed in the direction she’d heard his footsteps. By the time she
made it to the lighted pathway, there was no sign of him.


 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

“Don’t worry,
Mom. I’ll stay with her. Go and have a great time. You deserve it.”
Brianna tossed the last pile of clothes into her mother’s
suitcase.

Audrey Wilson
sighed, “You’re right. I need the break. I haven’t seen my sister
in so long.”

Brianna
promised to move into her mom’s house for the weekend. Not to
babysit, but to have a sisters’ weekend, or so she had tried to
explain it to her sister. At seventeen, Lisa didn’t require a
babysitter. Audrey had Lisa in her mid-forties after finally
finding true love—Steve Wilson. He proposed the day she discovered
she was pregnant with Lisa. Brianna was ten when her mother married
Steve. She loved him as if he had always been her dad. Brianna
never knew her father. Her mother had only told her it was a
one-night stand, and she didn’t know his name or how to get in
touch with him. Steve gave the signed adoption papers to Audrey on
the day of their wedding. He told her they would be a complete
family.

Unfortunately,
he was taken from her when Lisa was only two years old. A sudden
heart attack had left Audrey devastated and lost. She threw herself
into her career and became an Honorable Judge before she turned
sixty. It was the only part of Audrey’s life that meant something
besides being a mom. Brianna was ten years senior to Lisa and more
like another mother. Lisa was well loved and protected. The three
women were very close.

 

After Lisa’s
funeral, Brianna plunked herself down on Lisa’s bed and cried. She
held tightly onto the teddy bear on Lisa’s bed. Brianna had given
it to her the day she was born. Angrily, Brianna tossed the bear
off the bed and then felt bad for doing so. She reached down to
pick up the bear and felt something underneath Lisa’s bed. Curious,
she leaned over to grab it. It was Lisa’s tablet. Brianna had
forgotten about the device she’d given her sister for Christmas.
She already searched her laptop and found nothing in there. She
turned it on, only to discover it was password protected. Brianna
looked around the room and wondered what her sister would have
used. She looked at the teddy bear and smiled.
That would be
Lisa.

Brianna was
stunned with what she discovered. “Mom, come here!” Brianna shouted
as she read her sister’s tablet in horror.

Audrey entered
Lisa’s room, “What’s the matter?” Brianna looked up at her mother
and motioned for her to sit on the bed.

She waved the
tablet in one hand. “I found this under Lisa’s bed. Mom, she’d been
on a chat line. I’ve warned her so many times. She chatted with a
man she didn’t know. And the last entry is dated three nights ago.
She went to meet him in the park.” Brianna cried, “Oh, Mom, it’s my
fault. I should have stayed home with her.” Her mother’s eyes
filled with tears.

“Oh, sweetie,
there’s only one person to blame; the man who did this to her.”

Audrey Wilson
held her daughter and cried with her. Brianna swore to her mother,
between gasps of air, that she would find the man responsible.

Neither Brianna
nor her mom believed Lisa just went for a walk in the park that
night. Brianna knew there had to be a reason. She brought that
information to the homicide constable she knew from the training
academy. He promised to look into it. Anxious to find her sister’s
murderer, she began to investigate the chat group on her own. The
man Lisa chatted with had been clever to hide his IP address.
Brianna figured he used a proxy server to make indirect network
connections to the Internet to hide the IP address.

Brianna’s
promise became an obsession, which forced her inspector to release
her from her duties. It wasn’t a suspension without pay but more of
a leave for her to take the time to grieve her loss and let
homicide do their job. She didn’t listen. Homicide didn’t work fast
enough for Brianna. She knew their workload and the little
information they had to work with. She was determined to solve this
crime on her own. She even kept it from her mother. Brianna began
to chat in the same group Lisa had. She hoped to flag his interest.
A couple of weeks later it happened. She received a message from
the same name that had appeared in her sister’s chats. Brianna
smiled. She was ready to lure him in. 

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

“What the hell
happened to you?”

Audrey opened
the front door. Brianna stood before her with dirt and scratches on
her face and hands. Brianna took a deep breath. “I was in the
park.”

“At this time
of the night?” Her mother looked terrified and didn’t wait for
Brianna to respond. “It’s dark and late. Do you remember what
happened to your sister? I know you’re a police officer and carry a
weapon, but what the heck were you thinking? I’ve already lost one
daughter.” Audrey furiously rambled on as Brianna entered the house
and closed the door.

“Mom, I’m okay,
and yes I carry a weapon. I found him. Well, at least I found him
but he ran away. But the creepiest part is that he knew me. He
called me by name.”

Brianna kept
walking toward the kitchen as she explained what happened. She
headed straight for the coffee pot. She knew her workaholic mother
always had a pot of coffee on in her house.

“You’re not
making sense, Bri. Who are you talking about?” Audrey stood in the
kitchen in confusion.

“Lisa’s killer,
I lured him myself.” Brianna turned to her mother and took a sip of
her coffee.

Audrey plumped
herself down in the chair at the kitchen table. “Are you sure? How
did you find him? And how does he know you? Who is he?” One
question came after another. She didn’t give her daughter time to
answer in between. Brianna joined her mom at the kitchen table and
set her cup down. She reached over and placed her hand on top of
her mom’s.

“I’ve no idea
who he is. It was dark. I only saw a shadowed figure for a few
minutes before he ran. He came up behind me and I felt a sharp
point in my back. I smelled whiskey on his breath when he whispered
in my ear, ‘It’s your turn.’ But I startled him with an elbow hit
to the ribs. When I turned, he said my name. Then he ran off like a
coward.”

Audrey gasped
and raised her hand to her mouth. The fear in her eyes scared
Brianna. “Are you okay, Mom?” Audrey shook her head no and tears
filled her eyes. Her hands were shaky and Brianna tried to comfort
her. “Mom, talk to me.”

Audrey inhaled
quickly and wiped the tears from her eyes, “I’m just worried you’re
in danger. We’ve just lost your sister. I don’t want to lose you,
too. Promise me you won’t go out on your own again. Promise me.”
Audrey pleaded with her daughter. Brianna nodded in agreement to
reassure her mother. Something didn’t sit well with her. She knew
there was something her mother wasn’t telling her.

Brianna’s phone
rang.

“Who would be
calling you at this hour?” Audrey questioned her daughter.

Brianna looked
at her phone and then at her mother. “It’s Peter Collins. I
messaged him on my way here. I need his help.” She answered by the
third ring, “Hi, Pete. Sorry to bother you at this hour but I need
your help.” Brianna excused herself and walked toward the family
room to finish the call in private. She didn’t want her mother to
hear the happenings of her night all over again. It appeared to
have shaken her up a bit. Brianna told Pete what had happened in
the park because of the information she’d found on Lisa’s
tablet.

“What the hell
were you thinking, Bri? You know better than to go in without
backup.” His tone struck her as more worried than upset. For a
moment she wondered if he really cared about her. It had been five
years and she’d only met up with him again the night Lisa was
murdered. She confided she’d been put on a leave from work. “My
inspector thinks I’ve let my sister’s murder get personal,” Brianna
laughed.

“This isn’t
funny, Bri. I think he’s right. Maybe some grieving time is what
you need. Let the police deal with the murder.” Peter’s tone was
authoritative yet caring.

“I am a cop. I
need to find my sister’s killer. I tracked the murderer down. Then
I lost him. I need your help in tracking him again.” Brianna’s
voice was dead serious.

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