Sugar Free Page 23

“Why did you want ownership of The Sugar Bowl?” she prods.

“Because he was clearly making terrible financial decisions,” I hedge. She doesn’t press me further.

“And did he agree to those terms?”

I shrug. “I have no clue. I was expecting him to call me and let me know his answer the day he died. He only had three days to deliver the money to the bookie and I told him I’d need some time to get some funds liquidated.”

“If they gave him three days to pay the money, why would they bother killing him before the deadline?” she asks as she leans back in her chair.

“No idea,” I tell her. “Why did they beat him up so soon after he lost the bet?”

“That is the million-dollar question, isn’t it?” she muses, and then flashes a grin. “Or the five-million-dollar question as it may be.”

I don’t laugh or smile back.

Detective Denning now leans forward in her chair, placing her forearms on the table and clasping her hands. Gone is the casual cop, and now I’m seeing one who has determination in her eyes.

“Mr. North…you’d actually been having quite a bit of trouble with Mr. Townsend of late, hadn’t you?” she asks slyly, and I know she absolutely knows the fucking answer to this question and it’s not a stab in the dark. She’s clearly been busy looking into JT and me regarding The Sugar Bowl.

“It’s not a secret,” I tell her candidly. “He’d been spiraling out of control. Drugs…gambling. I was afraid he’d drag the business down.”

“In fact, you’ve tried to buy him out on more than one occasion, correct?”

Fuck. I’m guessing she’s talked to JT’s business attorney. My attorney can’t reveal that information because it’s protected, but JT’s attorney could sure help out the investigation.

“That’s correct,” I say, but don’t offer an explanation.

“And the way I understand your partnership agreement”—yup, she’s talked to JT’s attorney—“you couldn’t force him out unless he did something criminal that affected the actual business itself, correct?”

“Yes,” I grit out, and feel myself starting to get angry at the way she’s piecing this all together.

“So the drugs and the illegal gambling debt wasn’t something that could get him out, right?”


“In fact, you could almost say that the only way to get him out was for him to willingly agree to a buyout—let’s say for five million dollars—or if he was dead?”

I don’t answer her question but instead ask her, “Detective…are you insinuating I killed JT to get him out of the business?”

She shrugs, sits back in her chair. “I’m not insinuating anything, Mr. North. I’m investigating all angles.”

“Well you don’t seem to be taking it very seriously that his gambling debt probably got him killed,” I retort.

“We’ve thoroughly checked all of Mr. Townsend’s phone records and computers. We can’t find any communications whatsoever with anyone remotely related to gambling,” she says.

“He used a burner phone then,” I suggest.

She ignores that and says, “What is interesting though is that there was a call Mr. Townsend made to your girlfriend just a few hours before he died. And she called him back. Any idea what that was?”

I was prepared for this because I knew the police would easily find that information. “Yes. Sela told me he left her a voice mail while she was in class. She called him back and he said that he wanted to talk about the buyout. Wanted her to help convince me not to kick him out.”

“And what did she say?” Detective Denning asks.

“She declined to get involved,” I tell her. “Told JT it was between me and him.”

“And that was it?”

“That was it.”

“We’ll want to talk to her about that,” Detective Denning says with a smug smile.

“By all means,” I say politely. “I’m sure she’ll be happy to cooperate.”

Then my head is spinning slightly as she changes tactics on me. “Mr. North…our forensics team has already gathered quite a bit of evidence from Mr. Townsend’s home. Blood, prints, hair, fibers. The usual. We’re rushing the processing on those.”

“Your point?” I ask, but I already know the fucking point.

“Would you be willing to offer a DNA sample so we can exclude you as a potential suspect?” she asks with dead seriousness, leaning forward again and carefully evaluating my reaction.

But before I can say anything, Doug says, “Not without a warrant.”

Now fuck, that makes me sound guilty, so I say, “Detective, I’ll have to follow my attorney’s advice, of course, but I can tell you, I’ve been in JT’s home many times. I’d be surprised if my DNA wasn’t there.”

She nods, knowing that’s most likely true. “What about your girlfriend?”

“What about her?”

“She’s been in his home too?”

For all the planning and talking Sela and I have done over the past two days, this was not discussed, and I feel like an idiot for not considering I’d be asked this. My normal human reactionary programming wants to deny it, but I force myself to pause. Chances are they are going to find some evidence of Sela being in that house, so I tell my first bald-faced lie to Detective Denning and pray it doesn’t bite me in the ass. “Yes. Sela and I had dinner there with JT one night at his invitation.”

“When was that?”

“December twenty-eighth,” I tell her as my mind flies mentally through my calendar. “I believe it was a Monday night.”

That was the week that I had been playing nice with JT, hoping to gain his confidence and trust knowing that he’d be approaching me for money soon. I hope to fuck he didn’t have some other plans that Monday night that would show up on a credit card receipt or something.

Detective Denning stares at me a moment, perhaps considering the truth of my words. But finally she nods in acceptance before she says, “Just a few more questions, Mr. North, and I’ll let you get out of here.”

“Sure,” I say, feeling some stress coming off my shoulders that this is winding down.

Source: www_Novel22_Net

Prev Next