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I lean into him, hands on his chest, where I can feel his heartbeat racing away. “She said they had a search warrant. Denning has it back in the bedroom with her.”

His eyes cut to the hallway quickly and then back to me. His hands come to my shoulders and he squeezes. “It’s fine. It’s going to be fine. There’s nothing here for them to find.”

I nod quickly in agreement, not because I actually agree but because I’m terrified to doubt his word and jinx the fuck out of us.

The clicking of heels alerts us to Hammond returning and we look over to see Detective Denning following behind her. She doesn’t look smug the way the attorney does, but she does look motivated. Hammond stops in front of Beck and me and folds her arms over her chest to watch as Denning walks up to Beck.

“Mr. North…this is a search warrant signed by Judge Reyes this morning authorizing the Sausalito Police Department and District Attorney’s office to enter your home to search for evidence. The summary of probable cause presented is there if you wish to read it as well as a list of the items we’re looking for.”

Beck takes the document and opens it up as it’s folded into thirds, but before he can read it, Denning hands him another document. “And this is another search warrant for your Townsend-North office. We already have a team there conducting the search.”

Irritation flashes on Beck’s face as he takes the warrant. He’s not worried though. There’s nothing at the office at all that will aid them.

“And finally,” ADA Hammond says as she uncrosses her arms and reaches into the inside of her gray jacket. She pulls out another document, folded into thirds as well, and my stomach cramps in fear. She hands it to Beck. “This is a warrant for your arrest, Mr. North, for the murder of Jonathon Townsend. I’ll give you a moment to read it, but then I’m going to ask Detective Denning to place you in custody.”

“What?” I practically screech at the top of my lungs. “No…you can’t do that.”

Before I even know what’s happening, Beck is pushing the warrants at Caroline, who takes them without question, and his hands are on my shoulders, his fingers digging in with painful pressure so he gets my attention. He’s very aware we have an audience but he pins me with an intent look.

“Sela,” he says calmly. “It’s going to be fine. I’ve done nothing wrong, so you’ve got nothing to worry about. Now I want you to take these warrants and call Doug Shriver. Have him meet me at the police station. He’ll handle everything, and you’re going to sit here with Caroline and relax while we get this figured out. I’ll handle this, okay?”

Translation: You are absolutely not going to say a fucking word about your involvement in JT’s death. You’re going to sit back like I’m telling you to do, and we’re going to let this play out.

“Okay?” he asks again.

I’m forced to nod my acquiescence because he’s asking me to do so.

To trust him.

Beck pulls me in, moves his hands from my shoulders to my face, where he cradles it gently. His eyes look at me with such tenderness and fierce love that I immediately start to cry. He leans in and gives me a kiss, and when I mean a kiss, I mean a kiss. It’s openmouthed, deep, and possessive. He doesn’t give a fuck we’re being watched and he’s making sure I understand that I am his and he’s going to protect me no matter what.

“That’s very touching,” I hear Hammond’s bitchy voice penetrate through the kiss. “But it’s time to go.”

Denning steps forward, pulling a pair of cuffs clipped to her belt. “Mr. North…if you could turn around and put your hands behind your back?”

“Do you have to handcuff him?” I ask pleadingly.

“It’s protocol,” Denning responds briskly.

I watch in despair as Beck is handcuffed. She then puts one hand on his elbow and leads him to the door. She says, “Mr. North, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law…”

Her voice drones on as I follow them numbly out the door, Caroline right behind me and Hammond following all of us. When we reach the elevator, I start to follow them in, but Denning says, “Miss Halstead…you really should stay here.”

Her voice actually sounds sympathetic.

“I’m going down with him,” I say firmly, and I dare her to tell me no. This elevator and this building are mine by rights. That man is mine by rights.

She nods and pulls Beck to the side to make room. I enter and stand by his side, Caroline behind me and Hammond in last to stand in front of us as the doors close. Hammond actually taps her shoe and hums a little song I don’t recognize, but it’s a happy tune and I can tell she’s eating this up.

I hate her.

I press in closer to Beck, touch my arm to his. He doesn’t respond but he doesn’t need to. I know how he feels.

When we get to the lobby, our doorman, John, looks stunned to see the procession walking toward him. His eyes go to Beck’s in shocked surprise but he scrambles to open the door.

And the throng of reporters swarm us as we step out.

That fucking bitch tipped the reporters. It’s all clear now. Her smug attitude. The triumph in her eyes. Denning pulls Beck to the side toward the unmarked car, but I’m rooted to the spot as I watch Hammond almost trot down the three steps to come to stand before the reporters.

“Miss Hammond, are you taking Mr. North into custody for the murder of Jonathon Townsend?” a reporter calls out, but I can’t see who it is. So many of them are holding up recording devices and others are snapping pictures.

“Yes,” she says with a confident smile. “Mr. North has been served with an arrest warrant for the murder of Jonathon Townsend. We’ll be booking him today and he’ll be arraigned tomorrow. Now, I’ve got some time to answer questions, but let’s try to do it in an orderly fashion.”

That fucking bitch. I want to claw her eyes out. She’s a media whore, plain and simple. She’s eating up the attention and she’s going to use Beck to put her name in the spotlight.

I turn back to look at Beck as Denning is helping him into the backseat with a protective hand on his head so he doesn’t bump it. He looks at me briefly, mouths the words I love you.

I mouth the same words back to him, and hope to God I get to tell him that in person again sometime soon.

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