Read Determinant Online

Authors: E. H. Reinhard

Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Police Procedurals, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Murder, #Serial Killers, #Thrillers

Determinant

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Determinant

 

 

 

By:
E.H. Reinhard

 

Copyright © 2014

All Rights Reserved

AUTHOR’S NOTE

This book is a work of fiction by E.H. Reinhard. Names, characters and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Locations used vary from real streets, locations and public buildings to fictitious residences and businesses.

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de·ter·mi·nant

noun
\di-ˈtər-mə-nənt\

: a thing that controls or influences what happens

Chapter 1

The moon reflected off the calm ocean waters of the Hillsborough Bay. Aboard the Illusion, a thirty-seven foot luxury cruiser, Ray’s night was just beginning.

“Is this really your boat?” Jenny asked.

Ray leaned back into the J-shaped love seat as he sat resting his arms across the top. He flicked his cigarette off the side into the water. “Yeah, you like it?”

She reached for her glass of wine. “It’s beautiful.”

He smiled. “Thanks. You having a good time so far?”

She pulled her long black hair back from her face exposing a smile. “Of course. Never in a million years did I think I’d be out on something like this tonight.”

“I’m glad you decided to come.”

“I’ve just kind of been in shock all night with the fancy car and house—and then you bring me out on this boat? When we were at the bar talking you never mentioned that you had all of this.”

“Should I have?”

“No, I guess I’m just surprised.”

“You wait, I’m full of surprises.”

She twirled her hair around her finger. “So you said you were in acquisitions?”

“Yes.” Ray leaned forward and grabbed his wine, finishing the half-full glass in one gulp. “I identify and analyze acquisition opportunities.”

She nodded her head. “So you’re like a businessman?”

He smirked. Her ignorance amused him. “Something like that.”

“Do you have a company that you work for?”

“It’s freelance work.”

She took a drink from her glass and set it back on the table. “What kind of wine is this? It tastes weird. Not bad, but kind of different.”

“It’s a 2007 Gaja Barbaresco.”

“Is it expensive? I mean, I’d be fine drinking a beer or something. You don’t have to waste the good stuff on me.”

“Believe me, it’s fine. It’s not too expensive.”

“Oh, OK.” She took another sip. “You don’t look like the businessman type.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know, the longer hair, tattoos, and muscles. You look more like a football player than a businessman. Don’t get me wrong, I like it.”

Ray smiled at her and stood. “More wine?”

“For some reason it really seems to be hitting me.” She rocked her head back and forth debating. She smiled. “Okay, just a little.” Jenny finished the last drink from her glass and handed it to him.

He walked down into the cabin with the two glasses. He topped them both off with the alcohol sitting next to the sink. His cell phone sitting on the counter flashed that he had a text message. Ray clicked the screen. The message was from his brother Viktor. The words on the screen said:
Call me
.

He took a step up the stairs and looked out to Jenny sitting at the stern of the ship. “Give me one second. I have to make a quick phone call.”

“No problem,” she said.

Ray dialed the number. Viktor answered on the first ring.

“You were supposed to call me with an update.”

“I’m close,” Ray said.

“I didn’t give you the job to be close. Find her.”

“I understand.”

Jenny commented on how beautiful the city was up on deck. It was loud enough that Viktor overhead it through the phone.

“Who was that?”

“A girl.”

“Where are you?”

“Out on the boat.”

“What did I tell you? No women and no using Brewer’s shit. Now you’re doing both? Why do you think I paid cash to rent the house instead of putting you up in a hotel? There’s not supposed to be anything to tie us to this.”

“How many times have I driven a boat? We used to take Father’s cruiser out all the time. Nothing will happen to the boat. Plus, I’ve been dosing the girl, she won’t remember anything. We’ll be fine.”

“No, we won’t be fine. Spending the night with someone who can I.D. you is not fine. Using Brewer’s boat without permission is not fine. Get rid of the bitch and take the boat back.”

“When you say get rid of, do you mean?”

“Permanently. I’m serious. Get it together.” Viktor hung up.

“Shit,” Ray mumbled.

Jenny peeked her head down into the cabin. “Is everything OK?”

“Yup. Everything is fine. Be right up.”

Jenny went back to her seat. Ray reached behind the wine bottles and picked up a small bottle of Vodka. He swished it around. The liquid inside clung to the glass. He splashed some into her wine. The amount he added would put a full sized man down. He’d been giving her a little with each glass. Now, she’d be unconscious before she finished the drink. Ray gave the glass a quick stir to mix the oily substance in.

He brought the drinks back and set them both down. “So Jenny, tell me more about yourself.”

“What do you want to know?”

“More about you—hobbies, interests, family. Whatever you want to talk about.”

“Well I was born and raised here and…”

Ray interrupted. “That’s rare. It seems most people here are transplants from somewhere else.”

“Nope, Florida born and raised. My parents were from Oklahoma though. They moved here a year before I was born.”

Ray smiled. “See what I’m saying?”

“Yeah, yeah. Where are you from?” she asked.

“Here.”

“Yeah, right.”

Ray smiled. “Saint Petersburg.”

She pointed off the side of the boat.

“Not that one,” Ray said. “Any brothers or sisters?” he asked.

She nodded. “I have a younger brother that’s starting college. He wants to be a structural engineer.”

“I have a brother too. Older though. So what are your interests?” Ray wanted to keep her talking and drinking.

“Interests? I don’t know.” She raised one eyebrow and turned the corner of her mouth. “I guess I like to go out and just hang out with friends. Go to the beach. Things like that. I’m just trying to have fun while I’m in school. Once I’m done, I’ll kind of be locked down with my career and all that.”

Ray sipped his wine. “What are you studying?”

“I’m studying for my BSW. I want to be a social worker.”

“Are you working anywhere now?”

She nodded. “Yeah, part time as a waitress.” As she attempted to put her feet up on the seat, she banged her knee against the table holding their drinks. Ray lunged forward to steady the glasses.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m not usually such a lightweight when it comes to drinking. Maybe I didn’t eat enough today.”

“No, no, don’t worry about it. Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. This wine is giving me a serious buzz though.”

Ray watched the effects of the drug setting in. Aside from her banging her knee, her words were beginning to slur. He patted the area next to where he sat and smiled wide. “Come here and sit.”

She took her glass and scooted herself to his side. She took another drink, set it down and rested her head on his shoulder. “So acquisitions, huh? Does that mean you take whatever you want?” Her eyes rose to meet his looking down at her.

Ray placed his hand under her chin and tilted her face up. “I always take what I want.” He brought her mouth to his.

As they kissed she turned, put a leg over him and brought herself up onto his lap. She faced him and pulled back from a kiss. “I just have to say I’m not normally like this on a first date.”

Ray pulled her in closer by the small of her back. She rocked forward into him as he pulled her. She rolled her hips back and forth as they kissed.

Jenny stopped and put her mouth to his ear. “There’s a bed down there, right?”

Ray ran his hands up and down the sides of her tiny dress. He dropped his hands to her thighs and squeezed. “Do you want to see it?”

Jenny pulled her leg back over to stand up. As she attempted to get to her feet she tripped backward and fell to the deck. She laughed as she lay there.

Ray stood, and went to her side. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine, come here.” She pulled him on top of her. “Let’s just do it here.”

“Do you want to? Do it right here?” Ray reached down and took his belt from his pants. He held the belt in his right hand as he slid his arm under her head.

Her voice was quiet. “Yeah, come on.” She reached up and put her arms around his back.

Ray could tell by her lethargic movements that she was almost out. “You sure want it now?”

Jenny’s eyes were closed. “Yeah.” Her right hand fell beside her.

He slid his left hand above her head. As he ran his fingers through her hair he lifted her head to slide the belt beneath it. He pressed his hips down into hers. She didn’t respond. Ray slid the belt through the buckle around her throat. He held the end with his right hand, but left it slack. “Hey, Jenny.”

She moved her head to the side but didn’t open her eyes or respond.

“Jenny!”

“Huh?”

He put his face next to her ear. “Goodbye.”

Ray could feel her body jerk underneath him. She was about to throw up. He cinched the belt tight around her throat. He stood and jammed his foot into her head while pulling against the belt as hard as he could. Ray tried to contort his body to see her face without relieving any of the pressure. He caught a view. Her eyes were open. A small amount of vomit wet her mouth and chin. Her right arm flopped. Her left arm swiped once at the belt. Jenny’s feet kicked twice. He held the position for another minute before he released his grip. He went to his knees next to her.

Her head faced left, eyes open, dead.

He undid his belt from around her neck and he pulled her to the side of the boat. He tossed her body over the edge without a second thought. The water splashed. Jenny’s body bobbed before sinking beneath the ocean surface.

Chapter 2

After a few choice words, I hung up. The media had developed new ways to get through the front desk to my office phone. This time it was an urgent call from my mother. She’d passed almost six years prior. The calls coming in were a mix of questioning about recent cases. The Cross case still fetched an average of a call or two a day. It didn’t help that the COP channel played their recreation of the case on a loop. It was their highest rated show.

Reporters nationwide had been calling for every last detail they could get on the Spearman case from a couple months back. The local interest had faded, but regained steam when Jake, from jail, decided he wanted to do a primetime interview.

As far as we were concerned the case was over with. We’d wrapped all of the loose ends up after Jake’s full confession and getting the judge’s bank records. They showed matching withdrawals from his bank account and corresponding deposits into the Miller’s. On top of that, we found the guy that Judge Casey had met with in the hookah lounge. He had a few outstanding charges and was quick to talk for a plea deal. The money the judge gave him was to organize a hit on Spearman.

Sergeant Hank Rawlings walked into my office. “What are you working on the rest of the afternoon?”

I lifted the receiver of my phone. “Looks like dealing with idiots from the press.”

“Anything else?”

I shook my head. “Paperwork. What’s up?”

“Just got a call. A girl was found in the Bay.”

“Homicide?”

Hank nodded. “Not too far offshore. A couple of boaters called it in. One of our guys went out, located and retrieved the body. He said the woman had ligature marks present around her neck. The body should be over by Ed at the medical examiner’s office now. Feel like taking a ride?”

I scooted my chair back and stood. “Sure. I’ll drive.”

We took an unmarked car from the lot and headed out. As soon as we hit I-275, the freeway slowed to a trickle, and then a stop. The clock on the dash said it was a quarter to four. I looked back over my shoulder and then sat up trying to see up the freeway.

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