Prime Target

Excerpt

    
    Madeleine in the rain The tinkle of breaking glass wakened her. She shot up, heard thumps and thuds, a small spitting sound that brought back Frank’s murder. Wide awake now, she grabbed her coat from the end of the bed, jammed her arms in, and jerked the shoulder strap of her purse over her head. Afraid to turn on the light, she fumbled in the dark for her shoes. Where the hell were they?
     Another pop, more noise—she hesitated for an instant, then picked up Frank’s ashes, and edged to the door. Over the wild thrumming of her heart, she listened to the noise in the next room. A fight.
     She eased the door open enough to see out. In the faint light from the other room, she couldn’t see either Corelli or Love, but a blanket lay in a heap on the floor beside the sofa. They must both be in the bedroom. The fire escape was outside that window. She guessed someone broke in there, and whoever slept on the sofa jumped up to help his partner.
     Low voices, breathless and intense, came from the bedroom. Corelli and Love. They must have subdued the intruder—or intruders. She heard Corelli asking for help. On the phone, she figured.
Someone had betrayed them. Again. This couldn’t go on.
     She eased around the perimeter of the room, avoiding the second bedroom. The apartment door was out of the question. It would take her five minutes to undo the locks—they’d been no help anyway. She sneaked around the edge of the living room to the rain-streaked window and pushed the drapes aside. The latch opened, and to her surprise, the sash lifted easily with little noise. Rainy Brooklyn night
     Madeleine leaned out. The fire escape ran fairly close below the window. She scrambled over the sill and, wrapping one arm around the urn, lowered herself out the window. Gathering her courage, she let go and dropped to the steps. The metal treads were like ice under her bare feet. She looked down. The fire escape stopped well above the ground, but someone had parked an SUV under it. It must be the intruders’. She started down but halted. What if someone stayed in the car, a guard or a driver?
The alley below glistened in the rain. Puddles shone here and there in shallow depressions, and water dripped off the metal frame. Madeleine gritted her teeth and made her way along the fire escape until she was beneath the broken window of the apartment.

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