Shattered Mirror (Eve Duncan #23)

Shattered Mirror (Eve Duncan #23)

Iris Johansen



The lights in the lake cottage sent out a cozy glow that lit the banks of the lake and made that house of death appear welcoming. Everything about the place and property spoke of beauty and a deceptive invitation that made one think that all was well with this world.

Because she was there, Rory Norwalk thought, as he moved a few steps closer, his gaze on the cottage. She was the heart of the house, the one who destroyed the balance, who had ruined everything when she could have saved. She claimed that she was a mender, a fixer, but Norwalk knew that was all lies.

He was the one who would fix what was broken. Eve Duncan only interfered and made a mockery of what was true and right. But that was going to stop; he couldn’t permit it any longer.

Laughter …

He stepped back in the shadow of the trees as a Jeep drove up into the driveway.

It was the father and the son. It was the little boy who had laughed. He laughed a lot; careless, joyous laughter that was as deceptive as this house. How could he be joyous when he lived with that woman who was so evil? Because he was evil, too? Norwalk had suspected it and was almost certain that the boy, Michael, would have to be fixed.

“Stay here,” Joe Quinn told his son as he got out of the car and started up the porch steps. “I’ll do it, but you’ll owe me, Michael. She told you not to do it again.”

“He wouldn’t listen,” Michael protested. “I tried, Dad. Just explain so that she won’t get upset. Okay?”

“No, it’s not okay. But I’ll call you in after I break it to her.” He’d reached the porch, and he looked back down at the little boy in the car. “You sit there and think about what you’re going to say to your mother. And you start off with telling her that you’re not going to do it again.”

“But I may have to do it again,” the little boy said quietly. “I can’t lie to her.”

Joe Quinn sighed. “No, you can’t. We’ll think of something.” He disappeared into the house.

Leaving the little boy alone in the car.

The boy was not often left alone, Norwalk knew. He was only six, and his mother was very careful since they lived on the lake. And Joe Quinn was a police detective, and he was wary of everything and everyone.

Was this moment of abandonment meant to be a sign to Norwalk? It was not why he was here, though he’d mentally already accepted that down the road it must be done. He was very quick, and children were so gullible. It would only take a few moments. He instinctively moved faster through the trees, his gaze on the boy in the Jeep.

But the boy was no longer in the Jeep.

He’d gotten out of the vehicle and was standing on the last porch step. He was dressed in jeans and a navy-blue sweatshirt and his legs were slightly parted. The light from the porch light was burnishing his red-brown hair as if it were a copper helmet.

Helmet? Why had that word occurred to him, Norwalk wondered. It was because the boy’s bearing looked almost military, he realized. He looked like a soldier guarding a fortress. Ridiculous.

As ridiculous as the idea that the boy was looking directly to where Norwalk was standing under the trees and could see him. It was pitch-dark, there was no way he could be seen.

But that little boy knew he was there.

And he was not afraid.

Norwalk instinctively faded farther back in the trees.

Oh, he had been right to judge that Michael Quinn would also have to be taken out before that cozy house would be cleansed of all that was broken.

But not right now.

Just a little longer, Sean. I’m just as eager as you, but we have to keep to the plan, don’t we?

And all good things came to he who was willing to wait.


“Lord, you smell good.” Joe slid his hands around Eve’s waist from behind. “Fried onions and bacon. Is there any scent more appetizing?”

“It depends if you’re hungry.” She turned around and went into his arms. “Not exactly an alluring perfume if the aim is seduction.”

“Is that the aim? If it is, you must have gotten the reconstruction off today.”

She nodded. “This afternoon.” She chuckled. “But since when did work stop us?” She leaned back, and her gaze narrowed on his face. “And since when did you decide to pussyfoot around instead of coming out with what you’re thinking?”

He sighed. “I was trying for mellow and soothing. I promised Michael I’d do my best.”

She went still. “Do your best to do what?”

“Break it to you gently.”


“He has a few bruises and a swollen lip.”

“What?” She pushed him away. “Who?”

“Same kid.”

She swore beneath her breath. “Same reason?”

He nodded. “He did what you told him to do. The kid wouldn’t listen. Boys aren’t usually receptive to persuasion or reason at that age.”

“He’s a bully.”

“And a head taller than Michael. I saw this Gary Walden when I picked Michael up from soccer practice tonight.”

“That’s the third time that he’s come home with bruises. The soccer coach should have stepped in and stopped it.”

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