Back Spin Page 58

“No!” Chad looked down. “She had nothing to do with it, okay? We were together. She went out for a little while and that’s when they grabbed me. It wasn’t her fault.”

Victoria shifted in her seat. “Who, Chad?”

His words came out slow and grudging. But they were also quite clear. “Her name is Esme Fong. She works for a company called Zoom.”

28

It was all starting to make awful, horrible sense.

Myron did not wait for permission. He stormed out of the office and down the corridor. It was time to confront Esme.

A scenario was fast taking shape in Myron’s mind. Esme Fong meets Chad Coldren while negotiating the Zoom deal with his mother. She seduces him. Why? Hard to say. For kicks maybe. Not important.

Anyway, Chad spends Wednesday night with his buddy Matthew. Then on Thursday he meets up with Esme for a romantic tryst at the Court Manor Inn. They pick up some cash at an ATM. They have their fun. And then things get interesting.

Esme Fong has not only signed Linda Coldren, but she has managed to land Wunderkind Tad Crispin. Tad is playing wonderfully well in his first U.S. Open. After one round, he is in second place. Amazing. Great publicity. But if Tad could somehow win—if he could catch the veteran with a gigantic lead—it would give Zoom’s launch into the golf business a nuclear boost. It would be worth millions.

Millions.

And Esme had the leader’s son right in front of her.

So what does the ambitious Esme Fong do? She hires Tito to grab the boy. Nothing complicated. She wants to distract Jack big-time. Make him lose that edge. What better way than kidnapping his kid?

It all kinda fit together.

Myron turned his attention to some of the case’s more bothersome aspects. First of all, not demanding the ransom for so long suddenly made sense. Esme Fong is no expert at this and she doesn’t want a payoff—that would just complicate matters—so the first few calls are awkward. She forgets to demand a ransom. Second, Myron remembered Tito’s “chink bitch” call. How had he known Esme was there? Simple. Esme had told him when she would be there—to scare the hell out of the Coldrens and make them think they were being watched.

Yep. It fit. Everything had been going according to Esme Fong’s plan. Except for one thing.

Jack continued to play well.

He maintained his insurmountable lead through the next round. The kidnapping may have stunned him a bit, but he had regained his footing. His lead was still huge. Drastic action was necessary.

Myron got into the elevator and headed down to the ground-floor lobby. He wondered how it had happened. Maybe it had been Tito’s idea. Maybe that was why Chad had heard two voices arguing. Either way, someone decided to do something that was guaranteed to throw Jack off his game.

Cut off Chad’s finger.

Like it or not—Tito’s idea or hers—Esme Fong took advantage. She had Linda’s car keys. She knew what her car looked like. It wouldn’t take much. Just a turn of the key, a quick drop on the car seat. Easy for her. Nothing suspicious. Who would notice an attractive, well-dressed woman unlocking a car with a key?

The severed finger did the trick, too. Jack’s game was left in shambles. Tad Crispin stormed back. It was everything she wanted. But, alas, Jack had one more trick up his sleeve. He managed to land a big putt on the eighteenth hole, forcing a tie. This was a nightmare for Esme. She could not take the risk of Tad Crispin losing to Jack, the ultimate choker, in a one-on-one situation.

A loss would be disastrous.

A loss would cost them millions. Maybe destroy her entire campaign.

Man, did it fit.

When Myron thought about it, hadn’t he heard Esme voice that very viewpoint with Norm Zuckerman? Her Buffalo Bill analogy—hadn’t he been standing right there when she said it? Now that she was trapped, was it so hard to believe that she’d go the extra mile? That she would call Jack on the phone last night? That she would set up a rendezvous at the course? That she would insist he come alone—right now—if he wanted to see his son alive?

Ka-bang.

And once Jack was dead, there was no reason to hold on to the kid anymore. She let him go.

The elevator slid open. Myron stepped out. Okay, there were holes. But maybe after confronting Esme, he would be able to plug a few of them up. Myron pushed open the glass door. He headed into the parking lot. There were taxis waiting near the street. He was midway through the lot when a voice reached out and pulled him to a stop.

“Myron?”

An icy nerve-jangle punctured a hole through his heart. He had heard the voice only once before. Ten years ago. At Merion.

29

Myron froze.

“I see you’ve met Victoria,” Cissy Lockwood said.

He tried a nod, but it wouldn’t happen.

“I called her as soon as Bucky told me about the murder. I knew she’d be able to help. Victoria is the best lawyer I know. Ask Win about her.”

He tried the nod again. Got a little motion going this time.

Win’s mother stepped closer. “I’d like a word with you in private, Myron.”

He found his voice. “It’s not a good time, Ms. Lockwood.”

“No, I imagine not. Still, this won’t take long.”

“Really, I should go.”

She was a beautiful woman. Her ash-blond hair was streaked with gray, and she had the same regal bearing as her blood niece Linda. The porcelain face, however, she had given almost verbatim to Win. The resemblance was uncanny.

She took one more step forward, her eyes never off him. Her clothes were a bit odd. She wore a man’s oversize shirt, untucked, and stretch pants. Annie Hall goes maternity shopping. It was not what he’d have expected, but then again, he had bigger worries than fashion right now.

“It’s about Win,” she said.

Myron shook his head. “Then it’s none of my business.”

“True enough. But that does not make you immune to responsibility, does it? Win is your friend. I count myself lucky that my son has a friend who cares like you do.”

Myron said nothing.

“I know quite a bit about you, Myron. I’ve had private investigators keep tabs on Win for years now. It was my way of staying close. Of course, Win knew about it. He never said anything, but you can’t keep something like that from Win, now can you?”

“No,” Myron said. “You can’t.”

“You’re staying at the Lockwood estate,” she said. “In the guest cottage.”

He nodded.

“You’ve been there before.”

Prev Next