The Copycat Killers(68)

By: Paula Millhouse

Janet flinched, and swept open the bottom of her tailored black peplum jacket. Her gold FBI badge sat secured on her belt. She raised her shoulders and palms in mock defense. “Busted.”

The guards did not seem amused.

She unclipped the badge and handed it over.

Stepping up next in line behind her, Tony Aiello’s deep husky voice jarred her nerves even further. “Holding up the line, Agent Pierce? You’re not smuggling anything questionable in this year, are you?” The ripple-effect of his deep base voice and the fragrant woodsy smell of his cologne prickled the hairs at the nape of her neck. She looked up into Tony’s dark brown eyes surprised to find a hint of a smile lived there. It almost reached his lips. Rather than reply, she just stared. And tried to breathe.

The deputy saved her from further embarrassment by wanding her again. No alarms this time. Good. “You can go in, Agent Pierce. Here’s your badge,” the guard said.

“Thanks,” she said, and locked gazes with Marconni who held the courtroom door open for her. She walked through and took in the crowd who were already seated and waiting for the jury members, and the judge. “Dear Lord. Look at all those people. New York City has finally gone crazy.”

The courtroom looked like any other official courtroom she’d ever been in, with an audience of about two hundred in a center seating area, and a filled-to-the-brim balcony. As Janet followed Marconni to find their reserved seats, she realized Aiello had spoken the truth—Buccherri had stirred Manhattan into a pit of chaos with his plea to overturn his murder conviction.

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