She didn't miss the narrowing of Haines' eyes. By this evening it would be all over Salem that the witch's daughter had returned.
Her gaze met Whitefeather's. "The house is mine, and I'm cleaning it out before the renovations begin."
"I'll need some identification."
"It's in my car outside."
"After you then." He stepped back and allowed her to lead the way.
Calling for Maddie, Syn left the house and jogged down the porch steps. She caught sight of two marked vehicles beside the house and a third coming up the drive. Mentally she cursed. She should've paid closer attention to what was going on. Instead, she'd been caught in the painful memories of her childhood, so she'd turned up the music to drown out the voices in her head.
Reaching the Jeep, she opened the glove box to retrieve her wallet. "Were you expecting a den of thieves to be out here or what? How did little ole' me rate two officers to roust me out of my own house?"
"I'm sure you can understand an abandoned property is the perfect place for kids who are up to no good." He took her license.
"The property was hardly abandoned. We have a caretaker keeping an eye on the place and--"
His radio squawked, cutting her off.
He keyed the microphone attached to his shoulder. "Four-ten, go ahead."
"Nineteen ninety-nine Jeep Wrangler, brown, registered to one Synnamon Angelov, age thirty-four, five-ten, black and blue, one-sixty, at a Sedona, Arizona address. Break."
"This Angelov has a lengthy arrest record. We're currently checking to see if she has any outstanding warrants. Break."
Syn's gaze met his, and even though she was withering on the inside, she offered him a brazen smile and a shrug. "Some of us were born to be bad, Chief."
He keyed the mike again. "Go ahead."
"She has both a juvenile and adult record. Petty theft, vagrancy, drug abuse, trespassing, and fifteen years ago she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter."
Syn's skin crawled and she wanted nothing more than to slink away, but she wouldn't give any man the satisfaction of seeing her shame. While she wasn't proud of her criminal past, she'd accepted the dark and twisty side of herself a long time ago. If she hadn't walked that road, committed those crimes and lived on the streets, she wouldn't be the woman who stood before him now.
No longer was she the lost, broken woman who'd lived the life of criminal. Her desire for death or the mindlessness of drugs was gone, banished by years of hard work and intense therapy. But no matter how many times she'd wished the past could remain just that--in the past--it never did. Always, when she least expected it, the old Syn would make her presence known.
Whitefeather's gaze never left hers as he spoke into the radio mike. "Copy that."
She'd seen the look in his eyes many times before. He'd already passed judgment and found her lacking. Most people who learned of her dark past did the exact same thing. So what did it matter if one more small-town cop thought she was some sort of drug-addicted, murdering skank?
"Is there anything you'd like to add, Ms. Angelov?" Whitefeather's tone was noncommittal.
"Hardly. I'd really hate to ruin any future surprises for you. I just love the anticipation."
"An explanation might go a long way toward my trusting you more." He handed her license back to her.
"Oh, my life is over, the chief of police doesn't trust me." She rolled her eyes. "Your dispatcher will come back and tell you I have no warrants. I've been clean for fifteen years and I'm not going to make excuses for a difficult time in my youth. I don't owe an explanation to you or anyone else." She stuffed her wallet back into the glove box and slammed it shut. "I did the crimes, I did my time and I'm a law-abiding citizen now. That's all you need to know."
"Fine." His handsome lips tightened and she would almost swear he was disappointed by her response. "In the morning I will verify the ownership of the house, and if everything checks out, you're good to go."
"You do that." Crossing her arms over her chest, she propped her hip against the Jeep. "The house will be listed as held by a trust company in Boston. If you call them, they will assure you I'm the legal owner of this place."
"We'll see about that."
"Suspicious, aren't you? Did you ever stop to think maybe a person is innocent until proven otherwise? Isn't that a tenet of our judicial system?"
His dark brow arched. "People who are innocent don't usually talk back to the law, nor do they have lengthy criminal records."
"Ah, the unforgiving type I see. I'll bet you never made any mistakes growing up, did you?" Syn's smile was icy and thin. "Thank you so much for coming all the way out here to harass me. What's the matter, not enough crime going on in Salem to keep you busy?"
"Unfortunately, there is always something to be taken care of in Salem." He crossed his big arms over his chest. "This was considered much more important."
"That just warms my little heart, Chief."
Haines walked out of the house with a troubled look on his face. In retrospect, this one probably didn't remember anything of the dark times, as he'd been pretty young, possibly the same age as the twins. Still, she had little doubt he'd heard the rumors and speculation that must've run rampant in the town after they'd left. The destructive side of her personality would not let her leave it at that.
"Officer Haines, please make sure you give your daddy and mama my regards." She walked toward the steps.
"Do you two know each other?" Whitefeather asked.
"This one here was but a child when my sisters and I left Salem." Syn's laugh was careless. "But I surely did know his older brother, Donnie. He spent most of my fourteenth summer trying to get into my panties or shove his tongue down my throat. I think he was almost eighteen. If he'd succeeded, wouldn't that have been statutory rape?"
"No, Chief." Haines' face looked as if it were carved from stone. "My family didn't associate with common trash."
"Just the uncommon kind." Syn reached the top of the steps and she turned to face the men. "Yeah, well, if anyone in Salem knew what trash was, it was your mama, boy. Edina Mayhew Haines could spot a bad seed, couldn't she? How do you think she and your daddy got together?"
His face turned bright red, and for a moment she thought his head might explode. If looks could kill, she'd be dead where she stood.
Without another word, Haines spun on his heel and stalked to his cruiser. Slamming the door hard, he took off in a spray of gravel.
"Hmm, maybe you need to think about anger management for your officers," she said to the chief.
"I apologize for Officer Haines. He's been under a great deal of stress lately." His tone was stiff.
Syn shrugged. "I can tell he must've been the whiner of the Haines brothers. He probably had a lot to live up to, with an upstanding brother like Donnie. And how is Trent? Is he still as crazy as hell?"
"I'll check out your story, Ms. Angelov," Whitefeather continued. "Then I'll be by tomorrow around noonish, so I'd recommend you don't leave the county."
"How very Hill Street Blues of you, Chief. If you have so much spare time on your hands, why don't you look into my mother's murder instead of harassing those you're supposed to be protecting?" She struck a look of surprise and snapped her fingers. "Oh wait, now I remember. The Salem Police only look out for their own, isn't that right?"