I went to the door, dragging the heavy sander. The long electric cord followed me. I hoped whoever it was, whether carpenter, reporter, or huckster, would gain the impression that I was a busy woman.
A thirtyish business executive--his buttoned-down costume left no other interpretation possible--gave me an unsmiling stare. "Mrs. Dodge?"
"I understand that Thomas Lindquist is staying with you. May I speak with him?"
I hesitated. I was about to tell him where Tom was, but something in the man's manner repelled me. I swung the sander around to my side, thumbing the switch, and adopted a tone my mother would have applauded. "Who shall I say is calling?"
I opened my mouth. Cleo Cabot Hagen's husband. An incredibly clean-cut Republican, if looks were any indication, and probably five years younger than his wife. That was interesting.
I heard Jay's footstep on the stairs. "He's not--"
The man didn't wait for me to complete my sentence. He leaned into the door, shoving it wide, and strode past me into the hall.
"Just a damned minute--"
"I want to talk to Tom Lindquist."
"Really, Mr. Hagen--"
"You dirty half-breed!"
"He isn't--" I was about to explain that Tom wasn't home, but the man drew a handgun from the pocket of his jacket. Jay was halfway down the stairs.
"Hey!" I yelped.
Hagen's chiseled features registered no known emotion. "Think you can kill my wife, you bastard? I'll show you--" He raised the gun.
Instinct took over. I swung the sander up, two-handed, aiming for his gun hand. I connected with his right elbow. The gun fired as it flew out of his hand, the din bouncing off the walls.
Jay leapt down the stairs, and we both fell on Donald Hagen like a tower. We knocked him flat.
Jay twisted the intruder's arm behind his back. "Who the devil--"
"Hagen," I gasped. "Looking for Tom." My head was still ringing from the sound of the gunshot.
Jay gave a sharp jerk on the arm. "What do you want?"
The man groaned. "Fuck you, Lindquist."
Jay straddled Hagen, keeping the arm pinned. "You're off-base, buddy. I'm not Tom Lindquist, and you're under arrest. You have the right to remain silent--"