"When did you last talk to your sister?" The detective's name was Curtis Roth. Phaedra was attracted to him immediately. He had cropped brown hair and blue eyes. It was as if time stood still, while all around them the Police building bustled with activity.
"Three days ago." She fixed her eyes on the window behind him. Someone had spiked the courtyard fountain with soap powder. On the horizon, the North Shore Mountains loomed like stone giants. That this kind of sudden attraction should hit her now was bad timing on the part of Cupid, she thought helplessly.
"And you've checked her apartment, and there's nothing unusual there?"
She nodded. "There's no sign of a struggle, if that's what you mean. It looks like she packed a suitcase and her car's gone."
"What about work? Did she show up there?"
"Holly's a teacher. It's summer break right now."
"I think you're worrying unnecessarily, Dr. Wharton. Your sister's on vacation. She's gone away for a few days."
"Not without telling me," Phaedra insisted. "Holly had no intention of going away. She had scads of work to catch up on. Something is very wrong." Tears burned hot behind her eyes. "She must have met with ... foul play. Please do something. Please look for her."
"We'll do everything we can," he assured her. "We'll need the make and license number of her car, and a recent photograph, if you have one."
Phaedra dug into her bag. She had anticipated this and come prepared.
"You look very alike," he remarked, examining the photo.
"Holly's a couple of years younger than me. I always think of her as my baby sister, and feel very protective towards her."
"That's understandable. I feel much the same about my younger brother."
When she was leaving, he touched her lightly on the arm. Phaedra started guiltily as a thrill shot through her from the magic of his touch. "Try not to worry, Dr. Wharton. I'm sure everything's going to be okay."
Standing this close, she could feel the magnetic pull of his chemistry driving her hormones wild. It took every shred of willpower she possessed not to reach up and kiss him on the lips. Of course, she was exhausted and worried, that must explain it. She felt almost delirious. "Call me Phaedra, please," she murmured and beat a hasty retreat.