Home > The Last Move(10)

The Last Move(10)
Author: Mary Burton

You have no idea how long I have planned our meeting, Kate. It has been a long journey, and now the final match is upon us.

He studied the note and circled the word final several times with a steady hand.

It was a matter of time before Kate’s return home.


Her smile is sweet, and she thinks her sins are a secret. But I know them all.

San Antonio, Texas

Monday, November 27, 7:45 a.m.

Mazur stood at Gate 6 in the San Antonio airport, knowing that Dr. Hayden’s flight was several minutes early. He’d gotten home a few hours ago to shower, change, and grab a quick breakfast before coming here. Most of the night had been spent dealing with the chain of command, who were scrambling to handle a high-profile murder that they feared could go radioactive if the video clip hit the Internet.

His phone rang, and he was ready to send it to voicemail when he saw his daughter’s name. “Hey, kiddo. You ready for the math test today?”

“Yeah,” Alyssa said with a dramatic sigh.

Some of the fatigue bled away. “You sound disappointed.”

“It won’t be much of a challenge.”

He rolled his neck, feeling his vertebrae crack. “Why do you say that?”

“Because all we’ve done is go over stuff I’ve already learned. I’m not crazy about this school, Dad.”

It was an expensive private school, one of the best, which Sherry had insisted on. His pride had taken a knock because he wasn’t the one providing for his daughter, but he knew the school would be good for Alyssa. “Then I’ll talk to your teacher and get you bumped up a grade.”

“Dad, no. I’m making friends in this class.”

“You’ll make friends in the new class.” He was only half teasing.

“Dad, do not call my teacher.”

He’d have pushed the point two years ago when she was in the school he was paying for. Alyssa was smart, and he wanted the best for her. “Understood. Is Mom driving you to school today?”

“Yes. She’s getting dressed. She has a big meeting this afternoon.” His ex had warned him that San Antonio might not be her last stop in her climb up the ladder, but he’d still downshifted his career and moved south anyway.

“Good. Nice that you and Mom have this time in the morning.”

“She’s always on the phone. Her boss has already called once.”

He swallowed bitter frustration. He’d asked his ex to let Alyssa stay in Chicago with him, but she’d refused, claiming his schedule was too unpredictable. And when he pressed, she’d confessed she couldn’t lose another child. “She loves you. And things will settle down with her job.”

“Yeah, I guess. Dad, don’t change my class. No more changes right now, okay?”

The note of worry told him more than he’d expected from the call. Sherry must have made more noises about another move. She’d said nothing to him, but then communication between them had been shit since she’d moved out.

“I promise, Alyssa.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

The boarding agent opened the door to the sky bridge. “I don’t hear enthusiasm. Remember, if you frown too much you might end up looking like me. Not good, kiddo.”

“True. That would so not be good.”

He liked his kid. She was as tough as him, maybe tougher. “What about the chess tournament?”

“I’m studying moves and practicing. There’re a couple of games scheduled this afternoon at the library I might sit in on.”

“Chess is your thing, kid. You’re one of the best.”

“Coach says I’m too aggressive.”

“Take it as a compliment. Strategy can be taught. Aggression cannot.” He checked his watch. “I’ve got to meet an incoming plane.”


“FBI agent.”

“Can you talk about it?”

“Not yet.”

“Will you tell me later?” she asked.

Mazur worked hard to put distance between his work and family. “Maybe.”

“I’m not a baby, Dad. I’m fourteen. You can tell me stuff now.”

“Don’t grow up too fast. I’ll call after school and see how the test went.”

“Stop worrying.”

“Cut me some slack. It’s hard seeing you grow up.”

She groaned, but it was tinged with affection. “Okay. Love you.”

“Love you, kiddo.”

He rang off, wondering for the hundredth time if he was doing any of this fatherhood stuff correctly. There was a time when he’d thought he had it all figured out. Now, he had no idea.

He glanced at his phone and did a Web search for Dr. Kate Hayden, knowing at least on the job he was making a difference.

The search engine pulled up several video clips of the profiler as she stood at a podium with local law enforcement standing behind her. She’d worked several high-profile serial cases over the last five years. He chose the most recent, which dated back eight months and related to the last Samaritan killing.

“We don’t know how he chooses his victims,” she said. “All the women were in their midthirties to early forties, and all worked in the service industry. We do know he disables the victims’ vehicles while they’re at a convenience store near I-35, and then he follows them until they’re forced to pull over. I’m encouraging all travelers to check their cars before getting back on the road, especially if their destination is along I-35.”

Mazur hit the “Pause” button and studied Kate Hayden’s mop of brown shoulder-length hair, which curled at her shoulders. Her trim, petite body and young voice didn’t fit the FBI mold.

More searching painted the picture of a woman in her early thirties who graduated top of her class from the University of Virginia and earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in linguistics from Yale by the age of twenty-seven. She had been working with the FBI for nearly seven years. Though she’d been associated with the high-profile cases, for the most part, she stayed in the background.

The first of the deplaning Salt Lake passengers appeared, and Mazur shoved his phone in his pocket as he waited for her. A dozen or so people filed off the plane before the short brunette appeared rolling a single carry-on with a worn backpack slung over her shoulder. Her slim figure was partially masked by a baggy black suit jacket, slacks, and white collared shirt. Her light-brown hair hung loosely around her shoulders, accentuating high cheekbones and a slightly sunburned face.

Walking with Dr. Hayden was an elderly woman. Dr. Hayden smiled as she pointed down the terminal, speaking until the woman nodded and walked off. The doctor quickly dropped her gaze to her phone and scrolled through what must have been emails that had accumulated during the flight.

When she looked up, her gaze searched and settled on him. She crossed to him as if they’d already met. “Detective Mazur.”

“I look that much like a cop?”

She barely blinked. “You do.”

If not for the suit, he’d never have nailed her as a Fed. She looked younger than her thirty-plus years, and picturing her small frame chasing a bad guy almost made him smile. “You need to make any stops before we hit the road?”

“No. Thank you. I assume the autopsy is still scheduled for this morning.”

“It is.” He checked his watch. “They’re waiting on us, so when we can get there, they’ll start. The victim was well known in the local business community. She had many friends on the city council and in state government.” He reached for the handle of the suitcase. “I can take that for you.”

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