Read an ExcerptULTERIOR MOTIVE
By roy glenn URBAN BOOKS
Copyright © 2008 Roy Glenn
All right reserved.
Chapter One It was late on Thursday afternoon when Marcus Douglas finally left the office. He had spent most of the day preparing for the trial of a client, Nadia Whitfield, who was charged with murder and armed robbery. She was involved with three others in a bank robbery. During the course of the robbery, a teller had hit the silent alarm. When the police arrived at the bank, Nadia promptly surrendered to the first cop that came at her. The getaway driver, who saw the police arrive and take Nadia into custody, quickly left the scene. When the police entered the bank, the three members of the gang opened fire on them. One of the robbers, Calvin Slinger, killed a bank guard, while another robber's wild shots killed the other member of the gang. The police killed the second robber and the teller that was behind him.
After reviewing the case, Marcus had attempted to have her tried separately from the rest of the gang. So far, his attempts had been unsuccessful.
He was on his way to see Angela Pettybone, an old friend from college at CCNY in New York. In those days, Angela was his best friend Darnel's girlfriend, but Marcus was secretly in love with Angela. The three of them used to hang out together. It was rare that you saw one without the other two. They were so close that at times Marcus felt like Angela was his girlfriend too.
After graduation, the three wenttheir separate ways. Marcus and Darnel kept in touch with each other while Marcus attended Columbia Law School, but lost touch when Darnel moved to California. He never saw or heard from Angela and had pretty much forgotten about her until his personal assistant, Janise, told him that Angela Pettybone was holding for him.
"What-what did you say?" Marcus asked her to repeat what he knew he heard.
"I said, there is an Angela Pettybone holding for you on line two. She says she's an old friend of yours from college."
"Thank you, Janise," Marcus said, and a rush of memories of the feelings he'd had for her washed over him. He took a deep breath and picked up the phone.
"Angela, how are you?"
"I'm in trouble and I need your help, Marcus."
"What's wrong, Angela?"
"I really don't want to talk over the phone. I need to talk to you in person."
"Where are you living these days?"
"I'm here in Atlanta."
"I moved here about six years ago."
"Six years, huh?"
"Closer to seven. But, Marcus, I really have to talk to you."
"No problem," Marcus said, and looked at his watch. "You could come into the office anytime tomorrow. Just call and let Janise know-" Marcus started, but Angela interrupted him.
"Marcus, please, I need to talk to you as soon as you can. Could you come to my house?"
So there he was, driving out I-20 to Angela's house in a suburb of Atlanta. Along the way Marcus made a promise to himself that no matter how he felt about Angela these days, he would not get involved with her on any other level but business. His track record with women in general, and with women clients in particular, had not been too great.
Marcus had gotten involved with a former client named Yvonne Haggler. She had been working as a courier and was trying to get out of the business. She and Marcus shared an adventure together that he would remember for the rest of his life. An adventure that left him knowing that there was only one way out of that type of life.
Then there was former supermodel Carmen Taylor. She wasn't a client but the sister of a woman who was the wife of his client, Roland Ferguson. He was on trial for the murder of his wife, Desireé Taylor Ferguson, Carmen's sister, and her lover. Roland was accused of beating them both to death with a golf club in a cabin in north Georgia. His time spent with Carmen led to a love that Marcus thought would last forever. It ended when Carmen got restless and caught the bug to restart her modeling career and moved to Europe. They grew apart because of the distance between them, and Panthea Daniels.
Panthea Daniels was a client who came to see him about divorcing her husband, who she believed was having an affair. From the moment she stepped into his office, they were drawn to each other like bees to the sweet nectar of flowers.
After seeing pictures of the woman, Panthea, who was quite shaken by the experience, left Marcus's office and said, "It's not every day you see your husband's mistress." The next day Panthea was arrested and was accused of murdering her husband's mistress. Their time together was filled with passion, as the two explored their sexuality to the fullest.
Marcus brought the relationship to an abrupt end when he found out that Panthea was not the person she presented herself to be. That decision didn't sit well with Panthea. She was desperately in love with Marcus and planned to spend the rest of her life with him. Since her trial ended five months ago, Panthea had made her displeasure with the situation felt. It was limited to pleading phone calls, unannounced visits to his office and home, and the occasional interruption of a business meeting. However, it had been more than two months since Marcus had heard anything from Panthea Daniels. He assumed she had finally moved on with her life, a fact that suited him just fine. All that strengthened Marcus's resolve not to become involved with Angela Pettybone on any level other than business. No matter how fine she looks.
When Marcus got to the address that Angela gave him, he parked the car and walked toward the house. As he walked, he looked at the house and was glad that Angela seemed to be doing well for herself. He rang the bell and waited nervously. When the door opened, Angela stood in the doorway.
For Marcus, it was as if time had stood still, and out of nowhere the rush of feelings that he hadn't felt in years all came into focus. Now Angela Petty-bone stood before him, looking every bit as beautiful as the last time he saw her. Her caramel skin looked as if a day hadn't passed since the last time he saw her. Her silky black hair was still parted down the middle and hung off her shoulders. Angela's eyes seemed to dance just as they did each time he looked into his. And her smile; there were days he thought he'd die without seeing that smile.
"Marcus!" she shrieked, and immediately threw her arms around Marcus and kissed him on the cheek. Angela took a step back and looked at him. As soon as she had hung up the phone with Marcus, Angela knew that she was probably overreacting, but there he was. And it was good to see him. If nothing else, it would give her a chance to catch up with an old friend. "It is so good to see you. Come in, come in."
Once they were inside, Angela looked at Marcus again. "You look good, Marcus. Like you haven't changed a bit since college."
"Well, I have put on a few pounds since then, but look at you. Angela, you are absolutely beautiful." He paused. "You put on a few pounds since then too." Angela took a playful swing at her old friend. Marcus always did know how to push her buttons. "But they are all well placed. You look fantastic," he said with his eyes glued to Angela's cleavage, and hugged her again.
"I'm glad you cleaned that up. You know how sensitive I am about my weight."
"And I never understood why. I mean, you always had a perfect body."
Angela looked a little surprised at his comment. From what she remembered of Marcus during those days, he was involved with so many other pretty women on campus that he never paid her any attention. "I didn't know you looked at me that way," she said, and paused, but quickly smiled and said, "Anyway, I'm glad you cleaned that up. I'd hate to have to hurt you before you get a chance to catch up, Mr. Big-Time Lawyer. I am so proud of you, Marcus. I always knew you would make it. I used to watch you on the news at night, you know, for the Ferguson trial, and I was thinking, yeah, one of us really made it big."
"That's another thing, Angela. If you've been here that long, how come I have to wait until you get in trouble to hear from you?"
"I know, I know. I didn't even know you were here when I moved to Atlanta to take this job. I didn't know until I saw you on the news. I was going to try to get in touch with you, but I knew you were busy with the trial, and I didn't think you'd even remember me."
"Are you kidding? As close as we were back then, of course I remember you."
"That's good to know."
"What about you, what are you doing these days?"
"My official title is personal assistant to the R-and-D director at Integrated Data Systems. Which basically means that I run the department."
"Integrated, I've heard of them. In fact, I've met the owner of the company."
"Yes. Very nice man, but a very serious and determined businessman from what I gathered."
"Yup, that's the old man. He hasn't been well lately, so his brother, Anthony, is running the company now. How do you know Brandon?"
"Parties, fund-raisers, that type of thing."
"Hobnobbin' with the rich and powerful, huh? You go, boy." Marcus gave Angela his best boyish smile and she remembered how much she had enjoyed his smile and sense of humor. "Maybe you know my boss? His name is Robert Covey."
"No, can't say that I met him."
"He's married to Brandon's daughter, Stephanie." Angela turned away. Whether she was overreacting or not, she did call him and made him drive all the way out there; she might as well tell him. "It's Stephanie that I need to talk to you about."
"What about her?"
"Somebody murdered her yesterday."
Chapter Two Angela made Arnold Palmers, a soft drink made with lemonade and iced tea, and she and Marcus went out on the deck to talk.
"I love this spot," Angela said, looking at the sun setting.
"Your view is breathtaking." Like you, Marcus started to say, but didn't as Angela handed him his glass and sat down next to him. He had never told Angela, or anybody else for that matter, about the feelings he had for her. Once again, Marcus reminded himself of the promise he had made to keep it strictly business with Angela. He got down to the business at hand. "Tell me what I can do to help you, Angela."
Angela told Marcus that she was in her office earlier that morning when her assistant told her that two detectives were there to see her.
"To see me?" Angela questioned at the time.
"Yes, ma'am," her assistant said, and Angela told her to show them in. She hadn't seen Robert for the day and he wasn't accepting any of her calls, which was out of character for him. Angela hoped that whatever the police wanted, it had nothing to do with Robert, but she was suspicious that it might be.
After the detectives introduced themselves, showed her their IDs, and had taken a seat, they got down to business.
"Ms. Pettybone, do you know a woman named Stephanie Covey?"
"Yes, I do. She's my boss Robert Covey's wife."
"Could you describe the nature of your relationship with Mrs. Covey?"
Angela paused and thought about how she could answer. She understood that if the police were in her office asking about Stephanie Covey, it couldn't be good. "As I said, Stephanie is my boss's wife. Other than that, we have no relationship."
"I understand," the detective said, and looked at his notes. "Can you tell me the last time you saw Mrs. Covey?"
"Yesterday afternoon. Robert-Mr. Covey-asked me to take some documents that he needed signed to her. So I took them to her."
"Do you know what those documents contained?"
"No. Mr. Covey didn't relay that information to me, only that he needed Mrs. Covey to sign them."
"How'd you get there?"
"My car is in the shop, so I took a cab to her apartment."
"You said that you took them to her apartment."
"Do you know why Mrs. Covey maintained a separate residence from her husband?"
"Mr. and Mrs. Covey are separated. To my knowledge she moved out two months ago and filed for divorce."
"You said that you didn't know the contents of the documents you were asked to get signed. Could they have anything to do with their divorce?"
"It's possible, but as I said, Mr. Covey didn't relay that information to me."
"What happened when you gave her the documents?"
"She took the envelope from me and excused herself and went to another room. I imagine she wanted to review the documents in private."
"How long was she gone?"
"No more than ten minutes."
"What was her mood when she came back?"
"If you're asking me if something she read in those documents upset her, then the answer is no. When she came out of the room and returned the documents to me, Mrs. Covey's demeanor hadn't changed."
"Did she sign the documents?"
"I didn't witness her signing them, but I assumed that she had. Mrs. Covey didn't say anything to make me think that she hadn't."
"What did you do after that?"
"Mrs. Covey and I chatted for a minute or two."
"What did the two of you talk about?"
"It was nothing major, the weather. I told her about my car being in the shop and that I had a cab waiting and then I left and went home."
"How long were you there?"
"The whole thing couldn't have taken more than fifteen minutes."
"Do you have any idea where Mr. Covey is now?"
"No, I haven't spoken with him today. His car was here when I got here this morning, but I haven't seen him."
"What time did you get here?"
"At seven thirty."
"You said that Mr. Covey's car was here when you got here, but you haven't seen or spoken with him."
"Is that unusual for you not to hear from him?"
"In fact, it is. Mr. Covey and I usually have a briefing in his office at nine every morning. If he's not in town, or can't make it to the office for any reason, he always calls," Angela told the detectives, and then her curiosity could take no more. "Would you mind telling me what this is about?"
"Mrs. Covey was murdered yesterday afternoon."
"Oh my goodness."
"To our knowledge, you were the last one to see her alive. When you were leaving the building, did you see anything or anybody out of the ordinary?"
"No, I didn't," Angela replied, but her mind hadn't gotten past you were the last one to see her alive.
"Thank you for your time, Ms. Pettybone. If you think of anything that might be helpful please give me a call," he said, and handed her a card. "And if you see or hear from Mr. Covey, please ask him to give me a call," the detective added, and then they stood up. "We'll be in touch. I may have some more questions for you."
After the detectives left, Angela tried to call Robert Covey, but once again, he did not answer. Angela returned the phone to its cradle and considered the worst. Had Robert murdered Stephanie? Was he even capable of such a thing? The Robert she knew was a nice and gentle man. But there were so many things going on, things that Robert hadn't chosen to tell her about, and he'd been acting so strange lately. She couldn't be sure.
"I was so shaken up that I called you. Then I cleared my schedule and I took the rest of the day off," Angela told Marcus.
"Did you kill her?" Marcus asked. It was a question that he never used to ask his clients; Panthea Daniels changed all that for him. Which wasn't any big deal; they all said they didn't do it anyway. But Marcus felt that everybody had a right to legal defense, even the ones that are guilty. But it was a question he was asking more and more lately.
"No," Angela said quickly, but definitely. She was a little put out that he would even have to ask her that. But then she remembered that they were strangers now. It had been fifteen years since they'd seen each other. People change.
"Then based on what you just told me, you have nothing to worry about. The detectives seemed more interested in the nature of the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Covey, the contents of those documents, and the whereabouts of your boss. I don't see any problems for you. Unless there's more."
"There always is. Why don't you start at the beginning?"
Angela looked at Marcus and thought about how much she wanted to tell him. How much more he needed to know. "After graduation, I moved to Denver and got a job working as an associate project manager for a software company. I moved here to take this position. It was more money, and I always liked Atlanta since you, me, and Darnel used to come here while we were in college, remember?"
"I remember those days. I fell in love with this city back then too. We had a lot of good times here."
Excerpted from ULTERIOR MOTIVE by roy glenn
Copyright © 2008 by Roy Glenn. Excerpted by permission.
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