First Chapter From In the Frame

The phone rang in Congressman Jack Fontaine’s inner office. He slid from the embrace of his newest intern and motioned for her to stand by. “What is it, Ilene?” he growled at his secretary. “I told you no interruptions.”

“I’m sorry, sir, but two Capitol Police officers are here. They need to speak with you.”

“About what?” Fontaine shuffled papers on his desk, covering one stack with the morning’s edition of The Washington Post.

The secretary hesitated. Fontaine bellowed, “Ilene, what the hell’s going on? What do they want with me?”

A hard rap on his office door drowned out her response.

“Police, sir. Open up.”

Pointing to a desk in the corner of his office, he waited for the intern to sit down and open a laptop, then went to the door.

He moved back as two Capitol Police officers stepped into the room.

One handed him a sheet of paper. “Sorry to barge in, Congressman. We need to talk to you. It might be better if we spoke in private.” The officer glanced at the intern.

Fontaine dismissed her. “Come back later. And with some research I can use next time.”

The young woman reddened, grabbed the laptop, and left the room.

“Now, what’s this about”—Fontaine checked the officer’s badge—“Officer Jenkins?”

The expression on Jenkins’s face signaled he’d rather be at the dentist, but he answered firmly, “It’s about that warrant I just handed you, Congressman. You’d better read it, sir.”

He waited, hands at his sides. Fontaine reached for a pair of glasses and examined the warrant. “Arrest?” he exploded. “What the hell? Is this some kind of joke, Jenkins?”

Jenkins held his ground. “I’m afraid not, Congressman. My orders are to take you into custody and transport you to Central Cellblock.”

“You’ll do no such thing. I’m calling my lawyer. She’ll straighten this out.” Fontaine shoved the warrant back at Jenkins. Jenkins’s partner stepped closer and stood beside him, fingering the slapjack at his waist.

Fontaine buzzed Ilene. “Get Maxine Kincaid on the phone. Now.”

A deep-red flush crept over Fontaine’s round brown face. Veins in his neck protruded. He rocked back and forth on his heels as he waited.

When his phone buzzed, he snatched it up. “Maxie,” he barked. He paused. “Ilene, what the hell are you talking about? Maxie is not dead. I just saw her last night.”

Jenkins motioned to Fontaine, then handed back the warrant.

“Sir, you’d better read this again.”

Fontaine took the paper and read it. His knees gave way, and he sat down hard on his sofa. He put his head in his hands.

Jenkins took back the warrant, pulled a laminated card from his shirt pocket and read aloud from it. “Sir, you are under arrest for the murder of Angela Maxine Kincaid, aka Maxie Kincaid. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you . . . .”

Fontaine sputtered, and Jenkins grabbed him as he slumped to the floor.

Jenkins turned to his partner. “Get an ambulance, stat.” He felt for a pulse in the Congressman’s thick wrist. “And tell them to hurry.”