Deceptions(9)

By: Cynthia Eden


“You were thinking you wanted to get away. You were thinking that you could be next, and in case anyone might be watching, you didn’t want that jerk to see you leaving alone.” Well, that last one had certainly been his intent. It wasn’t his first murder, not even close. He knew killers. Sometimes he thought he knew them too well. And if the killer had been lingering in the crowd, hiding close by, he hadn’t wanted the guy to think that Elizabeth would be an easy target.

Her shoulders stiffened as Elizabeth glanced over at him.

“Someone is after you,” Mac said.

She didn’t speak.

“Dammit, I can help you! That’s what we do here at McGuire Securities. We investigate. We protect. You knew that guy was dead in the alley and—”

“I hoped he wasn’t.”

She was talking to him. Hell, yes. Now they were making some progress.

Elizabeth turned to face him. She ran a hand through her hair, tousling the thick mane. “I don’t trust you.”

He almost smiled. “I don’t trust you, either.” He wanted her, no doubt about that. But as far as trusting her? He’d just seen the woman lie to cops. That didn’t exactly inspire undying trust in him.

“I hadn’t seen or heard from Steve Yeldon in years. But as soon as I got home tonight, he called me.”

He stepped toward her. “If it had been years, then how’d he get your number?”

“He was a reporter! Don’t they have sources?” She waved that away. “He called me and said that we needed to meet. He told me to come to that alley. Said we had to talk.”

He waited, but Elizabeth didn’t tell him anything else. Mac sighed. “What did he want to talk with you about?”

“How should I know?” Her gaze cut away from his. “I’ve been here for about three months now. I mind my own business. I don’t get involved in any drama or dangerous situations and—”

He laughed. Mac just couldn’t help it.

Her cheeks reddened.

“You were attacked in your library. You ran into a dark alley and found a dead man.” He huffed out a breath. “That actually does count as dangerous. Two dangerous situations.”

She looked away, her gaze sliding to his window. Soon the rising sun would fill that window.

“Why did he want to talk with you?” Mac pressed again.

“I don’t know.” She sounded sincere. “Steve said that we could stop him. I don’t know who that mysterious him is or why we’d want to stop him.”

“If you didn’t know, then why did you go to the alley?”

Her gaze fell.

A dark suspicion swept over him. “Elizabeth?”

“Because Steve gasped on the phone.” Her gaze rose once more and met his. Sadness was in her dark stare. “There was pain in that sound. Fear. After that gasp, he didn’t say another word to me. The line went dead.”

Probably because Steve had been dead.

“I called back and someone else answered. He said...he said, ‘Steve can’t talk right now.’”

“What?” Shock rippled through him. “You talked to the killer? You didn’t mention that to the cops!”

She flinched. “That wasn’t all he said.”

This couldn’t get worse.

“He told me, ‘I’ll see you soon, Elizabeth.’”

He couldn’t help it. He grabbed her. His fingers curled around her shoulders as he trapped her between his body and the door. “The jerk threatened you, and you didn’t mention this phone call to the cops? Why the hell not?”

She stared up at him, the fear plain to see in her eyes.

“You know the incident at the library is connected to this,” he said. “You have to know it.” Coincidences that big never happened.

Elizabeth nodded.

“Why won’t you go to the cops? Why won’t you tell them—”

“Cops didn’t believe me before. I don’t have the best experience with them.”

Before? Just how many secrets was the pretty librarian keeping from him?

“This isn’t your problem,” she said, swallowing. “I’m not your problem.”

Yes, you are. “Hire me.”

“I—I don’t have the money—”