Authors: J.R. Rain
“How do you know that?”
He smiled. “We just know.”
“Okay. So how did the plane crash?”
“All signs point to sabotage.”
He was debating how much to tell me. I could almost see the wheels working behind his flirtatious eyes. No doubt he was computing the amount of information he could still give me and still not give up any real government secrets, and yet leave me satisfied enough to sleep with him tonight. A complex formula for sure.
Men are better at math than they realize.
He said, “Someone planted a small explosive in the rudder gears. The pilot heard the explosion, reported it immediately, and then reported that he had lost all control of the plane. Ten minutes later the plane crashed into the side of the San Bernardino Mountains.”
“And everyone on board was killed?”
“Is there any reason to believe that these key witnesses were killed to keep them from testifying?”
“There is every reason to believe that. It’s the only motive we have.” He drank the rest of his Jack and Coke. “Except there’s one problem: our number one suspect was in jail at the time of the crash.”
The waiter came by and dropped off another drink for Greg. Perhaps the waiters here at El
Bar and Grill were psychic. Greg picked up his drink and sipped it.
“It would take a lot of pull to sabotage a military plane,” I said.
“Not as much as you might think,” said Greg. “This was a DC-12, and the contract the government has with them stipulates that the makers of the planes get to use their own mechanics.”
“So the mechanic was a civilian.”
“Have you found the mechanic?”
“Yeah,” he said. “Dead in his apartment in L.A.”
“How did he die?”
“Gunshot in the mouth.”
“We’re working on it.”
I followed up with this some more, but Greg seemed to have reached the limit of what he was willing to tell me.
Greg motioned to my half-finished drink. “You going to finish that?”
“You want to head over to my place and, you know, talk some more about what it’s like giving yourself raises?”
I said, “When you say ‘talk’ don’t you really mean
my brains out?”
He grinned and reddened. I reached over and patted his superheated face.
“You’ll just have to give yourself a raise tonight,” I said, and left him my card. “Call me if you hear anything new.”
“But I live right around the
“Sorry,” I said. “But your calculations were off.”
I smiled sweetly and left.
We were at the beach, sitting on the wooden deck of a lifeguard tower. The sign on the lifeguard tower said no sitting on the wooden deck.
“We’re breaking the law,” I said.
Kingsley Fulcrum turned his massive head toward the sign above us. As he did so, some of the moonlight caught his cheek bones and strong nose and got lost somewhere in the shaggy curls that hung on his beefy shoulders.
“We are risking much to be here,” he said. “If we get caught, our
identities may be discovered.”
I said, “Especially if I show up invisible in the mug shot.”
Kingsley shook his head.
“You vampires are weird,” he said.
“This coming from a guy who howls at every full moon.”
He chuckled lightly as a small, cold wind scurried over my bare feet. Before us, the dark ocean stretched black and eternal. Small, frothing whitecaps slapped the shore. In the far distance, twinkling on the curve of the horizon, were the many lights of Catalina Island. Between us and Catalina were the much brighter lights of a dozen or so oil rigs. The beach itself was mostly quiet, although two or three couples were currently smooching on blankets here and there. They probably thought they were mostly hidden under the cover of darkness. They probably hadn’t accounted for a vampire with built-in night vision watching them. A gyrating couple, about two hundred feet away up the beach, might have been doing the nasty.
Kingsley turned to me. I always liked the way the bridge of his nose angled straight up to his forehead. Very Roman. And very hot.
He said, “You became a private investigator after you were changed?”
“So that means you took your P.I. photo when you were a vampire.”
“So how did you manage that?”
“I wore a lot of
that day,” I said smugly, proud of myself. I had wondered what to do about the photo, too.
showed up, even though you didn’t?”
“Yes, exactly. I even made sure I blinked when the picture was taken.”
“Just in case your eye sockets came up empty.”
“You could have worn colored contacts,” said Kingsley.
“But then the whites of my eyes would have come up empty,” I said.
He nodded. “So you sacrificed your vanity.”
“I might look like a major dork in the picture, but at least I look human. Granted, if you look close enough, there is a blank spot somewhere near my throat, where I had missed a patch of skin, but not too many people are looking at my throat.”
“No,” said Kingsley. “They’re looking at the dork with her eyes closed.”
I punched him in the arm. The force of my blow knocked him sideways.
“Ouch!” He rubbed his arm and grinned at me, and the light from the
touched his square teeth. Kingsley was a successful defense attorney in Orange County. A few months ago, he had hired me to investigate a murder attempt on his life. His case had come at a difficult time in my life. Not only had I just caught my husband cheating, the bastard had the gall to kick me out of my own home.
A very difficult time, to say the least. The wounds were still fresh and I was still hurting.
And I would be for a very long time.
Not the greatest time to start a new romance with a hunky defense attorney with massive shoulders and a tendency to shed.
“There are two people
over there,” said Kingsley, looking off over his shoulder. “I think one of their names is
Kingsley’s hearing was better than mine, which was saying something.
I grinned and elbowed him. “Will you quit eavesdropping.”
He cocked his head to one side, and said, “I was wrong. His name is
I elbowed him again, and we sat silently some more. Our legs were touching. His thigh was about twice as wide as mine. We were both wearing jeans and sweaters.
I sensed Kingsley’s desire to touch me, to reach out and lay his big hand over my knee. I sensed him forcibly controlling himself.