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Kirkland(5)

By´╝ÜGlenna Sinclair



He pulled a file folder from between his seat and the console, handing it to me as he navigated the SUV around a corner.

“She owns Cumming’s Treasure. It’s a—”

“Porn site. Yeah, I know.”

Ash glanced at me—as if he didn’t know that I watched porn. All men watch porn. If they deny it, they’re lying.

“You’re familiar with it?”

“Sure. They have amateur videos that are quite interesting.”

Ash nodded, his eyes on the road again. “She’s been getting death threats. The first one came about a week ago. There’ve been four or five since then. Each one with a picture of some sort of death situation: a hanging, a beheading, a shooting. And the pictures are all captioned with the same words: This will be you by the end of the week.”

“I assume David’s traced the emails.”

“He did even before Ms. Watson contacted Gray Wolf. He did it as a favor to Ricki, but whoever’s doing it knows how to cover his tracks. The perp used several different public Wi-Fi services to send the emails, so tracing them didn’t tells anything except that he favors coffee shops in Los Angeles.”

“Does she have any idea who might want to threaten her?”

Ash shrugged. “She runs a pornographic website. It could be anyone from some housewife who doesn’t like how much time her husband spends on the site, to a jealous boyfriend whose girlfriend made an amateur video with or without him.”

“True.”

I looked through the file folder, noting the client’s name, Mabel Watson. Old-fashioned name. It brought to mind the girl who sat at the back of every classroom in all American high schools, that girl with the glasses and braces and too many pimples. But I couldn’t imagine a woman like that running a porn site. I imagined a woman who was impossibly tall with legs all the way to her chin. I saw curves that were subtle but perfect for holding onto. I saw a face that was symmetrical, everything proportioned as it should be. I saw a beautiful, sophisticated woman, the kind I loved to welcome into my bed.

It was going to be harder than I thought to keep my hands to myself.

“And David’s done background checks, looked into the people she interacts with on a daily basis?”

“The preliminaries should be in there.”

“What about her home?”

“An apartment building in the valley. David’s got a team on the way over already.”

“An apartment? Doesn’t she make good money?”

“David said she’s lived there since coming to Los Angeles and she’s reluctant to leave.”

“Why?”

Ash shrugged as he guided the SUV around another corner, slowing as he approached a stop light. “I get the impression she’s kind of eccentric.”

“I guess you’d have to be eccentric for the line of business she’s in. Not many women run these websites.”

“I suppose.”

“Is there anything else I need to know?”

Ash looked over at me. “Just keep your hands to yourself. David’s wound up enough over the wedding. Don’t want you to add to his stress.”

“I won’t.”

Ash pulled into an underground parking structure, working his way down into the bowels of the street. I watched a couple of ladies dressed in business attire talk as they walked to their car, hoping that most of the ladies in this building looked like them. I might not be allowed to touch the client, but there were no rules against the rest of the staff.

I finished looking through the file folder, making note of the names that came with some sort of black mark on their background checks. Then I closed it and climbed out of the car, tugging the wrinkles out of my suit jacket and buttoning it so that it fell properly from my shoulders. It never hurt to make a good first impression.

We boarded the elevator. I have to admit that I was pretty excited about this assignment. Imagine, being in the offices of the hottest porn website on the internet! The things I would probably see days or weeks or even months before all the idiots who paid for the service! Sometimes this job has some real perks.

Ash’s phone rang as we stepped off the elevator.

“It’s David. I should take this.”

He stepped away, but not before he pointed toward the reception desk.

I had my orders.

“Excuse me,” I said to the perky blonde behind the desk, “can you tell me where Ms. Watson’s office is?”

The blonde looked up and then did something of a double take when she saw me, a slow smile taking the place of the impatient grin that had been there before.

“Do you have an appointment?”

I leaned against the top of the counter. “I do. I’m with Gray Wolf Security.”

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