“You’ll be flying over in one of the company jets. It should be ready and waiting by the time we get to the airport.”
Thomas Argeneau nodded, but his attention was on the clothes he was ripping from hangers in his walk-in closet and shoving into his knapsack.
Etienne watched briefly and then burst out, “Why hasn’t Mother called?”
Unable to answer the question, Thomas grimaced and shook his head. He found the whole situation upsetting. After seven hundred years as a housekeeper, Marguerite Argeneau had decided to start a career. But she hadn’t eased her way into the workforce with a secretarial job or some other mundane career. Instead, she’d decided she wanted to be the next Sam Spade, or Samantha Spade as the case may be. The woman, who had rarely left her home before this, had taken on a job as a private detective and flown off to Europe to locate the mother of a five-hundred-year-old vampire.
While Thomas understood her desire to have a career to fill her time, he wished she’d chosen something a little less exotic, and preferably one that could have been done at home in Canada.
“She called every evening for the first three weeks; sometimes twice in a night. And then, bang, nothing at all. Something must have happened,” Etienne muttered.
Thomas glanced over his shoulder, noting that his fair-haired, usually mellow cousin was anything but mellow now. Etienne was pacing behind him in the small walk-in closet, his face marred by lines of concern. It was an emotion the entire family was presently suffering. Marguerite Argeneau had been out of contact for three days now. Normally, that wouldn’t be cause for concern, but Lissianna, her only daughter, was in the last month of her first pregnancy. That was why Marguerite had been checking in so regularly. Everyone knew she’d intended to drop everything and fly home at the first sign that Lissianna was going into labor, which made this sudden silence very disturbing.
“Thomas.” Etienne stopped pacing and suddenly touched his arm. “I really appreciate your flying over to check on her like this…and so does the rest of the family.”
“I care about her too,” Thomas said with a stiff shrug and then turned back to his packing, knowing he’d just spoken the biggest understatement of his life. Biologically, Marguerite Argeneau might only be his aunt, but she’d raised him and was the only mother Thomas had ever known. He loved her as much as her daughter and sons did.
“I wish I could come with you,” Etienne added fretfully, beginning to pace again. “If I didn’t have this deadline…”
Thomas didn’t comment. He knew Etienne, as well as the rest of the family, wanted to go and look for the missing woman as much as he; they simply weren’t able to on such short notice. However, he also knew they were making arrangements to follow as soon as they could. Thomas was sincerely hoping that wouldn’t be necessary. He hoped to arrive and find her alive and well and with some silly, simple explanation for the lack of phone calls.
The sudden electronic ring of a phone made both men pause. Thomas watched Etienne slide a cell phone from his pocket and place it to his ear. His hello was followed by silence as he listened, and then he said, “Okay,” and put the phone away.
“That was Bastien,” Etienne announced. “He’s managed to book you a room at the Dorchester Hotel in London. It’s where Mother was staying before she disappeared.”
“London?” Thomas asked with a frown. “I thought Aunt Marguerite and Tiny were in Italy. The case they’re working is for some guy from Italy. Nocci or something.”
“Notte,” Etienne corrected, pronouncing the name No-tay. “And he is Italian. At least on his father’s side, but apparently he was born in England so that’s where Marguerite and Tiny started their search.” When Thomas merely stared at him doubtfully, he added, “Bastien arranged the plane for Mom and Tiny and he says they went to England.”
“So, she’s in England not Italy,” Thomas muttered and began dragging out the white linen pants he’d been stuffing in the knapsack, replacing them with jeans and a couple long-sleeved shirts to go with the packed T-shirts. It was early fall, the evenings would be cooler in England.
Once he’d stuffed as many clothes into the bag as he could, Thomas shifted the bulging knapsack past his cousin, and hurried out of the walk-in closet.
“Has Bastien heard from Jackie? Has she heard from Tiny?” Thomas asked, hurrying to the dresser drawers to find socks and underwear. Jackie Morrisey was the owner of the Morrisey Detective Agency, and Tiny and Marguerite’s boss. She was also the lifemate of his cousin Vincent.