Darkfever / Page 14

Page 14



Go to Trinity College, talk to her professors and try to find out names of friends was number one on my list for tomorrow. I had an e-mail copy of her class schedule, listing instructors and times. She’d sent it to me at the beginning of the term so I’d know when she was in class and when my odds were best of catching her at home to talk. With luck, someone I spoke to tomorrow would know who Alina had been seeing and be able to tell me who her mystery man was. Go to local library, keep trying to track down shi-sadu was next. I sure wasn’t going back to that bookstore, which really pissed me off because it had been an amazing bookstore. I couldn’t shake the feeling I’d been lucky to escape today. That if the cabbie hadn’t arrived at just that moment, Jericho Barrons might have tied me to a chair and tortured me until I’d told him everything he wanted to know. Buy boxes, bags, and broom to take to Alina’s place was third. That one was optional. I wasn’t sure I was ready to go back there yet. I nibbled the tip of my pen, wishing I’d been able to see Inspector O’Duffy. I’d been hoping to get his reports and retrace whatever route the Gardai investigation had followed. Unfortunately, that possibility was now on hold for a few days.

I made a short list of things I wanted from a local drugstore: an adaptor to charge my iPod; juice; and a few cheap snacks to keep in my room, then turned out the light and fell almost immediately into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Someone knocking at my door awakened me.

I sat up, rubbing gritty, tired eyes that felt as if I’d just shut them seconds ago. It took me a few moments to remember where I was—in a twin bed in a chilly room in Dublin, with rain tapping lightly at the window.

I’d been having a fantastic dream. Alina and I were playing volleyball up at one of the many man-made lakes built by Georgia Power, scattered throughout the state. There were three near Ashford and we went to one or the other just about every weekend in the summer for fun, sun, and guy-watching. The dream had been so vivid I could still taste Corona with lime, smell coconut suntan oil, and feel the silk of trucked-in sand beneath my feet.

I glanced at my watch. It was two o’clock in the morning. I was sleepy and grumpy and didn’t try to disguise it. “Who is it?”

“Jericho Barrons.”

I couldn’t have been slammed awake any harder if I’d been hit upside the head with my mom’s cast-iron frying pan. What was he doing here? How had he found me? I shot up, my hand hovering over the phone, ready at any moment to call the front desk and ask for the police. “What do you want?”

“We have information to exchange. You want to know what it is. I want to know what you know about it.”

I wasn’t about to reveal how freaked out I was that he’d hunted me down. “Bright guy, aren’t you? I figured that out back at the store. What took you so long?”

There was such a protracted silence that I began to wonder if he’d gone away. “I am unaccustomed to asking for what I want. Nor am I accustomed to bartering with a woman,” he said finally.

“Well, get used to it with me, bud, because I don’t take orders from anyone. And I don’t give up anything for free.” Bluster, bluster, bluster, Mac. But he didn’t know that.

“Do you intend to open this door, Ms. Lane, or shall we converse where anyone might attend our business?”

“Do you really intend to exchange information?” I countered.

“I do.”

“And you’ll go first?”

“I will.”

My shoulders slumped. I moved my hand away from the phone. I straightened my shoulders again quickly. I knew the value of putting a smile on a sad face—it made you feel happy after a while. Courage was no different. I didn’t trust Jericho Barrons farther than I could throw him, which was a great big Not At All, but he knew what this shi-sadu was, and although I hoped I could find the information somewhere else, what if I couldn’t? What if I wasted weeks looking with no success? Time was money and mine was finite. If he was willing to trade, I had to open that door. Unless . . . “We can trade through the door,” I said.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I am a private person, Ms. Lane. This is not negotiable.”

“But I—”

“No.”

I blew out an aggravated breath. The tone in his voice said it would be a waste of time to argue. I stood and reached for a pair of jeans. “How did you find me?” I buttoned my fly and pushed my hands into my hair. It always got tangled when I slept because it was so long. I had major bed-head.


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