Low Midnight Page 53

They watched him expectantly, waiting for an answer.

He said, “I got a hit on the stuff we posted online. Don’t know if anything’ll come of it. But it may be another lead.” It all depended on whether or not they had e-mail waiting for them when they got home.

“Yeah?” Kitty asked. “What kind of a hit?”

“Hard to tell. Someone who knows about Amy. And who knows about Kumarbis.”

Kitty sat forward at that—a wolf on the scent, ears up and nose quivering. “Knows how? This person—they must be a vampire, to know about Kumarbis. What would a vampire know about Amy’s book—”

“I told you, I don’t know. We’ve just exchanged a couple of e-mails so far. I’m still feeling the person out.”

She sighed, obviously disappointed. “If you find out anything more, and if you think we can even trust them, find out what they know about Roman, the Long Game, all of it.”

“Yeah. One step at a time.”

“Thank you again,” Kitty said. “For working on all this.”

He brushed her off out of habit. “I figure I’m in it as deep as you are at this point.”

Can you please finish your beer so we can go see if our mysterious correspondent has answered?

How could someone who was functionally dead be that impatient?

Kitty rambled on about the new book, the release schedule, and possibly going on a signing tour, which gave him a twinge of anxiety. Traveling all over the country meeting total strangers—what could possibly go wrong? He nursed his beer and listened to his friends’ banter.

The phone in his pocket rang. He considered not answering, then thought it might be Layne wanting to blow off more steam. Curious, he checked, while Ben and Kitty looked on with interest. Because they were nosy.

The caller ID wasn’t Layne this time. He answered and heard, “Cormac?” It was Mollie.

He got up from the table and walked a few paces off, then realized that wouldn’t be far enough away to keep the couple and their werewolf ears from listening in, so he went out the front door. Aware the whole time that Ben was smirking and Kitty’s eyebrows had lifted—they knew his caller was female.

“Hey,” he answered the phone, propping himself up against the brick wall outside the door.

“Hi. Andy gave me your number.” She didn’t sound happy, and Cormac braced. She waited, and waited. Expectantly.

He said, innocently as he could, which wasn’t very, “Heard you guys had a fire out at the ranch.”

“I should have shot you where you stood, Cormac Bennett. That was my car you blew up.”

He winced. Just his luck. “Well. Thank you for not shooting me.”

“You’re lucky Andy won’t let me call the cops. He won’t even let me call my insurance company, because they’d call thecops.”

He wasn’t going to apologize. He refused to apologize. He’d do it all over again. He’d just pick a different car. “What’s he expect you to do?”

“I made Andy give me his car. And five grand.”

“That was big of him.”

“I suppose I deserve it, hanging out with him in the first place. I don’t know what all he gets up to, I don’t want to. But God, Cormac, what the hell!”

“I needed a distraction.”

“I know better than to ask Andy what he’s doing, but you—you all but vanish for twenty years, then show up setting cars on fire? He says you’re some kind of magical vampire hunter—is that true?”

She didn’t know the stories. Didn’t know about his father, had stayed out of the politics of what followed while she was off getting married and having kids.

“Mollie, it’s a lot like the stuff with Layne, you really don’t want to know.”

There was a pause, and he could just about picture her straightening, brushing back her hair, and changing her stance in order to change her voice. Because the next thing she said was gentle, suggestive. “Cormac, I know it’s been a long time. I don’t know what you have going on in your life right now. But I was thinking maybe we could get together. Catch up, you know? I could bore you with pictures of my kids.”

He didn’t know if it was the sudden shift in the tone of her voice or his natural suspicion, but he didn’t trust the request. “Layne put you up to this, didn’t he? He’s sitting right there, isn’t he?”

A sigh. He imagined her looking across whatever room she was in to her brother egging her on. And to think, for a split second Cormac thought maybe she really wanted to see him.

“He wants to meet. Just to talk.”

“I bet he does. The answer’s still no, not as long as he’s likely to put a bullet in me.”

“He was working with that Kuzniak jerk so he wouldn’t have to put bullets in anyone! Just watch them keel over dead when they get in his way!”

“Like Kuzniak,” Cormac said.

A long silence followed. Amelia murmured, Anderson Layne found something. He discovered something.

They were supposed to be washing their hands of it.

“Cormac—”

“Mollie. It really has been good to see you. I have to go.” He hung up. Sighed. Well, at least he had her number now.

You wanted to ask her out for drinks.

It wouldn’t work out, he thought. He wasn’t that kind of guy.

He could just go on home, but Kitty or Ben—or both—would call and demand to know what was happening. Best get it over with now, in person, when they might actually believe he wasn’t hiding something. He went back inside.

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