Heart of the Raven(3)

By: Susan Crosby


“She was vague about it. She spoke of her parents and that they live ‘back east,’ but that was all.”

“Okay. It’s something to start with. I’ll need more information. Her last name, address. Anything else you can give me.”

He nodded. “Let’s go to my office.”

She followed him up a massive staircase and into a large workroom. Her gaze didn’t linger on the two substantial tables with blueprints spread on them, or on the unusual pieces of oversize computer equipment she guessed were necessary to being an architect.

Her attention fixed on the fact the entire outside wall of the room was windows. And every window was covered by blinds. And every blind was closed.



Heath appreciated the efficiency with which Cassie worked. Even before she’d started asking questions he’d guessed she was detail oriented. Her starched-and-pressed white shirt and crisp Wranglers told him she was meticulous and that the little things mattered.

She was also a jumble of energy. She moved fast, thought fast, yet was deliberate. He couldn’t give himself credit for choosing the right investigator, because he’d actually been referred to her boss, Quinn Gerard. Gerard was out of town when Heath called. Cassie was at her desk. Simple as that.

She had presence. Her pointed-toe cowboy boots brought her within a few inches of his six foot one. Her golden-brown hair hung in a thick braid to her waist. Her dark blue eyes could be penetrating or sympathetic. She already seemed to know when to divert him, to make him stop focusing on his anger—his fury—that Eva had taken off. He figured he could work fine with Cassie.

At the moment she was writing in her notebook. She’d taken off her old and apparently cherished leather jacket and hung it neatly on the back of a chair. At her waist was a holstered gun. He hadn’t expected that. He didn’t know why he was surprised, but he acknowledged it as sexist. If Quinn Gerard had shown up for the job, Heath wouldn’t have been surprised at the weapon.

“What kind of gun is that?” he asked.

She didn’t look up. “Sig Sauer. Forty caliber.”

“Are you good with it?”

“Is San Francisco foggy?” She smiled at him, her confidence more than a little appealing to him.

“I don’t always carry, but I didn’t know what I was walking into today. Okay—” she tapped her pen on her notebook “—you said Eva works at your lawyer’s office.”

“She did. She went on maternity leave starting last week.”

She frowned. “That’s early, isn’t it? It seems like women work until their water breaks these days.”

“I wouldn’t know.” His ex-wife had stopped working the day they were married, which had been fine with him.

“Is it a big firm?”

“Torrance and Torrance.”

“That’s a big firm,” she stated. “I worked for Oberman, Steele and Jenkins for five years as an in-house investigator, so I know a lot of the law firms. OSJ does criminal work, and T and T does corporate, but they must operate alike. She would have friends at work—other clerks and paralegals. In a company with that many employees, there would be at least one or two she would go to lunch with. I’ll check it out.”

Heath braced his legs. “You can’t,” he said to her back.

“I can’t what?”

“Talk to anyone at the office.”

She looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. “I have to.”

“You can’t.”

“Why?”

“Because our relationship was secret. They have a strict no-fraternization-with-the-clients rule. She would be fired.”

“No one knows you’re the father?”

“No one at her work, at least.”

“I wonder how she managed that.” Her toe tapped the floor. “It would be very hard to keep that sort of thing to yourself.”

“She likes her job. She wants to hold on to it.”

“Hmm.” After a few seconds she flipped a page. “We’ll skip that for now. Current residence?”

He passed her a card he’d pulled from his Rolodex file.

She wrote down the address.

“She has a roommate,” he said. “Darcy. I don’t know her last name.”

“Have you been to the apartment?”

“No.”

“So, the one-night-stand thing really was all there was to it? You never went on a date?”

“Never.” Admitting it out loud made it seem sordid. It hadn’t been sordid. He hadn’t taken advantage of Eva. She’d been willing. More than willing. If anything, she’d come after him.

Cassie looked at the Rolodex card again. “Is this her current phone number?”

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