Heart of the Raven(8)

By: Susan Crosby

She challenged Cassie with her eyes.

“Are you Darcy?” Cassie asked.


“I’m looking for Eva Brooks.”

She slid her key into the lock. “Get in line.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Eva bailed a month ago.” The door opened. “I had to take a second job so I could cover the rent.” She looked Cassie up and down. “What d’you want with her?”

A month ago? “I have a document for her.”

Darcy eyed the envelope Cassie held. “What kinda document?”

“I really can’t say.”

“Well, I can’t help you.”

She started to shut the door. Cassie put her hand out to stop it from closing. “I really need to find her. It might mean a lot of money for her, if she’s the right Eva Brooks.” It was the right tactic. At the word money Darcy paid attention.

“She owes me rent and stuff,” Darcy said.

Cassie waited.

“Look,” the young woman said, “I don’t know where she’s at. The lawyer she works for called, too, but I couldn’t help him, either.”

“How long have you been roommates?”

“Couple of years. She got herself knocked up, though, so I was kinda glad she left ’cuz I really didn’t want a baby around, you know?”

“I’m sure. Did she talk about the father? Maybe she’s with him.”

She snorted. “I don’t think so.”

“Why not?”

“Too old. Too stodgy. I don’t know. She had a list of reasons why she wasn’t hanging out with him.”

Cassie could see how Eva would perceive Heath as stodgy, especially if she didn’t see past his pain. But, old? “Still, she is pregnant,” she said to Darcy. “It would make sense that she would turn to him.”

“Maybe. Her mail’s still coming here, though. Bills. I’m not paying ’em.”

“Could I take a look?”

Darcy frowned. “Who are you?”

Cassie gave her a business card.

“A P.I.?” She gave a low whistle. “Sweet.”

“Yeah, it is.”

“She got a rich old uncle who died and left her money?”

“Something like that. Maybe I can track her down through her mail, then you can get the money she owes you.”

Darcy hesitated. For a second Cassie thought she’d convinced her, then Darcy shook her head. “It wouldn’t be right. And I really gotta go. If I’m late even a minute, they dock an hour’s pay.”

“I wouldn’t open the mail. Just see who sent it.”


“You’ve got my number,” Cassie said as the door closed.

She made her way to her car. Now what?

She didn’t like how this case was stacking up. Eva had lied more than once and now had left no trail. It was rare that someone could just disappear, but especially someone eight months pregnant.

Cassie decided there were no leads to follow, no more calls that could be made at the moment. She could give Heath an update by phone then go back to the office and do the paperwork she’d ignored on her two other cases. Or she could call a friend and go out to dinner, maybe dancing. Blow off a little steam. Find a reason to laugh.

She pulled her cell phone from her jacket pocket. After a minute she put it away. She didn’t know why she tried to pretend with herself. She wanted to see him in person. It was stupid. She didn’t get mixed up with clients, and she especially shouldn’t get mixed up with this one, who had twice as much baggage as she did—and that was a lot, although hers had been stored in an overhead bin for a long time.

She should do them both a favor and just call him and let him know how it went with Darcy.

Then she pictured the look in his eyes when he’d said his child was missing.

She glanced at her watch. The traffic would be miserable.

She gripped the steering wheel. There was nothing to accomplish by going to his house. She would only add to an attraction that should be buried in businesslike behavior.

If only someone had cared about me like he cares for his unborn child.

Cassie blew out a long breath. Okay, so she was drawn to the wounded man in more ways than were good for her. Decency was a big lure. She’d known too many not-so-decent people.

She leaned her forehead against the steering wheel. He had to be especially lonely now. The hours must drag by as he waited for word.

She resigned herself to the inevitable, started her car then eased into traffic.

Heath eyed the telephone on the desk beside him. If Cassie had news she would call. He knew that. But the waiting was almost too much to handle. She’d called once today to say she had nothing to report. That was hours ago.