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.Even in the chill draft the room smelled of droppings and decay.When the trapdoor in the ceiling slammed open a brief riot of chirps and flutters erupted from above.Then there was only the moan of the wind.Guided by Eric’s hand, Rebecca climbed the ladder onto the roof.Fine raindrops struck her face like a slap.And yet the view from the platform was spectacular.She could see all the way to the rooftops of Putnam, brown and green smeared into a uniform gray.The dark crimson of the trees below her was muted by the mist.Shadowed land and overcast sky blended so subtly at the horizon that Dun Iain seemed to be encapsulated in a huge murky crystal ball.It was frightening and exhilarating at once— just like the last few days.She stood cautiously in the very center of the platform, her ponytail flapping like a banner, and considered Eric.He was certainly masterful, the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove.She wasn’t sure she appreciated that.She’d have to see how he handled this crisis.He stood right at the low balustrade, surveying the landscape laid out at his feet like Napoleon plotting new conquests.“Sorry for the bum’s rush,” he said.“The walls inside have ears.” One corner of his mouth tucked itself into his cheek, acknowledging that he wasn’t quite joking.“They have eyes and noses, too, I think,” Rebecca returned.“But aren’t you overreacting just a little?”“Probably.Making a living in the law courts doesn’t do much for your opinion of human nature.”“Whose nature? Michael’s?”“I ought to call Edinburgh and make sure he is who he says he is.”“But you wrote to him just like you wrote to me!”“I wrote to a Michael Campbell, yes.”“Sure, the international art thief bumps off the old professor and takes his identity,” she groaned.“Michael knows his history too well to be an imposter, for one thing.”“He’s a foreigner… ” Eric stopped short at Rebecca’s frown.“Then we should give him the benefit of the doubt.I have.”“Oh, I see that you have,” Eric said softly.“How did he manage to convince you of his sincerity?”Rebecca turned her back on him, planted her hands in her pockets, pulled her head like a turtle into her collar, and looked out across the lawn behind the house.A few scraggly flower beds showed where once had been a formal garden.Surely she wasn’t defending Michael just because he liked the maudlin old songs.“Like I said last night,” she answered, grasping at some reason, any reason.“Intuition.He can be pretty obnoxious, but he just doesn’t seem to be any more a criminal than anyone else around here.And it’s not fair to pick on him because he’s not an American.”The wind wept and wailed.Rebecca shivered, her entire body clenched like a fist; she’d contradicted him, now he wouldn’t like her anymore.“You’re right,” Eric said, and she spun back around.His stern, arrogant mask cracked into a rueful grimace.The wind tousled the dark strands of hair across his brow, making him look less formidable.“Keep reminding me that I can act pretty obnoxious, too.There’re hazards to having been trained in adversarial relationships.”“Oh,” said Rebecca.“I see.”“I suppose a real international art thief would expect a better return on his efforts than some old bric a brac from a Victorian folly.”“Unless the stories about treasure are true, and the mazer was taken just for an appetizer.”Eric stiffened.A tiny flame flickered deep in his eyes.“Rebecca, I worked for James Forbes for three years.If there were anything to that treasure rumor don’t you think I’d know about it?”She contemplated that flame.“Would you? Or are you denying the existence of a treasure because you’re hurt he wouldn’t tell you about it?”He stared at her the same way Lansdale had stared at Michael.She could almost hear the gates opening and closing in his mind, computing comprehension.“Who does know about it?” she went on.“Phil? Steve? Warren? What better cover than being the sheriff? What if Dorothy didn’t think her legacy was enough payment for all her work? How do I know you don’t have some scam going to rake off more than your fair share of the Forbes money?”She stood with her mouth open, the damp, earthy wind scouring her teeth.My God.She’d actually said it [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]