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.”“Concussion,” Omar said.“No sleeping.Or I take you straight to the hospital.”Susannah opened one eye.The other was swollen to a slit.“You got Gladiator?”“A woman of taste.” Omar gestured for Lucia to go.She shut the door, and heard the chunk of locks as he secured it into a minitank.Then she followed Borden back upstairs.This time Manny guided them by voice, releasing locks remotely.They entered on a different floor, into living quarters.Pansy was lying on the luxurious suede sofa in the middle of the loft, watching a big-screen plasma television.She had a DVD on as well, and Lucia experienced a moment of envy.Pansy looked rosy, clean and relaxed, and was wearing a fluffy white robe.If only I could do the same…Pansy scrambled to her feet and brushed her dark bangs out of her eyes when Borden and Lucia passed, as if they’d caught her doing something illegal or immoral…like resting.Lucia couldn’t hold back a smile.“As you were, soldier,” she said.“Believe me, if I could, I’d pull up a couch next to you, robe and all.And we’d share a gallon of ice cream.”“You feeling all right?” Pansy asked anxiously.“I’m fine.Manny says you’re well…?”“No symptoms.” Pansy’s pageboy hairdo bobbed vigorously when she nodded.“Um—shouldn’t you be resting?”“I will be,” she said, “as soon as we take care of some things.”“Uh-huh.” Pansy didn’t sound convinced.“What can I do?”“You,” Manny said, coming around a low cubicle wall that Lucia assumed separated off the surveillance equipment, “can sit down and relax.Right, Lucia?”“Right.” She threw them both a quick smile.“This won’t take long.” She knew Jazz was going to say, in typical fashion, “Screw it,” and toss the message in the shredder.Only, of course, Jazz surprised her.First, she was dressed, and well dressed—no badly fitting jeans and floppy sweatshirts today.She’d chosen another pantsuit, this one in dark red, and a tight-fitting white knit shirt.Cute.The shoes were still more or less a disaster; Jazz was never going to give up her flats when there was any chance of having to pursue a bad guy.Then again, she had enough height to pull it off.“Going somewhere?” Borden asked, and crossed to kiss her.It was an open, intimate kiss, and brought instant bright color to Jazz’s cheeks.“Or just dressing up for Manny? Should I be jealous?”“Shut the hell up.”Manny’s living space held a series of temporary partitions in the open warehouse—some low translucent walls, some higher and more private.Lucia let her eyes roam over the entire floor, hunting for something she’d never noticed before—ah, there it was, a door set flush in the wall, with one of those red-lit key code panels.There was another door to his office, from this floor.She’d been wondering.But it made sense, really; Manny would want multiple access points, all under his control.Despite the almost Japanese simplicity of the place, Manny’s build-outs, where they existed, were luxurious.The kitchen where Jazz sat could have been lifted from a model home, with wood cabinets and glossy appliances, double steel sinks, and a spacious bar area with high-backed stools.Jazz was at the bar, Borden close beside her.Lucia hopped up on a stool next to her.“Are we finished with the love talk?” she asked.“If so, there’s work to be done.”Jazz rolled her eyes and gestured for the red letter, which Borden handed to her.She read it quickly.“We sure it’s genuine?”“He says so.” Lucia demonstrated the new UV toy.“Who’s downstairs?” Jazz tucked a stray lock of blond hair behind her ear, and read the note again.“In the truck?”“Omar and a new client.”“The wife.”“Yes.”“No sign of the husband?”“Omar lost him.”Jazz glanced up at Manny.“Better have.You wouldn’t believe how he gets if he thinks—”“Omar lost him,” Lucia said firmly.“I’m going to find a place to stash her, and put Omar on bodyguard duty until we can get her in touch with the FBI.She claims she’s got incriminating information about her husband, but she doesn’t want to deal with the local cops.Not even Welton Brown could convince her.The way she talks, it’s probably organized crime.I expect Agent Rawlins will do us another favor, so long as it also looks good on his résumé.”Jazz snorted.“That’s Rawlins, all over.Okay, so this thing.Another typical piece of Cross Society bullshit.Go here, wait here, blah blah.You’ll know what to do? What the hell does that mean?”“I hope it doesn’t involve shooting someone.Again.”“Pros and cons,” Jazz said, and tapped the black marble counter with blunt fingernails.“Pro, we make a quick five grand for doing whatever this is, and more than likely, it doesn’t even involve us lifting a finger.Most of these don’t, right? We just change events by being there on time.We force other people to make different choices.Like a couple of boulders dumped into a stream.”Lucia blinked.“You understand this better than I do.”“Yeah, I’m frickin’ deep that way.Any other pros you can think of? Besides money?”“It’s possible that what we do could help someone.Maybe save a life.”“Or not.I got over the whole idea that we’re working for the good guys when they sent me to wait outside while a woman got murdered, just so I could write down an apartment number and testify about it later.”Lucia shrugged.“I said it’s possible.”“I’ll put that one in the ‘maybe’ column.Okay, cons.I don’t trust these jerks anymore.”Borden cleared his throat.“Standing right here, Jazz.”She reached up without looking and put her hand on the lapel of his coat [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]