Toby Wise goes to Oregon to sort out the mess left at Connor Corp after Laran's demise. Between the FBI investigation of money laundering, a witch hunt, a rogue vampire and a monster, it's quite surprising Toby even notices Laura Fox, the nurse. But notice her he does, and when Toby flies in through his study window and lands naked on the carpet, Laura certainly notices him.
Maybe fortune did favor the sneaky and the underhand. The unexpected guest was asleep (Laura peered round the door to be sure) and Mr. Connor was dozing peacefully. With Mr. Wise not returning until morning, she had several good hours to poke and pry and hopefully find something to satisfy her father. Once she did, she was quitting. She could not look these people in the face knowing she'd spied on them. She wouldn't have even considered it, but Dad had been close to tears when he begged her. It beat her how he let his new partner pressure him so.
The paper was Dad's bailiwick, she was the one prying on nice people and a fair employer.
She booted up the computer and after a good hour, found nothing. Email was password protected - nothing unusual in that hers was too. Quicken showed nothing more than personal bank accounts. She certainly envied his bank balances but having very a nice savings account was hardly illegal. There were a couple of locked files, but if they held the dubious secrets Dad was after, she couldn't access them. The files she could open held ordinary-seeming business correspondence and a bunch of IRS tax publications.
Drawing a blank there, she looked at the bookmarks in his browser. He seemed to be interested in South Carolina History but that was hardly the basis for an exposé. She shut the computer down, checking the keyboard and mouse were left exactly as she'd found them, and went for the desk drawers.
They were virtually empty, probably cleaned out after Mr. Connor's stroke, and there hadn't been time to accumulate the usual clutter. Mr. Wise appeared to have a liking for purple felt tip pens and often ripped out articles from Business Week, but that was that.
Maybe the filing cabinet would have what she needed.
The bottom two drawers were locked. Interesting, but the keys weren't in the desk drawers and picking locks hasn't part of her training. She had the top one open and was flicking though the files, when a sound like a wild gust of wind made her turn around.
Her employer stood in the middle of the carpet. Frowning. At her. "What the hell are you doing?" he asked. Her mouth dropped open as he came towards her. "I repeat, Nurse Fox what exactly do you think are you doing?"
"I..." Inventing a plausible lie was beyond her capabilities right now. Hard to think when caught in the wrong by an irate employer. A naked irate employer. He was tall, very black, and even better looking that a couple of her stray fantasies had suggested.
He was also bleeding. "You're hurt."
"Utterly irrelevant, Nurse Fox. Please answer my question." He crossed the carpet and put his hand on her shoulder. Nakedness didn't seem to faze him. She'd be equally cool. After all, she was a nurse, she'd seen plenty of naked men in her job but not standing upright, inches from her and meeting her eyes in a way that demanded the truth. "What are you looking for?"
Toby watched as the instinct to lie crumbled before his compulsion to tell the truth. "Proof of illegal activity."
Toby hissed. Damn FBI! Planting agents in Piet's house! They didn't miss a trick. "Who send you?" If it was either of the agents this morning...
"Dad, he sent me."
Rather unsubtle! Mortals! He needed to know if "Dad' was an FBI code name but damn, he was worn out and the effort to bend her will this much had him close to dropping. "Indeed. Go back to your patient, Nurse Fox. You'll tell me everything in the morning." He watched as she blinked, her green eyes still confused and then walked across the room to the door, without looking back.
Copyright © 2006 Rosemary Laurey