Book: No Place for Fey (working title)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Warnings for some mild language and such. Enjoy!
Kyle Engel had an unexpected office on the fortieth floor. Subtle incense wafted into the hall the moment he opened his door, which yielded to a handprint scanner.
Inside, the carpet had been torn away, replaced by well-polished bamboo. The left-hand wall was devoted entirely to books, and the right to shiny weapons, none of which required bullets to be deadly. Between them was enough space for a healthy round of gymnastics. The windows looked out over Central Park, and there were no curtains. Instead, intricate wooden screens stood folded on either side, ready to be slid across to block most unnecessary light. A tiny black desk sat in one corner of the room, complete with laptop and dark leather chair, but Kyle Engel ignored them. He went to the tatami mat in front of the window and looked out, leaving her at his back.
Maggie’s steps slowed as the door shished shut behind her. “What did you want to tell me?” she said huskily, her throat tightening in response to the oddness of this whole situation.
Engel couldn’t have been more incongruous in his own office if he’d tried. He shrugged, lifting the shoulders of his jacket. “So you think the Lattanzio kid has something to do with us.”
“You recognized the victim’s name, which is interesting,” Maggie prompted, wandering over to look at his bookcase. They were alphabetized by author and packed with no space between, gilded titles in English, French, Japanese, Italian – could he actually read all these?
“It’s all over the news today.” He didn’t turn around. “Why do you think it’s tied to us?”
Maggie did a quick calculation: give away information that might let Triton Corp. cover its tracks, or use Engel’s clear disillusionment with the family business? She went halfway. “Lattanzio posed for one of your modeling agencies three years ago.”
That got his attention. He turned, staring at her, skin tinted slightly from the UV ray coating on the windows. “I. Don’t. Own. Anything. What poses? What photos?”
Murphy would love to go head to head with this guy, Maggie thought. “I answered your question. It’s your turn. I don’t want to have to get a warrant, Mr. Engel, so I suggest you work with me. I would like to learn more about your corporation’s connection with the modeling agencies under its umbrella, especially Telegraph Modeling.”
“It’s not my corporation!” Engel repeated, and clenched his fists. His arms must have been bulging under that jacket; the leather creaked, straining against tensed muscles.
“It’s not my corporation!” Engel repeated, and clenched his fists.
Murphy would have a spontaneous orgasm, Maggie thought, and coughed once to cover the unexpected laughter that wanted to leap from her throat. It wouldn’t be a socially acceptable laugh, anyway. Just a bark. She knew better than to set it free. “Mr. Engel. I don’t care about how much this corporation is or is not yours unless you happen to be the guilty party. Do I have to get a warrant?”
He relaxed slowly, closing his eyes and taking in a deep breath. No wonder his office was so peaceful. He clearly needed it. “Okay,” he said. “It’s like this. I’ll show you where to find what you need – but I can’t do more. You have to leave like I didn’t help you, get your warrant, and just happen to find the good stuff when you come back. All right?”
Well, that was even more odd. “Why? Do you want protection?”
Engel licked his lips and didn’t answer. “And when you come, whatever you find, don’t have your name at the top of the investigation.”
This whole thing was beginning to sound like a bad mob movie. “Wait. You’re protecting me?”
Engel sighed. Slid his hand over his face. “Shit’s going to come down. I feel bad for whomever it hits. But that’s why he did it in the first place. He wants shit to come down.” He turned back to the window. His expression turned to stone, hardened with internal war and tinted by the window. “Well, he’s going to get it.”
“Who is ‘he?'”
“Either you’ll figure it out or you won’t,” Engel said unhelpfully.
‘Whom’ fits with being multi-lingual and the shaky but constant self-discipline. The leather and spikes most definitely do not. Maggie frowned. “All right. Show me what you have to show me.”
It was going to be tricky using this. She couldn’t magically know these encrypted passwords, though she memorized what he typed in. More important was to follow the trail of which hidden folders he showed her, which directories to see.
What was in those directories? She didn’t know yet. Didn’t matter. She’d follow this lead.
His tour of the information system took approximately five minutes, and then he was escorting her back out the door again. “Try to look chastened or something,” he muttered in her ear.
She shivered – he was very warm – and did something she almost never did: allowed the scared rabbit to control the expression on her face.
It was effective. Witnesses in the lobby didn’t seem to know whom to root for more, the wild-but-sexy head of security, or the scared looking girl he manhandled. She maintained the look, head down and eyes wide, until he tossed her roughly out the door.
Her expression disappeared as she hurried back to the precinct.