Kitty Rocks the House Page 12

I hesitated. I really wanted to say no, that Rick was one of us. But the look on his face last night—that he’d found a long-lost relative, or even—obviously—found religion. “I don’t know.”

“Where’s this new guy staying?” Cormac asked.

“I don’t know. He told Rick he’d know if he thought about it. Can you look for him?”

“I’ll see if I can find anything. No guarantees.”

“Of course not. Thanks, Cormac.”

“I’ll add it to the invoice.”

“What? Oh … well, sure, now that you mention it. Maybe we should just put you on retainer. Can you have PIs on retainer? I could look it up—”

“Good-bye, Kitty.” He hung up.

I kept thinking he was softening up, getting a little more friendly. Maybe even domesticated. He’d been through so much. He even had a feminine side now, in the form of Amelia. But not likely. I got the feeling Amelia had never been any more domesticated than Cormac. They made a pretty good team.

Rick didn’t need me looking after him, I reassured myself. He’d been taking care of himself for five hundred years, I had absolute confidence in his ability to keep taking care of himself. Mostly.

In the meantime, I wanted to find out everything I could about Father Columban, vampire priest. Just in case.

Chapter 5

THE DAYS I wasn’t doing the show, I spent preparing for the show, promoting the show—or dealing with fallout from the show. I tracked down interviews, filed hate mail, and Googled myself to see what people were saying about me. I’d end these afternoons feeling like I had a desk job. Downright respectable, even. I even had a 401(k) these days. I loved my job—that I could define my job and do exactly what I wanted to most of the time. But some days, I liked nothing better than to leave the KNOB offices and head home, to some peace and quiet and Ben. Not think about vampires, conspiracies, mysteries, or anything.

One of those days, late in the afternoon, I was halfway to my car when I caught a familiar scent, a person crossing KNOB’s parking lot. Female, human, tension and tobacco smoke. Detective Jessi Hardin. Her unmarked police sedan was parked in a far corner of the lot, giving me a chance to see her coming. I had an urge to run, but as Ben was fond of saying, running from the cops never did anyone any good. Standing my ground, I tried to smile in a way that was friendly and not challenging.

“Detective, what can I do for you?” I said, sounding far from innocent. Detective Hardin headed up the Denver PD’s Paranatural Unit—one of the first in the country. Mostly in spite of herself, she’d become an expert on the supernatural and crime. Mostly, she got that way by talking to me, because I knew all the dirt.

“Ms. Norville, how are you?” she said, also sounding not very innocent. She definitely hadn’t just happened to be walking across the parking lot and didn’t just want to say hello. She wore a white blouse, unbuttoned at the collar, and dark slacks, and her dark hair was in a short ponytail. Her badge hung on her belt, along with her semiautomatic.

“Oh, I’m fine. How are you?” This felt like theater. I wished she’d get to the point.

“I have a few questions for you,” she said.

“Of course you do.” The last couple of weeks had been a little crazy, but I didn’t think I’d done anything wrong. I tried to remember if I’d done anything the least bit suspicious. I hadn’t even staked out any haunted houses. “Whatever it was, I didn’t do it.”

“You seem a little jumpy. There something I should know about?”

“Standard cop reaction. I think you enjoy doing this to people.”

“Can’t deny it,” she said. “Seriously, though, you have a couple of minutes?”

I slung my bag into the backseat of my car and leaned against the hood.

She said, “I have reports of strange vampires visiting town.”

“Strange vampires—are there any other kind?”

She smirked. “You know what I mean. Foreign vampires. Powerful. You know anything about that?”

I wasn’t a great liar. “Maybe Denver’s tourism campaign is paying off. Maybe they’re taking Warren Zevon seriously.” Between “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead” and “Werewolves of London,” I had begun to wonder about Mr. Zevon.

“You’re keeping secrets,” she said.

“Yeah, well, not by choice,” I grumbled.

“What can you tell me?”

“Can you trust me when I say that no one’s causing any trouble?”

“Rick’s in on this, too, isn’t he? Should I talk to him?”

“If you can find him.”

“I’ll give him a call.”

I didn’t know that she had Rick’s number. I wondered when that had happened.

She drew out a manila folder she’d kept tucked under her arm. “How about a more specific question. Have you seen him?” She opened the folder to show me a sketch artist’s drawing of a man’s face, round and stout, frowning, short-cropped pale hair. It was Columban.

Vampires couldn’t make themselves invisible, precisely. But they could influence the way light did or didn’t strike them. They could appear on camera, if they wanted to. Or they could hide in shadows and leave no trace of their passing—keep their reflection from appearing in mirrors, that sort of thing. Security camera footage would never catch the vampire priest. But someone had witnessed something, to get this sketch.

“You’ve seen this guy,” Hardin said, because I couldn’t hide my shock.

“Where’d you get that? What’s he done?”

“Got it from my counterpart at Interpol, and he’s wanted for arson and homicide in Hungary.”

So many questions, I hardly knew where to start. “Homicide?”

“Two workers were killed in a fire he’s suspected of setting in a warehouse.”

I may have been suspicious of Columban, but he didn’t strike me as being criminal; arson and homicide didn’t jive very well with the serene priestly image he’d presented to us the other night. Just went to show, I didn’t know anything about him at all. Neither did Rick. I needed to call him. In light of this new information, I felt confused more than anything. Hardin had startled me on a couple of fronts.

Prev Next
Free Novels Read Online | Read Wuxia Novel | Read Xianxia Novel