Kitty Saves the World Page 33

“Well?” he demanded.

My brow furrowed. “I’m not sure I trust him.”

“He’s a producer, of course you shouldn’t trust him. But is he for real, is what I’m asking?”

Good question. I’d thought that of Ozzie the first time I met him. “This,” I said, “sounds like a job for the Internet.”

*   *   *

EVERYTHING I found online about Lightman looked good. Too good, as they said on TV. Good enough to encourage me to say yes, but also to inspire a prickling on the back of my neck. His production company had a website, they had a slate of successes, mostly in the genre of reality TV but also some cable-specific talk shows. Reviews mentioning the company popped up here and there, a few articles in Variety. I kept asking myself, what’s the catch? There had to be a catch.

Maybe that was because everything else in my life seemed to have a catch these days. If Lightman was serious, if he really did think I had a chance at the late-night talk show audience—the timing was terrible. I couldn’t think about that big of a life change right now.

On the other hand, if I wanted to run away from it all, this was a fabulous opportunity.

I had a picture hanging on the corkboard in my office, a sketch of a vision I’d had. Or a hallucination. I supposed it was a vision only if it turned out to be right. In a cave with the vampire Kumarbis and his followers, in the middle of a ritual that was supposed to be the end of all this—they’d kidnapped me, forced me to be the fifth part of their circle, their Regina Luporum. I’d scoffed, but in the middle of that ritual I saw her, just a glimpse over my shoulder. The first Regina Luporum, watching out for me. She was tough, small, with wild hair and fierce eyes. A warrior woman, and I couldn’t help but sigh with admiration looking at her.

What would she do? Well, she wouldn’t have started a radio show … But no. Be serious. She would stay and fight, discover Roman’s plans and stop him. She would stand up for her kind, protect her city. Find her pack, bring them home.

I had work to do.

*   *   *

ANOTHER FRIDAY night saw me back in the studio.

Tonight’s show felt like the confluence of several rivers. It felt like an opportunity, but it also felt like a trap. I could play it safe—or I could call out my enemies. I’d be trying to decide which way to go, right up to the moment the On Air sign lit.

Matt was already in the booth when I arrived—he seemed to live there, though he sometimes came out to New Moon with me. He had a girlfriend who was a night-shift ER nurse. Two night owls, cozied up together.

I leaned through the door.

“Hey,” he said by way of greeting. “All set?”

I took a breath. “Yeah, I think so. I have to warn you though—things may get a little weird tonight.”

He raised a brow, because he’d heard this before. “Weird how?”

“Not sure. I just … I’ve been kicking over rocks to see what’s there, and what’s there may kick back. The show’s always a good target for that.”

He snorted good-naturedly. “You know your cop friend, Hardin, already called me and said she’ll be over if we need her?”

I might have gotten a little teary eyed at that. I could do what I did because of the people looking out for me.

“Matt. Thanks. For sticking with it all this time. You’re as much the show as I am.”

“Are you kidding? What other gig would be as interesting as this one? And I love Denver; it’s not like I’m going to leave for some other job.”

That was something I hadn’t thought about when Lightman made his offer—if I moved the show, Matt likely wouldn’t move with me. Had Lightman considered all the implications? I was beginning to think he hadn’t. He was an L.A. guy; Denver must have looked like a hick town to him.

“Right. Let’s get it on.”

Tina had offered to come in and help with the show, but she was still recovering from injuries and I didn’t want her up late and in pain. We had the recorded interview we’d done, that would be good enough. I had my folder of notes, of innocuous topics of supernatural interest I always kept on hand so I’d never run out of things to talk about. I also had a list—what we knew about Roman, what we needed to know. The show could go either way.

On the other side of the window, Matt counted down. The On Air sign lit, “Bad Moon Rising” spooled up, and we were live.

“Good evening, true believers. Once again you’ve tuned in to The Midnight Hour, shining a flashlight on the things that go bump in the night and watching them twitch. I hope you’ve all got your phones ready, because I want your calls.

“First off, a news item has crossed my desk that I want to share: Broadway star Mercedes Cook has retired for good and for real. Her publicist issued a statement yesterday that the actress has, and I quote, ‘officially retired from public life and would no longer be available for any concerts or other performances.’ Unquote. You’ll recall that Ms. Cook came on this very show a few years ago and announced that she was a vampire, making her one of the first outed vampire celebrities in the world. Now, theoretically, Mercedes could keep her career going on, well, forever. So what prompted this sudden retirement, without so much as a farewell tour? I called her publicist and was given a rote statement that they will not be answering questions and that, yes, the retirement is for real and permanent.” All that was true: Cook’s PR firm had issued a statement, and I had called them looking for more information. Mainly hoping they’d let drop a clue about whether or not they knew that she was dead, or if they were just trying to cover for what must have looked like a sudden disappearance. I couldn’t tell if they knew or not. I certainly didn’t tell them what I knew. I didn’t want anyone asking me questions about it. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, she’d simply vanished, not been staked to death, and that was that. The mystery would linger.

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