Chapter Eight

"Where's Jackie?" Vincent asked the question between bites of the blueberry muffin that Tiny had set before him with coffee when he'd entered the kitchen moments ago. It was only a little after three, early for him to be awake, but awake he was, and feeling well rested and cheerful for all that he wasn't used to being up at this hour.

"Asleep on the couch in the office," Tiny answered as he settled across the table from Vincent with his own muffin and coffee.

Vincent stopped chewing and stared blankly at the man. The answer sounded so unlike the professional and hardworking woman he'd come to know, he could hardly believe it.

"Asleep?" Vincent asked, just to be sure he hadn't misheard.

Tiny grinned and admitted, "I found it rather shocking myself, but I don't think she slept well last night. She got up at her usual time this morning with huge rings under her eyes and with that'I haven't had enough sleep' grouchy look I've learned to tiptoe around."

"How do you handle her when she has that look?" Vincent asked with amusement.

"Place a coffee and a muffin in front of her and keep my mouth shut until she's either got some more rest, or woken up properly and made her way past it," he said with a shrug. "Which is exactly what I did, and then I told her you'd left her a note in the office and she went to the office."

Tiny took a sip of his coffee before telling him, "Jackie was on the phone most of the morning. We had lunch and then she settled on the couch in the office this afternoon to go through the last of the letters, but when I went in to see if she needed any help, she'd fallen asleep there. She looked like she needed it, so I turned out the light and left her sleeping. Besides, it isn't like we're working normal hours here, is it? I didn't see any reason to disturb her."

Vincent nodded. His own hours alone insured they worked past a normal workday. He had no problem with Jackie sleeping, it just surprised him that she was.

"I'll wake her up once you're done with your muffin and are ready to go," Tiny announced. "The three of us are supposed to go to your production company today."

Vincent popped the last of his muffin into his mouth and stood. "I'll go shower and get dressed, then have another muffin afterward while you wake her."

Leaving the kitchen, Vincent headed for the stairs, but found himself veering off toward the office at the last moment. He just had to see for himself that the so businesslike Ms. Morrisey was snoozing in the middle of the day.

Reaching the office, he eased the door open and slid inside, then pushed it silently closed again even as his eyes sought out the couch. The curtains were all closed, blocking out the midday sun. It left the room in darkness, but Vincent had the exceptional night vision his kind enjoyed and had no problem crossing the dark room without bumping into anything.

At the side of the couch, he paused and peered down on Jackie's sleeping figure. She was wearing another dark outfit though he couldn't tell what color it was in this light, but the blouse she wore appeared to him to be white. His eyes traveled over her again and he almost sighed aloud. No one should look this sexy in sleep.

Jackie's face was soft in slumber, her defenses down. She was positioned on her back, one arm above her head, the other lying out to the side and hanging off the couch. Her blouse was pulled tight across her breasts in this position and had allowed one more button than usual to slip through its button hole, leaving a generous expanse of creamy flesh on display. He could even see the lace of her bra peeking up from under the silk of her blouse. It was a sight to put ideas in a man's head and Vincent found himself wondering what it would be like to run his tongue along the line of that lace and dip it between the generous curves of her breasts. He could imagine how soft and warm her skin would be if he tugged her top open and slid the lace down so that he could replace it with his hands. She would be full and ripe in his palms, the nipples hard little pebbles, eager for him to lick and suckle.

Jackie sighed and shifted in her sleep and Vincent forced his gaze away from that tempting area to let his eyes move further down her body. One of her legs was lying straight out along the couch, the other was half-bent at the knee and her skirt was twisted enticingly high around her thighs, revealing the tops of her stockings and more creamy white flesh above them.

Vincent swallowed thickly, fascinated by the sight. He had a sudden urge to drop to his knees and bend forward to run his tongue across the smooth skin along the top of her stocking. He could almost taste her salty flesh on his tongue and imagine the ripple that would go through her muscles were he to urge her legs apart and run his tongue further up her thigh...

Before he'd grown bored with sex, Vincent used to like to feed on the vein in the thighs of his women. He'd like to now. He'd like to kiss and caress Jackie. He'd like to drop to push her skirt up over her hips and duck his head between her legs. He'd enjoy pleasuring her as the blood sang in the veins next to his ears, rushing toward the spot he was lavishing with attention. Then, as she cried out with her pleasure, he'd turn his head and sink his teeth deep, plunging them into the vein and pouring his pleasure into her mind even as he took from her.

Jackie cried out and arched on the couch and Vincent blinked his fantasies away to peer down at her. Her breath was coming in little excited pants, her chest rising and falling quickly, her hands now curled into the cloth of the couch. More than that though, her legs were spread as if he had indeed knelt between them, urging them apart, and her body was bowing in sleep as if he was really doing the things he'd imagined.

Vincent blinked in surprise and began to back away from the couch as her breathing began to slow and her body to relax. He knew exactly what had happened. Damn. Her mind had been open in sleep and his thoughts had somehow slipped through into her dream world. She'd experienced it all as if he'd actually done it. Hell, his own body had reacted as if it had really happened. He had the mother of all erections poking his pajama bottoms out like a tent. It was a state he hadn't enjoyed for a very long time. All of it was something he'd never experienced before. He'd put thoughts and memories in people's minds of course, but never without intending to, never connecting to them in their sleep.

A little bewildered and befuddled, Vincent slipped from the room and headed upstairs. His shower would be a cold one, he decided.

"I don't think Tiny's too pleased to be left behind."

Jackie glanced at Vincent and then followed his gaze out the window as she started the rental car. Tiny stood framed in the light spilling out of the front door of Vincent's house in the growing dusk. With the light coming from behind, his face was cast in shadow and it was impossible to see his expression, but Jackie didn't have to see it to know what it was. His stiff stance in the doorway told her he was unhappy.

Shaking her head, she shifted the car into gear and steered up the driveway. "Yes, I know, and at first I planned on his coming, but then I realized Sharon and Lily had already been told he was your housekeeper. There's no reason you would bring your housekeeper to the office at the production agency. Your production assistant? Yes. Marguerite? Her too. But not your cook."

"I realize that," Vincent acknowledged. "I think he does too, but he's still not happy with it."

"Tiny's a worrier," she said with a shrug. "He'll worry until we get back. He always does."

"He cares about you," Marguerite commented from the backseat.

"Yes." Jackie smiled faintly as she brought the car to a halt to wait while the security gates at the roadside opened. She and Tiny had been partners for a long time and were good friends. More than that, he was the closest thing to family she had since her father's death.

Vincent shifted in the seat next to her and Jackie glanced over to see him looking relaxed and at ease in the passenger seat. She let her gaze wander over him briefly, then—recalling that Marguerite was behind her and could see her checking out her nephew—she turned her attention forward again as the gates to his driveway finished opening.

A small silence folded around the three of them as she pulled out onto the street and Jackie was content to let it be as she drove.

As she'd expected, Vincent and Marguerite had not found anything missing or out of place in the house during their search last night. Vincent had left her a note to that effect on the desk in his office so she wouldn't be left to wonder until he awoke. In truth, Jackie had forgotten all about the search until she'd read the note. She'd had trouble getting to sleep the night before. Her mind had been busy going over everything that had been said and done since she'd met Vincent Argeneau. And not for business purposes. Now that she'd acknowledged he was nice and not like Cassius, her defenses had been badly weakened. She couldn't seem to think of much besides the man and how handsome he was.

In the end, Jackie had only managed a bare four hours of rest before her alarm had gone off this morning. Feeling like death, she'd stumbled to the bathroom and tried to shower herself awake.

Much to Jackie's irritation, when she'd finally made her way downstairs it was to find Tiny in the kitchen, wide awake and cheerful as hell as he'd placed a cup of coffee and muffin on the table in front of her. She'd gulped the coffee, but passed on the muffin. Jackie always felt slightly nauseous when she hadn't had enough sleep and this morning had been no exception.

Tiny—recognizing the rings under her eyes and used to her moods when she hadn't slept enough—had kept conversation to a minimum, merely telling her there was a note for her in the office. Grunting what she considered to be a thank you, Jackie had poured herself another coffee and wandered off to the office to find the note.

She hadn't been surprised that the search had proven that nothing else in the house had been disturbed or taken last night. It was what she'd expected. The list of employees had been the target then... or had become the target when their saboteur had seen it lying there. It made her eager to get to the production office and get her hands on another copy of it. Unfortunately, she'd had to wait for Vincent to wake up to do that.

Jackie had spent part of the morning on the phone with the office in New York, getting updates on the cases underway there, then had settled on the couch with some paperwork and promptly fallen asleep. If falling asleep on the job weren't bad enough, she'd then proceeded to have wet dreams about Vincent Argeneau. Just recalling them was enough to make her flesh tingle.

"So what excuse do I give everyone for coming into the office today?"

Vincent's question drew Jackie's thoughts from her heated memories of the passionate dream she'd enjoyed that afternoon. Remonstrating with herself to keep her thoughts on the job at hand, she glanced his way as she parked the car in the lot of the large white building that housed V.A. Productions.

"What do you mean what excuse do you give?" she asked with surprise. "It's your company. Surely you come here?"

"Well, yes," he said, managing to sound doubtful. "But why am I bringing you and Marguerite here?"

"I'm your personal assistant and you want to familiarize me with all aspects of your business," Jackie answered promptly, reminding him of her own cover in this case. "And Marguerite asked to come along because she's never seen your company." She met the woman's eyes in the rearview mirror. "You haven't, have you?"

"No," Marguerite assured her. "This will be my first visit."

"Good," Jackie opened her car door and got out, then walked around the car to meet Vincent and his aunt as they disembarked on the other side. They walked in together, Vincent between the two women.

Jackie had known that Vincent had money. That had been obvious from his house: big, beautiful and expensively decorated, it was also on some prime real estate. Everyone wanted to live on the water out here. Still, she supposed she'd just assumed that he was your average level of wealthy and had, perhaps, purchased his home years ago, when the land was worth less. Three steps inside the doors of the big white building that housed his production company, however, told her that the man wasn't just wealthy, he was loaded.

Jackie had expected the building to house several other companies aside from his own. It didn't. The entire building housed V.A. Productions and nothing else. The entry led into a large lobby with two receptionists and an armed guard. All three were mortal, she saw, glancing from face to face and noting their eyes. And all three glanced toward them with polite enquiry when Vincent ushered the women through the front door. Their expressions were quick to change to shock, however, as they recognized the V.A. in V.A. Productions. The shock was still on their faces as he led Jackie and Marguerite past the desk and into the elevator.

"Why do I get the feeling that you don't come here often?" Jackie asked dryly as Vincent pushed the button for the top floor and the elevator doors closed on the three stunned faces.

"They recognized me, didn't they?" Vincent said with a shrug.

Jackie lifted an eyebrow at the comment, but Vincent didn't notice. His attention was fixed on the elevator panel over the doors, watching the floors light up as he added, "Besides, I've never been here this early and the guards are on a different shift than our other workers. They switch shifts at seven P.M. rather than six like the rest of the building. Security suggested it so that they wouldn't be changing guards as everyone was arriving or leaving."

"Smart," Jackie commented with approval, then forgot all about it as the elevator gave a ding and the doors began to open.

This was obviously the executive floor, she saw as they stepped out into a world of plush carpet and muted music.

Another reception desk awaited them here, this one also sporting two receptionists and an armed male guard. As in the entry, the receptionists were both a male and a female and both were human.

And, as with the ones below, these three people looked shocked to see Vincent Argeneau entering, but none of them did more than nod in greeting as he passed.

Jackie waited until they were started down a long hallway before moving closer to Vincent to ask, "Are your night security here human as well?"

"No. Immortal," Vincent assured her.

"I'm surprised immortals would take the position," Jackie commented. Among humans, security guards were among the least respected and lowest paying jobs. She didn't understand why, herself. After all, security were basically on the front line should anything happen. They were also responsible for the safety and security of everyone in the building, but still the job was considered the lowest of the low. And, in her experience, immortals were far too arrogant to take on what was considered to be no better than a grunt job by most people.

"We pay well," Vincent explained. "Still, the position is usually filled with the young borns and the newly turned."

Jackie nodded absently, but asked, "So you have three shifts for security, seven P.M. to three A.M., three A.M. to eleven A.M., and eleven A.M. to seven P.M., right?"


"And the guards are human from eleven A.M. to seven P.M., but immortal from seven P.M. to three A.M. What about the three A.M. to eleven A.M. shift?"


Jackie nodded. She'd expected as much. "We'll need to talk to your security chief. They need to change things."

"Why?" Vincent asked with surprise.

"Because while it's smart to stagger the shifts so that security isn't changing while the other workers are, the shifts need to be rearranged," Jackie murmured, working it through quickly in her head. "The security shifts need to change an hour before the others rather than an hour after. The three shifts should be five P.M. to one A.M., one A.M. to nine A.M. and nine A.M. to five P.M. And you need to put immortals on both the five P.M. to one A.M. shift and the one A.M. to nine A.M. shift, or split up the groups so that each has an immortal and a human on it. The way it stands, an immortal would have no trouble slipping in before the seven P.M. to three A.M. immortal shift starts and any time after it ends."

"You're right," Vincent said with a sigh. "We've never really been concerned about immortals breaking in here. The security is to keep mortal thieves out, or to handle upset mortals who didn't get roles or jobs and keep them from causing trouble, not to defend against immortals. There's never been a reason to fear immortals causing trouble."

"There is now," Jackie pointed out.

"Yes," he acknowledged with a small sigh that spoke of his unhappiness with the knowledge that his saboteur was one of his own. Jackie cast him a sympathetic glance, but didn't say anything as he suddenly took both her arm and Marguerite's to turn them into the last door at the end of the hall.

"Vincent!" Sharon nearly leapt out of her seat as they entered what was obviously her office. You would have thought the woman had been shocked with a cattle prod, she got up so swiftly.

"Hi Sharon. You remember Jackie. And this is my aunt, Marguerite Argeneau," Vincent greeted as he paused before the woman's desk.

"Oh, Mrs. Argeneau, hello," Sharon gushed, hurrying around the desk to offer her hand. Jackie couldn't help noticing that her presence was completely ignored.

Vincent seemed to notice too, however. At least, she thought the tightening around his mouth might be because of the rude exclusion of her presence. He didn't comment, but he did immediately begin to herd her and Marguerite toward the inner door and away from the woman's fawning over his aunt.

"Is there any coffee around here?" he asked as he walked and then added pointedly. "Jackie might like a coffee. So would I. What about you, Aunt Marguerite?"

"No, thank you," Marguerite murmured as he ushered them into his office.

Sharon wasn't given time to respond to his comments as by the time he'd finished making them, Vincent was closing the door to the office.

Jackie glanced around the large, luxurious office as she and Marguerite followed him to the desk. Pausing in front of the two chairs before his desk, she then turned slowly, her gaze drifting over everything in the room. All she could think as she took in the huge marble desk and opulent decor of the room was that the man had expensive taste. Or perhaps it was his decorator who did, Jackie decided as she took in the stark black and white interior. The office was nothing like his home, where the neutral base colors were all offset by colorful accessories such as throw rugs, pillows, candles, and paintings in rich, vibrant colors.

"I take it you really don't come in here often?" Jackie asked with amusement as Vincent walked around the desk to drop into the chair behind it.

"What makes you think that?" he asked, expression wary.

"Oh, I don't know," she said with amusement. "Perhaps it's everyone's apparent shock at your being here now... and the dust on your desktop," Jackie added to prevent his coming out with the "I've never been here this early," comment again.

"She's right, dear," Marguerite commented. "It is rather dusty. I think you need a new cleaning service."

Vincent just grimaced and said, "I fear I prefer acting to the business end of things... or I used to." He acknowledged his growing boredom with what used to be his passion for acting with an unhappy expression. "I tend to travel a lot with the acting too, so I have a vice president who takes care of the boring business stuff."

"Human or immortal?" Jackie asked curiously.

"Both," Vincent answered. "I actually have two vice presidents. One human for daytime matters, and one immortal who manages everything at night. Neil and Stephano Notte pretty much take care of everything between the two of them and just check in with me on occasion to be sure we're all in agreement on things."

"Ah yes, the Notte brothers," Marguerite murmured, settling in the chair beside the one Jackie stood in front of. "Bastien has mentioned them. He says you made a wise choice employing them."

Jackie raised her eyebrows at this comment, then said, "Let me guess: Stephano is the immortal and Neil the mortal."

"Why would you say that?" Vincent asked.

"Because Neil is a nice, normal, mortal-type name, and all you immortals seem to have exotic -ien, -ius, or -o-type names," she answered dryly.

"Exotic -ien names?" Vincent asked with bewilderment.

"Yes, you know, like Bastien. Exotic names rather than normal pedestrian names like everyone else has today," she explained.

"Actually, Bastien was a common name when I gave it to him," Marguerite murmured with amusement.

"Yes, and so was mine," Vincent added.

Jackie grimaced. "Yes, well, that's my point. Older vampires have older names that are no longer in common usage. Like Stephano."

"Actually, I believe Neil is the immortal and Stephano the human," Marguerite announced with amusement, then raised an eyebrow at Vincent. "Am I not right?"

Vincent nodded and Jackie's eyes widened with surprise. "You're kidding?"


She considered that briefly, then sighed and dropped into her chair. Just when she thought she had these guys figured out, they pulled a fast one on her. Immortals usually had strange or exotic names and metallic eyes. It looked as if the metallic eyes part was the only thing she could count on.

"So..." Vincent raised an eyebrow. "What do we do first? Meet everyone here to give them the once over? Or get the list of employees from Dracula, the Musical?"

"Both," Jackie decided. "Sharon can round up the list while you introduce me around, then we'll take the list home with us so Tiny can help go over it."

Vincent nodded at the suggestion and had started to push his chair back when the office door suddenly swung open, making them all glance toward it. Sharon entered carrying a tray with two coffees, cream, and sugar on it.

"Oh, Sharon, thank you," Vincent said, getting to his feet.

The secretary set the tray on the desk and explained, "I don't know how to make coffee. Fortunately, there was some left over from the day shift."

"That's fine," Vincent assured her, then glanced to Jackie before adding, "I brought Jackie in today to meet everyone and familiarize her with the business. Aunt Marguerite wished to come along since she'd never been here."

Jackie bit her lip to keep back her amusement as he repeated almost word for word what she'd suggested. It did the trick. Sharon relaxed and smiled as she said, "Of course. Is there anything I can help with?"

Vincent's glance slid to Jackie, then he said, "Actually, yes there is. We're going to need another copy of the employee list you and Lily brought over yesterday."

"Another copy?" She frowned, but said, "Of course. I'll round up the paperwork again and photocopy it."

"Thank you," Vincent said as she left, then stood and leaned over the desk to peer at the coffee tray. Jackie stood as well and they both moved to fix a cup each. Vincent reached for the sugar and Jackie the cream, but both of them paused and grimaced as Jackie poured the cream into the nearest cup and the liquid turned a dark gray. This coffee was terribly old and unbearably strong. There was no doubt it was undrinkable.

"There's a cafeteria downstairs," Vincent announced, setting the sugar back on the tray. "We can stop in there and grab a cup on our introduction tour."

"Good thinking." Jackie set the creamer on the tray and straightened as he walked around the desk. It seemed they were leaving right away, which was fine with her. Jackie and Marguerite followed him to the door. When he opened it for them, they stepped into Sharon's office, then paused at the sound of slightly raised voices coming from an open door behind Sharon's desk.

"What do you mean they were the originals?" Sharon's voice sounded shocked.

"I told you that when you insisted on driving me over," Lily's voice answered with exasperation. "I was supposed to fax over copies, but you insisted on taking them over in person and I said I'd make copies and you said no, we'd just take the ones I had. Well, those were the originals, our copies. We don't have any more of them."

"Well, I didn't realize they were the originals," Sharon said shortly.

"You had to, Sharon. You took them out of the drawer yourself and insisted we take them." Lily sounded completely bewildered by the other woman's words.

Jackie's glance slid to Vincent as he moved past her to approach the open door.

"Is there a problem, ladies?" he asked as Jackie and Marguerite followed and peered over his shoulders into a small file room.

"I'm afraid we brought the original copies of the employee list to you yesterday," Sharon announced with a glance in the hapless Lily's direction. "We don't have backups. I hope it's not too important?"

Jackie's gaze narrowed on the woman. The secretary didn't look terribly sorry to have to make the announcement. In fact, there was a satisfied gleam in her eye as she peered in Jackie's direction.

Vincent glanced back toward Jackie with concern, but before he could say anything, Lily spoke up. "We still have it on computer, Sharon. We can just pull up the file and print it again."

"Oh... Yes." Not looking terribly pleased with the idea of the extra work, Sharon slid past them all and moved to her desk. Settling into her seat, she turned on her computer. The secretary glanced up to smile a bit stiffly at the four of them as Vincent, Jackie, Marguerite, and Lily moved around her desk to wait. She then ignored them and began to click away with her mouse as the computer finished going through its startup cycle. She clicked several times, then stopped suddenly and began to frown.

"Is there something wrong?" Vincent asked, his gaze narrowing.

"No, no," she assured him, but the secretary was frowning as she added, "It doesn't appear to be where I thought it was. I must have saved it in a different folder."

Jackie felt concern tighten in her stomach. She was beginning to suspect the files had been removed. It made perfect sense that the saboteur might have made his way here after getting the papers from the house. That should have occurred to her last night. If it had, they could have headed straight here and perhaps got to the files before the saboteur had... Unless the saboteur had hit the office first. She wasn't at all surprised when Sharon glanced up with obvious frustration and admitted that the file appeared to be missing.

Lily and Sharon turned wide questioning eyes to Vincent then, but he and Marguerite had turned to Jackie. She didn't at first respond, but was busy considering matters. Owning her own company as she did, she knew that there would be other departments that might have the information. Costuming would have had to have a list of at least the actors along with their sizes to dress them. Security might have a list of who had been used in security. Each department would be a source for who was hired in each area, but there was one department that should have the information on everyone in the production. Anyone who had worked on that play should have earned a check for the time they worked on it, which meant that accounting should have a list of all the individuals.

"Accounting should have a copy," Lily blurted suddenly, the production assistant's mind obviously having run along the same lines as Jackie's. She moved forward now, saying, "I'll go ask Phillip if he'll?

"Phillip is on vacation," Sharon pointed out.

"Oh," Lily paused and hesitated, then said, "Well, his secretary, Meredith, should be able to pull it up for us."

"You're right, Lily," Vincent smiled at the production assistant.

"Shall I go ask her if she would?"

"No, no." Vincent patted her shoulder. "I wanted to introduce Jackie around anyway. We'll stop in there first and ask Meredith to pull it up. Good thinking though. Thank you."

When Jackie added her smile of approval to Vincent's and the girl smiled shyly back, she found herself shaking her head as she turned to lead the way out of the office. Honestly, the girl didn't look more than twelve or fourteen when she smiled like that. Jackie almost expected to see braces sparkling out at her. However, the girl was smart and at least trying to be helpful, unlike Sharon.

"Do you want to head right to accounting, or meet people along the way?" Vincent asked as he led her along the hall.

"Either way," she answered. "It doesn't really matter."

Vincent turned a questioning gaze to Marguerite then, but she just shook her head. "I'm just here to tag along. However you like it, Vincent."

Nodding, he paused at the first door they came to and ushered them inside.

"Mr. Argeneau." The blonde behind the desk hid her surprise behind a smile of welcome as she stood up. "Mr. Notte didn't warn me that you'd be coming in today."

"Stephano didn't know, Amelia," Vincent assured her as he ushered Jackie and Marguerite across the office. "Is he in? I want to introduce him to my aunt and Jackie."

"No, I'm afraid not."

Vincent paused halfway to the inner door and turned to her with obvious surprise. "He isn't? But he's always in here late. He stays to brief Neil when he comes in."

"Well, he is here somewhere, but he stepped out for a minute," the woman explained, then frowned as she added, "He should be back soon. In fact, I was just wondering what was holding him up when you came in. He has tickets to a show tonight and planned to leave early."

"Oh. Well, I'm sure he'll return shortly, then," he said and added, "We'll keep an eye out for him on our tour, but if he should stop back here without meeting us, tell him not to worry about it. We can catch him another time, there's no need to delay leaving."

Amelia nodded, looking relieved that he wasn't upset. "If he returns, I'll tell him you were here."

"Thank you," Vincent said as he led them out.

They didn't go far, just to the next door up the hall.

"This is Phillip's office," he explained as he led the way inside.

"The accountant who's on vacation," Jackie murmured as they paused in front of the empty desk in the outer office. "Is his secretary off while he's away?"

"I don't think so. Sharon would have mentioned if Meredith were away too," Vincent said, then glanced toward the door to the inner office.

Following his gaze, Jackie spotted the cracked open door and raised her eyebrows. "Perhaps she's in there."

Vincent moved to the door and pushed it open. He glanced inside, then went terribly stiff. It was as if someone had shoved a pole up his back. She wasn't the only one to notice.

"What is it?" Marguerite asked with concern as Jackie moved to join him in the doorway.

At first glance everything seemed in order... until Jackie noted the legs sticking out behind the desk, a man's legs in trousers and dress shoes. Those legs weren't moving.

Slipping past Vincent, Jackie crossed the room and moved around the desk, stopping short the moment she was able to see the whole man. She knew it wasn't Phillip, the accountant. He was on vacation. Whoever it was, however, was dressed like an accountant, full business suit, nice tie, expensive dress shoes... In fact, the only thing that ruined the image of the wealthy, successful businessman was the knife in his chest.

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