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Книга Sense Of Evil. Содержание - 4

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“Good night, Mal.” He remained where he was until he heard the front door of his apartment close. Then he fell back against the pillows and muttered a heartfelt “Shit.”

Outside Alan’s apartment building, Mallory stood on the sidewalk for a moment breathing in the slightly breezy but otherwise mild night air. It was a well-lighted sidewalk close to downtown Hastings, and Mallory shouldn’t have felt particularly threatened.

The breeze intensified suddenly, blowing an empty soft drink can across the sidewalk a few feet away, and Mallory nearly jumped out of her skin.

“Shit,” she muttered.

She could hear the trees whispering softly as the wind stirred their leaves. Hear the occasional swish of a car passing a block or so away. Crickets. Bullfrogs.

Her name.

Not that she really heard that, of course. It was just that she had the uneasy feeling she was being watched. Even followed sometimes.

She’d been conscious of it for some time now, days at least. At odd moments, usually but not always when she was outside, like now. If she were a blonde, she would have been getting really nervous about it; as it was, the sensation just made her wary and a lot more careful.

And jumpy as hell.

She had to wonder if this killer, like so many she’d read about in the police manuals, kept an eye on the cops as they investigated his crimes. Was that it? Was some wacko watching gleefully from behind the bushes, congratulating himself on his cleverness and their incompetence?

If so, maybe it made sense that he’d concentrate on one-or more-of the female officers rather than the guys. She made a mental note to herself to ask some of the other women in the department if any of them had been aware of this creepy feeling. And if they had, or maybe especially if they hadn’t, she’d have to ask the FBI profiler about it.

The gorgeous female blond FBI profiler.

Mallory knew Rafe was pissed and unhappy about that; he’d never been a man to hide his feelings. But she also knew that Isabel Adams had somehow managed to persuade him to accept her presence in the investigation.

And it hadn’t been by batting her baby greens at him either.

No, there was a lot more to this than sex appeal; she knew Rafe too well not to feel sure that his reasons for accepting Isabel were logical and completely professional. She was still here because he believed she was an asset to the investigation. Period.

Which wasn’t to say he was immune to the effects of a beautiful face, green eyes, and a body that looked really good in clingy summery clothing. He was a man, after all.

She half laughed under her breath but kept a wary eye on her surroundings as she unlocked her car and got in. Then again, she thought, maybe she wasn’t being quite fair to Rafe. Maybe having her own man problems at the moment made her overly sensitive to undercurrents.

Not that Alan was being particularly subtle. Mallory was somewhat bemused to find herself, for the first time in her adult life, on the traditionally male side of things in their relationship: she was the one who was perfectly happy with casual sex a couple of times a week, no strings or promises.

Alan wanted more.

Sighing, Mallory started the car and headed off toward her own apartment on the other side of town. It was relatively easy to push Alan and the various problems he presented to the back of her mind, at least for the moment, because in the forefront there was still the vague but persistent feeling that she was being watched.

All the way home, she couldn’t shake the feeling, even though she didn’t see anyone following her. Or anyone in the vicinity of her apartment building. She parked her car carefully in its slot in a well-lighted area and locked it up, then kept her key-chain pepper spray in one hand and her other hand resting on or near her weapon all the way inside and up to her apartment.

Nothing.

No one.

Just this nagging feeling that someone was watching every move she made.

Once inside, Mallory leaned back against her locked apartment door and softly muttered, “Shit.”

“Let me get this straight.” Isabel rubbed the nape of her neck, staring at her partner. “You met Caleb Powell in that coffee shop on Main Street, and you spilled all that stuff I picked up at Tricia Kane’s apartment?”

“Not all of it.” Hollis shrugged. “Just some… selected bits. I told you, he didn’t want to talk to me. And from the jut of his jaw, I’d say he wouldn’t have been willing to talk to any of us. So I got his attention. What’s wrong with that?”

“Did he ask you how you obtained this information?”

“Yeah, but I distracted him. More or less.”

“Hollis, he’s a lawyer. They don’t get distracted, as a rule. Not for long, anyway. What happens when he starts asking questions?”

“I don’t think he will. He wants to find out who killed Tricia Kane. Besides, you told Chief Sullivan.”

“As closely as we’ll have to work with Rafe and his lead investigator on this case, he had to know. So will she. But a civilian?”

Hollis sighed, clearly impatient with the discussion. “Somehow I don’t think a lawyer finding out we’re psychics is going to be our major problem. I’m new at this whole thing, and you might as well have a bull’s-eye target on your back. In neon.” She stood up. “Since we have that early meeting in the morning, I think I’ll go back to my own room and get some sleep, if you don’t mind.”

Without protest, Isabel merely said, “I’ll be up and ready for breakfast at seven if you want to meet me here.” The small inn where they were staying didn’t provide room service, but there was a restaurant nearby.

“Okay. See you then.”

“Good night, Hollis.”

When she was alone in her room again, Isabel got ready for bed, brooding. Just as the night before, she barely noticed the uninspired, any-hotel-in-any-town-U.S.A. decor, and out of habit she filled the silence by having the air-conditioning on high and the TV tuned to an all-news network.

She hated silence when she was in an unfamiliar place.

She had put off calling Bishop, undecided despite what she’d told Rafe as to what she intended to report. So when her cell phone rang, she knew who it was even without the caller I.D. and answered by saying, “This is supposed to be one of those lessons you’re always saying we have to learn, right? A reminder from the universe that we don’t control anything except our own actions? When we’re able to control them, that is.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bishop replied, calm and transparently unconvincing.

“Yeah, yeah. Why team me with Hollis? Answer that.”

“Because you’re the one most likely to help her through this first real test of her abilities.”

“I’m not a medium.”

“No, but you understand how it feels to be forced suddenly to cope with abilities you never even dreamed were possible.”

“I’m not the only other team member who wasn’t born a psychic.”

“You’re the best adjusted.”

“That’s an arguable statement. Just because this stuff no longer scares the hell out of me doesn’t necessarily mean I’m all that well adjusted.”

“I didn’t say well adjusted. I said best adjusted.”

“Which only proves my point. I would think you’d want somebody well adjusted to help Hollis.”

“You’re going to keep arguing about this, aren’t you?” Bishop said.

“I thought I might.”

“Are you asking me to recall Hollis?”

Isabel hesitated, then said, “No. Dammit.”

“You can help her. Just listen to your instincts.”

“Bishop, we both know mediums are fragile.”

“And we both know how difficult it’s been for us to find a medium for the unit. They’re rare, for one thing. And, yes, they’re emotionally fragile. Most can’t handle the job, and those who can tend to burn out quickly.”

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