PP 02

Title: The Panic Pure
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: mm, suspense/thriller

-THE SPACES IN BETWEEN-

Tracking Lauren Green felt a bit stalkerish, but there was no way
Arthur was going to let her show up and surprise them. That way lay
madness and giving the enemy the upper hand.

She’d left the airport for a five-star hotel far enough away from
anything Worth related that Arthur could almost hope she wasn’t going
to cause trouble. But he’d met her and he’d seen her pull off
frightening levels of deviousness and what could be taken for outright
EVIL.

So he felt no qualms about calling Vanessa and having her send someone
to follow Lauren Green wherever she went. He wanted to know her every
move until she returned to whatever rock she’d crawled out from under.

“Why don’t you ever call her ‘doctor’?” Sophia asked. She was sitting
in the guest chair in front of his desk and had been listening to him
give commands over the phone.

“Because a doctor is someone trained to help people. I don’t see her
helping anyone else but herself.” He didn’t mention all of the
terrible things he’d seen her do to Danny; Sophia suspected enough,
she didn’t need the confirmation.

“Hm.” Sophia stood, smoothing out her skirt. “My break is over. Would
you like to have lunch tomorrow?”

Arthur glanced at the calendar on his desk. “Looks like I’m free. Call
me before you come down?”

She nodded and strode briskly from the room, her back straight. The
door clicked shut behind her.

Left alone in his office, Arthur seriously had to wonder what was
going on. He almost would have thought she was interested in him, but
she was Sophia Hawthorne. She was probably voted “most likely to eat
her mate” in high school.

He took the small yellow pencil out of his desk drawer and wrote
“Lunch” on his calendar. His secretary would know not to schedule
anything else for him.

Sometimes being both Danny’s personal lawyer and chauffeur felt like
too much, but he enjoyed his job. Besides, it allowed him to watch
after Danny and make sure he was kept safe.

Danny had his demons from childhood, and Arthur had his own. Watching
from the sidelines as terrible things were done to his friend… that
was the kind of guilt and regret that would last him the rest of his
life.

* * *

“There’s been another one.”

Marshal froze with a handful of files in his hand. “Sir?”

Director Kevin Crane’s expression was pinched right. “There’s been
another missing woman. You’ve already got the Brooke’s case. I want
you and Starkweather to take this one too.”

Marshal set down his files and leaned his hip against the side of his
desk. “Any reason to think it ties with the Brooke’s case?”

“Nothing hard. I just have a feeling in my gut.” Crane shook his head.
“Maybe I’m getting old and seeing ghosts where there isn’t anything,
but we’ve had a big jump in missing person cases lately. It puts me on
edge. There’s something going on.”

Marshal kept his expression bland. “We’ll handle it, sir.”

Crane gave him a long look, then nodded decisively. He held out a file
to Marshal. “Figure out what happened to her,” he ordered.

The folder was pathetically thin, which Marshal knew meant he and
Joanna were supposed to fill it. All the mysteries of — he glanced at
the name — Starla Jane Danville were his to unravel.

And God did he hope they weren’t really dealing with a serial killer.

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