“Want coffee?”

If Harris hears the reluctance in my offer, he ignores it. He joins me at the credenza and takes a mug off the counter. He pours creamer and what looks like a quarter cup of sugar into it before swirling the mug until I think the contents are going to spill over the sides and onto the floor. They don’t.

I watch the performance with raised eyebrows. “Ever heard of a spoon?” I ask dryly.

He’s already tipped the mug to his lips, but he allows a smile. “Haven’t spilled a drop yet.”

We take our coffee back to the desk. This time he plops himself down in David’s chair. We drink for a couple of minutes until I can stand the staring contest no longer.

“Christ, Harris, are you ever going to tell me why you’re here?”

He tilts his head back, draining his mug. “You can’t guess?”

Sure, I can guess. He’s been badgering me ever since the former chief of police, Warren Williams, was found murdered, burned to ashes, outside of Palm Springs several months ago. Of course, he doesn’t know that Williams was a vampire. But the details of his death and the unconventional forensic evidence found at the scene, two-hundred-year-old DNA to be precise, and the fact that Williams and I were known to have had a contentious relationship have elevated me to the top position in his list of “persons of interest.” No matter that there is not a shred of evidence to link me to the crime.

But I want him to bring it up so I stay quiet.

Finally, he does.

“It’s about Judith Williams.”

Not what I was expecting, though as bad luck would have it, I have knowledge of that Williams’ death, too. Warren Williams’ wife, also a vampire, met her own grisly end at the point of an arrow.

I feign innocence. “Chief Williams’ wife? Didn’t I read that she’d gone missing several months back?”

“You did. Is that all you know, what you read in the newspapers?”

Now I’ve been around long enough to know the cops don’t generally ask questions they haven’t already answered—at least to themselves—so I frame my reply around a question. “I thought the FBI had taken over the case?”

“They had, yes. But I was informed yesterday that they’re no longer pursuing it. Which means to us real cops that they hit a dead end. Decided to clear it off their books and throw it back to the locals.”

He pauses, watching me, as if waiting for some kind of response. You’d think he knew me well enough by now to know the odds he’ll get one are as infinitesimal as the odds we’ll ever share a bed. When I stare back at him, mouth clamped tightly shut, he finally gives up.

“So,” he says, picking up the conversation as if he’d never hesitated, “I’ve got all these reports from the FBI investigation. And I’m exercising due diligence by going over each and every one, and imagine my surprise when a familiar name pops up.” He gets up and walks back to the coffeemaker, casual as an old sweater, taking time to pour himself a second mug and going through the “sugar, cream, swirl and slosh” routine. Then he takes a breath and turns to face me with the smug expression of a movie detective about to expose the villain in a room full of suspects.

Only there’s no room full of suspects. Only me. I know what he’s going to say. Before he gets the chance, I figure I’ll pop his balloon. “It’s no biggie, Harris. Yes. I was in Monument Valley same time as Judith Williams. But I only saw her once. Ran into her at the lodge. She was with a man I’d never seen before. I was there with Daniel Frey, visiting his son. We said hello to her, went our separate ways. End of story.”

I touch the tip of my nose. Nope. It’s not growing.

Harris puts his mug down on the credenza. “That’s what the report said. Funny thing, it’s just about word for word the same thing that you said about being in Palm Springs when Warren Williams was killed. And Daniel Frey was with you then, too.”

I eye him over the rim of my mug and snort. “My, that is a coincidence.”

I shouldn’t have pushed it with that last sarcastic remark. Harris’ patience explodes with the impact of a rock through a window. “There are a hell of a lot of coincidences with you, lady. I don’t believe in coincidences. The FBI may have dropped the case, but I won’t. Not ever. Get used to this face because I’ll be looking over your shoulder every minute until I figure out how you managed to be in the vicinity of not one, but two murders.” He pushes out of the chair. “There’s something not right about you. You’re a puzzle. I don’t like puzzles. But I’m damned good at solving them.”

He turns on his heel and storms out of the office. His threat, because that’s just what it was, trails behind him like a bitter wake.

I put my head against the back of the chair. Harris and I have a relationship that teeter-totters up and down. Not too long ago, I thought we might be on our way to becoming if not exactly pals, at least tolerant of each other. Obviously I overestimated.

His words echo in my head. Something’s not quite right with me?

I get up and take our mugs back to the credenza.

A little overly dramatic but what a master of understatement. I’m vampire, for shit’s sake.

I’m surprised he didn’t ask me again about the mysterious two-hundred-year-old DNA found where Warren Williams’ was killed.

At least that’s one sleeping dog he didn’t kick.


I TAKE MY COFFEE OUT TO THE DECK THAT SPANS THE back of our office. I sink into a chair and let the sun soothe my frazzled nerves. Harris is not going to let his suspicions about me go, no matter how circumstantial they appear to be.

Only I know his instincts are dead-on. Just my luck to get a really good detective on the case.

I’m still on the deck when Tracey and David come back to the office less than an hour after Harris’ abrupt departure.

David looks in to make sure Harris is gone.

I get up and come inside. “It’s safe. Harris left to find somebody else to harass.”

He motions Tracey inside. She goes right to the coat-rack, grabs her jacket and waves a hand at me before standing on tiptoe to give David’s cheek a peck.

“See you at the condo?”

Her good humor has obviously been restored.

David gives her shoulder a squeeze. “I’ll stop at Sammi’s for takeout and see you in twenty.”

She smiles at me. “See? You’re not the only one who found a good guy. Want to join us for lunch?”

“Good guy?” I feign shock and look around. “Where?”

Tracey laughs and I continue. “Rain check for lunch. I have some stuff to do.”

“When your guy gets to town, we’ll double-date for sure.” She reaches up and pinches David’s cheek. “Won’t that be fun?”

David groans and closes his eyes. “I can’t think of anything funner.”

Tracey heads out. When the door has closed behind her, David drops the comedy routine and turns anxious eyes to me. I expect him to tear me a new one over the Gloria Estrella thing this morning. Instead, he surprises me.

“What did Harris want?” he asks.

Relieved, I fill him in. Ever since David started having fractured memories of an evening not too many months ago when he and Judith Williams spent the night together, he’s had more than a casual interest in her, too. I could help him fill in those gaps but doing so might trigger another memory I’d rather leave buried . . . the memory of Judith telling him that she was a vampire.

And that I was one, too.

The fact that she disappeared (and I know is dead) granted me reprieve but left David with questions he’ll never get answered. I made up a story of a drunken rave where he was drugged and had sex with not only Judith,

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