It felt pretty damn good.
“Gideon’s been putting Hayden Ivers under the microscope since you gave us his name last night,” her father informed her from his seat at the head of the conference table.
“That’s right,” Gideon said on the video screen. “Ivers is human. Runs a private law practice in Dublin, but for more than a couple of decades, he’s only handled confidential clients. Two, to be exact. Anyone care to guess who the second one is?”
“Riordan?” Carys’s father practically spat the name. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
Mathias Rowan stroked Nova’s hand as a murmur of outrage traveled the table. “Do you think Ivers could be a member of Opus too?”
“If he is, he’s covered his tracks well,” Lucan said. “Gideon’s hacked into his computers and found a whole lot of nothing.”
“I scoured Ivers’s computers and email accounts,” Gideon added. “I can’t find anything to implicate him in Opus or anything even remotely suspect.”
Carys frowned, finding it hard to hide her disappointment. “What about Crowe’s trust?”
“I could only find a handful of references to the trust document—all taking place after Crowe’s death. But no trace of the document itself. I couldn’t find digital files of any kind pertaining to Crowe or the trust or any other aspect of Ivers’s relationship to Crowe.”
Nathan glanced at Carys and the others at the table. “Ivers knew to leave no trail, even after Crowe’s death.”
Chase grunted. “Given Crowe’s true identity, he obviously warned all of his business associates to be meticulously cautious with his affairs.”
Aric smirked. “Too bad no one warned Crowe to be cautious with his head around helicopter blades.”
Jax, Eli and Rafe all chuckled with him at the reference to the Atlantean’s demise the night of his attempted attack on the GNC peace summit.
Carys looked up at the D.C. group on screen. “There has to be some record in Ivers’s possession. Printed documents, if nothing else.”
Across the table from her, Mathias nodded. “My team in London is assembling at nightfall to pay a visit to Ivers’s residence in Dublin. If he doesn’t prove cooperative, we’ll bring him in for a thorough questioning.”
Lucan flashed the tips of his fangs. “If the human doesn’t want to talk, I’ll be there to persuade him personally.”
“What if he isn’t part of the organization?” Carys blurted. “What if the trail to Crowe’s Opus colleagues goes cold again with Ivers?”
“Then we keep looking,” her father said.
Lucan nodded. “Right now, we’re farther ahead than we were yesterday. We have you to thank for that, Carys.”
“I just followed a hunch,” she murmured, but the validation felt like warm sunshine on her face.
“Keep following your hunches,” Lucan said. “We need them. We need everyone following every lead and working together if we want to flush Opus’s members out of the bushes and take them down. That goes double for our bigger adversary.”
Lucan’s gaze swung to Jordana now. “Have you been able to contact the Atlantean?”
Jordana’s white-gold hair flowed over her shoulders as she shook her head. “I wish it were that easy. When my father, Cass, summoned Zael to find me, he apparently was able to reach him through the power of his mark. This mark.”
She held up her hand now, and the center of her palm began to glow. A symbol emerged, illuminating in the shape of a teardrop and crescent moon. A Breedmate mark, the symbol that had, in fact, originated with the Atlanteans.
Being one of that immortal race, Jordana carried the same hidden mark in the center of her palms since her twenty-fifth birthday several days ago. She had the same extraordinary powers, which she and the rest of the Order were still attempting to fully understand.
She lowered her hand as the glow dimmed. “I don’t know if Zael’s received any of my attempts to find him, but I’ll keep trying.”
“Good,” Lucan said. “I need to meet this immortal face-to-face as soon as possible. I’ll be ready on a moment’s notice to make it happen.”
Aric frowned thoughtfully, then leaned away from Carys, toward her friend. “Do that again with your hand, Jordana. I want to try something.”
Chase and Tavia exchanged a hesitant look. Even Nathan’s face was grave with caution. “Be careful, Aric. We’re still trying to assess the full scope of Jordana’s new powers.”
As her mate spoke, Jordana lifted her palm. The symbol in the middle of it began to appear again, gradually lighting with an otherworldly, internal fire.
Aric moved closer, studying it. “So, this is some kind of Atlantean communication device?”
“I guess so,” Jordana said. “Among other things.”
He grunted, and put his face near the ember-bright glow. Then he chuckled. “E.T., phone home.”
Carys punched the muscled bulk of his shoulder. “You’re an idiot.”
But she laughed anyway. So did Jordana. God, Carys thought, how long had it been since she’d smiled with her twin brother? How long since she’d laughed with him over stupid jokes only the two of them could appreciate?
If her coming down to the command center today had done nothing else, it had at least thawed some of the ice that had gathered between her and Aric over her relationship with Rune. She’d missed him since their falling out.
Lucan cleared his throat and all eyes returned to the Order’s leader. “Speaking of following hunches, I’m interested to hear more about Brynne’s suspicions concerning Neville Fielding. If there’s reason to believe the London GNC representative warrants a closer look, I want the Order heading things up and I want to move on that as soon as possible. I’ll need Brynne to tell me everything she knows or suspects about Fielding, if she’s around.”
“She’s upstairs,” Carys volunteered, looking to her parents. “Shall I go get her?”
At their nod, she rose. Jordana did too. “I’ll go with you.”
Carys and her friend stepped into the corridor and began the walk back up to the Darkhaven mansion.
Jordana blew out a soft breath. “I never would’ve thought to look into Crowe’s portfolio records at the museum, Car. Was his collection listed in the general inventory catalogue?”
“Ah, not the general one, no.”
Jordana’s eyes widened. “The chief curator’s account? How did you . . . Never mind, I’m sure I don’t want to know.”
“Probably better that way.” Carys smirked. “You’ll have plausible deniability in case anyone notices the after-hours login on her account. And anyway, I only started with the curator’s files. I found Crowe’s trust listed in the conservation department files.”
Jordana slowly shook her head. “With sleuthing skills like those and your steel-trap mind, what are you doing assisting me with exhibits and patron receptions? You should be putting your talents to use in more important ways. Have you ever thought about—”
Carys slanted her an arch look. “Working for the Order? That seems to be coming up a lot lately.”