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Bogie was right behind her. “Push an alarm on a key—that I can do. String a fellow up by his toes if he comes in causing problems for the lady? That…I’m not so sure.” Bogie sounded frustrated.

“You were smart to set off the alarm,” Sean said.

“I knew that would wake Madison. She was sleeping so deeply, she didn’t feel me trying to shake her.”

“The alarm probably scared off whoever it was,” Sean told him.

“Being dead,” Bogie said woefully, “makes it difficult when you want to be a hero.”

“Bogie, what did you see?” Sean asked.

He pointed. Across the street, there were two houses, old bungalows, much like the one Madison lived in.

Between them was an old house almost obscured by the bushes in front. A For Sale sign planted just to the side of the front walk explained its slightly shabby and overgrown appearance.

“You know what it’s like when you feel hackles rising along your neck? All right, so I don’t really have a neck,” Bogie said, “but I still feel like I do. I caught a glimpse of movement behind those bushes, and then I saw that whoever was there was wearing something like ninja gear—all black. The kind of black outfit puppeteers use so they’re not seen onstage. I knew that this person was watching the house. Madison had fallen asleep, and if the intruder had gotten far enough to break in—well, hell, it could have been too late. I figured if I made the alarm go off, she’d be awake and aware, at least, and maybe I’d scare off the bastard.”

“Good work, Bogie. Thank you,” Sean said.

Bogie wagged a finger at him. “You see to her safety.”

“Of course,” Sean said, turning to Madison. “You have a flashlight?”

“Yes.” She headed to her mantel, removing the large flashlight there. “What are you going to do?”

“Just take a look. I’ll be right back. Lock the door when I go out.”

He heard her do so as he left the house and walked from her yard. He crossed the street, quiet and still at that time of night, and came to the abandoned house.

Standing out on the road, he studied the bushes, then carefully moved around behind them.

He found a broken branch on one of the bushes and impressions in the dry earth, but nothing that could help a forensics team. He shone the light on the house, but anyone who’d broken in was long gone now. He considered calling the police, but he was sure that would be a waste of time.

Why would someone come after Madison?

Because she might know, somewhere in the back of her mind, something that could point an accusing finger in the right direction?

Perhaps one of L.A.’s lost and homeless was seeking entry to a place that could offer some shelter. He made a mental note to ask Knox to see that the empty house was checked, just in case. He doubted they’d find anything left behind by such an obviously clever and resourceful killer.

He returned to Madison’s and knocked on the door, waiting while she looked through the peephole. Then she let him in.

“Anything?” she asked.

“Nothing useful. We’ll have the cops do a search when it’s daylight. Can you pack up?”

“Pack up?” she repeated.

“You can’t stay here.”

“I can’t leave Ichabod!”

“You can leave a cat overnight. We have to figure out how to keep you out of danger until this is over.” Sean stared at her at a moment; she was staring back at him, frowning and looking extremely stubborn.

“Can’t we just call the police, have an officer patrol the area?”

“Madison! Didn’t you see the blood in the tunnel—not to mention Jenny Henderson’s corpse?” Sean demanded angrily.

“But…” She paled. She knew he was right, and she was furious about it.

“This is my home,” she murmured. But she wasn’t an idiot, and she wasn’t going to risk her life.

She’d seen Jenny lying on the cold steel at the morgue.

“It will remain your home,” he assured her. “You’re not leaving it forever.”

“No, no, I’m not. Where am I going?”

“My hotel.”

She seemed a little shocked at that.

“I—I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I mean, I can’t stay with you—”

“I didn’t suggest that,” Sean snapped. “We have a suite of rooms.”

She colored; she went from milk-white to rose-red, and her humiliation at misinterpreting his words seemed to draw her straighter still.

Don’t look so embarrassed, he longed to say. I’d give my eyeteeth to be honest and say, Hey, yeah, what a great opportunity. Come and sleep with me. I really shouldn’t feel this way, but can’t help thinking the sex would be really, really great.

He gritted his teeth and tried to ignore that thought.

“This isn’t a movie,” he said hoarsely. “Come on, Madison! You know you have to get out of here. Do you want to be the idiot girl who’s convinced that she’s fine—and then runs into the killer in the very next scene?”

“No,” she said, with dignity. “No, I don’t wish to behave foolishly in any manner. And I’m aware this isn’t a movie. It’s my life that’s either being threatened or, at worst, totally disrupted. So, fine. I’ll pack. While I do so, would you please make sure the cat’s water bowl is filled and he has food? Bogie was wonderful at setting off the alarm, but I don’t believe he can do things like that.”

“I’ll put out food and water for the cat,” Sean said. He felt shaky. Dismayed, and furious with himself.

This was his fault.

Hell, no. Eddie Archer was the one who’d thrown her into the fray.

Still, he’d brought her in, inch by inch, and now someone out there was scared of what Ms. Madison Darvil might know…or guess.

He found the cat food, which was in a ceramic jar in the shape of a cat’s face. He noted other little things about the kitchen that made it specifically Madison’s. Like salt and pepper shakers in the form of Frankenstein’s monster and his bride. A beautiful kitchen witch dangled above the sink; gleaming copper pots and pans were hung on a rack, along with puppets, some macabre, some enchanting. Creatures everywhere…

He gritted his teeth again.

There was a killer out there. It didn’t matter who’d involved Madison, whether he’d done it or Eddie had—or even if Bogie was being an alarmist. She wasn’t a cop or an agent, as she’d reminded him, and she needed protection.

She was quick; she had a small bag packed and was standing at the door after he’d refilled Ichabod’s food and water bowls and set them down. Ichabod had eschewed both and followed him out. Even the damned cat seemed to be looking at him with accusatory eyes.

Bogie leaned against the wall, arms crossed. “You stay with him, kid. This is ugly. Hollywood can be magic, and it can be ugly as sin. You know that—firsthand now. I’ll keep an eye on things here,” he told Madison.

Sean hesitated. “We still need you to come to the morgue.”

“I promised I would, and I will.” Bogie shrugged. “I can probably get there on my own, but why don’t you swing by for me when you come to feed the cat again?”

“We’ll do that,” Sean said.

Madison was grim and silent when they went to his car. He took her bag and put it in the truck, and climbed into the driver’s seat.

She turned on the radio and chose a talk station. “Is this okay?”

“No. I’d prefer classic rock.”

“Good. We’ll listen to this, then.”

“Hey! Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t do this to you on purpose. I didn’t even know you existed,” Sean muttered. “You said you’d do anything for Eddie Archer and Alistair. It looks like you’re getting to live up to those words.”

She didn’t reply. She did hit the button on the radio, changing it to an oldies station.

It was still a chilly drive back to the hotel.

Madison didn’t say a word as they crossed the lobby, although he saw that she carefully studied her surroundings. The old missionary style was unmistakable, as was the care expended in bringing modern comforts to the historic building.

The hotel was small; it only took a minute for the elevator to carry them to the third floor. Sean headed straight for the suite. Before he could slip the key in, the door swung open. He was greeted by his cousin, Kelsey O’Brien, who gave him a massive hug.

“Hey, we’re here—as you can see,” Kelsey said, tucking long red hair behind her ears.

“And feel!” he teased her. “Did you learn that power-hug technique with the marshal’s office?”

“Sean, where did you go?” Logan asked him, coming up beside Kelsey, a frown knitting his brows. “You knew we were on the way. Did something happen?” He sounded concerned—or was he annoyed?

Logan was his height, and they were both taller than Kelsey, who was still a good five-ten. Logan, however, wasn’t about to give him a welcoming hug.

“Yeah, more or less,” Sean said. “Can we come in?”

“We?” Logan asked.

“Yes,” he said, pulling Madison forward. “This is Madison Darvil. She’s doing the job I used to have at the special-effects studio. Eddie Archer thought she’d be the right person to show me around so I’d know what’s still the same and what’s changed over the years. There’s an empty house across from hers, and we have reason to believe someone was watching her from the shrubbery tonight. I couldn’t completely check it out. I figured we’d have the cops do it tomorrow. Whoever was there is gone. Madison, this is Kelsey O’Brien, Logan Raintree and, back there—behind Logan, the little blue-eyed blonde—is Katya Sokolov or Kat, as we call her. Dr. Kat, if you will. The guy in the cowboy hat is Tyler Montague, ex-Ranger, and rounding out our team is Jane Everett, over by Tyler.”