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“Do you know what I’m thinking?” Audrey said suddenly, excitedly, looking at Genevieve. “I think your ghosts might be from different times. I mean, if you had a woman who was murdered by pirates, I think she’d be too afraid of them to get anywhere near them. Maybe she’s from a different time, and she’s protecting you from the pirates. What do you think?”

Genevieve groaned. “I think we need to stop talking about ghosts,” she said firmly.

“Hamburgers!” Victor announced suddenly.

The chess game had ended, and the players and their team cheerleaders came over to join them.

Thor rose. “Let’s push the tables together,” he suggested.

He looked at Genevieve, wondering who she had called. She glanced over and saw the obvious question in his eyes. She flushed. “I called Marshall’s cell and left a message. I’m really getting worried,” she said.

“I’ve tried him a half-dozen times, too,” Victor told her.

“Looks like he doesn’t want to be found,” Alex said.

“It’s time the police looked into it,” Thor said.

“They are looking into it,” Genevieve told them, reaching for the ketchup. She paused, realizing everyone at the table was looking at her expectantly.

“I spoke with Jay, too,” she admitted, her cheeks flushing. “He’s called some friends up in Miami. The call from Marshall came from a hotel on the beach, but Marshall was never registered there. I told him I’d fill out a missing persons report tomorrow. If Marshall didn’t want us hounding him, he should have had the sense to make sure someone knew what was up!”

Thor wasn’t sure how he knew it, but he was certain Genevieve had called Jay about something more than Marshall’s disappearance.

“They’ll find Marshall, don’t you worry,” Jack assured Genevieve. “And don’t you worry,” he told Thor. “We’ll find plenty more at the bottom of the sea.”

After that, the conversation stayed well away from ghosts. And it seemed that everyone was eager to call it a night. The diving had been exhausting, and they had another full day ahead of them.

Genevieve had kept a slight distance between them. He didn’t press her, just headed to his cottage on his own, hoping she wasn’t aware that he was watching her through the window, determined to keep an eye on her.

Still, perhaps absurdly, afraid for her.

As he watched the group at the tiki bar break up, he saw Victor offer to walk Audrey home. Adam waved to the group. Brent and Nikki went off, hand in hand, to their own cottage. Zach and Lizzie walked down toward the beach, he noted. Well, if nothing else, the two of them really seemed to be enjoying their time in the Keys.

At last Genevieve started toward the cottages.

Toward her own? Or his? At first he wasn’t certain.

But then, halfway along the path, he saw her stop. She went very still, chin raised. The breeze caught the long tendrils of her hair, lifting it. Except for that slight movement, she might have been a statue, an elegant, perfectly formed, alabaster statue, she seemed so frozen in place.

Then she spun around, looking wildly around her.

She stared first at the trees surrounding the parking lot and cottages. Then she turned and stared back toward the water.

Once again, she stood still. Then she started walking.

Toward his cottage. Then she wasn’t walking, she was running.

Heedless of being caught spying on her, Thor threw open his door and stepped out onto the porch. She all but flew into his arms.

“What is it?” he asked anxiously, smoothing back her hair, looking past her into the night.

She shook her head, staring up at him. “I…I don’t know. Something ridiculous, I suppose. I just felt that I was being watched. By someone other than you.”


“No. Thank you,” she said softly.

“I thought you were angry with me.”

“I am. Furious. I can’t believe how rude you were.”

“I’m sorry. So why did you call Jay?”

She gasped, backing away. “I—I called him about Marshall.”

“You’re lying.”

“All right. I called to tell him I helped Victor get rid of the stinking mannequin.”

He was floored.


“He said he didn’t do it to begin with, but that the mannequin wound up in his cottage. And I believe him. I’ve known Victor all my life. He said they’d ditched the idea. But…” She paused. “Do you want me to leave?”

“No. I want you to get some sense. So you told all this to Jay, right?”

“Of course! I didn’t want him wasting his time chasing down such a ridiculous case. And you’re twisting this around. Just because you don’t like Brent Blackhawk, you don’t have to be so rude to him.”

“I like the guy just fine.”

“Then why be such a jerk?”

“Because I don’t like what’s going on around here.”

“Because you can’t beat up a ghost?” she demanded angrily.

He started to respond just as angrily, then paused. Hell, was that it?

“I’m sorry,” he said coolly. “I’m afraid I don’t believe in ghosts.” Was that the truth? Or was he afraid of the truth.

Because she was dead right. How the hell did you fight a ghost?

“Then you don’t believe in me,” she said evenly, and started to turn. He was afraid she intended to leave. He caught her by the shoulders, pulling her around.

“Don’t walk out on me,” he pleaded softly.

“I wasn’t walking out on you,” she replied.

“All right, sorry. You were just so angry—”

“Yeah. So are you. But I wasn’t walking out. You may not believe in me, but I’m sadly under the impression that this is what people call a relationship.”

“Oh, hell! Of course it’s a relationship,” he snapped.

He pulled her into his arms. It was a relationship, all right. Anger just led to kisses that were heated, almost violent. She was just as wild, just as angry. Beautiful. Living alabaster. She touched him like burning lava, liquid and fluid, erotic and exotic; she excited and teased him, and finally sated him. When he held her in the end, in bed, he still felt the frustration, the anger, that he didn’t know how to fight what was upsetting her.

Then she curled against him, flesh to flesh, her cheek resting on his chest. He stroked her hair and lay awake.

Audrey was barely inside the house with her shoes off when the doorbell rang. She let out a sigh, kicked the shoes aside and headed back.

She threw open the door and saw a familiar face. “Hey,” she said. “What’s up?”

He pushed his way in.

“Hey,” she repeated, in irritated protest this time. “What the heck…?”

The door closed.

Her eyes widened. She was still entirely puzzled when he made his move.

By then, it was far too late to scream.

When at last he slept, Thor dreamed. In his dream, he saw a battle. Fierce and furious. A man with dark hair, in expensive nineteenth-century apparel, against another, more tattered, fiercer….

Shouts rang between the men, along with the clash of steel. Shouts, words, but he couldn’t comprehend them.

He woke. As he woke, it seemed he could still hear the ringing of steel on steel

He realized Genevieve was wide-awake. She was lying in his arms, shaking, staring at nothing in the shadows of the night.

The sound faded and was gone, as if it had never been.

She realized he was awake and turned to him.

“She isn’t at rest,” she said softly. “Oh, God, she isn’t at rest.”

He just held her.

But he knew that when he stood, the floor would be flooded.

With seawater.


W hatever was happening, it wasn’t good, Genevieve could tell that the moment she stepped outside.

Jay Gonzalez was at the tiki bar, deep in conversation with Victor, who was angry and gesturing emphatically.

Hoping Thor wasn’t directly behind her, Genevieve hurried over, certain Jay was reaming Victor out about the mannequin business, and equally certain Victor was going to be furious with her.

He was. He shot her a cold glare as she neared them. “I’m trying to tell you, Jay, I don’t know how the mannequin wound up in my room. I didn’t take it. I didn’t play the joke on Gen.”

“But you do admit to dumping the pieces?” Jay said.

“Thanks,” Victor muttered to Genevieve.

“Jay,” Genevieve said. “I called you to stop a problem, not create one. I helped throw it away. I told you that.”

Jay had his sunglasses on, so she couldn’t read his eyes, but she knew he was irritated. “Genevieve, the problem is not that the mannequin was thrown away. It’s not illegal to discard a mannequin. It isn’t even illegal to pull it to pieces first. It is, however, illegal to steal a mannequin.”

“I didn’t steal it,” Victor protested.

“Wait,” Genevieve said. “When was it reported stolen?”

“When I made my initial inquiries, the staff at Key Klothing didn’t know they were missing a mannequin. The owner called the station late last night. He’d figured it out, but he told me he thought some kids had spirited the thing out. He wasn’t going to report it, but since we’d discovered the pieces, he wanted to let us know where it had come from.”

“Key Klothing,” Genevieve murmured. “That’s right by Audrey’s place.”

“You’re suggesting Audrey stole the mannequin?” Jay asked.

“No,” Genevieve protested.

“Look, Jay,” Victor said. “How long have you known me? If I wanted a mannequin, I wouldn’t have stolen it. I know half the shopkeepers on Duval Street. I would have bought one. Are you really going to arrest me over this?”